Tech Test: Inside the Air Jordan XXXs

Jordan’s 30th sneaker is, simply put, a marvel.

Technology isn’t just the driving force that makes our phones smaller or our computers more powerful; it’s also constantly being integrated into the clothes and shoes we wear on a daily basis. No sneaker integrates tech more—short of those self-lacing Back to the Future Nike’s we’ve been lusting after—than the annual release of the Air Jordan. As we close in on the release date of the 30th year of Air Jordans, we dig into the tech that makes the XXXs special.

Perfecting the woven upper that was introduced last year, the XXXs go even higher with the weaving method, using it to create the uppermost sleeve of the sneaker’s upper. The technique simultaneously gives strong support to the ankle with breathable material while also allowing for graphic customization with more detail than anything previously seen on a sneaker.

Moving down the shoe, Nike wants to keep your heel secure as much as they want to keep your ankle from rolling. The signature three X’s of the Air Jordan XXXs surround the outer aren’t just for show, they’re there for stability, reminiscent almost of a truss used in a bridge. In that same area, the interior clamps down on the boney part of your heel to keep it from moving. A knit cradle under your heel reinforces that security. The weaving process, capable of being done in synthetics or cloth materials, leaves the door open for huge versatility in both style and stability for future iterations beyond the light and dark gray colorway unveiled this past week.

Like any newly introduced Air Jordan, the XXXs are also employing some unique material. Carbon fiber plating is used in the outer of the shoe, adding sturdiness and protection to the outside of your foot to protect your tootsies. The chassis of the XXXs sees a major change from its predecessors, throwing out the old herringbone pattern. Instead, it uses a quote from Michael Jordan himself. The phrase “Excellence is never second place” is emblazoned as the tread of the sneaker itself. The lettering creates never-before-seen treading and, surprisingly, ups the traction of the sole.

Altogether, this is one of the most unique, good-looking offerings we’ve seen from Jordan Brand. It encapsulates the speed and skill that made Jordan himself as the greatest of all time. Expect legions of the Air Jordan faithful to be camping out for their pair when the XXXs finally launch on February 12th.

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