Pioneering a court fit in 95, the Air Jordan 11 silhouette has always been a credible and unique sighted silhouette within the Jordan lineage.The sleek and memorable shoes that owns its stand-out style is under the creative visionary of iconic Nike designer Tinker Hatfield. Whether it is gracing the basketball courts, paired with a tracksuit ensemble, or even its unconventional wearings with a suit, the Jordan 11’s are legendary in subverting its own burrowing style making it a quintessential for style inspiration.
A synonymous Michael Jordan favourite, the Jordan 11 holds undeniable history. Returning after a short-lived departure from the Chicago Bulls franchise, Michael Jordan’s courtly appearance in 1995 saw the first benign sightings of the distinctive ‘11’s in a full-fledged, primal “concord” colourings of white and black.
This year marks 20 years following the debut of the ‘Cool’ Grey colourway and since then, the OG ‘Cool Grey’ iteration has become an unrivalled favourite. The newest rendition to the Jordan roster, is the Nike Air Jordan 11 ‘Cool Grey’. On offer, a distinctive patent leather overlays upper in a darker tone, infused with a nubuck leather that indulges a soft ‘Cool’ grey tone, whilst the signature Jumpman logo is meticulously embroidered on the collar. The court to street fit further rocks a thick lace closure for added durability, rounded off with an translucent icy blue insole for added cushioning and support.
Sporting it’s voluntary influence in everyday life, Footpatrol have teamed up with Hoops B4 Work in a campaign showcasing the upcoming launch of the ‘Cool Grey’ Air Jordan 11 collection and it’s unrivalled influence that shoes has on physical activity.
Hoops B4 Work is a community of basketball enthusiasts that aim to re-engage individuals who have a passion for the game as well as developing healthy long life habits to be active, increasing their mental well-being. The Clapham-based basketball community provides access to their basketball through their unique coaching sessions that deliver between 6.30-7.45am as a gym alternative, uplifting your mood and preparing you for the work day. The bespoke classes are tailored to fit your needs and lifestyle, supporting players of all levels.
At Footpatrol we had the pleasure of featuring co-founder of sneaker sisterhood and b-ball fanatic Giulia Zed and coach Ruth in a captivating photoshoot concept. We catch up with them to discuss the trainer’s sporting influence.
Footpatrol: We ask everybody that we interview a starting question of how are you?
Giulia: I am good thanks, how are you?
FP: I am good thank you. I would say introduce yourself but I would say can you do that a little bit but you are already an recognisable figure in this scene, people know who you are. If anything could you give us a brief overview for anyone who may not be aware and also where your love for basketball and Jordan’s started.
Giulia: I am Giulia, I am one of the co-founders of sneaker sisterhood and I am a basketball player. I am originally from Italy, that’s why my accent is a little funny. I started playing basketball when I was really little. My dad played pro-back at home and he kind of shared that love with me. I started playing when I was around 12 years old and never really got off the basketball court since. I really fell in love with it due to mainly the community that surrounded me. I would always play individual sports like swimming and tennis, so in an environment with a team sport was really just something that changed my life. I made friends for life, it was an amazing community, people that I saw six times a week, sometimes twice a day, it really gave me a home and a sense of belonging.
FP: Could you touch on a little bit on how your love for the Jordan brand kicked off?
Giulia: Yeah, growing up in Italy again, all I would see of the Jordan brand was quite far removed. I had a family that lived out in the states and one of my older cousins, actually fourteen years older , would always send shoes back home or whenever he visited from Miami he would be wearing Jordan stuff. Obviously, I would then see clips of Michael Jordan, of the Bulls and so on, I really started to get into that more American side of basketball. It wasn’t until later on that I was able to start forcing my parents to buy those shoes, obviously I was a little kid and I couldn’t afford them but the impact that it had on me and my love for basketball was quite evident. My parents gave in and started picking up pieces here and there when I could find my size and it continued from there.
FP: Let’s touch a bit on basketball itself and the culture that surrounds it. How do you think this has affected London as a city since you have been here?
Giulia: I have been in London on and off for a total of about 10 years now. I’ve seen the scene change a lot in that time. Basketball has become a lot more prevalent, there’s been a lot more investment in the sport , even though not as much as we need just yet. But for me, basketball is what has always given me access to friendships in London, it is how I met most of my close friends, going to my local court in Clapham and being able to meet people through the sport. Like every city, I think, but in London it just feels really special because it is a smaller community and it may be continental in Europe or in the States but it is a really tightly knit community and it is really fantastic to see. Anytime I go to any tournament or any court there is always someone I know, it is just family really.
FP: Could you tell us a bit about your involvement in Hoops B4 Work and how you found out about it?
Giulia: Hoops B4 Work saved me, especially during Covid. It was around 2 years ago, my friend Darnell who used to work at the NBA and I knew her through work was like you need to come to these morning sessions. We play outside, we are allowed even with pandemic rules, we are even allowed to play outdoors, just come it’s early in the morning but it will really help you get back into fitness. I reluctantly started heading out at 6.30 in the morning in the outdoor courts in Clapham in the freezing cold and I met coach Ruth and just her energy and vibe and everything that she does just made me fall in love with the Hoops B4 Work community. I am not a morning person but I was going 4 days a week to the Hoops B4 Work sessions, the scrimmages, everything. Generally it saved me during Covid because for my mental health basketball is really important and during lockdown, not being able to play indoors was really affecting me, so finding a space where I could be around my people again was incredible.
FP: Just to build off what you were saying on the mental side of things and also the physical side of everything. Could you explain in more depth how you think it affected yourself and the individuals that you get to be with all the time in train sessions?
Giulia: First of all, what I find amazing about Hoops B4 Work is that it is open to everyone. We do so much on individual practice as well, on top of the scrimmages and the team play where anybody can join which is amazing. You’ll have 18 year olds that come and play, you have 45 year olds that come and play, you have people that maybe just joined basketball a couple years ago and you have veterans of the sport. I think it is incredible to see the impact that it has on so many people and how it makes new people fall in love with the sport as well. But mentally, for me, basketball is really my safe space. Hoops B4 Work- I really think it is because of Coach Ruth, I am a big fan of hers, but her energy is so infectious and she just brings so much good energy. Sometimes I get a little frustrated with myself from the way I play and she is always so positive, like this voice in the back of my head that is super positive. Both physically and mentally that really helps me to keep a positive mindset. I really see that with everyone else in Hoops B4 Work as well, she is just able to have this impact on everyone, it doesn’t matter age, gender and so on, she is really a great, positive presence in this space.
FP: I want to talk about your huge involvement besides training, a competitive edge to what you do, playing for the London All-Stars, how has that been going and how did your involvement in that start?
Giulia: First off we are undefeated and we are absolutely smashing the league. It is actually a new team that Coach Ruth and Coach Lisa registered for the first time to really push and elevate women’s basketball in the UK. They wanted to put together a really strong team that could show everything that we can do but also what we can do with female coaches and a whole female effort behind the scenes. Which I am fully supportive of and I think it is incredible. I got involved, thanks to Coach Ruth and it has been amazing to be a part of this new team. The girls are incredible, so much talent, a lot of homegrown talent, plenty of amazing British girls but also exciting to see a lot of foreign talent coming in. We got Spanish girls, Italian girls and French girls- a really unique community.
FP: To sign it all off, is there anything you would like to share to the Footpatrol friends and family, that could be anything from getting people gassed about something, a message of positivity, whatever you like.
Giulia: I would say just remember how important keeping active is, as part of your lifestyle it is good for your mental health, it is good for your fitness. The endorphins it releases is really good, times have been tough, we have to stick together. Find your community, find people that make you feel good and stick around them.
FP: Let’s talk about your basketball and Jordan relationship
Giulia: Yeah, so Jordan’s have always been a part of my basketball journey,I’ve gone through quite a few of the silhouettes growing up. I am currently playing the Jordan 36’s which are epic, the 11’s as we were saying before was one of the silhouettes that have the technology for me to play and I love them. It was one of my first entries into the Jordan brand with the Space Jam’s in 2009, I’ve gone through the ‘Concords’ and yeah this colourway I have never owned the ‘Cool Greys’ , these are absolutely incredible and the materials are really insane. The tongue is so nice , I think these will definitely be a part of my lifestyle/ potential crossover to the court collection.
FP: Can we talk about how the Jordans have been synonymous with the game and the lifestyle, and how it has always been an icon and it’s historically rooted to the game.
Giulia: I think as far as I remember, Jordan brand has been literally basketball, I don’t think you can split the two. When you think about basketball you think about Jordan, you think about Jordan brand, you think about everything that the brand has achieved in the sports in terms of technology, materials for a performance side but also from a lifestyle side. If you weren’t wearing Jordans are you a part of that community? Do you know about basketball? Because they are absolutely iconic and at the core of the basketball community itself.
FP: Just to extend on that question and answer, as your part of Hoops B4 Work as well as the Sneaker Sisterhood, how does the Jordan brand relate to what you’re doing and what you’re a part of from both Hoops B4 Work and Sneaker Sisterhood?
Giulia: Yeah, I guess everybody that I play basketball with has played in Jordans , wears Jordans and is a true fan of Michael Jordan, the connection is obvious. In terms of Sneaker Sisterhood I’ve actually met a lot of girls through the sisterhood that actually play basketball so that connection is always there and we are all really excited now that the Jordan brand has signed so many WNBA players to the brand. I wear the Jordan 36’s that Satou Sabally did the launch with and it is good to see Kia Nurse get a colourway as well , it is exciting for the brand to work with so many female athletes. In terms of Hoops B4 Work, because so many of the people from Hoops B4 Work are born and bred Brits and the Jordan brand is actually such a big part of British culture and streetwear culture. It is actually amazing to see how it has transferred from everything they wear on court to wear outdoors to lifestyle. Whenever I see all my friends and we’re all going out they will always have 11’s on foot, 4’s on foot, 3’s on foot, it is an obvious collection.