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The Air Jordan XI has a legacy rooted in dressed up design for the court. Performing on the biggest stages and sporting a never-before-seen combination of patent leather and mesh at the time, the Michael Jordan signature became an instant staple both in culture and at formal events. Air Jordan XI ‘Cap and Gown’ creators Donald Kelsey, Harrison Liu, Eric Sandy and Leah Nagengast kept Tinker Hatfield and MJ’s original dress shoe inspiration in mind when crafting the graduation-inspired and expertly elevated iteration of the Air Jordan favorite.
“We usually don’t have this kind of Air Jordan XI launch in the summer, so we wanted to make it special,” says Nagengast, Material Designer. “We focused on using elevated materials for the occasion of graduation, including a premium full-grain nubuck, as well as a lace that ties back to the graduation honor cords.” The Air Jordan XI ‘Cap and Gown’ is also the first all-black version of the beloved sneaker, and additional premium elements, such as the raised Jumpman logo and embroidered 23 on the heel serve to dress up the silhouette even further.
“We wanted to make sure the craftsmanship, workmanship and engineering of the shoe moved us forward, but also provided the familiar, comfortable ride for the court as well,” relates Liu, Footwear Developer. Ultimately, the Air Jordan XI is all about breaking the tradition of dress shoes, but the Air Jordan XI ‘Cap and Gown’ is about evolving Jordan Brand tradition as well, with new materials and an occasion-oriented design that is fit for students celebrating all over the globe.

To honor the class of 2018 and their accomplishments, graduates at select schools across the country received early access to the Air Jordan XI ‘Cap and Gown.’
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