Jordan Melo M8 - Away

The Jordan Melo M8

Introduction

Now in the Big Apple, Carmelo Anthony is back to his roots, teaming up with Amar’e Stoudemire in their quest to bring the New York Knicks back to prominence.  As with many NBA stars this summer, Anthony has been active off and on the court, promoting the Jordan Brand name around the world.  Signing with Jordan Brand right out of college, Carmelo has been one of the mainstays for the company, and for the 2011-2012 season comes the Melo M8.  With the Melo M7 Advance becoming the first Jordan Brand shoe to incorporate the Flywire technology, the seeds for the M8 were planted.  Always consistent on the court, this Performance Review puts the Jordan Melo M8 to the test.

A staple in the Jordan Brand signature line, the Melo M8 takes a step towards light weight performance.  The features include the following:

  • Synthetic & patent leather upper with Flywire panels
  • Cushioning provided by Zoom in the forefoot and a heel Max Air unit
  • Thick full length Phylon midsole
  • Rubber outsole with herringbone pattern and flex grooves
  • Padded Achilles support

Aesthetics and Styling

One of the bulkier designed shoes every season, the Melo line can usually be counted on for a leather upper with the customary heel Max Air unit and forefoot Zoom combination for cushioning.  Characterized by straightforward aesthetics and versatile performance over flash, the M8 takes a small step in a new direction.  In an attempt to follow the light weight movement, the M8 is constructed with Flywire side panels, but staying true to the line, leather accents are not left out.  And after years of waiting, many sneaker fanatics can now rejoice as the initial run of color schemes feature the popular blue and orange of the New York Knicks – for this review the “Away” color scheme is the focus.

Jordan Melo M8 - Away

Chrome patent leather shines through on the upper

From the side, the M8 is a simple mid cut, with a large Flywire panel overlaid with a shiny strip of patent leather.  A side profile would not be complete without the ever present Jordan jumpman logo.  For the outsole, the customary Nike herringbone pattern is mainly observed throughout.  The forefoot area is marked with a large curving vertical flex groove through the center, with a horizontal triangular section cut from the lateral side.  This triangular section, as well as the top of the forefoot have a herringbone pattern molded in, surrounded by diagonally cut grooves.  A small blue portion marks the Zoom unit, with a jumpman logo sitting right above.  At the heel, more diagonally cut flex grooves are visible, with the Max Air unit in the center separating the herringbone sections on the sides.  The mid foot is supported with a large and shapely translucent stiff plate, placed on the medial side.  Supporting the outsole is a thick Phylon midsole, which is layered smooth on the top and textured on the bottom.  Following the length of the shoe, the midsole, on the lateral side, runs above a large translucent section, similar to the mid foot plate.  Completing the lower half is the heel Max Air unit which is made of a clear plastic bubble with an orange interior.

The most prominent aesthetic feature of the Melo M8 comes in the form of a chrome patent leather overlay.  Stretching from the collar, the shiny stitched leather covers the entire toe box, with a small padded section on the lateral side.  For this model, nubuck (in place of full grain leather) makes up the medial eyestay and the upper eyestay on the lateral.  For light weight performance, the Flywire panels, with strands running from the eyelets, begin at the lateral toe area, wrapping around the heel and ending on the medial quarter.  A large orange jumpman logo is printed on the Flywire towards the lateral collar.

At the rear, a stiff heel counter is covered in the Flywire plastic, with strands running through the center.  The top portion is stitched with a nubuck panel which follows up the collar.  Stitched on this panel is the “MELO” “M” logo.  On the inside, light weight collar padding is lined with a silk like synthetic material.  A padded Achilles support, with a hang tag, is stitched on the rear to aid in lock down.  Lining for this support comes in the form of a textured synthetic.

Seven eyelets, running straight up, house stock oval laces.  The laces are finished off with blue aglets, featuring the jumpman and “MELO” logos.  Giving an option at the ankles, the final two eyelets are reinforced with a plastic piece, complete with the “M” logo.  Beneath the laces sits a nicely padded mesh tongue, connected by two large elastic portions on the inside.  The tongue is lined as the Achilles support is, with a nubuck patch sitting at the top.  This nubuck patch contains a lace holder and a rectangular emblem – one displaying the “MELO” logo, with the other marked with a mock signature and personal statement.  Finishing off the Melo M8 is an amply padded insole, where a Melo crest is printed on the heel.

Comfort and Fit

A generous collar opening lets the foot slide through the Flywire constructed sides.  True to size, the foot is held in place and down the center the tongue provides padded comfort.  Lace pressure is mainly around the middle of the foot and is relatively light as the thin sides are close, but not suffocating.  Around the foot, the difference between the patent leather and plastic sides is prevalent as the chrome leather gives a more rigid feel.  More comfort is provided at the back end through the Achilles support.  The heels are locked down comfortably, and with the collar high enough to cover the ankles, support is sufficient.  For those needing a tighter grip around the ankles, the final collar eyelet gives the option for the added security.  For cushioning, the foot rests on a very thick foundation.  The Max Air unit at the heel is a bit recessed, and at the forefoot the Zoom unit has a thick, but comfortable feel.  Compared to past Melo models, the M8 still brings comfort all around, but with a less bulky feel.

Jordan Melo M8 - Away

A Max Air unit provides a solid heel foundation

Performance

Not the fleetest of shoes on the market, the M8 does bring great comfort on the court.  The thick Zoom unit is felt while running, cushioning each step.  For flexibility, the design of the shoe comes into play, as the patent leather is cut off at the right point to allow the flex point to occur at the Flywire portions close to the throat line.  Performance of the shoe, because of the somewhat weighty feel should be appropriate for Swingmen and offensive power forwards.  Addressing the weight, although the upper is noticeably thin and light, the thick Phylon midsole, mid foot plate, as well as the Max Air and Zoom units creates an imbalance from top to bottom.  That established, the foundation construction is tight, with the cushioning set up embedded to insure responsiveness is not lost.  Working best at an aggressive and dynamic pace, the forefoot Zoom unit is ideal for pull up jumpers on the perimeter and excellent for gaining a first step towards the hole.  Even with the thick build, quick intricate movements are possible as there is very little forefoot responsiveness lost.  Back to the basket play is also an area where performance excels, as the Achilles support brings excellent comfort for spin moves, while the Max Air unit provides solid impact support.  And it goes without saying that landings are well cushioned with comfortable impact dispersion.  In the end, the performance of the M8 is characterized by great comfort and responsiveness.

Stability has always been a standout in any Carmelo Anthony signature shoe, and the M8 does deliver.  On the upper, the chrome patent leather can be thought of as a support cage for the light weight Flywire sides.  Out of the box, the patent leather is noticeably rigid, as the support can be felt through the collar down the sides.  For quick slashes and hard jab steps, the patent leather base does an excellent job of providing a first line of rigid support, allowing the Flywire sections to provide the flexibility.  Foot stability comes all around, with the supportive tongue, mid foot plate, as well as the solid cushioning set up.  The excellent construction and integration of the Max Air and Zoom units can not be over stated, as they can be pushed hard up and down the court with consistent performance through a game session.

Traction performance for the M8 is very good.  Again the thickness of the cushioning set up does not allow for the player to get extremely close to the ground, which eliminates the grip from becoming sticky.  However, what the M8 does deliver is very responsive traction.  This means that the traction performance is based on the player constantly moving, or setting up an opponent.  And even though the traction is not sticky, there are few times where the outsole of the shoe results in a loss of footing.  Moving to ventilation, the M8 does a good job of providing dry comfort.  With few areas of perforations or openings for air flow, the foot stays relatively dry during play, even with the shoes laced to the final eyestay.

Conclusion

Carmelo Anthony has been one of the premiere players in the league since his rookie year in 2004.  However, his talents, like the Melo M line, seems to be overshadowed by more flashy superstars (Kobe Bryant and Lebron James to name a few), as well as young upstarts (Kevin Durant in the recent years).  Jordan Brand has kept the Melo line consistent throughout the years, offering a performance shoe that is versatile for an aggressive perimeter player, with guard like skills.  In the Melo M8, the formula has been revised to fit the light weight performance movement prevalent in the basketball sneaker landscape today.  For performance, the M8 brings the comfort, stability, and responsiveness of the past M models, successfully adding the light weight versatility.  Released last month, the Jordan Melo M8 is available now at the Official Nike Online Store.

This shoe is comparable to:

Jordan Melo M7 Advance
Jordan Melo M7