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First Impression: Air Jordan V (5) Retro


The first four pairs of Air Jordan signatures I had never worn on-court until I began this project. While I have a lot of experience in the Air Jordan V… I had played in them 11 years ago and at that time I didn’t pay much attention to performance.

Now that I’m more critical it’ll be interesting to see how I feel about the AJ5 once this is all said and done.


Traction – Herringbone is used at the forefoot and heel leaving the midfoot alone with a slight texture to it. I think this setup will be just fine but may have some of the same issues that I had with the Air Jordan IV as far as the traction being recessed into the rubber. It should perform well overall as long as I’m consistent with wiping the outsole throughout games.


Cushion – The setup is similar to the Air Jordan III & IV with an encapsulated forefoot Air unit and a heel Air unit. Along with that there is a Polyurethane midsole which isn’t quite as dense as the previous Air Jordan’s.


This is what the Air unit looks like…


It covers a good amount of the heel and is of decent volume. The forefoot unit I haven’t taken out of my older pair (they crumbled so this wasn’t something that I had planned on doing) but they are thinner and mimic the flex grooves found at the front of the outsole.


Just in case you are wondering what I used to wear back in High School… ’99 White/ Metallic V’s that I found at Nordstrom Rack for $49.99. I was broke since I could only work part-time back then so when I found these on my very first visit to the Rack I was happier than when I got my first piece of a$$… sad but true… life of a SneakerHead, right…


Material – Back when MJ played he had two options; nubuck or leather. I initially wanted to go with the CDP version because it would retain its shape a bit better but the Black/ Metallic Silver are a bit different so I will go with those instead.


The nubuck is soft and will require zero break-in time, however, as stated above… the materials will most likely not retain their shape very well but I suppose I can just note that in the full review.


Fit – The area that is different between the 2011 Black/ Metallic Silver’s can be found in the ankle collar. They have tons of padding which is nicely sculpted – I like this by the way since it’ll help lock down the heel– but the older models and originals never had that feature so in a sense this is somewhat of an upgrade. One thing to note is that none of the other Retro V’s from 2011 had the sculpted ankle collar, they are all made just like the older versions.


The Air Jordan III & IV were mid top models and the AJ5 takes things a bit higher once again. One key difference is the use of the asymmetrical collar, something we are used to seeing in later models such as the Air Jordan XIII & XIV.

Overall the fit should be adequate but without the material being strong enough to retain its shape it will change the more they are played in.


Ventilation – This should be the same as the Air Jordan IV. Mesh panels are featured on both the medial and lateral side while the tongue features the same. Under the tongue are perforations down the lining allowing heat to escape.


Support – Again, this is going to be the same as the previous models. The molded arch will provide most of the midfoot support while the fit will be detrimental to the rest of the support they potentially provide the wearer.


Overall, I cant wait to play in these again. It’s been so long & I hope I’m not disappointed. Nostalgia at its finest…

  1. i have a feeling these are going to pinch around the midsole area where the shark teeth is. Traction is good but still not as good as the air jordan 1

    1. He is referring to the Jordan Retro Countdown Pack (CDP). It was pack in 2008 when you get two different Jordan Retros pairs that adds up to XXIII. Obvious packs were expensive since you are buying two sneakers. So, CDP V came in with Retro XVIII as a pack.

  2. I remember I copped these metallics because of the padding in the collar area. Can’t wait to see how that holds up for actual basketball usage.

  3. Cant wait for the performance review, this is arguably my favorite Jordan, along with the 13’s

  4. Interesting first impression. Nice to see that you still have your pair from ’99. I remember back in the day(around 90-94) with some people puncturing the airbags coz they found it more comfortable. Hahaha!

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