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Jordan 38 Review: A Flagship Jordan Done Right

Jordan 38

English Jordan 38 Review

The Jordan 38 is a big improvement on the Jordan 37 and just might end up being the best basketball shoe of 2023-24.

Spanish Jordan 38 Review

Total Score

The Jordan 38 is one of the most highly anticipated models of 2023, as most flagship Jordans are, but on top of that, these just might be the best basketball shoes of the year

The Jordan 38 serves as a sort of revamp of the flagship Jordan line, as it does away with all of the tech that the Jordan Brand has been featuring in these models in recent years: No eclipse plate, no unlocked Zoom, and no see-through hole in the midsole. 

It is also one of the better-looking flagship Jordans that we have seen in a while and the tribute paid in the design of the shoe to the Jordan 8 is subtle and very well done. So, having said all of this, let’s jump into the performance review and see why the Jordan 38 just might be the best hoop shoe of 2023.

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Jordan 38 Review

Jordan 38 Tech Specs:

Jordan 38 Traction

In this colorway, the Jordan 38 comes equipped with a translucent rubber outsole, with an aggressive, full-length herringbone traction pattern, which is a tried and tested pattern that offers great multidirectional coverage on court. After a brief first test on a hardwood floor, this traction feels super grippy and should work great. 

That translucent rubber and the relatively shallow traction pattern do not bode well for outdoor use, however. We have seen some colorways of the Jordan 38 that do feature solid rubber, which may be more outdoor-friendly, but, for now, we’ll have to wait and see. But also, who is buying the Jordan 38 for outdoor use? 

Jordan 38 Cushion

This might be the best feature of the Jordan 38. First, we have a full-length Zoom Air Strobel, which Jordan seems to have commandeered from Nike at this point. Nike’s (or Jordan’s) Zoom Air Strobel is an excellent piece of tech that provides a very well-balanced ride on court that will give you more than enough impact protection and reactiveness as you play. 

Underneath the Zoom Air Strobele=, we have an injected Phylon midsole which is firm and bouncy, and underneath that, we have Cushlon 3.0, Nike’s top-tier foam cushioning. This Cushlon unit is full-length, plush, and responsive. Just great.  

Jordan 38 Materials

The Jordan 38 has a very minimalist, lightweight build that combines textiles and synthetic leather. In fact, a good portion of the shoe is see-through. But the good news is that, unlike the Jordan 37, this part of the build feels like it will be able to offer all of the support and containment you’ll need on court while keeping the shoe lightweight, very breathable, and with a very minimal break-in time.  

We have synthetic Nubuck and leather in the heel and toebox of the shoe for added containment. It’s nothing premium but it does feel good in hand which is a plus. 

Also, the logo on the neoprene tongue of the shoe pays tribute (loosely) to the Jordan 8. The tongue of the Jordan 38 is very comfortable and has huge perforations punched out to add ventilation and reduce weight even further.    

Jordan 38 Support

The stand-out support feature on the Jordan 38 also pays tribute to the Jordan 8. The 8 had that iconic cross strap on the midfoot of the shoe, and in the 38 we have an X-shaped spring plate that you can see through the sole of the shoe. 

This X plate covers the midfoot and forefoot of the shoe. The “arms” of that X shape provide torsional rigidity while the axis point will give you springy reactiveness as you move. A great little piece of tech, and a very clever implementation. 

Everything else in terms of support and containment is what you would expect from a modern hoop shoe (wide base, outriggers, heel counter, etc.) and should perform well.  

Jordan 38 Fit

The Jordan 38 fits true to size, so go with whatever size you usually wear. For those shopping online, don’t be alarmed if the shoes look a bit small, it’s just an optical illusion, try them on and you will see that they are the right size. 

Jordan 38 Overall

The Jordan 37 was a bit of a disappointment in terms of on-court performance, and aesthetically it is one of the least “Jordan-looking” Jordans of all time. The Jordan 38 on the other hand feels like a grand slam of a shoe. The new tech that they have packed into this model feels great and should offer a premium experience on the hardwood, and it just looks and feels like a flagship Jordan should. The Jordan 38 has a great shot at becoming the best basketball shoe of 2023-24.  

  1. Disagree slightly with the fit review; finding it runs small. Toe-box is narrow internally on the outside edge of both shoes. 

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