No.3 for Russell Westbrook… Is the crazy look backed up with crazy performance? There’s only one way to find out. Welcome to the Jordan Why Not Zero.3 performance review. Read on…
WEIGHT: 459.2 g. / 16.2 oz
TECH: ZOOM AIR
FIT: TRUE TO SIZE
RETAIL PRICE: $130
BD RATING: 8.2/10
The heavy textile/synthetic paneling for the upper is back, but this time around, in a noticeably lighter form factor. Everything about this upper screams speed, agility, and one-to-one fit, and that’s exactly how I felt in the Why Not Zero.3 after a quick one session break-in process.
Performance wise, the upper is a true modern classic that will serve well any type of playstyle since that minimalistic set-up doesn’t take away any of the support capabilities, so you do have an all-around upper to enjoy.
Still, from a practicality standpoint, this is the stuff that won’t serve you more than a season if you’re a serious baller.
Instead of a regular forefoot Zoom Air bag found on the last model, the Why Not Zero.3 stacks same located & sized forefoot Zoom Air Turbo unit, but unlike in the Kyrie 5, where it was first introduced, this time, I did feel pretty substantial performance boost compared to the classic one.
This Zoom Air Turbo version has parallel segmentations instead of a web-like pattern in the Kyrie 5. So maybe that’s the case why this iteration does feel more active. Or it’s just simply because they’re using softer Phylon to unlock more freedom for Zoom Air to do its thing. Either way, the Zero.3’s set-up is more fun, more bounciness, more responsiveness & more impact protection than ever before going from heel to toe.
I can only see true guards hating on them a tad bit due to not having an elite level of court feel. If that’s the case, the Kyrie line is the answer. Everyone else should definitely fall in love with this tooling or at least have something to enjoy.
So it’s a multi-directional traction pattern that I wouldn’t call it a herringbone, more like a second-row cousin which is still a promising thing, except it isn’t. Once they met the hardwood, straight out of the gate I knew it’s going to be tons of “fun”.
Those outsoles couldn’t keep up with my lateral movements, especially with those sharp ones. It was that slip & bite type of consistent performance which you definitely don’t want it to be as a part of your game. But it’s better than having your bite inconsistent and all over the place for sure. That being said, if your game heavily relies on your on-court movement, the Why Not Zero.3 might be a true pain in the ass.
The linear movements, on the other hand, were covered perfectly fine, had zero problems whatsoever. And the dust problem wasn’t really a problem for them. Just a quick/light wipe and you’re ready to go back in play.
It was no surprise to experience that slip & grip issue to go incognito or at least to a certain level where it didn’t affect my game once I threw them outside. However, outdoor hoopers stop right there, sadly enough this is not a shoe for you since that rubber compound is atrociously soft.
It’s that type of situation where you don’t need to think too much – true to size should fit the majority of you. The only ones who need to be beware are obviously our wide footers, highly recommend trying them in store if possible. Just don’t go for a bigger size if they do feel too snug to your liking. Just give them a few runs to adjust to your foot for a perfect fit.
The overall fit was, like I said before, a modern classic type of performance. It’s something that Russ’s signature line didn’t adopt until this model, but here we have it. That combination of a lightweight/pliable upper and smooth heel-to-toe transition just simply pushes you to move forward. And with all of the lock-in features the shoe just soaks up your foot for a true one-to-one experience.
As long as Russell Westbrook will be such an explosive threat in the league, his signature performers will hold the top spot as one of the most supportive on-court sneakers in the game, and the Jordan Why Not Zero.3 is no exception.
Although a thinner upper means less support, you can be completely calm about that since it has a few additional support features to back it up. The midfoot strap is one of them, and unlike the majority of them acting as a prop or design piece, this does offer some serious midfoot lockdown & lateral protection to go with. Same thing with the lacing system, it’s an up & under type of contraption which has an advantage over the standard one for better lockdown performance. Lastly, your lateral movements are protected by the zig-zag type of midsole extension on the upper, as well as an internal heel counter to make sure your heel ain’t going anywhere. And don’t forget that well known heavy internal padding that Jordan brand always gives us. So freaking comfy.
As much as the Jordan Why Not Zero.3 is an all-around performer, you can’t ignore the fact that it’s mainly shifted towards a flashy, agile, and athletic player like Westbrook himself. However, to be the shoe for that group of players, it has to have great traction which in this case, the Zero.3 does not check that box, unfortunately. I would really want to love this sneaker since the rest of the aspects are freaking awesome, though, that lack of grip keeps me from that. It might be the pattern’s fault or the fact that they used so many different colors on the outsole. Fingers crossed it’s the second one.
Let me know if the solid rubber option does perform better. If so, I will do a revisit review with a different colorway.