Another year, a few more hairs off my hairline, a few more pounds around my waist, another Air Jordan.
Thirty two years is truly amazing. If you think about it, the original Air Jordan could be a lawyer or doctor by now for Pete’s sake! Thirty years separate these two (technically only thirteen since these are the 04 retro but you get the gist). How does the latest and greatest from Jordan Brand perform ?
Pros: traction when clean or freshly wiped , cushioning, fit, nice materials support and stability, containment, good all around performer
Cons: outsole will pick up some dust so you need to wipe on occasion or risk slippage, takes some real break in time to make the clunky feeling go away and still isn’t the most fluid or flexible shoe, arch support is pronounced and takes time to get used to
Best for: bigger guards to big men. If you like minimalist hoop shoes like the Kobe 8 or Mamba Instinct, you probably won’t like these. On the other foot, if you like older Lebrons you will probably like these.
Buying Advice: wait as always, full size runs everywhere means excess inventory. I got mine on sale for $135 at Dick’s less than two weeks after the release date. $140 range is fair, bottom around $110-120
16.5 ounces puts it in the Rose 7, 8, and CLB 16 weight class. Average mids are about 14.5 to 15 ounces for reference.
Great traction especially on clean floors but not in the top tier across the spectrum of conditions. Definitely better than the translucent XXXI mid and low outsole. It sticks like glue on clean floors and slightly dusty floor but you still have to wipe dust off when dust is accumulates on the outsole. You can actually see the loose dust just sitting on these.
Nike and JB must have a stash of Zoom they just save for certain shoes while they give everyone else the nickel size Zoom so they can slap a Zoom label on it. Unlocked Zoom in the forefoot and a nice big heel Zoom makes these feel like the Zoom of yesteryear…probably because they are the size of the Zoom from yesteryear.
However, these do not feel as good as the Aj XX8. Unlocked Zoom, big protrusion = fantastic Zoom feel. This set up doesn’t blow my mind but it feels like Zoom should and is a great blend of impact protection, responsiveness and stability . ..you know what Zoom is known for. Glad to see Jordan Brand can #makezoomgreatagain
I do need to note that these ride fairly high, much higher than the XXXI because the forefoot Zoom is thicker. These sit almost as high as the Lebron 15. Not a big deal to me but it’s very noticeable comparatively. If low to the ground is your thing, these probably aren’t for you.
True to size although a little tight to start. They are a tad long but I only had a little more than a finger width at the toe box which is my preference.
If you have wide feet don’t pull on the laces around the midfoot to make the shoe feel comfortable. Also wear them a few hours and so the upper will stretch and break in nicely. I almost returned them just trying them but glad I didn’t after I broke them in.
Aside from the upper, a lot of the magic happens at the ankle collar and back.
These synthetic leather rands pull the ankle and foot back and keep them there. The Lows have them as well but they aren’t as long or wide.
No heel slip or movement side to side, just a tighter and more refined fit than the XXXI. Great job JB!
Nice Flyknit JB. Not a big deal for me but if you’re big into materials, you’ll enjoy these. Stretchy but tight where needed and conforms nicely to the foot.
Just like wood grain or leather in a car, nice materials on a shoe make you feel like you didn’t spend extra money for nothing. Nice job JB!
Support and Stability
Hey look a shoe that actual feels supportive?!
The way the XXXII pulls the ankle back along with the semi rigid heel counter feels very secure and safe. Think Hyperdunk 2016 lockdown and support but a little lower cut. It won’t affect your game but some players like more freedom.
The carbon fiber shank for the midfoot is back. Mj had these on almost all his shoes after the XI for his plantar fasciitis so it’s nice that JB brought this back. Plastic would have worked too but carbon fiber just looks so much better and belongs on a premium sig shoe. I can’t tell how long it runs but feels really rigid and adds stiffness and torsional strength to shoe. However, it isn’t the only component of the XXXII that makes it start off stiff (more of that below). If you have plantar fasciitis or like to limit torsion, these are great.
Stability is excellent on the XXXII thanks to forefoot outrigger and a fairly flat outsole around the heel.
I thought I’d feel much more stable in the XXXII vs the XXXI due to the lack of protruding Zoom but after extensive time in both, the protrusion didn’t make a difference. I do think the XXXII feels more supportive and protective due to the stiffer heel counter and all the foam along the raised midsole (see below) as well as the carbon fiber shank. It feels a little overdone to me but hey, it works.
Hmmm, look at all that raised midsole. Who would have ever thunk it? Me, that’s who
The 32 does a great job with containment thanks to the raised midsole as well as the more tightly woven knit. This raised wall is thick and needs to be broken in to make the shoe feel natural. One of the thickest and tallest parts of the wall located next to the Jumpman is right where it flexes the most. You can see the huge wrinkles along the midsole that need to break in. If you want to accelerate the process play the 32 like an accordion. Seriously, it helps. If you don’t allow for break in, the shoe will want to keep straightening like a wooden plank.
Jordan Brand did a nice job with the 32 as it does everything really well.
Sticky traction: check
Good Cushioning : check
Great fit: check
Supportive and stable: check almost to a fault
Nice materials so you don’t feel ripped off: check
Looks sexy: check check
There is literally nothing wrong with the AJ 32 except it needs some wiping on dusty floors and needs break in. But at the same time, there really isn’t anything that stands out to me and makes me want to keep wearing them. Maybe if I really enjoyed knit uppers? I will say the AJ XXXII is a safe shoe to buy meaning it should satisfy everyone except the minimalist hoop crowd that love shoes like the Kobe 8, Mamba Mentality, Instinct etc..It really plays like an an middle model LeBron which can be a good or bad thing depending on preference. At least Jordan Brand gave shoe tech geeks everything they asked for.
And for those people who complain about the price, well get used to it that’s the way premium brands work. Adidas is charging $225 for some Ultra Boosts, UA charged $400 for a champ pack (and limited them, really smart idea UA when you’re losing market share). If you don’t want to pay $185 just wait, I did and scored them for $135 at a dicks sale. Eastbay is already letting you use coupons too. Expect these to fall within the $140 range and eventually $120-110 range. I’ll have to thoroughly explain brand equity one of these days to everyone.
Will these make my top ten? Even though it does everything well, I’d have to say It just does everything well but to break my top ten today, I need that super special feeling, and aside from its looks and heritage, I just don’t get that from the XXXII… sorry I’m a romantic.
And I know I’ll get his question, I’d take these over the Lebron 15, no questions asked (review coming soon).