Jordan Prime.Fly

The Jordan Prime.Fly

Introduction

As the year rolls to a close, it looks as though Jordan Brand has re-established themselves in the basketball performance sector.  There is no doubt the Brand dominates with their heritage of retro models.  But, since the release of the Melo M9 and Air Jordan XX8, they have built a solid performance platform built around a combination of technologies including the Dynamic Fit system.  It is just one of the aspects in recent models that has made a big difference in performance, featured this season with the Super.Fly 2Air Jordan XX8 SE, and in the subject of this Performance Review.  Our last Performance Review of 2013 takes a look at the Jordan Prime.Fly.

Part of the Fall 2013 Jordan Brand catalog, the Prime.Fly looks to be a solid performer on the court. The features include the following:

  • Upper constructed with a combination of materials including synthetic leather for a blend of light weight performance and stability
  • Cushioning provided by Phylon midsole and a Nike Zoom unit in the forefoot
  • Rubber outsole with herringbone traction pattern and flex grooves
  • Dynamic Fit technology for a better fit
  • Sculpted mid foot stability plate

Aesthetics and Styling

The Jordan Prime.Fly looks like a meld between the Super.Fly and the Play In These (from the past few seasons).  It has the light weight design with solid construction coming from the use of synthetic leather.  Phylon and Nike Zoom (in the forefoot) makes up the cushioning set up, while the Dynamic Fit lacing system is used once again in a 2013 Jordan Brand performance model.  There are no real aspects of the design that jump out and catch the eye aside from the smooth quarter panel/lacing shield.  Even so, the construction of the shoe is high quality.  The feel from the laces to the synthetic panels to the smooth leather all over almost harkens back to the 1990s.  As one of the team shoes of the season, the Prime.Fly was released in a large number of color schemes.  The choice for this Performance Review is the Hornets inspired Teal/Blue.

Jordan Prime.Fly

Just like the Super.Fly 2 and Jordan XX8 SE, the Prime.Fly features the Dynamic Fit technology

From a side profile, the mid cut look of the Prime.Fly looks straightforward and sleek.  There is not too much going on aside from the segmented lace hoops and leather toe box.  Of course the side would not be complete without a featured jumpman logo – this one towards the heel.  For the outsole, the rubber is contoured and molded with primarily a herringbone traction pattern.  The rubber forms a toe cap and a pronounced, but not wide flaring outrigger.  Herringbone makes up the bulk of the forefoot while the sides are outlined with deep vertical grooves for more fluid movement.  Cutting through the pattern are one vertical and two diagonal flex grooves.  Next, the mid foot is marked with a shiny, sculpted stability plate.  The lateral side has the rubber side wall with the medial contoured with the plate for arch support.  A white jumpman logo is prominently displayed here.  To finish off the outsole is the sectioned heel.  There are three herringbone pods separated by a very thick Y-shaped flex groove.  The foundation is finished off by a wavy Phylon midsole.  Making a complete trip around the shoe from the toe cap to the heel, the wavy design flows, peeking at the heel.

A combination of synthetic materials construct the upper.  First, the toe box has the smooth, nubuck-like synthetic leather.  It is stitched on wide to the forefoot on each side.  There is a small jumpman logo flap at the throat line.  The sides are symmetrical with a smooth synthetic for the quarter panels.  They follow the Dynamic Fit lacing system with the pointy design.

Covering the heel counter is a silky, brushed synthetic material.  The heel counter is supported heavily on the sides with stitched synthetic leather panels.  Each panel starts at the base of the shoe, curving upwards around the collar.  A stitched jumpman logo rests on the lateral side panel at the heel.  Back to the collar, the smooth lining creeps outward for the Achilles notch.  The collar has a high, but not too dramatic, rise with padding minimal but plush.

High quality oval laces pass through four Dynamic Fit lace hoops and four standard eyelets.  For the second eyelet (before the collar eyelets), there is an option to have the laces pass through three different holes for a better fit.  These eylets are punctured through a synthetic side wing.  For the Dynamic Fit System, the lace hoops are made up of the smooth synthetic on the outside, then stitched on all the way to the base of the shoe on the inside.  The hoops lie above the nicely padded mesh tongue, which forms an inner sleeve.  Down the center of the tongue is a stitched strip with a lace holder towards the top.  Another white jumpman logo makes its way to the top of the tongue.  Finishing off the Prime.Fly is a plush insole.  The thick insole is covered in the teal having the contrasting royal blue jumpman logo at the heel.

Comfort and Fit

The foot needs a push to get through the narrow collar opening and Dynamic Fit straps for a tight and full true to size fit.  Everything feels comfortable around the middle of the foot.  The tongue has some padding while the Dynamic Fit straps grip to fit the form of the foot.  Up front, the toe box has comfortable wiggle room and the nubuck based material feels solid.  At the rear, the first aspect felt is excellent heel lock down.  The heels fit right on the heel counter, again with a solid feel and little movement.  Ankle support and protection is great.  There is both comfort and grip to help the shoe feel more protected.  Moving to the foundation, the footbed has a contoured and efficient feel.  The Phylon midsole does not have too much bulk with the forefoot Zoom unit feeling right on the court.  This is one instance where the Zoom unit does not have the overly pronounced bounce.  With the contoured base, the foot does not sit flat at all.  Again, the Dynamic Fit straps prove their worth as they provide excellent arch support.  Bringing a close thorough feel from the Dynamic Fit straps to the lock down of the heel, and up to the collar, the Jordan Prime.Fly has the aggressive touch.

Jordan Prime.Fly

Performance is highlighted by excellent responsiveness and stability

Performance

The Dynamic Fit straps and excellent heel lock down have the foot right on the footbed.  Court feel is excellent, with the low profile Phylon midsole and Zoom unit giving the player a better feel of hardwood.  With the leather upper and foundation giving a somewhat stiff touch out of the box, a short break in time would be recommended.  Once the shoe is eased in, heel to toe running is very tight and controlled.  The player has good control of the shoe which is balanced and not too light or heavy.  All the aspects of the shoe feel solid around the foot.  However, flexibility is not really a problem.  For performance, the shoe favors the aggressive and active player.  The secure fit and court feel will have those who like to play off the forefoot ready to run up and down the court.  In this case, the Zoom unit does not have the thick and airy feel.  Players who like to play off the forefoot will find this shoe able to handle quick first steps as well as sudden jabs.  And because the Zoom unit is low profile, it allows the shoe to play more responsive.  The player will have not problems making transitions on defense, moving laterally and changing directions.  With the low profile forefoot, jumps have an explosive feel.  The shoe really pushes the player to be more dynamic than casual.  Landings may be a bit harsh, but the Phylon midsole does provide some sense of cushioning.  Fast, aggressive, and responsive, the Prime.Fly is an excellent choice for the active player.

Stability performance is superb.  Great heel lock down almost negates the fact that the ankle wrap is not tight.  That is not to say the collar is insufficient, but because the heels are locked in place, the collar can serve more to protect than to support.  The collar allows for flexibility & articulation, while the leather outer keeps the form of the shoe.  Aside from great ankle support, the Dynamic Fit technology and leather upper keep the foot stable.  The Dynamic Fit straps work well with the leather upper in pushing the foot down onto the footbed.  Both sides are clamped down to keep the foot from sliding around, while the leather areas bring a solid feel.  This is great for the power player who needs the extra support for all the low post banging.  Also, this makes the Prime.Fly more versatile than the Super.Fly because of the feel.  Where the Super.Fly brings more comfort and flexibility, the Prime.Fly takes the aggressive route with a more solid upper.  In the end, stability performance is what separates the Prime.Fly from other light weight performers.

Traction performance gives the signature herringbone stick with a great sense of movement.  The large herringbone section at the forefoot bring the court grip expected.  This is great for first steps, lateral slides, and jabs.  At the heel, the sectionalized areas also bring the signature tight court grip.  All the flex grooves and non-herringbone sections (outlining the forefoot area) add to the versatility in traction.  That is, it brings the court grip for those who like the stop in your tracks feel, but also brings a sense of fluidness.  It compliments the tight stability of the shoe, giving some slack when coming to those harsh stops.  The upper and inner sleeve will keep the foot locked in place, while the traction gives some slack because the sides do not have the full herringbone pattern.  This allows for the upper to hold the lateral side, while the forefoot section grips the court, eliminating what might be a more harsh stop.  Overall, traction performance is excellent with the signature herringbone feel.  Ventilation for the shoe is good.  The fit does have a comprehensive and encompassing feel.  Support for heat/moisture mainly comes from the fact that the quarter panels have a thin, light weigh feel.  In the end, this is a shoe where ventilation performance will depend on the player/game conditions.

Conclusion

Most of the attention for Jordan Brand this Fall has, rightfully, been taken by both the Super.Fly 2 and the Air Jordan XX8 SE.  In the Prime.Fly the brand has another diamond in the rough.  It may not have all the bells and whistles of the more marketed models, but the performance is exceptional.  The responsive Zoom cushioning, excellent support from the Dynamic Fit system, and very good stability makes this shoe a bonafide hit.  Those looking for a well constructed shoe that is a solid, versatile, everyday performer, can not go wrong with the Prime.Fly.  Jordan Brand will start off 2014 with the release of the Melo M10.  It will be built off the same Jordan XX8 platform which should yield outstanding performance.  And then the company will garner the spotlight of the whole industry with the unveiling of the XX9/2014 Air Jordan.  Hopefully the standard of performance carries on in 2014.  Available now at the Official Nike Online Store is the Jordan Prime.Fly.

This shoe is comparable to:

Air Jordan XX8 SE
Jordan Super.Fly 2