Podiatrist’s Perspective: Air Jordan I
If you haven’t seen ESPN’s “The Last Dance” documentary about Michael Jordan and the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls, then you just found a new quarantine activity! What did we think about this 10-part series? Per usual, this got us thinking about SHOES. Chances are, if you’ve heard of Michael Jordan you’ve also heard of Air Jordan’s, one of the most iconic shoes in pop culture and on the basketball court. This documentary got us asking, are they podiatrist approved? Let’s break it down.
Ankle Support: 10/10
The most important feature of any basketball shoe is having solid ankle support. Does investing in high top basketball shoes actually prevent broken and twisted ankles? The answer is YES. This feature absolutely crucial to preventing serious ankle injuries. Air Jordan’s have evolved over the years to have tons of different styles and designs, and the high top models like the Air Jordan I provide great support and stability for your ankles! The material is thick enough that it will keep your ankle in place, but also provides enough cushion for maximum comfort. In the ankle support column, these shoes get an A+.
As you probably know by now, finding a shoe with a solid base, no matter the activity, is absolutely essential. Any shoe that fails our famous “twist test” is just not worth the investment. Luckily, Air Jordan’s pass this test flying colors! The sole of the shoe is thick enough, especially in the heel, to provide a solid foundation for your feet.
Arch Support: 5/10
The type of support you need definitely varies based on the shape of your foot, but if you have high arches, you will probably struggle wearing this shoe. It’s fairly obvious that there is little to no arch support by simply looking at the profile of the shoe. This is much more manageable if you have flatter feet, but it can be absolutely detrimental otherwise. One positive, however, is that this shape is easily fixed with custom orthotics! The generic shape of the sole leaves plenty of room for your inserts to slip in comfortably with no bunching or slipping.
Pro Tip: We ALWAYS recommend that athletes invest in custom orthotics. You’ll notice that all of the world’s elite athletes, from LeBron James to Megan Rapinoe, wear custom orthotics to provide extra support. Having inserts that reflect your unique foot shape will give any shoe you wear an instant upgrade and custom fit!
A shoe’s traction is a feature that we don’t typically cover in our reviews, but it is still incredibly important! Especially with athletic shoes, finding a base with strong traction is absolutely crucial. So many sports injuries, ankle injuries especially, are a result of slipping, sliding, and losing your balance, so a well-designed sole is key to avoiding these issues. The unique circle pattern on the bottom of Air Jordan’s allows for quick lateral movements while also providing enough grip to minimize falling.
Overall, we feel confident saying that Air Jordan’s do, in fact, live up to the hype. If you’re investing in this shoe, custom orthotics are a must, but we recommend that for every athletic shoe. There are definitely other options out there that can provide you with the same benefits, but your feet won’t suffer if you decide to buy in to MJ’s legacy!