Just out of nowhere, Zion Williamson joins Jordan’s elite club to become only the third basketball athlete to have his own signature sneaker as of today. That’s some impressive stuff for a 21-year-old coming in his 3third NBA season, right?
But what about his first signature sneaker – Jordan Zion 1? Also that much impressive? Let’s find out together.
Welcome to the Jordan Zion 1 performance review.
WEIGHT: 15.13 oz / 429 g. (size 12)
TECH: ZOOM AIR STROBEL
FIT: 1/2 A SIZE DOWN
RETAIL PRICE: $120
BD RATING: 7.7/10
This must be the thinnest mesh/synthetic upper I’ve ever tested… I can literally put my hand in a shoe, blow it from a distance, and be able to feel the air coming in (that’s what she said). So, yeah, the ventilation on these is on an elite level to start with.
The form-fitting factor is another thing that benefits from having an exceptionally thin setup as the Zion 1 did hit all the right spots for me straight from the get-go. Just to know, the materials themselves aren’t that flexible. That’s why to achieve a fit that works for you – the right size and some extra time spend adjusting the lacing system is going to be the secret recipe for that.
Ultimately, what we’re looking at is a lighter, less reinforced version of the AJ 34’s tooling. From a weight reduction perspective, the Zion 1’s upper acts to your game with extra ease. Unfortunately, it does have its own flaws that I talk about in the FIT segment.
Undoubtedly, this is the most exciting part of the shoe – a full-length Zoom Air Strobel with a touch of cloud-walking sensation coming out of a plush layer of foam.
I would say, it’s like a big man’s take on Zoom Air Strobel implementation compared to the Nike KD 14 or Cosmic Unity. These two bad boys are utilizing that raw, instant power boost of Zoom Air within a low-profile construction. While the Jordan Zion 1 is more about plushness first which immediately transforms into a Zoom Air explosion.
Personally, that didn’t slow me down any bit as a sinking motion was not a thing there. It’s more like a gun shooting action – cockback & shoot. Yeah, the court feel does get hurt a bit, but your knees will be thanking you after every session.
It’s either a tight pattern, translucent rubber, or a combination of both that led the Zion 1 to become a dust magnet on indoor courts.
Before the bottoms start to accumulate that nasty stuff off the ground like a mop, I was getting some serious bite. But that doesn’t take long, unless, you constantly look after them.
Stepping on an outdoor surface it brought out to the sun a different animal. All of a sudden, my feet were continuously sticking to the ground with anger as they gained my trust to just let them do their thing, and focus on mine. But then I was hit by another issue…
I’m talking about a rubber compound that was as delicate as fine porcelain. Listen, after a few shootarounds, not actually playing competitive basketball, the Jordan logo found on the outsole was chipping away like a sticker. The grip itself wasn’t so dramatic, but you could still see some wear-off signs.
The same can be said about the overall shoe’s quality. The Jumpman logo on the insole after those two practices looked like a ballerina holding a balloon. Something that I didn’t expect from the Jordan brand.
The shortage of molding to your foot ability in the upper makes picking the right size a really responsible mission that can make or break a whole shoe’s experience.
Therefore, I tend to suggest going half a size down for regular footers, whereas wide footers should lean towards staying true to size.
If I had to express my on-foot experience wearing the Zion 1 in one sentence; it’s like walking on clouds with a pair of silk slippers, something like that. A fast, lightweight construction with a nice air breeze as well as well-rounded cushioning underneath.
However, a see-through material combination definitely doesn’t go along with a build-in strap system for lateral coverage. Once you crack those laces, the four straps on the sides start to act like four assassins with a mission to cut your feet off. The only getaway is to use well-cushioned performance socks. Even then, you’ll be left with annoying digging every time you go heavy on the lateral side. But, hey, your feet won’t get destroyed.
The Zion 1 should be included in the World’s Record book as a basketball shoe with the biggest outrigger. According to my measurements, this chubby boy is 0,6 inches (1.5 cm.) wide, making the Zion 1 look like it has a wide body upgrade.
Why they’re so serious about lateral coverage? Well…2019. Duke vs North Carolina. Zion. Nike PG 2.5. Big explosion.
You bet, Jordan brand made sure this ain’t happening with their footwear by armoring Zion 1’s forefoot with the combination of a massive outrigger along with thick straps that lock your foot on the footbed big time.
Everything else – regular stuff that you find on almost every shoe, and all of that did solid in this one.
It may sound stupid, but testing the Jordan Zion 1 was a really strange experience as the whole time it felt like I was having some sort of a concept or a knock-off pair: over painted panels, bad quality prints, incredibly delicate rubber, and underwhelming, blank design.
Performance-wise, personally, the shoe has lots of great bits & pieces (cushion, support, light construction) that I really enjoyed. Too bad massive flaws took away the chance for them to actually be great.
I hope the Jordan band comes with a big bang with the second generation.
Baller from Europe? We GOT YOU.