Introduction to the Air Jordan 2011/Air Jordan 26

Jordan 26 Year of The Rabbit

In 2011, Nike and Jordan Brand were three years into their new naming system for Air Jordans. New models were identified by calendar year rather than model number as a way to delineate a new era for the brand. It was a period defined by bold innovations and risk taking in the search for top on-court performance. No Jordan from this period demonstrates the brand’s experimental attitude and high performance as well as the Air Jordan 2011.

Air Jordan 2011

Design and History

In 2010, Nike and Jordan released a divisive model – some loved the Air Jordan 2010’s strong aesthetic choices, but others did not. While fans were divided on the sneaker’s look, the 2010’s performance and playability on the court were roundly praised.

01 Air Jordan 26

Because of that, the Air Jordan 2011 (frequently still referred to as the Air Jordan 26) had a lot to prove. The brand was looking to return to a more traditional silhouette without walking back the technical innovations it had brought to recent models. To accomplish this lofty goal, the brand brought back legendary Jordan designer Tinker Hatfield and teamed him up with two other Nike powerhouse designers: Tom Luedecke and Mike Smith.

This world-class team brought the Air Jordan 2011 back to basics, with simple styling, dress-shoe-quality materials and a silhouette that recalled the super-popular Jordan 11 from 1996. This pleasantly nostalgic design was then modernized with a textured “constellation” graphic on the polished leather upper. The stars in the constellation were actually perforated holes that allowed for air flow and breathability to keep players’ feet cool on the court.

Features and Technology

of the Air Jordan26

While the 2011s featured a strong, elegant aesthetic, they will be remembered primarily for their groundbreaking technological details.

Choose Your Flight

The Air Jordan 2011s were the world’s first shoes to feature fully replaceable midsoles, a technology that had been in development for about six years. Gone were the days of the IPS pods that only allowed you to swap out small pressure points of cushioning. Players could now choose between two different swappable midsoles in order to best compliment their playing style. The shoes shipped with a blue “Quick” midsole and a red “Explosive” midsole. The first was intended for players who capitalize on speed while the second rewarded power players who play a strong vertical game.

Jordan 26 Black Dark

Full-Circle Lacing

The laces look fairly traditional, but the eyelet material continues beneath the upper all the way to base of the shoe. This means that when you tighten the laces, they don’t just pull the material together on top of your foot – they shape the whole upper to conform to your foot.

08 Jordan 26 a Flight Stealth

Reinforced Leather

The designers wanted to use leather for its aesthetic beauty but were concerned that the thickness of typical leather would make the shoe too stiff. To solve this, they got very thin, high-quality leather and reinforced it with a modern resin compound on the underside. This allows the shoe to stay flexible without compromising stability.

Black, white, and red watch hands.

Moving Tread

The outsole’s tread pattern is printed with a swirl near the forefoot. When pivoting, the swirl tread moves, tightening slightly to move the traction where it's needed most.

06 Jordan 26 Tech Grey

Beyond the huge range of OG colorways, fans could get the shoe’s high performance on a smaller budget in the form of less expensive, non-modular versions. Called the “Q Flight” and “A Flight” versions, these alternates had traditional, permanent midsoles (with cushioning similar to the “Quick” and “Explosive” inserts, respectively). They also featured more traditional basketball shoe uppers, rather than the super-high-end leather found on the standard release.

05 Jordan 26 West

Air Jordan 2011 Colorways, Retros and Collectability

The 2011s are too young to have seen a retro, but the original generation rolled out in four different colorways and added several more during the year:

  • White/Black-Anthracite
  • White/Varsity Royal-Deep Royal
  • Team Red/Team Red-White
  • White/Wolf Grey/Team Red-Gold (known as “Year of the Rabbit”
  • Black/Dark Charcoal
  • Classic White/Orion Blue-Black
  • Classic Black/Comet Red
  • Varsity Red/Wolf Grey-Medium Grey (from the “Warrior Pack”)
  • Tech Grey/Black-Orion Blue-Chlorine Blue (from the “Warrior Pack”)
  • Black/Neo Lime (from the “Warrior Pack”)

Add to that the Black/Electric Green version that dropped in 2013 as part of the “28 Days of Flight” collection and collectors are spoiled for choice in the Air Jordan 2011.

Regardless of which version you choose – OG, Q Flight or A Flight – be sure to keep your collectable sneakers in a cool, dry place. For longer term storage, remove them from the original package and protect them with an airtight plastic bag (like a Ziploc), squeezing out as much air as possible to minimize oxidation. Sneakers in long-term storage should be removed from their plastic bag about once a month and left to breathe for 24 hours.

09 Jordan Q Flight Black Gold

Jordans Release Dates, News and Articles

Attention all sneakerheads and basketball fans! Read all about the oldest and latest Jordan releases on the eBay Sneaker Hub. From iconic retro styles to new collaborations, you'll find everything you need to know to complete your Jordan collection.