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Jordan Jumpman 2021 Performance Review

The Jordan Jumpman 2021, the team or takedown version of the flagship Air Jordan 35, is a well-rounded performance basketball shoe that several NBA players have worn on court this year.

Traction

If you loved the herringbone of the Air Jordan 34, then you should love this almost as much. It’s nearly the exact same type of herringbone with one difference. The Jumpman 2021 herringbone is all in one direction.

Don’t fret about this. The herringbone covers you in multiple directions. One of the reasons it is one of, if not the greatest outsole pattern ever created. This variant is aggressive enough and spaced very well. It can handle multiple surfaces and court conditions as far as grip goes without much maintenance.

Keep in mind the Jumpman 2021/Air Jordan 34 herringbone is rather thin, so US retail versions are not likely to last outdoors. The pair I tested is the PF (Performance Fit) version purchased overseas and utilizes XDR (Extra Durable Rubber) for the outsole. Durability is virtually a non-issue on the PF version. If you primarily play outdoors or plan to in the future, I would suggest going with the PF version. It’ll cost you a little more buy from overseas on eBay but it will last a lot longer.

Cushion

This simple, yet responsive setup was a joy to play in from start until now, several months later. Though not quite unlocked, the decently sized forefoot Zoom Air bag runs about 10mm thick (in my estimation) and takes up a good portion of the midsole stack height. The low stack height provides unreal court feel. To add to the responsiveness, the Zoom unit is even exposed like on the AJ 34 and 35 (minus the Eclipse plate). This allows some extra room for the Zoom to expand outward and snap back in place upon impact.

Because of the court feel, forefoot heavy cushion, and lightweight foam carrier, I think guards will love this Zoom setup. Seeing big men such as Enes Kanter wearing these on NBA courts shows the versatility of the midsole setup. The lightweight EVA carrier is comfortable enough to last throughout games without taking a heavy toll on the legs.

It’s a Zoom Air setup that looks like it’s derived from the AJ 28-30 era. You can call me crazy, but in some respects, I enjoyed the Jordan Jumpman 2021 experience just as much.

Materials

As a $110 retail priced takedown model from Jordan Brand, not much can be expected from the upper. Yet somehow, the materials feel like a downgrade from even the preceding Jumpman 2020 of the same retail price.

Nevertheless, I was absolutely surprised how well this seemingly flimsy, paper thin textile managed to contain the foot (comfortably, I might add). From an outside touch, it would not feel like these materials would work. Even the synthetic overlays are rather thin and unassuming. But color me wrong, the Jumpman 2021 materials held up as far as support, comfort, and even durability went.

Fit

Again, note that this is the Performance Fit version tested, so it is built on a wider last. For that reason, I opted to go a half-size down and I could not be happier with the fit. Obviously, wide footers will enjoy this last better, but even for non-wide footers like myself the shoe forms well around the foot when cinching the laces up.

Wide footers will probably be safest going true to size in the performance fit version, however I think non-wide footers like myself should be okay going a half-size down no matter the width as the materials are not too heavy on the foot. I’d like to think non-wide footers could go true to size in the standard width. However, I can’t confirm that as I wasn’t able to try the standard width’s fit due to lack of availability.

Support

There is not too much to tell outside of the standard support features like an internal heel counter (not the sturdiest, but got the job done), minimal torsional support bar, and the plastic lateral containment piece that resembles, but is nowhere close to an Eclipse plate like you would find on the most recent Air Jordan flagships.

The shoe mainly thrives off a very low to ground base and proper fit, so I had no issues with security when it comes to the Jordan Jumpman 2021.

Overall

It’s really a shame that the Jordan Jumpman 2021 had such little run before becoming so hard to find. It’s no one’s fault really, 2020 was a really difficult time to drop any type of performance sneaker, let alone a “budget” basketball silhouette that brands wouldn’t typically invest much into. And of course, the pandemic caused major problems.

If you manage to find a pair stateside and have access to an indoor court to give them some love, I would highly recommend it.

With overseas Performance Fit version prices running a little higher, it’s hard to recommend them over other outdoor options you can grab in the US for $150 or less. But if we take pricing out of the equation, the Jumpman 2021 is really good. I should leave it at that, but I got time. Great traction, lightweight, responsive, enough support and impact protection, wallet-friendly, (nice looking on-court?). No, it’s not premium, but it’s all the other things you love to hear in performance reviews.

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