Archivo para la categoría ‘Air Jordan 28’

Nike Air Maestro 2 Performance Review

24 years. That’s how long ago Scottie Pippen broke the “red shoe” ice and blessed us with the red Air Maestro 2 for All-Star Weekend. He rocked them to a 29 point, 11 rebound effort and an MVP trophy. Like a former Chicago teammate who had recently retired once said, it must have been the shoes, right? Only one way to find out…

Who needs storytelling? Simple herringbone, spaced wide with thick rubber, grips the floor in every way and it’s durable enough for a few months outdoors. Granted, it isn’t pretty, but it’s on the bottom of the shoe, so who cares, right? I feel like I wrote this same thing in a review already — oh, yeah, it was the Kobe 1 Protro Performance Review.

What do the two shoes have in common? Simple design, no overthinking, and they work. Dust doesn’t really clog up or hang on because of the wide channels. The edges of the blades are peaked like wiper blades to push the dust away as well, meaning I haven’t wiped — ever. It didn’t matter what floor I was on or if it was dirty or clean, the Air Maestro 2 was a glue trap.

One major detail the Maestro 2 brought to the table was the huge flex grooves cut across the forefoot. At the time, solid, thick rubber soles and leather shoes could, and did, make for a Doc Marten boot, but the Maestro forefoot flexed perfectly while running, which adds to the traction. The flex also allows the shoe to keep more outsole in contact with the floor, which means more grippy, less slippy.

Surprisingly, the encapsulated Air unit in the heel and the foam forefoot weren’t bad. There wasn’t much response from the forefoot, but the impact protection was good. The Maestro line was one of the first to use a lightweight foam instead of polyurethane, and its reduction in weight and rebound properties (at the time) were amazing. Now, at least in the forefoot, the set-up feels a little “budget-y,” but still completely playable. One plus is the court feel from the low ride that makes the Maestro 2 feel quicker than a bulky retro probably should. Coupled with the killer traction, the response while playing is completely serious.

The heel cushioning is a large Air unit encapsulated (inside) the same foam as the forefoot, and it is great underfoot. The Air unit actually feels stiffer than the foam, so directly underfoot you feel the push back of the Air unit, but as it compresses the foam allows for expansion and rebound so you are never unstable on landings.

Nike Air Maestro 2 Performance Review materials

Here is where the Air Maestro 2 gets lovely. When we first saw images of the retro, most assumed we would get the stiff plastic-y leather found on Nike retros over the last few years. To be honest, I wasn’t even considering buying these — the originals were my favorite shoes ever and I was not in the mood to have my memories shattered.

However, when Foot Locker put these on the shelf about 10 minutes before my arrival, the leather was looking soft and broken in from the start. This is the softest leather on a Nike shoe in years! It forms around your foot like a ballet slipper. It’s so ’90s that the Air Maestro 2 should come with a Zach Morris poster.

The heel is nubuck and although it isn’t as plush as the original it is still a nice quality. Thick padding all around the heel gives the full-on ’90s feel, and possibly the best implementation of an inner bootie ever makes up the lacing system (but more on that in the next section). Well done, Swoosh.

Nike Air Maestro 2 Performance Review fit

First off: true to size, or even a half-size down, will work for most in the Air Maestro 2. The length may be too short if you size down, but width will work fine. The inner sleeve takes up any empty space the leather shell might have.

Being a shell-and-sleeve shoe, when pulled tight, the upper forms right around the sleeve and provides serious lockdown — at first. As with most leather shoes, after a few wears (or with leather this soft, a few hours) the upper stretches out and will need to be re-tightened, possibly several times. It’s a small price to pay for materials this nice and a trade I will gladly make.

The lacing system is magical. It flows through the outer leather shell and the inner sleeve to create a midfoot that is straight-jacket tight and completely hugged up. This is my favorite feature of the Air Maestro 2 and the one thing I really remember from the Nike Air Foamposite One OG pair. The ankle padding is thick, and coupled with the lacing system and high collar, your heel will encounter no slide or movement.

With the leather, inner sleeve, and ankle padding, the Air Maestro 2 is extremely hot. Like, no breeze at all. My feet were soaked through every wear and the upper holds moisture. Not to be too nasty, but even a couple of hours after finishing my games the shoes were still soaked. Not a shoe for the summer comfort, for sure, and the moisture build-up does affect the fit.

Nike Air Maestro 2 Performance Review support

Support in the Air Maestro 2 is a little behind the times, at least as far as technology, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. There is no midfoot shank, but the midsole is thick and solid enough in that area that there is no fear of bending awkwardly. There is also no real outrigger, but the sole is wide in the forefoot and feels ultra-stable while playing. The ankle collar fits and forms perfectly around the joint, providing coverage and peace of mind (if that’s what you need).

The lacing system does its best to provide lockdown but the soft materials make lateral stability a little less than perfect. There was some shifting in the forefoot while planting laterally and pushing off for drives or on defense, but not enough to feel unsafe — it just felt a little slow recovering.

Nike Air Maestro 2 Performance Review overall

It is no secret, if you have read this site or my reviews for any length of time, that the Air Maestro 2 is my favorite Nike Basketball shoe of all time. The design, with its smaller heel-oriented swoosh, screamed speed, and the inner comfort from the sleeve and padding, was unbelievable. Surprisingly, the Air Maestro 2 isn’t heavy — sure, it’s heavier than shoes like the Kobe 8 and Curry 4, but it is close to the LeBron 15 and Dame 4.

If you are looking for a moderately cushioned raw materials shoe with serious traction, or if you are just a sucker for retros but you still want a playable shoe, the Air Maestro 2 will fit your needs perfectly. Honestly, this may be the best retro Nike has done — as far as being close to the original.

The Air Maestro 2 makes me want to bring out my Cross Colours and bucket hats for the summer and bring the boom box to the park — if anyone still played outdoors.

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Air Jordan 28 SE Performance Review

When the Air Jordan XX8 was unveiled to the public for the first time in December of 2012, it was introduced along with the concept of “stealth.” During the design process, when the theme was taken to MJ, he pulled no punches when explaining what the concept meant to him. “Stealth is like Black Cat. It’s an ultimate aircraft. You never hear it coming, but it’s deadly as hell. You don’t ‘F’ with stealth. My game is like that. When you see it, it’s too ‘F-ing’ late.” The concept of stealth could even be tied in to the fact that the shoe was the first Air Jordan of the blog-era to not leak beforehand.

But while “stealth” may have defined the shoe’s design aesthetic, and even the unveiling, beneath it all, it was basically a shoe you’d seen before. A much better version than you’d seen before, but still a shoe who’s lasting impression came more from its refinements rather than breaking entirely new ground.

There are a handful of differences, which we’ll get into later, but if you are familiar with the Air Jordan XX8, then the easiest way of describing the SE is that it is the Air Jordan 1 , minus the stealth. The sky-high cut of the Air Jordan XX8 may have garnered most of the attention, but it was the shoe’s tooling that boasted the real breakthroughs. Zoom Air has been around since the mid-‘90s, and has been our benchmark for what’s possible in basketball cushioning. In over 20 years, nothing new that has come out since has topped it. That still hasn’t changed, but thanks to the introduction of Flight Plate, Zoom Air has gotten even better.

It’s still Zoom Air, but thanks to a holistic system, you are able to get more out of it than ever before. “The basic system is all around compression, deflection, and ultimately moderation,” explained the shoe’s developer, Josh Heard, when the XX8 launched.

“Zoom Air bags by themselves are extremely energy efficient,” he continued. “The problem was the way we had used Zoom Air bags in the past. We would encapsulate them in foam and whatnot, and it would lock up all the energy. You couldn’t get anything out of it. So what we did was we unlocked the Zoom. We unleashed the Zoom. We’ve cored out foam all around the Zoom Air bags, so literally you are stepping directly on Zoom when you are getting that first, initial feel. The outsole also helps, as I said, piston that effect. And then we have a moderator plate on top, that eliminates any bumps or hot spots under the foot. So, it’s moderated all the way through, and you get that nice, comfortable smooth feel.”

The change may seem subtle, and compared to an entire new cushioning technology, it is. But the results are immediately noticeable, and make “regular” Zoom now seem lacking. It allows the wearer to feel “more” Zoom, without the use of “bigger” Zoom, such as the full-length Max Zoom bag found in the LeBron X.

That means more responsiveness, with better court feel, and a stance closer to the floor. Cushioning and court feel typically have an inverse relationship. As one increases, the other deceases. But thanks to this new system, protection and flexibility increased simultaneously. When combined with an outstanding midfoot shank, the Air Jordan XX8 and XX8 SE were simply some of the best playing experiences I’ve ever had.

The shoes flex where needed, offer up support where needed, provide responsive cushioning where needed, and have zero break-in time. I can’t think of a performance shoe that’s ever felt as good right out of the box as the two of these. With the only exception possibly coming from the traction improving over the first few wearings, the shoes felt as good on the first runs as the twentieth.

I haven’t mentioned any differences yet between the original and SE editions of the XX8, because when it comes to the shoes’ toolings, there aren’t any differences. It’s the exact same shoe underfoot. And the uppers are similar enough to not effect the way the tooling plays.

The most obvious difference though is the XX8 SE’s lack of a shroud. But considering the shroud was largely a cosmetic feature, the shoe feels much more similar than you may expect. The plushness of the XX8’s inner workings provided a level of comfort that isn’t quite matched by the SE, but at the same time, the synthetics used here are more supportive, and have proven to be more durable after long-term testing. And strangely enough, the cut of the XX8 SE actually feels slightly taller than the original. The lack of shroud also means better breathability, which was one of the few negatives of the original.

Unsurprisingly, since it was also the case with the original XX8, the SE runs a bit large. I’d recommend starting a half-size smaller than what you normally wear. Jordan Brand has stuck with the traditional, generally accommodating last, which they’ve used on all recent Game shoes. This means the shoe will fit more people than the sleeker and more narrow lasts used by Nike Basketball, but it won’t fit as well. After playing in my normal size 13 in the air jordan 1, and 12.5 in the SE, I found the ideal fit came by sizing down.

The XX8 was an excellent example of the law of diminishing returns. It was the best performing hoops shoe of 2013 at any price, but it wasn’t twice as good as shoes costing half as much. But with the XX8 SE, you are getting almost the exact same shoe, for $100 less. And with better breathability, more durability and slightly more support, you could almost argue it’s a better shoe.

If I had to choose between the two, I’d probably go with the original XX8, if price was no object. But then again, I could get 2 pairs of SEs for close to the same price. It’s hard to call a shoe costing $150 a deal, but with prices constantly rising, that’s practically at the team level in 2014. At this point in time though, you won’t find a better value, and probably not a better shoe period, at any price.

GRADE BREAKOUT

best for: most players other than larger forwards and centers who need abrasion protection in the post

colorway tested: Black/Dark Powder Blue/Team Orange/White

key tech: Flight Plate system, Carbon Fiber midfoot shank and heel counter, Dynamic Fit

pros: comfort; cushioning; transition; fit; zero break-in time

cons: sizing

improvements: Fit more true to size

buying advice: The SE edition of the Air Jordan XX8 offers almost all of the positives of the original, for $100 less. It’s slightly less comfortable, but slightly more breathable. And in my experience, the SE has been much more durable as well. Its cushioning is second to none, and I’ve never felt a more effective carbon fiber shank. Considering that the $250 Air Jordan 4 was an easy recommendation, at $150, the SE is one of the easiest recommendations I’ve ever made for a hoops shoe. Just be sure to try a pair on, or size down a half size, for proper fit.

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