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Is jordan 11 good for basketball?

The Air Jordan 11 is one of the most iconic and popular sneakers in basketball history. Ever since Michael Jordan first wore them in 1995, the Jordan 11 has become synonymous with greatness on the court. But are the Jordan 11s actually good performance basketball shoes? Let’s take a closer look at the technology, materials, and design of the Air Jordan 11 to see if they can still hold up for basketball in 2022.


Traction is essential for good basketball shoes to prevent slipping on the court. The outsole of the Air Jordan 11 features a translucent rubber with a herringbone traction pattern. This provides excellent grip on clean courts. However, the soft rubber can pick up dust easily which reduces traction. Wiping the outsoles frequently is needed to maintain traction on dusty courts in the Jordan 11s.

Shoe Outsole Rubber Traction Pattern Traction Rating
Air Jordan 11 Translucent rubber Herringbone 8/10
Nike Zoom Freak 1 Solid rubber Multi-directional 9/10

As you can see from the table, the Jordan 11’s traction is good but not on the level of top current basketball shoes like the Nike Zoom Freak 1 that use solid rubber outsoles.


Cushioning is important for comfort and impact protection when playing basketball. The Jordan 11 has a full-length encapsulated Air Sole unit. This provides lightweight cushioning and responsiveness. However, the implementation of the Zoom Air in the 11s is quite thin at only 10mm thick. By modern standards, this is not a lot of cushioning. Thicker and more advanced setups like Zoom Air units stacked heel and forefoot can be found in many contemporary basketball sneakers.

Shoe Cushioning Cushioning Thickness
Air Jordan 11 Full-length Air Sole 10mm
Nike LeBron 18 Max Zoom Air heel, Zoom Air forefoot 20mm heel, 14mm forefoot

The thin cushioning of the Jordan 11s leaves something to be desired compared to basketball shoes designed with more ample cushioning set ups.


The Air Jordan 11 uses high quality materials including patent leather on the mudguard. However, patent leather lacks durability and is prone to cracking over time. This can especially happen if the shoes are worn outdoors on abrasive courts. The mesh upper materials are comfortable but do not offer a very supportive fit.

By comparison, many modern basketball sneakers now use strong woven synthetic uppers or knit textiles. These contain fibers and systems to lockdown the foot over the midsole better. For example, the Jordan 36 uses a Lenoweave upper while shoes like the Puma Clyde All-Pro use PUMI Stripes on the uppers for better lockdown.


The Jordan 11 weighs about 16 oz in a men’s size 9. This is quite heavy by modern basketball shoe standards. New basketball shoes now aim to be light and breathable while still providing cushioning and support. For example, the Adidas Trae Young 1 weighs only 12 oz while the Jordan 36 is around 14 oz.

The heavier weight of the Jordan 11 compared to new shoes can slow down movements and cause fatigue when playing for prolonged periods.

Shoe Weight
Air Jordan 11 16 oz
Jordan 36 14 oz
Adidas Trae Young 1 12 oz

Ankle Support

The cut of the Jordan 11 is relatively high so it provides decent ankle support and stability. However, the collar and tongue are lightly padded compared to shoes designed for maximum ankle lockdown like the Zoom Freak 1. If ankle support is a priority, other shoes do better in this category.


The Air Jordan 11 remains a classic and iconic basketball sneaker. However, by today’s performance standards, it is not the best option for demanding basketball play. The traction and cushioning are decent but dated compared to modern basketball shoes. The materials also prioritize style over functionality and lockdown. And the weight is quite heavy by current standards.

Casual play on clean indoor courts is fine in the Jordan 11s. But for any serious basketball, shoes with modern traction, cushioning, and support systems would be better choices. The Jordan 11’s legendary status comes more from its cultural significance and timeless style rather than its performance capabilities by today’s measures.

So in summary, the Air Jordan 11 is a legendary basketball shoe but not the best choice for optimal modern performance. It can work fine for casual hooping but more serious players would be better served by shoes with updated technology and materials built specially for basketball in 2022.