The Jordan Why Not Zero.2 Performance Review is here. Spoiler alert: They’re awesome.
Traction performed just as I had initially anticipated: they just gripped. Dust was never really a huge problem unless the floor at 24 Hour Fitness hadn’t been cleaned all week — yes, that actually happens at my 24 Hour Fitness. However, when the dust build up was that bad, the shoes still held its own on the floor.
I still prefer slightly larger circular patterns, like the Air Jordan 1, but if we’re just talking about what works, this is it.
The Why Not Zero.2 gripped outdoor courts just as well as they did indoor courts. However, thte rubber is on the soft side so if you were expecting a long-lasting outsole, then you may end up disappointed. While the outsole lasts, you’ll receive very good coverage but the blacktop will chew up the rubber sooner rather than later.
Forefoot Unlocked Zoom Air is in place, the same setup as the forefoot in the Air Jordan 33. The under-foot feeling is a bit different as the Phylon used between the two is not the same. Injected Phylon is what the Why Not Zero.2 midsole is made of and Injected Phylon is on the fluffy/bouncy side compared to the stuff used on the AJ33 — which may have been compression-molded Phylon and that is a much more dense foam compound.
With this model, you’ll get all the forefoot impact protection with the large volume Zoom Air unit that you did in the Air Jordan 32 and 33 but without the break-in time. Thank goodness.
The heel, despite just being Phylon, feels very comfortable and will help with minor impact. Do I miss the full-length Zoom Air setup found on the original Why Not Zero.1? Yes. I really do enjoy full-length Zoom Air, not just because it’s full-length, but because you sit a little closer to the floor. That obviously won’t be the same for all players, but my preference between the two leans towards the original setup. The Zero.2 is a little bouncier so if cushion and feedback from the cushion is your thing, then these might be exactly what you’re looking for.
Mesh and knit are found along the upper and there isn’t much to be said about it; it works. It requires zero break-in time. It’s moderately durable and it’s comfortable. Is it my first option? No, I’d have gone with a mix of textile and leather. However, for this being the new modern standard, the build gets the job done nicely.
The shoe fits true to size. I’ve been told by a friend that is wide-footed that he also went true to size, but if you happen to have a wide foot, then trying the shoe on is the best option to ensure they fit to your liking.
Lockdown, while nowhere near as awesome (suffocating) as the first model, is very good. There are overlay straps/panels in place that wrap around the foot at the forefoot, midfoot and rear. When you use textile, this is the way to enhance the experience; these areas can be customized to your specific foot shape as they’re fairly independent from the main build.
The only time I ran into any real issues with the lockdown was in the rear section of the shoe and it was only with certain socks. For whatever reason, the lining inside the shoe and some of my socks don’t get along very nicely. Once moisture is involved, things get a little slick. Luckily, the heel has an exaggerated TPU heel counter which is what really helped keep my foot onto the footbed whenever this would occur.
Support is good, but not as good as the original.
The original Why Not Zero.1 sat on a very wide flat base. These do not. This model is a bit more tipsy up front like the Air Jordan 33. It’s not something I prefer, but it is something you get used to. However, as a direct comparison, I preferred the stability on the Zero.1 much more than this setup. The Why Not Zero.2 feels like it was designed for speed whereas the original definitely wasn’t. A wider base and a more flat forefoot area, maybe an outrigger, would have been my ideal setup but I never had any issues with the shoe in terms of lateral stability so it might just be a placebo.
Midfoot and rear heel support come from the TPU plates that makeup the FlightSpeed system. These are two areas that are much better than previous renditions featuring decoupled tooling. The TPU keeps the area strong but not heavy. It also allows for some flex up front at the toe.
Again, my only real complaint is the width in the forefoot. I loved the really wide setup we had on last year’s model, but I know there were plenty that didn’t. If you were one of those players, then this setup might be the right one for you.
Overall, the Jordan Why Not Zero.2 is a badass shoe. They’re quick, comfortable, supportive where you really need it and they don’t need a ton of break-in time. The price point is perfect and the tech specs are all there. Yes, there are some things I preferred a bit more on the last model, but the Why Not Zero.2 is a shoe built for Russell Westbrook — the Why Not Zero.1 was a team model with his name put on it. It wasn’t really made for him but they made it work. These are truly Westbrook’s shoe.
If you’ve enjoyed the Air Jordan 32 and 33 but disliked the bulky feeling they had, the Why Not Zero.2 will give you what you enjoyed out of those models without the restriction.
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