Chris Paul’s latest assist has landed not in the hands of Lob City, but at your feet.
Now eight iterations in, the Clippers guard’s signature Jordan shoe continues its innovation, in line with his personal specifications. Paul has been more active than most stars in tinkering with the development of his footwear, and the CP3.VIII mirrors his game in a sense, with a combination of function and form with toned-down flash.
Don’t misconstrue that statement, it’s a great-looking shoe, but there’s a definite emphasis on performance, with subtle touches adding the individuality. A family tree hides on the inside of the tongue, and the Chevron logo, which has appeared on each of Paul’s sneakers to date, paying homage to his grandfather, a gas-station worker. Unfortunately, the notably omitted Cliff Paul wasn’t available for comment.
A midsole color gradient adds a hint of flair, but this isn’t a shoe that screams “Look at me!” -- it’s something for opponents to notice while the wearer drops dimes and floaters all around them. Paul, known both as one of the NBA’s most competitive players and noted sneakerheads, wouldn’t have it any other way.
• MORE NEWS: Latest shoe reviews, news at si.com/sneakers
“I take designing the shoe very seriously. I like the testing process, refining the details and pushing the limits on performance,” said Paul in a Jordan release. “From the cushioning and Flight Web lockdown system to the rubberized outsole that helps me stop on a dime, I know what these shoes can do for me, and when my opponent sees them, they know too.”
Contrary to popular belief, the CP3 is not, in fact, a low-top -- Jordan Brand calls it a 5/8 mid-cut, and as a lifelong high-top loyalist, any concerns I had lacing them up were fully assuaged. The shoe offers a stable ride with strong ankle support and lockdown. Make sure and lace up to the top eyelet if you’re hooping in them to maximize the effects. I was also advised that the shoe tends to run a bit small, and a half-size up worked just fine for me. A couple runs in, the safety of my ankles was the last thing on my mind. Though the bottom of the shoe required the occasional wipe-down to maintain ideal traction, the herringbone pattern on the outsole coupled with strategically-placed pods was mostly effective and allowed for quick changes of directions, starts and stops.
Those pods also provide terrific cushioning in the forefoot, and the sole itself makes for a smooth heel-toe transition. Due partially to a flatter mid-foot region, the CP3 rides noticeably less bouncy in the balls of the feet than Jordan’s XX9 and Super.Fly 3. In another unique design choice, the shoe deploys a combination of Zoom and Lunarlon cushioning, which Paul prefers over the more recently developed FlightPlate technology. For guards, or guys with a low-to-the-ground style of play (that’s my self-descriptor of choice, putting it kindly), the slipper fits.
One issue the construction of the shoe provided was ventilation -- I always appreciate breathability, and the air flow wasn’t ideal -- but by no means was that a deal-breaker across multiple test drives.
Altogether, the CP3.VIII is an exceptionally comfortable, durable shoe. Added cushioning in the heel, a more molded, Hyperfuse-like sidewall and tough toe cap should allow for a lot of wear. Out of the shoes I’ve tested, the Flight Web lacing system was most effective in the VIII, and the compression was especially impressive in such a structured upper.
The CP3.VIII is available now and retails at $130.
Air Jordans Over the Years
Air Jordan I
An aesthetic-forward design and the latest in basketball shoe technology has signified the signature shoe of Michael Jordan since its inception during MJ's rookie year. The Jordan XX9, the latest in the long line of Jordans, continues that focus. Walk through the 29 Jordan shoes -- from the original Air Jordan I that was outside NBA regulation and incurred a fine every time MJ wore it to the introduction of the Jumpman logo in the Jordan III and the patent leather of the Jordan XI to the carbon plate in the XX9 -- in this Jordan-centric gallery.
Air Jordan II
Following the success of the Air Jordan I, Nike released the Air Jordan II, a stylish kick with faux lizard skin that Jordan wore as he averaged 37.1 points during the 1986-87 season.
Air Jordan III
The first sneaker to bear the 'Jumpman' logo, the Air Jordan III was reportedly Jordan's favorite sneaker. While wearing them, he won his second straight dunk contest and his first NBA MVP.
Air Jordan IV
The Air Jordan IV was the first Jordan shoe released on the global market, where it became an international bestseller. Jordan had the shoes on for "The Shot" in Game 5 of the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Air Jordan V
Designer Tinker Hatfield said he drew inspiration for the Air Jordan V from WWII fighter planes. While in the shoes, Jordan won his fourth scoring title and went for a career-high 69 points against the Cavaliers.
Air Jordan VI
Released in 1991, the Air Jordan VIs were on Jordan's feet when he won his first NBA title.
Air Jordan VII
Jordan won his second straight title with the Jordan VIIs on his feet and, later that summer, brought an Olympic-themed version with him to the Barcelona Games.
Air Jordan VIII
The Air Jordan VIII was noticeably heavier than previous versions, featuring enhanced ankle support and a unique fuzzy tongue.
Air Jordan IX
The first model released after Jordan's retirement from the NBA in 1993, the Air Jordan IXs were fitted with cleats so Jordan could wear them on the baseball diamond. The shoes adorn Jordan's feet in his statue outside of the United Center in Chicago.
Air Jordan X
The 10th Air Jordan model celebrated Jordan with a unique outsole that featured all of his major achievements in the NBA.
Air Jordan XI
In his first full NBA season since retiring in 1993, Jordan wore the Air Jordan XI, a timeless model featuring a patent leather design.
Air Jordan XII
Jordan wore the Air Jordan XIIs, a model inspired by a 19th century dress boot, during the infamous "Flu Game" in 1997.
Air Jordan XIII
The Air Jordan XIII, nicknamed the "Black Cat", mirrors the padding on a panther's paw and features a hologram panther's eye. Jordan wore the shoes as he completed his record 10th scoring title and his second three-peat.
Air Jordan XIV
The aerodynamic lines and mesh vents of the Air Jordan XIV drew inspiration from Jordan's Ferrari.
Air Jordan XV
The first shoe released after Jordan's second retirement, the Air Jordan XV was worn by Reggie Miller in the 2000 Finals.
Air Jordan XVI
With Jordan transitioning to a role in the front office, Nike added a distinctive off-court shroud to the Air Jordan XVI.
Air Jordan XVII
The jazz-themed Air Jordan XVII paid tribute to Jordan's love of golf with a sole design based on a golf course.
Air Jordan XVIII
Jordan wore the Air Jordan XVIIIs, which came with a towel, brush and "Driver's Manual", during his last game in the NBA on April 16, 2003.
Air Jordan XIX
The lightest Air Jordans ever made, the Air Jordan XIXs were the first shoe released after Jordan's third and final retirement in 2003.
Air Jordan XX
Nike celebrated the 20th anniversary of Air Jordan with the Air Jordan XX, a shoe featuring a laser-etched upper panel celebrating Jordan's life.
Air Jordan XX1
Released in 2006, the Air Jordan XXI was inspired by the Bentley Continental GT Coupe, featuring lower-foot air grilles and a carbon fiber shank plate.
Air Jordan XX2
The aggressive "radar" stitching and camouflage patterns of the Air Joran XX2 pay homage to the F22 Raptor jet fighter.
Air Jordan XX3
The Air Jordan XX3 bears a unique hand-stitched exterior, a full-length bootie and articulated chassis.
Inspired by Jordan's defensive focus, the Air Jordan 2009 uses unique technology to give players "unfair" responsiveness.
Air Jordan 2010
For Air Jordan's 25th anniversary Nike released the Air Jordan 2010, a shoe with a unique translucent window that reflected Jordan's ability to "see through opponents".
Air Jordan 2011
The Air Jordan 2011 featured interchangeable soles inspired by Jordan's versatile skill set.
Air Jordan 2012
"Zoot suit" details set the Air Jordan 2012 apart, reflecting a young Jordan's brash and confident game.
Air Jordan XX8
The Air Jordan XX8 features an all-black sleeve that conceals an inner neon green bootie. Inspired by stealth technology, it surpasses the XIX as the lightest Air Jordan ever made.
Air Jordan XX9
Michael Jordan worked with legendary shoe designer Tinker Hatfield to come up with the highly technical XX9, featuring everything from carbon plating and specialized air configurations to a woven upper made in Italy to give us a distinctive 23 and Jumpman-inspired aesthetic. The lightest Jordan yet goes black and red to add a little Jordan nostalgia to the mix.
Air Jordan XXX
The new Air Jordan XXX is out and possesses the “XXX” branding on the heel and sole and features the Jumpman logo on the toe region. The midsole is similar to 2014’s Jordan XX9, while the upper part of the shoe has a Flyweave look.