Who should buy the Air Jordan 21

This Air Jordan basketball shoe is a good match for you if:

  • You want a very unique Air Jordan to be added to your collection
  • You like seeing and testing first-hand (at-that-time) pioneering technology
  • You are after a pair with excellent grip on all types of basketball court
  • You want a shoe that provides stability and excellent support for a smooth performance

Who should not buy the Air Jordan 21

This shoe has a few flaws that might push you away from it, so here are our recommended alternatives. For a more breathable pair, look at Air Jordan 6. If you're looking for something softer and comfortable straight out of the box, consider Air Jordan 22. 

Reliable support

According to hoopers, this Air Jordan basketball shoe provides excellent support, stability, and containment. These innovative basketball shoes have a double-lasted Phylon midsole that delivers a low-to-the-ground feel. A carbon fiber midfoot shank plate offers maximum arch support and torsional rigidity. For some, this carbon-fiber plate was the cause of irritation in the arch, but it went away as the shoe was broken in and feet got used to the shoes. 

Get a genuine Jordan only

To battle the ever-growing problem of counterfeit products, there's a ciphered message included and it can only be seen with the use of a blacklight. Once decoded, the letters would read “authentic” so that owners are confident that their pair of Jordans is genuine. Also, what is really unique about the 21, next to having comfort pods you can change, is that each shoe has a different quote/word on the inside of the tongue. 

Premium all over

Everything looks and feels premium on this shoe: upper that's very nice to the touch, chromium lace tips, carbon fiber on the outsole... Even the inside lining resembles the stitching found in fancy cars and is very comfortable. 

The upper is made of either richly-textured full-grain leather or supple Italian suede. A foam-backed collar perfectly complements the seamless inner sleeve for maximum comfort. 

Customizable cushioning 

Equipped with a more advanced version of the Independent Podular Suspension (IPS) system, many commended the heel of the Air Jordan 21 as it allows them to modify the cushioning by choosing between a Zoom Air pillar or an Encapsulated Air pillar.

The IPS provides softer cushioning for enhanced responsiveness while the Encapsulated Air pillar offers firmer cushioning for better shock absorption. Most buyers are content with the overall cushioning, commenting that the cushioning is similar to AJ 33.

Air Jordan 21 grips everything

When it comes to traction, basketball players have nothing but praise for this pair. Many mentioned that this pair grips the surface well regardless of court type. This makes sense given that this shoe features an innovative double-helix-inspired traction pattern that offers exceptional multidirectional grip on the hardwood.

Through raised herringbone pods, the strategically placed IPS technology integrates with the outsole and enhances traction in key performance areas.

Needs a short break in

For some basketball players, this shoe was stiff at first. It needed a few days of regular use for the comfort to come to the spotlight.

Adjustable yet thin laces

The majority of its verified buyers mentioned that the shoe has an adjustable lace-up closure that keeps their feet in place. However, a few users commented that the laces are thin and get untied rather easily.

Lacks breathability 

This was noticed only when hoopers tested this shoe on court. For casual use, there were no reports of sweaty feet. 

Air Jordan 21: Colorways

Seven original colorways, including two low-tops, were made available during the Air Jordan XXI’s initial run. After that, only one retro colorway was introduced as part of the Air Jordan Countdown Pack (CDP).

  • Original White/Varsity Red/Metallic Silver
  • Original Varsity Red/Black/Metallic Silver
  • Original Black/Flint Grey/White
  • Original Light Graphite/Metallic Silver/White/University Blue
  • Original White/Metallic Silver/Black
  • Air Jordan 21 Retro Black/Metallic Silver - Varsity Red Countdown Pack

Jordan Brand relied on their stable of stars like Ray Allen, Rip Hamilton, Mike Bibby, Quentin Richardson, and Eddie Jones to endorse the AJ XXI. PE colorways for these stars were also released.

Facts / Specs

Top: Mid
Signature: Michael Jordan
Lockdown: Lace-Up
Collection: Air Jordan
Features: Ankle support
Colorways: Purple / White
SKUs: 313038161 / 313495602

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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.