Air Jordan 34 Review: Breaking Down the Top Contender of 2020

The praise for the latest 34th Air Jordan is real, so here I am a few months later, presenting you my Air Jordan 34 review, where we’ll find out if what they say is true!

For a premium price tag, I expect the performance and value offered to be at least solid, so for anyone who’s looking to get a new pair of quality performance basketball shoes, stick to this review and by the end, hopefully, it’ll make up your mind.

Let’s hop right in!

SPEC SHEET

#2 in Best Shoes of 2019

#1 in Best Shoes for Flat Feet  |  #4 in Best Shoes for Wide Feet

#3 in Best Traction Shoes

Air Jordan 34 Review: Side 1

Model: Air Jordan XXXIV
Build: Mid-Top
Recommended Fit: True to Size
Weight: 14.02 oz / 397 g. (size 10)
Retail Price: $175
Cushion: Heel Hex Zoom Air & Forefoot Zoom Air
Best Offer On: Amazon

I. COMFORT & FIT

Air Jordan 34 Review: Top

Most performance AJ models for basketball are known to be quite bulky, heavier than the average pair, and some of them play that way too.

2020 is a crazy year and what can you know – the AJ 34 doesn’t quite fall into the usual category that is the heavy, large-framed, and bulky shoes from Jordan Brand.

I’m myself a wide-footer, quite a apparent version of it, and going true to size with the shoe didn’t give me any issues. At least from the point after I properly broke them in.

These took me about 2 weeks to fully break in and experience the shoe’s peak.

This is easily a contender among the best shoes for wide footers, and in terms of comfort, the AJ XXXIV is no slouch either.

I admit I love when brands decide to go with the traditional construction, having a separate tongue and a classic lacing system, instead of this weird one-bootie trend we got going on. The shoe is easy to put on, adjust the tightness on the fly, and they’re very comfortable thanks to proper internal padding and a quality fit, no matter your foot’s shape.

This is legit the lightest shoe from all 34 of AJ’s performance basketball releases, and it pretty much feels like it. The shoe feels more mobile and quick than ever, while still maintaining all the premium features that you’re used to from an Air Jordan.

I didn’t have any slipping or containment issues, though I don’t recommend wearing these with low socks. The ankle collar does have a tendency to dig into my ankle, especially during lateral movements.

I’ve seen some users claim this goes away after some time but it never really disappeared for me for one reason on another. Having higher cut socks solved this though and I don’t see a reason to hate just for that.

I can totally take my hat off to the shoe from a pure fit & comfort perspective – a killer job so far.

II. TRACTION

Air Jordan 34 Review: Outsole

Herringbone is back and it’s here in a bladed, multi-directional fashion.

What can I say – those who follow the basic concepts of evolving basketball shoe technology, know that herringbone pretty much never fails and this was exactly the case for the AJ XXXIV.

I admit I’m a bit hesitant to play with these outdoors a lot since they come at $175 but I still tested them both indoors and outdoors.

The traction is near-perfect on pretty much all surfaces, I think I could count the times I slipped on one hand, and that’s likely due to other factors and not the shoe’s outsole. I’m also not a huge sole wiper and fortunately, the traction pattern doesn’t pick up dust almost at all, so I was able to bite the floor consistently at all times with no interference.

These won’t squeak no matter what, so don’t be fooled thinking they won’t bite. Once the rubber gets going and breaks in, you’ll grip the floor like a true badass.

The rubber compound on the outsole doesn’t look like it’s extremely durable but that’s nothing new due to today’s focus on indoor performance. Still though, it’s not the most terrible rubber I’ve seen so these will hold up outdoors for a while.

I’ve played in them outdoors for about a week in total and don’t see any fractions or the rubber chipping away.

Once again, legendary stuff so far!

III. CUSHION

Air Jordan 34 Review: Side 2

We’ve got a pretty low-key setup on paper – a Hex Zoom Air unit in the heel, a standard Zoom Air unit in the forefoot, and a Phylon midsole throughout.

Remember, specs are just specs – what you see advertised doesn’t tell the whole story. The AJ 34’s cushion setup is fantastic. It’s nothing out of this word in terms of how they feel or how much fun they bring, but from a pure performance standpoint – there aren’t too many setups that are better.

I’m an explosive player that relies a lot on driving and beating players to the rack, and I appreciated this setup SO MUCH.

It’s one of those rare occurrences where the team put their absolute biggest effort into balancing the setup out. In result, you get lots of spring back and energy return as well as great impact protection, but virtually no sacrifices are made – the shoe still rides relatively low, it’s still fast and responsive, and you never sink into the heel too much.

Sure, I’ve experienced MORE bounce and plushness on other shoes such the LeBron 17, and I’ve experienced lower profile setups that are more responsive than the AJ 34 but I rarely experience a setup that’s as balanced as this one.

It’s a shoe with intent to fit almost any player out there, and I can say the job is well done.

IV. SUPPORT

Air Jordan 34 Review: Heel

Jordan Brand’s models are never known to be weak in terms of security. Thanks to the reworked lightweight frame of the shoe, the Jordan XXXIV is both supportive and mobile, which is what most players want.

The shoe has an internal heel counter to ensure heel lockdown and ankle support, the fit is surely solid and cups the foot in a snug fashion, the upper also adds to the support and the Eclipse plate underfoot does a fantastic job providing torsional protection.

Lastly, the woven layer underneath the shoe’s visible upper layer stretches when it has to and tightens during movements, containing your foot even more.

All the boxes are pretty much ticked, so you already know what it is. I didn’t have any major issues with the shoe’s support, never rolled an ankle in these, the step transitions are very smooth thanks to the plate and the quality Zoom cushioning.

Another category, another near-perfect execution.

V. BUILD & MATERIALS

Air Jordan 34 Review: Toebox

The upper is made up of multiple layers. The visible layer is a series of synthetics, and under it is Performance Woven.

I wouldn’t call the setup super-premium, especially by judging it from the top layer but it gets the job done. Performance Woven underneath does a great job providing dynamic molding to your foot as it tightens up when pressure is applied, and it also makes the shoe much more breathable than its usual competition consisting of just synthetics.

I do see some slight fractions on the sides of the shoe’s upper but that’s not a lot to be concerned about. I wouldn’t personally make this an outdoor shoe – the upper is not terrible unreliable but thin materials implemented the way it is on the AJ 34 won’t last too long while destroying them on concrete. Plus that $175 tag doesn’t make it more appealing.

Overall though, performance is the main factor of the shoe and performance it delivers. I would, of course, liked to see something more durable and more premium for $175 but that would be the only nitpick I’d have on the whole shoe.

VI. OVERALL

The Air Jordan XXXIV is now definitely in my ever-evolving list of the best shoes in 2020. I don’t remember when was the last time I praised an Air Jordan that much but it looks like 2020 simply does not stop with its surprises, good and bad.

The AJ 34 has a quality fit and looks to be a great option for wide footers, it’s got fantastic traction that’s consistent on all floors. The cushion setup is about as perfect as it goes, the shoe is supportive without being bulky/slow.

Everything about it screams performance and versatility, so if it’s in your price range and you’re looking for a shoe that would serve you no matter the play or style, the Air Jordan 34 might really be it.

—Grab the Air Jordan 34 on Amazon here—

Why Amazon? Click to find out!

WHY AMAZON?

I’ve been ordering a solid 70%-80% of my hoop shoes from Amazon and can confidently say it’s almost always the most trustworthy and convenient option to buy your shoes.

Why Amazon?

Yes, it’s great to find the shoe you’re looking for on an original retailer such as Nike or Adidas but the reality is a bit different – a lot of times, especially for shoes older than 1-2 years, it’s a very small chance you’ll find the shoe or better yet find it in your size & color.

You’ll mostly find the latest releases directly from the brand’s store but the period is usually pretty short until they’re out of stock.

This is where Amazon comes in.

Amazon is not strictly one retailer giving you the products, it’s a whole chain of thousands of different sellers, all supplying different products, including basketball shoes. You will mostly find more color and size options on Amazon for your desired shoe than on an original retailer or even a general sporting goods store.

Sure, there will be exceptions where Amazon won’t have a particular shoe but that’s on the rare side.

And the best part is the pricing – you can find older shoes and at times new shoes priced under retail, sometimes at crazy low prices, which is something you’ll never see on Nike.com, adidas.com, and other retailers (except during discounts/sales of course).

To sum things up and give you a generalized idea of why Amazon beats other stores more often than not, I’ve compiled a shortlist of the most notable advantages the massive store chain has over its competitors.

  • Usually, higher stock, size & color/edition availability compared to other stores
  • Blazing fast shipping times (sometimes delivered the SAME DAY if you’re close to the seller’s stock)
  • A good chance to find shoes priced under retail
  • Extremely convenient return/refund policies

Still not sure? I’ve made a comprehensive guide and compiled some general tips on where to buy basketball shoes online. Check it HERE!

THE VERDICT

Air Jordan 34 Review: Overview

Comfort Rating: 9
Performance Rating: 10
Value for the Price Rating: 8.5
Suitable for Outdoors: Questionable
Recommended for: all players | above the rim players

Overall Rating: 9.2

 

Alright, that is it for the review! The AJ 34 is truly a beast and the community was surely right about this one.

What do you think about it? Do you have it and want to share your own experience? Or perhaps you got any questions?

Leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you as quick as I can!

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2 thoughts on “Air Jordan 34 Review: Breaking Down the Top Contender of 2020

  1. Wow! Definitely another hit to see here. The revamped shoe and the latest of the air Jordan 34. Surely this us really great to see and the performance of this shoe. I like this color blend too and how the top is specifically soft and fluffy. Really good to see here. Thumbs up to you and could be a worthy addition to my air Jordan series

    1. If you’re in for a killer performer and a valuable shoe to have in your rotation, I think it’s a green light for the AJ 34, it’s damn fire in all areas!

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