Preview: Air Jordan 11 Retro (White/Black – Dark Concord)

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A big thank you to my friends at Jordan Brand for saving me the hassle of the craziest release of the year. My offering to you: A closer look at the kicks before you hopefully get your hands on your own pair later this week. Are you copping?

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First Look: Air Jordan 2011 A Flight

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Next up in my review of shoes dropping this fall: The Air Jordan 2011 A Flight. I’m intrigued to try this one for a few reasons: It’s a Jordan with Flywire and it features the lauded Jordan 2011 sole, which is supposed to have very good traction. Enjoy the pictures for now.

If you’re interested, the Jordan 2011 A Flight is now available in six colorways, including this one, from Nike Store for $120.

Disclosure: Jordan Brand provided the shoes for this post and the subsequent review later this month.

A closer look at Jordan Brand training gear

Full disclosure: Jordan Brand sent me all materials reviewed here, previously seen in this post.

I don’t consider myself much of a distance runner. If you catch me at the tail end of a five-mile run, you’re probably also catching me in the warmup for a really long nap. My workouts tend to be focused around a lot of sprints/squats/lunges/bodyweight drills/etc. Not that there isn’t running involved, but it’s just in totally different intervals. As a result, I’ve become much more interested in the “training” segment of footwear in apparel over the last two years or so.

The short version of my thoughts on Jordan Brand’s foray into this field: Love the shirts, love the shorts … but not sure Trunners are for me. More thoughts after the jump.

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First look: Jordan Brand goes into training market

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The Trunner shoe line isn’t new to Jordan Brand, but as of this fall, Jordan Brand is making a more concerted push into the training market as of this fall, not only marketing shoes, but also apparel that is more fitted to your training needs — as opposed to what many consumers have come to know as an incredibly baggy line of hoops gear. (Seriously, those of us below 6-feet-tall have an incredibly difficult time wearing anything Jordan Brand. Finding a small is like finding a bald eagle hanging out in your neighborhood. Even on those, they’re pretty generous with the fabric.)

So Jordan Brand hit up a few folks like myself who have a focus on the training market with their latest push:

  • The Jordan Brand Get Ready S/S shirt ($32)
  • The Jordan Brand Get Ready shorts ($35)
  • The Jordan Brand Trunner 11 LX ($105)
  • Resistance bands and drawstring bag
  • Jordan Brand “Every Single Day” water bottle
  • iPod nano preloaded with workout routines
  • Beats by Dre earbuds
I’m particularly interested in how many hoops heads are interested in Jordan Brand training gear, given that they’ve already got some built-in brand loyalty probably, but I’d bet they’re currently training in regular Nike gear or maybe something like Under Armour at the moment. If Jordan Brand made the move to produce more training gear, and you were already someone who plays in Jordan Brand, would you make the switch for your exercise apparel and footwear?
I’ll be trying these out over the next few weeks and checking in with my thoughts afterward.

Review: Jordan Fly Wade

Sincerest apologies in the delay of this review. I’ve had a busy June and a foot injury — plantar fasciitis — that kind of slowed down the progress on this one.

The Fly Wade was an important step for Jordan Brand in that it was finally time to step up and deliver a shoe for the sneakerheads who cried for years to get Dwyane Wade free from Converse and over to the marquee Jordan Brand name. Did they deliver? In many ways, yes, but there are still ways to treat this like the high level product it ought to be.

This will not fall into the Crazy Light/Zoom Kobe VI class of “ultra light/thin-and-light,” but by Jordan Brand standards that’s certainly the case. The shoe checks in at 13.7 oz, a full ounce lighter than the Jordan 2011 and nearly two ounces lighter than the Melo M7.

That weight reduction doesn’t come with any sort of quality/comfort reduction. The toe is still a sturdy patent leather piece and there is ample cushioning for your ankles and Achilles in this shoe. Zoom Air is featured in the forefoot and Max Air with a visible bubble is featured in the heel.

The sole also stood out to me. Here’s the technical jargon from Eastbay: “The sole is made with solid rubber and designed with a modified elephant crackle pattern for multidirectional traction on a variety of surfaces.” I not only used this shoe for basketball, but I also took it to my athletic conditioning class, which consists of sprints among other things, so change of direction was important going from one end of the court to the other. The grip was outstanding. I can’t speak to how it handles outdoors, but my experience playing ball and running on a basketball court showed me they were up to the task.

As for sizing, these run true to size based on my experience. If you wear a 9 in the Zoom Kobe VI, you’d wear a 9 in these, too.

If I could tweak two things, it would be design and presentation. First, on design, this isn’t like ZigSlash-type design criticism, but I don’t think people were falling over themselves to pick this one up based on looks. Despite being light, it still looked sort of bulky to me, something not really fitting Wade’s style. Curious to see what the future looks like for Wade and Jordan Brand’s designers. Second, the presentation. If you’re Jordan Brand and you’re pushing Wade as arguably your marquee guy these days, shouldn’t the presentation of his first sig involve more than the standard gray and black JB box? Between these two elements, I thought they missed a chance to really make a splash. (Also, we could talk about when these were rolled out in the scheme of things for general release, but I don’t know what kind of politics go into the release calendar at Jordan Brand, so maybe there was a perfectly good reason.)

All four colorways of the Jordan Fly Wade are still available from Nike for retail price of $140. Click here to check them out. You can also customize them on NIKEiD and really create some sharp designs, so be sure to play with that option, too, if you think the shoe is right but just aren’t feeling the general releases.

Next up (in hoops): Jordan Fly Wade

I’ve been playing in (and loving) the Zoom Kobe VI, but courtesy of Jordan Brand, I’ve got the chance to check out the Jordan Fly Wade. I’ve been really looking forward to this. I was intrigued that they were able to make a slightly lighter performance shoe. It’s not an ultra-light along the lines of the ZK VI, but at 13.7 oz, it’s a big step forward. Zoom Air is in the forefoot and Max Air is in the heel. They’re also using a seamless style that helps cut down on weight. Much as it pains me to put the ZK VI on the shelf for a bit, I’m looking forward to putting this pair of kicks through its paces. Anyone gone out to get the Fly Wade in its first week or two on the market? (Oh, and in case you haven’t seen, it’s available on NIKEiD.com, and it gives you some pretty great options.)







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Wrapping up the Jordan Brand Classic


The Jordan Brand Classic weekend wrapped up Saturday night and although I’ve been obnoxiously tweeting/Facebook sharing my work this week, I thought I’d group it all in one location to check out, in case you missed anything.

Stories

Quincy Miller surprised by Perry Jones’ decision

Tony Wroten, Jr.: The next in a long line of Seattle guards with swag

Jordan Brand Classic players get a taste of NASCAR at Joe Gibbs Racing

Jordan Brand Classic players bowl, play video games and hang with celebs

It’s not all partying: Players give back visiting school kids, sick children

Canadian phenom Andrew Wiggins’ game continues to grow

Bigs dominate 10th anniversary Jordan Brand Classic

Videos

Visit at Presbyterian Hospital with kids

Myck Kabongo gets stuck in a NASCAR stock car

Jordan Classic players kick back with Jadakiss

Jordan Classic players tour Joe Gibbs Racing

I hope everyone enjoyed the coverage this week. I spent a little bit of time talking sneakers with the guys, but not enough to come up with a big post. Talked with Quincy Miller about our love of XIs. Talked with Tony Wroten and Marquis Teague about the 2011s the guys played in — they liked them — and Teague even let me take a picture of the cool custom job that was done for the players, getting their initials on the tongue. Check it out here.

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