Performance Review: Jordan Melo M8 – Fly Through

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“With the Zoom Air in the forefoot, we were really able to give him (Carmelo Anthony) that protection and that cushioning around those hard stops and quick, explosive leaps.” Jordan Melo M8 Designer – Justin Taylor

Throughout the past six months, we have noticed Jordan Brand placing great emphasis on “choosing your flight”, and with the official unveiling of the Air Jordan 2012 (a shoe consisting of all three flights) days away, we decided to choose each flight as focal points of our latest performance reviews. Carmelo Anthony, Jordan Brand’s installment for “Fly Through”, was supplied with Flywire, Air Max cushioning and exposed Zoom Air on his latest signature model, the Jordan Melo M8. Did those three elements combine to form a great, dependable wear? Check out our Jordan Melo M8 performance review to find out.

Jordan Melo M8 Sketch

Cushioning: From a cushioning standpoint, the Jordan Melo M8 is very impressive and is arguably the best of any Jordan signature sneaker we have tested. Of course, the large Air Max unit in the heel softens your landing and provides great impact protection, but the exposed Zoom Air bag in the forefoot is what sets the cushioning of this shoe apart from its competitors. The 10mm Zoom Air Bag is placed between the midfoot and outsole, providing the wearer with a soft, plush forefoot surface and toe area. This is an ideal attribute for a player with an offensive repertoire like Carmelo. If you watch Melo closely, you will notice that he operates in the mid post area off of his pivot a lot and uses an abundance of jab steps. Continuous jabbing can ultimately wear a shoe out in the forefoot area over time. Yet, the Melo M8’s Zoom Air cushioning protects that area and keeps the foot stable. The cushioned Zoom Air bag also aids in quick, explosive leaps around the basket. The Air Max unit in the heel obviously provides the wearer with a plush, responsive landing surface. The Melo M8 also possesses a cushioned heel notch, which keeps the heel protected and provides ankle support.

Responsiveness: Along with cushioning, the Jordan Melo M8’s responsiveness level is this shoe’s best performance trait. You can undoubtedly notice the trampoline-like effect in the forefoot and heel of the Jordan Melo M8. It’s extremely bouncy and springy. In addition to the previously mentioned Zoom Air in the forefoot and Max Air in the heel, the full-length injected Phylon midsole provides extreme comfort and cushioning. You can appreciate the Melo M8’s responsiveness when retuning to the ground after explosive leaps. In my time of playing in the Melo M8, the responsiveness never decreased, and I felt really explosive when making a move to the basket.

Support: The large rand of leather that wraps around the entire shoe is not just placed on the shoe for aesthetic purposes. It’s actually one of the bright spots of this shoe and provides great support and stability. The full-length TPU cage actually nestles the foot and helps with lateral stability. When changing directions quickly, I noticed that my foot never slid or moved from the platform of the shoe. It remained in place no matter what jolts and stop-and-start actions I made, allowing me to be quicker with counter moves.

We also must point out the newest addition to the Melo line: Flywire (Flywire initially showed its face on the Jordan Melo M7 Advance). I’ve played in shoes that possess stronger Flywire cables than those incorporated on the Melo M8, but Jordan Brand is moving in the right direction by adding Flywire to the durable Melo signature line. When lacing the shoe up, you can feel the nylon fibers come together in attempt to stabilize the foot and hold it in place. Over the course of a game, the hug and squeeze on my foot weakened though. Again, stronger Flywire would help the support and lockdown factors of this shoe.

Breathability: Despite its lovable characteristics, such as cushioning and responsiveness, the Jordan Melo M8 comes up short in the breathability column. Sure, the mesh tongue and partial inner-sleeve make for a good fit and a little bit of breathability, but the overall wear of the shoe is not breathable. Maybe some gaping perforations here and there throughout the base could help the breathability factor in some form.

Jordan Melo M8 rendering

Durability: In my opinion, Melo’s shoes have always scored high in the durability column. The bulky, wide-based build has stayed intact on my previous Melo signatures, and I expected the Melo M8 to do the same. Melo’s eighth signature shoe features a synthetic leather upper with a patent leather overlay throughout the toe area and above the TPU cage. The Melo M8, like its predecessors, is like a tank. It can take a beating and still be true to form afterwards. Over the course of my time in this shoe, it kept its shape and the materials never showed extreme wear and tear.

Lockdown: As mentioned in the ‘Support’ writeup, the Flywire cables could have been stronger, and would have really helped lock the foot down. Also, an increased lace pressure would have helped in this area. If you tie the Melo M8 tight enough, you can feel some initial lockdown, but it does weaken later on in the wear.

Traction: You really can’t say anything bad about herringbone traction. It works perfectly on the hardwood and you don’t have to continuously wipe your feet during every dead ball. I noticed the lateral flex grooves too, which do help multidirectional jabbing, something Carmelo loves doing in the mid post area as mentioned earlier.

Jordan Melo M8 Performance Review Scorecard
Jordan Melo M8 Designer Justin Taylor

Overview: It’s been a long time since we have seen a high-profile signature shoe debut for a New York Knick. Jordan Brand brought one of the better performance basketball sneakers to the Big Apple market for Carmelo. The Jordan Melo M8 is easily one of, if not the most cushioned Jordan sneaker on the market, currently, and is ideal for the player that relies on explosiveness in the mid post area and under the basket. A very responsive wear, the Melo M8 provides the wearer with that bounce and springiness one covets in today’s athletic game.

The Jordan Melo M8 is now available at retailers for $135.

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