The Jordan Play In These F TXT

Introduction

So far this season, we have taken the signature line of shoes, offered from Jordan Brand, on to the court.  The Melo M7 and CP3.IV have proved to be solid performance, alongside the innovative Air Jordan 2011.  Next month, another signature shoe will be introduced, as the first Dwyane Wade Jordan will take form in the Fly Wade.  Before then, we take a look at an interesting new line into the Jordan Brand catalog.  The persuasively named “Play In These,”  line offers retro styling with varied cushioning combinations (much like the Air Jordan 2011).  Borrowing design aspects and technological features of current and past models our performance review puts the Jordan Play In These F TXT through the rigors of the hardwood.

The Jordan Play In These F TXT has a style and design that fits in well in the Jordan Brand catalog. The features include the following:

  • Podulon® cushioning in the forefoot, with a Max Air unit in the heel
  • Patent leather and synthetic upper, with plastic overlay cage
  • Thick Phylon midsole
  • Raised rubber outsole with herringbone pattern
  • Asymmetrical toe cap

Aesthetics and Styling

An interesting name indeed, the F TXT takes form with a meld of the Melo M7, CP3.IV, and the Air Jordan XI.  From the shape and heel Max Air unit, the F TXT takes from the Melo M7.  The Podulon® cushioning in the forefoot, with the raised outsole sections bear resemblance to the CP3.IV.  And taken from the most popular Air Jordan, is the plastic welded overlay.  The construction of the shoe is neatly done, wrapped up in a tight and efficient package from the stitched patent leather on the upper, down to the shapely outsole.  With the technology and aesthetics in place, there is definitely a place for the F TXT in the Jordan performance line up.

Borrowing from past and present releases, the design and construction of the F TXT is efficient

A side profile of the F TXT is an excellent showcase for the mid top design.  The lines of the shoe flow perfectly, and the different materials are integrated seamlessly.  To start, an “S” shaped rubber outsole is fitted on the underside.  The customary herringbone pattern covers every area, including the raised sections on the forefoot.  Placed on the forefoot, the red raised sections are split into three – two small portions at the top and one large portion.  Marked with a jumpman logo, the large portion is separated by a horizontal flex groove, which extends through the forefoot.  On the lateral side, small slits are cut into the outsole, revealing the red midsole.  Etched into the toe cap is the main performance feature built into the forefoot – the “PODULON” cushioning technology.  Next, the midfoot section of the outsole becomes a connector to the heel.  The small strip, which runs diagonally, slightly dips inward (towards the footbed), before sloping up to the heel.  Around this small strip, the red midsole creeps up, creating a deep triangular divot on the medial side.  In the divot, a small stiff plate is found.  Completing the underside is the Max Air loaded heel.  Around the clear bubble, where the innards of the Max Air can be seen, is a “Y” shaped flex groove.  The diagonally groove runs up to the back heel.  Last, the thick red Phylon midsole solidifies the lower half.  Styled with indents on the lateral, the midsole has the signature Max Air bubble on the heel.

In line with the solid foundation, is the stiff and rigid upper.  Beginning with the patent leather base material, the stitched asymmetrical toe cap is wraps around the front.  Cutting diagonally from the medial side, the bulk of the patent leather covers the big toe.  On this large piece, perforation holes are punctured into the patent leather.  The toe cap finishes off on the lateral side, nearly reaching the midfoot.  Forming a base on the medial side, the shiny patent leather is stitched from the midsole, and extends up to the collar.  At the rear, another patent leather piece forms the heel counter.  Starting on the medial, this piece extends to the lateral side, coming close to the midfoot.  A circular rubber jumpman logo is placed on this heel piece, clearly visible from a side view.  Finally, the eyestay from the collar down is covered in the red patent leather.  Adding some flexility to the shoe is the synthetic areas of the upper.  Making up the majority of the shoe, the textured synthetic material covers the sides as well as the tongue.  On the sides, the most interesting aspect of the shoe is present – the plastic web like overlay.  Providing reinforcement, each strand of the overlay connects to a lace hoop, blending in nicely with the overall design of the shoe.

At the rear, the simple heel counter is made up of patent leather.  With a sharp diagonal cut, the white inner lining comes through on the heel. The textured white synthetic material compliments the textured red synthetic on the sides.  Moving to the inside, the lining covers the minimally padded collar, covering the heel and Achilles area, extending around the ankles.  Protection for the Achilles comes in the form of a padded dog bone shaped lobe on the back end.  The padded lobe acts not only as a support feature, but helps with heel lock down.

Round braided laces comes standard with the F TXT.  Matching the textured synthetic, the laces are a perfect match for the aesthetics of the shoe.  The laces run through patent leather lace hoops, which are reinforced with the plastic overlay strands.  For the sufficiently padded tongue, a combination of patent leather and textured synthetic is present.  On the top of the tongue, the patent leather patch contains a dual lace holder (the laces can be tucked under the jumpman logo piece after they are tied) and a white jumpman logo.  The tongue is lined with the white synthetic that makes up the collar lining to provide a consistent feel.  To finish off the shoe, a thin red insole is placed inside, where a final jumpman logo is printed on the heel.

Comfort and Fit

There is plenty of room to get the foot into the F TXT.  Easy to tighten, the fit is true to size.  Around the foot, the synthetic and patent leather combination is not too loose or too tight, giving the foot functional room to wiggle.  For the ankles, security and protection is at a maximum.  The collar feels higher than it looks, and once locked in, the ankles are held as though they were taped.  Because of this, it is no surprise that heel lock down is excellent.  Providing comfort and support, the padded Achilles lobe holds on the inside, and on the outside, the patent leather serves as a stuff shield.  Not made with extreme comfort in mind, the footbed is hard out of the box.  The Max Air and Podulon® have little give when pressed on softly.  To offset the hard feel, the outsole is designed so that the foot is not placed square on the playing surface (more on this in the Performance section).  In the end, the fit can be described as secure and rigid.

Not widely used, the Podulon® cushioning is stiff but responsive

Performance

The configuration of the outsole brings a raised feeling in the static position.  It feels as though only the heel and forefoot are flush on the court.  This cleat like feel is a result of the uneven surface caused by the raised sections on the forefoot and the inward slope at the midfoot.  Combine this with the hard cushioning bed, and some might be turned off.  Nonetheless, because of the stiff and rigid construction, the F TXT requires a break in period.  Once broken in, it becomes apparent that a hard and aggressive style of play is required to get the most out of the shoe.  With this, running and transitions are best performed at an explosive pace, as the cushioning must be pushed hard to get the outsole flush on the court.  For quick players, jab steps, abrupt stops and step backs are ideal.  And one positive of the stiff cushioning is the exceptional responsiveness of the shoe.  Those who play on their toes will find an advantage with hollow feel given by the Podulon® cushioning.  With the weight placed on the forefoot, the player can spring into action.  Rising up quickly for a jump shot, or getting around your opponent after an up fake, the responsiveness is a plus.  Moving on, the cushioning set up provides excellent impact support upon landing.  While being handled by the Podulon® or the Max Air in the heel, the set up is perfect for any type of landing.  Drawbacks in performance include weight and discomfort with the tongue.  For quicker players, the overall weight, especially around the collar and rear areas, may slow down quick cuts and lateral offensive moves.  Furthermore, with the tongue holding stiff and high, there is occasionally rubbing when bending low.

As the shoe performs naturally for aggressive players, a bright aspect is observed with the overall stability.  Even without stepping on to the court, the tight and rigid construction of the shoe give as very secure feel.  Larger players can benefit from the protective rear end of the shoe, with exceptional support and protection around the ankles.  Couple this with the the Max Air cushioning and post players are well equipped.  For fast paced action, the synthetic material and plastic overlay rarely gets to the point of failure.  Stopping quickly and planting the foot to change directions, the foot stays in place without slippage.

Traction is excellent with the uneven court coverage of the outsole.  In this instance, the traction is sticky and responsive.  Covered earlier, the performance of the shoe shines when the cushioning is pushed hard.  This is also the case with traction.  With pressure placed on the shoe, the outsole comes closer to the court, where the herringbone pattern provides the sticky grip.  For dirty surface, the advantage with the uneven outsole is that it picks up very little dirt and dust, which helps to explain the excellent traction.  Next, ventilation for the shoe is not a problem.  An eye opener, the combination of materials on the upper combined with the enclosed tight construction do little to hinder ventilation performance.  As punctures are present in the patent leather toe cap, hot air is able to vent.  The foot does not carry too much heat, which is surprising, considering the lack of ventilation holes.

Conclusion

The introduction of the “Play In These” to the Jordan Brand line up is both exciting and interesting.  As the brand has great pride in pushing the technological limits of a basketball shoe, the addition of new models is always welcome.  The inclusion of the Podulon® cushioning in the F TXT gives another option, besides the CP3 line, for players to try out and experience the technology.  Combine this with a style that takes design cues from past releases and you have a shoe that will attract many fans of the Jordan Brand.  Fit for an aggressive and explosive style of play, the Jordan Play In These F TXT can be purchased online at the Official Nikestore.

This shoe is comparable to:

Air Jordan 2011
Nike Air Max 360 BB Low