New Air Jordan 2011 hops into China on Tuesday to commemorate 'The Year of the Rabbit'
The Air Jordan 2011 doesn't officially launch in the U.S. for almost three weeks, but a limited number with gold and red accent colors and special packaging will be available Tuesday -- and only in China.
The Lunar New Year officially begins Feb. 3, and the special kicks are a celebration of "The Year of the Rabbit" in the Chinese zodiac (Michael Jordan was born in 1963 -- another Rabbit year). The gray, red and gold colorway is meant to symbolize good luck and happiness -- which it certainly will for anyone who scores a pair. (If you don't happen to be in the People's Republic of China on Tuesday, your next chance will be Feb. 20. The same day the NBA All-Star game takes place at Staples Center, a handful of L.A. retailers are expected to to have them in stock.)
If you're just interested in checking out the Air Jordan 2011 -- and don't particularly care about the special colors or the box with the Chinese characters on it -- the 26th iteration of the iconic basketball shoe in white, black and gray hits retail nationwide on Feb. 19 and is expected to retail for $170.
According to the Nike folks, there are a couple of things that set this version apart: it's the first design to incorporate the use of hand-burnished leather, and it's the first to offer interchangeable midsoles -- a blue pair designed to maximize speed, and a red pair to help with "explosive power" (their words, not mine).
We're not sure what would happen if an athlete actually took to the court with a mixed pair of midsoles, but given the state of the Chinese zodiac, any gait that resembled a bunny hop would be wholly appropriate, no?
-- Adam Tschorn
Photos: The white, black and gray Air Jordan 2011 (left, $170) hits retail nationwide on Feb. 19. The special "Year of the Rabbit" version (right) goes on sale in China on Tuesday, and then at select L.A. retailers on Feb. 20 ($180). Credit: Nike, Inc.