The third signature sneaker from the ferocious athlete Russell Westbrook was actually my first to try (reviews of the rest are coming!) and since I’ve got these for over a year now, let’s break it all down in my comprehensive, long-term-based Jordan Why Not Zero 3 review.
I’ll break down the shoe’s comfort & fit aspects, on-court performance from a variety of areas, build quality & reliability, versatility, and value for the price you’re paying. I’ll also provide alternatives that I think would be good replacements in case you find certain areas of the shoe lacking for your preferences.
Let’s get it!
SHOW TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Spec Sheet
- 1-Min Review
- Fit & Comfort
- The Build
- Alternative Options
- Are You Feeling the ‘Why Not’ Zer0.3?
- Jordan Why Not Zero 3 Review: The Verdict
I. SPEC SHEET
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BEST DEALS OF THE ‘WHY NOT’ ZER0.3
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II. 1-MIN REVIEW 🕒
For those in a hurry: the Jordan ‘Why Not’ Zer0.3 is a solid all-around performer that won’t give you any headaches and deliver for just about any build or style of play.
The shoe should fit most people, including wide footers, true to their usual size. Traction was questionable at times but a quick wipe usually takes care of slip-outs. Not the best option for long-term outdoor action though.
The foam midsole + forefoot Zoom Air cushion setup was pretty nice and a solid happy medium for just about any player.
Support wasn’t lacking, just like most Jordan basketball shoes. The only nitpick about that would be the slighly heavier weight compared to an average basketball sneaker in 2021.
The basic foam-backed mesh build isn’t the most premium but breaks in super quickly and performs well. I’m 6 months in with the shoe and the only damage to it is purely cosmetic.
> The full review is below
III. FIT & COMFORT
How’s the fit and should you go true to size? What about comfort? Anything else to know?
My wide feet never seemed to have many problems with most Jordan basketball shoes and right out of the box, the ‘Why Not’ Zer0.3 joined that club.
The shoe has a pretty regular fit – not too roomy but not extremely snug either. All foot shapes should be okay with their usual size, so don’t overthink this one.
There are about 0.2-0.3 inches of wiggle room length-wise (which is perfect for me personally) and the shoe didn’t feel overly tight even before I started putting hours into it. Pretty rare for me these days.
I had no heel slippage, no side-to-side movements inside the footbed, so things were feeling nice and secure. Definitely a job well done here.
In terms of the pure comfort experience, I’d be lying if I said these are special and make it to the “most premium/comfortable” club but that didn’t make things underwhelming in any way.
The ‘Why Not’ Zer0.3 offered me solid heel-to-toe transitions, there’s a moderate amount of foam padding inside the shoe, and that large pillow that cups my ankle & heel felt nice in there.
This is definitely not the lightest shoe in the world but if you’re upgrading from the previous ‘Why Not’ Zer0.2 – you’ll definitely notice a decrease in weight and how fast these feel now.
Even for those who don’t have experience with Westbrook’s previous models – the above-average weight number of the shoe shouldn’t bother you when it’s time to play.
Especially if you’re an explosive athlete like Russ is.
One thing that did bother me initially, was the rigid TPU midfoot shank that sits underfoot and is responsible for decoupling the shoe’s midsole. I could definitely feel slight discomfort upon each step but all I needed was a few sessions before the plastic started breaking in and molding to my foot shape.
Each stride is now seamless and all is fine, so don’t get overly worried if you experience something similar during the beginning hours of your time with the sneaker. This ain’t no work shoe – rest assured!
Do the outsoles handle a variety of surfaces & conditions well? What about durability indoors & outdoors?
I did have my concerns with the shoe’s traction since most reviews I’ve seen/read were reporting on questionable grip these provide.
Well, I can’t say my fears fully came to fruition but I’ve definitely had shoes that offered deadlier and more consistent traction over the years.
The sneaker features a herringbone-like traction pattern all over the outsoles for multi-directional coverage. Herringbone’s great but the main thing about these was the rubber. It’s really damn pliable and gives in a little too much at times and I end up slightly slipping out on a stop, cut, or change of direction.
Indoors, I play on a moderate condition high school hardwood floor which is cleaned occasionally but it’s definitely not your A-grade pristine court.
The base level of traction is fine (although there are better) but when dust or moist comes into play – the number of slight slip-outs turns from occasional to acceptable. That would be the best way to describe this one.
Also, linear coverage seems to clearly be better than lateral bite.
There’s not a huge difference there as I was still gripping the floor upon a lateral movement acceptably, I could just feel that things felt tackier when forward and backward motions are dominating instead of side to side.
Due to the soft rubber compound, wiping the outsoles off from an overabundance of dust/debris is super easy and quick though.
I wipe out of habit anyway but if you’re someone who doesn’t – a quick wipe or two will be all you need when you feel like your bite is getting less consistent mid-session.
Overall, I would rate the traction indoors as acceptable.
The slight delays in stops/cuts/accelerations, etc. aren’t the most devastating and didn’t prevent me from playing the way I play but take away another 15%-20% of bite and/or consistency and I wouldn’t be enjoying my time in these. I hope that’s a useful indication.
Normally, if a shoe lacks a strong bite indoors, it makes up for it outdoors since concrete parks or rubber surfaces provide much more friction, thus the rubber can bite into it better.
But since this shoe’s rubber is pliable and the pattern can be budged so easily, there was barely a difference from when I was hooping on hardwood. It’s pretty weird and unusual but it is what it is I guess.
I guess I could notice marginally better traction on a rubber surface court I usually play on outdoors but the small slip-outs and sensitivity to dust were still there, just the base level of bite was a little stronger.
On concrete, things were about the same as they were inside a gym.
I haven’t played in the previous Jordan ‘Why Not’ Zer0.2 but I did read that people were having more consistent experiences with that shoe in terms of traction.
Since I already gave away that these use a seriously pliable rubber compound, things aren’t going to look good for long-term outdoor hoopers with the ‘Why Not’ Zer0.3.
Seriously, I don’t remember the last time the outsole rubber felt so soft and could be so easily moved around by the touch. While that doesn’t always directly line up with actual durability, this is definitely a shoe that won’t be put among the most reliable outdoor options.
I’ve been trying to mix up my sessions about evenly indoors and outdoors for the 6-month period I was testing these (about 2-4 times per week with a few exceptions) and despite that, the traction pattern, especially on the right shoe, is looking pretty wrecked.
It’s not fully gone but the areas under the balls of my feet and the lateral side of the forefoot portion are super weary now.
However, the actual difference in performance vs. the shoe out of the box is still marginal. I’m fairly confident I’d be able to get through a full season of outdoor hoops. Longer than that though – I wouldn’t bet on it.
How’s the shock absorption, the cushion’s energy return, and step transitions? What about ride height and stability?
The Jordan ‘Why Not’ Zer0.3 features a foam midsole along with a large, segmented Zoom Air unit in the forefoot. A fairly standard setup for the price and one that also feels fairly standard. Don’t get too disappointed though – this stuff works well.
I needed about a couple of 2-hour sessions for the midsole and the Zoom unit to fully break in and start working to their full potential.
Since then – the setup is well-balanced, it’s comfortable, the forefoot portion is nice and bouncy, and the ride is fairly low off the ground. You won’t be as low profile as in a Curry or a Kyrie shoe but this is definitely a happy medium for just about anyone who steps foot in these.
The heel portion is a bit stiffer than the front since it only features EVA foam there but I can’t say I felt like I was lacking heel impact protection or a proper heel-to-toe transition.
Both were there, it’s just the actual feel is a bit more subdued when compared to the forefoot.
The ride is also stable thanks to a resilient foam midsole that doesn’t overly compress and it’s also caged up with TPU sidewalls in multiple areas all around the foot.
This is definitely a fantastic jumper’s shoe. If you’re someone who’s even remotely close to the explosiveness and style of Westbrook – you’ll appreciate how energetic the ride feels with the forefoot propelling every step and jump.
Not to say it’s a bad setup for anyone else – it’s a versatile setup that should satisfy just about any player or build who’s looking for a comfortable, efficient, and secure experience cushion-wise.
How much security does it offer? What about stability and foot containment? Any trade-offs in comfort/mobility as a result?
Just like most Jordan basketball sneakers, the Zer0.3 delivered in offering a supportive and stable experience no matter the movement at a little-to-no cost in mobility.
The shoe features beefy internal heel counters to lock down the heel & ankle, TPU sidewalls that come up from the midsole in several areas for proper foot containment, a large TPU midfoot shank for torsional support, and a midfoot strap that loops around the midfoot and actually does help with midfoot lockdown a bit.
Yes, the strap is not a complete gimmick this time (something that we’ve seen far too often these days) and while it doesn’t make a night and day difference, I could definitely feel it pulling down the upper if I strap it up wholeheartedly.
It does loosen up a bit fairly quickly though, so that’s one thing that it shares with most other straps on basketball footwear. Would the shoe perform just fine without the strap? Absolutely.
However, I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t do ANYTHING at all.
The platform of the shoe is moderately wide and even without proper outriggers in place, lateral stability was never an issue for me, and I’m someone who’s had issues with my right ankle for years now.
Can’t say I noticed the shoe getting in the way in terms of hurting stability.
There are also two extra loops that the laces go through in the upper forefoot portion right under the strap which also helps with extra lockdown in that area. A little detail but a pretty neat one that I also felt did its job.
Now, in a perfect world, I would’ve loved if the shoe would’ve been just a tad bit lighter-feeling, sure. All this stuff like a beefy shank and a plastic strap does make up for a heavier build.
It’s something that I didn’t particularly notice in a practical scenario when I was hooping but more when I’d actually pay attention to it when I’d compare multiple shoes by switching pairs every few hours.
It’s definitely not Retro Jordan-like heavy, don’t get me wrong there. Light, quick guards, or low-profile spot-up shooters could notice it but take just about any other player and you’ll be absolutely fine in these.
A job well done!
VII. THE BUILD
What are the upper materials and how well they’re made? How’s the performance of the build as well as general quality & reliability?
The Jordan ‘Why Not’ Zer0.3 features a foam-backed mesh build with multiple synthetic overlays on the toe, heel, ankle, and several other areas.
It’s a pretty crazy-looking build at first glance but in reality, it’s really not that different from other shoes – the multi-colored overlays give an impression that all this STUFF is on the shoe while it’s really just paint.
The shoe has an inner bootie construction as the whole ankle area where your foot sits in, is inside a stretchy sleeve underneath the main layer of the build. The tongue isn’t completely separated and is instead part of the inner bootie.
The lacing system is traditional though.
The sneaker also features a large pull tab for easier entry for the foot, a plastic loop that the strap goes through, and a hard plastic (TPU) midfoot shank plate.
Despite feeling a bit bulky at first, there are really no glaring issues with the build performance-wise.
The foam-backed mesh breaks in and stretches out super fast, it moved well with my foot and offered no annoyances like pinching, digging, or overwhelming pressure. For most people, a few days will be all you need to fully break everything in.
Ventilation is pretty good too – the open mesh design allows for some breathability when compared to a traditional full-on synthetic or a thick knit.
The only small gripe I’ve got with these is related to my annoyingly wide and tall feet. These are a bit tough to put on since I have to stuff my boat-like feet into that fairly compact inner bootie/sleeve.
For $130, you’re getting yourself a fairly basic build, decent quality, and at least a couple of seasons of playing time. It’s impossible to tell exactly how long these will last you since there are two many variables but these are about average in terms of value for the price you’re paying.
The stitch work is decent, the mesh is moderately thick, and doesn’t look it’s going anywhere 6 months in, and the only damage to the shoe so far is purely cosmetic.
The synthetic overlay on the toe is probably looking to worst at the moment but again, it does nothing to hinder performance. So far, all the stitching is still in place, nothing is severely faded in terms of paint either.
The midsole is starting to yellow which I hate but sadly there’s not a lot you can do about that. Well, technically, you can, but I personally don’t care to get involved in such a process so I’ll live with it.
I’ve seen better deals for this amount of money but I have also seen worse. This falls right in the middle somewhere.
Summarizing the Jordan Why Not Zero 3 review: is the shoe worth the $$$? How versatile is it? How does it stack up against the competition?
I can’t say I was completely blown away or had an experience of my life with the Jordan ‘Why Not’ Zer0.3 but what I CAN say, is I felt secure, comfortable, and confident in there. Definitely a solid buy if you’re a Westbrook fan or just looking for a well-rounded shoe.
And since the ‘Why Not’ Zer0.5 is right around the corner – this one will be two years old soon, so you’ll definitely be able to grab ’em for under retail.
The shoe should fit most guys true to their usual size, including wide footers. Traction was the most questionable part of the shoe but even then, it was acceptable.
Cushion was nice and should fit just about any style or build, support was a non-issue and the mesh build did nothing to impress but definitely did its job when it was time to play.
I haven’t yet fully tested the ‘Why Not’ Zer0.2 or the Zer0.4 but from what I hear, reports are saying the Zer0.3 still has the best cushion setup. If you’re someone who values that over other aspects – this is your shoe!
🛒 BUY THE ‘WHY NOT’ ZER0.3
IX. ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS
Not entirely sure on Westbrook’s third shoe? I’ve got some potential alternatives lined up for you
AIR JORDAN 34, $175
If you’re looking for a very similar experience but perhaps not very confident with certain aspects with the ‘Why Not’ Zer0.3 (such as the traction), look no further than the amazing Air Jordan 34.
Those will run you $175 retail but it’s a true upgrade and it shows. No more iffy traction, better durability for outdoors, an absolutely phenomenal cushion setup, and just overall a super well-rounded experience. I still love that shoe like not a lot else.
AIR JORDAN 36, $185
If you’re looking to get an upgrade but want something from this year that’s more widely available, get the Air Jordan 36! Feels very similar to the AJ 34 just with a slightly faster cushion setup, a slightly modified upper, and the same balance that Jordan brand got so good at delivering.
Review coming soon!
NIKE LEBRON WITNESS 5, $100
Now, for those who still need a versatile, well-rounded experience but you can’t afford lashing out $130, take a look at the LeBron Witness 5.
Yes, LeBron’s takedown signature model is a great bang for your buck deal. For 100 bucks, you’ll be getting a comfy upper, a lightweight build that’s supportive enough for a big dude yet nimble enough for a guard, a decent cushion setup, and consistent traction.
X. ARE YOU FEELING THE ‘WHY NOT’ ZER0.3?
Your opinion matters MUCH more than you might think!
That concludes the Jordan Why Not Zero 3 review! As always, I truly hope you enjoyed it and found it informative! Creating the most comprehensive, yet most practical reviews on the Internet is and always will be my ultimate goal!
Your sneaker journey doesn’t have to end there though.
Check out the links below which will take you to full reviews of each of the alternatives I’ve provided and also the posts I’ve referenced in this review that I think will be super helpful.
And lastly, I’m excited to hear what YOU think about Westbrook’s 3rd signature shoe.
Perhaps you’ve got ’em and have a different opinion? Your opinion matters A LOT, as it’ll help the future reader make an informed decision since he’ll/she’ll have multiple opinions on the same shoe.
Drop a comment down below and I’ll get back to you ASAP!
XI. JORDAN WHY NOT ZERO 3 REVIEW: THE VERDICT
My final personal ratings, takeaways, and recommendations
Jordan 'Why Not' Zer0.3$130
Fit & Comfort8.5/10
Value for the Price8.0/10
- True to size is the way to go for most, including wide footers
- Initial pressure due to the stiff midfoot shank - breaks in quickly though
- Slight issues with the traction's consistency. You'll need to wipe the outsoles down periodically
- Very solid all-around performance for just about any player
- All positions
- Explosive/athletic players
- Linear-dominant movement patterns