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Air Jordan XVI (16) Retro Performance Review

Marching on…

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Traction – Herringbone is in place in targeted section for optimal impact or strike zones… and it worked really well. I was worried about the translucent rubber along with its slightly yellowed appearance (due to age) and whether or not it would grip the court but I was very pleased with it overall. Dusty courts were definitely a different story and required the outsole to be wiped clean with your hands at every dead ball. With all that being said, the little tiny black rubber nubs along the lateral section of the outsole were the most surprising feature. Not only was it a way to tell a story but it also had a really nice function or purpose on the floor. Those little nubs stick out of the translucent section just enough to grab the floor perfectly during lateral maneuvers which made cutting or running though screens to catch and shoot a breeze. A part of the design that likely has gone unnoticed to casual wearers was a really surprising touch that only a basketball player would appreciate.

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Cushion – A heel blow-molded Air unit is in place – don’t ask me what that means… I have no clue – along with a forefoot Zoom unit and Phylon midsole. Overall, they feel nothing like the OG… shocking, I know. However, they weren’t uncomfortable at all. They just didn’t offer the same responsive ride that the original does. Again, nothing really shocking there as I’ve had this same hit or miss experience throughout the Air Jordan Project and even with some current models that feature the once great Nike tech.

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Materials – The materials are great all the way around. Patent leather, nice raw leather, nubuck and mesh… you have a little of everything… its like a freaking buffet of materials. They will require some break-in time up front with the patent leather but everything else falls into place rather nicely. Its a durable build with nice contrasting panels… nothing to complain about at all.

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Fit – They did something new with the Air Jordan XVI in the toe area, shaping it to be more squared which was partially a fashion decision as some high end dress shoes feature a squared toe but there was also a performance aspect attached to it as well. With a squared toe you allow the foot to fit inside the shoe more naturally and it also removed any toe crunching you may or may not experience in other models. This will be beneficial for wide-footers and with this setup I’d go true to size. For people like myself, with a slightly narrower foot, going down 1/2 gave me the snug and secure fit that I personally look for. Once that was done then everything else worked perfectly together in terms of their lockdown. If you are unable to try on a pair – likely at this point since they have only released once in 2008 since their initial debut – then the fit may be something that concerns you… getting the right size at least. If you get the right size for your foot then you wont have anything to worry about at all.

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Ventilation – As we’ve seen before, ventilation is not their strong suit. The Air Jordan XVI+ on the other hand… those are much more breathable so if you need ventilation then at least there is an alternative… you just have to hope the original pair of XVI+’s are still wearable on-court.

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Support – Their support is solid overall. Nice wide forefoot as the platform followed by a nice fit and a full length spring plate/ torsional system. This coupled with everything noted above makes them on of the more well-rounded Air Jordan models I’ve worn to date.

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Overall – I like them overall, finding myself going back to them quite often despite their lack of cushion. Their overall low profile feel and fit were my favorite attributes while the traction followed suit… so long as the floor was clean. I know its a long shot but Jordan Brand should really consider making the Air Jordan XVI one more time for a Retro run… casual wearers and hoopers alike will enjoy them.

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    1. this brings back memories…. bad ones though. I had the Gingers when no one wanted them. I remember holding these the 1st time and boy were these lightweight. However, the cushioning overall was way too hard. Also, my achilles would always be beet red after playing… to me, this was a terrible performance model. Casually, the materials were poor for an OG model as the nubuck area in the toe easily creased. if these retroed in the gingers, i know they will sell out instantly b/c it is a sick colorway.

      1. You might not have been wearing the right size, I had no chafing at all. My OG still have wonderful cushion vs these. The OG models also had premium materials which were all well above most shoes today. Their creasing isn’t a sign of lack of quality… those ridiculous complaints are the reason why we get the crappy materials we get now. Brands don’t mind lowering quality, saving them money and raising costs… that type of false commenting on these shoes needs to stop. No hate toward you but that quality statement is one of many things wrong with consumer complaints.

        1. i only had the Gingers, not the other OG colors. I always believe that OGs have the better quality compared to their retro counterpart. By today’s stds, the Gingers beat most retro models in terms of quality. you’re right, creasing is not an indicator of quality, but it is indicative of how the shoe looks and if it looks good with no creasing, then people will buy the shoe even if the materials used is of (much) lesser quality. let it be known that i am done with retros… i bought the bred 4s two years ago when every reviewer on the internet said they were well-made with decent quality, but what happened… the midsole cracked in like 3 wearings. some of the reviews on retros are misleading about quality as none of the reviewers actually wore them before the review. i’m going on too long on this….

          i’m just commenting on my experience with an OG model that was dissappointing. I’m not sure how my stmt about a shoe I bought and wore over a decade ago could affect any company’s goal of lowering costs and maximizing profits.

          As for the chaffing issue, maybe if you were around doing reviews back then, i would have gotten the right size and a better performance experience 😉

          1. Midsole Cracking, Uppers Creasing these are two things ballers don’t care anything about. We only care if the shoe provides a good fit, traction, cushioning, etc. We don’t care what happens to the outside appearance of the shoe because we are going to wear them to the ground until we can’t ball in them no mo. If you just wear shoes casually you should stop complaining and learn that these shoes were made to ball in and not to made just to look pretty. If you want a better more durable shoe then get something made with more durable materials like synthetics which don’t crease much. And Nike needs to make sure they’re retros as similar to the original release as possible to warrant the “Retro” name. So they will use similar materials and midsoles of the original shoe which means they will have similar durability to the originals. So they’re not going to make a Jordan IV with synthetic materials because then it would be a upgraded version and not a “Retro”, like the Jordan Alpha 1 which had upgraded upper and Zoom Air compared to the Nike Air in the Jordan 1s. You should ask Nike to make more “Alpha/Updated” versions of Retro Models.

          2. Another thing to add “quality complaints”, we have been seeing that in cushioning department from Nike.

            With material such as Patent Leather, it is going to crease anyway with wear.

            Agree with you on that one, EpicBallerEd.

            On the Alpha/Updated part, Nike should hire Brett Golliff.

            Thanks for the Performance review, NightWing.

  1. People complain about the dumbest stuff…andbuy the dumbest stuff to that matter. Red yeezy’s going for thousands and they are just thrown tether from other shoes…samewith the yeezy 1…stoopid if you ask me. Just like cpmplaining about compression cracks and toe box creases…silly little comments made out of ignorance. No I am , just the comment. Otherwise thanks NW…jordan reviews are always welcome and appretiated!

  2. I heard that the platform could break apart due to the carbon fiber plate issue or something… never owned a pair of 16s so I don’t know for sure.

  3. Had the gingers back in the day. Really enjoyed them for balling. Wore them until they were completely trashed and gave them to charity.
    Loved the materials and the performance. Hoping for a retro sooner rather than later. There were some samples made in 2012 including a beautiful white/black pair so it might just happen

  4. I loved this shoe when I wore it (I had the xvi+ cherrywood), and my MOM EVEN LIKED THEM. These are literally the only shoes out of my many signature J’s, original the Kobe, etc that my mom said she liked multiple times, haha. Anyway–very solid shoe. I wore off the bottoms. The cushioning, to me, was a tad firmer in the heel than what I was used to (maybe it’s the “blow molded air” to blame?!), but performance wise, they were on. I’d buy another pair (OG) in an instant.

    I will say this though–the durability on these was suspect. I got cracking on the bottom after a while (indoor play only), the paint on the side of the midsole flaked off, and the heel tab on one shoe broke off. Nothing that affected the performance, really, so I didn’t care. But still, this happened quite quickly.

  5. Seriously hoping that Jordan Brand will consider retroing these later models sometime in the near future. I personally have a liking for the Jordan 17s because that was the first Jordan that my cousin and I really got into (especially with the random briefcase), and I really like those hints of “jazz” on the periphery of the shroud. I also would like to try on the 19s because of that radical shroud, although it seems like it may difficult to put on. Anyways, thanks for continuing on with the Jordan Project! Can’t wait for the next one.

  6. i played in this exact pair for a season, and always felt like the traction was a pain in the ass, you’re absolutely right about having to conscientiously wipe with every dead ball, everything else was excellent, though, cushion isn’t something that i remember these for, court feel and fit are, and those are the most important aspects of any shoe for me… aesthetically, too, they still look incredible. the shroud was pretty pointless on and off court, though, unless you were rocking them with shorts or something

  7. Nightwing I am not questioning you as a shoe review because you are the OG but why do you record all of your preformance reviews outside now and why are they much shorter. i do not know if it is just me but you used to have an oppinion about everything even sometimes going on rants in the videos now they are like five minutes long and everything you say is close to verbatim to the write ups. For me I used to never read the write ups because the video would go into the shoe with a more personal vibe and I enjoyed that. Now all I do is skim through the write up and look at the scores. The new style is okay if you like it, this is just coming from an eighth grader in south florida who right now likes kickgenuis reviews more than kicksoncourt ones. Just my two cents. Keep up the great work as always you definitely have my support but just think about it.

    1. Their review section is about the same length as mine so your point is pretty much invalid. Their reviews usually have the same info as well so not even sure why you felt the need to say anything at all… I’ve honed my craft over the years. If you prefer one over the other then that’s cool with me, just don’t come to me with something that makes zero sense just as a sorry excuse to cut me down. It’s not appreciated and it’s also no form of support/ respect.

      1. Okay, your Lebron X review was ten minutes and forty seconds long while your Lebron XI review was five minutes and forty seconds long.

        1. Like I said, I’ve honed my craft. Getting straight into performance info and you compared me to someone else based off of length of reviews when their reviews are right around the same time as mine. My thoughts still stand and you continue to prove your lack of respect and support. Since you cannot read emotion in text, please take this as nicely as possible… just leave me alone. I dont need to be cut down by a kid. I dont want nor deserve your unfounded opinion. If you choose to like someone more than another then that is perfectly fine and normal, just dont come here to cut me down because of it. Watch/ read the reviews and learn performance info or dont, doesnt matter to me so long as you leave me out of it.

          1. Did you make a 15’s performance review and I missed it, or did you skip and if you did are you going back to review it?

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