Let’s all thank Luka Dončić for shedding some spotlight on what is potentially among the best Jordan Brand basketball kicks WITHOUT giving a stroke to your wallet. Here’s my deep 7-month Jordan React Elevation review, breaking down the shoe into several aspects:
Fit & comfort, on-court performance, differences of the PF version, build quality, versatility, value for the price, and also some additional alternatives.
Let’s jump in!
SHOW TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. SPEC SHEET
click for a full-sized image
BEST DEALS OF THE SHOE
II. 1-MIN REVIEW 🕒
For those in a hurry: the Jordan React Elevation is a very solid basketball sneaker for just about anyone who’s looking for an affordable, reliable pair.
The shoe should fit most people TTS, including wide footers, though those should expect some discomfort for the first 1-3 weeks and possibly occassionally after that.
Traction was deadly for me, no matter where and how I planted, jumped, cut, or slashed to the rim. This is an excellent choice for outdoors even if you can’t get the PF version.
The React + Zoom Air cushion worked just fine, though the setup is nothing special if you’re looking for crazy bounce or god-like step transitions something like full-length Zoom Air would offer.
Just like most JB shoes, there were no issues with support at all, though flat footers might want to reconsider as the shoe doesn’t have the strongest torsional coverage.
The upper is basic but worked for me as I was able to forget about them while playing and that’s good enough for me.
For alternatives, check out the Jordan Jumpman Diamond if you’d like an even wider fit & more comfortable materials and the Nike Renew Elevate if you’re looking for similar performance but for only $80.
> The full review is below
III. FIT & COMFORT
TTS or should you go up/down? What’s the comfort level? Anything else to know fit-wise?
Having bought the PF version of the shoe (which is Jordan’s version of Nikey’s EP versions that come with XDR outsoles for better durability), I can confirm that there are no changes from the original in terms of the last (width of the shoe).
I know some of the PF/EP versions cater towards the Asian audience and with that come a wider fit, the React Elevation isn’t one of those models if you get it from the U.S.
The only difference is the outsole – the PF version comes with XDR rubber which is slightly more durable than the regular version in this case.
Now, let’s talk sizing. Not a lot to be said here – pretty standard stuff from Jordan Brand. True to size will be the best option for most people.
Yes, including wide footers. I’m a pretty prominent wide footer myself and having gone true to my size 10, I appreciate that JB still makes their stuff accessible to guys like me.
The first 2-3 weeks did bring a bit of discomfort for my pinky toes and the sides of my feet at the arch area were a little too cradled at first. However, once the materials broke in and stretched out a bit, the shoe fits me fine. Not top-3 level but fine.
There’s still a little bit of discomfort upon certain torsional movements as that causes the structured materials to flex and since there’s barely any room for my foot inside, those bends and shifts were sometimes a little uncomfortable.
Besides that, there’s nothing wrong with the shoe’s fit: it’s secure, contained, no movement inside the footbed and even though I’m not a huge fan of such one-to-one fits, I’ll take this over a typical compact build we get so often these days.
Regular/narrow footers will be absolutely fine in their usual sizes as well, as multiple people have reported it. If you’re opting for a roomier fit, you could try going half a size up but I don’t usually recommend that.
Always stick to your true size if you can as going up can introduce security issues and a wobbly fit.
If you’ve put some hours into a recent Jordan model before, the React Elevation won’t feel too much different. Nothing special or outrageous comfort-wise but really nothing wrong either.
They’re mad light though which is something I’m NOT used to with Jordan Brand. Feels and plays fast and smooth, I love it. Something we wouldn’t normally see from JB even as recently as a few years ago.
There’s a bit of internal padding around the ankle as well as on the tongue to nicely cup your heel & ankle. Nothing crazy though, so don’t expect godly pillows at the back of your achilles.
The upper could be a bit more flexible as the first few runs felt a little stiff but once again, give these some time, and things will normalize.
Overall, a solid package that doesn’t really have a huge selling point to impress you here but if you’re just looking for a good performer that fits well – the React Elevation accomplishes this.
Does it grip different surfaces & conditions effectively? What about the durability of the rubber?
Herringbone on the forefoot + a radial pattern on the heel makes up for something we can always trust and rely on. Show me a shoe that failed to grip most floors well that utilizes herringbone! Didn’t think so.
Everything we need to secure well-rounded traction is here: a trusty pattern combo, proper spacing between the grooves to prevent the shoe from turning into a wiping simulator experience, and a durable rubber compound that won’t burn off in a blink of an eye.
Why can’t this be the norm on some of the more expensive flagship models and signatures from Nikey? There are a bunch of potential answers to that one but either way I’m pissed and impressed at the same time.
There’s no reason for me to believe that it’s much more expensive to slap on some better rubber & a herringbone pattern than to cheap out on those two things. Regardless, this traction is nothing short of trustworthy.
Both on concrete and rubber outside, I barely had any issues.
Consistent grip, no wiping required (I did wipe occasionally but mostly out of habit), stellar stop-and-pop action no matter the angle, and an experience that makes me forget I’ve got these on my feet. That’s a very good thing.
Here’s where the difference between the regular shoe and the PF version comes into play. However, not as much as you might think.
Sure, the PF version I’ve got on my local retailer does have XDR rubber but the regular shoe already has a good outsole that lasts long, so don’t worry about which one you’re getting too much.
Plus, I hate to break it to you, but XDR rubber isn’t usually as much better as some people might believe. A night-and-day difference from regular rubber couldn’t be further from the truth here.
If you can grab the PF shoe and you’re playing outdoors – grab ’em. But if only the regular version is at your fingertips – there’s no reason to shy away from it.
So, this is a very solid outdoor option that should last you multiple seasons. I’m heading into month 8 with these and I’m still stopping on a dime like there’s no tomorrow despite some visual damage to the pattern on high-use areas.
How smooth & comfy is the ride and how well does it absorb impact? How’s stability & energy return?
The setup we’re working with here is React foam in the heel, a Phylon midsole along with a forefoot Zoom Air unit. That’s very solid and feels that way on the court. React is such a good choice for those who require to stay quick but want a comfortable ride as well.
The part that surprised me the most about these is they’ve stuffed all this tech into a $120 price tag. Don’t get me started on the inconsistencies when it comes to pricing at Nikey & company.
There are a bunch of shoes with a Swoosh that cost much more than $120 and the claim to have flagship tech when the truth is, this shoe has that same flagship tech.
So what is “flagship” really? Price really has become a factor that tells us less and less about a shoe. We have to deal with that and be smart with our purchases.
Anyway, the heel portion of the shoe yields tons of impact protection for me without feeling clunky or having my heel sink into the foam.
It’s also fairly bouncy and despite the heel portion looking like an early prototype of a Tesla Cybertruck, my heel is actually sitting fairly low to the ground.
How? The heel sits inside the midsole which accomplishes two things: retains cushion properties while keeping you low to the ground and provides a secure feel for the heel since it’s cupped by the midsole in a 360-degree fashion.
The forefoot is where things get a little firmer but nothing to throw me off. The forefoot unit reminds me of Nike’s Zoom Turbo you see on a Kyrie 6 or 7. It’s fast, low to the ground but keeps a tad bit of feedback to stay explosive but not overly stiff.
Pair that with a decent foam midsole and you’ve got yourself a banger. No, these aren’t going to give you crazy bounce. These won’t make you feel like you’re jumping on clouds either.
However, balance, court feel, responsiveness, stability, and a balanced ride are what you’ll DEFINITELY be getting here.
Fantastic work. Good for a smaller guard but also great for an all-around wing or even a big guy. Enough uuuumph for everyone.
How much security does it provide vs. applied restrictions? How’s the foot containment? Stability?
If you’re familiar with Jordan’s basketball kicks, stellar all-around security on the React Elevation won’t come off as a surprise for you.
We’ve got internal heel counters for heel & ankle lockdown in place, a beefy external heel piece that extends into the midsole, which also comes up in several areas acting as sidewalls for your foot.
The synthetic overlay piece that the laces go through pulls down the midfoot portion when you lace these up, helping the upper wrap around your foot better.
Lastly, the platform of the shoe is fairly wide so the lack of any additional lateral protection components isn’t a huge deal here since you’re on a wide base.
I was never feeling overly restricted or the opposite, loosy goosy. There’s probably enough structure on the upper alone to keep you secure but the additional components make up for a very supportive shoe that doesn’t happen to get in your way.
One thing that might be worrying for some is torsional support. There’s no real midfoot shank here and the midsole itself isn’t very rigid.
I can literally bend the shoe in half with some force which is something we don’t usually see. Especially on a JB team model.
However, I personally haven’t felt the absence of a midfoot shank here. My feet were fine after each session and the build plays well.
But guys with plantar fasciitis (flat feet), overly high arches or generally weaker feet (perhaps coming off an injury) will need to think twice about this one.
If you require absolutely exquisite torsional support, the React Elevation isn’t the best choice is what I’m trying to say. Check out my shoe list for flat footers if you’re interested.
VII. THE BUILD
What are the materials used and how do they feel on foot? How reliable is the build?
My least favorite part about the React Elevation would be the material choices.
Now, of course, the lower-tier price tag has to show somewhere and the upper is where brands usually cut costs. The upper here is mostly a structured textile along with a Fuse overlay on the toebox and multiple synthetic pieces for additional structure.
The Nikey website claims real leather is apparent in several areas combined with synthetic counterparts but I don’t honestly see any real leather here.
I don’t really care much though but if you do, something to keep in mind.
The tongue is made from mesh and it’s lightly padded with foam. The lacing system is traditional, as well as the construction of the shoe (separate tongue).
Well, it does have a slight twist though. The tongue is only connected with the upper in one single place, and that grey piece that runs from heel to toe helps hold the tongue in place, so it’s not technically a half-bootie upper but it’s not fully traditional either.
Nothing to write home about though – didn’t affect performance in any way for me.
The things I liked about this build are durability (these are STURDY), excellent containment, and acceptable ventilation.
The thing I wasn’t a huge fan of is the feel of the upper sitting next to my feet. I know my wide feet had to play a role in this since I don’t have any extra space for ’em inside the shoe.
Either way, this “fabric” is on the stiff side as it’s heavily glued and backed with synthetics. It got better after I broke it in but I’d be lying if I said this is a premium experience for my feet.
The toebox portion is a little wobbly and I could feel the materials not moving well with my feet at times. Mainly while I was still breaking in the shoe though.
This is just the nature of the material choices. Don’t get me wrong – the “bad” stuff is nowhere near unacceptable level. What I’m saying is I definitely played in kicks that offer a superior setup for about the same price.
All in all, I’m not mad at this setup – it gets the job done performance-wise. If you’re particularly picky about your materials and you always opt for the most premium possible experience though – let me introduce you to my most comfortable shoe list!
Summarizing the Jordan React Elevation review: are they worth the $$$? Is it a well-rounded shoe?
The Jordan React Elevation is a very solid basketball sneaker. That’s the best way to describe it. It doesn’t have any glaring issues or recurring annoyances that caused me to think about the kicks I’m playing in. It just delivered with what it had packing.
A solid fit (acceptable for wide footers too), fantastic outdoor-ready traction, a very well-balanced React & Zoom Air ride, killer support, and an upper that’s on the cheaper side but one that still delivers on the court.
Oh, and don’t worry about the PF version. Both variants should have you covered for long-term outdoor play.
I know these are a little tougher to get now but some stores should still have ’em. I’ll leave links where the shoe is still available. Happy hunting!
🛒 BUY THE JORDAN REACT ELEVATION
CLICK FOR THE PF VERSION OPTIONS
IX. ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS
Not completely sure if the React Elevation will cut it? Take a look at some of the potential alternatives
JORDAN JUMPMAN DIAMOND
For a very similar experience, the Jordan Jumpman Diamond is a great option but with a few tweaks. I personally prefer the material setup of that shoe since it’s easier on the feet and utilizing lightweight textiles that aren’t as heavily backed with glue.
The cushion setup feels very close to the React Elevation, and while the Jumpman Diamond wouldn’t likely last as long outdoors, it’s still an acceptable choice for some outdoor action here and there. I also found it to be a better fit for wide feet.
NIKE RENEW ELEVATE
Looking to save more cash but still get a good performer? I can’t stop talking about the Renew Elevate but purely because it’s such a good deal for the money
The shoe retails at 80 bucks and offers well-rounded performance, a comfy fit, and a pair of trusty outsoles to get you through multiple seasons even in the park.
X. YOUR THOUGHTS?
Your opinion MATTERS
That’s it for the Jordan React Elevation review! I truly hope you’ve enjoyed it and found it informative! Check out the articles below that were referenced in this review to get better acquainted with the nooks n’ crannies of the basketball sneaker world!
I’m excited to hear your thoughts on the shoe though. Have you tried it and got a different opinion? Perhaps you’ve got a question I haven’t yet answered in the review?
Leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you!
XI. JORDAN REACT ELEVATION REVIEW: THE VERDICT
My final personal ratings, takeaways, and recommendations
Jordan React Elevation PF$120
Fit & Comfort7.5/10
Value for the Price8.0/10
- True to size is optimal for most & wide footers included
- Takes 1-3 weeks to fully break in
- Don't worry about the PF version. The regular shoe is also outdoor-ready
- A solid all-around choice for most players/playstyles
- All positions
- All-around players
- Non-flat footers