The Jordan CP3 IV

Introduction

Just a few years ago, New Orleans Hornets point guard Chris Paul was looked upon as the quintessential point guard in the NBA.  A couple of playoff disappointments and an injury plagued 2009-2010 season later,  the prominence once held by Paul was now overtaken by rising upstarts such as Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls and Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics.  This season Paul has reestablished his superstar standing by leading the Hornets to an impressive  8-0 start.  Selected as a Jordan athlete, Paul carries the high distinction of having his own signature shoe.  Last month, Jordan brand released the 4th shoe in the Chris Paul line.  The second Jordan brand shoe review of this basketball season is the Jordan CP3 IV.

Incorporating geometric shapes throughout, the CP3 IV is another quality effort by the Jordan brand.  The features include the following:

  • Nike Zoom Air unit in the heel
  • Combination leather and mesh upper
  • Full length Phylon midsole with Podulon® cushioning system in the forefoot
  • Rubber outsole with raised herringbone pattern
  • Asymmetrical collar and sculpted heel counter

Aesthetics and Styling

The CP3 IV is an aesthetic overload.  Every area of the shoe is stamped with patterns, designs, and logos of various materials.  Just like the Nike Zoom KD III we reviewed last month, this sneaker has a distinct personal touch.  And as with most products the catalog, the shoe is made with the Jordan brand quality we have come to expect.  Underneath all the exterior styling are the common performance features, including Zoom Air in the heel and a thick Phylon midsole.  The new signature technology present in the CP3 IV is the Podulon® cushioning system, initially introduced in last years CP3 III.  Overall, the styling of the CP3 IV is inline with previous models, as it has a simple shape, with designs and patterns bringing the shoe to life.

The raised herringbone outsole is made of geometric shapes

A low cut and unassuming shape characterizes the silhouette of the shoe.  The shoe is riddled with diagonal lines, running through the patent leather toe box all the way to the plastic heel counter.  To begin, the outsole is marked with a zig zag herringbone pattern.  Done in Orion Blue, the base of the outsole is surrounded by shattered glass like cut outs.  Small triangular pieces are present all around, with a raised black arrowhead shaped piece, stamped with the number “8,” residing in the middle.  The main raised portion of the sole comes in the form of three large black jagged pieces on the heel, forefoot, and toe area.  On the heel piece, the signature jumpman logo is visible in the Orion Blue.  At the midfoot, a “V” shaped stiff plank is surrounded by the black and blue sole.  Moving on, the outsole rises in two places.  First, on the rear heel area, the sole raises 1/2 inch up, ending again at a “V” shape.  On the toe area, the outsole rises on the medial side, wrapping the length of the toe box.  Conversely, the base side done with outriggers on both the forefoot and heel, with “PODULON” etched on the forefoot piece.  Topping off the bottom of the CP3 IV is a thick black Phylon midsole.  At the bottom of the midsole, a textured strip runs along the bottom, contrasting the smooth top half of the midsole, which ends a zig zag on the toe box.

The Orion Blue toe box serves as a perfect color to bring out the shine of the textured patent leather.  Connecting all the way up the tongue, the blue patent leather forms an arrow with the tongue as the shaft, and the toe box as the arrow head.  Running vertically through the toe box are 9 rows of ventilation holes, with a small jumpman logo printed near the throat line.  Proceeding past the throat line to side of the shoe, the toe box is stitched at the forefoot area.  Exhibiting symmetry, the side panels are set up exactly the same on both the base and medial sides.  Above the midsole on each side, a diagonally rising black patent leather strip runs to the the plastic heel counter.  Continuing, the quarter panels are designed with a thin skin material pasted on to the synthetic mesh like base layer.  Added for stability, the top layer is cut into a diagonal lines, like beaming rays.  The quarter panels end at the collar where we see the only difference between the two sides – the plastic circle jumpman logo.

With a smooth matte finish, the black plastic heel counter stays with the theme of geometric patterns and shapes.  Sitting half way up the heel side, the counter is designed in the fashion of a ventilation grate.  Above the counter is a striped heel hook, connecting to the inside leather Achilles support.  Next, the slight asymmetric collar is comprised of the same synthetic material seen on the side panels.  The top of the collar enclosed by a stitched on Orion Blue strip.  Inside, a the textured lining houses the thin cushioning pads.  Offering more support for the collar, the leather Achilles cushion sits high on the back end of the collar.  To wrap up the rear, the Orion Blue lines the leather Achilles support.

This version of the CP3 IV is outfitted with round braided black laces.  A unique touch is added to the laces, which have clear blue aglets engraved with the number “336.”  The laces run through 5 hanging striped loops, which replace the normal embedded eyelets.  The loops sit on a black leather eyestay, with the final circular eyelet placed on top.  Next, we have the thin tongue which is made up of both patent leather and mesh.  Running through the middle of the tongue is the Orion Blue patent leather, which is an extension of the patent leather from the toe box.  The ventilation holes also carry over from the toe box, running past a lace holder and the black “CP” logo which is branded on top of the tongue.  On the sides, the mesh material is present, which is connected to the inside of the shoe.  Finishing off the tongue is the Orion Blue lining.  The final design touch of the CP3 IV is visible on the insole.  A military like graphic is printed through the length of the  insole, with star shaped patterns and emblems providing an artistic element.  In the end, the styling is not only unique, but has a fun feel.

Comfort and Fit

For the CP3 IV, the foot fits into the shoe with ease.  The fitting is true to size and when laced tight, the tongue and body have a thin and light feel on the foot.  On the front end, the roomy toe box area is reinforced with the patent leather material, with the rear end having a similar feeling.  Around the midfoot, the tightness lies through the center, starting at the top of the tongue moving downward.   With the asymmetrical collar, the insides of the ankles are covered, leaving the outside of the ankle somewhat exposed.  Although the ankles have some security, there is very little protection.  Switching gears to the cushioning, a flat and hard foot bed awaits.  In a static position, the Zoom Air in the heel and Podulon® in the forefoot do not have a pronounced feel.  For those who like a plush feeling or cushioning on the soft side, other options may be more favorable.  Nonetheless, both cushioning technologies offer different feels.  Beginning with the Zoom Air in the heel, the customary soft but stiff feeling is felt.  Conversely, the Podulon® present in the forefoot has a hollow feel.  This contrast provides a unique option from other Nike basketball shoes, as the Podulon® cushioning is not commonly used.  Overall, the shoe has a bottom heavy feeling and sturdy feel.

Performance

Taking the CP3 IV on to the court takes some adjustment.  First off, the weight balance of the shoe gives the impression of a heavy shoe.  The outsole and thick midsole carry all the weight, while the synthetic portions of the shoe are thin and light.  This set up is the basis for the performance of the shoe.  The shoe was made for hard running.  Those who are light on their feet or those who tend to play on their toes may find some difficulty getting started.  That said, running from heel to toe is fluid, with the Zoom Air and Podulon® cushioning system working in unison on each step.  With this responsiveness, abrupt lateral movements, sharp cuts, as well as starting and stopping get the most out of the cushioning.  Pushing the shoe to the limit, transitioning from running to jumping, and vise versa, are best performed at full speed.  Moving on, landing from jumps are well cushioned, as the workings of the thick Phylon midsole,  Podulon® cushioning, and raised outsole come into play.  Performance wise, it is not difficult to see that it was specifically pattern for the needs of Chris Paul.  Players who play with pace, and play very little with their back to the basket may be well equipped with this shoe.

The Podulon® cushioning in the forefoot is a signature of the CP3 IV

With a quality build, the stability of the shoe is excellent.  Through the center of the foot, the tongue remains stiff and tight, only allowing flexibility of the sides.  The patent leather that dominates the toe box and continues up the tongue keeps the foot stable, and while running, the pressure of the tongue helps push the heel towards the heel counter.  For the sides of the shoe, the light weight synthetic allows for some flex.  On the whole, the shoe is more rigid than flexible, but the thin amount of material used makes this less of nuisance.  Looking at the underside, the carbon fiber shank plate keeps the arch and midfoot from awkward bends.  Again, this shows the rigidness of the shoe, but when playing at a fast pace, the support is paramount.  As a note, ankle protection sleeves or tapped ankles may be needed by some, due to the low cut of the shoe.  That aside, stability is a bright spot

In the area of traction, the raised herringbone pattern does the job.  As mentioned earlier, quick stops and starts are performed with ease, as the outsole has enough stick to stop and go.  Slipping for any movement is minimized, as the raised portions of the outsole provide help.  Moving on, the ventilation of the shoe is satisfactory.  Not the most breathable shoe, the ventilation holes on the toe box provide some air flow.  The majority of the ventilation comes from low asymmetrical cut of the shoe and thin tongue, which allow air to flow through the top and center of the shoe.

Conclusion

Over the years the CP3 line, like the Carmelo Anthony signature line, has not received the mainstream spotlight as other Jordan brand products and signature shoes from superstars Kobe Bryant and Lebron James.  Chris Paul has worked his way to super-stardom, validating his signature line.  On the whole, the CP3 IV represents a solid continuation of quality from the Jordan brand.  The styling and patterns carry a fun theme, which is a departure from the usual serious tone of other signature shoes.  With plenty of care and attention to detail, the designers have made sure that the shoe has a personal touch.  Most importantly, the performance of the shoe matches the game of the player.  Those who use quickness, speed, and the ability to take out their opponent with an explosive first step would be akin to giving the CP3 IV a try.  Available in various colors, the Jordan CP3 IV is available at select Nike retail outlets.

This shoe is comparable to:
Nike Zoom KD III