On my first test wearing the XX2 felt a bit stiff especially in the ankle area. After a few test drives, the shoe started to feel better as I broke it in more. The inner lining is very soft and feels great against the ankle unlike some other shoes that can give you a scratchy rough feeling against the ankle. No problem wearing no show socks with these! The Jordan XX2 continues to use an IPS (Independent Pod System) cushioning system as did the last two shoes in the Air Jordan line. Unlike the last two shoes, the XX2 doesn’t use round pods, but rather diamond like shapes. Personally I think it feels better this way because the diamonds cover more area than the circular pods did. The XX2 also has a removable pod at the heel which can be changed to allow the wearer to choose if they want to use Air cushioning or double stacked Zoom. I went with the Zoom as I feel Zoom provides far better cushioning than just regular encapsulated Air. I would prefer if Jordan moved away from the changeable pod. The pod only provides cushioning to the dead center of the heel. You really don’t feel any kind of cushioning around the outer parts of your heel. The overall cushioning feels great, but the changeable pods stick up a slight bit giving the feeling that your foot is sitting in the shoe at a slant which after a while can start to feel quite bothersome. One of the key technical features of the XX2 is the incorporation of a titanium coated shank plate rather than a carbon fiber shank plate. I did not feel a difference between the two. I cannot honestly say that one is better than the other.
The XX2’s lacing system provides an excellent lock down comfortable fit. I was a bit skeptical about the never before seen lace lock. Although the lace lock is a bit difficult to use and get used to, it functions great. If you chose to tighten the laces and then put the lace lock at the very top of the shoe instead of tying them, it would hold the laces in place and keep the laces tight. I did feel very minimal sliding of my foot within the shoe from front to back, but none from side to side. I think slant of the interchangeable pods has something to do with this. The perforated tongue and side gills provide excellent ventilation through out the shoe keeping your feet dry.
The tread pattern of the XX2 is very unique and different from previous shoes in the Air Jordan line. The pattern was inspired by military sergeant stripes which are used on the IPS pods. This pattern should be utilized on basketball shoes more often because it provides excellent traction outdoors and indoors. The groves in the outsole are cut deep and would last for a good while even if they were primarily used on outdoor courts. The shoe is very responsive in quick start/stop situations and is also very stable on quick cuts to the hoop.
There is no doubt that the Air Jordan XX2 is delivers well on the court, but is it worth the $175 price tag? There are many shoes on the market today that deliver the kind of performance that is almost equivalent to the XX2 for a fraction of the price. Off the top of my head I can probably name off 5 shoes that could compete at this level of performance for under $110. The regular mid top version of the Jordan XX2 is available in a total of 4 colorways. In addition to these there is also be a lower cut version called the Jordan XX2 5/8 which is available in a predominantly white and a predominantly black colorway. Also, the XX2 has also been released in 6 special PE versions. The PE versions have a modified upper with two velcro straps. I have not personally tested the shoe, so I am not sure if the straps add any additional support or better the overall fit of the shoe. Since the PE versions just came out they are still being sold for retail ($150) in most stores. You will be happy to know that you can pick up a pair of the original Jordan XX2’s for a price range of $100-$130 at various Champs Sports, Foot Lockers, and Foot Action stores. Here’s a list of all the available colorways:
Jordan XX2 5/8
Jordan XX2 PE
*White/University Blue/Yellow (Carmelo Anthony Denver)
*White/Navy/Silver (Josh Howard Dallas)
*White/Red/Silver (Joe Johnson Atlanta)
*White/Royal Blue/Red (Richard Hamilton Detroit)
*White/Green/Yellow (Ray Allen Seattle)
Colorway Tested: White/Black/Red
Tested on: Hardwood & Asphalt
Comfort & Cushioning: A-