Finally an ambassador worthy of the JB buzz machine
But does the new Jordan match the hype of the new face of JB?
Let’s face it, love or hate JB, you pay attention to the launch of the latest Jordans. Throw in all the influencer marketing on YouTube and you can’t really avoid it. Are they always aesthetically pleasing ? Not every shoe during MJ’s playing date were hot but most non MJ playing year have fallen on the the meh side of things. I think these look great but of course nobody is reading this for my style tips so on with the review !
Pros: traction, cushioning, fit, support, stability, containment
Cons: some wiping required on dustier floors, arch support may cause pain, pricey, materials are meh
Best for: any position
Sizing advice: true to size or half a size up. I really advise going in store to try on. Half size up would be the safest bet.
Buying advice: like all shoes these days these are sitting. Wait for discounts as these will get down to the $100-120 level like all Jordans these days. But can you hold off after watching Zion highlights is the real question.
15 ounces vs 15 ounces. Way to go JB!
Jordan brand touts these as one of the lightest Jordans ever and they are average weight for a mid despite the tech spec “upgrades”. “One of the lightest” is about as generic and broad of a sentence as you can get without lying. Most of the weight is on the bottom since the upper is so minimal. But hey if a someone thinks they are uber light so be it!
Thank you JB
Thin flexible and slightly modified herringbone really works well. It doesn’t squeak like crazy (nor does it matter). Just a good reliable pattern slightly angle to give a little more stopping power side to side.
It is not the best ever but it’s definitely up there and works well on all floor conditions. Some slight wiping on really dusty floors but not much at all. Well done JB!
Really lots of surface area coverage in the forefoot, and just a standard smallish rectangle in the heel. I’m sure Fastpass.cn will have a break down if they haven’t yet.
Even though it’s smallish you can feel the Zoom directly with your hands and obviously your heel. Much smaller than the Kobe IV heel and shorter than the Zoom Freak 1 heel.
You can see how wide and fairly thick the Zoom is. I’m guessing 8- 10 mm which is standard…thanks for the view Eclipse plate
And here you can see how much it covers toe to almost midfoot.
It is NOT AJ 28 level (or 29 31 32 or 33 or melo m8-11) but it doesn’t need to be. It just feels like Zoom should feel almost right out of the box thanks to a softer foam carrier similar to the PG3. No need to add in protrusions or speed plates to artificially increase Zoom feel if the bags are nice and big. I could feel the Zoom in the heel pretty easily even though it isn’t the biggest (that’s what she said? 😞) since it’s directly underfoot. The forefoot feels fairly good after break in but it is under a few millimeters of foam so it isn’t surprising that the Zoom feel is muted. I suspect this is what the Zoom Rise and Alpha Dunks sort of feel like (Ill get around to those soon I hope, the Rize is already on sale for 104 on Nike).
If you’re looking for plush or KD 9-10 level you’ll be disappointed but if you want a very well balanced and fun overall set up, you’ll really like these. Guards and bigs should really enjoy the cushioning even if there are better feeling set ups. FWIW the Kd12 feels better underfoot to me but not by much.
Well done JB !
The AJ 34 features L.A.C.E.S technology
I told you Fast Fit would be gone after the 33.
Anyways,, regarding sizing I suggest true to size or half a size up depending on your foot shape. The shape of your toes will really determine how the forefoot of the shoe fits you and if you should size up at all. I had my normal finger width of space at the toe box with true to size. No movement side to side or heel slip thanks to the mid cut. I highly recommend buying two sizes and or trying them on in store because the fit can be too tight in the forefoot.
No issues with the fit at all thanks to the assistive nature of L.A.C.E.S. or what I like to call laces.
Quad axial upper? Mesh? It’s just mesh with lines
I haven’t looked hard into what JB calls this stuff but it is very similar to the KD 12 upper without the padding underneath.
Interior view. You can really see how minimal the upper is.
This stuff looks cheap AF but plays fine. It’s strongish and flexible but never really looks smoothed out and always looks bumpy. It just looks unfinished to me but oh well. Maybe that’s the look they wanted ? Flyknit would have felt
better but mesh is cheaper and materials don’t really matter. JB says they wanted it stripped down for performance but we all know it’s material changes are stripped down for profit
. Money talks, so marketing tells the story.
Support and Stability
Like most shoes these days the higher cut doesn’t do much. Add in the thinness of the upper and you really get zero support from the upper.
The higher cut is really just there to allow the laces to run higher and pull the heel back and down.
Midfoot support is good, very good in fact thanks to the Eclipse plate. Per JB
Eclipse plate made from molded TPU provides stability and support that engages during side-to-side movements. It’s hollowed out to let you see into and through the sole, giving insight to the Zoom Air cushioning within while reducing the shoe’s overall weight.
OK I can agree with that aside from the Aerodynamic part
Midfoot and back there is almost no flex which is great for PF sufferers. There is actual arch support due to the shape of the plate which depending on your foot shape and tolerance for pain is a good thing .
Medial side shot of the Eclipse Plate
Most shoes these days have zero arch support and my flat feet could barely stand it at the beginning but over time it molded a little bit more to my arches plus my mind and feet got used to it. If you have flat feet and you’re
a puss have a low tolerance to pain or change, you’ll probably hate these especially the first few times out.
Stability is good with no rolling and it easily passed my heel test thanks to a flat outsole, wide forefoot and the super stable eclipse plate. No issues at all with stability.
Containment is good but the “wall” in the toe box is oddly placed a little too far forward but this allows a little more natural flexing at the forefoot. Thankfully the mesh is strong and doesn’t flex much on hard cuts so no issues here. We wouldn’t want Zion to pull a PG again!
Stats and Fatigue
New category! Decided to throw this in as a section and I can say I played well in these. Shot lights out last run and averaged about average for me during league games (around 15-18 on average). No issues with fatigue although the arch support was killing me the first few days. I played and shot better in the Freak 1 but it ain’t the shoes kids.
Another new section I decided to add. Real Zoom, good fit and great traction? Really fun shoe and you don’t really notice you’re wearing them. Isn’t that what we all want?
Finally a new Jordan that features heel and for foot Zoom
Finally a new Jordan that doesn’t have Zoom that pops
Finally a new Jordan that does everything well
Finally a new face for the JB SIG LINE that gets fans excited again.
I liked the 28 but but wasn’t in love with it. I guess I never really felt fully connected to it while I played. It also sat a little high and was prone to Zoom failure.
The 29 had some containment issues and the heel was tippy and no there was no heel Zoom
30 was actually pretty good for me but traction could be better and I like heel Zoom
31 poor containment on the mids and iffy traction
32 not bad a little clunky
33 not bad a little clunky and ugly
1999 retro vs 2019 AJ 34..oh maybe that’s why the put the lines on the mesh #odetotheJV
The 34 does everything well and while I don’t see much of theAJ IV lineage (are they still doing that ? I see more AJ XXI than IV)I think it’s a fresh, good looking shoe that you forget about while you’re playing which is pretty much what every sneaker should strive for. It isn’t the best at anything in particular but overall it works great. Surprisingly (or not) these remind me a lot of a sneaker in my rotation; the tried and true seven year old. Lebron Soldier VI. As cool as the AJ 34 is, I get more Zoom feel and more support in a lighter package at 13 ounces for a fraction of the price. I’m not knocking the 34, it is a great shoe but it isn’t any better than what I have already (keep in mind I love the Soldier VI) I’ve said it time and time again that newer doesn’t mean better. If you’re in the market for a pair of hoop shoes, the AJ34 is a very safe bet because it performs well in every category except price. But we all know the Price Is Right rules right ?
First Team rating