Verdict from 4 experts and 100+ user reviews

7 reasons to buy

  • The Zoom units in the midsole of the Air Jordan 18 Retro delight most wearers with the comfort and impact protection that they provide.
  • Shoe owners claim that the upper of the signature shoe is made of premium quality leather.
  • According to many wearers, the herringbone pattern has a great grip on court floors as long as it is kept clean.
  • At least two reviewers say that among all the Jordan basketball shoes, the 18 is the best to play in.
  • Several buyers compliment the sleek and clean design of the shoe model.
  • The majority of reviewers claim the shoe is true to size.
  • According to a number of shoe owners, the carbon fiber insole of the Air Jordan 18 Retro delivers comfort all day long.

6 reasons not to buy

  • Some wearers observe that the outsole rubber quickly attracts dust, causing court slippage.
  • A few reviewers notice that the suede upper does not feel as good as the upper of the original Air Jordan 18.
  • A user observes that from a bird’s eye view, the shoe does not look appealing.
  • The Air Jordan 18 Retro needs some time for breaking in, say a handful of wearers.
  • Even with their mesh tongues and side air vents, these signature Michael Jordan basketball shoes still lack breathability.
  • The external eyelet is made of plastic and easily snaps, claim a couple of testers.

Bottom line

If the wearer is after optimum comfort, the Air Jordan 18 Retro is the go-to basketball shoe. $225 may be a lot but you get what you pay for. The herringbone traction may not have a full-outsole coverage but it surely delivers great control on the court. Many original wearers are thankful that the Jordan brand did not modify the setup of the Zoom technology in the midsole.

Tip: see the best basketball shoes.

Good to know

The Air Jordan 18 was originally released in February 2003 at $175. Inspired by Formula 1 racing cars and designed by Wilson Smith III, this Black/Sport Royal release comes with a slide box, a driver’s manual, a towel, and a brush. On April 16, 2003, after 15 NBA seasons, Michael Jordan took his final bow wearing the Black-Sport Royal colorway in a match between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Washington Wizards.

A low-top version of these basketball sneakers was released at $150 in White/UNC colorway. The Air Jordan 18.5 was also released in a black and white colorway. The difference of the Air Jordan 18 version from the 18.5 and the low is the covered midfoot and tongue.

The Air Jordan 18 Retro was released in January 2018 at $225 in the White/Metallic Silver-Sport Royal colorway. The Toro colorway is released in April 2018. These retros feature a full-length Zoom unit that is doubled at the heel. Quick shooting guards like Michael Jordan need security for their jabs and cuts, thus the wavy herringbone traction pattern and carbon fiber plate at the midfoot. For a classy and rich appeal that matches MJ’s lifestyle, the upper of the Air Jordan 18 Retro is made of either leather or suede.

The AJ 18 is one of the many Jordan models that sees releases from time to time. The mid-top sixth Air Jordan shoe and the high-top Michael Jordan 12 signature shoe.

Cushion. The Air Jordan 18 Retro features a full-length Zoom Air unit in the midsole. The heel has a double-stacked Zoom unit similar to those in the Nike Air Foamposite One and Nike Air Foamposite Pro. This setup provides beyond imaginable comfort for wearers.

Michael Jordan was nearing his third and last retirement when the shoe came out, and he needed more cushioning than ever to protect his muscles and joints. Therefore, the removable insole has carbon fiber for additional support. This setup is considered rare in basketball shoes.

Traction. When it comes to ensuring no-fail traction, the herringbone pattern is a definite winner. The Air Jordan 18 Retro delivers maximum court control and grip because of the wavy herringbone on its outsole. With a carbon fiber shank at the midfoot, stability is ensured for lateral and linear footwork.

Length and Width. Most reviewers agree that the Air Jordan 18 Retro runs true to size. They say that the squared toe box can accommodate wearers with wide feet if the shoe is at least half a size bigger. Better yet, new buyers should fit the shoe first before purchasing.

Lockdown. Quick athletes like guards need complete lockdown and stability. The Air Jordan Retro 18 has the traditional lacing system beneath a leather shroud that comes with a magnetic strip. The rounded heel and rubber heel counter help with stability and foot containment.

Depending on the colorway, the upper of the Air Jordan 18 Retro is made of either leather or suede. The tongue is made of wired mesh for ventilation. There are two plastic eyelets on each side of the top of the midfoot for a customized fit. The side panels have air vents to provide additional breathability.

The sleek and elegant mid-top silhouette of the Air Jordan 18 Retro is inspired by an Italian car. The aglets are made of chrome-tip plastic that is styled with Jumpman logos. The heel counter features a tire-like pattern. The Jumpman logos are found on the midfoot and outsole. The “JORDAN” callouts are strategically placed on the heel and the underside of the midfoot shroud.

The minimalistic and clean design of the Air Jordan 18 Retro looks great with skinny jeans or short pants exposing the upper of the shoe.

The Air Jordan 18 Retro is such a special shoe that it has limited colorways.

  • Black-Sport Royal. The Sport Royal colorway is the first and most special of all. It was the pair Michael Jordan wore during his last game against the 76ers.
  • White/Metallic Silver-Sport Royal. This version of the eighteenth Air Jordans was released in January 2018.
  • Toro or Raging Bull.The Toro colorway is described as gym red basketball sneakers by many reviewers. It was released on April 7, 2018.

Other basic colorways were also released:

  • Campfire Orange/Campfire Orange-Sail
  • Racer Blue/Racer Blue-Sail
  • Yellow Ochre/Yellow Ochre-Sail


How Air Jordan 18 Retro ranks compared to all other shoes
Top 30% basketball shoes
All basketball shoes
Top 21% Jordan basketball shoes
All Jordan basketball shoes
Top 12% michael jordan basketball shoes
All michael jordan basketball shoes


The current trend of Air Jordan 18 Retro.
Compare to another shoe:
Dimitrije Curcic
Dimitrije Curcic

Dimitrije Curcic has been playing basketball for over 22 years. Like Manu Ginobili, he’s a left-hander whose moves led him to a better career-shooting percentage than the Argentine himself. After playing professionally for 10 years, Dimitrije moved to coaching for two seasons before he became a basketball statistician for StatScore, and FanSided contributor for the San Antonio Spurs. Dimitrije loves to tell hoop stories through numbers and graphics and has been featured on Fansided, FiveThirtyEight, Eurohoops, and TalkBasket among the others.