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Inside an Original Pair of Air Jordan 14 ‘Black Toe’

Ever wonder what’s inside an original pair of Air Jordan 14’s? Well… feast your eyes on what they used to feature. The Retro models from 2006 – present day still feature heel and forefoot Zoom Air, but the forefoot is not this articulated version. I believe this style of articulated Zoom was also used in The Glove and the Pippen 2. Nowadays we get a standard shaped forefoot unit and they’re quite a bit thinner than these used to be… I’d guess that they are at least 1/2 the thickness of the originals.

Feel free to share your thoughts about the tech in the comment section below and know that these changes are why your Retro models don’t feel like they used to.

Inside an Original Pair of Air Jordan 14 'Black Toe'


  1. LMAO! Nice pic! I’ll be taking comparison pics when I get my retros. And I know they were a bit gimmicky but on all my OGs the vent actually let air into the foot. The sock liner was shaped to not completely block the vent. On the retros the vent is completely blocked by the sock liner.

  2. When reticulated zoom is mentioned, I’m thinking it’s the 3 skinny bar shaped style. The one that looks like an “E”. This zoom from years past looks like the more recent unlocked zoom in the flight plate shoes.

  3. Very cool to see how the best Zoom tech was back then. As long as they don’t make Unlocked Zoom any thinner I’m cool with how it is on the 28s and 29s. But I don’t mess with those thin rectangle units.

  4. Ahh now I see why it took so long for me to replace the og xiv as my fav hoop shoe. Too bad the og glue doesn’t hold after nearly 16 yrs !

  5. I got SOOO excited when I first saw the pictures. It made me want to go out and buy a pair of 14’s as soon as possible. I was drooling when I saw that cushion setup. Then I read that these are Old retros that Nike/Jordan actually gave a crap about. Thank you to the person who showed us what these shoes SHOULD look like. Its absolute bull$itt that they dont still offer this. I know it will never happen but there is definitely a part of me that wants to see Nike dethroned. Mainly for pulling this type of crap and charging MORE for inferior products. They cut corners, reduce quality. and remove quality tech. I can barely feel the zoom in my Glove retros. If they had this cushion setup I’m sure I would want to ball in them all day long. No wonder Nike considers these a Lifestyle shoe now. I guess when I see brown/red boxes I should know that Nike has neutered the shoes inside. The OG’s were good. They were performance footwear made for athletes. Now they dont have any marbles. I’m glad my 2 most recent shoe purchases were Li Ning.

    1. I can’t argue with any of that. Very well stated. I’m still kinda skeptical about the upcoming “remastered” retros. As big an Air Jordan person as I am I’ve been let down by retros as far back as the 2000 retro XI. As iconic as that shoe is it hasn’t performed as it should because of the lesser materials. I feel very fortunate to have been able to ball in almost all of the originals. THOSE shoes were true performance products.

    1. Hey I’m absolutely with you on this! I still have 4 wearable OG pairs and 1 retro. Playing in the retros sucks in comparison. The plush materials on the OGs give the shoe a better feel and the rubber composite on the soles on the OG are much more pliable.

  6. Why have the cut down on Zoom Air and made it smaller these days? Surely they wouldn’t save much money skimping on Zoom in current shoes with smaller units, would they?

    1. my guess is that if they gave us really great shoes, we would be less likely to buy more or different shoes within the brand, they like to dangle that carrot in front of us

  7. agreed. Zoom these days on retros is just not plush/soft enough. I remember i had the o.g last shot 14s in my high school playing days and they were comfortable as hell, the broke in so nicely to my foot. The leather was so soft the quality was insane. The misole was alot softer and had this glossy finish. Man i remember those days. Im not knocking the new retros quality because you know we are not gonna get an exact copy of what the o.g’s were these days, what bothers me a bit is the thiness of the air bags. For the price we pay we should also get the comfort with the zoom bags at least. I think o.g 13’s had the same zoom bag setup also which were also comfortable.

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