Best Jordan Shoes for Basketball Reviewed & Rated
Rarely has pop culture been so influenced by a sports figure as it has with Michael Jordan, an iconic emissary of basketball so prolific and extraordinary with his talent for the game that he practically defined it for two decades. As the Jordan himself became synonymous with the sport, so too did his footwear, and if there was any way to “be like Mike”, it was to own a pair of Air Jordans.
Released in 1985 as symbols of speed, agility, and superior performance, they instantly captured the hearts of fans and fashion lovers alike. Over the next 30+ years, a staggering variety of Jordan’s would be released, each with different looks, features, and functions.
- Nike Air Jordan 1 Mid
- Air sole unit
- Nike Jordan Eclipse
- Herringbone Outsole
- Nike Jordan 1 Retro High
- Concentric Traction Pattern
Michael Jordan wanted his shoes to enhance his performance, so many of them have Air units built into their footbeds for extra cushion. He wanted deep tread for traction on the court. He wanted a sneaker that looked fresh, so he enlisted master designers to craft a shoe that looked as good as it performed. Here is a list of the current top 10 Air Jordans trending now. You may also want to take a look at the best-rated shoes for basketball.
10 Best Jordan Shoes
1. Nike Air Jordan 1 Mid
This shoe has a strong attitude and a strong build as many of the historic Jordan's are. The base of the shoe is leather and it has synthetic accents top to bottom. The soles have deep flex grooves that give you the grip you need.
Jordan's are all about comfort and performance. The comfort of this shoe is world renowned. Jordan's leather has been supple from the day he first wore a pair. Creasing and flexing in all the right places, these will become a second skin for your foot. The perforations on the toe box enhance breathability. Known as a classic, the history of the shoe begs to be bested by any other brand.
Cost and Value
Due to their name alone, Air Jordans have always commanded a high price point. It’s no different with the Nike Air Jordan 1 Retro. The breakdown of quality materials, level of functionality, comfort, and color options make them a worthwhile investment. They have been the envy of the wearer since 1985 and show no sign of quitting.
Runs true to size
Stable ankle support
Rubber cup sole for comfort
Perforated toe for breathability
Air-sole heel unit for impact protection
Limited color choices
2. Nike Jordan Eclipse
The Eclipse has a mesh pattern on the outside, atypical for the Air Jordan brand. The look of the shoe is eye-catching in a way that other Jordans are not, which is impressive considering the variety that exists. They’re lightweight and comfortable, making them great for on and off court wear. With the dizzying amount of color options, you can wear them with slacks, jeans, or basketball shorts.
They have a Herringbone mesh pattern for traction and flexibility on the court, which is typical of the brand. They also have the Air unit in the cupsole that makes for added cushion support. Where they differ is with the tongue that folds down over the arch of the foot, making them have a “glove-like feel” that will make them the favorite Jordans in your closet.
Cost and Value
These Jordans are slightly less expensive than some other pairs while boasting many of the features expected with the brand, such as the traction, Air unit in the cupsole, and extra cushion. Their mesh design and glove-like fit set them apart as a sneaker that is both fashionable and functional, making them a unique member of the Air Jordan pantheon and your closet.
Slightly less expensive
More for leisure wear
3. Nike Air Jordan I Retro High
A high top shaft acts as a brace for high powered activities, giving security to the ankle as more physical demand is placed below the knee. The Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG’s have a combination full-grain leather and nubuck upper for increased durability, meaning your ankle is more padded and protected.
As always, the Air unit rubber cupsole in the heel means lightweight cushioning, but it’s the deep flex grooves in the rubber outsole and the established pivot point that allow the most flexibility and traction on the court. The Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG takes into account the amount of flexibility needed for the wearer that wants a Jordan with superior performance.
Cost and Value
A shoe that costs half as much as a Jordan will last half as long, and these Jordans were made for the wear and tear of the court. They’re comfortable, durable, and flexible, which are all the paramount features of a great sneaker. The high top offers great ankle protection, while the Air unit cupsole provides a great lightweight cushion. They also come in a variety of colorways to delight every Jordan fan.
High top for ankle protection
Air unit in cupsole for cushion
Deep flex grooves for traction
Can run small
4. Nike Jordan Spizike
These Jordan's are both a ready-made basketball shoe and a fun wearing leisure shoe as well. It is built with a leather and synthetic upper with mesh side panels for comfort and breathability. It also has a PU midsole with Nike Air units in the heel and forefoot for superb cushioning.
Traction is key given its durable rubber outsole.
The Spizike is designed with a midfoot strap integrated with a support specific lacing system for support and a lockdown fit. Add to that the padded collar for comfort and a "next level" fit, this shoe supports your foot as it deserves to be!
Cost and Value
Not one of a kind, but for sure it is a design that has a special meaning for those Jordan lovers who want that special shoe. For a shoe like this, there is no real limit that one could spend but the price point is decent for a well constructed, special shoe that not everyone has.
Variety of color choices
Forefront and heel air-sole unit
Can be worn for both sport and leisure
Variable lacing and mid-strap for comfort
Hard to find all models
5. Nike Jordan Jumpman Pro
A great court shoe in its hay day, the tradition continues. Constructed with tumbled leather across the panels, your fit will be snug yet smooth. The newly innovated mesh tongue lands perfectly to avoid lacing pressure points. Also equipped with a quick lacing system accompanied by several TPU panels and Zoom Air cushioning. Classics with modern touches.
Built for the court but loved for the everyday wearer, the Jumpman Pro Quick is being hailed as a shoe for all. Powerful build for the active person with all the technical construction needed for the big game. Comfort and quality for those walking on campus or enjoying a day with the family. Versatility is a key feature of the Jumpman Pro Quick. Nike Jordans are reinventing the yesteryear of shoes.
Cost and Value
Getting your hands on a pair of these will be simple, but you will need to have a minimal color palate as there are only two available. This issue aside, the quality of this shoe matches the history and longevity of the brand as well. You will have a classic with the amenities of the future.
Smooth and sleek design
Light weight construction
Game day ready
Durable rubber outsole
Easy to clean and treat
Minimal color choice
6. Nike Air Jordan 6 Retro
The high top design of the Jordan 6 Retro provides extra stability and comfort for the ankle, vitally important to the support of pivoting and other sudden motions. The perforated holes along the exterior allow for the release and intake of cool air, while a reinforced toe cap requested by Jordan himself prevents injury.
The greatest contribution Air Jordans have made to the world of basketball sneakers is their sheer variety. There is a Jordan for every sort of wearer, and every style of personality. The Jordan 6 Retro can be easily slipped off and on via two holes in the tongue and a modified heel. They evoke a classic retro vibe while having a look that will never go out of style.
Cost and Value
For true Jordan fans that know their Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan trivia, the Jordan 6 Retro is an important addition to the Air Jordan lineup. It’s about half as expensive as some of the fancier Jordans, with the benefit of the added toe cap reinforcement, modified tongue and heel for easy slip-on access, and the classic exterior that evokes sports car imagery and appeal. No Jordan collection should be without, and for some wearers, it could be the most important shoe in it.
Reinforced toe cap
High top design for added ankle support
Easy to put on and remove
7. Nike Air Jordan 11 Retro Low
One of the stand out features of the Jordan 11 Retro Low is the addition of patent leather on its upper. It telegraphs a look that is understated but cool, not as flashy as other the Eclipse or Ultra Fly but not lacking in bravado. They look just as good with jeans as they do with basketball shorts, and the all black option with the patent leather makes them even dressy enough to wear out on the town.
An Air Max unit along the footbed provides extra cushion and padding for the wearer, making these Jordans as comfortable as the are stylish. The collar and tongue have extra padding as well, which can be important in a low sneaker. Oftentimes, without sufficient padding around the ankle, the collar can chafe the skin.
Cost and Value
For an accessible Jordan that is sporty but understated, the Jordan 11 Retros embody all that is appealing about the brand without being too flashy. The added component of the patent leather upper makes them look polished, and elevate a sneaker that is already loaded with great features, like an Air Max unit, and extra padding. These will become your new everyday Jordan, if not everyday sneaker.
Patent leather upper
Air Max unit in footbed
Extra padding on collar and tongue
Can run small
8. Nike Air Jordan 12 Retro
The Jordan 12 Retro is based on Tinker Hatfield's celebrated 1996 design — the first to bring Zoom Air cushioning to the signature line. Air max units located from the heel to forefoot provide added cushion for each step so that explosive movements are possible with added padding.
These Jordans are somewhat sporty and mostly stylish. Built on the same platform as most other competitive based shoes, the Retro 12 gives you more of a casual fashion look than an NBA style court shoe. Don't get me wrong...dunking is STILL an option here!
Cost and Value
The price point on this shoe is right in the Jordan wheelhouse. You will get a lot of shoe for your buck given the versatility noted. Just because they look chill does not mean they cannot be laced up and used in your next game.
Multi use design and color
Air Max from toe to heel
Runs narrow for some
9. Nike Air Jordan 13 Retro
This well-rounded court shoe has all of the hallmarks of a great Jordan. Full grain leather construction with accents of supple suede give this shoe a classy but hard pressing look to it. The responsive heel matches the comfort of the forefoot Air Zoom to provide a well-rounded court shoe.
Michael himself won his 10th scoring title consecutively in this model of shoe. Not just built for champions, the Retro 13 gives you the performance level you demand of a Jordan shoe. It is appreciated by Jordan fans that extra time has been taken to make this shoe both attractive and functional.
Cost and Value
No Jordan shoe is cheap in price but fittingly so given the quality of the brand. The leather quality adds a touch not needed to make it a great shoe but helps it appeal to the masses. Add the baroque brown model and it's appeal doubles.
Outsole pods for flexibility
Supple suede for modern style
Low-profile for even toe-to-heel
Full-grain leather for classic style
Rubber outsole for durable traction
10. Nike Jordan B. Fly
In the forefront of these shoes, there is a special Nike technology feature called the Zoom Air Unit. Created for sports purposes, the feature gives the shoes a cushioning platform that is low-profile but highly responsive. It gives the wearer better performance in maneuverability and speed.
The midsole is constructed from Phylon, a synthetic material that is responsive, lightweight and low-profile. Phylon midsoles are easily sculpted during the production process which helps create a variety of designs for various shoe purposes. With the Phylon being injected, it gives the shoe a greater bounce and flexibility.
Cost and Value
These shoes are constructed for basketball usage and compared to other brands of basketball shoes, they are much more affordable due to their lower cost. However, the shoes do not lack in quality construction and features that give optimum support and performance enhancement.
Snug fitting lace-up
Woven flexible upper
Variety of colors, designs
Blade traction reduces sole grime
Sizing runs small
Lacing system tight fitting
In the world of basketball, there is no sports figure more iconic than Michael Jordan. In the world of sneakers, whether designed for basketball or not, there is no shoe as iconic than Air Jordans. From their performance enhancing features like Air units in the footbed for added cushion and deep tread for traction to the sheer breadth of variety in their ever-changing designs, they are symbolic of a man who celebrated individual excellence and team pride. Anyone interested in capturing that ethos for themselves needs only step into a pair of Air Jordans and find out for themselves why they remain the standard in the sneaker market. Some wearers may be serious about their basketball game, while others may want to convey their fashion-forward taste in trends. Whatever the case, there literally is an Air Jordan for everyone, as this list proves.
Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Jordan Shoes
How Does it Fit
As with ANY shoe, the fit would be given the strongest weight on a scale when choosing a shoe. Trust me, when I have shopped for a running shoe, the brightest ones usually jump off the shelf at me and I am indeed tempted to throw my credit card at the cashier. However, try and run a marathon in poorly fitted shoes, disastrous!
As with running shoes, basketball shoes, court shoes or any other shoes need to fit every point of your foot. From toes to heel, laces to sole, fit needs to be fabulous.
Starting at the front, the toe box is the part of the shoe that wraps around the top, bottom and sides of your toes. This is a key area when fitting your shoes as it will specify if your toes will tap the end of the shoe or if your little toe will rub causing a bitter or even worse, losing a toenail.
Oddly enough, the toe box is an area of the shoe that changes in depth, height or width in many brands. Jordan is no exception. It stays consistent within a line of shoe but can be quite a different fit from sport to sport within the Jordan family.
Width is key as well. Securing your lateral movement is a must for any athlete or weekend warrior. Limiting that left-right movement prevents both motion related sores (chafing, blisters) as well as muscular injuries that can be career ending or just plain painful! Ensure you have a comfortable fit that feels like your midfoot is being held gently in the hands of the strongest confidant you know!
Cushioning can both impact performance and comfort in any Jordan shoe. Jordan, known for their AIR features, ensure that there is AIR in most all of their shoes. This may be a tad outside the “fit” arena we are discussing however it does impact the overall fit as your movement in the shoe feels noticeably different in an AIR shoe and non AIR shoe. Just be sure that you find those AIR shoes with a full soled AIR shoe.
Lastly and possibly most importantly, the structure that surrounds the rear of the foot is paramount to a high performing shoe. If the heel area of the shoe does not “secure” your foot into the base of the shoe, you will blister on many different locations on your foot. It should also lock in your travel in the shoe txt is directly related to the toe box as mentioned earlier.
It should also ride to a hight that does not bother your Achilles too. Fashion may dictate otherwise, but when it comes to athletic shoes, this is very important to your comfort and performance.
The Different Kinds of Fit:
- Toe Box: In the front of the shoe, there is a section called the toe box that covers the toe area of your feet. In various shoe brands, some toe boxes run narrow while others run wide and Jordan’s are no different. When testing out your Jordan’s for fit, determine the feel your toes have in the toe box area. The toes should be snugly fit but comfortable without tightness or unnecessary width that can cause slippage.
- Shoe Width: The shoe width will determine just how much control you have in your lateral movements. You do not want your ankles to roll due to incorrect shoe width and the feeling of shoes to wide or too narrow just doesn’t feel good and can make any sports activity or a daily walking experience miserable. A correct shoe width will also help to prevent any unnecessary chafing and blisters of the feet.
- Cushioning: One of the positive features of Jordan’s is the air technology equipped in most Jordan’s shoes thanks to Nike. The air technology will keep airflow moving through the insoles which helps to give the shoe better support, responsiveness, and bounce helping to lessen any impact or shock. In addition, Jordan’s outsoles are usually constructed with durable rubber which gives an extra boost in cushioning.
- Heel Cup: The heel cup of a shoe has the tendency to be ignored but it’s very important in proper shoe fitting. The structure of the heel cup determines if your foot will stay in place and keep the shoe securely on your feet. An ill-fitting heel cup can cause unnecessary problems such as heel blisters and shoe slippage. Also, most Jordan’s come with a mid to high top providing ankle stabilization and that can help optimize heel support and shoe secureness.
What’s the Style
Style makes the world go ‘round.
Let’s face it, fashion, jewelry, and even shoes are driven by what is popular, trendy and fashionable to the populous. Sneakers have been part of the style scene for years and Jordan’s were in on the ground floor for this revolutionary step mixing athletics and fashion.
When the namesake of any shoe company is a huge sporting legend, you are bound to get some crossover from industry to industry. Micheal Jordan’s appearance on the court, in the movies and even on the red carpet was a match made in heaven with Nike since 1984.
Since then, Jordan shoes have stayed true to the athletic side with a progressive style evolution that keeps pace with the ever-changing looks on the court. They have also lead the field in diversity as they have created several lines of shoes that would be considered “crossovers” in the shoe industry. Style “crossovers” allow the Jordan’s to be seen on and off the court. They have made appearances at clubs, workplaces and even the Oscars and Grammy’s!
Style is king for many of us.
The Overall Purpose
Evaluating the best Jordan shoes encompasses many things, and purpose is a good start. Know mostly as a basketball sport-specific shoe, Jordan’s have branched out over the more recent years to cover both the casual Jordan basketball style and the shoes that are meant for other sports.
If your pleasure is a true professional basketball shoe, there is a Jordan for you. In order to best capitalize on this need, you would concentrate on the Basketball line of shoes where there is just the right mix of leather and support. These shoes never skimp on the technical side of things given the multitudes of people who buy these shoes to compete at the highest level.
If you are heading out to the club and are wanting your kicks to match the rest of the outfit, Jordan’s casual lines have endless amounts of options available to the discerning buyer. From styles to blended color patterns, you will have the shoe that goes with whichever trend you are following or setting!
Trends come and go and the team at Jordan are coming along for the ride every step of the way. When evaluating a top list of shoes, you need to know what is trending and what is not.
The shoe business is a multi-billion dollar business and keeping current is essential for any brand. One false move in the trending styles could mean hundreds of millions in losses, something any board of directors would never allow twice.
How do you follow trends in the shoe market? You don’t. You SET the trend. Jordan has always done that and continues to be the leader in trend-setting styles. From the velcro strap on the high top basketball shoe to the creative colors that are all the rages in Europe, Jordan is designing the next best shoe in the US months before the trend even crosses the pond.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How do most Jordan’s fit?
A. Overall, Jordan’s have a great fit to them. You must be used to wearing basketball shoes, but once on, you will find that they fit as described. Many of us have wide or narrow feet, high and low arches but overall fit is a standard. Look for the best fit in your regular sporting shoe and then adjust the size 1/2 a size up or down. Ensure the toe box gives you enough space to wiggle your toes.
Q. What should I look for in a Jordan shoe?
A. Fit and color are key. Look for the color and design you are dreaming of and then make it fit. You will find such a variety of designs in every Jordan shoe. Do you want pro shoes, casual shoes or trainers? Jordan has the color and fit for you.
Q. What do I need to keep care of my Jordan’s?
A. It’s simple…keep them clean! This is super important because you are wearing a brand that depends on looking sharp. So dirty won’t cut it. For both, the shade and leather features on most Jordan’s your local sports store should have all of the protectants you need. For soles and mesh on your shoes, a simple solution of water and soap.
Q. Are all Jordan’s real?
A. The very simple answer is NO. Like most popular brands, knockoffs are a problem. Not only are you losing quality, you are hurting the real brand and their ability to provide you with an amazing product. Look carefully at the stitching, logos and overall quality to avoid the ripoffs. Lastly, look at price. Yes, there are sales from reputable stores, but super cheap shoes from unknown sellers could be a red flag. Be smart and vigilant.
Q. What materials are Jordan’s constructed with?
A. On average, Jordan’s uses more than thirty different kinds of materials. These materials include natural materials like wool and cotton and synthetic materials like rubber, polyester, nylon, leather and so on. If you are environmentally conscious, Jordan’s do have a sizeable environment impact due to their construction.
Q. How can I wear Jordan’s?
A. Any way you please because your style is yours only. However, the most common way to wear Jordan’s is with denim jeans (particularly skinny jeans) or baggy denim shorts that go below the knee.
Q. I’ve heard “Air Jordan” and “Nike Jordan”. Is there a difference?
A. The “Air” in Air Jordan simply refers to the Nike air technology in the Jordan’s and other Nike owned shoes. The “Jordan” in Air Jordan refers to the brand name of Michael Jordan, the basketball superstar that partnered with Nike to produce these shoes. The two terms are used interchangeably.
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