The resurgence of the retro range has chosen to replicate these specific sneakers for the newer audience. Released first in 1998, again in 2005 and finally in 2017.
These sneakers were first dreamed up for Michael Jordan in 1998 by the designer Tinker Hatfield. They have one specific quality that hadn’t been seen in the range before; The tread on the outer sole of the shoes individual design. When they met up to discuss the new design for the Nike Air Jordans XIII Tinker likened Michael to a panther. The trainers reflect this likeness in the big cat paw style pads on the outer of the shoe and glowing eye of the hologram. With the idea of giving the wearer catlike reflexes and movements, they really stood apart from the rest with this never before seen style.
Slimming it down.
This newer sneaker has shed the old boot-like shape of the XII and streamlined the design much more. This gives a lighter and much more sporty look for the court.
Apart from the smaller, slimmer design to the shoe, we also see a big difference to the sole. The carbon fibre arch support, rather than running the whole length of the shoe only sits in the centre. The older design seen in the XII and XI which had the carbon fibre from the toe plate to the heel offered too little flexibility. In the newer XII’s the mid plate gives the needed toe movement for extra bounce and the heel control for those tight turns and stopping power.
Cat Like Design
The original Air Jordan XIII’s had such a successful design that little had to be changed. Modelled on the Panther with the Holographic logo showing the ‘Jumpman’ the number 23 and a basketball representing an eye and the tread being the panther paw. A beautiful suede coats the tongue and sides giving a smooth, animal-like texture. The leather toe box has a polyurethane coating which gives it the shine and style that makes it stand out so much.
The Nike Air Jordan XIII’s have a slightly recessed traction pad layout. This leaves the sneaker without a lot of control on the court for at least the first few hours of play. The sunken pads are very noticeable until the surrounding sole is worn down slightly. Once this is achieved, the traction from the herringbone pads is fantastic giving support both on the front to back movements and the lateral manoeuvrers.
These Jordans, as with a lot of the more modern releases, don’t really feel snug unless you get one size half size smaller than your usual fit. This isn’t much of a problem if you are aware of it though. If you have ordered a size too big a simple innersole will easily remedy the problem. Once you have broken in the leather, a slight readjust of the laces will lock your feet in perfectly. They are a very snug shoe.
A Hot Sneaker
The front and rear zoom pads do feel a little thinner than those in the XII’s but they still offer all the pop and comfort you need on the court. If anything the slightly thinner pads give a better foot to court response and allow you to really feel where you are. Once you are locked into these shoes and have broken in the leather then hold you very securely and have an amazing responsiveness.
The real issue lies in the breathability of the shoe. The suede and leather exterior has no vents and keeps the feet very warm. The tongue does have a few perforations on the outside but the inside tongue is foam lined. Expect very warm feet.
How Do They Hold Up?
Overall the shoe seems to hold up very well. There are a few problems that do come with the XIII’s and hasn’t been remedied since the originals. Over time the soles of the shoes will start to bleed colour. The holographic logo will start to fog up and lose its vibrancy also.
A few people have noticed the leather around the rims of the shoe seems to split away. This is not actually the case. The Polyurethane coating that is used on the leather to give it texture and protection pulls away from the shoe and gives the effect of splitting. The damage won’t cause the sneaker to fall apart but it also doesn’t look great.
A great throwback from a classic trainer with a unique style. An exceptionally comfortable fit that gives you amazing responsiveness on the court once you have broken them in. The only real downside is the lack of breathability and slightly quick wear and tear on the leather toe box.