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Jordan Tatum 2: An Improvement on the Tatum 1?

Jordan Tatum 2

The Jordan Tatum 2 is a very different shoe from the Tatum 1, but how does it perform on court?

Price: $130

Release Date: 2024

Total Score

The first Jordan Tatum was one of the more disappointing basketball shoes of last year. It was very lightweight, but that was its best feature. The fit was wonky, lockdown was average and traction was spotty at best. So, when the first images and the tech specs of the Tatum 2 surfaced, sneaker fans were immediately intrigued.

The Tatum 2 is a completely different shoe. It features wildly different tech and a completely new build, but, if you’ve been into sneakers for any amount of time, you know that implementation is everything. With that in mind, let’s jump into the review and see how the Jordan Tatum 2 actually performed on court.

Jordan Tatum 2 Review

Jordan Tatum 2 Specs

Jordan Tatum 2 Traction

Traction was the main weak point of the first Tatum shoe. It featured a primarily foam-based setup with a rubber traction pod in the forefoot. Choosing to use foam over rubber is normally a weight-cutting measure and, if the foam is grippy (like in Under Armour shoes that feature Flow foam) it can work out well. The main drawback of foam traction setups is that they are less durable and tend to pick up dust on not-so-clean surfaces.

Unfortunately, the foam on the Tatum 1 had all of the weaknesses of a foam traction setup and none of the strengths. We were surprised when we got the Tatum in for testing and saw that it featured a very similar configuration. The sole in this version does feature more rubber, but a good amount of it is still foam. Did it grip the court any better? Slightly, but not by much.

The sole of the Tatum 2 is very flat and picks up dust very easily. The rubber traction pods take some time to break in, but even when they do, they offer average traction on court. This setup is not ideal for outdoor use because the foam portions have very poor durability. But the worst part about the sole, and the shoe in general, is how stiff it is.

Grip aside, the ride is not smooth. The shoe is, for lack of a better term, slappy, which is odd as it is designed specifically for Jason Tatum, one of the smoothest and most fluid players in the NBA.

Jordan Tatum 2 Cushion

Cushioning in the Tatum 2 is very different from what we saw in the Tatum 1. In this model, we have a Phylon midsole that houses a full-length Air Strobel. The setup is very low profile and provides a ton of reactiveness and court feel while maintaining a decent amount of impact protection. This is by far the best aspect of the shoe, however, because of how stiff everything else is on the shoe, it does not allow the cushioning to shine through.

If you can get over the lack of mobility in the Tatum 2, the cushioning setup is actually decent, especially if you are playing on a nice indoor court. It’s not ideal for outdoor use as impact protection is not its strong suit but on more forgiving surfaces it performs adequately.

Jordan Tatum 2 Materials

Materials on the Tatum 2 are another negative aspect of the shoe. In the colorway of the shoe we tested, the upper is built in a cheap canvas-style material which is lightweight and in terms of lockdown works just fine. But it doesn’t feel great in hand and takes a good amount of time to break in. Where Jordan Brand really dropped the ball as far as materials go is the two bright yellow rubber pods in the forefoot.

Much of the lack of flexibility in the Tatum 2 can be attributed to these two pods. There is a second set of foam pods in the midfoot that work just fine to add lateral containment, but the first two are inexplicably bad. Almost any other softer material would have added containment in that portion of the shoe and would have allowed for more mobility.

Material quality is bad, as is its all-around performance.

Jordan Tatum 2 Support

Support, as you might have guessed, can be described as solid, but for all the wrong reasons. For example, there is no torsional shank plate in the shoe, but it’s way too stiff. The upper offers a good amount of containment and structure but because it’s overbuilt and cumbersome. So, yes there’s a good amount of support and lockdown, but to the detriment of the shoe all around.

Jordan Tatum 2 Fit

Did Jordan at least fix the fit in the Tatum 2? Nope. The fit is long and narrow, just like the Tatum 1. So, if you’re interested in picking up a pair, go with your normal size in Nike/Jordan. Just know what you’re getting into. Going down half a size to solve the length issue is not a good idea, because the width would suffocate your foot.

Jordan Tatum 2 Overall

Disappointing is the best way of describing the Tatum 2. All the changes Jordan made to this shoe did very little to improve performance in any way. Jordan Brand now has two of the worst signature lines on the market: the Tatum and the Zion. The Jordan 38 is an amazing performance model, which makes these gaffes all the more surprising. Hopefully, they can get their act together for the Tatum 3.

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