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Comparing Every Space Jam Air Jordan 11

Air Jordan 11 Space Jam Comparison
Air Jordan 11 Space Jam Comparison

The Air Jordan 11 has been in the spotlight since its 1995 release. Tinker Hatfield, the legendary designer of the Air Jordan line, was tasked with creating a silhouette that performs on the court and looks good when dressed up in a suit. Using patent leather, a first for a basketball sneaker, Hatfield achieved the elegant look Michael Jordan wanted without compromising its performance. The sneaker became a cultural icon, successfully crossing over into the mainstream.

The Air Jordan 11 was initially released in three colorways: Concord, Columbia (Legend Blue), and Playoff (Bred). A fourth colorway was also made, though it remained a player-exclusive for MJ then. That pair is known as the Space Jam edition. It was seen on the court via MJ during the 1995 NBA Playoffs, where his Chicago Bulls fell short to the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. They later appeared on Jordan's feet in Space Jam during the basketball clash between the Tune Squad and the Monstars. Since then, the Space Jam colorway of the Air Jordan 11 has been a cult classic.

Finally, in December 2000, the Air Jordan 11 Retro Space Jam was released. The sneaker was so in demand at the time that its Wednesday release saw kids skipping school to go to their local sneaker store to buy a pair. This trend later made Jordan Brand switch their weekday releases to Saturday launches, which are still ongoing. Then, nine years later, in 2009, Jordan Brand re-released the Air Jordan 11 Retro Space Jam, kicking off the annual holiday AJ 11 release we all look forward to yearly.

In 2016, just seven years later, Jordan Brand and Warner Bros. teamed up to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Space Jam by bringing back the Air Jordan 11 Retro Space Jam. This iteration was closer to MJ's original PE pair from the 90s than the prior releases. Now, fresh for 2024, the Space Jam edition of the AJ 11 will return, this time in low-top. This version marks this colorway's first release as an Air Jordan 11 Retro Low.

To celebrate the release of the Air Jordan 11 Retro Low Space JamSole Retriever has dug into its archives to pull out each iteration and break them down, one by one. Enjoy the side-by-side comparison of one of the most coveted Air Jordan sneakers below. To stay up to date on other Jordan's releasing in 2024, check out our Jordan Release Calendar and keep it locked to the Sole Retriever mobile app.

Air Jordan 11 Space Jam History

The Air Jordan 11 Space Jam debuted on the feet of Michael Jordan during the 1995 NBA Playoffs. It was later seen on-screen in the Space Jam film, where this AJ 11 colorway was given the Space Jam nickname. It remained unreleased until December 2000, when it dropped during the first retro run for the Air Jordan 11. Re-releases followed in 2009 and 2016, both coming in different versions. For Summer 2024, they release in low-top form for the first time.

Air Jordan 11 Space Jam : Differences & Comparisons

Whenever a sneaker is re-released, it is never identical to its predecessor. This is true for 98% of all sneakers that have been retroed or reissued. The differences are sometimes minor, but to the eyes of purists and keen collectors, that tiny change can make or break a release for them. So, for the Air Jordan 11 Space Jam, no two versions are alike. Looking at the four pairs side-by-side, you can see the differences Jordan Brand has made over twenty-four years. With one pair being low-top, you can exclude that pair from its three counterparts. However, you can compare it to other low-top releases and find differences and similarities dating back to when the Air Jordan 11 Retro Low debuted in April 2001.

Sticking to the three high-top pairs from 2000, 2009, and 2016, each pair is unique. The 2000 pair, which features a wider body, sports thinner patent leather than that seen on the originals. However, when looking at the 2009 pair, Jordan Brand made the sneaker less bulky, and the patent leather cut slimmer. For 2016, Jordan Brand remastered the Air Jordan 11 Retro, which was closest to the OG specs it could get at the time. This look, in turn, brought back the higher cut, thicker patent leather, and wider toebox. One thing that remained the same between all three highs is the materials used. Each came in all-black, with ballistic nylon, patent leather, leather, and neoprene. Although the same for each release, the laces come in different thicknesses, but that's just a minor detail.

Air Jordan 11 Space Jam Comparison Jumpman Logo
Air Jordan 11 Space Jam Comparison Jumpman Logo

The embroidered Jumpman on the ankle is one of the most prominent features of the Air Jordan 11, outside of patent leather. For the Air Jordan 11 Space Jam, the classic Jumpman logo has undergone some changes since its initial release in 2000. The 2000 version features the skinniest version of the logo, while the 2016 is the thickest. In terms of color, the 2000, 2016, and 2024 pairs all come in Varsity Royal, while the lone 2016 pair is in Concord, closest to MJ's original PE. The 2000 and 2016 pairs are forward facing while the 2009 and 2024 are opposite.

Air Jordan 11 Space Jam : The Tongue Labels

Air Jordan 11 Space Jam Tongue Labels
Air Jordan 11 Space Jam Tongue Labels

A tongue stripe is stitched onto the middle of the tongue, where more branding and labeling can be seen. This black stripe features a unique font created specifically for the Air Jordan 11, with the phrase Jumpman Jordan being the most common. Various iterations have graced each Air Jordan 11 Space Jam release, with even more featured on unreleased iterations. In terms of the pairs released, Jumpman Jordan is found on the 2009 and 2016 pairs, while Jumpman Jam is on the 2000 and 2024 versions. The phrases are all stitched in white, and the color of the Jumpman logo, which separates each word, varies. Varsity Royal is featured on the 2000, 2009, and 2024 pairs, while Concord is on the 2016.

Air Jordan 11 Space Jam : The Numbers

Air Jordan 11 Space Jam Comparison Numbers
Air Jordan 11 Space Jam Comparison Numbers

Michael Jordan's uniform numbers, 23 and 45, grace the back of the Air Jordan 11 Space Jam. His player exclusives featured both numbers, so it shouldn't be a surprise to see both on released pairs. While 23 is prominently featured on the 2000, 2009, and 2024 versions, 45 graces the 2016 pair, tying back to the same pair seen in the film. While the font stays the same, the thickness of the lines has changed from each release, not to mention that the 2016 pair is the only one that has the number embroidered instead of printed on.

Air Jordan 11 Space Jam : The Outsole

Air Jordan 11 Space Jam Comparison Outsole
Air Jordan 11 Space Jam Comparison Outsole

The outsole of the Air Jordan 11 Space Jam has changed, mainly due to the aging process. When the Air Jordan 11 was first released, it did so with a translucent sole. After time went by, the soles would turn yellow. This look is present on the 2000 and 2009 Air Jordan 11 Retro Space Jam versions. While this yellowing happens to every translucent sole, Nike and Jordan Brand began to give most of these soles a blue-tinted makeover, which slowed the yellowing down and made the shoe look better. As a result, both the 2016 and 2024 pairs feature this icy blue translucent design.

The rubber pods, Jumpman branding, and carbon fiber also feature slight differences between each release. Regarding the rubber pods, Varsity Royal is present on the 2000, 2009, and 2024 pairs, while Concord is on the 2016. The Jumpman logo in the center appears in white on the 2000, 2016, and 2024 pairs; the 2009s are blue. For the checkboard printer carbon fiber, all four pairs are black-based. However, the 2024 low-top is the only one with a two-toned print, coming in black and grey. You can argue that each pair features black and grey carbon fiber. However, the shades of grey differentiate between the four iterations, which are dark and not as discernable as the 2024 release.

Air Jordan 11 Space Jam : The Packaging

Air Jordan 11 Space Jam Comparison BoxesAir Jordan 11 Space Jam Comparison Packaging

The packaging would change with each Air Jordan 11 Retro Space Jam release. When initially released in 2000, this pair came in the standard Jordan Brand face box of the time. While plain, this pair came with an Air Jordan Retro Card, which has been missing from Air Jordan Retros since 2008. For 2009, Jordan Brand decided to spice things up by housing the shoes in a pull-out box, custom-designed for the Air Jordan 11 Space Jam. When opened, a plastic covering in varsity royal featured the Roman numerals XI and the phrase "Tinker Made Them Shine. Mike Made Them Fly. You Made Them Iconic." Upon lifting this covering, carbon fiber-printed paper exposed the sneakers, which also came with metallic blue plastic shoe trees.

For the 2016 version, a covering housed the box. The covering featured custom artwork intertwining the numbers 23 and 45. Upon removing the cover, the two-piece box featuring the number 23 on the box top. After that, a plastic covering much like the 2009 version, comes in black with the XI Roman numerals present. Once you get through that layer, black tissue paper with the number 45 covers the sneakers, which come with metallic purple plastic shoe trees. In addition, Warner Bros. branding is seen on the bottom of the box, cementing the collaboration between the two labels.

Looking at the latest pair, 2024's Air Jordan 11 Retro Low, this pair comes in the OG Air Jordan 11 black and grey box. Classic Jumpman branding is on the box top. Carbon fiber tissue paper is included with this pair, adding a little flare to this general release.

Air Jordan 11 Retro Space Jam (2000, 2009, 2016, & 2014)

Air Jordan 11 Space Jam Comparison Lateral AngleAir Jordan 11 Space Jam Comparison AngleAir Jordan 11 Space Jam Comparison FrontAir Jordan 11 Space Jam Comparison HeelAir Jordan 11 Space Jam Comparison LateralAir Jordan 11 Space Jam Comparison Packaging

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