I told you I was way behind! 
Nike clearance time always gets me For 95 bucks, I thought I’d give these a shot and I’m really glad I did.  This review will be short and sweet since most of the elements of the XXXI went directly to the low. A few important things changed though to make this a great all around performer and my favorite low top in a long long long long long time…and it’s now a new member of my rotation now as it replaces my lone low top, the Kobe IV. 


Pros: traction, Zoom feels like Zoom and plays low to the ground, improved fit, support, improved containment 

Cons: protruding Zoom in the heel takes a little time to get used to but doesn’t affect stability. 

Sizing: runs a little short and tight. Narrow or regular width will probably want to stay true to size but best to try on.  Wide footers will want to go up half a size. 

Buying Advice: still full size runs even at clearance sale prices of $95. $95 or less is very fair, bottom might be around $70 based on lack of movement at the current clearance price. 

Weight 

Not the lightest low but perfectly fine for me. 

Traction


Finally a solid outsole on the AJ XXXI!
I get it Jordan Brand, translucent looks better . I used to stare at my AJ V, VI and XI’s just because of that beautiful barely blue tint. I used to buy two or three pairs at a time because I couldn’t stand the yellowing. But that was for collecting purposes and for actual balling I could care less. 
And as theorized, the solid outsole works great and needs just  a little bit of time to break in to really grab. Not top tier but easily better than my Clutchfit Drive 1’s which is the bottom of my rotation in terms of traction yet still not as good as the Curry 2 Rose 7 etc. Still very happy with traction overall though. 

Cushioning

Same as the mid which is a good thing. Real Zoom feel although they could have implemented it like the Zoom BB for even better feel. Call me old fashioned but I still really love Zoom when done right and this just how I like it. It is stable and firm yet provides just enough spring that you can feel without any lag. Nice to see you get back to your roots JB, keep bringing this back out please!

Sizing

I went true to size with the mid but the low fits tighter and shorter in the toe box in my true size. My toe was at the front of the shoe with my true size 11 so I went up half a size to 11.5 and the fit was much better for me giving me a forefinger width. If you like a tighter fit or have narrow or regular width feet go true to size.

Fit


Better than the mid, just a nice one to one fit with no heel slippage from the get go. I’ve said it before but Nike/JB is very consistent and make lows better than the rest. I don’t have to fiddle around and make mods, these just go out of the box. 

The upper just hugs the foot out of the box like a sock which is what the materials are supposed to do while the heel is locked thanks to the way Nike designs their ankle collars. 


Seriously, unless  it’s patented, why don’t others don’t copy their design? Whether it’s a budget model or a Kobe or Jordan, I’ve almost never had an issue with heel slip. 

Overall just an excellent fit right out the box with no slippage or excess movement. 

Materials
 


Same as the mid with Flyknit covering the front 2/3 and patent or synthetic covering the back. Basically a mullet for sneakers. 

Support and Stability
 

Gotta get that smudge off 
Pretty much the same as the mid. All of the support comes from the fit and heel counter so if you want a little more support go with the mid. 

Stability is still good overall even though the Zoom protrudes a little. 


There is a little tippiness due to the protrusion when walking around but it doesn’t affect stability during play as it compresses. A nice long outrigger just like the mid in the forefoot also aids with stability. 

Overall no issues with support or stability just like the mids.  

Containment


Surprisingly pretty good. I had some movement in the mids but these seem to do a slightly better job since my foot sits below the black line whereas the mid sat above the line. The containment on the AJ XXXI low is far better than the Melo M12, JC2, JC3, and to a lesser extent the KD IX but not as good as shoes with higher raised midsoles or roll cages like the CLB16 or CE17. Amazing how that little bit of extra midsole and a firmer patent leather heel counter really helps keep my foot in on hard cuts. Not perfect but still very good. 

Conclusion 

I don’t even remember the release date of the XXXI lows but I’m really glad I picked these up. I really enjoyed playing in these right out of the box and it reminds me a lot of how the original Zoom BB Low played.  Fit was excellent with no fiddling around or heel slip and Zoom felt like it should, almost as good as the Zoom BB Mid. Of course as a traction lover, I was very pleased to see and feel the improved traction with the solid outsole.  The AJ XXXI Low’s combo of low profile cushioning, excellent fit and traction just make this a very nimble shoe on the court.  Dare I say it? This is the best low I’ve played in since the Kobe VI despite weighing four or five ounces more. It might even surpass the Kobe IV which you all know I love to death and is one of the few lows I actually play in still. Removing nostalgia and positive results on court from the past here is a break it down versus the IV. 

  1. Traction: tie 
  2. Cushioning: AJ XXXI Low 
  3. Fit: slight edge to the XXXI Low
  4. Support and Stabilty: technically a tie but takes time to get used to the protruding Zoom of the XXXI
  5. Containment: slight edge to the Kobe IV
  6. Materials: not a big deal to me but softer overall and nice quality feel on the XXXI 

So there you have it, a new low that does everything well has made it into my rotation market for under $100. Winner winner chicken dinner!

30 Comment on “Air Jordan XXXI Low Performance Analysis and Review

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