Reviews / 09.22.11

Performance Review: Jordan Phase 23 Hoops

words & images // Zac Dubasik

The first time I saw the Jordan Phase 23, two things immediately came to mind. One, was that its design placed an emphasis on casual appeal. And two, was that the heel view looked shockingly similar to the Zoom LeBron VI (which, not surprisingly, was also a shoe that was strong on casual appeal). With modern constructions and sleek lasts now beginning to dominate the hoops world, the Phase 23 appeared dated from the word “go.”

Upon further inspection though, the Phase 23 revealed some decidedly non-casual traits. For starters, herringbone wrapping up the medial side of the midsole isn’t a necessity when looking good in the streets. Also, the “dog bone”-shaped collar molding provides a level of lockdown above and beyond the rigors of most off-court situations. Was the Phase 23 Hoops really a performance monster in disguise?

Performance Review: Jordan Phase 23 Hoops - Heel

In a word, no. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a very capable shoe. Starting with the positives, these Jordan shoes have excellent cushioning. Its full-length encapsulated Air bag, embedded in a full-length Phylon midsole, are smooth and protective. You don’t get the response of a Zoom bag, but you do get a great balance of impact protection and court feel. Rounding out the shoe’s excellent tooling is an outsole which has been given a healthy allotment of herringbone. The Phase 23 Hoops gripped both clean and dusty floors – so much in fact that I found myself wanting to make cuts that I normally don’t. Smaller and faster guards will probably find that the Phase 23 is too much shoe, but for bigger players looking for that nice mix of speed and protection, it plays quick.

Moving to the upper, the aforementioned dog-bone molding in the collar is efficient, as always, at stabilizing the heel. What prevents the shoe from having even better ankle support though is the lack of refinement in the tongue, and the rest of the collar. When fully laced, the tongue and collar get in each other’s ways, resulting in both comfort and fit issues. There’s just too much tongue. The TPU wings add an additional layer of support to the ankle area, and when combined with the excessive tongue material, contribute to a restrictive collar. Even with the collar dip in the heel, I felt range of motion suffered. If you are used to a low-top, this will be an issue. But if you are a player that favors highs, this might be a positive.

Performance Review: Jordan Phase 23 Hoops - Ankle

When I said that one of my first reactions to the Phase 23 was that it was casual-friendly, the forefoot strap was one of the reasons. I found it to be largely unnecessary, and didn’t add much, if any, more support. The rand however, which the strap is connected to, wraps the entire forefoot, and continues all the way back to the TPU tabs, and did provide extra durability and stability. Even with the shoe’s rock-solid traction, I didn’t feel any slip over the footbed when cutting.

Breathability-wise, the Phase 23 appears to have some things going for it. There are plenty of perforations through the midfoot and collar. But like in many shoes, those perforations don’t do much good if they are backed by materials lacking breathability. That said, breathability is average and acceptable. And at the end of the day, a hoops shoe with great breathability will be just about as soaked when you are done playing as one with bad breathability.

Not every baller wants the most boundary-pushing sneaker out there. There are plenty of players that still care as much about (their interpretation of) looking good than having the latest technological innovations. And because of that, there’s a place for shoes like the Phase 23. It would never be the first shoe I’d reach for to hoop in, but was actually pretty good once it broke in. I like to think of it as a casual shoe with some subtle, yet important modern performance traits, more than a performance shoe with casual appeal.

best for: Casual ballers who find the shoe’s looks appealing, but also want modern performance touches

colorway tested: Stealth/ Black/ Light Graphite/ White

key tech: Full-length encapsulated Air, Phylon midsole, TPU wings on ankle, forefoot strap

pros: smooth transition (especially after the first few wearings), outstanding traction, cushioning

cons: tongue and collar in each other’s ways, plays heavy

improvements: refine shape and construction of tongue and collar to work in unison

buying advice: For serious ballers, there are much better choices out there – including many from Jordan Brand. But if you like the casual appeal of the Phase 23, and want a shoe that still has modern performance attributes, it’s a playable and solid choice.

Available now: Jordan Phase 23 Hoops

Performance Review: Jordan Phase 23 Hoops - Front

Performance Review: Jordan Phase 23 Hoops - Sole

Performance Review: Jordan Phase 23 Hoops - Side

Author: Zac
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17 Comments

  1. lakers33 says:

    there are so many other kicks you could have reviewed… why do one that released forever ago. like theres the new nike lunargamers, the UA jukes, the adidas stupidly light, the rose 2.0…. so why this?

  2. pauly_d9 says:

    This shoe looks pretty wack… I guess it’s okay that it was able to luckily land a B- but still bad on the eyes…

  3. airsyd says:

    Well, they chose to review this shoe, and why should anyone explain the rationale behind that? It’s a shoe review site, and Kicksology is one of the most in-depth b-ball kicks reviews sites I’ve seen, so adequate time (I presume) is spent on each pair. They must be going through a few pairs at one go, and this takes time. It doesn’t happen at the click of a finger. Do start a kicks review site yourself, go through the pains (and triumphs, of course) yourself, and let others comment and complaint at the first drop of a review, and tell me if its a thankless job.

  4. deandorsey says:

    “there are so many other kicks you could have reviewed…”

    THIS

  5. puffman says:

    Yea come on guys, your last to PR’s have been shoes that are old (BB 360’s) and are casual shoes (Phase 23’s). I will list every shoe you could’ve done that people would read about rather than this (that i can remember off the top of my head) : under armour supersonic, nike lunargamer, adipower howard, stupidly light’s, air shox hyperballer, reebok thermalvibe, zoom hyperfuse 2011, under armour clutch, under armour funk, nike air max hyperdunk 2011, nike N7 dynasty, adidas LT thorn, adidas pro model zero, adidas pro model 2011, adidas adizero ghost, jordan fly 23, jordan a-flight 2011, reebok zig pro future. Thank you for wasting five minutes of my life. COME ON EASTBAY!!!!!

  6. puffman says:

    Yea come on guys, your last to PR’s have been shoes that are old (BB 360’s) and are casual shoes (Phase 23’s). I will list every shoe you could’ve done that people would read about rather than this (that i can remember off the top of my head) : under armour supersonic, nike lunargamer, adipower howard, stupidly light’s, air shox hyperballer, reebok thermalvibe, zoom hyperfuse 2011, under armour clutch, under armour funk, nike air max hyperdunk 2011, nike N7 dynasty, adidas LT thorn, adidas pro model zero, adidas pro model 2011, adidas adizero ghost, jordan fly 23, jordan a-flight 2011, reebok zig pro future. Thank you for wasting five minutes of my life

  7. clumsy feet says:

    ^
    THIS!

  8. BRich says:

    Puff, come on man…nobody cares about the LT Thorn. And that’s coming from a guy that loves adidas. haha.

    Give it some time people. Not even shoe chosen can be a homerun. And reviews take time. We’re coming off the slowest part of the year. Already lined up for the future: LeBron 9, KD IV, Air Max Hyperdunk 2011, Air Max Sweep Thru, Zoom Hyperfuse 2011, Jordan A Flight, Melo M8, Fly Wade II, CP3.V, Rose 2.0, adiPower Howard, Stupidly Light, Zig Encore, Zig Pro Future, Micro G Bloodline, Micro G Funk, Micro G Supersonic. To name some of them.

  9. lakers33 says:

    ^just make sure the reviews come out within a reasonable time of the shoe releasing… or else well just have the same issue where no one cares anymore cause they released forever ago.

  10. ongitsnorie says:

    why…

  11. puffman says:

    BRich- Yea i see what you mean but i would have rather read a LT Thorn review than this review. At least the LT Thorn is a basketball shoe and a not a casual Jordan.

  12. BRich says:

    “^just make sure the reviews come out within a reasonable time of the shoe releasing… or else well just have the same issue where no one cares anymore cause they released forever ago.”

    They’ll be as reasonable as they possibly can. Shoes have to be acquired and played in for a decent amount of time. Having a proper experience in the shoe is more important than having it out right away. Performance reviews are always relevant if the interest is strictly performance. Remember, not everybody that buys shoes is a sneakerhead that camps outside the store on the first night a shoe is available. There’s somebody picking up the Phase 23 Hoops (last colorway dropped in August, it’s not that outdated) today that will find something like this helpful. There’s somebody that will pick up the Phase 23 Hoops five months from now that will find something like this helpful.

    Also – this isn’t just a casual Jordan. It was geared toward performance with a casual look.

  13. puffman says:

    I just think this is a waste of a review where you could’ve done so many better shoes out there, period. (period)

  14. gawe says:

    i believe this was a great review.

    i was looking forward to this review to be honest- but i end up buying the 360bb (before the review came out..)

    great reviews, i think ure just reading my mind simply

    KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK!

  15. jordan junky says:

    after all these comments you guys took a beating hope it dosen’t happen next time. review new and better kicks

  16. please!!!!!!!!! says:

    Please review the Adidas pro model zero deciding on whether to buy them or not .

  17. jjsneakers says:

    so do we buy it or not? cuz i found a good deal on some royal/blue ones