Jordan Dominate Pro - Neo Turquoise

The Jordan Dominate Pro

Introduction

Jordan Brand has been at the top of the basketball sneaker world for the past 20 years.  The line has grown to encompass many other sports other than basketball as each year passes.  With a large roster of athletes, it is only natural that the Brand releases various trainers each season.  A couple weeks back we took the Under Armour Cam Highlight Trainer for a test on the hardwood.  The shoe was not built specifically for basketball, but performance was nonetheless suitable for the court (at least in the short run).  Almost following in the same vein as the Cam Trainers comes this latest effort from Jordan.  Taking pieces from the Air Jordan XX8, we put another trainer through the tests on the hardwood – the Jordan Dominate Pro.

Featuring technology seen in the Air Jordan XX8, the Dominate Pro can cross over to the hardwood with ease.  The features include the following:

  • Hyperfuse upper for light weight comfort and performance
  • Cushioning provided by Nike Zoom unit in the forefoot
  • Dynamic Fit technology with full length inner sleeve for a close and tight fit
  • Flight Plate technology for stability
  • Rubber outsole with multi-directional traction pattern

Aesthetics and Styling

This year, the Air Jordan XX8 set the benchmark for the technological features that will be implemented in Jordan Brand designs for the summer.  As a trainer, the Dominate Pro takes a few of those elements with the Dynamic Fit and Flight Plate technologies.  Styling takes a page from both the Super.Fly and 2011 Q Flight featuring a thin Hyperfuse based upper with mesh slits all around.  The shoe definitely has a sleek look and can fit right in with the Jordan Brand basketball releases this season.  Just in time for the summer, the initial run of color schemes includes the always popular Black/Red and a bold Metallic Silver/Neo Turquoise.  For this Performance Review, the all Neo Turquoise color scheme is the choice.

Jordan Dominate Pro - Neo Turquoise

Dynamic Fit and Flight Plate technologies are customary for Jordan Brand this season

A high, low cut design is given a mid cut look with the inner bootie rising up.  The shoe does look like a hybrid between a basketball shoe and a trainer, with the customary Jordan jumpman logo firmly placed on the patent leather counter.  To start our evaluation, we turn the shoe over revealing a sharply contoured rubber outsole.  The outline of the sole is more sharp than rounded, fitting the traction pattern which is raised.  At the front, the rubber creeps up to form a toe cap and flares out slightly for a lateral outrigger.  Flex grooves run vertically and horizontally through this forefoot area with the black foam midsole showing between each groove.  The traction pattern molded into the rubber at the toe are small raised rectangular pieces, while the middle portion has a diagonal, crossing corrugation look.   Highlighting this area are two hexagonal pods.  Colored in the Neo Turquoise, each pod has a simple hexagonal traction pattern.  Down the mid foot and heel, a deep crevice is done in a triangular shape.  With the black midsole creeping through, the stiff Flight Plate is marked with a black jumpman logo.  The  mid foot pillars and heel are rounded out with more of the raised rectangles for traction, with the heel having a vertical flex groove down the middle.  A smooth foam midsole adds support and comfort for the foundation.  The midsole has discreet slits towards the outsole and has very sharp contours at the mid foot to provide ample arch support.  Last, a small “FLIGHTPLATE” plastic piece sits above the midsole on the lateral side.

For the upper, the seamless Hyperfuse layer is made of thin mesh, with a light layer of backing for comfort & body.  The toe box has a shiny layer of reinforcement rounding the cap, while the center portion is dominated by the mesh.  A small jumpman logo is printed right at the throat line on a shiny layer of fuse.  On the sides, thin triangular slits give the shoe an open look.  The mesh fuse material sits above a soft backing web layer which aids with fit and comfort.

Most of the back end support for a basketball shoe comes in the form of a stiff counter at the heel.  As a trainer, bullet proof support takes a back seat over flexibility & versatility.  Luckily, the Dominate Pro has a stiff counter, protected by an expansive patent leather covering on the outside.  The patent leather extends almost to the mid foot where a jumpman logo is seen on the lateral side.  Above the patent leather on the Achilles is a stitched hang tab which connects on to the back of the inner sleeve.  Moving on, the collar has a good height for a low cut.  Padding is light, but soft and the inner lining is a smooth synthetic material (although the lining will not touch the ankles because of the inner sleeve).

The most interesting performance aspects of the shoe comes with the lacing and inside support system.  Dual colored oval laces run through the Dynamic Fit lace hoops.  The lace hoops have raised fuse material on the eyestay for reinforcement, while on the inside connect all the way down to the footbed.  For fit and comfort a full inner bootie runs from the forefoot to the heel.  The tongue portion of the sleeve (top part) is made of a mesh while the rest is made of a stretch material.  A velcro strap with the “JORDAN” branding adds ankle support and the stitched hang tab makes entry and exit a breeze.  Last a thin, plush insole covers the footbed.  The black insole is highlighted by a jumpman logo on the heel, which stands out in the Neo Turquoise.

Comfort and Fit

There are no real obstacles sliding into the the very comfortable full length sleeve.  The sleeve stretches with ease and the hang tab only helps to get in and out of the shoe in a second as it holds the foot tight & comfortable.  Fitting is true to size and once the laces are tightened through the Dynamic Fit System, the foot is locked in place.  Most of the comfort comes with the fact that the sleeve material is soft and the Hyperfuse shell is light weight & thin.  Because of the Dynamic Fit lacing, pressure is felt tightly down the middle.  Up front, the toe box is very comfortable.  There is plenty of room all around, but it does not have an open feel to it.  The shape is on the flat side, while the Hyperfuse material is soft and comfortable.  Around the ankles, the stretch sleeve holds tight.  Support is very good, although it might not be the most protective.  The sleeve rises high enough to cover the ankles and the velcro strap allows the player to adjust for comfort.  Heel lock down is based off the inner sleeve.  The sleeve is expansive that is covers the heels and Achilles holding them both in place with little movement (in terms of sliding and being loose).  And because the neoprene is flexible, movement does not feel restricted.  Equipped with a Zoom unit in the forefoot, cushioning is soft and plush.  The foot pushes right through the insole and onto the midsole and outsole.  Overall, the feeling is very comfortable and not stiff.  For support, the contours of the foundation keep the foot from sitting flat.  The midsole cups the lower half of the heel and arch support is aided by the tight and close fit.  Good cushioning with a comfortable & tight fit all in a light weight package are the aspects that the Dominate Pro brings to the table.

Jordan Dominate Pro - Neo Turquoise

A rubber surface which is raised yields good traction on the hardwood

Performance

Stepping on to the hardwood, the Dominate Pro feels ready to fly.  Court feel is great, which fits with the flexible upper and soft cushioning set up.  Also, the weight of the shoe feels very light, felt after a couple of steps.  Once into a sprint, heel to toe transitions feel swift.  There are no impediments to the foot flexing as the inner sleeve stretches with the foot, the Hyperfuse upper bends easy, and the outsole has enough flex grooves to keep running from being stiff.  The weight of the shoe has the player gliding down the court very fast and easy.  For performance, the shoe is fit for a lighter, quicker player who values speed and agility.  Everything about the shoe, from top to bottom, feels soft and comfortable.  The player can move up and down the court with ease, and moving laterally is no problem at all.  Cushioning is very comfortable, with good responsiveness.  Below, the outsole is more raised than flat which gives a unique court feel that many basketball shoes do not give.  This feature coupled with the contoured shape keeps the shoe fast and responsive for quick drives, first steps, and weaving laterally with the ball.  Players who play off their forefoot will find the flexibility and movement favorable.  The shoe bends with ease and feels great for those deep bends.  One other comfortable part of the shoe is the heel set up.  The shape of the midsole cups the heel at the bottom keeping it in place with comfort.  Playing off the heel has a secure, yet very comfortable feel.  For jumps, the shoe has that signature Zoom feel.  The forefoot Zoom bag brings comfort when raising up.  Jumping is best for spot up jump shots and runners.  Landings are handled well, but when the player lands hard or awkwardly, the softness of the shoe may not be the most supportive.  Translating well on the hardwood, the Dominate Pro is light weight, fast, and comfortable.

Stability is fit for a quicker, smaller player who values speed and flexibility.  As a training shoe, the construction is not meant to take the rigors of basketball movements.  Handling constant up and down poundings and side to side torque means this shoe, at least on the hardwood, may not be the best option for the hard and aggressive player.  However, the technological elements – Dynamic Fit, full inner sleeve, and Flight Plate – are made for basketball and in this context hold up well.  The first aspect of stability comes with fit.  This is where both the Dynamic Fit system and full inner sleeve come into play.  Because the upper is mainly a thin shell, most of the hold will come from these two technological features.  The inner sleeve is expansive from the forefoot all the way through to the ankles.  What the Dynamic Fit system does is lock the foot into place comfortably.  During play, the foot stays in place for tight, fast, and quick movements.  The player will feel the shoe holding comfortably for forward and lateral movements.  And although it might not be the most ideal, the fact that the sleeve does extend up to cover the ankles means that there is some support up top for those who need ankle support.  The sleeve might not be the best if you are hard on your ankles, but the fact that it does hold tight and is comfortable is a positive.  Making up the most important aspect of stability is the Flight System plate.  Most of the performance of the shoe is based on light weight and flexibility.  Obviously, some stability is sacrificed, as the build of the shoe is not the most sturdy.  The Flight System plate, in a basketball sense, keeps the shoe stable for harsh cuts and turns, as well as landings from constant jumping.  The plate keeps the shoe from completely bending out of place and putting the foot in a compromised position, but does not detract from comfort.  In all, the Flight Plate System is best feature of stability for the Dominate Pro.

The main aspect that separates a basketball shoe from any other shoe is traction performance.  Because basketball is played on a hardwood surface, traction needs to be suitable so that the player is not sliding across the smooth surface.  In this area of performance, the Dominate Pro fares very well.  For the most part, the traction pattern for the shoe is raised.  Instead of the rubber having a deep pattern molded and cut in, most of the rubber comes in slightly raised portions, with the two hexagonal forefoot pods being the most prominent.  This established, traction is very good, with enough grip to hold up for various playing styles.  Traction has a good combination of feel and stick because of the raised design.  Playing off the forefoot pods showcases how good the traction can be as smaller players can come to quick stops forward or laterally, while post players can push off hard while working down low.  One other feature that does help with traction are the flex grooves and open spaces at the mid foot.  This allows the sole to touch the surface in sections, rather than as whole, letting the player dictate movement.  The one downside for traction would be in the long term, as a training shoe is, naturally, not meant to be used on a hardwood floor for the majority of the time used.  All in all, players will not find major issues as far as traction is concerned.  Moving to ventilation, the shoe is satisfactory.  The light weight & thin Hyperfuse upper does not bear down on the foot but, the Dynamic Fit sleeve does keep heat trapped in.  Especially during a long session, heat and moisture can be a problem.  Luckily the player can disengage the strap for some relief, and the smooth inner lining does dry faster than a textile based lining.

Conclusion

Jordan Brand will always be deep rooted with basketball performance so it is never a surprise to see a trainer that carries a basketball flavor.  The Dominate Pro for sure is not a complete basketball shoe, but there are elements that do feel at home on the court.  Performance is highlighted by light weight, fast, and fluid play with excellent cushioning and comfort.  The Dynamic Fit system and full inner sleeve bring a comfortable fit, while the Flight plate system adds some stability to make it an option for some on the hardwood.  Like the Under Armour Cam Trainer, there are aspects of training shoes that give a unique feel that some basketball shoes lack.  The shoes may not be sturdy enough to handle very long sessions or continued use, but in the short run, a player will not be out of place giving these a good run.  Available now at the Official Nike Online Store is the Jordan Dominate Pro.

This shoe is comparable to:

Under Armour Cam Highlight Trainer
Air Jordan XX8
Air Jordan 2011 Q Flight
Air Jordan 2011