Performance Review: Jordan Take Flight

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Of all of the Jordan team models aligned with the current NBA season, the Take Flight is clearly the heavy-hitter. The chosen shoe of NBA All-Star Gerald Wallace, it is the lone model to utilize full-length Max Air cushioning and is designed to be well-cushioned and provide a soft landing, rather than be ultra-responsive and lightweight.

When the Air Max LeBron VII debuted, its Max Air carriage was hailed as revolutionary and immediately adopted for use in other Nike Basketball models. Nike, Inc. family member Jordan Brand’s first efforts with the modern cushioning system are seen here in the Take Flight. By taking a proven sole and applying some Jordan Brand magic, the design team in Beaverton was able to make a solid all-around performer. How did it do when facing a Nice Kicks Performance Review? See for yourself below.

Performance Review: Jordan Take Flight


The aforementioned Air Max LeBron VII served as a launching point for the Take Flight and other shoes that have made use of the revolutionary cushioning system. Naturally, the Max Air unit is great for cushioning impact from jumping and running. The result is less pain in leg joints and muscles, even over the course of a single day of playing ball. The Take Flight scored lower than the LeBron shoe by a point because of the hard plastic cage’s added rigidity causing the unit to give as much as expected. The cage helps with stability throughout however and with long term usage, the cage could serve to better support a worn-in Max Air bubble sidewall.

The half-length inner sock does a great job providing a stable base and locked in feel as soon as you slide your foot in to this shoe, though it’s only one of multiple elements that helped this shoe achieve such a good overall score. The interior collar is placed in just the right spot to keep your heel planted during play. Thirdly, the external lacing system helps you tighten the shoe around your foot, rather than over it.

Often times, sneakers are given aesthetically pleasing undersides that tell a story about the shoe or the player wearing it. Thankfully, this is not one of those shoes. The all-over herringbone traction doesn’t have the charm it could if it opted for the above-mentioned outsole, but it does a fantastic job of sticking to the court or cement surface on which you’re playing. A lone circular area on the forefoot breaks up the pattern and provides additional traction for pivoting. Overall, the outsole is great for multiple surfaces and allows you to take each step with confidence.

Court Feel

Make no mistake about it, the Jordan Take Flight is one heavy shoe. While modern sneakers have seen drastic weight reductions for performance purposes, this one is reminiscent of the all-leather models of yesteryear. As to be expected, the Max Air sole is substantially heavier than any other cushioning option, but the upper doesn’t look to have been designed to counteract that effect. The upper is three layers of leather deep at the mudguard and thick cushioning around the collar also adds weight. Eliminating numerous, small design cues in the upper like the non-functional tongue stripes, multi-layer collar decoration and even a whole layer of material would go a long weigh in curbing this shoe’s weight.

As noted above, the leather upper is a far cry from the Flywire or Hyperfuse uppers we’ve come to know and love. When compared to the latter of those two especially, it’s no surprise that this shoe scored poorly in the breathability category. The perforated leather base layer provides little more than an aesthetic treat and the tongue, which is also constructed with perforated leather, offers little help to fiery feet. This shoe definitely locks heat in.

Because this Jordan relies on such a sturdy and tall sole, the bottom of your foot is further from the surface on which you’re playing. That means it may take some getting used to if you’re used to wearing thinner-soled shoes that flex more with your natural motion. Though not a major concern for most players, the lack of court feel inherent to this type of shoe is something to consider if you’re looking in to the Take Flight.

Overview: The Jordan Take Flight is a very good basketball shoe. It lacks the flash of other comparably-priced sneakers, but its core performance elements (cushioning, traction and lockdown) are all present and accounted for. If you prefer a a sneaker with loads of cushioning, even if it means sacrificing weight in return, you should definitely consider this Jordan when making your next performance shoe purchase.

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