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Jordan Melo M11 Performance Review | Duke4005

Return of the Product


Love, hate, or couldn’t care less, Carmelo Anthony never seems to be ignored. So far, his shoes have been a different story – but not because of performance, as most have been bangers on court, but because they aren’t retros of bygone eras. So we now have the Melo 11, and, well, let’s just get to it…    


Jordan Brand Melo 11 Performance Review.4Materials – First things first, as Nightwing covered in his preview review, the Christmas colorway reviewed here (thanks, JB) is leather. Real. Genuine. Leather. Following on the materials used last year in the CP3.VII and Melo M10, the 11 comes again with the good stuff. It creases, it bends, it molds to your foot, and generally feels better, to me, than any material ever. If you don’t like creases look somewhere else, because these do crease, first wearing, and they look great doing it. The other colorways are synthetic and not as flexible at first but break in nicely after a few hours wearing. To me, the extra $10 is worth it, but up to you.

   Jordan Brand Melo 11 Performance Review.5 Fit – Dang near perfect. I have been extremely lucky this year testing as most companies have figured out the fit problem (BrandBlack, JB, Nike, Adidas for the most part – c’mon, Rose 5). For you readers who know my previous reviews from another site, I like NO MOVEMENT in my shoes when playing – heel, forefoot – nothing. I lace tight and hard. I didn’t have to with the M11 – even with the two last eyelets looser than normal I was comfortable and secure. I had a problem with the M10 and midfoot fit – I just could not get locked in completely. It seemed the “fingers” would loosen as I tried to pull tight, leaving some movement in the shoe. The M11 is cut narrower and more on a running-type last to lock in from step in and my foot was held in place on hard cuts and pullups and sliding on defense was no problem. The heel is made of a hard-shell synthetic almost Posite – like so there was the extra stiffness needed for security, but the shoe just felt good. For sizing, I always say try them on, as everyone is different, but I stayed true (10.5 in EVERYTHING) and the length gave me about a half inch (just like I like).    

Jordan Brand Melo 11 Performance Review.7Cushioning – If you have heard of a shoe called the Jordan XX9, you know the cushioning story – unlocked Zoom in forefoot, Flightplate, and foam heel. Go ahead, complain because there is no Zoom in the heel and they “owe” us for the price – I’ll keep playing in the Air-less shoes with no problems. I like the firmer feel under the heel – coming down from rebounds and a little off center, the stability is better in solid foam than an Air bag. I did feel the Melo was softer in the heel than the XX9. Where the XX9 is encased foam under the heel, the M11 is opened up and almost has a crashpad effect. The forefoot is basically the XX9 – not as bouncy as last year’s unlocked models but more stable. I didn’t feel sluggish or slow at all – the Zoom responds under foot, it just doesn’t have the “snap” like the XX8/SE/M10.    

Jordan Brand Melo 11 Performance Review.2Traction – Hate to keep comparing the M11 to the M10, but it’s my review, so here goes – this is the one area that I felt was worse than the M10. Much like the XX9 was a little behind the XX8, and for the same reasons, the M11 was just a little off. Main reason I can see – the outsole is almost a flat traction. By that, I mean the grooves, instead of being a wiper blade or tooth shape, are flat on the edges facing down. This makes it easier for the shoe to slide across a surface instead of biting in. I stuck, but it too effort and hard stepping to get to the level of the Kobe IX, Rose 5, Clutchfit, M10. Again, not bad, but I could feel on cuts and drives, trying to turn corners, my feet giving away some. Defense was not as noticeable, as staying in front was not harder. Give us some teeth or a softer rubber and good to go.    


Jordan Brand Melo 11 Performance Review.6Support/Transition – This is where, to me, the shoe shines. Again, back to the materials, leather just hugs a foot like your blanky on a sick day, and after a couple of games of full-court the midfoot and forefoot was locked in. FlightWeb supplies the midfoot lacing and it helps the leather wrap you up, pulling the foot down into the midsole, helping keep the ride low and fast. Not as low as a shoe like the CP3 pr Kobe VI, but very much like the Rose 5 or Clutchfit, so unless you just NEED a rocket like the Rose 1 you should be good with court feel here. The heel is again supported by the harder synthetic, although the ankle cut keeps it from boot properties. To be honest, this ankle cut is perfect for me. I went through the “lows only” phase like just about everyone else, but lately I have been loving higher cut shoes again. The M11 doesn’t cover the ankle but just below giving that mobile but safe feel.

Transition is SMOOOOOOOTH. Where the decoupled M10 had a bit of slap, and then some flex under the midfoot, the cage under the M11 midfoot and around the shank keep your forefoot and heel in harmony. Not as smooth as the XX9, I still felt great backpedaling in transition defense (where I really noticed the toe to heel transition) and coming off screens planting for jumpers. I know Melo isn’t making a living off dive cuts or defense, but if you do, then you will be good.

Jordan Brand Melo 11 Performance Review.8

Overall – Like most of the Melo line, especially the M9 and 10, I completely and thoroughly enjoyed this shoe. Of course, certain aspects could be better, but the perfect shoe ain’t out there yet, and if it was, I would be out of a job. Traction was the weakest point, and it wasn’t “throw ‘em out” bad – just a little worse than I expected. Cushioning, fit, transition, comfort, and MATERIALS are all good to great, and I see myself playing in this shoe long after the review is done (not always the case). As most of you know by now, the Jordan Christmas series for 2014 takes cues from the Air Jordan VII Cardinal Red colorway worn by The Man in 1993 (NBA on NBC!!!!!). The M11 is the closest in the series to replicating that shoe, using the Cardinal for the lace loops, inner lining, and midsole. Wearing these won’t make you MJ, or Melo, but they will give you everything you need to play to YOUR best. Keep sleeping on JB performance – these are the future classics.

  1. Nice review… you did this quicker than NW! Loved that you reviewed the leather pair because I plan to get these instead of the other synthetics. Is there a video though?

  2. Good stuff. Indeed very informative, and the “blanky on a sick day” description made me chuckle. If I wasn’t more disciplined wallet-wise I’d be all over this leathery pair, as I like their look. Glad to see the performance seems to be up to snuff. Got me thinking, lol.

  3. It’s nice to see you post performance reviews here. I’ve just started following your reviews on counterkicks. How do you like the melo m11 compared to the clutchfit drive? I ask since I know you like the CF drives.

    1. I like the CF better, performance wise and especially price wise. Only thing the Melo has better is the leather (on this color way).

  4. Nice review fam. Good to see a dallas native doing it big on here. I’m from addison, you should come by to hoop sometimes, we have good runs

    1. Where at? My “real job” is headquartered right by the airport off Dooley and Midway. I usually run at 24 in Lake Worth, Western Center, or at UTA.

  5. Do you actually like the fit of the M11 over the XX9. Im all for leather and enjoyed multiple pairs of the M10 in leather, but felt like the fit of the XX9 was far superior.

    1. The XX9 is more comfortable but the Melo is more contained. For me, they are just different, not better, but I like both. They both fit my foot.

      1. Good point, I always wondered why NBA players prefer the Superfly over the XX9, probably the rigidity helps to make them feel more secure.

          1. Blake Griffin, *Cough, Cough*

            As a post player, I need the support and “stiff” lockdown that the super.fly provides and I can see how Blake does too. Someone with that amount of size and power in his game would do bad things to that woven upper far too quickly.

          2. the only NBA player who is contractually obligated to promote the superfly is blake griffin. I dont have the stats but I see the superfly on more NBA players than the XX9. Lets be serious when you have NBA talent the variances between shoes matter less. Some players e.g. Iman Shumpert actually prepare heavier/stiffer shoes because they makes thier feet feel more supported.

          3. The XX9 is the signature shoe. Westbrook is the wearer for those and now since JB signed Monta Ellis, he wore them as well. You wont see people wearing JB’s signature shoe but the athletes picked to wear them. The SF is Blake’s shoe, I guess you can say, but doen’t have his name on it like Melo or CP3.

    2. Which color way did you own? I’m thinking about scooping up more Melo M10, because I love the leather in it. My Powder MeloX, broke in very finely right now and I’m in love with these sneakers. Will only get more pairs if their all the same material.

      Do you know if most of them are leather?

      I’m also looking for the M11 ‘Cardinals/Christmas’ in size 13 but they have been very HARD to find.

  6. That was the fastest performance review I’ve ever seen. But now of course I might get my self a pair if I got money

        1. Thanks.

          Thumbs up for a great review too. I also want to give props for the amount of questions you’ve replied to in this thread so far.

          1. Cosign

            The responses are on point Duke4005.
            Hopefully people will read the full comment section without having to repeat a question and litter the thread.

  7. Really great review man! Love how in-depth you went and love when this site has multiple reviewers post reviews on the same shoes. It’s so awesome to get multiple opinions from knowledgeable people on pretty much anything, not just shoes. Great stuff

  8. Good to your review on weartesters, Duke4005.
    Followed your reviews from your other site.
    At this point, people are going have go to
    LeBrons and KDs for forefoot and heel Air cushioned shoes
    in Nike/Jordan’s performance line.

  9. edit*
    Good to see your review on weartesters, Duke4005.
    Followed your reviews from your other site.
    At this point, people are going have go to
    LeBrons and KDs for forefoot and heel Air cushioned shoes
    in Nike/Jordan’s performance line.

  10. Loving the review, with the changes I really needed to know how they matched-up with the m10, they seem really good, with the asterisk that every shoe this season seems to be a little ‘plain’ compared to last season.

    That leather picture *drool*

  11. Nice review,melo line is one of the line of sig that still cater towarf the bigger guy,with their build and the firmnes of the sole(relatively speaking),but i reAd you comment in sc about their fit ,so how narrow are they??as a man with wider foot this alwAys buggin me,Are they xx8 se/crazy quick narrow??(fyi my feet fit perfectly in m9/m8)

    1. Homer – definitely more narrow than the XX8/SE. They weren’t painful for me at all, just snugged up without too much trouble. I would say just a bit wider than UA Spawn, but the leather will give some as it stretches.

  12. Nice review and nice to read your review on this site. I’ve been following your reviews on CKs for over a year. The Melo line has been good to me since the M8.With the great shoes UA has been putting out since the Bionic Spine (my first shoe UA) it’s hard to stay on the Jordan price points.

    Interested in your top pick of 2014.

    1. Didn’t get the synthetic – NW got both so he may do a weight comparison. I will say on foot they felt the same as the M10.

  13. DUUUKKKEE!!! So glad to see you join the WearTesters team. I hope this gets you the recognition you deserve. Been following your reviews for a while. #nt

  14. Great review. I would get these, but already have the XX9’s and can’t really justify getting these. I really love the gold detailing on this colorway though. If they hit big discounts like the M10, I’ll probably pick them up down the road.

  15. although the leather uppers is a big improvement, the flimsy thin tongue is still something that I disliked a lot. I had enough of them already and they don’t feel great. might as well don’t put a tongue at all. also, the narrow heel bothers me a lot as well. the same narrow heel that bothered me with the XX9’s as I suffer from supination.

  16. As usual, solid reviews with intelligent comments; typical of a Duke review 🙂

    Welcome to NW, Duke, makes for a deadly 1-2 combo

      1. And to NW; have always had mad respect to guys like Duke and you who forks out money from your own pockets (not to mention the TIME involved) to do this. The next guy you should have on your list of contributors; Nene33 from Sole Collector. Make it happen, NW! 🙂

      1. Duke – it’s all good. There’s only so much time in a day, and we have to prioritize 🙂 Looking forward to more of the good stuff from you guys here

  17. Congrats on the change of address, and good luck on producing your most honest, insightful and pointed reviews.

    That’s out of the way, let’s get down to the nitty gritty, with the detached zoom air bag, how does the Zoom feel in the fore foot? Old school zoom air, or the newer overly bouncy, prone to compression offering very little support type zoom? How’s the arch support, high or minimal? Is the insole easily removed so that one could use an orthotic? How’s the quality of the the lace loops, do they appear durable and how do they help with support? These look like a good hoops shoe, so how many runs do you think it will take before they start to break down?

  18. I remember the kicksology.net site with prof k, NW mentioned that site in one of his ask NW episodes. Dent know there was a thread on NikeTalk. BTW, thanks for the review!

    1. Sole Collector thread. Just a bunch of no-hype, no argument, review and performance minded guys. And yeah, Prof. K was my hero in this game.

  19. Congrats on the move, and please continue with your honest and pointed opinions on the latest footwear. I tried to post these questions before, but they had issues sticking, that said, how is the arch support? Low or high? How is the zoom in the forefoot? Old school solid and supportive, or the newer incredibly bouncy, yet not as supportive new school zoom? How many runs do you think that this shoe will last? Durable? Speaking of which, are the lace loops well supported, better than the new LeBron, and how do they help with your lock down? Is the insole removable, so that you can insert your own orthotic?

    1. Lets see – Zoom is somewhere in between – not bouncy like the first models, but not soft like slot of the Zoom retro shoes (96 comes to mind). They are closer to the bouncy of old though. They are still not as responsive as, say, Ultraflight or Jordan XII, but they are better than most of the examples from the last three years. Insole is not removable. It is SUPER glued. Arch support is strange – doesn’t have much rise by looking but on foot it feels high. Not painful but supportive. Laceloops run under the insole through the midsole but are stitched at the lakepoint – could see them pulling loose over time. I could see this shoe lasting indoor and out – much longer than the XX9 just based on materials and outsole.

      Good to see your name again.

      1. It’s a solid looking shoe, and good luck here. I will be around, because I really like the forumless style of commenting, the kind that really discourages that cliquish and ass kissing behaviour that can destroy the spirit of things.

    1. Not just you. I thought the same thing. I know they say it takes a year or two to develop shoes so proponents of both will claim either theft or coincidence. Me personally, I’ll be looking to cop BrandBlack’s JC II in the black cw as soon as it drops.

  20. Great to see you up and running so quickly, Duke! You know I ride or die with you here or on the on-again, off-again kicksologists thread over at SC. If I were to pick up a pair of these, it would have to be these just for the leather. Not sure I will as I have some other things taking priority right now. I do hope you get Dame and Curry’s sigs in to review.

    Great read btw. Very in depth. Prof would be proud. Great addition to the team, NW. 2015 is going to kill it here at WT’ers.

  21. Hey I’m trying to decide between the hyperdunk 2013 and the UA clutchfit drive. I had the 2012 but I’ve never experienced UA. But everyone brags on the clutchfits I’m a quick guard and that’s it

  22. Great Review Duke, I read your review with the Dame as well and have found all of your reviews very helpful. I play guard and am 6’5 not very athletic but it got me through school, your ending line that these are the classics of the future really struck me as a Sneakerhead that has not grabbed a pair from JB in 4-5 years, I am tempted to grab a pair and really want to choose something Neo classical- modern tech =P I’m thinking I’ve found it with the modern mello, good weight as well. ^-^

  23. Awesome review Duke, just wondering whats the main difference or court feel between the melo 11 and curry 1. Not quite sure which one to get… I enjoy playing with the low cuts and normally plays outdoors. I had a kobe 8 elite and loved the cushioning and the ventilation. would you recommend the melo’s or the curry’s? Thanks

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