It’s high time that we talked about the Air Jordan 34 that has always been highly expected ever since it was available. It should be mentioned that it’s been quite a while since I’ve played in it. Maybe a season or two. Although it may sound not long enough to get intimate knowledge of every nook and cranny of the sneaker, I deem that I can still share with you my feelings and experiences in it. So let me present to you my Air Jordan 34 performance review.
The shoe, ostensibly, looks quite beckoning and is also a breath of fresh air. But it’s known that this is merely a part of the whole story. What really counts is its performances on court. So is it a HIT or MISS on earth? Well, let me share with you my opinions in this review in which I’ll break it down from the following perspectives.
1.Wrapping and Breathability
How does the vamp material perform? Is it a reliable one for summer day use?
The Air Jordan 34 utilizes light cotton cloth and cicadon all over the vamp such as on the midfoot, toebox, and heel. Therefore, the most intuitive feeling when I first wore the Air Jordan 34 was that I could hardly feel the existence of the vamp. Yes! You read that right! The vamp is so lightweight and fits my feet so well that I feel like I were merely wearing a pair of socks. Without any heel slippage or side-to-side movement, I can always play to my heart’s content.
When doing any breakthrough movement in actual plays, I feel as if my feet were integrated with the vamp whose response is particularly quick. Though there’s barely any stretch, it can be a good thing security-wise. So you may just rest assured and trust the vamp material.
Based on what I’m feeling, the relatively lightweight cicadan vamp and inner padding make the Air Jordan 34 more breathable than the traditional leather or woven vamps. Even on indoor courts where the temperature is relatively high, I won’t be hassled by any stuffiness underfoot. All these, in my view, should be accredited to the lightness of the vamp.
How does the cushion feel? What about the ride height? Can it offer comfort and stability? Here lie the answers!
According to the official, we know that a large Zoom Air sits in the forefoot of the Air Jordan 34 while a relatively small hexagonal Zoom Air accompanies the heel area. Sounds like a fairly standard setup for the price, no other way to put it.
But the biggest surprise of Air Jordan 34 is that the Eclipse Plate (commonly known as anti-torsion Plate) technology visible to the naked eye at the midsole also plays a role in improving the shoe’s overall cushioning, which is also the so-called “mysterious auxiliary cushioning” by many other reviewers.
With such a powerful setup, how does the AJ34’s cushioning performance feel like? Well, my experience told me that it is not so ideally soft but a bit hard underfoot, which, I think, is intentional by the designer.
Air Jordan 34 is, in fact, suitable for players who belong to the explosiveness style. For those speed-oriented players, the first step is very important whereas the over-soft midsole will weaken part of their performance. Therefore, the Air Jordan 34’s slightly hard midsole will give timely feedback to players so as not to weaken their strength in the first step of starting.
A bit hard as the midsole is, it never falls short of comfort and stability. Both the forefoot and heel cushions still offer stellar impact protection as well as comfort and stability. In terms of the forefoot and midfoot areas, they feel a bit lower to the ground than does the heel. Because of this, I can enjoy the ultra-smooth overall heel-to-toe stride.
How much support does it provide then? Is it an all-round one?
As mentioned earlier, there is an Eclipse Plate in the midsole, with which I am rather secured during actual plays. From startup to takeoff, I can feel the arch support in every step, which should be credited the hollow structure of the Eclipse Plate.
Unlike the traditional single-layer TPU or carbon plates, the hollowed-out Eclipse Plate structure is divided into two layers, which also explains why the Air Jordan 34 provides extremely visible arch support.
As we all know, a good, supportive sneaker isn’t necessarily a high top or even a mid top one. If designed well, a low-top model can do an equally excellent job. And the AJ34 is just a case in point. While I am playing in the shoes, the vamp holds my foot in place nicely and there aren’t any apparent restrictions.
4.Stability and Anti-rollover
Though I’ve mentioned stability several times before, I think it deserves to be mentioned once again.
Over and above the advantages mentioned of the vamp, it has one more merit: the cicada vamp actually has stronger tear resistance than braided ones, thus providing excellent protection and improving stability for players. Although the shoe has accompanied me for quite a while, its vamp is just holding up well up to this moment.
The padding inside the sidewalls not only helps lock down the ankle & heel, but is just right there to keep the foot in place and stabilize you torsionally. So I deem that the shoe doesn’t need much hype because it just offers us what we need and keeps doing its stuff on the pitch.
Besides that, the the outer area of the toe uses the anti-rollover design which makes that performance of Air Jordan 34 significantly improved. Though not to the point of stunning, AJ rarely fails hoopers in this category.
5.Traction and Durability
How’s the grip of the traction? Can it stand the tests of various and challenging surfaces?
Firstly, let’s talk about the pattern. The AJ34 features a herringbone pattern throughout the outsole with some curved rubber strips in the forefoot, which laterally & medially accommodate quick changes of direction.
The pattern alone, from my perspective, looks quite reliable on court. The herringbone pattern and the rubber strips combined should, in theory, provide stellar traction. Then whether or not it actually behaves that way? Well, I should say that it’s almost as good as that but not yet ideal.
Indoors, I am prone to play on wooden floors that are relatively smooth but with some dirt or dust. Based on my experiences of the past several months, the traction of this one is good, quite within my expectation. But there is one problem: the outsole can appeal to dust, which, in a sense, has some implications for the traction performance. In other words, when there are a lot of dust on the outsole, the traction will be greatly reduced, although not to a level where it’s unplayable.
To avoid this problem, it requires to wipe the outsoles off, maybe every now and then. After all, one can not afford to stop and start scrubbing the soles off every few minutes while playing. So some preparation before playing is essential.
Though I am not a big advocate of hooping outdoors, I still prefer outdoor playing not least when it is sunny with warm breeze outside. So you could imagine how agreeable it would be on such days when the AJ34 got intimate contact with the outdoor courts.
On concrete floors, mostly, and sometimes rubber ones,I seldom had issues with the traction. For me, every time before playing, I would wipe the outsole off with great care, because of which, the outsole managed to bite healthily and I never slid all over the place. So in this perspective, I think the outsole can stand the tests of various and challenging surfaces without much efforts.
The thick herringbone can lasts for several months, maybe longer. That’s for sure. After all, my AJ34’s outsole is still relatively intact, except for some damages in the high-use areas. But probably some more seasons later, the outsole may change beyond all recognition.
Rounding the AJ34 review up: does it deserve the dollar?
Of course, I dare not say it would satisfy everyone, but for me, it has truly delivered in almost everything I needed. It fits me surprisingly well while also sticking with my regular size even if I am a wide footer. And I think many of you should get satisfied with it too! So just go with your regular sizes as well and you’ll find that your dollars are not wasted!
Now that there leaves nothing more to talk about, I’ll just stop here and leave it for you to decide whether this is your thing.