This is my review of Jordan Ultra Fly 3. While not a perfect shoe, the Ultra Fly 3 is a unique Jordan sneaker that excels in both lockdown and impact protection, even if the traction isn’t the best.
- Where to Buy: Amazon
- Best for: More casual players who want a stylish, comfortable option they can use in different places.
- Pros: Nice, soft feel. Comfortable throughout. Herringbone traction pattern. Woven textile upper. Lightweight. Attractive style.
- Cons: Traction could be more reliable. Impact protection is a bit lacking. Could do more to reduce slippage. Expensive.
- Alternatives: Flyknit Elevation 23, Nike Hyperdunk X, Why Not Zer0.4
Why Trust Me
In my life, I’ve spent over twenty five years playing basketball at just about every level you can imagine. I also have spent just as much time pounding around outside as I have shooting in a gym. As such, I know what traits make (or unmake) a good sneaker.
Being able to analyze basketball shoes is what gave me the ability to properly understand the Jordan Ultra Fly 3. I then backed up that knowledge with extra reviews and additional research in order to break down the following sections in extreme detail.
The Ultra Fly 3 is a solid basketball sneaker that puts a great amount of emphasis on cushion and look. As with other shoes in the line, it’s attractive and can be worn casually. However, it has enough spring, responsiveness, and mobility to enhance your on-court performance too.
The shoes also come with a good amount of traction, lockdown, and durability. No matter how you plan on using them, they have a top-of-the-line construction and feel that will hold up over long periods of time.
If you want comfort, the Ultra Fly 3 is a great pick. The shoe has some of the best cushion on today’s market thanks to the heel and forefoot Zoom Air units. Both give you good court feel and pad each landing. The fact that they protect the back and front of the shoe is icing on the cake.
The woven textile upper goes a long way in this regard too. It’s incredibly comfortable, giving you a lightweight feel without ever bogging you down too much. It’s fairly stable as well.
On top of that, the shoe also lets you breathe. Ventilation is something many players overlook when getting a new sneaker, but it’s important when it comes to reducing general discomfort. Restricting sweat is a big part of comfort, and the Fly 3 does a great job there.
The Fly 3s are surprisingly durable, especially considering their weight and design. Nike gave them a woven textile upper on top of a strong bottom. That combination holds up on multiple surfaces, allowing you the ability to play both in and outside.
An extra level of versatility is always welcome. The pair doesn’t give you the best impact protection around, but that’s a small price to pay for a more complete package. If you don’t want to worry about where you’re playing, they make a great option for those with at-home courts.
The Fly 3’s traction also holds up nicely. The multidirectional herringbone traction pattern gives you a full 360-degree grip and directly reduces any unnecessary sliding. You can stop and turn on a dime. That explosiveness directly aids responsiveness as well.
Such aspects are then furthered by lateral outriggers to create what is a wholly stable design. If you’re a player who needs to pull up on the outside for a quick shot or make extreme cuts between multiple defenders, the shoes will greatly aid your game.
Shoes, especially ones that come with less materials, need to keep your feet in place. The Ultra Fly 3 goes a bit overboard in this department, but it creates great results. The forefoot shroud locks down the front of your foot, while the webbed lacing system holds in the back.
That feature combination comes together to create what is an extremely secure and supportive model. All parts of your foot stay exactly where they need to be. There’s no slippage with this pair, and you won’t have any unnecessary interior rubbing while you run.
As with so many Nike shoes, the Ultra Fly 3 is quite responsive. Guards will love how much spring they deliver to your feet, while big men will enjoy the ability to quickly go up for rebounds. That makes the models great for players of all different sizes and positions.
Another strong aspect here is the woven textile upper. That’s not something you’d normally consider when looking at performance, but it gives you a speedy feel that directly promotes responsiveness. You get a lot of power and agility from this pair.
Anytime you break down a Jordan sneaker, style matters. The Fly 3 strikes a good balance between older and newer models. The side design, as well as the striking colors, make it a good option for those who want to make a statement on the court or walking around in town.
What I Like
My favorite part of this shoe is the durability. I’ve seen better construction in similar models, but rarely do you get such tough materials when dealing with a lighter option. There’s a lot of power packed into the Fly 3, and that helps push it to the next level for its sneaker class.
The look is really cool too. Style is never my first thought when picking out new shoes, but these Jordans have a clean, striking appearance that makes them stand out. Being able to add a bit of flash to what is a solid sneaker is a great option for more serious players.
What I Dislike
Perhaps the Fly 3’s biggest setback is its flexibility. The shoe is comfortable, but that’s mainly through the cushion rather than the materials. The shroud in the forefoot is a bit stiff, and you aren’t going to be able to get a ton of movement on the sides either.
Another gripe I have is the way the traction picks up dust on dirty courts. This is something that has become more common as of late, and it’s a real shame. While the grip is good when things are clean and well-kept, I wish it would work the same way with a bit of adversity.
The shoes in this section are perfect for players who like some of the Ultra Fly 3’s traits but want something slightly different.
If you want another great Jordan shoe with many of the Ultra Fly 3’s traits, the Elevation 23 is worth a long look. This shoe comes with a breathable flyknit material that’s comfortable and has excellent airflow. That’s then backed by an air-sole unit for extra power and bounce.
This shoe has a large focus on comfort. The shell is largely lightweight, while you feel the cushion in the sole as you move. It’s pretty durable too, even if there’s a lack of ankle support. This model also has incredible style. It comes in multiple color options and patterns too.
If you want another lightweight shoe that puts an overemphasis on performance, the Hyperdunk X (review) may be for you. This option, as the name suggests, is all about jumping. It has an incredibly springy sole that lets you go from the ground to the air in a fraction of a second.
That performance-enhancing quality is perfectly complemented by the reliable lockdown and durable construction. The 3/4-bootie design creates an incredibly comfortable fit that keeps your foot in place without ever getting too snug or uncomfortable.
The Zer0.4 (review) is a stable, performance-focused shoe that does a great job of blending comfort, support, and toughness. Though the traction isn’t quite up to snuff, especially when you’re on dusty courts, the other traits come together to create a wholly reliable sneaker.
This model is secure, soft, and responsive. The energy return is some of the best on the market, and the unique webbing throughout the heel and forefoot goes a long way. The best choice for people who want something lighter that comes fully equipped with premium protection.
How Do These Fit?
In general, the Ultra Fly 3 is a tighter shoe. It’s mostly true to size, but be aware that it may sit a bit snug for people with wider feet.
Can These Be Worn Casually?
Yes. As a Jordan sneaker, they have a stellar design that allows them to be worn in most casual settings without any issues.
Is This Shoe Big?
The Ultra Fly 3 is a slim shoe with a sleeker profile. It never gets in the way or becomes too unobtrusive.
The Jordan Ultra Fly 3 is a complete shoe that has a lot of good things going for it. The Zoom Air, running through the heel and forefoot, is a worthy stand out, as is the solid construction and great feel. It even lets you move laterally with no issues or twists.
The traction definitely could be better, and there’s something to be said about the general stiffness built into the design, but those largely fall by the wayside once you’re out bouncing around the court.