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Air Jordan 11 Cherry

Back in 1995, Michael Jordan was just beginning what would turn out to be a masterful comeback. In it, he set new records and won yet more championships, making the Jordan 11 that he was wearing at the time a must-have – a phenomenon that continued into the early 2000s, when Jordan Brand launched a collection of retro AJ11s. Alongside these, the brand started releasing new colorways as well, some of which would go on to become highly sought-after models for both men and women. One of these was the vibrant Jordan 11 Cherry; a shoe with such brightly colored features that sneaker enthusiasts were mesmerized by its striking look.

The Air Jordan 11 Cherry was first known as Varsity Red when it was released in a Low version in 2001 due to the use of this color across several of its key elements. Jordan Brand had already put out some low-top AJ11s back in 1996, but while those featured a slightly different construction to the original High sneakers, the ones brought out in 2001 stayed true to its daring design. The most important aspect for achieving this look is the Cherry’s radiant Varsity Red mudguard, whose patent leather build gives it the classic shine that the Air Jordan 11 is so renowned for. It also has the familiar ballistic mesh upper and webbed eyelets in white, the sophisticated branding in both white and Varsity Red and the translucent outsole revealing the carbon fiber plate resting between it and the white, Air-cushioned, Phylon foam midsole. Red and white are ever-present tones on Jordan sneakers since they reference the player’s main team, the Chicago Bulls, and the AJ11 Cherry is no different. Maybe that’s why it was such an instant success when it came out, and perhaps that is why it continues to draw crowds with each retro release.

Fans of the first Jordan 11 Cherrys would have to wait another 15 years until its second release, which came midway through 2016. This Retro edition is another low-top with a white base and Varsity Red highlights on areas such as the herringbone grip sections of the outsole and the Jumpman logos on the heel, tongue and insole. Just like the 2001 shoe, it was made for both kids and adults. Two years later, in 2018, a pair of AJ11 Cherry Cleats came out, with adaptations for the football field. Released in both a Low and a High version, it includes a Lunarlon Foam midsole and molded studs on the outsole. For the most part, each retains the eye-catching color scheme of its predecessors, though black has been added to the inner lining.

By this time, the Air Jordan 11 had become well-known for exciting holiday releases, which usually launched in the first two weeks of December each year. Again, those hoping to get hold of a new version of the colorway were made to wait a few years until 2022, when they were provided with a high-top Air Jordan 11 Retro Cherry for the first time. Many of its features mirror those of the low-top, with a see-through outsole, Varsity Red patent leather mudguard and white ballistic mesh upper. However, it also has its own distinct character manifested by elements such as the black and Varsity Red grid pattern on its carbon fiber shank plate, the Varsity Red Jumpman logo embroidered into its lateral heel and the reversal of the color arrangement on its inner, which sees the lining and insole display bright red tones, while the Jumpman on the insole and the 23 on the heel panel are decorated in white.

The range of Air Jordan 11 Cherrys expanded with the making of the high-top as versions were created for adults, kids and toddlers. A Crib model was also made for very young children. While maintaining the core look of the Cherry, its outsole is far softer than those on other models, making it appropriate for developing feet, a pull tab has been added to the heel and an easier fastening system has been introduced to the medial side of the upper. Kids and toddlers then got another design known as the Little Flex, which does not need to be tied up at all. Instead of laces or the hook-and-loop closure system found on the Crib, it has a flexible white upper with supportive bands that fit snugly over the top of the foot. This means that it can be slipped on and off with the aid of the pull tab emerging from its heel. 

Then, in 2023, the unforgettable color palette of the Jordan 11 Cherry was combined with the comfort-giving features of the CMFT model. This sneaker has a translucent blue outsole that uncovers a white midsole with Zoom Air cushioning, and a patent leather mudguard that wraps around the toe and lateral flank in bright red. Along with this, the use of red Jumpman logos on the lateral heel and tongue give it those Cherry vibes, while the textile bands that form into lace loops along the eyestay are reminiscent of the webbed lacing structures on the AJ11.

The bold tones of the Cherry colorway matched the daring look of the Air Jordan 11 when they were initially applied to its texturally diverse outer in 2001. This made it a strong style choice back then and continues to do so to this day. Its bright red highlights distinguish it from other AJ11 sneakers, earning it a passionate following that eagerly awaits each vividly colored release of this stylish shoe.

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