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Air Jordan XV Retro Performance Review

The Air Jordan XV has always been an acquired taste…

Air Jordan Project – Air Jordan XV Retro Performance Review 1

Traction – The traction was great. Full length herringbone is in place and its done properly – with solid rubber and cut thin enough to grip the floor but thick enough to last. I had very little issues with the outsole as a whole. It literally took the worst court conditions to phase it and even then, they were still playable. They reminded me a lot of the Air Jordan XII – in terms of traction – and that’s not a bad thing.

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Cushion – Heel and forefoot Zoom Air are in place and there really isn’t much to say about it that you wouldn’t know by now. Zoom is Zoom and it does what Zoom does. Provides you with a low to ground & responsive ride. To sum it up quickly… these are freaking comfortable and well cushioned.

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Material – The materials are interesting… at least I’ve always thought so. Having woven material is a really cool feature and when these originally released, it was somewhat rare. We see woven material semi-often nowadays and it works just as well now as it did back then. What I mean by that is that the woven sections move and tighten up with your movement… like a Chinese finger trap… I hate those things. There is a leather rand in place as well, this ads durability to the upper and it does this well. It is stiff in certain places – mostly at the toe – and that is its main drawback for me… these reminded me of playing in a pair of LeBron’s which is pretty crazy seeing how MJ was a Guard and nowhere near as big/ powerful as LeBron.

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Fit – The fit is a bit awkward… I go over this in their Performance Teaser and I still feel the same. These were made for everyone yet no one at all. Their lacing system allows a variety of foot shapes to wear the shoe comfortably but lockdown becomes an issue in certain sections for certain foot shapes. For me, I had great lockdown from the midfoot to the toe… the heel just wasn’t doing it for me & I constantly had to readjust my laces. There are players that might not have as slender of a foot as I do so I assume this mold will work better for them… larger/ thicker heel and whatnot. It wasn’t horrible or unbearable to play in but when comparing it to any of the past Air Jordan’s… these were the most inconsistent with the fit.

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Ventilation – Their ventilation is horrible. This didn’t affect the materials in any way but it sure as hell affected my feet. Blisters for days and they were the really wicked kind… where the skin rolls and folds up on the pads of your toes… you know, the kind you get when your feet are sopping wet. Ventilation sure was a bummer and for the first time… I really wish a shoe had some.

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Support – An internal shank is in place for torsional support. Its decent at best but the thickness of the outsole construction makes it pretty hard for your foot and the shoe to become one unit… again, similar to a LeBron but recent LeBron’s have way better fitting uppers which make flex a non-issue for most. The rest of the support would come from the fit and again, its a little sloppy for someone with a slender foot like myself. There are two huge outriggers and a nice flat base and that is something I loved. Makes them pretty stable and when you are a shooter, you’ll always be ready for a well balanced shot and that will increase your shooting percentage a bit… at least it did for me.

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Overall – I don’t hate them and I don’t love them. However, I played well in them for the most part. As stated above… the Air Jordan XV is an acquired taste… either it has what you want or it doesn’t. Not my first weapon of choice but they were definitely fun to play in.

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  1. always loved this colorway, subtle, yet not plain at all. I had the white and carolina blue, and the obsidian ones for aau ball, and i liked them outside of the awkward fit

  2. after watching The Expendables 2 dvd finally it rings the bell–hey Nightwing, does anyone ever say you look like Jean-Claude Van Damme??=D
    anyways, I think AJ XV is underrated, ppl just hated their look, also it was the first year after the second retirement of Jordan, making AJ XV the AJ we screen out and avoid to talk about. Glade to see you did a performance review on them.

  3. there is a reason why jordan retired,and this might be the reason hahaha, JK i think this is the first shoes score Zero on the ventilation !

  4. Yo NW, ever heard of or seen the XV SE? They came out in 2008 I think. They were basically a retooled XV. They definitely looked better imo. I remember college players wearing them more than pros. I don’t remember what they changed in the tech but I think it was Air in the heel and still zoom in the forefoot. It might be worth looking up hahaha. Great review as always. Excited for the XVI-XVIII reviews. I honestly have no idea how those performed.

  5. I think this is a shoe that looks great on paper but with the materials used for the upper it was never going to be a good basketball shoe. The guys who wore them and played well were, generally speaking, either in the NBA or on their way there. I still have my OG pair but they’ve never seen a basketball court because they really just weren’t meant for that imo.

  6. These are one of the jordans that i want jb to update to make it more worthy as a performance model. What i would to to improve em is to retain the midsole/outsole and change the weave here to flight weave and change that big tongue to a huarache like inner sleeve similar to the jordan 7,8. keep the leather and make it nice quality or as jb puts it remastered quality. That in my mind would be a dope performer. Then price it in the 150-225 range.

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