Summary

We spent 10 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what basketball players think:

9 reasons to buy

  • The shoe's shroud elicits very polarizing reviews. However it is assessed, one thing is for sure: the shoe grabs attention and can be a show-stopper on and off the court, pretty much like the Air Jordan 33
  • Most of the users report that the materials on the Air Jordan XX8 are top-notch and very durable. The sole lasts long while the shroud and zipper show no signs of early wear  and tear.
  • For many wearers, the traction is the second best attribute of these Air Jordan shoes. It makes users feel confident on-court. Users also share that don’t need to wipe the sole during games.
  • Several shoe owners love how the XX8 has two looks in one shoe.
  • The shoe plays very low to the ground but remains well-cushioned and responsive both at the forefoot and heel. A number of testers share that this is the “best cushioning set-up” that they've ever tried. They feel like they can "run faster, jump higher, move better."
  • The dynamic fit system of the AJ XX8 really provides the wearers with a secure lockdown and a snug fit.
  • The torsional plate and the external heel counter do a good job ensuring rigid support in areas that need it, one user shares.
  • The heel-to-toe transition feels natural due to the decoupled midsole according to a few wearers.
  • Because of the shoe’s soft and pliable upper, many testers remark that the 28th Air Jordan does not need any break-in time.

5 reasons not to buy

  • The top complaint about the Air Jordan 28 is its lack of breathability, which is most probably because of its multi-layered construction. Most users comment that the inner tongue and heel are usually damp after every wear.
  • There are reports about the forefoot Unlocked Zoom Air bag popping after just a few months of use.
  • Several testers say that the Unlocked Zoom Air unit at the forefoot initially feels uncomfortable and a bit "wobbly," adding that the cushioning needs some break-in time.
  • “The shroud offers no ankle support and only acts like a sock,” a few wearers say.
  • Most users feel that although the XX8 is a performance beast, the price is a little bit too much.

Bottom line

Looks are not everything; the Air Jordan XX8 has proven this to be true. The majority of expert reviewers and common folks have almost nothing bad to say about the performance of these basketball shoes. Most of them are just overwhelmed with how the shoe played on-court, from its low profile, responsive yet protective cushioning, super solid traction that doesn’t need any wiping, and its flexible supportive upper that allows for more natural movements.

Facts

Rankings

A top rated basketball shoe
It has never been more popular than this July

Expert Reviews

95 / 100 based on 7 expert reviews

  • 90 / 100 | WearTesters | | Level 5 expert

    All I know is this… my requirements are widely available on the Air Jordan XX8 – Traction, Fit, Cushion and Support… its all there and its abundant.

  • 100 / 100 | Tre Good | Level 3 expert

    This was truly an innovative shoe and a great performer.

  • 90 / 100 | WearTesters | | Level 5 expert

    All I know is this… my requirements are widely available on the Air Jordan XX8 – Traction, Fit, Cushion and Support… its all there and its abundant.

  • 96 / 100 | SoleCollector | | Level 4 expert

    I can’t think of another shoe I’ve played in that addressed both performance and comfort this equally.

  • 99 / 100 | NiceKicks | | Level 3 expert

    Its spiral effect on the traction pattern, cushioning and rich materials make it a performance monster, but the real treat is found in the forefoot Zoom Air Bag.

  • 99 / 100 | Wheat City Sole | | Level 3 expert

    This is the best cushioning setup I've ever used in my life.

Become an expert

The Air Jordan XX8 marks the return of numbered Air Jordan basketball shoes. Designers Tinker Hatfield and Josh Heard are inspired by the idea of “stealth” when they were working on the 28th Air Jordan. They wanted to capture the essence of a scene from the 90’s action movie “True Lies” where Arnold Schwarzenegger, after getting rid of a few villains, unzips his commando suit and steps out in a tuxedo.

Cushion. The midsole utilizes the Flight Plate System, which is considered as one of the best cushioning setups available today. In this system, a PEBAX Flight Plate rests on top of two Unlocked Zoom Air units at the forefoot and heel. These units are large, and are neither top-loaded or bottom-loaded. The midsole is hollowed out to accommodate these units.

Each time pressure is applied on the midsole, the Flight Plate pushes on the Unlocked Zoom Air units. Due to the tensile fibers within the units, energy bounces back to the foot, resulting in an ultimately responsive ride. The forefoot unit is divided into two segments so that whichever side the wearer leans on, the cushioning would work just as well.

Traction. The outsole comes with a full-length spiral-shaped tread pattern that looks similar to a fingerprint. The grooves are multidirectional, assuring a full and grippy coverage regardless of which direction the wearer is coming from or going to. Because of this, sudden direction switches are now possible.

Length and Width. Although the shoe runs true to size, several testers recommend going half a size down if a snug glove-like fit is desired. However, if you like that extra space between your foot and the upper, you can go with your standard Jordan basketball shoe size.

Lockdown. The shoe’s lockdown comes from the Dynamic Fit system. This system uses two layers of material: mesh and a stretchy material called Lycra. The lace loops are shaped like fingers, and their goal is to securely grasp the foot and pull it into the midsole for a 360° locked-in feel. The outer shroud is enclosed by a sturdy zipper, adding extra protection.

The upper is composed of two layers. The outer 8-inch shroud is made of a durable Schoeller textile that is abrasion proof and feels nice to the touch. The inner upper is made of mesh, fuse, and Lycra. It is a full-length internal cleat with a thickly padded tongue and cushioned pods in the heel areas for a better-sculpted fit.

The Jordan XX8 also has an external carbon fiber butterfly heel counter and a midfoot shank that gives support to the foot. The materials used strike a balance between lightness and strength.

The Flight Plate System in the midsole has a PEBAX plate, two Unlocked Zoom Air units, and a Phylon case that surrounds the units. The outsole rubber, depending on the colorway, comes in either translucent or solid rubber compound.

The Jordan XX8 is made to look like a military combat cleat. Its upper sports a classic basketball shoe silhouette. The shoe can be worn in two ways: one is by zipping the cleat all the way to the top, transforming it into a high-top; the other is by unzipping and folding the shoe’s shroud, making the shoe a mid-top.

The shoe originally debuted in a Black/White-Electric Green colorway and later on was released in more than fifteen different colorways. Below are some of the most popular colorways worn by top NBA athletes:

Air Jordan XX8 Why Not

The Cement Black/Blue/Orange “Why Not” colorway of the Air Jordan 28 was worn by Russell Westbrook during a game against the Brooklyn Nets. The two-word mantra for Westbrook started back in high school when he and his friends would ask themselves “why not?” before doing something crazy or impulsive.

The phrase today, however, has a better meaning for the MVP player. In an interview, he explains that it’s about empowering kids and giving them a sense of confidence and swagger. He adds, “I didn’t think I’d be playing in the NBA at the time, but just being able to give the next person, your brother, your friend, whoever it is, some confidence. Why not? Who told you, you can’t? That’s how it started and now I’m using the mantra to keep impacting people across the world.”

Air Jordan XX8 Locked And Loaded

In honor of Ray Allen and his game-winning clutch shot in Game 6 against the San Antonio Spurs back in 2013, the White/Gym Red/University Gold/Icy Blue colorway Allen wore during the close-match was released in 2018.

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