Jordan Brand’s onslaught this year has had quite the impact on the sneaker game. The choices are abundant, leaving sneakerheads to have to pick and choose between OG colorways and retro+ colorways (if no one is following me on the retro+ thing, it’s what new colorways were referred to on box labels for Jordans in the mid-2000s). Last week, we had the Snakeskin XI Low IE drop, and this week we have the 1996 sample All Black Referee colorway that never dropped from back in the day.
This colorway is something of a myth to me since it was only seen on NBA refs way back when and they never released until now. They come with that age-old feeling of wanting something you could never possibly have, since this shoe was something of a player exclusive—but only for a super-super exclusive club: THE NBA REFEREES. This XI Low IE is now one of my favorite Jordans for a few reasons; the most important being that there is no patent leather on them and that the two OG colorways had that elephant print on them.
The Referee Jordan XI Lows have that black cat effect: It has no textured leather on them besides that of the tumbled leather tongue. It’s a clean, simple, and straight to the point kind of colorway. ALL BLACK. The all murked out Nubuck and leather uppers lead into an all black midsole that sits atop a smokey clear sole. Hints of bright red adorns the black tumbled leather tongue, with carbon fiber arch support and the outsole. I’m a huge fan of all-black sneakers and this pair is up there with the best of them for me.
You can find the Jordan XI Low “Referee” at your local Jordan Brand retailer come this Saturday, September 26th.
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