Here, I will cover the best Jordans on the market and explain the traits that make them special.

I have spent over twenty years playing basketball, and I also have a love for casual sneakers. That has led me to wear a lot of Jordans over the years. My own experience, combined with additional research, allowed me to properly break down the shoes in this article. 

The Flyknit Elevation 23 is a lightweight Jordan that serves as my number one pick due to its combination of feel, look, and comfort.

Everything about the shoe is geared towards breathability, especially the impressive flyknit material. That not only makes it easy to wear, but it stays out of your way when you’re running around the court. There’s also an impressive air-sole unit, as well as many fun color designs. 

There are many other excellent Jordans out there as well. I will take a look at each one, and break them down in great detail, throughout the rest of this guide.

Quick Summary

Who Should Get This?

It doesn’t matter how often you play basketball, or how serious you are about the sport, Jordans are great sneakers. They are perfect for those who spend hours shooting in the gym, but the inherent durability holds up well for shooting out in the street or horsing around in the driveway.

Beyond that, the shoes do a great job as casual wear too. Even if you don’t play basketball, their unique look and attractive style make them a great part of a wardrobe or a good fashion accessory. The extra cushion and soft feel are great for those who enjoy casual wear.

Top Jordan Basketball Shoes: Our Picks

The following sections look at each top sneaker and go over the unique characteristics that help them rise above the pack.

1. Flyknit Elevation 23

  • Best for: Overall:
  • Key Features: Breathable flyknit material. Lightweight and comfortable. Air-sole unit. Rubber outsole. Multiple color options. Debossed designed lines.
  • Sole: Rubber
  • Fit: True to Size
  • Weight: 2 pounds

The Elevation 23 is a fantastic, well-rounded sneaker that excels both on and off the court. The soft cushion is comfortable while walking, and it delivers the spring you need to launch yourself into the air while running or jumping. The midsole is especially soft and plush.

Backing up those impressive traits is a rubber sole, debossed designed lines, and a lightweight shell. Particularly impressive is the Air Sole unit that runs throughout the forefoot and the heel. There’s plenty of support throughout the shoes, and they look great as well.

The only downside to this pair is that you may want to back them up with extra ankle support. They have a lot of power around the base, but even with the high-top design they could be better. You want to be a bit careful, especially if you find yourself playing a lot of games.

2. Air Jordan XXXV 

  • Best for: Responsiveness
  • Key Features: Lightweight. Visible Zoom. Secure fit with flightwire cables. Rubber outsole. Sculpted Eclipse 2.0 plate.
  • Sole: Rubber
  • Fit: True to Size
  • Weight: 14.2 ounces

The Air Jordan XXXV is a fantastic shoe for people who care about support. The sneaker isn’t just a well-rounded model, it’s a lightweight item that increases all facets of your game. It helps you jump, run, and cut. The responsive sole is also great for when you need some extra speed.

As a truly performance-focused shoe, the XXXV comes with a special sculpted Eclipse plate that’s specially raised to create better support. It’s even hollowed out, which reduces the general weight. The flightwire cables and rubber outsole also both help in terms of durability and control.

The only area where this shoe doesn’t quite hit high marks is in comfort. It’s not going to leave you with any blisters or lasting pain, but the focus is much more geared towards your on-court play than cushion or padding.

3. Why Not Zer0.4

  • Best for: Support
  • Key Features: Responsive and mobile. Webbing in both the heel and forefoot. Double stacked Air Zoom units. Rubber outsole. Durable build.
  • Sole: Rubber
  • Fit: True to Size
  • Weight: 2.2 pounds

If you want a solid Jordan that keeps your foot locked tightly in place, the Why Not Zer0.4 is the shoe for you. There’s a ton of support built into the design, including the heel and forefoot webbing, and the double-stacked Air Zoom units allow you to push off as hard as you want.

The shoes are easy to put on, and their lightweight construction is surprisingly breathable. You never have to worry about getting too stuffy in any environment. As an added bonus, they also come with a rather unique design that ensures you’ll make a statement out on the court.

The Why Not Zer0.4’s only downside is their traction. You’ll be able to cut and run to your heart’s content, but the grip won’t stick around as long as you may be used to with other models. Work hard to keep them clean, and take the time to knock off any dirt or dust.

4. Jordan Jumpman

  • Best for: Grip
  • Key Features: Premium traction. Foam midsole. Plenty of cushion and support. Clean, classic look. Stitched upper.
  • Fit: Large
  • Sole: Rubber
  • Weight: 2.2 pounds

The Jumpman is a Jordan shoe with plenty of features and a clean look. Not only does it have a striking appearance, but it comes with a snug fit and some of the best traction money can buy. You’ll be able to power through traffic, lunge for steals, and stop on a dime.

Some of that performance comes from the long-lasting construction, but a lot of it is due to the foam midsole and Zoom Air cushioning. Both of those work together to ensure everything properly supports your foot and delivers a ton of extra padding for premium comfort.

While the shoes undoubtedly do a good job in terms of traction and responsiveness, they don’t have the best fit. Always get a size down when picking out your pair. As long as you go by that rule, you get a strong shoe with a lot of traction on all different courts and surfaces.

5. Fly ‘89

  • Best for: Comfort
  • Key Features: Lightweight and breathable. Tight lace system with superior lockdown. Sock-like design. Snug fit. Ample cushion.
  • Sole: Rubber
  • Fit: True to Size
  • Upper: Textile

The Fly ‘89 is a powerful shoe with a superior fit and plenty of comfort. It’s lightweight, breathable, and comes with a sock-like design that actively holds your foot as you walk or run. That’s then backed by a strong lace system that provides extra lockdown for better support.

In addition, the ‘89s come with a lot of durability. They aren’t quite as tough as some bulkier shoes, but they have a good amount of longevity for their weight. Those who want to express their style will also enjoy the different color options.

As great and comfortable as these shoes are, they are much better inside a gym than outdoors. They don’t hold up as well when exposed to the elements. Their ventilation lets in moisture and can also be quite chilly when things get cold. Inside, however, they are an excellent option.

6. Air Jordan 3 Retro

  • Best for: Appearance
  • Key Features: Durable, high-quality build. Great stability. Good padding with a comfortable feel. Snug, locked-in fit. Leather upper.
  • Upper: Leather
  • Fit: True to Size
  • Weight: 1.21 pounds

One of the biggest reasons people love Jordans is their unique look. If you care about style, or if you’re in the market for a great off-court basketball shoe, check out the Air Jordan 3 Retro. The model has a clean, classic look thanks to the minimalist design and durable leather upper.

On top of that, it’s responsive as well. The heel-to-midfoot lockdown goes a long way when it comes to support, the mid-top collar provides ample protection, and the midsole enhances general performance. That makes them good as both casual and game-ready wear.

You should note that the midsole is on the stiff side. That won’t matter too much when wearing the shoes around town, but it will be an issue if you want to play in them a lot. Understand that, while the performance is good, the shock absorption is definitely lacking.

Best Jordan Basketball Shoes: What to Look For

All of the traits in this section are key parts of a reliable, well-rounded basketball shoe.

Support and Lockdown

Anytime you get new shoes for the court, they need to be able to give you ample support. It’s easy to see that in high tops, but there are plenty of mid and lows that do a good job of keeping you protected through a combination of heel, midsole and forefoot support.

A big part of that is lockdown, or how well the shoe keeps your foot in place as you move. The less you slide inside your shoe, the less susceptible you will be to blisters or injuries. Look for models with tight fits or any extra straps that give you a snug feeling without being too tight.

Comfort

It doesn’t matter if you’re lacing up for a tough game on the court or just walking around town, you want your shoes to cushion your feet. Most Jordans come with plenty of support built throughout the sole, but there are a few that have extra padding in special areas as well.

If you need a lot of support, look for high top models or ones that have extra material up by the ankle. In addition, do your best to get models that have padding in areas where you need further comfort. The better interior cushion you have, the more pleasant it will be to use your footwear.

Read More: High Top vs. Low Top Basketball Shoes

Style

Jordans have a range of excellent on-court traits, but many people choose them for their inherent appearance. There are many models on the market, and they each come in a wide range of colors, patterns, and designs. Don’t be afraid to pick one that fits your style.

Appearance should never be the first thing you look at when getting a shoe, but it’s something to consider if you care about a specific style. It doesn’t matter if you need on-court kicks or something more casual, it’s important to enjoy how your shoes look.

Useful Tips and Resources

One of the most important things you want to do with nice sneakers is taking care of them. Many are big investments, which means you want to get as much use out of them as you can. This how-to guide gives some basic ways to clean and care for your sneakers.

Another thing that you may want to consider is buying sole protectors, especially if you plan on wearing your Jordans out and about. That ensures you don’t scuff or get the bottoms dirty. 

Check out this video if you want to make your own.

My Verdict

In my opinion, no Jordan matches up to the Flyknit Elevation 23. Though there are many good models out there, few of them blend a lightweight, comfortable shell with such a durable and well-rounded design.

It doesn’t matter how you like to play or if you simply need something sleek to wear more casually, the Elevation 23’s are a pair of Jordans that deliver on all levels.