It’s time for another performance battle. This time, we’re going down the price point. It’s the budget performance battle between the Jordan Jumpman 2020 and Jordan Zero Gravity. Who you got?
Let’s get it!
Budget means cutting down one thing or another by keeping the most important ones untouched, in this case, it’s the style points that have been removed. Don’t expect to get some premium touches on both of the rivals. There’s simply none of that stuff.
Performance wise, you’re going to get everything you need on the court and nothing that you don’t. Speaking of that, both of the models share similar mesh builds as for the main body construction, with some bits and pieces of synthetic overlays. That gives you a relatively quick & unpainful break-in process, afterward, close to one-to-one fit combined with solid support/containment coming from synthetic panels. Obviously, if choosing the right size.
On paper, both of these two are identical – a standard-sized Zoom Air unit within the Phylon carrier. Though, this time, it’s the Jumpman 2020 taking home the cake.
Brands usually don’t put out comprehensive descriptions on their budget models, so I’m not really sure what type of Phylon is used or if the Zoom Air units have different specifications. However, based on my experience, I would assume it’s the injected Phylon on the Jumpman 2020, meanwhile a basic one on the Zero Gravity. Frankly, this is what makes the two identical-looking setups play completely different.
That basic foam carrier was something that I couldn’t get to work even after giving some break-in time. It was too damn firm to my liking. The heel section was lacking impact protection as the forefoot was just a tad bit better, thanks to the Zoom Air pillow. Well, can’t really use the word “pillow” since that hard foam is what locks the unit from its full potential. I could only feel the unit once heavy weight was applied, which clearly can’t be called a true Zoom Air experience. Way far from that. Still, these don’t come close to the level of stiffness that the UA Curry 7 offers. Although, I could feel the tension in my knees when switching between the two (Jumpman 2020 & Zero Gravity).
Talking about the Jumpman 2020, it’s a whole different animal, in a good way obviously. The plushness of the injected Phylon makes no need for an additional Zoom unit in the heel area since it is already packed with a nice amount of impact protection & bounce that continues its way in the forefoot to allow the Zoom Air unit to do its thing. There’s no need for me to explain what a true Air experience is, right? But for those who don’t know – it’s all about snappy responsiveness combined with impact protection, without losing court feel.
The Jordan Jumpman 2020 features a classic herringbone traction pattern while mimicking the style taken from the Nike Dunk where you do have a highlighted section indicating the placement of the Zoom Air unit. Whereas the Zoom Zero Gravity goes a little bit out of the box with its cartoon explosion-like pattern that mainly contains upscaled & curved herringbone with some linear sections on the sides.
Undoubtedly, I would have put all of my money on the Jumpman 2020 to have a better bite over its rival. And to my huge surprise, I would have ended up losing it all since the Zoom Zero Gravity overperformed the 2020 by a solid when it comes to playing on dusty surfaces.
I couldn’t get away from that slip and grip type of action in the Jumpman 2020. Consistent wiping was only just a temporary fix for a few possessions, and then you back at that light slip & grip performance. Well, at least it was consistent.
On the other side, playing on dust heavy courts was like a walk in the park for the Zoom Zero Gravity. No joke. That “explosive” like pattern is surely backed up with the same performance – just destroying everything that’s around it. Plus, the grip is thicker compared to its contender, so it makes the outsole more outdoors ready if you ever want them to take outside.
The majority of players should be happy going true to size if trying in-store option is not available for you. Same goes for our wide footers, the classic booty construction with separated tongue, as well as, standard proportions for both models shouldn’t cause any additional hassle putting them on/off or just having your foot in them.
As for the overall on foot experience, as I mentioned before, they just simply get the job done. I didn’t mind playing in both of them whether we’re talking performance or quality. All you need in order to get buckets is in there as far as fit goes – supportive in areas where most needed, at the same time, more free-flowing in others.
Those synthetic overlays in conjunction with the internal heel counter did a solid job locking in my foot onto the footbed. If that still doesn’t sound convincing to you, the Zero Gravity has the midsole overlapping the upper in some sort of wavy shape for additional lateral coverage. At the same time, this piece plus a firmer Phylon carrier could potentially be the main savior from them being a bust in this category. It all comes down to the bottom…
Having a wide platform or an outrigger that makes up for better ground coverage is always an essential thing to have in a ball shoe. The Basketball Shoes has one the first one (a wide platform). Yet, the Zero Gravity was left without any. For sure, that doesn’t sound promising, frankly, it does sound more like a deadly gun for your ankles. Luckily, it was none of them, well, at least not for me. I mean, yes, “tippiness” was something I couldn’t get away from. But it only would occur while putting down the whole weight on one leg to perform a sharper move. Even then, I never went over the footbed. Though, I wouldn’t recommend these for someone like Zion build or with dribbles of Kyrie.
That’s a draw. It all comes down to your own personal preferences really.
If beastly traction & low profile cushion setup is what you’re looking for first in the shoe – focus on the Jordan Zero Gravity. Maybe you are more of a solid cushion tooling plus lockdown support type of player – the Jordan Jumpman 2020 is your best bet between the two.