In this Air Jordan 34 review, I’ll break down the shoe’s fit & comfort aspects, indoor & outdoor performance, durability, value for the price you’re paying, how it stacks up vs. the AJ 35 & 36, and provide potential alternatives.
UPDATE: after a few years after the release of these beastly things, I still find myself returning to them despite testing new shoes regularly. If you’re someone like or perhaps you’re looking to particularly get the 34, let me give you a 1-year update (playing time) of how the shoe still performs and holds up.
Spoiler alert: it’s still my favorite Air Jordan hoop shoe to date, so let’s break it all down!
SHOW TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Spec Sheet
- 1-Min Review
- Fit & Comfort
- The Build
- Alternative Options
- What’s Your Take on the AJ 34?
- Air Jordan 34 Review: The Verdict
I. SPEC SHEET
click for a full-sized sheet
BEST DEALS OF THE AIR JORDAN 34 🛒
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II. 1-MIN REVIEW 🕒
Short on time? Here’s the short version: the Air Jordan 34 is a phenomenal all-around basketball shoe, even a few years later. I just keep coming back to these.
The construction is wide-foot friendly, and all foot shapes should be OK with their usual size. And they’re MAD comfortable – once I got used to them, I never looked back.
Traction was fantastic, both indoors and outdoors, though you’ll ideally want to keep outdoor games to ocassional rather than regular since these don’t use the most durable rubber.
The cushion setup was no short of amazing, as it delivers all I needed: fast energy return (BOUNCEEEE), tons of impact protection without any loss of quickness and buttery smooth step transitions. It’s addicting.
Security was also a non-issue for the AJ 34 as multiple features & a fantastic fit made sure I’m always secure and also mobile.
These are one of the first Jordan shoes I’ve played in that didn’t feel bulky or clunky.
The upper is entirely made out of lightweight synthetics and the glorious Performance Woven layer underneath. It’s not the most durable setup EVER but it will last a while, that’s for sure.
For alternatives, check out the Jordan Jumpman 2021 for similar but more budget-friendly option and the newer Air Jordan 36 if you’d like to stay up to date with your hoop shoes.
> The full review is below
III. FIT & COMFORT
Should you stick with your size or not? What’s the comfort level and is there anything else to know fit-wise?
SIZING GUIDE: WIDE-FOOTER FRIENDLY
I’m myself a wide footer, quite an apparent version of it actually, 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. And even then, the initial two-week period wasn’t that bad, to begin with. Just some pressure height-wise and width-wise but they were playable.
This is easily a contender among the best shoes for wide footers.
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 one-bootie trend we got going on.
Yes, it can have its benefits but I prefer to be able to put on my shoes easily and without wanting to scream as loud as I can in the gym instead of a 5% increase of how “nicely cradled” my foot feels in the shoe.
So, all foot shapes will be good to go with their regular size.
COMFORT: YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR
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.
The shoe is easy to put on, you can easilyu 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 yet, 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.
It’s not a dealbreaker though – the digging is pretty mild and I can play through it but it’s something that could definitely be tweaked in the later models.
I can totally take my hat off to the shoe from a pure fit & comfort perspective – a killer job so far.
How does it grip on various surfaces & conditions? Is dust a factor? How long will the outsoles last?
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 little-to-no interference.
These won’t squeak no matter what though, 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.
So, here’s my 1-year update! Granted, I haven’t played in them every single day for a full year – it was more of an on and off thing but I still put a good amount of mileage in a single pair.
The traction pattern is severely burnt off by now. It’s not completely gone but even for someone who doesn’t know how the AJ 34 outsoles look out of the box, you’d be able to tell these have seen some action.
It’s been so long since the shoe was released, it’s tough for me to even compare the traction initially vs. a year later but yes, it’s not at 100% anymore. However, I mainly feel that indoors since there’s almost no friction on a hardwood floor.
I don’t know how long will these last from now but if I needed to give you a rough estimate/recommendation – these should last & perform well for at least a full season, even exclusively outdoors.
I wouldn’t consider having these as your single main outdoor pair though.
How’s the impact protection, step comfort, and energy return? What about stability, ride height, and step transitions?
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 such as the Zoom Freak 2 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.
How’s the security such as heel & ankle lockdown, lateral stability, and foot containment? Any trade-offs in mobility as a result?
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 cushion.
Another category, another near-perfect execution.
VII. THE BUILD
What are the upper materials and other components of the build? How do they feel & perform on foot? What about durability?
The upper is made up of multiple layers. The visible layer is a series of lightweight synthetics and textiles, and under it is Performance Woven. The side panels utilize an open textile that allows for some breathability.
The tongue is mildly padded with foam, so is the inside ankle area. The Eclipse Plate that sits between the forefoot and heel areas is made from hard plastic (TPU). The shoe uses a standard lace & tongue construction.
If you are someone who appreciates the so-called new-school material choices we see on today’s hoop shoes – the AJ 34 will feel right at home for you.
PERFORMANCE & RELIABILITY
I wouldn’t call the setup super-premium, especially by judging it from the top layer but it for sure gets the job done performance-wise.
The build moves well with my foot upon any stride and there are no signs of something holding me back, pinching, or applying too much pressure.
Performance Woven underneath does a great job providing dynamic lockdown 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 terribly unreliable but thin materials implemented the way they are on the AJ 34 won’t last too long while destroying them on concrete.
Plus, that $175 tag doesn’t make it more appealing for long-term outdoor hoopers.
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.
A year later – the shoe is holding up just fine. There are more signs of wear and tear now, such as the weary side panels, some of the logos are slightly faded, and one of my pull tabs are torn off.
Besides that though, the build is OK. The main concern durability-wise will be the outsoles since those are the weakest part of the shoe if we’re talking long-term hoops.
Rounding up the Air Jordan 34 review: are they versatile? Who’s best suited for it? Is it a good buy for the money TODAY?
I don’t remember when was the last time I praised an Air Jordan that much but it looks like the last few years simply do not stop with the 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, and the shoe is supportive without being bulky/slow.
And now that these have been put to the test for a whole year – looks like it’s full-season certified, even outdoors.
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.
BUY THE AIR JORDAN 34 🛒
IX. ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS
Not completely sold on the AJ 34 for one reason or another? Check out the alternatives below
JORDAN JUMPMAN 2021, $110
If you’re aiming to have similar well-rounded performance like the AJ 34 offers but at a friendlier price, the Jordan Jumpman 2021 actually came out of nowhere for me but it is EXACTLY made for that goal.
Even though both the Air Jordan 35 and 36 are out by 2021, the Jumpman 2021 definitely feels like a takedown version of the AJ 34. Same outsoles, a well-balanced cushion setup for the price, and good support while saving some money on the more basic upper.
AIR JORDAN 36, $185
If you’re looking to have the latest & great from the Jumpman brand, 2021’s Air Jordan 36 is, of course, the way to go.
It will perform very similarly to both the AJ 34 and the 35 but with a few tweaks. The upper feels more premium now and the cushion setup feels a little faster & lower to the ground. These are definitely more widely available too if that’s a factor for you.
X. WHAT’S YOUR TAKE ON THE AJ 34?
Let’s hear your opinion which will help a TON for the next reader!
Alright, that is it for the Air Jordan 34 review!
The AJ 34 is truly a beast, it’s undeniably among the top contenders of 2019 and the community was surely right about this one. AND, it looks like it’s a solid option even for those outdoor hoopers looking to grab a good shoe for at least a full season.
But it’s time for YOUR thoughts now. Your wide array of opinions matter much more than some of you might think! It’ll pay dividends for the future reader looking to get multiple takes on the shoe.
What do you think about it? Do you have a pair and want to share your own experience? Or perhaps you got any questions I haven’t answered in the review?
Drop a comment and I’ll get back to you as quickly as I can!
XI. AIR JORDAN 34 REVIEW: THE VERDICT
Air Jordan 34$175
Fit & Comfort9.0/10
Value for the Price8.0/10
- Wide footer friendly: true to size is recommended for everyone
- A great option for flat footers
- Keep outdoor games to occassional
- All positions
- Most playstyles
- Explosive/athletic players