words // Nick DePaula
images // Steve Mullholand
Being that it's technically still 11/11/11 for another few minutes on the east coast, and because there might not be another chance any time soon to celebrate today's oddity of a date, we figured it'd be a good time to hunt for a few Air Jordan samples that didn't quite make it past the sample stage.
Heading to former Jordan Footwear Business Director Gentry Humphrey's sneaker closet for the search sounded like a pretty safe bet.
First included in our Issue 22 feature "G Money's Closet Of Dreams" (an admittedly hot title, of course), we got a look at several never-before-seen samples of the iconic model as Humphrey allowed us into his custom built hardwood sneaker closet. To this day, it's still the most impressive setup I've seen. There were worn pairs of size 9 samples in endless unreleased colorways neatly tucked away on shelves down one hall, and a massive walk-in room filled with even more promo tagged boxes.
Enjoy an exclusive look at a few of the samples we saw that day ahead. Whether it was the white leather upper and navy patent mid with "J-O-R-D-A-N" down the eyelets or a ridiculously clean obsidian mesh upper, white patent and smoked outsole version that gave the shoe an entirely new look, the brand was definitely exploring several options for the 2001 retro launch. And yes, that's G holding an original "45" XI sample in Bulls colors, with a carved out midsole that the brand ultimately opted against.