Considering the Air Jordan 34 was one of the worst basketball shoes we’ve seen durability wise the past few years, you’d think Jordan Brand would improve on that flaw for its forerunner model. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like Jordan Brand has learned because the Air Jordan 35 seems to take a lot from the durability of its predecessor.
The Air Jordan 34 was praised by many fans and reviewers to be one of, if not the best basketball shoes during the midst of 2020 for its lightweight, well cushioned, and responsive ride. However, the durability of them is the huge drawback we see, which is such a huge factor performance wise in a performance basketball shoe. To see some of the documentation behind the Air Jordan 34’s popped Zoom bags, cracked and broken Eclipse plates, ripped eyelets, and more, click here. However, let’s now check out the durability of the Air Jordan 35 thus far, since its debut back in October, just less than two months ago.
Zion Williamson’s PEs
Zion’s Air Jordan 35 PE’s eclipse plates are literally bending and collapsing in less than 48 minutes, which is the standard regulation time of an NBA basketball game. His Air Jordan 34 PEs had the same issue—click here to check it out.
Perhaps Jordan Brand has yet to realize this is a red flag because no shoe is supposed to have this much wear in less than 48 minutes of basketball play (Zion averages 35.3 minutes per game this season). If Zion didn’t wear a brand new, different pair of the Air Jordan 35 each game, he’d likely have the midfoot Eclipse plate of one of his 35 PEs fully collapse in game, leading to an ankle roll, or other serious injury. And, for those that want to bring up the excuse that Zion Williamson is 285 pounds and that more average-weighted people don’t need to worry about this issue—yes, that is indeed true, however this issue can happen to anyone depending upon how much force they exert in their steps.
Before Game (Warm-ups), No Compression Marks and No Eclipse Plate Bending/Collapsing
h/t: NBA Kicks — Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images.
During the Game – Compression Marks Evident, Eclipse Plate Bending
h/t: NBA Kicks. — Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images.
Upper and Midsole Fraying
It doesn’t get as simple as this because it just goes straight to the quality of the material the company is using. And, Jordan Brand isn’t giving us good materials that are durable enough for a $180 retail price. This wearer’s pair was stepped on during game (which is super common to happen), and the fraying started. If you do toe drags to help get dust out of the grooves of a shoe’s outsole when in game, this should be an immediate concern for you.
h/t: HUPU user 虎扑JR2095249373.
Poor Glue Job
The following set of photos shows a simple craftsmanship error that is prone to happen to any company and brand when their shoes are being constructed in factories: a poor glue job. Showcased below is the forefoot of a wearer’s Air Jordan 35’s upper separating from the outsole. This issue isn’t something we really saw with the Air Jordan 34, and isn’t all that major considering this is a simple flaw that can happen by mistake to any company. And, this likely remains an isolated issue to select pairs that consumers purchase.
h/t: HUPU user Lcr666.
The Ripped Eyelets
Considering Jordan Brand physically improved the quality of the eyelets on the Air Jordan 35 with nylon cables, instead of the flimsy flywire cables on the 34, we’d think the durability would improve. And, it has, but not enough, because the eyelets still ripped. The flywire eyelets ripping on the 34 was one of, if not the most common issues we saw for that shoe. It simply was a complete design flaw to the shoe, and its craftsmanship as a whole. This time around, it doesn’t appear to be a design flaw since the eyelets are nylon cables, but more of a craftsmanship flaw (how the shoe is constructed). The following photo simply shows a wearer’s pair of the Air Jordan 35 that has its top eyelet literally ripping from the synthetic suede overlay at the midfoot of the upper. It’s still somewhat attached, but very sparingly. This should be somewhat concerning and alarming for people with narrow and skinny feet that usually choke down their laces very tight in their shoes.
h/t: HUPU user Euro RSCG Master.
Cracked Eclipse Plates
The cracked and completely broken eclipse plates on the Air Jordan 34 was just too common. We saw photos of Zion Williamson wearing his 34 PEs in game with the Eclipse plates looking ready to just collapse and break. Luckily, he switches out his pairs after every game it seems, which avoided him from having a potential injury. The Air Jordan 35 Eclipse plate is a bit different from the 34, with the 35s plate actually wrapping up into the midfoot of the upper. I’m not entirely sure how tall the hole or “gap” is of the Eclipse plate is in both shoes, but they look to be roughly the same.
The photo below shows the Eclipse plate of a wearer’s Air Jordan 35 that cracked on the bottom of plate. The wearer weighs 65 kg or about 143.3 pounds, and played in them for one month until the Eclipse plate cracked. The issue of the Eclipse plate cracking likely won’t affect many wearers who don’t exert much force into their foot strikes and landings when playing basketball. But if you’re a heavier player, and exert more force into your steps, this may be alarming for you. Take note, because a piece of plastic at the midfoot with a hole in it may not be enough to support your foot.
h/t: HUPU user 语文作业没做的出去.
This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to us considering the outsole of the Air Jordan 35 is very similar to that of its predecessor. Thin herringbone grooves with a very soft, grippy rubber compound. It’s possible to give a shoe a thick tread with grippy rubber that is still hard and durable. However, Jordan Brand seems to refuse. Think of this outsole like an eraser—when you wear it, it’s going to fray because of the poor rubber compound and nature of the tread that Jordan Brand implemented into the Air Jordan 35. For $180, it’s just inexcusable.
These photos of the outsole come from a wearer who played six total games: 3 full indoor games and 3 outdoor half-time games. Take that as you will.
h/t: HUPU user 奔跑的猪大腿.
What’s the excuse, Jordan Brand?
Reduce the quality of the shoe to give it a lighter weight and feel on foot? Nope. It’s still possible to give us a durable shoe for $180 and keep it lightweight. There simply is no excuse. And for those that want to make the excuse that the Air Jordan 35 is like a sports car—it’s not. It’s a basketball shoe for $180 that is used for a sport that is played both indoors and outdoors. If you’re paying that much for a shoe, you should be able to play in it for a reasonable amount of time on several different court conditions without these considerable durability issues. There’s also the other excuse that Nike’s basketball shoes are “indoor” shoes. Well, they’re not, and neither is the Air Jordan 35. It’s labeled as a “basketball shoe” on Nike’s official website.
So for a brief conclusion, take this entire article as you will. Ultimately, it comes down to your personal preferences and what you look for in a basketball shoe. These durability issues are issues that certain wearers are experiencing. These wearers all have different needs, foot shapes, heights, weights, etc. If you already have, or want to purchase the Air Jordan 35, you may not even experience these issues. This article is simply for those to see what some wearers are experiencing durability wise in the Air Jordan 35, and why they are not worth the $180 retail price.