This model was designed by Tinker Hatfield. When the shoe launched, Michael Jordan (retired from basketball by then) was trying in minor baseball leagues. Hatfield designed the sneaker waiting for Jordan to comeback and hoping he would play in them.
The cordura nylon top of the sneaker was meant to give the Air Jordan XI lighter and more durable than the past sneakers. Further changes came with the use of a carbon fiber plates in the clear outsole, giving the shoe better torque when turning on the court. The favorite piece of the shoe that was known ever so famously of the shoe was its shiny leather mid and toebox. Patent leather was lightweight, when compared to genuine leather, and also tended not to stretch as much - a property to help keep the foot within the bounds of the shoebed during direction changes on the court. The shiny leather gave the XI a "formal" look - a fact when this shoe released, people would use them with their business suits instead of dress shoes.
The sneakers were only samples in 1996 when Jordan decided to come back in the NBA. Hatfield and Nike discouraged Michael Jordan playing in them, but when produced he wore them. Also to note, Jordan was also in violation of the league dress code by wearing the shoes, as his teammates wore all black sneakers. He was then fined $5,000 for not respecting the Bulls colorway policy. After the fining, Nike made him a pair of the shoes in a black/white/concord colorway for the series against Orlando. Jordan also wore this colorway in the movie Space Jam. A similar black/white/royal blue colorway was released to the public at the end of 2000. The colorway was changed for the public release because the concord purple had looked like royal blue on TV.
Jordan wore the Air Jordan XI model to help the Chicago Bulls claim the 1995-96 NBA Championship. The shoes received more media exposure when Michael Jordan wore the Air Jordan XI model in the 1996 animated movie "Space Jam". These shoes were eventually released in 2000 and re-released in 2009 with the nickname "Space Jams". The concord purple was changed to royal blue for the released versions of the shoe.
The Air Jordan XI was originally released from 1995-1996. It was retroed in 2000, 2001, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.