Air Jordan 31 Performance Review

Does the Air Jordan 31 add to the performance legacy of the line?


I gave up on caring about how the new Air Jordan will look a long time ago. A long time ago. There probably hasn’t been a single shoe released since the AJ14 that I’d be interested in wearing off court. Yet in recent times, it’s also become the shoe I’m most excited to buy each year.

Dating back to the Air Jordan 2010, each year’s model has been one of, if not my favorite playing shoe of the season. Jordan Brand justifiably gets bashed for a lot of their retro product, but when it comes to performance they’ve consistently delivered better than any other brand. And that’s what this is supposed to be about, right?

They’ve implemented innovation that actually works, like FlightPlate, while resisting trends like the sock-with-a-sole designs we’ve seen from Nike Basketball that don’t add to performance.

On the other hand, the stories Jordan Brand has been telling us are getting worse than ever. The cosmos inspiration from the 30 was a stretch at best. And the Air Jordan 31 has absolutely no connection to the Banned 1, which wasn’t even banned. Yet despite the fact that I wasn’t a fan of the looks of the 31 when it leaked, nor the convoluted inspiration, I couldn’t wait to play in it based on the on-court respect I’ve gained for the Jordan player shoes over the years. Does the Air Jordan 31 add to the already impressive legacy of the line? In a word, yes.

Hover over the dots below for a full performance rundown.

Air jordan 31: fit

Air jordan 31: ankle support

Air jordan 31: cushioning

air jordan 31: traction

I’ve come to expect the best from the modern Air Jordan line when it comes to performance, and the Air Jordan 31 fully delivers. There are a few matters of personal preference, but overall, there is little to criticize.

There is one word of caution for post players. While the shoe is supportive and protective enough for any position, it offers basically nothing in terms of abrasion resistance. The woven toe looks cool, and the fit is perfection, but it does NOT feel good to have your feet landed on while wearing these.

Is the 31 my favorite Air Jordan ever to play in? I can’t say for sure because there are particular elements I like best in each, but it’s definitely up there with the 28 and 30. At $180 though, it’s definitely the best value. It still not cheap, but at last it’s a little more affordable than its formidable predecessors. 

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