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Jordan Melo M12 Performance Review

The Jordan Melo M12 finally gets a proper WearTesters performance review. If you’ve been wanting to know how the latest Melo models performs on-court then check out our review below.


M12 - Traction

The Melo M12’s traction looked like it would have excelled on-court, but they proved to be lackluster for a period of time. These will need to be broken-in before you start to receive solid grip out of them — clean court or not. So if you’ve only worn them a handful of times and are mildly disappointed…be patient. They do get better with time.

I was able to take these outdoors and that is something I wouldn’t recommend. While the grip was solid, the rubber was so soft that it wore down after just two hours on an outdoor surface. I’ve always said that there is no real timetable for a shoe’s durability when it comes to outdoor hoops, but two hours was a little strange to already have the traction wear down. Any excessive use outdoors and they may not last too long at all.


M12 - Cushion 1
M12 - Cushion 2

Unlocked Zoom Air is featured in the forefoot and it’s one of the shoe’s best features. Getting cushion like this for the price is awesome. However, the awesome cushion the shoes feature is isolated to the forefoot section of the shoe. Nowadays we have many options available — for the same price or less — that offer full length cushion from other brands.

If Jordan Brand wants to remain being considered one of the better performance brands around then it may want to reconsider the reduction of heel cushion in its lineup. Every other brand offers at least one shoe with full length cushion, or segmented heel and forefoot cushion, at an affordable price; there is no real reason why Jordan Brand can’t do the same. As of now, the Jordan Retro product offers more cushion tech than any of the current performance shoes JB offer consumers. Pretty sad when you think about it.

With that said, the setup isn’t bad. It’s actually ideal for players that run with proper stride, but a shoe with heel cushion won’t negatively affect those that never use their heel, it’ll only aid those that do. The Melo M12 heel is very stiff in the beginning, but like the traction, there is a break-in period you’ll have to get through. Once you break them in they’re pretty comfortable. The Melo M12 just doesn’t offer what other brands do for equal or lower price.


M12 - Materials

The materials are my favorite part of the shoe. Mesh is used along the entire upper, but it’s strangely supportive. You receive a soft and flexible upper with great containment, and that’s something I truly enjoy. There are some heat welded Fuse areas for durability in the event you toe drag, but other than that there isn’t too much plastic on the shoe.

At the rear there is a synthetic heel panel which aids in heel support, as having a softer mesh material in that section isn’t the best idea when trying to keep your heel on the footbed. I do feel they could have gone slightly more premium by using actual leather, but that wouldn’t have had much affect on their performance so it’s not a necessity.


M12 - Fit

The Melo M12 fits true to size. The lacing structure allows the shoe to wrap firmly around your foot while the heel pillows are there to keep your heel from popping up and out of the shoe. Lockdown was adequate and I experienced no issues while wearing them on-court. I’ve read many different takes on the shoe’s fit and lockdown, but have found that they were perfectly fine and don’t lack any sort of support at all.


M12 - Support

Speaking of support, as I mentioned above, the support was perfectly fine. Nothing over the top, but they reminded me of shoes from the good old days, but with modern materials. The forefoot and midfoot offer plenty of lockdown with the dual wrapped upper while the heel section features the typical internal TPU heel counter. To ensure your heel doesn’t move over the footbed they’ve implemented an exaggerated midsole that prevents an unwanted shift over the midsole. It’s nothing new, and nothing special. It’s just works and that’s all that matters.

Jordan Melo M12 Overall

M12 - Overall 1
M12 - Overall 2

If you’ve enjoyed the past two Melo models then you’ll enjoy these as well. Just remember that the shoe takes some time to break-in before you’ll get solid traction and cushion out of them. Materials were my favorite part of the shoe, and I think most players and positions will enjoy the shoe overall. While they don’t excel in any one aspect, they get the job done and that’s what matters most.

Something to note is that there are definitely options out there that don’t feature a Jumpman but do offer consumers more bang for their buck. If you’re perfectly content spending $135 on a shoe that lacks heel cushion, uses rubber that is far too soft for consistent outdoor use, and lacks premium touches on the material side where they could have easily been implemented, then you’ll feel that the Melo M12 is worth it’s price. However, they’ll be an especially good option once they hit clearance prices.

If you value your cash and want the most out of your dollar then you’ve likely already realized that Jordan Brand no longer offers you the best bang for your buck. Nike has finally realized that there are brands out there giving consumers much more for much less. Nike’s response to that is the upcoming KD 9. Maybe it’s time the Jordan Brand realized this too. Just to reiterate this one fact: the Jordan Retro product offers more cushion technology than the most recent performance models do. A shoe that released 20 years ago offers you more tech — Air Jordan 12 anyone?

Just some food for thought.

Jordan Melo M12 Performance Review Score
  1. Thanks for the info, but I wish you guys would go back to plain text instead of these pictures. Honestly they’re a little difficult to read.

  2. I went tts on these and I have some chunky ass feet, but somehow I couldn’t get lockdown in the forefoot. My foot would shift on lateral movements and that’s a first class ride to blister city. Aside from that good shoe overall.

  3. I’ve been saying this about the cushion and people kept making excuses about what’s needed blah blah blah. The point is getting the best bang for buck as a consumer. People shouldn’t make excuses for the absence or, more accurately, the REMOVAL of a feature. There once was heel cushion and it was removed. Removing a feature is always going to seem like a step back to me. If my feet didn’t outgrow my Melo M8 then I’d still be balling in those. Those worked. They were comfortable. Build on what works. That’s just my two cents but I studied business as well so I knew exactly what it was about and what everything is usually about…$$$

    1. I’m always curious if heel cushion is necessary since learning a couple of years ago from runners that you should be landing on your forefoot or mid foot rather than your heel.

      An example that doesn’t use forefoot cushion is Asics. I’ve been buying some of their Basketball shoes the past couple of years and they usually only have gel cushioning in the heel and foam up front (they do have a good foam IMO, in spEVA). Either they are behind the 8 ball or they really do think heel cushioning is still necessary. I mean Asics are a pretty high-tech company, so if you didn’t need it in the heel and did need it in the forefoot, I would have thought that they would have changed it up by now.

      Also, doesn’t heel cushioning also help for landing when jumping?

  4. Sorry if I missed it, but did you find any real improvement over the M11?

    On the note of (no) heel cushion, I know the M11’s outsole was cored out and I thought it kinda helped make for softer impacts. The M12 here looks…flat sans that groove.

      1. Thanks for the response and input. Review did make it seem like there wasn’t a substantial evolution happening, just wanted make sure that really was the case.

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