Nostalgia is a great thing… but I’m not blinded by it.
Traction – While they feature full length herringbone… they weren’t quite as good as I remember. They still had above average traction and outdoors, they’ll get the job done while lasting you a while, but compared to some of the more recent performance shoes released… things sure have changed. Don’t get me wrong, they’re not bad at all. Just not ‘great’. Clean floors they’ll do just fine but dusty floors – even just light dust – and you won’t receive the same grip. I think part of the issue is that the shoes aren’t as flexible as they originally were. Thicker midsole and a denser Phylon reduced their court feel and mobility a bit.
Cushion – Heel and forefoot Zoom Air are in place and they feel great, unlike some of the more recent Nike models. However, that thicker and denser midsole does come into play here as well so again… not quite as good as I remember the original being. I understand that nothing is ever quite as good as the original, but that’s all I really have to compare them with and since I’ve played in the ’97, ’02 and more recent 2014 version… its pretty much all I know. If you’re looking for Zoom, then they’ll give you just that. Just know that you’ll site up a little higher than you may be used to.
Material – Once again… not as good as nice as the original but there are some positives. When you have a leather that’s been coated with PU as heavily as these have been then you get a really durable shoe. This is where the originals lacked quite a bit. They were plush and premium but their durability pretty much went out the window. Now, the down side to having them be more durable is that you’ll have a much longer break-in period. Nothing too serious if you’ve been hooping in Fuse based products but if you’re used to softer leather then this will give you a slightly different feeling. Greater durability and a little more strength for support isn’t a bad trade-off in the grand scheme of things… even though I’d take softer leather any day of the week.
Fit – Just like most Jordan Retro models, these run 1/2 big. Wide footers may get away with grabbing their true size but other than that, I’d recommend going 1/2 size down for a proper fit. Their lockdown is nothing incredible, just basic, but it works. What I do like is that they are still nicely padded so you can lace them up tightly without cutting off circulation.
Support – Just like their lockdown, support is pretty much average or basic. There are no crazy features, nothing Dynamic whether it be the Fit or some Flywire. Just a nicely built shoe that you lace up and hoop with. There is a TPU shank for torsional support which does its job well and the outsole is pretty stable. Honestly, even though there are shoes with all kinds of everything to add support… nothing really beats something simple like this… and now I just sound old.
Overall – They’re still 100% playable. Maybe not quite what I remember them being but I was young and times have changed. They were also my only shoe back then so I probably remember them being “so awesome” just based on the fact that I had to wear them everyday… on and off the court. Let’s face facts though, they’re no longer the pinnacle of performance as they were back in ’97… but when you lace them up you feel like you’re 14 again… that’s gotta count for something.
You can grab these now in two colorways at Finish Line and expect more colorways to come soon.