The concept of revisiting past Air Jordans when making new ones is one that makes me cringe. Jordan Brand has more than enough retro-inspired product coming out each week, and the current signature line has long represented innovation, not heritage, for the brand. Not only that, it has an impressive track record in delivering on-court footwear that’s among the very best each season. If there’s one shoe I’m excited to play in every year, it’s the new Air Jordan. When I saw that the Air Jordan 32 would carry on this concept of looking back (which began with the Air Jordan 31's references to the Air Jordan 1), I was a bit let down.

On the bright side, tying back to past models doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll look bad—I actually like the Air Jordan 32 aesthetically. It also doesn’t mean that they’ll play like 30-year-old models—modern upgrades could certainly make them attractive performance options for today. This one certainly doesn't feel like an Air Jordan 2.

So while the concept isn’t necessarily one that excites me, as long as the shoe plays up to the very high standards the line has established, then maybe the 30th anniversary inspiration isn’t as bad as it sounds. (I also think the concept will end up long abandoned by the time it gets to unpopular models like the 19.)

But with those high standards come high expectations—I don’t want a good Air Jordan, I want a great one. And I want it to be better than the last, because if not, then what’s the point? I’d rather have a situation like the Air Jordan 30, where not much changes, than having a model that regresses in performance.

Hover over the dots for a full performance breakdown to find out if the Air Jordan 32 has earned its place in the strong performance legacy of the line.