The Air Jordan XV Retro Gets Deconstructed

W-O-W. Really, wow. Not really sure what was expected from a Retro of the most hated Jordan model ever (although a few of us here actually liked the design), but it sure wasn’t this.
Our friends at fastpass took apart the latest edition of the Jordan XV and to say it is disappointing is an understatement. As you look at the images below, you will notice something important is missing.

Now, I’m not saying this was a pinnacle of design and performance for Jordan Brand; matter of fact, the fit was sloppy, heel support was too stiff, and you could actually feel the forefoot Zoom unit moving under your foot in the midsole — yes, while you were playing, the Zoom would shift and turn under foot. Well, seems Jordan Brand solved that problem with the XV Retro. Who says they don’t listen?

In case you haven’t looked yet, or missed it: WHERE IS THE FOREFOOT ZOOM?!?!

Honestly, this may be the worst of the downgrading happening to Jordan Brand models lately. To take a model that is already almost universally reviled, knowing the only thing pushing the sales of the Retro is hype and the desire to have a complete collection, and modify it this way is inexcusable. To raise the price to $190 and remove the one redeeming feature of the original is a joke. To say you get what you pay for is definitely not the case here, as I paid less for more 18 years ago.

Check the images below and let us know if you grabbed a pair and what you think of them, especially now that you have see these pics. The good people at fastpass even did us a favor and compared the midsoles from the last Retro of the XV — very interesting indeed.

Images via



  1. After this I’m thinking the units on the AJ XIII Black Cat are actually just regular air sole units instead of zoom, just like de description of the product says in the Nike website. By the way, is cushlon, podulon, or just a softer phylon the zoom unit-shaped thing that they put in the forefoot? Nike/Jordan Brand are throwing all of our nostalgic hearts through the window.

  2. My pair is going back. I love the 15s, because not only am I one of few people that like the aesthetics, they’re (well, when done right) comfortable enough to my foot that I ground my last pair to dust playing outside. Blisters for days, but boy were they fun otherwise. I played in the 2017s yesterday and while they felt reasonably soft, my shins were on fire coming down from landings. Now we all know why. Nike, don’t claim to be remastering and “getting back as close as possible to the OG” when you have the gall to leave out a $1 cushion bag from a $190 shoe.

    1. 1$? not even. Its complete and utter bs. The entire model is super cheap to make, nike just cuts costs so hard because they know they have a nostalgia/hypebeast squadron willing to buy their shit. Adidas overprices some stuff too but at least you get what it says you get.

  3. Damn, I feel like I’m one of the few who actually liked the XVs. They were the first Jordans I ever owned and I played in them even after the forefoot zoom died and there was what felt like a hole in the forefoot. I was young and could play in pretty much anything. This sucks. I would have copped when they hit outlets but no thanks. Whats even worse is that they FILLED the hole where the zoom should have been. Why not just leave the zoom? They knew better. I guess they figured they would sit anyway.

  4. Just checked the description of this ones in the Nike Website and it says is heel AND forefoot Zoom Air, so again false advertising here from Nike, that’s really bullshit, smh.

      1. If it truly did state heel AND forefoot zoom, it no longer does:

        -Nike Zoom Air heel unit for responsive cushioning
        -Rubber herringbone pods for multidirectional traction
        -Dynamic Fit inner sleeve for a sock-like fit
        -Midfoot shank for added support

  5. Whatever happened to “remastered” LOL. I swear Nike never ceases to amaze. Sad thing is they don’t have to do this. The high end sneaker market has proven the consumer will pay for good quality. Yet JB continues to charge us premium prices for sub par quality.

  6. It’s like the only way you can get OG tech from Nike is if you get full length visible Air Max, if not, you seem to be rolling the dice with them. Shame!!

  7. They think they can just sweep this kind of thing under the rug, but it’s up to us, the informed consumer to tell others about it. It’s a company taking it’s rich history in technology and quality for granted to make a quick buck. The whole ‘remastered’ tag is now a marketing gimmick if you ask me. The Jumpman Pro, True Blue 3, and These should’ve been truly great in terms of quality to pay respect to the people that bought and loved the product when it first came out.


    The last time, and there were many, but the very last time I was banned from NikeTalk, I was arguing the merits of the remastering program, of which I was called a liar and hater of Nike, and therefore should not be on a site that is dedicated to the brand. This was when the supposed REMASTERING program had just been announced and that Nike was raising the prices on Jordan’s, just so they could give you what you want, as close in quality to the OG’s as possible.

    WELP! HAAAAAAAAHAAAAAAAA! lololololololol This proves the lack of integrity at NIKE.INC, and also the shenanigans as to how deeply involved, deeply ingrained Nike is over on NikeTalk. I wonder what Nike thinks of FASTPASS, and if they are going to try and stop them from exposing their shit. This HAS to hurt sales of their shoes!

    1. They can help sales by not gutting the damn shoes. Seriously, how much does it save Nike over a production run to not put Zoom in there!? It can’t be enough to make up the lack of sales on an already divisive shoe, made useless by lacking it’s best feature.

    2. It probably doesn’t hurt sales because Nike is living on their name and old rep. One of these Chinese upstart shoe companies couldn’t afford to flake on their products and get away with it. Nike could retro the Concords right now, replace the air unit(s) with concrete, and still sell out on the first day. Sad, but that’s pretty much their business model right now when it comes to retros and signature shoes.

  9. The last couple of years I’ve spent several hundreds on retros (Pennys, Uptempos, Pippens, etc), and this is exactly what pisses me off: the LACK of tech/comfort. I’m done with retros.

  10. Good thing Nike doesn’t make cars. Imagine them selling you a classic muscle car, then you pop the hood to see a 4-cylinder Corolla engine.

  11. This is pathetic… I would return mine to footlocker, but they don’t take returns once you’ve worn the shoe. That being said, I am going to call nike and see if I can get anything out of it. I paid full retail thinking I was getting forefoot and heel zoom being that’s what the official item description in the SNKRS app says is in the shoe….. Absolutely PATHETIC!

  12. Just boycott these retros. Vote with your dollars. They obviously think collectors are suckers. Prove them wrong.

    I’ve said it before, but I never bought a retro, and I probably never will. Even if the quality was on point, they’re still way overpriced. Its just a bad deal either way.

  13. Damn no wonder I could not feel the forefoot zoom. Like the very few I am one who never got the xv’s before because the design looked horrible at that time but now I think the design was way ahead of its time. Looks cool in black skinny jeans still. I wish the Jordan brand would keep things true to the original

  14. I wore these bad boys for my entire freshman season in Junior High and I swear, these were awesome performers on court. The looks were something I liked too, since I didn’t like the other flashy shoes that were out during that time, either. Disappointed is an understatement and sad to say, I am not surprised to see Nike butchering classics for money. I don’t mind making retros all the time but at least, AT THE VERY LEAST, make them AS THEY WERE. Time to move on from Nike, everyone. Nostalgia is not THAT worth it, anyway.

  15. Im a 39 yo who still plays rec ball twice a week and I wish Nike would put the performance tech back into their retros..

    Is Weartesters able to get a Nike rep to explain why the retros are a stripped back version of the original?

  16. Well looks like another sneaker i won’t touch until it is discounted at a reasonable price of $90 before i pick it up.

  17. “Well, those self lacing tech are pretty expensive, you know…”
    “and we have other shoes that feature the same heel-only tech …”
    “but retros sell…”
    “and we have to compete with Boost with what we have…”

    F*CK NO, Nike.

    At one point I was thinking maybe the pair that fastpass was cutting up was unauthorized or a fake pair (You know, a route Nike could take to disprove info such as this) but I don’t see what fastpass would be gaining by doing that. And given that Nike has butchered past pairs. Absolutely unacceptable.

    1. in fairness to UAs. the craftsmanship is sometimes better and they do have real zoom units. I only pay less than a $100 for nostalgia. scalper resellers can go hang themselves with the shoe’s laces.

  18. I know these had the OG moniker but we’re they truly advertised as remastered? I say that because stuff like the TB3 was OG but came with inconsistent quality. And sorry that prices of past pairs escape my head but I thought Nike’s remaster pairs were only in the $220 price range – it’s stupid but if we had to reach in order to make sense of this…

    Either way, it’s like they went out of their way to fudge this. Really? A forefoot zoom bag was just too much to keep in there?

  19. I see a lot of people missing the point that these were marketed as featuring heel and forefoot zoom. This is false advertising and scamming, no difference from stealing. They should be sued for this.

  20. Guys if youre looking for retros just travel to southeast asia. You’ll have tons of fun and fake jordans sell for like 10 bucks a pair. Now we know what nike is up to…theres no difference between their products and the fakes lol.

  21. @DUKE4005

    Nike changed the product description!:

    The Air Jordan 15 Retro Men’s Shoe celebrates the original with a woven leather upper and plush cushioning for elevated comfort.

    Leather and woven upper for premium comfort
    Nike Zoom Air heel unit for responsive cushioning**
    Rubber herringbone pods for multidirectional traction
    Dynamic Fit inner sleeve for a sock-like fit
    Midfoot shank for added support

      1. This is a great thing that the right person made noise at the right time.

        I’m keeping my pair since I only walk around in them. That company should do break downs of EVERY (or at least one colorway) upcoming Jordan Retro release and someone from Weartesters can post the results on IG. A lot of people will save money because of these actions.

  22. Why is there still a cut out for the zoom, but they just put a foam puck in it? These people can’t be trusted.

    1. To me, that was the most insulting part. They actually molded the midsole for zoom, then said “screw it, we don’t need it, they’ll never know”.

  23. disappointing, nike and JB have been releasing sub par sh*t, consumers will still purchase these coz of their brand loyalty, money wasted, not looking good for the retro line releasing this year


  24. Seriously, why would they do it? How much money would that save them? It’s a total joke. I won’t touch another Jordan retro, ever.

    1. I was probably a little harsh here. I will mostly likely touch/get another Jordan Retro (as long as it’s done right).

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