Luka Doncic’s choices in on-court footwear are hard to understand. Having the Jordan 36, one of the year’s best performance shoes, at his disposal, he chooses to go with the rather disappointing Jordan 35 and these “non signature signatures”, the Jordan Zoom Separate.
The fact that these aren’t Luka’s first signature shoe with Jordan Brand is also confusing. They’re named after Luka’s signature move, they feature his L7 logo prominently on his pairs, and he’s even received several PE colorways including a Dallas Mavericks themed pair.
On the other hand, they do look more akin to the Lebron 19. Maybe they’re a model that was released late that Luka just happens to like. However, the shoe’s performance is inconsistent, so perhaps that’s why Jordan Brand didn’t want the Zoom Separate to be Wonderboy’s first signature.
So without any further ado, let’s get into the performance review of the Jordan Zoom Separate.
Traction wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t exceptionally great either. Most of the outsole is made up of an aggressive radial pattern which stems from the herringbone pod. On clean courts, you will get stop-on-a-dime grip. When I did play on a very dusty floor, I was sliding to a stop just like everybody else. The herringbone section worked just as well as the rest of the traction.
There is a hollowed-out “Y” at the heel with no tread, but that didn’t affect performance at all. I used the PF version and the outsole is on the durable side of things. Even if you play on asphalt or other outdoor surfaces, the traction will both grip well and last a long while.
Cushion is definitely forefoot heavy. There is a bottom-loaded, protruding Zoom unit that runs from the middle of the forefoot to just before the midfoot. It does take some getting used to since you can feel that there’s a little wobble, but that doesn’t take that much time.
The foam is dual density, and the product description gives the impression that the carrier foam is denser than the foam inside. They did not, however, specify what kinds of foam they used. Under foot, it feels soft and comfortable.
There is a warning for heel-strikers, though. All the thick foam and impact protection is in the forefoot area. When I did heel strike in these, I felt the ground right away and that wasn’t the best sensation. I would not recommend these if you heel strike often.
Overall, impact protection was there, just not on the rear end of the shoe. Given that Luka’s stepback is the inspiration, it’s understandable.
The three main areas of the shoe have three different materials. The forefoot section is made up of a very free knit with fuse overlays for durability and protection. The midfoot area consists of neoprene which makes for a comfortable feel there. And, finally, the heel section is screen mesh with fuse overlays as well. The inner lining is a very smooth satin. These won’t be the most durable out there, but they are very breathable and need no break in time at all.
The shoe runs true to size for normal to wide-footers. There’s wiggle room in the forefoot which some may not prefer. If you are a narrow-footer, definitely go down half a size so containment is not compromised. There is some room to customize the fit with extra eyelet holes from the midfoot to the heel. Just using all the top eyelets worked for me, but if you feel that you need to get a more snug fit, then using the bottom eyelets is an option.
The support in the forefoot area is amazing and is probably the best feature of the shoe. The base is extremely wide which makes doing a stepback or hard crossover only ankle-breaking for your opponent and not for you. And just to cover their bases, Jordan Brand added an outrigger. The heel, once again, lacks a bit of substance in this area.
Because of the smooth lining, there were some noticeable heel slips here and there. Nothing crazy like getting my feet pulled out during play, but I did feel like my heel was going up and down sometimes. To avoid this, I would recommend wearing socks with ankle support. The heel counter did work to keep my feet on the foot bed, though.
The Jordan Zoom Separate is a specific shoe for a specific type of player. If you’re forefoot-heavy and don’t heel strike often or at all, then these are perfect for you. You will get good traction, impact-protecting cushion, breathable materials, comfortable fit, and a supportive feel. However, if you do heel strike, you’ll want to look elsewhere. One thing’s for sure: stepbacks are a joy to do in the Zoom Separate.