It’s almost been two seasons ever since I’ve been excited about this Air Jordan hoop shoe, the AJ11. Now that the big question here is whether the shoes will work well on court, I feel quite delighted to share with you my personal experiences with these. And since two seasons are enough to get intimate knowledge of the shoes, I’m gonna present to you my Air Jordan 11 performance review at length.
It’s safe to say that the AJ11 can definitely be regarded as a very classic shoe in the AJ series and the protagonist of today, the AJ 11 Concord, is also a classic colorway of the classic sneaker. Though beckoned by its simple yet nice-looking appearance at first, I became all the more infatuated with its performances. So how well does it perform on court after all? For the masses, is it a HIT or MISS? Here lie the answers!
What are the vamp materials and how well they’re made? What about build quality & long-term reliability?
The vamp utilizes black patent leather material without any soft mesh or fabric materials to make it better fit the feet, making it not so friendly to players’ insteps during the first several rounds. In spite of that, judging from my experience, the longer you play in it, the securer you’ll also feel in it because the leather vamp, on the other hand, is hard enough to offer sufficient protection.
But it is also crystal clear that the leather vamp won’t be impressive in air permeability. Indeed, the breathability is very poor, practically nil. Since I don’t have a big sweating problem I don’t really care much about this. Nevertheless, if your skin sweats fast, you’ll probably feel it a bit with these.
As for its wrapping performance, buddy, you might not expect too much of it. To be frank, I’d previously heard from some reviewers that the vamp wrapping had failed them, though not to the point of unplayable. From my perspective, the wrapping is not surprising, but not that bad, either. Before tightening the laces, there’s still room above the insteps. But as long as you tighten the laces, some qualitative change will take place: you’ll only feel that your feet are firmly locked in the footbed, which makes you feel like the two have integrated into one.
Being a middle-top sneaker though, it also locks my ankles quite well, providing a sense of security for me who have ankle injury. With that I can just play to my heart’s content and put to good use my athletic performance.
How much all-around support does the sneaker offer? Then what about lateral stability and foot containment?
We all know that a sneaker’s support matters a great deal because it helps avoid potential injuries for us. Then what kind of support can be said to be qualified for on-court use? Well, if you’ve had experience with one of the successful Harden releases, such as the 3rd, you’ll know what a good, supportive sneaker is like. Although the support of the AJ 11 is not a patch on that of the Harden shoes, AJ 11 is capable of overwhelming many sneakers on the current market in this respect.
In fact, while I was making breakthroughs or changing directions, the support features are in place and the vamp simply holds my foot in place nicely and as a result I don’t see any apparent restrictions there. The ankle & heel lockdown, and foam sidewalls medially and laterally to keep the foot in place, I think, can satisfy most hoopers.
How good can the impact absorption be ? What about the ride height and comfort?
The AJ 11 features a full-foot Air Sole which sounds good, if not outstanding. Well, on paper that is. But in reality, it may be worse than that, and I personally dislike this setup.
For players like me, heavier and bigger, with a weight of over 80kg, the setup is definitely insufficient for use. Actually, it took me quite a couple of sessions to begin feeling the little energy feedback of the cushion. Afterwards, although the Air Sole did fully break in and start working to its full potential, I still felt the whole sole was stiff and I could feel its a-bit-increased energy feedback only when I was landing.
Surely I cannot say it utterly falls short of impact protection or a proper heel-to-toe transition, but, though both are there, one cannot expect them to be excellent.
The forefoot and midsole areas both feel a bit low to the ground. And visually, there’s no much difference in how the heel feels vs. the forefoot and it just turns out to be the case. The overall cushion is well balanced and stable, every nook and cranny. Yep! You read that right!
Certainly for quite a number of players, this setup is not enough for them to use, but what’s a bad thing for one may be beneficial to another. For those who are close to the explosiveness or the style of Westbrook, these shoes would be quite a blessing. Although I cannot fully experience its good because of my weight, it would be more than agreeable for guards with small weights and those forwards. According to some of my friends who are lighter players, they really appreciate the comfortable and secure experience cushion-wise.
Once again, the cushion won’t be good for everyone. Depending on your personal situations and needs, I’ll leave it for you to decide whether the cushion is your thing.
Thanks to the large carbon plate in the midsole, the shoe offers me excellent torsion resistance as well as excellent arch support! In the breakthrough phase, the shoes won’t deform excessively, but definitely some slight deformation is inevitable.
Traction and durability
Is the outsole sensitive to the court dust/debris? Can it deal with various surfaces?
The AJ 11 features herringbone in both the forefoot and the heel areas while the middle portion is covered with crystal materials. If I say that the cushion is super poor, then the traction, on the contrary, is super good.
Personally I prefer outdoor courts to indoor ones. On concrete and blacktop courts without much dust and debris, mostly, I haven’t experienced slippage in it so far. And it’s also true that abrasive surfaces can save the shoe’s traction. Besides, some occasional wipes will keep the bite healthier or have it improved. But even if you don’t want to bother yourself with that, it’s utterly OK because you won’t be sliding all over the place without wiping them.
On indoor courts, however, I’ve so far played in it for only three times. And my impression is that on smoother indoor courts, the traction is somewhat decreased. After all, though it is super good, it is not undefeatable.
For the durability, you may first get some clues from the pictures here. This is what they look like right now. To be frank with you, I had no confidence in the durability of the outsole because of its crystal material, but I found later that this was quite a prejudice. A week later, the outsole stood the tests of high-intensity plays and remained intact still. So I deem that you can rest assured to play on concrete courts.
The AJ 11 is a surprising package, that’s for sure. Except for the cushion it has delivered everything I need. I can say that I feel secure, comfortable, and confident in these. Not only are their performances made the most of, but my athletic performance is also put to good use.
The sneaker is definitely perfect, and for those completists this is far from their expectations. However, for the most of us, the shoe can be listed as a top-ranking one and is satisfying at the same time. Giving it an opprotunity, the odds are that you’ll also dig this one a lot !