I’ve read all the great reviews about the XX9 so I picked these up during the Nike clearance sale for $124 to see what all the hype was about. I will also compare the XX9 to the XX8 SE
King of the Court Shootout
Before I get into the comparison let me give you a sale pitch on a new 2015 Mercedes.
Introducing the newest, lightest and most technology advances Mercedes, the MB 2015. Here are some features we added:
Here is what we took away
Oh and we made the price 50% more than last years model.
and the material is not as durable and susceptible to abrasions and will degrade faster than last years materials.
Now would anyone in their right mind go for the newer model and not feel like they have been duped ? You can argue that the new frame is where the increase in cost is coming from but if you believe that I have some ocean front property in Arizona for you.
PROS: Traction, comfortable sock like upper, breathable, forefoot cushioning , fit
CONS: No Zoom in heel? These are called Air Jordans, not forefoot Air Jordans, containment, tipsy at the heel, upper not durable
BEST FOR: lightweight guards, straight runners/non cutters, swag champs
Traction is great on both the XX8 and XX9 but I think the fatter pattern took away some of the bite. The XX8 has much sharper peaks and deeper grooves made from a slightly more pliable rubber than the XX9.
When I read that Jordan Brand decided to take away the heel Zoom Air because it wasn’t really necessary, I thought “is a $225 shoe without Zoom Air necessary? What about cavier and sushi rather than Mac and cheese ? ” This isn’t about necessity, it’s about the luxury of owning the premier basketball shoe.
Anyways, the new unlocked Zoom set up is more recessed into the sole and turned a quarter turn. This 1) lowers the ride compared to the XX9 2) allows the Zoom to flex more naturally since the segmentation runs sideways vs lengthwise 3) makes the unlocked Zoom less prone to popping and costing Jb less money for returns. I had a friend of mine bust his XX9 and Superfly 2 air in the span of two weeks and he isn’t even a high flyer (sorry Ben, the truth hurts lol). Luckily, they were both under warranty so he got replacement vouchers.
Above: The transition is better thanks to the additional rubber between the forefoot and heel.
I have yet to pop mine but I know it’s just a matter of time. The thing that irks me is why did JB bother to set up the XX8 the way they did ? Didn’t they weartest the shoes beforehand? What if my shoe pops outside the 2 year window? It isn’t a defect but rather a design flaw imo
Above: almost perfectly flush with the outsole
Below: at least 1 or 2mm more protrusion on the XX8
The new setup feels less unlocked than the XX8 since it is recessed and you’re contacting the floor with the Zoom and outsole all at the same time versus just touching the floor with Zoom only . You can still feel it though but you have to know what to look for. It isn’t worlds away better feeling than regular Zoom like the XX9 but it does feel great nonetheless.
The foam in the heel feels like Phylon and does its job but to skimp out doesn’t seem like Jordan’s style. I am a heavy heel striker especially when I’m running down the court so I really like to feel that extra bounce on the XX8.
VERDICT: XX8 easily especially in the heel
The XX9 fits great plain and simple. They eliminated all the deadspace on the shoe to make it as sock like as possible. Look how much smaller the XX9 looks vs the XX8
I went with my normal sz 11 and they fit perfectly, leaving me a finger width between my big toe and the end of the toe box. The heel fit is is fantastic too thanks to the dog bone inside the heel that prevents any slipping.
One thing to note with the flexible upper is that the laces come loose more quickly than normal. When you see a movie and a guy is tied up in rope, how does he get out ? He wiggles and shimmies to loosen the rope and that’s precisely what happened when the upper flexes and moves around the ankle. I’d start the game perfectly tied but it kept loosening up as the game went on. Not a big deal but just something I noticed.
The XX9 fit very well albeit it had more of a normal shoe fit since the upper isn’t Performance Woven upper and Flightweb or whatever they call it. I had perfect lockdown in the XX9 as well and did not need to size down like some other reviewers stated as I stuck with my size 11. No deadspace or side to side movement to speak up either but the XX9 just fits better.
SUPPORT and STABILITY
Some shoes have great support and marginals stability while others have exceptional stability but mediocre support. In my opinion I’d rather have the latter so I don’t have to worry about the support since the stability of the shoe will keep me firmly planted.
The XX9 support comes from its fit and have heel counter. I am an over pronator and you can see it just by looking at how my laces lean toward the inside of my ankle.
There is a plastic shank but it does little in keeping my ankle from rolling in whereas the XX8 has a carbon fiber shank plate or flightplate as they call it.
Above: carbon fiber over plastic any day
As I said earlier I don’t mind a shoe that is stable while sacrificing some support but the XX9 failed my heel test. Sure, upon a perfect landing I won’t sprain my ankle but I’m more concerned with imperfect landings when I have to land on my heel or when I’m pushed mid air.
See how narrow the XX9 is vs the XX8
In addition the heel counter is a lot more flexible than the XX8
Good ol carbon fiber. Why change a good thing ?
Every carbon fiber piece on the XX8 was replaced with plastic on the XX9 including the footstay at the forefoot. Couple the woven upper with a more flexible plastic and the net result is below average containment. I could feel my foot coming out of the footbed and feeling the plastic flex on hard cuts. The woven upper is fine but there needs to be either 1) a stiffer footstay 2) higher footstay 3) more coverage along the lateral side , maybe even midfoot to forefoot.
I did not have this problem with the XX8 although I have had better containment on shoes such as the Rose 5 or Lebron Solder VI. I think if you are lightweight or don’t cut a lot or very hard you wouldn’t notice the containment issue but I definitely do.
This happened after fifteen minutes of shooting around. I thought it was dirt
It is hard to see in the pic but the woven upper already started fraying from a little toe drag…. After fifteen minutes of shooting around. I’ve seen and read about ripped uppers/Lace loops so it doesn’t surprise me but it is still disappointing. Maybe some kind of reinforcement at the toe box like they make for most hoop shoes ? The golf shoe cousin of the XX9, the TW 15 has reinforcements at high wear/ high stress areas such as the laces and toe box( review coming)
I know JB wanted to showcase the upper but come on..
AJ XX9 retail: $225
Sale price: $125
AJ XX8 SE retail: $150
Sale price : $79 although I got a steal on Eastbay for $60 after coupon
In free shoe reviewer world you can just a shoe without taking price into account but I’m buying these myself so I want the most value I can get.
VERDICT: AJ XX8
Although I enjoyed the slightly lower ride, ultra comfortable upper and lightweight,the XX9 just didn’t do it for me. It lost some of that bounce, traction, as well as stability while adding a hefty $75 to the retail price. Is it worth $225? Hell no.Is it worth $125? Maybe depending on what your individual needs are but they aren’t going to make my rotation. Is it better than the XX8? No, but don’t get me wrong, it is a good shoe overall but I can get more value, more Zoom, and more support from the XX8 for a lot less money.
Just bought these off nike for $125. Debating on whether or not to even try these on court or just get my money back After your review. I need traction and I wish it had heel zoom. Although they feel uber comfortable. I didn’t spend too much on them so I don’t feel too bad. Is the traction better than the Hyperev 2015 or Kobe X? The Kobe X traction was a let down in my opinion.
Try them out , nike has a great 30 day return policy even if worn .Traction is better than the Hyperrev and Kobe X. I actually like the Kobe X traction even though it isn’t as sticky as the IX. If you are a hard slasher/cutter(I think you said
That) you’ll notice the flexing on cuts. The upper is the only thing better than the Xx8
Traction is better than the Hyperev 2015 and Kobe X?! Man…I have to keep these then. And yes I am a hard slasher. Thanks for always giving me great insight!
Just like me on the never ending quest to find perfect traction lol
They are all good imo . Have to break in the xx9 a little bc it has some film on it
Great comparison piece. I had similar issues with both of these. The XX8 was fantastic from materials, fit and cushioning but had an indefensible design flaw. At 165 lbs mine popped in 2 weeks. The XX9 fit great but was embarrassing from a quality and cushion standpoint. Not a bad shoe but pretty poor for a flagship model.
Thanks Jake! I felt the upper was nice but didn’t add any performance benefit (and they ripped easily) taking away the heel was a money move by jb not a performance move.! I haven’t popped the xx8s yet but I don’t use them enough compared to all my other shoes . Just a matter of time though which is sad .
I enjoy your reviews as well btw!
Agree with how the shoe doesn’t help slashers or provide basic stability needs. Very surprised at the love the xx9’s are getting from “wear testers”. Seems like their reviews are biased… I would to after getting an invite to MJ’s mansion to wear test the xx9’s haha!
Lol . Woven feel great but there is big difference between comfort and performance .
Its possible that these were too big. I dont feel any of these issues cutting as hard as possible @ 180lbs.
I tried sizing down and same issue . Really dependent on movement . It isn’t as bad as some other shoes I’ve tried recently since it actually has that foot stay at the forefoot .
Is XX9 mid top shoe or high top shoe? are they on your rotation?
It’s s mid . No it is not in my rotation I don’t think it is that great. Poor containment, a little tipsy at the heel, almost zero external support.
Love the and thanks for all the effort put in to it. For someone who values Cushion + Ankle Protection/Stability. Would you recommend the D.Rose 5/6 or Jordan 28? (Indoor outdoor shoe)
Rose 5/6 .the cushioning is on the xx8, but boost is just as good just different. Rose 5/6 are designed to be more protective as well.
Thanks for all your reviews !!
I’am a volleyball player who loves basketball and basketball shoes. I played with Lebron X and Lebron XII. I plan to get the XX9 low, because it seems to have great responsiveness. I am looking for great cushioning great responsivness and lightness. Do you think I should get theese or i’d better go for the Rose 6 ?
I think the xx9 low would be a great volleyball shoe. I played a little in college ,nothing serious but I can see it as a good volleyball shoe. I’d probably take it over the Rose 6 for volleyball bc you need a little more responsiveness/faster reaction time with volleyball. You can be a little more free with volleyball shoes vs Bball shoes imo
Wow thanks for your quick answer !!
According to your experience what would be the best (available for France) basketball shoes for volleyball ?
Well in my limited volleyball experience, I think a firmer cushioning set up is better than a plusher set up. Of course this depends on your preference and position (hitter, blocker, setter etc). But since you’re not running up and down a court and jumping in traffic you don’t need as much support or cushioning. Plus since volleyball is more of a high speed reactive sport (that volleyball is way faster than a person) that firmer cushioning will help. If you’re dead set on a basketball shoe crossover,look at the curry 2 or Clutchfit drive 2 or 1 low (or mid). Just firm enough imo , Crazylight boost 2 ,Kyrie 2 , Kobes in general or AJ xx9 as well would work . Hope that helps!
please what is the exact weight of the air jordan xx8?
I have to get my xx8’out of storage but I’ll try to get back to you when I do
please what is the exact weight of the xx8 compared to xx9?
Hey, nice review! Just wondering, would you recommend these over the Jordan SF 4 Jacquards?
I’d take the Superfly 4 (any upper) over the xx9 . More stable underfoot than the xx9 and lower to the ground by a hair
My local store has sale on the drose 6 and aj 29. Which one in ur opinion is worth copping?
Drose 6. I was never a fan of the xx9 because of the unstable heel. Drose has better cushioning heel to toe, more stable and similar traction.
Did the air jordan xx8 se give you problems with heel to toe transition? just wondering…what kept it from being on your top 10 rotation? Would u recommend this shoe to guys with flat and wide feet?
It’s agreat shoe. There is a little problem with heel to toe transition but not bad at all. Personally the upper was too minimal for me and shoe was a little high off the ground. Felt slow in them even though I probably wasn’t lol
No issues width wise so should be fine for flat wide feet like I have
Because good boost is not provided anymore I am probably buying a xx8 se… I am uncertain about the size. I usually wear a 10 but looking around a lot of people are saying that the xx8se run small. Any suggestion?
Xx8se doesn’t run small. I’d stay true to size or maybe half size down if you like a tighter fit. Be aware that the forefoot zoom is known to pop and you are out of warranty due to the age of the shoe . (I’ve had two friends Zoom pop)
Its also why i sold my xx8se. The price and the risk of it popping isnt worth it even if it performs very well.
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Would have been good only for that two year warranty period .
Man the popped Zoom makes me really scared. Does the original version (high top) have fewer chances to pop?
Yes, sorry I forgot to mention it
Zoom in XX8 vs Hyperrev 2016?
Xx8 feels better but rides higher and is prone to popping.
Hey Schwollo! Could you please tell me if the carbon fiber foot-stay of the XX8 SE’s positioned so that its next to your pinky toe, or is it positioned such that it is next to your 5th metatarsal head? I have owned a pair of LeBron 9 Elite’s in my true size, and the carbon fiber sidewall absolutely kills the top of the rightmost metatarsal on my right foot.
That is such a personal fit issue that whatever my answer is wouldn’t help. But fwiw it’s closer to pinky toe for me in true to size
Ah I see. Thank you!
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