Air Jordan 30 Performance Review

Is the Air Jordan 30 a worthy follow-up to the highly touted XX9?


Regardless of the brand, every sneaker company has one thing in common: the goal of selling more shoes. And yes, in order to do this they need to release new models every year. But one of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to sneakers is when they perform worse from one model to the next just for the sake of incorporating some new visual technology. Again, I get the fact that lines need to evolve, and not only from a marketing standpoint. Sometimes you have to swing and miss when it comes to progressing sneaker performance. But with extended development timelines and testing, there’s really no excuse to bring a product to market that’s a step backwards. That’s listening to the voice of the shareholders, not the athletes.

And that’s exactly why I love the Air Jordan 30 so much. I’ll admit that I was as disappointed as everyone else when the 30th anniversary edition of the most important signature line in sneaker history was unveiled, because it basically looked like an SE version of the previous model. But the more I thought about it, the more I respected it. The timing wasn’t ideal. I’m sure everyone involved would have liked the shoe to have a bigger impact considering the scope of the line’s longevity. But the call to update the already fantastic Air Jordan 29 resulted in one of the best sneakers I’ve ever had the pleasure to hoop in.

Hover over the dots below for a full performance rundown.

Chapter 1: Fit

Chapter 2: Ankle Support

Chapter 3: Cushioning

Chapter 4: Traction

It’s always hard to call a $200 sneaker a good deal, but when you take into consideration that the price is $25 less the previous version, and its performance went up, it seems like a fair conclusion. Then take into account the fact that it’s the best performer of the year at any price, and it’s an easy recommendation if you can afford it. The Air Jordan 30 didn’t revolutionize the industry. Simply put, it’s “just” a faster, sleeker, better version of the 29. But when a shoe is as good as the 29, that might be all you need. I’ve gotten over my initial disappointment in the 30—all it took was playing in a pair.