DM Kicks Review: The Air Jordan 36 is a Certified ‘Sneaker of the Year’ Candidate

In the era where lightweight is the trend, there is no way that the Air Jordan brand would be left behind. 

Just recently, the iconic Jumpman team released the Air Jordan 36, its lightest and arguably most innovative basketball sneaker in the brand’s rich history. 

Some notable NBA players who recently wore the Jordan 36 are Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum and Dallas Mavericks main man Luka Doncic. Both young stars even received their Player Exclusive silhouette, which are now available for purchase.

The pair is oozing with potential on the court and has a good vibe off it. But to check if this modern-day Jordan sneaker deserves all the hype and praise, Dribble Media wrote an in-depth performance review of the Jordan 36.

MATERIALS

The Jordan 36 boasts a state of the art jacquard leno-weave for its uppers. This composition is lightweight yet strong. The leno-weave is a pattern that twists two warp (lengthwise) yarns around the weft (a perpendicular yarn that moves under and over the pattern) yarn. This weaving results in a more lightweight, stronger and more adaptable fabric.

The jacquard leno-weave appears to be strong and firm due to the TPU material that serves as the knot to the mesh strands. This ensures the durability of the materials despite its thinness and lightweightness. 

Also, the uppers are a bit see-through due to the weave setup, which reminds us of the Nike Kobe AD 360. This is to lessen the weight of the pair and increase the airflow. With this, players do not have to worry about accumulation of heat inside the pair. 

However, there is a minor drawback to the pair’s materials. Despite the excellent leno-weave, the brand somehow managed to make something a bit disappointing. From the premium leather material in its predecessor, the Jordan 36 settled with a synthetic material. The brand could have done better if they continued with the inclusion of the premium leather in the mix to reinforce the jacquard leno weave considering the price of the pair. 

Nonetheless, the uppers are excellent and the introduction of this setup would probably appear in the next installments. 

TRACTION

Just like its predecessors, the Air Jordan 34 and Air Jordan 35, the Jordan 36 is infused with herringbone traction pattern. You can never go wrong with this traction, as it is known for its very aggressive omnidirectional grip and has arguably the best traction pattern. 

It is almost an automatic performer when a pair has this traction pattern regardless of the outsole’s compound. Speaking of compound, the Jordan 36 is infused with either solid rubber or translucent outsole depending on the colorway. 

Regardless of the compound, the Jordan 36’s outsole is firm and durable. Its nubs are thick and wide, so the material will last longer even when used on blacktops without accumulating much dust. 

Frankly speaking, this is one of the best takeaways the pair has to offer since a lot of other sneakers compromise the durability of the outsole to give way to a very aggressive and smooth grip. With Jordan 36, players can enjoy the benefits of having aggressive and durable traction. 

CUSHION AND SUPPORT

Talking about innovations, the Jordan 36 is infused with cutting-edge technologies for its cushion system. Jordan brand has implemented a full-length Zoom Air Strobel unit stitched directly to the pair’s uppers. 

Along with that, the pair is also infused with a bottom-loaded Zoom Air Unit on the forefoot for extra bounce and responsiveness. Honestly, with the full-length Zoom Air Strobel and the Zoom Air unit, the Jordan 36 is comparable to the responsiveness of the Nike KD 13

But Jordan is not done yet. The brand’s modern cushion system, the Eclipse plate, which was highly popularized by the Jordan 34, is also present in this installment of the Air Jordan. The plate can be seen on the hollowed shank on the medial part of the outsole. 

The Eclipse plate is built to get the energy return out of the Zoom Air unit not only for addition, but for maximum responsiveness of the cushion system. It is also noteworthy that the Jordan 36, despite these cushion systems, has a pretty good court feel. 

The inner has stiff plastic-like insoles for more cushion. And if you remove it, you will see the stitched Strobel unit that is covered with a cloth-like material just like with the Nike PG4. 

It is also good from an aesthetic standpoint that Jordan made the hollowed area smaller since it makes the pair more appealing. There is also a flat rubber compound that separates the ground and the eclipse plate, which helps the pair become more stable and not look like a deconstructed sneaker. 

As far as lockdown and support go, the Jordan 36 has a pretty wide base despite its looks. This is then reinforced by fuse materials on the forefoot to support the uppers when running while a plastic-like wall goes throughout the firm and responsive phylon midsole.  

For added support, the pair is also infused with TPU heel counters, which is very popular among sneakers. Then on the ankle portion, the padding is not very bombarded. It actually seems like there is no foam at all. But despite this, the pair is still very supportive and soft when worn. 

For the heel to toe transition, the pair has a good curve. With a good amount of compression and shape on the exposed midsole in the heel area, it is very smooth to flex the pair backwards. 

However, since the upper material is very firm, the forefoot flex is lacking. But fret not, since the brand stabilized the issue by adding more curve to the outsole for a smoother running experience.  

SIZE AND FITTING

The Jordan 36 runs true to size, but the forefoot is very snug. So if players love that sense of tightness, they can go true to size. Otherwise, go up half a size for more breathing room. 

OVERALL RATING

The Jordan 36 has a real shot at being the best basketball sneaker of 2021, though its rivals, the Nike KD 14 and Curry 8 Flow, will also be up there.

Nonetheless, with its jacquard leno-weaving, aggressive traction, and superb cushion setup, the pair will obviously be in the conversation. In addition, the pair really looks great from an aesthetic point of view. Therefore, the Jordan 36 is definitely a combination of style and performance. 

Also, the brand did a good job in commemorating one of the older Jordan pairs, the Air Jordan 6. It may not be as obvious as the similarities between Air Jordan 5 and Jordan 35, but the brand really pulled it off with the Jordan 36. 

The most evident tribute is the implementation of the perforated nylon tongue in the Jordan 36 that is somewhat similar to the Air Jordan 6. Also, the way how “Air Jordan” was branded on the tongue are similar in style. The only difference is that in Jordan 36, the branding is on the inner tongue, as opposed with the Jordan 6. 

While it’s true that the pair dons these good attributes, its downside is its expensive price tag. The Jordan 36 costs US$185, which is obviously more expensive compared to other signature pairs and not affordable for some. But at the end of the day, it’s not Jordan if it’s cheap.

Besides, with the amount of cutting-edge technologies and state-of-the-art materials, the price seemed to be justifiable. 

The Air Jordan 36 nets an overall rating of 4.8 out of 5.

Performance-wise, there is almost no issue with the pair. However, it is really bothersome that the brand has already set the notch higher by putting premium leather in the Jordan 35, then settled with synthetic with the Jordan 36.

WHERE TO BUY

The Jordan 36 is now available at select retail stores and online stores for US$185. More colorways will be available soon. 

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