KICKZ Performance Review: Air Jordan XXXV

Photo by Albi Quito (2020)

There it is! The new Jumpman flagship, the much anticipated Jordan drop and the “most important shoe we make each year” according to Craig WILLIAMS is here. And quite honestly, who is not waiting each and every year to see what the GOAT’s (Yes, I called it!) new shoes have in store for us? After having rocked last year’s model on court, I was definitely curious to see how these would perform compared to the Air Jordan XXXIVs, which were straight up fire 🔥.


Just like last year, the optical focal point is without a doubt the Eclipse Plate. Yes, I’m pretty much talking about that hole in the middle of the midsole 😅. Apart from that, 30 years have passed since the release of the fifth rendition of the Air Jordan and this jubilee is also reflected in the XXXV’s look. You remember that iconic tongue and collar on the Air Jordan V? You’ll also find them on this one as a little homage to that all-time classic from 1990. Overall, as usual, the Jumpman flagship comes with a typical mid cut silhouette. Designwise, you get a little bit from the past combined with contemporary elements, which give the Air Jordan XXXV a fresh look. Personally, I like the clean visual design of the “DNA” colorway that I have in hand. However, expect these to release in a variety of other colors. You’ll definitely find your favorite along the way. When it comes to the weight, we now have 404 g compared to 368 g from last year’s version and you can definitely feel the added grams. Nevertheless, these still belong to the middleweight segment.


So talking about the added weight above, brings me directly to this point. Most of the extra grams can be credited to the updated material selection. While we mostly had that thin mesh-like material last year, the Jumpman company opted for a more premium touch on this one. As Tate KUERBIS states: “Integrating premium materials and textures was a priority for the Air Jordan XXXV.” Mission accomplished ✅, I would say as they came out with a nice mix of modern lightweight materials and old school premium layers of suede and leather. Nice execution, which not only looks good but also works well on the court and is ready to go pretty much out of the box.


Traction was beastly last year and so is it this year. Honestly, I don’t think they have changed much compared to the XXXIVs and why should they? They still have that aggressive herringbone pattern, which pretty much covers all of the outsole. Great bite, very consistent and reliable. To cut this section short, this just worked and delivered for me every time.


Honestly, the Air Jordan XXXIV must have had one of the nicest cushioning setups I have ever played in and surprisingly, Jordan Brand seems to have managed to improve again. The forefoot stayed pretty much the same. It was bouncy, responsive, stable and provided good court feel. So everything you would want from a basketball shoe. In the heel area, they upgraded the setup with a larger Zoom Air unit. Personally, I was very satisfied with what the preceding model offered in terms of impact protection. For me, the upgraded heel was not necessarily noticeable and pretty much felt equally as nice. However, I am convinced that bigger players will feel the difference and will be able to get the full potential out of this awesome cushioning.


I went true to size and these fit me like a glove. Overall the XXXV was very comfortable and lockdown was good. What I really liked was the padding and molding around the ankle and achilles areas. Not only did that have a positive impact on the shoe’s general feel, it also helped with heel containment. The only thing that could cause some problems is the Eclipse Plate though. As the 2.0 version comes up quite a bit and is pretty much made out of robust plastic, you could occasionally feel that plate pushing against your foot. For me it was not painful or disturbing but wide footers may want to try these on first or consider going up half a size.


The great fit takes care of lockdown and containment. Additionally, the Flightwire on the sides and the Eclipse Plate do their part to keep you laterally stable and in position. When it comes to ankle restrictions, I would take this model over last year’s, as the stronger build just offers more feedback around the ankles, which I personally prefer. Support was really good and had me locked in and stable at all times. 

Bottom Line

Can’t even tell you how excited I get, every time a new Air Jordan drops. This time was no different, but I honestly had pretty big expectations as last year’s model was just a beast. To my surprise, there were not too many surprises 😲🤷‍♂️. Jordan Brand pretty much went with the same (very similar) parts that worked for them greatly last year. So traction and cushioning stayed pretty much the same and performed very well once again. In addition to that, they added a beefier collar, which I greatly appreciated as it gives me the ankle support that I personally prefer. Yes, at EUR 185,- the price is steep but is justified by great performance features, which are pretty much top notch. From the performance view, I really do not see much of a weakness here. This is an awesome shoe. So if you are ready to spend top dollar on a high end sneaker, I don’t think you will be disappointed by this one.


How did you like the newest edition of the Air Jordan? Got questions about these? Shoot me a comment on Instagram or Twitter at @ONEtothe2.

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