Sticking with the laceless theme this week. Sorry for the delay, I already ranked these in my 2018 review. It took me awhile to get my hands on these because

  • they don’t spark joy when I look at them (shout out to Marie Kondo!!)
  • They cost $175
  • I was waiting for holidays to roll around so I could use snag my friend’s pair. Gotta do what you gotta do.. I only used these for about seven hours so take this review for what it’s worth.

Usually I look forward to the new Jordans each year but this year I just looked (no forward). I will say the AJ 33 isn’t for everyone looks wise but it is a very good performer with an effective yet unnecessary lacing system. And like it’s looks, it isn’t for everybody.

Pros: traction, cushioning, support and stability, average containment

Cons: traction needs wiping on dusty floors, price, still a shoe a like feel, heavier than it has to be.

Sizing Advice: half a size down for regular and narrow, true to size for wide footers

Best for: any position

Buying Advice: post MJ, just wait. Who is the face of JB now that Kawhi is gone? Essentially it’s become an expensive team shoe. $130 is less is fair, bottom around $70-80. Be patient

Weight:

At 18.5 ounces looks like your Airness has had one too many Cheetos. Most of the extra weight is probably due to the lacing system. I’d imagine you could shed an ounce or two without it. Which would you rather have ? An decent laceless set up that saves five seconds or a lighter shoe?

Traction

I nub me some good traction and this outsole does well especially when clean or freshly wiped. I’ve had good experiences with Nike and it’s micro tread patterns and these worked fairly well when dusty, including grimy 24 Hour Filthness courts during dry winter days. Wiping was needed to keep tacky but it was much better than what I experienced with the AJ XXXI and Kobe XI translucent. I recommend cleaning between hoop sessions to keep as dust free as possible which is a good idea for any shoe.

This dirt was from bench I was using, not the court. Kidding of course but always use a towel at any gym 🤢

It doesn’t feel as sticky as some other translucent outsoles and the nubs just do a pretty good job keeping dirt at bay since they are small and flexible enough to keep brushing off dirt. I’m guessing the solid outsole performs just as well or better based on previous experiences. I should note it was surprisingly better overall than the HDX traction as well.

Cushioning

You can see the huge forefoot Zoom but note the lopsided heel Zoom in the back. Quality control anyone ? It didn’t make a difference on court but for $175….

Want to feel Zoom? Well just make it protrude and the Zoom has nowhere to go but into your foot. Jb made the protrusion huge on this very large forefoot zoom and if you can’t feel it, you may want to get your nerve endings checked or wipe of that KY Longer Lasting formula off your foot. It is not as lively or in your face as the AJ 28 because it is a large surface area but it still feels good.

Heel Zoom feels pretty good as well even with a small surface area of double stacked Zoom. Not sure if there is an actual benefit to double stacking versus a larger single heel unit but oh well.

Foam strobel

The foam encasing all the Zoom is firm and needs some break in but it never got to the softness of what I experienced with the HDX. If you want a softer yet lower ride go with the Hyperdunk but if you want bigger Zoom yet still stay responsive get the AJ33. Feels great either way but they have a different feel underfoot.

Well done Jordan Brand!

Fit

My friend is a size 11 and coincidentally so am I. I could have gone down half a size because there is almost a thumbs width of space at the toe box but I didn’t have to. I think regular and narrow footers can go down half a size depending on their preferences.

I had no issues side to side or front to back from the get go which is great given the penchant for shoes these days needing break in to eliminate heel slip. The fit works because the lacing system, although unnecessary, is smartly designed and works.

Lacing System

I tried to get a shot of the straps and strings inside the shoe but it was kind of hard to. The red strap next to the tongue is the MVP because it pulls the ankle back and down correctly. It’s nice and wide so it doesn’t place any pressure on the foot

I’m sure you’ve all seen or read how this system works. Undo the red strap, put foot in, tighten red strap, pull tab in front.

I don’t see this sticking around next year. It works fine but broken strings, heavier weight and higher costs in manufacturing will be the end of this idea. #lacinginnovation

Overall, it is simple and it might have saved me a few seconds of lacing time. It works fine but it isn’t as customizable as a normal lace set up. Some players want it tighter in the front of the foot some want it tighter in the mid foot etc..I personally wanted it to feel tighter overall but there seems to be a limit to how much you can pull it. However, it did a good job overall. Same strap as picture one. Made of nylon so it doesn’t stretch what a concept right? Pro tip, you can pull the tongue up a little to allow you to pull the strap down a little more for a better lockdown

I will also say it is comfortable since there isn’t any lace pressure but there are also plenty of shoes that are just as comfy that use a traditional lacing system.

Overall, I had no issues with the fit. No heel slip out of the box, no movement side to side. Good enough for me.

Materials

Not part of my rating but nothing to see here but Mehsh. If you’re big on value and how luxurious a shoe feels, look elsewhere.

Support and Stability

The AJ 33 is cut a little higher than a low but not by much. There is full range of motion so the support comes from the fit and heel counter.

Midfoot support is very good thanks to the hidden speed plate. I do not recall one AJ that is ultra bendy like the Kobe NXT 360 or Mamba Instinct. At least the Jordan line keeps true to MJ’s needs with a stiffer midfoot

Stability is very good with a flat and somewhat wide outsole. The Harden 2 is much wider as you can see below.

Overall, no issues with support or stability.

Containment

Although not horrible, containment is a weak spot of the AJ33. No large raised midsole (my foot sits maybe 1-2 mm below) so the only things keeping my foot in are mesh and synthetic leather rand. It isn’t Melo M12 bad or Brandblack JC2/3 bad so it’s acceptable.

Conclusion

I absolutely hate BS marketing and gimmicks so much that I wanted to say the AJ 33 sucks, I can’t say that though because it’s a very good shoe in every aspect except maybe containment. It is not one of those shoes you put on and forget you’re wearing but it is one of those shoes that performs well in almost every aspect.Would I pay $175? No chance of that as Jordan Brand is a faceless brand leveraging accomplishments by the MJ rather than moving forward with a new face. Some might argue Russ is the new face but he has his own line and he has the same number as rings as his number (Why Not Zero). With the Claw gone, it is essentially a team shoe with a bunch of marketed tech in it now. But tech, brand name and marketing alone isn’t going to keep a $175 price tag afloat for long. I think $130 or less is fair with the bottom around $70-80 like the past few Jordans.

Overall, it is a good shoe so if you love the looks and love sneaker tech, you’ll most likely love this shoe. Even if it isn’t for me, doesn’t mean it isn’t for you. Don’t buy under the influence of influencers.

Overall Second team rating

8 Comment on “Air Jordan XXXIII 33 Performance Analysis and Review

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