Jordan Fly Lockdown Performance Review
Jordan Brand has had a killer season for performance, but a new silhouette has dropped with hardly any warning or hype. So how does the Jordan Fly Lockdown stack up against the rest of the lineup? Here we go…
Circles and herringbone, two patterns that Jordan Brand has proven to work in the past, are both featured on the sole of the Jordan Fly Lockdown. The forefoot has the large concentric circles for traction under the middle of the forefoot, and it works. However, breaking up the circles is a thick, wide-spaced herringbone pattern that leads to the medial side, where a player would toe off and need that extra bite. The circles come back in under the heel with the herringbone covering the midfoot.
The magic of this pattern is the spacing. Looking like the Death Star tunnels — with gaps and spaces placed throughout the sole — the treads are wide and deep and brush dirt away and out. I think I wiped twice during play for the entire length of this review. Not twice a game, or twice a night, but twice, period. It works.
One little detail: it doesn’t bite the floor in that loud, screeching stop like the Kobe 9 or Rose 7. It’s a smooth, quiet stop, but it is a serious stop.
Outdoors? This is a two-part answer; the tread pattern is deep and wide, so there is lots of rubber to burn through. However, you will burn through it because it is a softer rubber than Nike’s XDR soles. Honestly, if the court isn’t extremely rough, you should be good for a summer of play.
While Zoom Air and injected Phylon have been around before most of you were born, this setup would seem to be outdated. When done right, however, there are very few systems better for basketball. The Jordan Fly Lockdown is extremely close to getting it right, and if I was a lighter high-flyer these would have been perfect.
The forefoot Zoom feels bottom-loaded so the initial response isn’t felt, but when playing the forefoot feels low and quick with no impact problems at all. Coupled with the great forefoot traction the Fly Lockdown is one of the quickest-feeling shoes I have played in recently.
The midfoot and heel are just Phylon, but whatever Nike has decided to do with its normal budget foam lately, thank you! When Phylon first appeared it was a softer carrier (or in some budget cases, the whole midsole), and it felt great underfoot. Over the past couple of years, Phylon became stiff and unforgiving and basically sucked @$$. This season, the real Phylon has made a reappearance (along with Cushlon on the Kyrie 4) and the feel is outstanding.
My only complaint — and again, I weigh in at 200 lbs on a 5′ 10″ frame — is that the Phylon is too soft. I could feel the Phylon compress and rebound, which made the heel-to-toe transition seem a little slow. If you are a quicker guard/forward who is light on your feet, this won’t be an issue at all and the Jordan Fly Lockdown should feel great on-court.
First of all, some sites say that the Jordan Fly Lockdown features a “mixed-media upper of leather, synthetics, and textile.” Leather shouldn’t even be mentioned because it is only on the top of the tongue — not exactly a piece for performance. What we do get with the textile is a form-fitting upper that flexes in all the right ways but holds solid where it needs to.
The material is not exactly a woven like the Jordan 32’s Flyknit or even the Jordan 29, but more like the Jordan 15 — wide bands of fabric woven over and under so one strand will pull against the other, providing lateral stability when playing but allowing the toebox to flex freely while running. I know, it’s an evolution of the Jordan 19 lace cover concept. I never understood how an independent lace cover was supposed to provide containment, but the Jordan Fly Lockdown does. Fuse is found on the high-wear areas of the toebox, and the midfoot laces almost mimic the Jordan III look with rubber lace holes. Otherwise, all textile, all the time.
By using a full textile upper, the Jordan Fly Lockdown provides great — you guessed it — lockdown. When first stepping into the shoe you will notice the forefoot is cut narrow but it isn’t restrictive (thank you again textile upper).
The lacing system is both traditional and internal, but it’s straight-forward; it allows the shoe to be pulled easily around the foot. The heel has a thick area of padding just around the ankle area, and coupled with the padded tongue, it takes up any dead space in the area for complete…yeah, lockdown. There is seriously no movement inside the shoe when laced tight, although I did get a little lace pressure at the next-to-top lace hole where it switches from the runner eyelets back to one internal loop. No numbness, but you may have to loosen slightly to prevent irritation.
As for length and sizing, definitely stay true-to-size unless you are super-wide. I am a little wider but not enough to switch from a normal D, and the Jordan Fly Lockdown fit me perfectly. I had about a thumbs-width in the length of the toebox (which is normal for me), so if you want that serious 1:1 fit, you could go a half size down.
For a textile upper and a lower cut, the support isn’t bad. The base is wide and solid, with a forefoot outrigger and one of the strangest midsole formations you will see anywhere. While the outrigger is on the smaller side, it works perfectly to keep you from rolling over on hard slides and cuts.
The midfoot rollbar is where it is at though. We have seen companies try constructs like this before, but Jordan Brand has taken it to an aesthetic next level by incorporating a side-bumper into the overall upper design. While I never felt the tool being used when playing, the idea works (I am talking about the grey bridge running along the midfoot; when the shoe rolls over laterally it should stop the extreme rolls that lead to ankle injuries).
The heel design of the Jordan Fly Lockdown is also serious, with the midsole rising up and forming the heel counter and an extended heel clip. Your foot sits down around MJ’s waist so there is plenty of stiffness to hold you down and in. This also helps on lateral stability if you happen to land back on your heels and — especially for me, feeling the midsole was too soft in the heel — not roll over on bad landings.
The ankle area is, again, completely locked in with the lacing and internal padding. The cool heel loop, that looks like the one used on the Off-White x Converse , is just that — cool, but with no real purpose.
Jordan Brand was started with performance in mind — specifically, for the greatest basketball player who ever lived. The 2017-2018 season has been a complete return to that ethos. The Jordan Fly Lockdown is, for pricing purposes, a budget Jordan model that performs like a signature shoe (which, if rumors are true, is exactly what the shoe was in the first place).
If you need a quick, stable, low-riding foot rocket look no further than Jordan Fly Lockdown. If you need a solid cushioning base or a little more lateral containment in the forefoot, or if you are a bigger post player looking for ankle coverage, the Fly Lockdown may not be for you (but the Jordan Why Not Zer0.1 may be). This is the year Jordan Brand has offered great performance for every player, and the Jordan Fly Lockdown only strengthens the lineup. It’s a good year to be a Jumpman fan.