Air Jordan 33 Performance Teaser

An Air Jordan 33 performance teaser? I haven’t done one of these segments since 2014.


The latest Jordan Brand game shoe, the Air Jordan 33, has been an interesting sneaker to play in thus far. Not in a bad way, but there is definitely room for user error. For those that follow me on Instagram, you’re likely aware that I had a major blister on my arch appear while testing the Air Jordan 33, and initially, I thought it was the shoe’s fault.

Internet “experts” immediately pointed to my arch or socks as the culprits, but it was neither of the two. It’s always funny when you see people weigh in on what’s going on with something when they aren’t the ones that experienced a single thing — but I digress.

When I received my pair of the Air Jordan 33 I was told that the forefoot was tightened up by the parachute cord and FastFit system while the rear of the shoe was tightened by the red strap — at least its red on my pair. Both of these things are true.

While playing this past weekend everything was feeling great. From the traction up to the fit, I was loving the shoe and then some pain started to become a factor. I’ve had this pain many times before, most recently with the Under Armour Curry 5, and knew what was about to happen. I tried loosening the rear strap because that was the area where I began to feel the chaffing against my arch and, to my surprise, it just got worse.

Initially, I assumed the chaffing occurred due to the internal tongue sleeve. There is exposed stitching and it runs into the arch under the insole within the shoe. Boom. Problem solved. Right? Not exactly.

Upon further inspection I discovered that the rear strap was actually tied directly to the forefoot’s FastFit system. More importantly, there are parachute cables attached to the medial side of it where it feeds into the interior of the shoe. Two cable strands make their way across my arch and into the footbed of the shoe where it then feeds into the visible system installed under the arch of the shoe.

Those two tiny little cables are the reason why I chaffed my arch so badly. I was loosening the wrong section of the shoe because I originally thought the two areas were not connected when they actually are.

Had I pulled the little eject cord to loosen the cords a bit my problem would have been solved and I wouldn’t have an awesome open wound on my foot. However, I was unaware and now we’re here.

While the fuse panel in the Curry 5 is located in an area that isn’t ideal and the only thing you can do to remedy the pain it will likely inflict is by going up 1/2 size, double socking, taping, or by wearing a brace, the issue with that shoe was design flaw within the interior of the sneaker. With the Air Jordan 33, I definitely think there could have been a better way to ensure those cables weren’t in that exact location, but I think educating the wearer is where we can really avoid any potential issues.

I like the forefoot of my shoes to be tight. With the Air Jordan 33 you can’t really adjust each section of the lace like you’re able to on any other shoe because it’s all one cohesive piece. Some may consider this to be a flaw — if that’s you then that’s cool. However, I now know that it’s all connected when I originally thought the forefoot and rear were two separate pieces, thus I can now adjust the “laces” that make up the FastFit system accordingly. Lesson learned, the hard way.

Again, I’m loving everything on the shoe so far. Cushion is solid. A bit stiff to start, like the Air Jordan 32, but solid overall. Traction is slightly better than the 32 — much like traction on the 32 was slightly better than what was used on the 31. Materials are comfortable, light, and breathable, and they haven’t shown any signs of wear just yet other than being a little dirty.

It was the FastFit system that I’ve been really trying to adjust to and now I know not to tighten the shoes up quite to the extent that I had. I also know now that when my foot swells during my time on-court I need to use the eject cord to quickly loosen the lace system so I can readjust it to my feet as needed.

I’m glad I figured out what I was experiencing in the Air Jordan 33 because I’m now able to enjoy the shoe once again and complete testing it for the full performance review. The shoe has definitely left its mark (on my body) like so many shoes before it (I’ve got scars from Curry 4, Curry 5, Soldier 10, LeBron 9, Kobe 7 System — the list goes on).

We’re approaching 10 years of testing and reviewing sneakers. That’s a really long time. And I’m still learning/experiencing new things. Yes, this job is awesome.

19 Comments

  1. G.O.A.T. sneaker performance tester. I know me as an consumer of basketball performance sneakers, I really appreciate the time and effort that you put into your craft. Thanks again Nightwing 👍🏽👍🏽

  2. Well that sucks. I had a feeling something happened with the 33’s. I’m surprised your feet aren’t just one giant callus at this point. lol.

    Agree with BOB. A pair of shoes shouldn’t be a chore to wear. Having to find that one sweet spot so they don’t injure you isn’t OK

      1. can’t wait for your review, I’m really not sure on these ones so what you say goes in my view. to me so far from everything in seeing they don’t seem worth it.

  3. that’s more of a problem. you may call it user-error, but shoes shouldn’t have that kind of a user warning. I would have loved the response and the cushion setup on these but that to me would still be considered a design flaw which needs to be resolved. I’ll probably wait til Jordan Brand figure this out and correct this potential injury causing parachute threads.

  4. Thank you Chris for the heads up about FastFit system. If it wasn’t for you guys doing the performance test, we wouldn’t know anything about this kind if issues you have encountered. That is why we look up to you guys who are doing these for us consumers who are planning to get this shoe. Hopefully Jordan Brand can do something about this problem.
    Still, we will be waiting for the full performance from you.

  5. If we have to be taught how to cinch this up without getting a wound in our feet, then I dunno about this, buddy.

  6. None of the cables or any of the fastfit systems cords should be exposed to the foot! That is something you expect in a sample shoe or unfinished prototype but not the retail version! I really want to try these so hopefully they are worth it, i double sock so well see if they work.

  7. That is definetely a design flaw in my book. Blame de product, not the user. Real good designs are almost user proof, with emphasis on the “almost” part.

  8. How about the KD 11 shoe. I played a game no more than 30 minutes before I felt pain in my Achilles area. The BACK of both ankles had sores frog the stitching rubbing against my skin while wearing ankle socks. Can’t wear them until it heals. Don’t know how I’ll play in them again, had them 2 weeks.

  9. I appreciate your very honest reviews nightwing, really. But I think it’s the Brand’s job to make sure the user will not get confused right?

    1. If that’s how you feel then that’s how you feel.

      I know that when I use something that’s new to me, even with instructions, I don’t always get it straight away. Trial and error is a real thing. I tried, found what didn’t work for me, and now I know what does.

      I think people have preconceived expectations for select things which create a very definitive bias — both positively or negatively.

      In all honesty, it doesn’t matter what I say. You, or the next person, already has their mind made up about this situation. The brand did what they could to prevent this from happening by adding padding and layers between the foot and the cords. It’s protected my left foot just fine. My right foot was tightened too much.

      It is what it is. Now consumers know not to over tighten and if they happen to and feel the pain I did then this is how to fix it.

  10. Sounds like a huge fail to me. A gimmick that can also cause a lot of pain. Is FastFit A LOT, and I mean A LOT better than normal laces? If not that’s a colossal failure in my opinion

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