[Performance by We Are Testers]
Traction – Herringbone is featured in similar fashion to the previous Air Jordan signature – the Air Jordan XI. The phrase, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” comes to mind as they haven’t changed much so it works relatively the same. I only had one issue where I slipped and that was within the first few hours at the medial ball of the foot… make sure you plant your feet and push off from the base of the shoe – if you are light on your feet – as I was at the time – then the rounded edges of the outsole will serve you no purpose and you will likely slip or lose balance. After I figured out what I was doing wrong, I never had an issue with the traction again.
Cushion – Full length Zoom Air… from heel to toe. The Zoom unit is one continuous air bag and feels amazing! They are comfortable enough wearing casually but you won’t experience what these can truly do until you play in them. I say this all the time but I really do mean it… you gain more appreciation for a shoe after you’ve played in them – when they perform well that is. I already loved the Air Jordan XII based on its looks but that fact that they can handle practically anything you can throw at them made me love them even more.
If you are looking for a hoop shoe that has low profile, responsive cushion then look no further as the Air Jordan XII will meet and possibly exceed your expectations. You will get over their initial clunky feeling after you give yourself some time to adjust but after that you will fall in love with them all over again.
Material – The originals used premium full grain leather and these newer Retro models use a split grain. It’s not as nice as they used to be but when directly comparing the leather here to a split grain that was used on say, the Air Jordan IV White/ Cement Retro… these are leaps and bounds better. Just like the midsole, you will need to break these in a bit in order to start enjoying them. It doesn’t take too long since there is practically zero ventilation so your body’s heat and moisture will speed up the process.
Fit – I felt this Retro fits true to size but the newer ones released in 2012 feel a ½ size big after being broken in. If you double sock or use an additional insole you will be able to solve the sizing issue if you choose not to go down ½ on Jordan Brand’s latest Retro run. If you are looking at something that was released prior to 2012 then I would say go with your regular size.
Midfoot and heel lockdown were great. I never once had an issue after they broke in. As expected with leather based sneakers, the leather will stretch a bit after they’ve been broken in. All you have to do to fix the additional space you’ll receive is tie them tighter – what I call adjusting the laces – and you will be good to go.
Ventilation – There really isn’t any. Some mesh was used on the tongue but it isn’t anything that provides you with air flow. The lack of ventilation will aid you in breaking the shoe in so not all is lost. If you feel that ventilation isn’t an attribute that you look for in a shoe then ignore this section, simple as that. No need to whine about it affecting a shoes score in a negative way as ALL of the shoes tested are graded in ventilation which makes things perfectly fair.
Support – Tanks… the Air Jordan XII are on-court tanks. Arch support is great while the overall fit and lockdown take care of the rest. These can – and have been – be worn by a wide variety of players and positions so the Air Jordan XII has something for everyone.
Overall – These are one of my favorite performers out of the Retro line so far… these and the Air Jordan VIII. Both of which comes as a surprise to me since they are both probably the two models I would look at and think that they aren’t too Guard friendly.
If you need a shoe with Retro style, great traction, awesome cushion, good materials, nice fit and plenty of support then the Air Jordan XII will give you what you need. It’s nice to see – and feel – evolution and the Air Jordan XII is just that. The Air Jordan line evolved quite a bit in a short amount of time… that’s pretty incredible… especially seeing as how the Air Jordan XII can outperform some of today’s performance models.