Now that the Air Jordan III has been completed, its time to move onto the Air Jordan IV.
Traction – This is the first time herringbone is used on a signature Air Jordan. You still have some features previously seen on the AJ3 – stars & textured rubber – but overall the AJ4 had introduced the traction surface most of us have come to love.
Not only was herringbone introduced to the Air Jordan series with the AJ4, it was introduced in a way that I personally love… facing multiple directions for greater court coverage no matter where your foot is going. Hopefully it’ll provide enough traction since the herringbone is recessed into the rubber.
Cushion – Polyurethane makes up the entire midsole, this will be a recurring theme all the way to the Air Jordan IX as Phylon was first used in the Air Jordan X… hurray! Full blown sarcasm right there…
The same exact setup found in the Air Jordan III is also in place… again, another recurring theme until we get to the Air Jordan X. A heel Air unit and encapsulated forefoot Air unit are in place. One thing to keep in mind is that the Air units and Polyurethane were different back in the 80’s so we are NOT getting the newer releases the same exact way they originally came out hence the point of this project… I’m trying to find out if what we receive today is just as good to play in as it used to be back when they were first introduced.
Due to complaints about paint cracking by casual wearers, the Polyurethane has been changed to accommodate those who only rock their Jordan’s casually… its much more dense than it used to be so it’ll hold up better overtime without the cracking and crumbling we have been accustomed to over the years. I probably should have noted that within the Air Jordan III Performance Review… what can ya do…
Material – Something else that has changed due to the casual wearer… the leather uppers. This particular colorway has a leather upper that is comprised of a ‘split’ grain. I went over this briefly in my video review featuring the Air Jordan IV Retro. Its far to complicated to go over here but its basically a cheaper way to manufacture leather and the U.S. determines anything with leather used as a full grain even though it isn’t. After the manufacturer spits the leather they place a top coat, usually made from polyurethane, over the top and it ends up looking like leather but its far more rigid… this saves the brand money while they still use ‘Full Grain’ leather and it helps with creasing. Unfortunate but true…
One good thing about this type of leather is that its durable. It will eventually crack once the top coat gets dried out but when being put through the rigors of on-court action it will hold up a lot better than premium Full Grain leather. This doesn’t mean I prefer the use of this type of leather but I figured I try to explain the pros and cons… personally, I prefer actual leather since there is less break-in time required.
Fit – The newer releases fit a ½ size big… unlike the 1999 & 2006 Retro versions which were true to size. I have both size 8.5 and 9 so I will likely try them both to see which I prefer.
There are wings placed at the heel of the shoe to draw the heel into place and keep it there. The LeBron line has been doing something similar with the LeBron 8 & 9. I’m guessing this will work out just fine but I wont know for sure until I take them for a ride.
Ventilation – This is the first Air Jordan to feature above average – at the time – ventilation. Mesh side panels are in place and will allow for some much needed air flow… especially since the leather used nowadays is far less breathable than actual Full Grain leather due to the polyurethane coat.
The tongue uses mesh as well. Behind the mesh is padding. This typically restricts the air flow the mesh would provide, however, the interior of the tongue has large perforations throughout so while air flow will be restricted, it wont be restricted as much as it could have been.
Support – This aspect is pretty much the same as the Air Jordan III… rubber heel cup and a molded arch along the midsole. Other than that, the fit & wings will be doing all of the supporting… here’s hoping its enough.
Overall, the Air Jordan IV is very similar to the Air Jordan III. However, there are some noticeable performance upgrades in the design. Traction has been upgraded, ventilation has been implemented & support has been slightly fine tuned with the addition of the medial and lateral wings.
I’m expecting these to cause me some pain since the midsole and cushion are the same setup and the polyurethane is far more dense than the AJIII Retro. I’ll play in these for as much of the 40 hours as I can bare but this will most likely be another pair that causes problems for my legs and knees on a personal level.