Summary

We spent 7.1 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what basketball players think:

9 reasons to buy

  • The shoes feel like they are already broken-in straight from the box, a number of wearers say.
  • Many say that the XX9’s upper feels like “a snug yet soft pair of winter socks,” adding that it feels better than Flyknit, leather, or other materials.
  • The fit of the shoe is said to be impressive as the Flyweave upper securely wraps the foot while the TPU heel counter ensures no extra heel movements. The fit is so good that several users say that after playing in the shoes for a couple of hours, they forget that they are wearing them.
  • For some wearers, the Tendril that connects the AJ 29’s forefoot and heel could have been effective in improving the XX8’s semi-clunky transitions.
  • The upper is durable; a number of testers wore the shoe through different events, yet the shoe did not show any abrasions.
  • The shoe’s craftsmanship is of high-quality. According to a couple of reviewers, there are no glue stains or frayed fabric edges on the upper.
  • The traction pattern works very well on clean surfaces, just like many Jordan shoes such as the CP3 11 and the Air Jordan 33.
  • Some reviewers actually like the XX9’s cushioning setup even if the heel is just plain Phylon.
  • Many buyers double their purchases of the XX9 since they think that the shoe is really worth the money.

5 reasons not to buy

  • The majority of expert reviewers who have tried playing in the previous model say that the Jordan XX9’s forefoot Unlocked Zoom Air unit lacks a bit of responsiveness. This could be due to the modifications made on the unit to avoid the popping incidents that were common with the Jordan XX8.
  • Even with the added tendril that bridges the decoupled forefoot and heel, there are still better shoes on the market that provide a smoother ride, say a couple of reviewers.
  • Some users notice that the shoe is “a little high off the ground” and isn’t low-profile.
  • Wiping every so often will be needed when the shoe is used on dusty courts.
  • Several users share that the woven upper restricts air flow, leaving them with a slightly damp shoe. This did not affect their performance on-court, however.

Bottom line

Overall, the Air Jordan XX9 goes beyond being a solid performing shoe, proving itself in terms of traction, cushioning, lockdown, and support. However, some users are bummed that the traction and cushioning feel like a step down from the mind-blowing performance of the AJ XX8. Even so, the shoe’s performance is still a cut above the rest.

Facts

Rankings

A top 7% best basketball shoe
A popular pick

Expert Reviews

90 / 100 based on 13 expert reviews

  • 90 / 100 | JAHRONMON | | Level 5 expert

    Overall, the 29 comes at a high price, but its definitely worth that price.

  • 90 / 100 | WearTesters | | Level 5 expert

    This is by far the best basketball sneaker I've ever played in to date.

  • 90 / 100 | WearTesters | | Level 5 expert

    This is by far the best basketball sneaker I've ever played in to date.

  • 83 / 100 | Schwollo | Level 5 expert

    Although I enjoyed the slightly lower ride, ultra comfortable upper and lightweight,the XX9 just didn’t do it for me.

  • 100 / 100 | MR FOAMER SIMPSON | | Level 4 expert

    I've played in these for a ton of hours already and I can confidently say that this is my favorite sneaker hoopin'. It was the LeBron 10, but these are better.

  • 77 / 100 | TheGymRatReview | | Level 4 expert

    If you have the funds and are a serious hooper, it’s certainly worth a try. I feel like I have undersold it, but I feel that it really is a great shoe – one of the better shoes of the year.

Become an expert

How can the Jordan line go past the great performance of the XX8? They have to have a new performance innovation, and Jordan has it in the form of the woven upper called the Flyweave, which is a dynamic and customizable material that can strategically provide support and stretch in needed areas. Jordan also modifies the Unlocked Zoom Air cushioning setup by articulating it horizontally.

Cushion. The Air Jordan XX9 has a modified version of the Unlocked Zoom Air setup of the XX8.  The forefoot unit is now segmented horizontally and made less protruding, decreasing the possibility of it popping during motion.

Jordan designers analyzed foot movements of different players and found that the players rarely use their heels during play, thus the removal of the Zoom Air unit from the XX9’s heel. A standard Phylon foam is used in its place, and it offers more stability. The heel cushion is cored out underneath so that it offers compression during heel strikes.

Traction. The outsole is anatomically sculpted. Its vertical wave traction pattern is accentuated with recessed horizontal stripes. A major departure from the pattern on the XX8 is the thin bridge that connects the decoupled forefoot and heel. This is what Jordan calls the “tendril,” and it helps make the shoe’s heel-to-toe transition smoother.

Length and Width. The Air Jordan 29 runs true to size yet feels a tad bit narrow. New buyers with narrow and regular-sized feet may purchase the shoe in their standard Jordan basketball shoe sizes as the woven upper will conform to their feet after wearing it for some time.

Lockdown. The shoe’s lockdown power comes from its woven sock-like upper that is reinforced with the Flight Web fit system, which involves anchored webbed straps that pull the foot toward the midsole when the laces are tightened. A TPU heel counter and a midfoot plate cup make sure that the foot don’t slip out of the footbed especially during aggressive movements.

The Jordan XX9 uses a premium woven material called Flyweave, which is a fusion of Nike’s Flyknit and Hyperfuse. This upper is knitted in such a way that the areas where the foot needs more support are weaved more tightly, and the areas that need more stretch are stitched more loosely. While the Flyknit and Hyperfuse already apply this strategic weaving, the Flyweave stands out because it uses thinner strands.

This type of upper provides a custom fit that allows dynamic movements. Unfortunately, this material does not leave much room for ventilation and may impede heat and moisture from escaping.

The carbon fiber midfoot plate and heel cup used on the Jordan XX8 are replaced with TPU on the XX9. The midsole is composed of an Unlocked Zoom Air unit at the forefoot and Phylon at the heel. Lastly, the outsole is made of solid rubber.

The shoe’s silhouette is clean, and and its upper doesn’t have much texture. Neither does it have any seams or extra structural pieces on the upper. Instead, different graphics depending on the colorway are used to add flavor to the shoe’s body. Elephant skin is used in some while others use a linear pattern. A bold Jumpman logo is sometimes included on the shoe’s side panels.

The Jordan 29 is a high-top basketball shoe that can be worn with jogger pants and other slim cuts in order for the shoe's silhouette to be accentuated.

When released back in 2014, the shoe had two colorway versions; one is Black/White-Gym Red color with Elephant skin prints on specific areas. The other is Black/Team Orange-Dark Grey with an oversized Jumpman logo on the side.

Author
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.

dimitrije@runrepeat.com