36 years and still going strong. The Air Jordan 36 Performance Review is here.
Air Jordan 36
Colorway: White/Black/Metallic Gold
Release Date: August 16, 2021
Style Code: DJ4482-100
The Air Jordan 36 continues what the Air Jordan 34 reprised — herringbone. Tried and true herringbone traction. Outside of a radial pattern, there’s really nothing better.
With herringbone you receive simple, yet effective, multi-directional tread. This usually works well against a variety of court conditions and the same can be said for the Air Jordan 36. I was able to take the shoe out to three different indoor courts — a local 24 Hour Fitness, a privately owned and operated gym, and a pristine NBA-sized court. No matter where I played the traction was consistently good every time. I did take them outdoors as well with the same result — really good traction.
The only downside is for those that do not have indoor courts. It’s pattern and rubber are thin, although thicker than the Air Jordan 34 and Air Jordan 35. You’ll see wear on the outsole pretty quickly. However, you’ll receive some great traction while it lasts.
Something to keep in mind is the area where the additional Zoom Air cushioning system is in place. This is implemented like the “old” Unlocked Zoom Air setups that were found on the Air Jordan 28 through 33. The issue with this type of setup is that there is a pit in the midsole to allow the cushion to move more freely. This area of the rubber is weaker due to it not being glued to a midsole like it would be on traditional basketball shoes. That weaker area can sometimes result in the Zoom Air unit popping and deflating. The same could happen over time with this shoe. Nike will warranty the product, but it’s something to consider before dropping $185 plus tax and shipping.
Zoom Air is back, but this time around they’ve gone back to a full-length setup. Something we haven’t seen since the Air Jordan 31. However, this time around, the full-length Zoom unit is the strobel board, so it sits directly under the insole and closer to the foot. There is an additional, and more traditional, forefoot Zoom Air unit located in the forefoot. The setup is similar to the Nike KD 13 with the exception of the bottom loaded forefoot Zoom Air protruding from the outsole a bit. This is to make the Zoom Air feel even springier than it already does — acting like a piston under-foot.
The setup is very well cushioned while maintaining court feel, but there is a wobbly feeling underfoot due to the protrusion. You get used to it rather quickly. Personally, I prefer the previous unlocked Zoom Air setup from the Air Jordan 34 and 35. Those models offered a wide stable base along with massive Zoom units under the foot. You received great stable and responsive cushioning without the slight wobble.
This isn’t a deal breaker for me, but I do feel like this was a bit of a regression in terms of design. The Air Jordan 34 and 35 perfected the usage of Zoom Air. The Air Jordan 36 feels more in line with what Jordan Brand was doing a few years ago. If they would have used both Zoom Air units just like the KD 13, then I think these would have been even better than they already are.
The main material featured is a leno jacquard weave. Visually, it might be a bit jarring to some. The build is see-through, yet, it’s supposed to keep you supported during gameplay.
The leno jacquard weaving, despite how it looks, is deceptively strong. It looks like dental floss but has the strength of more traditional jacquard builds. Outside of basketball, this type of weave is used for produce bags (onions, potatoes, cabbage), shellfish bags (oysters, mussels and clams), firewood bags, curtains and drapery, mosquito netting and even clothing. The type of weave provides strength, but the yarn used will enhance its strength — which is what we have here. Lightweight, breathable and incredibly strong.
The Air Jordan 36 fits true to size, but might be on the narrow side for some. If possible, I recommend trying the shoe on in-store. If you wear orthotics or an ankle brace, make sure you bring them with you when you try the shoes. You’ll need them to get the proper size to accommodate them.
Lockdown was solid all the way through. From the forefoot all the way up to the ankle collar. No issues whatsoever.
All the support features you need are there. Internal heel counter. Midfoot shank plate. Secure 1-to-1 fit. They even have a fairly wide base. The only issue was the protruding forefoot Zoom Air. It has a wobble that you’ll notice until you get used to it. Once that’s done, you’ll be good to go. All in all the shoe made our list of the shoes with the best ankle support for the year.
The Air Jordan 36 continues the lineage of high octane performance driven signature footwear that started 36 years ago in 1985 with the Air Jordan 1. While I still feel the Air Jordan 34 is the best basketball shoe Jordan Brand has made since the Air Jordan 28 and 29, the Air Jordan 36 is close behind. I’d definitely take them over the Air Jordan 35 without a second thought. However, after playing in these, I can’t help but wonder what the Air Jordan 38 has in store.
First Impressions and Initial Review
The Air Jordan 36 wants to pay tribute to its predecessor from 30 years in the past and also become the most technologically-advanced basketball shoe currently on the market. It does both at some level. Right off the bat, the shoe’s weight, or lack thereof, is a bit startling. But that seems to be the direction that footwear is going moving forward. There are a lot of things to be excited about in this shoe and other things that we’ve seen before just with tiny tweaks.
Check out Chris’s thoughts on the AJ 36 in the video and article.
What’s in the video?
In the video, Chris provides detailed information from all the usual categories, providing the in depth information you need. He supplies expert level opinions on the materials, cushioning, traction, support, and fit. Here’s some of what he discusses:
- Clean ass box
- No tech sheet/card
- Potential bad boys
- Herringbone traction
- Full-length Zoom Air strobel
- Additional forefoot Zoom unit
- Possible unstable ride
- Phylon midsole
- Eclipse Plate implementation
- Leno Jacquard weave upper
- Potato-sack strength?
- Synthetic leather pieces
- OG AJ 6 Durabuck upper
- Tongue tributes
- Rear spoiler
- Color placement
- Outsole window
- Visible Zoom unit
- AJ 33 Low-like pull tab
- Nike Air branding
- Sizing recommendations
- Kobe 6 insoles
As an added bonus, Chris reveals a giveaway of this shoe for our Discord community members.
How to Buy the Air Jordan 36
- Colorway: White/Black/Game Royal/Metallic Gold
- Release Date: August 16, 2021
- Style Code: DJ4482-100
- Retail Price: $185
The Air Jordan 36 is available now for $185 at Nike.
Did you know we have a great community where we discuss reviews and various other nerdy topics? You can join WearTesters here.