This is my review of Jordan CP3 VIII. Though it doesn’t have the best traction, the CP3 VIII is a well-rounded basketball shoe with a large focus on cushion, transition, and durability.

Quick Summary

  • Where to Buy: Amazon
  • Best for: Players who want a comfortable shoe with extra lockdown. Those looking for additional protection on the court.
  • Pros: Strong leather construction. Comfortable and protective. Excellent containment. Snug, secure fit. 
  • Cons: Weak ventilation. Stuffy. Traction slides a bit too much. Could have a more striking look.
  • Alternatives: Harden Stepback, Peak High Top, Adidas N3xt L3v3l

Why Trust Me

I have worn just about every type of basketball shoe imaginable during my nearly thirty years of playing the game. That ranges from more casual outdoor shoes to lightweight pickup options to more secure or padded models for serious games.

It is that firsthand knowledge, combined with extra reviews, research, and other accounts, that helped me properly analyze all of the good (and not so good) parts of the CP3 VIII.

Detailed Review

The CP3 VIII is, at its base, a well-rounded shoe. Besides its incredible cushion, it doesn’t go above and beyond in any one category. Rather, it hits good marks just about everywhere. The shoe is responsive, has a solid base, and comes with premium lateral containment.

It’s also quite durable through its leather construction and has a lot of extra protection. The ventilation and traction are two areas where the shoe loses a bit of steam, but those who don’t mind a hotter model will enjoy everything else the VIII brings to the table.

Comfort

If there’s one thing to love about the VIII, it’s the cushion. The shoes are incredibly comfortable. That comes from a combination of the targeted Lunarlon section, as well as the forefoot Zoom Air Unit. Both help soften hard impacts on the court and cut down on irritating shocks.

The shoe also comes outfitted with special pods that give you an extra layer of support in high-pressure areas. Those help you better feel the Zoom, which makes the sneakers an absolute blast to wear. You will never feel any long-term discomfort or pain with these on.

Ventilation

As comfortable as the shoes are from a padding standpoint, they don’t live up to that mark when it comes to breathability. The shoes have a good fit that keeps them tight on your feet. That’s wonderful for support purposes, but it doesn’t give a ton of interior room for airflow.

The other issue here is that the upper is just too stuffy. The shoes build up sweat over time and don’t do much when it comes to moisture-wicking. It’s not a deal-breaker, but that’s not something players who work in the gym for long periods are going to enjoy.

Grip

The traction is a weak spot as well. The herringbone, one of the industry standards, works well enough right out of the box. However, as great as the pattern is, the placement is off on multiple levels. That leads the shoes to pick up extra dust and dirt in a range of environments.

No matter where you wear these, you’re going to get some sliding every now and then. That gets compounded when worn outside, especially if you like to play on wet or problematic surfaces. Be expected to wipe them down a lot too.

Performance

While the VIII’s less flexible outsole can be a bit tricky right out of the box, they break in quickly with a little bit of use. They have reliable performance due to their firm midsole, rubber outsole, and TPU frame. That provides you with a good base from which you can push off.

On top of that, the base is quite responsive. You do lose a little bit of transition, and you might notice some heel strikes at first, but both of those are offset by the ample support and spring. That makes the shoe a great choice for people who value fast reaction time.

Durability and Support

The VIII is not the most flexible shoe on the market, but what you lose in maneuverability you make up for in strength. The premium materials throughout the design do a good job of staying together in just about any environment. They can take a lot of extended use as well.

That inherent strength goes a long way in terms of both protection and support. Knowing your shoes are reliable on different surfaces means that you get a solid base that does a good job of keeping your foot protected during hard landings or high jumps. It’s stable all the way around.

Fit and Lockdown

The VIII’s lockdown is excellent as well. Many shoes, especially lighter models, come up short when it comes to lateral containment. This model breaks that mold by giving you a strong lacing system backed by a secure TPU heel counter to keep your foot from moving too much.

Complementing that is the snug fit, which restricts interior space and cuts down on annoyances like blisters. The Flight Web system does its job wonderfully, making sure your foot never leaves the footbed. If you need a reliable fit, it’s hard to do better than what this model offers.

What I Like

As someone with a history of injuries, I love this shoe’s lockdown. As models get lighter and lighter, support is a big miss for many sneakers in today’s world. The VIII beautifully steps around that problem through its tough lacing system, strong base, and TPU midsole.

The VIII’s comfort is incredibly impressive too. Looking past the ventilation, the shoe itself feels like a dream to wear. Your entire foot gets bounce and support, and all vulnerable areas get the padding they need. Every part of the design seems perfectly committed to comfort in some way.

What I Dislike

My biggest gripe here is definitely the breathability. With shoes like the VIII, you would expect a good amount of ventilation. However, there’s simply not a lot of airflow built into the design. That not only encourages moisture build-up, but it traps in a lot of heat during longer games.

I also wish the traction was better. Many current footwear options don’t do well with dust, but the herringbone used in the VIII seemed like it picks it up even more quickly than you would expect. You need to wipe, which I don’t like, and you’ll get little to no traction on the blacktop.

The Alternatives

If you want a shoe that’s like the VIII, but comes with a few alternative traits, look no further than the below options.

1. Harden Stepback

If you want something like the VIII but with better ventilation, check out the Stepback. This model utilizes a special soft mesh-synthetic construction that promotes excellent airflow. They are also lightweight, have a soft feel, and are quite flexible in a way that emphasizes comfort.

On top of that, their premium stitching and construction work together to create a solid base that can take a lot of use. The fit might be a bit too tight for players with wide or larger feet, but those who don’t have such problems will enjoy the shoe’s performance and responsiveness.

2. Peak High Top

The Peak High Top is a good sneaker for players who want a lighter option with some extra protection that won’t break the bank. The fit is more than reliable, while the integrated weaving system is incredibly comfortable. It has an excellent court feel as well.

Another excellent feature is the stabilization module, which supports lateral mobility without putting you at extra risk for any twists or unfortunate falls. The cushion could definitely be a little better when it comes to impact protection, but they offer a sleek package at an affordable price.

3. Adidas N3xt L3v3l

If you want something that matches the VIII’s incredible comfort in a more unique, supportive package, the N3xt L3v3l is the way to go. This shoe, which utilizes a special sock-like construction as well as a regular fit, holds your foot in place without ever being too tight.

The snug sneaker has a strong shaft, strong base, and laceless design. On top of that, the Primeknit upper is flexible and promotes agility. They do run a bit hot, and they take some time to break in, but if you don’t mind a bit of work they are worth the extra effort.

FAQs

Do These Shoes Fit Well?

Yes. The VIII is a true-to-size sneaker. Getting your normal size will give you the fit you want.

How Are These for Outdoor Play?

The CP3 VIII comes with a durable outer shell that gives it the strength to hold up outside. However, know that the traction doesn’t hold up outside the same way.

Final Verdict

The CP3 VIII is a great shoe for players in the market for an attractive sneaker that can be used both on and off the court. They are a reliable mid-range model that comes with a durable shell, soft interior, and solid construction. There’s plenty of responsiveness on top of that too.

As with most shoes, there are some downsides. The traction picks up dust quickly and there’s no real breathability. Even so, there are enough pros to outweigh such issues and push them over the top.