Traction – Surprised would be an understatement. These early Air Jordan’s have some of the best traction when there is literally no true pattern involved… it’s mind boggling. To be perfectly honest… the actual Air Jordan VIII offers better overall traction than the herringbone laced Air Jordan 8.0.
Cushion – The cushion wasn’t as bad as I thought it would have been. It’s definitely not the best shoe in terms of cushion but for what it is it’s adequate. If cushion is your main focus and you wish to have the Retro styling then this is where to Air Jordan 8.0 shines… the Phylon that replaced the Polyurethane makes a huge difference while the Air Units used are directly under foot instead of the original placement – inside the PU midsole.
Material – I don’t have a pair of the Countdown Pack Air Jordan VIII’s but this version has great leather… almost identical to what was used on the leather based AJ8.0’s. Break-in time is nearly nonexistent and if you were to choose a nubuck pair it shouldn’t hurt the overall performance due to the cross straps.
Fit – A true to size fit is features and when fully laced (to the top) they are snug and secure. Having the inner boot gives you a very plush feeling around your foot for a comfortable fit from heel to toe. Lockdown the cross straps and you have one of the best fitting sneakers that happen to not restrict your ankle one bit.
Ventilation – This part is pretty self-explanatory… ventilation sucks. The Air Jordan VI still has the best ventilation and air flow so far in the Air Jordan series.
Support – The overall fit provides all the support you need. With the exceptional lockdown fit, you are stable and secure the entire time on-court. Located at the heel are the paint graphics which offer minor medial and lateral support but not quite as good as the updated TPU versions found in the AJ8.0.
Overall – When I first laced these up I wasn’t too excited… after roughly five minutes of playing them they quickly became my favorite Air Jordan from a performance perspective out of those that have been tested thus far… I predict that these will be the best performing Air Jordan between the early 1-9 models… followed closely by the AJ7.
Bottom line… if you want to play in a Retro you can. Anyone that says anything otherwise probably can’t ball.