We recently (sadly) witnessed the end of what is arguably the world’s most successful, popular, and iconic sneaker series – the numbered Jordan line. Michael Jordan’s induction into the Hall of …
The Collezione 11/12 pack caused quite a stir during the holiday season of 2008, as sneaker shops saw lines snake around the block days before the release. I was lucky enough to score a pack via Finishline.com, and I’ve been curious to see how a shoe that originally released in the mid 90’s would compare to those of today’s technology. It should be noted that the XII was the first Jordan to utilize Zoom Air midsole cusioning.
From my experience, a lot of Jordans have a very sculpted fit that would favor players with narrower feet and higher arches (like the XI or XX3). With the XII on my feet, I was surprised to find the shoes to be quite roomy and very plush. People with average-width to wide feet should feel comfortable wearing these, as would those with flat feet (the arch isn’t completely flat, but does offer a good amount of support without killing my flat arch). The super-thin round laces felt flimsy and unreliable during lacing (they almost reminded me of the horrid Windmill laces), but in the spirit of testing the product as it’s presented out of the box, I remained hopeful.
As always, I tried lacing the shoes all the way to the top eyelet, only to run into 2 problems. 1) The laces are too short, and 2) the shoes are so high cut that in order to have enough lace to tie them at the top, I had to pull the laces so tight that the ankle collar and tongue dug into my leg. I un-laced the top eyelets and found that they were much more comfortable, but the ankle support had taken a considerable step down.
During warmups, the shoes felt quite good out of the box, but I noticed the shoes felt looser than when I laced them up. I re-tightened and re-laced and continued warming up, but after a few minutes again felt that the shoes had lost some lockdown. It seemed as though the laces kept loosening up due to the movement, so I re-tightened and re-laced yet again. I also noted that no outrigger existed to improve lateral stability, so I performed the same “ankle roll” test as I did with the Huarache 09’s and found the lateral stability to be just average (or subpar depending on how spoiled you are by other shoes’ lateral stability).
During play, the excellent Zoom Air midsole cushioning along with the plush upper cushioning provided a very comfortable ride. The shoe broke in very quickly after which it flexed effortlessly with every movement. Traction was good on our well-maintained hardwood court. I did feel the shoes to be on the heavy side, and the extra weight rendered the shoes a little clunkier than I’m used to. I wasn’t tripping over my own feet or anything, but the extra weight combined with the so-so lateral stability had me a millisecond slower than usual. Although, I’ll mention that a friend of mine noticed that I may have been jumping higher than normal. A downside to the roomy, plush interior is that the shoe doesn’t lock down as well as it could. I actually had to re-tighten and re-lace a third time in between games; I’m guessing this is caused by the thin laces. I’d be curious to replace them with a standard flat lace or oval lace and see if lockdown improves. I was also craving a little more ankle support since I couldn’t lace them all the way to the top.
The Bottom Line: The Jordan XII certainly performs well, but faces very tough competition with the high standards set by recent balling sneakers. They’re very comfortable shoes, but the heavy weight, less-than-stellar lockdown and bad lacing system put these classics in the middle of the pack.