Better Air Jordan 11: “Gamma” or “Cap and Gown”

Every year Jordan Brand either releases original or new colorways of the Air Jordan 11 typically during the holiday season.

Back in 2014, they introduced the Air Jordan 11 Gamma, which featured a Stealthy all-Black upper highlighted with Gamma Blue and Varsity Maize accents.The Jordan Brand serves up an all-new colorway of the iconic Air Jordan 11 for Holiday ’13. This retro features a black cordura and patent leather upper with Gamma Blue 11′s Jumpman Branding. Varsity Maize provides subtle detailing on the tongue and heel. A blue-tinted translucent outsole caps off the look below

For May 2018, Jordan Brand will be releasing a dressed-up Air Jordan 11 Cap and Gown that also comes in a full Black-based upper with premium detailing. It comes with a suede base, Metallic Jumpman logos and laces that resembles graduation cords.the Air Jordan 11 ‘Cap and Gown’ which will release on May 26th.

While both pairs strongly resemble one another, if you could only select one, which would it be?

Nike Kyrie 4 vs. Flytrap head-to-head performance review.

Affordable entries to Nike Basketball’s signature lines have a track record of not just being great values, but great sneakers, period. Devoid of frivolous gimmicks and not-quite-ready-for-basketball tech features, sneakers like the KD 2, Kyrie 1, and PG 1 put all of their resources where they mattered most: performance.

Those aforementioned examples utilized tried and true tech and combined it with “best practices” design elements to create sneakers that just worked. They may not have broken much ground, but they represented the full realization of past innovations.

Thanks to that history, last October’s announcement of an even more affordable addition to Kyrie Irving’s signature line was welcomed with open arms. It offered the potential to not only make the line more accessible to Irving’s fanbase, but offer another viable performance option for players who prefer no-frills models on court.

Based on my cushioning preferences and its unique fit system, the $80 Nike Kyrie Flytrap looks like an even more attractive sneaker than the $120 Nike Kyrie on paper. But how do those features translate to performance?.

Hover over the dots below for a head-to-head breakdown of the two models, and an analysis of which one does it better.

Nike Kyrie 4 vs. Nike Kyrie Flytrap – Fit

Advantage: Nike Kyrie 4
It may not be fancy, but the Kyrie 4’s half-bootie construction allows for a glove-like fit thanks to its sculpted shape and traditional eyestay construction. When fully tightened, the upper fully engages and hugs the foot, offering a reassuring fit that inspires confidence through cuts. Unfortunately, my first time lacing the shoe up resulted in a ripped eyelet. To the shoe’s credit though, the reinforced backing prevented the rip from tearing completely though, and it caused no further issues.

The concept behind the Flytrap’s closure system is a solid one, but the execution falls flat thanks to a sloppy overall shape and sub-par materials. I typically only play in a single pair of socks, but had to double up in order to fill some of the excess space that couldn’t be tightened out of the shoe when fully laced. Going down a half size may help alleviate some of the extra room, but it is more of a volume issue than length.

Nike Kyrie 4 vs. Nike Kyrie Flytrap – Ankle Support

Advantage: Nike Kyrie 4
The Kyrie 4 and Flytrap have different cuts, but both rely on the collar padding to provide heel lockdown. In theory, they should match up well based on utilizing the same philosophy on ankle support, but the corners cut on materials in the Flytrap give a clear advantage to the more expensive Kyrie 4. The padding, while shaped properly, is just not dense enough to actually engage and fully stabilize the heel. The Flytrap’s ankle support isn’t necessarily bad, just not as comfortable or confidence-inspiring as the 4.

Nike Kyrie 4 vs. Nike Kyrie Flytrap – Cushioning

Advantage: Nike Kyrie 4
My favorite cushioning configuration from Nike is Zoom Air in the forefoot and and foam in the heel because I find it provides a perfect combination of responsiveness and impact protection where each is most needed. That should have boded well for the Flytrap, but not all Zoom Air is created equal. The bag found here is comically small—roughly the size and shape of a quarter—and about as effective. It’s placed directly under the ball of the big toe, which is fine, but it’s so low volume that it offers nothing in terms of response. Even the shoe’s insole is of the cheapest persuasion possible; there’s not as much as a Nike logo screen printed on the wafer-thin unit.

Meanwhile, the Kyrie 4 improved greatly in the comfort department over the nike Kyrie 3, despite using the same configuration of heel Zoom and forefoot foam. I found the 3’s ride to be downright harsh, but the addition of a Cushlon midsole turned the cushioning into one of the high points of the 4. It’s not as protective as a shoe like the LeBron 15 with its massive Zoom Max hybrid units, but for players who want more court feel, it’s an excellent compromise.

Nike Kyrie 4 vs. Nike Kyrie Flytrap – Traction

Advantage: Nike Kyrie 4
Traction is the one area where the Kyrie 4 and Flytrap share the most similarities, and it’s a positive point for both shoes. But despite using a very similar traction pattern, the Kyrie 4 edges out the Flytrap thanks to its level of refinement. The large zig-zag groove that runs up the middle of the sole enhances its radiused shape and offers a sticky surface regardless of the angle from which it engages. It also has the additional benefit of creating a smoother transition. That same groove is implied on the Flytrap, but doesn’t offer the full benefits of the effectively decoupled design of the 4.

Nike Kyrie 4 vs. Nike Kyrie Flytrap – Conclusion
Image via Nike
Advantage: Nike Kyrie 4
The Nike Kyrie 4 tops the Flytrap in almost every measurable category, including value. “Affordable” doesn’t always equate with “good value”—sometimes, like in the case of the Kyrie Flytrap, it mostly means “cheap.”

It’s commendable for Nike to offer such a budget-conscious option for Irving’s fans, but it’s just not one I can recommend from a performance standpoint. There’s simply not enough support and protection other than for the smallest and lightest of players. Furthermore, excellent performers like the PG1 have been regularly available on sale for even less than the Flytrap’s $80 retail price, rendering it’s primary selling point moot.

But the Kyrie 4 doesn’t just win this head-to-head matchup because the Flytrap is so bad. The Flytrap feels so cheap that it doesn’t even feel like it was made by Nike—but the Kyrie 4 is good in its own right. While not spectacular at any one thing, it’s a well-rounded sneaker that does pretty much everything one could ask for in a performance model, at a price point that’s still relatively affordable in context of the signature sneaker world. And it feels downright premium in direct comparison.

Air Jordan 10 Comparison: Orignal 1995 Vs 2015 Remastered

Remastered or (re) diculously priced ?

I used to be a huge Air Jordan 10 Collector up until 2005/2006 when retro quality quickly went downhill.  Glue spots galore, cheap materials, and sudden increases in prices really turned me off  so I was intrigued by the entire “remastered” idea. Was this an admission by Jordan Brand that they were making pure shit for the past ten years ? In my eyes, yes but we all know quality was not JBs top priority. To make amends, JB has promised better quality with an uptick in price. Let’s see how they compare.

Original 1995 Orlando Magic Jordan X DS

2015 Jordan X “Double Nickle” DS

MATERIALS

Leather quality appears almost identical to the originals. It seems more manufactured than the OG, meaning the OG pair had smooth, non textured spots whereas the retro looks exactly the same all the way around the shoe.

 Above: retro, below OG

Materials get a thumbs up from me but the AJ X never got hit by the bad quality bug as bad as other retros such as the IV V and VI. I’ll see if I can find my other Air Jordan 14 Desert Sand from 2018.

STITCHING AND GLUE

Very happy to say my pair didn’t have any excess glue spots or poor stitching

Above: retro, notice how smooth the second (bottom) layer of leather is? Almost too smooth and fake looking  but that’s just me being nitpicky (compare to below)

below OG

MIDSOLE AND SOLE

Spot on again

TONGUE

OG 

Retro

The stamping on the retro jordans is actually more defined and clearer than the original.  The tongue’s material on the retro feels stiffer so maybe that’s why they were able to print it more clearly

BOXES

Nothing beats an OG box sorry lol

.

PRICING

The OG Aj X retailed for $125 20 years ago so taking inflation into account you get $192.

 

Although pricing is the same, Nike’s economy of scale has increased a lot so they are still making a lot more off these shoes than back in 1995.  In other words, Since they have grown so much in 20 years , production has increased , manufacturing is way more efficient and material prices have dropped since they buy so much more nowadays.

Overall though, as a big Aj collector, I can say that these remastered Aj Xs look and feel great, and are not over priced. If the rest of the remastered Jordans look like this I wouldn’t hesitate to buy them. Good job Jordan Brand !

Better Air Jordan 3: “True Blue” or “Seoul”

Jordan Brand is currently celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Air Jordan 3 in 2018. For the occasion, there has been a few OG and new colorways that have debuted.

One OG pair that didn’t arrive during its celebration is the “True Blue” colorway, which was last released back in 2016. The remastered version came with “Nike Air” logos on the heels.

Technically, the 2016 Nike Air Jordan 3 will be the second time we see them release, the first of course being in 1988. We saw the True Blue 3 retro for the first time in 2001 which came with the Jumpman branding. We once again saw this pair release in 2011 when the brand celebrated the 23rd anniversary of the shoes. They still came with Jumpman branding, but did have the original style box.

For 2016, the brand will return the True Blue Jordan 3 just like the originals. Featuring tumbled and smooth leather through the uppers, while Blue runs through the mudguard, Nike Air branding on the heel, eyelets and liner. The elephant print is expected to return just like in 1988, which will wrap the heel, toe box and hinted on the uppers. The last details are a White midsole and Grey outsole.

Released in very limited quantities and only available in South Korea, the “Seoul” Air Jordan 3 was one of the newer colorway that arrived in 2018. This special edition release celebrates two sports milestones that took place in 1988: the NBA Slam Dunk contest won by Michael Jordan after taking flight from the free throw line, and the Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea.

The Air Jordan 3 Seoul isThe Taegukgi (Korean flag) inspires the shoe’s overall color scheme, with the “taeguk” symbol expressed through the lining and collar’s blue and red and the white upper representing peace and purity (as it does on the flag). 서울 (Seoul) is featured on the left inner tongue, while the 1988 summer games motto 화합과 전진 (Harmony and Progress) is featured on the right inner tongue. The heel reads “Nike Air” in a clear nod to the original Air Jordan 3.

While majority of us weren’t able to get our hands on the “Seoul” Air Jordan 3, if you did have the option of picking one of these to buy for retail, which would it be?

Jordan Fly Lockdown Performance Review

Jordan Brand has had a killer season for performance, but a new silhouette has dropped with hardly any warning or hype. So how does the Jordan Fly Lockdown stack up against the rest of the lineup? Here we go…

Circles and herringbone, two patterns that Jordan Brand has proven to work in the past, are both featured on the sole of the Jordan Fly Lockdown. The forefoot has the large concentric circles for traction under the middle of the forefoot, and it works. However, breaking up the circles is a thick, wide-spaced herringbone pattern that leads to the medial side, where a player would toe off and need that extra bite. The circles come back in under the heel with the herringbone covering the midfoot.

The magic of this pattern is the spacing. Looking like the Death Star tunnels — with gaps and spaces placed throughout the sole — the treads are wide and deep and brush dirt away and out. I think I wiped twice during play for the entire length of this review. Not twice a game, or twice a night, but twice, period. It works.

One little detail: it doesn’t bite the floor in that loud, screeching stop like the Kobe 9 or Rose 7. It’s a smooth, quiet stop, but it is a serious stop.

Outdoors? This is a two-part answer; the tread pattern is deep and wide, so there is lots of rubber to burn through. However, you will burn through it because it is a softer rubber than Nike’s XDR soles. Honestly, if the court isn’t extremely rough, you should be good for a summer of play.
While Zoom Air and injected Phylon have been around before most of you were born, this setup would seem to be outdated. When done right, however, there are very few systems better for basketball. The Jordan Fly Lockdown is extremely close to getting it right, and if I was a lighter high-flyer these would have been perfect.

The forefoot Zoom feels bottom-loaded so the initial response isn’t felt, but when playing the forefoot feels low and quick with no impact problems at all. Coupled with the great forefoot traction the Fly Lockdown is one of the quickest-feeling shoes I have played in recently.

The midfoot and heel are just Phylon, but whatever Nike has decided to do with its normal budget foam lately, thank you! When Phylon first appeared it was a softer carrier (or in some budget cases, the whole midsole), and it felt great underfoot. Over the past couple of years, Phylon became stiff and unforgiving and basically sucked @$$. This season, the real Phylon has made a reappearance (along with Cushlon on the Kyrie 4) and the feel is outstanding.

My only complaint — and again, I weigh in at 200 lbs on a 5′ 10″ frame — is that the Phylon is too soft. I could feel the Phylon compress and rebound, which made the heel-to-toe transition seem a little slow. If you are a quicker guard/forward who is light on your feet, this won’t be an issue at all and the Jordan Fly Lockdown should feel great on-court.

First of all, some sites say that the Jordan Fly Lockdown features a “mixed-media upper of leather, synthetics, and textile.” Leather shouldn’t even be mentioned because it is only on the top of the tongue — not exactly a piece for performance. What we do get with the textile is a form-fitting upper that flexes in all the right ways but holds solid where it needs to.

The material is not exactly a woven like the Jordan 32’s Flyknit or even the Jordan 29, but more like the Jordan 15 — wide bands of fabric woven over and under so one strand will pull against the other, providing lateral stability when playing but allowing the toebox to flex freely while running. I know, it’s an evolution of the Jordan 19 lace cover concept. I never understood how an independent lace cover was supposed to provide containment, but the Jordan Fly Lockdown does. Fuse is found on the high-wear areas of the toebox, and the midfoot laces almost mimic the Jordan III look with rubber lace holes. Otherwise, all textile, all the time.

By using a full textile upper, the Jordan Fly Lockdown provides great — you guessed it — lockdown. When first stepping into the shoe you will notice the forefoot is cut narrow but it isn’t restrictive (thank you again textile upper).

The lacing system is both traditional and internal, but it’s straight-forward; it allows the shoe to be pulled easily around the foot. The heel has a thick area of padding just around the ankle area, and coupled with the padded tongue, it takes up any dead space in the area for complete…yeah, lockdown. There is seriously no movement inside the shoe when laced tight, although I did get a little lace pressure at the next-to-top lace hole where it switches from the runner eyelets back to one internal loop. No numbness, but you may have to loosen slightly to prevent irritation.

As for length and sizing, definitely stay true-to-size unless you are super-wide. I am a little wider but not enough to switch from a normal D, and the Jordan Fly Lockdown fit me perfectly. I had about a thumbs-width in the length of the toebox (which is normal for me), so if you want that serious 1:1 fit, you could go a half size down.

For a textile upper and a lower cut, the support isn’t bad. The base is wide and solid, with a forefoot outrigger and one of the strangest midsole formations you will see anywhere. While the outrigger is on the smaller side, it works perfectly to keep you from rolling over on hard slides and cuts.

The midfoot rollbar is where it is at though. We have seen companies try constructs like this before, but Jordan Brand has taken it to an aesthetic next level by incorporating a side-bumper into the overall upper design. While I never felt the tool being used when playing, the idea works (I am talking about the grey bridge running along the midfoot; when the shoe rolls over laterally it should stop the extreme rolls that lead to ankle injuries).

The heel design of the Jordan Fly Lockdown is also serious, with the midsole rising up and forming the heel counter and an extended heel clip. Your foot sits down around MJ’s waist so there is plenty of stiffness to hold you down and in. This also helps on lateral stability if you happen to land back on your heels and — especially for me, feeling the midsole was too soft in the heel — not roll over on bad landings.

The ankle area is, again, completely locked in with the lacing and internal padding. The cool heel loop, that looks like the one used on the Off-White x Converse , is just that — cool, but with no real purpose.

Jordan Brand was started with performance in mind — specifically, for the greatest basketball player who ever lived. The 2017-2018 season has been a complete return to that ethos. The Jordan Fly Lockdown is, for pricing purposes, a budget Jordan model that performs like a signature shoe (which, if rumors are true, is exactly what the shoe was in the first place).

If you need a quick, stable, low-riding foot rocket look no further than Jordan Fly Lockdown. If you need a solid cushioning base or a little more lateral containment in the forefoot, or if you are a bigger post player looking for ankle coverage, the Fly Lockdown may not be for you (but the Jordan Why Not Zer0.1 may be). This is the year Jordan Brand has offered great performance for every player, and the Jordan Fly Lockdown only strengthens the lineup. It’s a good year to be a Jumpman fan.

Why the Remastered “Chicago” Jordan 1 is a Must-Have

It would not be hyperbolic—or, you know, wrong—to say that the Air Jordan 1 Chicago was the shoe that changed everything. In fact, if anything, that’s not saying enough. It would be more fair to say that the Air Jordan 1 started everything. It didn’t make Michael Jordan—he did that by himself—but it was there at the start as he, the Chicago Bulls, and Nike became juggernauts. The Air Jordan 1 wasn’t the first basketball sneaker, not by a long shot, but it was the first basketball sneaker that transcended basketball while it was still new. Designed in Portland, Ore. and worn in Chicago, it became a nationwide phenomenon before conquering the world.Let’s get more specific: This is about the red/black/white Air Jordan 1—the one that wasn’t banned. The black and red pair had its Letterman moment, but the red/black/white pair was the version Michael Jordan wore most often, from November ’84 in his rookie year, to April of ’86, when no less than Larry Bird called him “God disguised as Michael Jordan.”

The Air Jordan III (and designer Tinker Hatfield) gets credit for changing the course of signature sneakers, essentially birthing the concept, but the original Air Jordan 1 Homage to Home laid down the blueprint. The name, picked from a list presented by agent David Falk at the initial meeting, came before Jordan even signed. So did the original ball-and-wings logo, sketched on a napkin by then-Nike Creative Director Peter Moore on his flight back to Portland. “On the flight home I noticed a youngster wearing a replica pair of pilot’s wings given to him by the airlines,” Moore remembers. “The design seemed to fit the idea of a guy who could fly.”

The sneaker itself was based on what little input Jordan gave. “[Jordan] expressed the idea of having ‘something different, something exciting, and low to the ground,’” Moore says. “Those were the directives. I decided color would be the way to create something different and exciting. The colors were dictated by the Bulls colors, which were red, black, and white. That meant that we could have three colors on a single shoe, which in 1985 was unheard of in basketball shoes.”

Jordan famously derided those as “the devil’s colors”—those of UNC rival NC State—but no matter. The palette was set, and in the five months between their November appearance and their April launch, Nike and Jordan tirelessly marketed the shoe—Nike through ads, Jordan through his play. He appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated in December 1984 (his shoes unfortunately cropped out) and started the 1985 All-Star game, playing 22 minutes. He wore the black and red version of his shoe in the dunk contest, but wore the black, red, and white in the game.

POST CONTINUES BELOW

By the time the April ’85 release rolled around, the Air Jordan hype had reached a crescendo never before seen around a sneaker release. In New York City, 54 of 75 posters put up in bus stations were stolen. Some of the first resellers in history flipped their $65 Air Jordans for $100 right out of the store. Demand was insane.

“I wanted them so bad, but I didn’t have the cash and my mom was not laying out that kind of money for sneakers that I was going to grow out of in a year,” says MC Serch. “I decided that the only way to get the kicks was to get a job at a sneaker spot, and I did. I went to work for Morton’s Army Navy in Far Rockaway and saved up my dough—and by the time I had enough for them, I no longer wanted them.”

“I AM SOMEWHAT SURPRISED BY THE STAYING POWER OF THE JORDAN 1. IT SEEMS EVERY NEW GENERATION OF KIDS HAS TO TRY IT, ALMOST AS IF THEY DISCOVERED IT.”
—PETER MOORE

The Air Jordan 1 was still available because, despite the initial sell-through, there was a second wave. How big was Air Jordan? Jordan products alone accounted for $100 million in sales in 1985 after the company sold just $65 million in all its product in 1984. Forget Nike and Jordan himself for the moment; Air Jordan represented a huge windfall for retailers as well. And once the initial shipments sold out, they wanted more. Lots more.

“Trying to cool the fever was the hardest thing,” says Moore. “Especially with a company that was in need of a home run at the time. In the end, we made too many shoes and so the unsold inventory was discounted.”

Flooding the market hurt the bottom line initially, but in the long run it may have been the best thing for the Air Jordan line. The first Air Jordan literally remained on shelves for years, eventually reaching markets it was never intended for. They were still available, dirt cheap, when skateboarders were looking for durable alternatives to canvas Vans—even as Vans was trying to branch out of skateboarding.

“When [Vans] stopped giving us shoes altogether, we started wearing other shoes,” says legendary skater Steve Caballero. “I rode Converse for a while, I rode Nike Air Jordans, Puma Prowlers. I even tried the first Airwalks when Airwalk started in ’87.” For some, the Bones Brigade (Caballero and his Powell-Peralta teammates) endorsement became as important to Air Jordan as Jordan’s own.

“I skated in my Jordans in Washington Square Park one sleepy afternoon ’cause I thought it would be ill and they matched my Hosoi Hammerhead graphics,” says legendary hip-hop A&R Dante Ross, then a 19-year-old living in NYC’s Lower East Side. “They were and are still the best kicks to skate in.”

The Air Jordan 1 wound up everywhere, and in those days before retro, the overproduced, virtually indestructible Air Jordan 1 never entirely went away. Like Serch, I didn’t get a pair of Air Jordan 1s when they first released for the same reasons. Unlike Serch, I still wanted them. Five years later, I finally got them, when, as a college freshman, I came across a pair in a Newark, Del. Goodwill. They were two sizes too big and a bit battered, but I bought them—and wore them—anyway. That was 25 years ago, and I still have them. In fact, they’re the pair photographed for this story.

Since 1985, the white/black/red Air Jordan 1 has returned several times, starting in 1994. It remains the most universally wearable Air Jordan, one that resonates with fans both new and old. “I am somewhat surprised by the staying power of the Jordan 1,” Moore says. “It seems every new generation of kids has to try it, almost as if they discovered it. When I look at the shoe today I don’t see old, especially in the upper—the cup sole is the thing that dates it—but the upper is almost timeless at this point.”

And what sets it apart now—despite legions of imitators, some of which were introduced while the original Air Jordan was still on shelves—is what set it apart then. “The whole idea of the shoes was to bring color into basketball,” Moore says, “and Jordan, as it turned out, was the most colorful performer in the game.”

Air Jordan 32 Low REVIEW: A Comprehensive Comparison to the Mid

I always want to test out and review as many shoes as I can since every single player likes different types of shoes. Some like lows, some prefer the mids or even the highs. Today, we got a low top version of the Air Jordan 32 to the test. This will be a quick review detailing all the differences from the Mid, which I already made a review on.

I’ll talk about the shoe’s tech specs, the fit, performance, the upper and decide if it’s worth the price. By then, you’ll be able to decide which version you like more. Let’s start the Air Jordan 32 Low review!

THE TECH

ZOOM AIR & FLIGHTSPEED

The same cushion setup is present – ZOOM AIR units in the heel and forefoot areas, along with the torsional FlightSpeed plate that smoothens out step transitions, provides stability and properly activates the ZOOM units for maximum energy return.

FLYKNIT

We also have the same Flyknit upper construction. If you read the Mid review, you know it – this is as close to 100% pure Flyknit as it gets. It’s awesome.

FIT

SAME THING PLUS ROOM FOR THE ANKLE

So the fit experience is overall very similar to the Mid simply because all the tech, materials and construction is identical. The only difference is the absence of the relatively high ankle collar.

The shoe fits great after a break-in period. It’s comfortable, soft on the inside, has proper lockdown and I experienced zero major issues (no dead space, slipping etc.). Go true to size whether you’re a narrow, regular or wide footer. The Flyknit will gladly mold to your foot shape in time.

The key difference from the Mid was how much more free my ankle was (duh). The shoe doesn’t really weigh less without the collar but it does feel that way just a tad bit. If you want more mobility and speed with the cost of no ankle protection, go with the Low.

PERFORMANCE

CUSHION

There’s no reason to talk about the cushion setup since it’s excatly the same. Balanced, versatile, more on the responsive side, some impact protection. These would be the ke phrases to describe the Jordan 32’s cushioning.

TRACTION

Once again, the same outsole = same traction. Fantastic grip but pretty sensitive to dust and not really durable enough for proper outdoor play. Not that you’d want to spend $160 for an outdoor beater.

SUPPORT

This is where I felt the biggest difference from the mid top.  I felt that the Mid was relatively restricting and bulky. That doesn’t take away the fact that the shoe does support you and lock you in nicely. If you prefer a bit more mobility and comfort though, I think the Low does that better.

You will lose the potential ankle protection and extra lockdown in the upper foot area but it’s not really a drastic loss. I’ve played in shoes that basically have useless ankle collars and while this may not be one of them – it’s not on the opposite side either.

UPPER

IDENTICAL – STILL PREMIUM

The same Flyknit at the front and synthetic leather at back combo is back and it’s still awesome. From the Air Jordan XXX1 to this one, this upper just works. Legit pure Flyknit at the front makes for one hell of an experience in terms of softness, comfort, mobility and lightness.

The back where the leather sits also does a nice job of locking in the heel, securing and supporting.

Overall, an excellent material combo that kills it performance-wise..

PRICE VS. QUALITY

THE SAME SHOE FOR CHEAPER

Comparing to the $185 Mid’s, this is fantastic deal for $160. Yeah, it’s still expensive these days but you pretty much get the same shoe with a 5% difference for $15 less.

You won’t lose much by taking the Low’s, so if you’re targetting the AJ 32, getting the low top option is definitely a good idea in my opinion

OVERALL

BEST FOR ANY MEDIUM-HEAVY PLAYER

The Air Jordan 32, mid or low, are great shoes that do what they’re supposed to do. They are comfortable, provide good traction, solid cushioning, confident support and a fantastic upper. The price is high comparing to recent budget models that are really good. But if you’re willing to pay for it, $160 AJ 32 Low is pretty damn worth it.

Okay, that’s it for the review! I hope you found it useful!

Jordan CP3 11 Performance Reviews

Chris Paul (with the help of James Harden) has lead the Houston Rockets to the Western Conference Finals. That means it’s about time to find out if Paul’s eleventh signature shoe, the CP3 11, is any good.

Nothing puts a level of expectation on an outsole quite like herringbone. Luckily, the outsole on the CP3 11 didn’t disappoint. Coverage is abundant and simple — two things that tend to make for good traction.

It isn’t quite as aggressive as something like the CP3.VI’s herringbone, a standard for Chris Paul’s signatures, but it works nearly as well (the CP3.VI had a bit more bite on the hardwood). The CP3 11 holds tight on a clean floor, as expected, and with only a slight delay on dustier settings. Even if the floor was really dusty, any slips would be caught with plenty of backup herringbone to spare.

One minor complaint would be that the pattern could’ve benefited from being a bit more spaced apart, as dust clumps catch quickly to the current compact design. However, a quick wipe and I was back on my way.

The rubber is soft but will grip outdoor courts, although there’s also plenty of surface space for the blacktop to burn through. If you choose to make this your primary outdoor performer then you should get some decent amount of playing time in them before needing to consider a replacement pair.

For cushioning in the CP3 11, heel and forefoot Zoom Air are laid directly into a semi-firm Phylon midsole.

The midsole itself is on the dense side, but it still has a bit of bounce to it. Couple that with the forefoot’s standard-sized Zoom unit (think Air Jordan 13) along with a moderately-sized Hex Zoom unit in the heel and you’ve got a pretty sweet ride.

It’s low enough to be considered a quicker ride, but thick enough to provide some cushion. It might not be as fast as some slightly lower-sitting models like the Why Not Zer0.1 or Kobe 1 Protro, but it’s faster than models featuring beefier cushion.

Due to the extra firmness and thickness (even though the thickness isn’t more than 1mm) in comparison to the two previous models I mentioned, I had a lot of foot fatigue during the first few nights. The feeling does go away the longer you wear the CP3 11 but it’s still something I needed to get used to. Maybe some flex grooves would’ve helped, but that’s just a guess.

Either way, the Jordan CP3 11 offers plenty of cushion and court feel for most guards. Larger wings and forwards that are nimble should find these to be very well suited for what they’d want/need in terms of cushion without sacrificing any support because the build isn’t lightweight or minimal.

That brings me to the materials. This colorway features synthetic leather on the heel and toe while the main body is comprised of a textile mesh. The mesh was awesome, as anticipated, but the synthetic leather was stiff and slow until broken in.

Having the forefoot be as stiff as it was likely added to the foot fatigue I was feeling from the midsole. Not all CP3 11 colorways feature the synthetic leather toe so if you can avoid it I would. Unless you like some stiffness in your shoe — yes, some players prefer a stiffer ride, and some feel it’s more supportive than the lighter knit and mesh models. I don’t mind having to break in an upper, but when I do, I prefer the end result to be a custom feeling build — which this type of synthetic leather just does not offer.

The CP3 11 fit true to size. However, the shoe can break in enough for those with a slightly wider foot, but those with really wide feet should try the shoe on. I still haven’t seen this model in a store but my local retailers aren’t the end all be all of inventory so it might be different where you’re located. If you can, try the CP3 11 on and see if it feels like something you’d enjoy running in.

The lockdown was solid. Dynamic lacing hasn’t been promoted as it used to be, but it’s in place on the CP3 11. When you lace them up you can feel each nylon thread cinch right around your midfoot as it grabs hold, without feeling like your foot is being choked. The heel sculpt was also comfortable and functional. No heel slip at all, and the shoes never felt like they were digging into my Achilles.

Support in the CP3 11 is adequate — nothing to write a novel over, but it’s simple and effective. An internal torsional shank is in place and works the way we have come to expect. It would have been nice had the shoe offered an external TPU shank; not for performance purposes, but I think that’d give the CP3 11 a slight pop with its otherwise plain aesthetic.

An internal heel counter is in place and works well with the overall fit. Meanwhile, the base is fairy flat which offers a ood level of stability. I’d love to have seen a wider design to the tooling to allow for an outrigger, but there was never an issue in lateral stability at the forefoot.

The base of the strap’s design doesn’t allow for much compression in that section so it could essentially take on the role of the outrigger without actually needing it there. Whether that was the intent is something I’m not sure about, but it makes sense in my mind.

The Jordan CP3 11 is definitely a step in the right direction when compared to the CP3.X (10) and CP3.IX (9). The cushion, comfort, and traction have all been upgraded. Although I’d prefer the Flyweave build of the CP3.X over what we received on this colorway of the CP3 11, I’d take traction and cushion over the materials any day of the week.

If you don’t mind some break-in time then the CP3 11 might be the shoe for you, depending on your needs. It’s very well-rounded so I don’t see many players not liking the shoe. The CP3 11 doesn’t quite make it into my “rotation” — which doesn’t really exist since I’m constantly testing new shoes — but that’s because I personally find the Kobe 1 Protro and Jordan Why Not Zer0.1 to be a bit better in both of the key areas I pointed out above (traction and cushion).

Finding yourself with a pair of Chris Paul’s signature shoes isn’t a bummer this year. If your feet end up in a pair, share your experience with us in the comments below.

Nike LeBron 15 Low Performance Review

For years, the LeBron signature line lowtop model has released and immediately been looked over as a performance let-down — and for the most part, they were. However, the LeBron 15 Low has arrived, and for once, it just may be better than the original. Let’s ride…

The LeBron 15 Low uses the same cleat-like turf-gripping pattern that worked great going forward and back on the LeBron 15, with one minor change: the pattern is turned about 30-degrees, and that makes all the difference between a serviceable pattern and a really good pattern.

The LeBron 15 Low has good grip running and stopping going forward, but there is now noticeable stopping power while playing laterally. While trying to stay in front of my man on defense (gets harder every game) I had no issues with any slipping out or pushing off to change direction unless the court had hairballs and dust bunnies all over it — which is not uncommon at the three 24-Hour Fitness courts I play at. It’s amazing that this change in performance wasn’t noticed when developing the regular LeBron 15 but thankfully Nike got it right on the Low.

As for outdoor use, it’s possible. The rubber is thick and is a little harder in durometer than most on the market, but it is still softer than most outdoor-specific shoes you may be used to. The points and peaks will probably wear off and lose all bite within a few wears, but overall, the LeBron 15 Low may work fine for a few months.

While the LeBron 15 relied on the serious bounce and response of articulated Max Zoom, the LeBron 15 Low uses a 180-degree heel Curry 5 unit and an oval forefoot Zoom Air unit. The first thing that I noticed was a lower ride, which, as a guard who relies on whatever lateral quickness is left in the tank, was a welcome sight.

The high top was definitely springier and had better impact protection overall, but the LeBron 15 Low is nothing to laugh at. The forefoot Zoom is responsive and quick, as well as a feature that seems like a problem at first: the curved outsole. The Zoom unit is set behind the curve, which means that as you land the impact and response come at you first, then the foot rolls into the next step smoothly and toe-off feels natural. Some of the oval Zoom setups can feel stiff and slappy, but not the LeBron 15 Low.

The heel Air Max could have easily been the same Max Zoom as the high, and honestly, it should have been. There were a couple of times, when planting for jumpers or stopping on drives to change direction, that the heel unit rolled over on me. Instability on heel landings is a common problem when cushioning is too soft.

In one instance, I had a one-on-three break (no one ran with me) so I planted on the right wing to square up for a 3-point jumper. As I planted the outside (right) foot to square, the Air unit rolled and I didn’t get a clean jump, missing the shot. If I was a purely forefoot player this wouldn’t be an issue, but I’m not, so it was.

The materials used on the LeBron 15 Low are the same as what’s used on the high — Battleknit across the upper with Flywire lacing and a stretch knit collar. The knit is soft in all the right spots (around the tongue area, the midfoot) and stronger and tighter in the high stress areas around the forefoot and heel. There is a liner in those areas as well, so the true knit feeling isn’t there, but for an athlete like LeBron (or any heavy-footed or bigger player) the backing is necessary.

The ankle and tongue tabs are still a nice synthetic leather (some colors may use real leather) and add a touch of luxury to a ball shoe. The Flywire does actually work and you can feel it pull the upper around the foot. Honestly, that’s about it — the shoe has a simple construction and a good look.

The fit on the high was debatable — I have a pair in both my true size 10.5 and a half down to a 10. The 10 is definitely more form-fitting, but the 10.5 doesn’t kill me with extra space either. On the LeBron 15 Low it’s the same; I went with my true 10.5 but felt like a 10 would work also. Again, the room in the 10.5 isn’t an issue when playing, but you feel more of the knit-stretch and the hug of the shoe in the smaller size.

The LeBron 15 Low does a fantastic job with heel lockdown, something lows have had an issue with for years. The knit collar, internal counter, and heel padding allow no movement — especially when laced tight for playing. The Flywire pulls the foot back into the heel and the high heel tab, with thick padding, locks it down.

The lacing system is actually the same one used in the high top, which shows the high was really a LeBron 15 Low in disguise (we all knew that though, right?). As for wide footers, most should be fine. I am slightly-wide but not enough to size up in most shoes. The LeBron 15 Low allows a little stretch around the foot but if you are extremely wide you may need a half up or to try these on.

On the high top version lateral stability was a little…off. Most knew it was due to the high-riding midsole with an uncaged cushioning system (no stiffer foam surrounding the softer padding). The solution in most of the public’s eyes was to add an outrigger. Guess what? The LeBron 15 Low has an outrigger — and it is better.

More than the outrigger, though, the midsole foam provides a stiffer, lower ride, which naturally leads to a more controlled system. Don’t get me wrong — the outrigger helps, but the foam is the bigger plus. This would normally mean the cushioning is sacrificed, but as we covered above, the forefoot Zoom still provides responsive bounce and a smooth ride.

The heel area is hoop jordan and if any cushion can be considered unstable, this is it. To put Air Max on a knitted low makes the ride questionable to start. Fortunately, the heel lockdown is better than the previous LeBron lows that used the Max heel, so even though the unit is soft on the edges, the heel lockdown takes away most of the insecurity while playing.

Even so, there were times I would come off a screen and feel my foot roll over the Max unit — not to the point of injury, but enough that I either had to gather and then jump or I didn’t get fully squared around on my jump, missing the shot. Driving the lane was also fine going straight in, but if a hard plant laterally led into a jump, a roll could be felt — but not every time. It was frustrating because if it happened every time the LeBron 15 Low would be easy to throw in the closet. Most of the time, it’s great, so the shoe is fun to wear. Then, you feel it, and want to give up.

The LeBron 15 Low is such an improvement over the past years’ lowtop models that it really isn’t fair to compare them. The last five years have felt like the low was just to say there was one — and so you could have an LBJ logo on your summer shoe.

The LeBron 15 Low feels like a game shoe, an actual design for playing that is close to the normal shoe but just different enough to warrant a new release. The shoe feels more guard-oriented, with a lower ride and stiffer cushioning for a fast game — especially with the curved forefoot and the transition it provides. If you are a lighter player that never bought LeBron’s because of the boot-like fit and feel, here you go. Even for heavier players that didn’t like the higher midsole, the LeBron 15 Low is a find.

The first three models of the LeBron line had lows that were completely playable and looked promising for summers, but with the rise of the LeBron Soldier line the performance of the lows went by the wayside. With the LeBron 15 Low performance returns — and the summer may be a little hotter, at least on-foot.

Better Air Jordan 13 : “He Got Game” OR “Bred”

Two original releases of the Air Jordan 13, which are considered two of the fan favorites, are the “He Got Game” and “Bred” colorways.

Dressed in a White, Black and Red color scheme that received its nickname “He Got Game” thanks to its appearance in Spike Lee’s classic basketball film. It’s safe to say that no Air Jordan Collection is completed without this colorway.This Air Jordan 13 He Got Game will feature the original color scheme of White, Black and True Red. Utilizing White tumbled leather across the uppers while Black covers the toe box and suede detailing on the midsole. Completing the look is True Red which lands on the Jumpman logo and outsole.

The “Bred” version is one of the original Air Jordan 13 colorways that was worn by Michael Jordan in the 1998 Playoffs along with the other Black-based colorway dubbed, “Playoffs.”,The last time we saw the Black and Red Air Jordan 13 Bred released was in 2013, however many were disappointed as it didn’t feature the traditional 3M reflective detailing across the uppers. For 2017, Jordan Brand will correct their wrongs.

 It’s defiantly a hard choice to pick one or the other, but if you had to choose, which is the better Air Jordan 13? Cast your vote below and leave your reasoning on why in the comments section.

It also should be noted that Jordan Brand is bridging back the Air Jordan 13 He Got Game this August 2018.