The original Black Mamba…
Traction – Herringbone is used full length and this is one of those rare occasions where it isn’t always the best option. On clean floors the traction was super sticky and nearly flawless… sprinkle a tiny bit of dust onto the floor and the super sticky and nearly flawless traction turns into a slightly slippery experience. Even wiping regularly couldn’t keep the dust away so I found myself wiping my shoes every chance I could just to try and give it the best it could be. Reminded me a lot of my Air Jordan 5 experience… everything looked good but only played the way it looked in certain conditions.
Cushion – Probably the best overall cushion setup of any Air Jordan. We have a Phylon midsole with heel and forefoot Zoom Air – double stacked in the heel. The only way I can explain how they feel is that you’re playing on a cloud but a supportive cloud. Not too soft and not too firm, definitely not what I’ve been experiencing with other double stacked setups. For the cushion alone, these are a must try. You may not enjoy their aesthetics but it happens to be the most comfortable Air Jordan I’ve ever put on.
Materials – I love the materials and even with this pair being an original – not a Retro – they held up beautifully… even the glue. Patent leather is placed on the toe for reinforce strength and durability while plush leather makes up the rest of the shoe. Just the right amount of support and strength… for something so visually unappealing… they were designed beautifully.
Fit – They fit true to size and they are awesome. Other than the cushion, the fit and lockdown are their best attribute. The weird mamba inspired shroud provides the best lockdown I’ve ever experienced… in any shoe. They’re a little tricky to get on so make sure you give yourself an extra minute or so but once you’re locked in you’re ready to take flight.
Ventilation – My socks were heavy after playing in these every time. Absolutely zero ventilation on these guys but thankfully the lockdown made it so that you didn’t receive any blisters or sloppiness upon lateral movements. The Air Jordan 19 and Nike Zoom Glove are two of the worst ventilated shoes I’ve ever worn. Keep that in mind for those that play outdoors.
Support – The support is abundant but not restrictive like the recently reviewed Jordan Zion 1. You’re perfectly locked into place, dual outriggers for forefoot lateral & heel medial support while the Carbon Fiber shank provides slight spring back and torsional support. Abundant but not restrictive… again, beautifully designed when it comes to performance.
Overall – Aesthetics aside… these things might be my favorite on-court Balenciaga Triple S just after the XX8 (as of this review). If you can find a pair that are in wearable shape, or possibly the 2008 CDP version, then I would highly recommend them. The shroud is a little much so if you’d like to avoid that feature then try to hunt down a pair of the Air Jordan 19 SE’s. Their ventilation sucks pretty bad but everything else in this shoe is great… just make sure you dry mop the court before you play.
Only 4 more pairs to go… it’ll be weird when I’ve finally completed the project. It’s literally taken me years to finish.