By Jeremy Woo
October 24, 2014

I will never be Blake Griffin, and neither will you. Some things in life are certain. But it doesn’t take a Slam Dunk champ (or even the ability to dunk) to appreciate what he looks for in a sneaker.

House of Jordan: Getting the full experience in the Air Jordan XX9

The Clippers forward pulled no punches with his preferences in a press release for Jordan Brand’s Super.Fly 3, the sneaker he’ll don this season: “I really wanted a shoe that allowed me to gain an explosive edge on court—with speed and my lift.”

Jordan Brand calls Griffin’s penchant for elevation the “muse” behind the new Super.Fly’s design, with shoe technology geared toward amplifying burst and vertical lift on the court. And though I admittedly can’t tell you what it feels like to throw one down wearing them, upon test-driving a pair, the sensibilities were apparent.

“I really wanted a shoe that allowed me to gain an explosive edge on court—with speed and my lift.” — Blake Griffin

Courtesy of Nike, Inc.

The Super.Fly continues Jordan’s use of lightweight materials in construction, drawing conceptual touches from the newest Jordan signature, the XX9. The innovative Flight Plate gets put to use in the footbed, designed to maintain energy transfer, and the pattern on the bottom of the sole is similar to that of the XX9, offering traction with a Zoom unit in the forefoot. The synthetic upper is built with the brand’s Flight Web technology which aims to provide a comfortable fit and full-foot lockdown, and includes a subtle, wavy sonic boom-inspired pattern as a nice visual touch. The design of the outsole mirrors that with a curving shape that provides support in keeping with the concept.

On the court I still couldn’t get up like Blake, but the shoe didn’t disappoint. As expected, it’s lightweight, and there’s an especially strong sense of mobility and responsiveness when cutting and pivoting off the front of the foot. The emphasized Zoom unit makes it easy to comfortably run on the ball of your foot, which to me was the highlight, and for wide feet it fit true-to-size. This is a very stable shoe, and I never had to worry much about planting my feet or grip.

Courtesy of Nike, Inc.

In comparison to the XX9 (the shoe’s spiritual cousin, in a sense) the ankle lockdown and support feels immediately more noticeable—Blake’s a post player and this feels more like a big-man shoe in terms of fit. There’s also more of a break-in time here, and the upper feels much more structured as opposed to the XX9’s one-piece build. It’s kind of a matter of preference—worth noting, there’s not as much breathability built into the shoe, but the full-foot compression feels stronger. The Super.Fly 3 retails at $140, a more moderate price point in comparison to the $225 XX9.

So keep dreaming of leaping those Kias and Mozgovs, Blake fans. For everyone else, there’s the Super.Fly 3.

Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)