Traction – The Air Jordan 4 doesn’t exactly boast a specific traction pattern or surface & they don’t look to be overly impressive either, however, if kept clean they are actually very good at keeping your foot planted on the floor no matter what you were doing.
This was noted on a previous Performance Teaser but if you can keep the clear sections free of debris then your experience will be a pleasant one. I personally use a traction mat but you can easily bring a lint roller or a roll of duct tape with you to quickly remove debris from the sole… a good old fashioned hand wipe is also adequate so long as you are consistent with it.
Cushion – This is just as it has been with the Air Jordan 3 & 4, Air Jordan 5 is a bit better, so prepare yourself for minimal cushion underfoot. The Polyurethane is dense and the Air Units are embedded within so you won’t receive a comfortable ride but the impact is being absorbed a little.
An easy solution to any cushion issue is an insole swap. There are plenty to choose from and can be catered to your specific needs. I opted to use the SofSole insole – not for cushion – and I will explain more a bit further down.
Material – With this particular shoes there are a variety of material options available depending on the colorway chosen. The reason I went with the Carmine colorway is due to the dual material layers placed along the upper which provided me with proper fit & support where I needed – leather sections – and maintained flexibility where I needed – mostly at the forefoot with the nubuck sections. Overall durability is pretty nice as well given that these are a newer Retro product and they were able to withstand heavy beatings on-court.
Fit – The overall fit is decent as is… nothing too spectacular. This was mostly due to the dead space inside the shoe since they have very little padding with the exception of the collar & heel. Going down to a size 8.5 versus my usual size 9 would have helped a bit but the length could have been an issue and caused toe jamming… which hurts like hell if you’ve never experienced it before.
In the Cushion section I mentioned the insole swap… the fit was the reason why I chose to replace the insole with a thicker one. The added height was able to lift my foot up enough to allow the materials to properly function which then provided me with a great overall fit and lockdown once fully laced.
Ventilation – Quite possibly the most well ventilated Air Jordan model within the entire lineup. Plenty of perforations are in place and they aren’t blocked or lined with excess materials hindering the air flow.
Support – Not much support is found other than with the fit itself. Materials will help with this so you need to choose wisely if you wanted to play in a pair. Like I mentioned above, if you want some material support and flexibility along the upper then this type of setup would work as far as materials are concerned. If you need more support than I would go with leather upper and for less support a nubuck or suede upper.
Overall – Not a bad shoe – in my opinion – but not the best either. It’s a shoe that offers many great attributes while falling short on others… like most shoes. If you require adequate traction (if outsoles are kept clean), durability & ventilation then the Air Jordan 4 may be a good option for you. Their lack of cushion and inferior fit can easily be remedied with a simple insole swap which then makes these a very well rounded performer on-court