I’m not even going to tease you. The 35th AJ model is my favorite basketball shoe of 2020.
After a phenomenal Air Jordan 34, Jordan Brand took a “what ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach – the frame of the 34th AJ was kept and some tweaks were applied to the latest shoe, making the AJ 35 a true successor.
For this Air Jordan 35 review, I’ve played in the shoe purely outdoors for about 2.5 months. Even though it’s not an outdoor shoe so to speak, you’ll get a good sense of idea how it holds up, since none of us have many options to play inside. Thanks, quarantine.
We’ll break down the shoe’s fit & comfort aspects, performance, value for the price and we’ll also discuss the changes from the AJ 34 for those who have it and looking to upgrade.
Let’s dive right in!
Model: Air Jordan XV
Weight: 14.98 oz / 425 g. (size 10 US)
Retail Price: $180
Cushion: unlocked forefoot & heel Zoom Air
Best Offer On: Amazon
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I. COMFORT & FIT
SIZING ADVICE: ALL FOOT SHAPES COMPATIBLE!
The Jordan 35 definitely fits true to size for most foot shapes, including slight wide footers. Very prominent wide footers like myself, it might be best to order a few different pairs just to be sure.
However, I went true to size and I’m not regretting the decision. After a break-in period which took about 2 weeks, the shoe fits me near perfectly. Once I got used to the shoe and the upper molded to my foot, it’s all Air Jordan 34 from now.
Superb lockdown and containment with no annoying restrictions or stiffness, they’re just right lengthwise, there’s no heel slippage or any sort of other nastiness.
So, if you’re going straight for the kill, just go true to size. If you want to be extra safe, I’d then suggest ordering a few different size pairs and return the ones that didn’t fit. Or try them on in a store if possible, though chances are that’s hardly possible for a lot of you due to the current circumstances.
COMFORT: STIL COMFY BUT QUICKER
Despite being slightly heavier than the AJ 34 on paper, the Jordan 35 feels lighter to play in. That might sound weird but that was exactly my first thought after I put the shoe on and ran around in it – something just feels lighter and quicker with these. We’ll talk more as to why in the later sections of the review.
Forget about bulkiness or feeling heavy-footed – that’s gone since the Air Jordan 34 and looks to be even more improved on the 35.
Tons of internal padding, the shoe is easy to put on, the material choices are now more forgiving and reduce the needed weight you’d usually see on an older AJ model.
Hardly any other shoe achieves a better balance in terms of comfort, security, and feeling mobile. That’s where the Air Jordan 35 shines for me.
PROTECT YOUR ARCHES!
However, that’s not all there is to the fit – I’d like to mention the one thing I’ve seen many other reviewers and people report on. Pulling on the laces too tightly results in the connected nylon lace loops to dig in your arches, and that’s surely no good while you’re playing.
I did have concerns about this right before getting the shoe, especially since I’m a wide footer. However, my experience was much better than what a lot of users seem to be reporting.
First off, I never pull on my laces to such an extreme case where my foot is completely condensed – I never liked that type of fit for my shoes. Second, 3-4 weeks in, the digging feeling pretty much went away for me.
Now, my wide foot likely had something to do with this – since they already fit snug for me due to my feet, I never really had to tighten the shoe up too much which could’ve caused more pain due to the nylon loops. If you’re a regular/narrow footer – be aware of this.
Loosening the laces up a bit will help if you’re experiencing a severe case of this issue. And it just might go completely away in time. It did for me.
Regardless, this is definitely something that should not have been happening in the first place and is a design flaw. The AJ 34 never had this issue, so I’m hoping they’ll sort this stuff out in the next one.
The outsole of the Jordan 35 is pulled straight from last year’s model with minimal tweaks. Same deadly traction, same consistency no matter the movement, same hassle-free pattern (for the most part) that doesn’t require you to wipe your soles like a maniac.
This is among the best tractions of 2020 and in the modern shoe era in general. I love it. These should surely bite just as well indoors since it’s primarily an indoor shoe. But I had zero issues on concrete as well, and the same story was for a synthetic rubber court too.
So if you’re not a big wiper and like to focus on your game and you’re looking for superb traction – the AJ XV has got you covered.
Now, for the durability of the outsole – things aren’t as peachy. If you’re coming from the Jordan 34, this won’t be a surprise.
The rubber compound is fairly soft and even though it is very tacky, the pattern will start burning off quicker than on an outdoor-ready shoe with something like XDR rubber or just stronger solid rubber.
Not to say the shoe will completely fall apart the same week you take it outside – I’ve been wrecking these with no regard for over two months now and even though I’m seeing some chipping mainly in the forefoot area, it’s definitely not the worst case I’ve seen.
As long as you’re not expecting these to hold up for multiple years while solely playing on the blacktop – you should be fine for occasional outdoor play.
The cushion setup is mainly what made the shoe feel lighter and quicker than the AJ 34. It’s almost an identical setup as last year’s shoe – unlocked forefoot and heel Zoom Air, though the Zoom unit in the heel is larger than last year’s 34.
This is the pinnacle of cushion setups right here. For performance freaks like myself, you’re going to love it.
Fantastic impact protection without too much compression, fast energy return upon impact, a little bit of that comfy bounce, buttery smooth step transitions, and even court feel as the icing on the cake.
It’s a setup that gives you pretty much everything performance-wise. While it is just a bit firmer and quicker than the AJ 34 – you will still feel that Zoom awesomeness. Just a more “streamlined” version of it which makes the shoe as versatile as it can get.
A true flagship cushion setup any player/position will find sufficient. No doubt there.
Support is once again similar to the Air Jordan 34. A secure fit & deadly lockdown is the foundation of the shoe’s security.
There’s also an internal heel counter along with soft pillows cupping your achilles, the same wide base is used for stability, the upper is now more structured thanks to the inclusion of raw materials so containment could be considered as an upgrade from the 34.
There’s also the updated Eclipse Plate 2.0 which is heavier and beefier than its first iteration used on the 34. Torsional support is phenomenal here – a returning tendency among modern Air Jordan hoop shoes, which makes them solid options for people with flat feet.
The lacing system is traditional along with the nylon cables running through the midfoot area for enhanced lockdown.
If you manage to get around that issue with the loops digging into your arches, the support of the Jordan 35 is both super solid and unrestrictive, keeping you comfy at all times.
Lovely work from AJ.
V. BUILD & MATERIALS
The materials did see some changes from the AJ 34.
The shoe now comes in two variants – genuine leather & textile combo or a genuine suede & textile combo. The main side panels of the shoe will be suede/leather, while the middle area and lateral areas just over the midsole will be utilizing lightweight textiles. I happened to play in the suede version and I have no complaints.
Some could consider this an upgrade, while others would see it as just a change to keep things fresh. It’ll depend on what you prefer in terms of materials but for the general hooper who appreciates performance, this should absolutely satisfy you.
We’re getting the best of both worlds here: old-school and new-school stuff is being combined to make the upper structured, achieve better containment than the AJ 34 did, offer better ventilation due to the open textile design, as well as keep the build fairly durable.
Speaking of durability, I do believe these would hold up longer outside than the AJ 34 since that once primarily used synthetics. Suede or leather won’t break down on you quickly and even though I’m seeing some slight frays in the toe area, it’s nothing serious. Merely just cosmetic damage.
If not for that outsole – this would be an amazing outdoor model. Oh, if only.
The Air Jordan 35 didn’t fall off the path the 34 started and it truly shows. I absolutely love the shoe and every area delivered pretty much what I’ve expected. Some seriously high standards are set now, so I’m pretty excited to see what the next one brings to the table.
The Jordan 35 has awesome traction that’s both consistent and not prone to collecting dust, though not the best option for regular hardcore outdoor play. It’s got a killer cushion setup and even though it might not feel as fun as on the 34, it’s equally better, if not better than last year’s performance-wise.
The upper introduced premium raw materials as well as a combination of modern stuff for a balanced mixture of old-school and new-school.
All-around support is phenomenal but be aware of the digging issue or your arches might suffer.
Sadly there’s nothing I can really recommend specifically to avoid it since some people have it, some don’t. Something you’ll have to try yourself and give some time for the shoe to break in to find out if it’ll be an issue for you.
Clap clap clap Air Jordan! Let’s see what you have in store for the AJ 36…
Why buy on Amazon? Click to find out!
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.
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
That’s a wrap for the Air Jordan 35 review! Check out my list of the best shoes of 2020 to see all the nominations I’ve put together this year!
As always, I’d love to hear what you have to say about the shoe. Do you have it? Do you have the 34 and looking to upgrade? Or you’ve got a question?
Leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you as quick as I can!