...we’d all have been born with a pair of these killer kicks on our feet. To find out why, read our in-depth review of the Nike Air Jet Flight.
[Prof’s Note: With Turkey Day right around the corner, I wanted to take the opportunity to highlight a shoe that I’m very thankful for: the Air Jet Flight. It’s not particularly well known, but any serious sneakerhead who was in the game in the early 2000s will have fond memories of this Aaron Cooper joint. Damn, I wish I still had a pair! Note that this review was originally published in March of 2001.]
This hoops season, we’ve seen several very interesting shoe releases from Nike. Of course, there was the SHOX BB4, which introduced an entirely new cushioning technology, and the Air Zoom GP III, which introduced Nike’s new MORF concept. Both represent new ways of thinking about footwear that may well “revolutionize” (I know, I know, I should be disbarred from professordom for using the ‘r’ word in relation to shoes, but work with me on this) athletic shoe design and development, but only time will tell.
The Nike Air Jet Flight, on the other hand, represents evolution at its best. No new breakthrough technologies to be found here—just the same old stuff brought together in a way that’s oh-so-much greater than the sum of its parts.
First off, let me come right out and say that I love this shoe. That’s right, L-O-V-E. If I played basketball professionally the Jet Flight would, without a doubt, be my everyday shoe. Heck, I’d even wear them to drive to practice in my 911 Targa (hey, I can dream can’t I). Can you tell that I’m enthusiastic about the Jet Flight? I don’t usually gush like this about a shoe, but the Jet Flight represents so much of what a hoops shoe should be that I can’t help but get charged up about it. So what’s so good about it? Well, I’m glad you asked...
The first thing that jumped out at me when pulling the Air Jet Flight out of the box was its weight, or lack thereof. At 14.6 ounces the Jet Flight is the lightest hoops shoe from Nike that we’ve reviewed this year, and it matches the adidas Mad Handle for the lightest hoops shoe that we’ve reviewed from any manufacturer this year.
Upon putting on the Jet Flight, I was blown away by how comfortable the shoe was. The combination leather/Lycra spandex-mesh upper fits like your favorite pair of socks, but without the holes. The lack of any kind of stiff or constraining material at the forefoot flex point makes the shoe feel great the very first time you put it on—no break-in time required. Even people with wide feet should feel great in these kicks. And the shoe fits as well as it feels. The large midfoot strap supplements the hidden eye-stay lacing system to provide a locked-down fit that keeps your foot and the shoe working as one. This is a good thing.
The hit parade continues on the court. The Max Air unit in the heel and encapsulated Zoom Air unit in the forefoot combine to provide excellent overall cushioning. As in the Nike Air Flight Max II, the forefoot Zoom Air unit felt to my dogs to be a bit softer than those employed in other Zoom Air-based shoes we’ve tested this year, but this shouldn’t be a problem unless you’re very heavy for your size (if so, a shoe with higher capacity cushioning at the forefoot would be a better choice).
A large TPU midfoot support shank and high wrapping midsole (see figure 1) combine to provide excellent stability. And to make it all oh-so-much better, the outsole of the Air Jet Flight provides more traction than you’ll know what to do with (the Jet Flight uses the same outsole design as the Nike Air Flight Max II).
So, are there any downsides to the Jet Flight? Well, I had to play long and hard, and the only one that I could find was in the area of ankle support. The shoe doesn’t provide very much ankle coverage, but the combination of a solid heel counter (it’s internal, so you can’t see it on the outside of the shoe) and a strategically placed TPU brace that runs just under your malleoli combine to provide better ankle support than you’d expect. Still, larger players or people with weak ankles may want a shoe that offers more coverage. That’s really all I could come up with in the minus column.
To sum up, the Nike Air Jet Flight is an exceptionally good all-around hoops shoe. It offers very good cushioning combined with a level of comfort and fit that’s unmatched by any other shoe this season. And, at $90, it’s a screaming value from Nike. If you’ve been looking for a shoe that offers great performance and all-day comfort, look no further: the Nike Air Jet Flight is it.
Who's Worn It
Bruce Bowen (G- Miami Heat); Baron Davis (G- Charlotte Hornets); Dirk Nowitzki (F- Dallas Mavericks); Keith Van Horn (F- N.J. Nets); Jason Williams (G- Sacramento Kings); also, the street baller Sean Jackson is seen wearing the Air Jet Flight in Nike’s hugely popular “Freestyle Rhythm” commercial.