Prose: Finch (@Sir_Stymie)
There have been a lot of changes in the lives of the TGRR duo (college graduation, engagements, and moving back home, so on and so forth) over the past few months. Due to these developments it has been pretty tough to crank out consistent reviews, but I am proud to announce that we are back on track.
Before I get into the review itself I wanted to touch on a few topics that have been on my mind. Here at TGRR, we are a grassroots operation. We are basketball players first and foremost and all of our reviews are based on our experiences with the product in the field. We appreciate the views and enjoy answering your questions and reading your feedback so I implore you to comment and review as much as possible.
On to the review, Jake provided you with one of our two-part sessions with the best that Jordan Brand has to offer in the XX8 SE. For my portion of our review package I have had the pleasure of reviewing the Jordan Super.Fly 2, a shoe that I have become rather fond of over the last few weeks.
The first Jordan Super.Fly model made its debut in June of 2012. In its original form, the shoe came equipped with durable Hyperfuse upper, Lunarlon cushioning and a carbon fiber plate in the midfoot, giving the shoe overall all structure and shape. While the original model was very good performance-wise (and worn by Russell Westbrook, Joe Johnson and Maya Moore in the NBA and WNBA, respectively) it lacked a signature athlete to truly give it a face.
Enter Blake Griffin. His involvement in Jordan Brand and the Super.Fly 2 (which was inspired by his play and debuted on the 2013 All-Star weekend) is a major reason for the success of the shoe. While Griffin gives the shoe some marketability, the Super.Fly 2 proved to be a great performer on-court – where it really matters.
(ed. note: Thanks to ones of our readers, Daren, who took pictures of the black Super.Fly 2 you saw throughout the article and also gave us some really detailed feedback on his experiences in the shoe. We always appreciate reader feedback.)
Much the XX8 SE, the Super.Fly 2 utilizes a Dynamic Fit upper. Jake touched on this in his review, and I will go a bit more in depth. Jordan Brand explains Dynamic fit as “textile straps that wrap up from the midsole and integrate with the laces for a lightweight support that moves with the foot.” In layman’s terms, they extended the lace holes or eyelets and connect them to the midsole in the form of a strap. The widening of the straps near the midsole allows the more of the midfoot to be covered, thus giving you better lockdown.
In my personal experience, I will agree that because of its simplicity, this gives you a better fit than something like Flywire. The Super.Fly 2 also has a sandwich mesh inner sleeve with an integrated tongue for a sock like fit (which is something that I am personally a fan of). The neoprene Achilles pad works cohesively with the padding around the ankle and helps with the lockdown while preventing heel slippage. The Pebax Flight Plate – which is not carbon fiber like on the XX8 SE – is kind of disappointing but Pebax has proven to be a durable and rugged material. It gives the shoe great structure and works well with the Zoom bag (which will be covered in its designated section.)
For full disclosure, I went a full size down with most of my shoes that I play ball in to make sure that I get a more snug fit but I feel that even in my normal 13 I would have been ok.
Heel-Toe Transition: 8.5
To be honest this shoe feels a bit blocky due to the thickness of the midsole but with that said, thanks to the structure of the Flight Plate and midsole, it still makes for a very smooth forward rotation with some added flexibility. This allows for very little “slappiness” that you could get with shoes designed for forwards/big wings (i.e. Nike Foamposite Max.)
Daren also agreed with me, and thought the thick Zoom bag made the transition feel a little chunky initially.
To be honest, I really wanted to give this category a ten but I always want to leave space for improvement and for better product down the line. I know my logic can be a bit confusing but just know that it’s really good – and probably some of the best out there.
The Super.Fly 2 went away from the Lunarlon cushioning of its predecessor to a more responsive Zoom Air midsole. This was undoubtedly an upgrade. Lunarlon is very nice in running shoes and in shoes for quicker players (like the Kobe line) that are more about speed and lateral movement. Lunarlon wouldn’t quite work with this model, which requires impact protection from the heavier, explosive forces put on by bigger players.
The Super.Fly 2 has a front loaded unit similar to the one used in the XX8 silhouette. The unit works in tandem with the Flight Plate and gives you the best possible responsiveness in the forefoot. The plate allows for the Zoom unit to compress and expand at exactly the right time. This also gives you a solid pivot point for post ups and spin moves.
Overall the midsole is spongy but also firm enough to support body weight and allowing for the tech to work effectively. This tech and the dense foam also adds weight to the shoe though, making them a bit heavy for my taste.
Daren, a guard, also chimed in and thought that the court feel was a little lacking because of the way the new Zoom bag has so much volume and hits your foot. As more of a wing/post hybrid, I loved the cushioning but if you’re a guard that likes a lot of court feel, this is definitely something you’ll want to pay attention to.
It is a well-known fact, if you are an avid reader of this site, that we have favorites when it comes to certain aspects of performance shoes. Herringbone traction patterns are near the top, but Jordan Brand has found away to somewhat improve an already great innovation. I have dubbed it “burst” herringbone because of the look of course, but the design also has a function allowing for traction and grip at almost every angle that the foot can maneuver. It’s great for post ups and boxing out – once you plant your feet you’ll be hard pressed to get pushed off the spot because of your shoes slipping.
This is probably the lowest score I gave the shoe and in my eyes one of the few glaring weaknesses in the silhouette. First and foremost, the upper is some type of woven synthetic fuse material. This is fine, but the material was coated with rubber near the midsole and began to peel away. The upper started to fray a bit near the lace holes and near the bend points, which can’t be a good sign with less than two months of play in them. Unfortunately, something that seems to be more and more common for me, is midsole separation near the forefoot and I saw the early stages of this on the Super.Fly 2 as well.
Like I said in the beginning, this shoe has become very special to me. Not only does it fit my style of play, but the Super.Fly 2 has great cushioning and structure. The whole is sort of greater than the sum of its parts here. I also possibly had one of my best games of my life in these very sneakers in our last championship game, scoring 18 points (ed. note: and defending the opposing team’s best player.) Jake also did his thing as well in his UA Anatonix Spawn and we got the win – what more can you ask for?
Moreover this shoe fits my style of play and I think that if you are a wing or a post, or fan of the Jordan performance line (XX8 line, Melo M9 and M10, CP3.VII) this may be a great shoe for you.