"We Tried It" is a column where stylist and occasional athlete Megan Ann Wilson tries new, innovative or weird fitness products. Have a product you want her to test before you buy? Let us know at @shegotgame and @espnW.
Jordan Brand is often seen as a men's label, given that it was founded specifically for the greatest men's basketball player of all time. As a hoops fan growing up, I gravitated toward the stylish sneakers that Michael Jordan wore on the court (and in "Space Jam"!). His shoes started my early addiction to sneakers and every year, my Jordan collection grows.
But there aren't many Jordans for women that rival the high-end men's models. Many of my fellow female sneaker friends are looking for high-performing sneakers in exclusive, sophisticated colors. What's a grown-up sneaker gal to buy?
On May 1, Jordan Brand is launching the Heiress collection. It's the first Jordan Brand grade school extended sizing (GS) collection designed exclusively for women and girls. The collection, which features four models, is available in GS sizing 3.5 up to 9.5, which equates to a women's size 5 to 11. The materials are more sophisticated than previous girls' releases, with leather and mesh in pearl and black -- reminiscent of Chanel's signature tan and black sling-back heels.
There are embossed gold details and special red insoles. The sneakers in the Heiress collection include two retro silhouettes (models from Michael Jordan's signature, on-court line), the Jordan Jasmine (a model designed by and named for MJ's daughter) and the Jordan Reveal, the sportiest and lightest shoe in the collection.
The Reveal is positioned as a lifestyle shoe that can fit a range of situations, so I wanted to see just how far you could push a shoe with that billing. You can work out in previous generations of Jordans. How does this one hold up?
From a technical standpoint, the Reveal includes more performance-orientated elements despite being created for casual wear. Much like other new sneaker models, the upper portion of the shoe is minimal. It's made of breathable mesh and has a low profile, making it easier to pair with a variety of outfits. The sole has plush cushioning, similar to the marshmallow on-foot feel of the Nike Roshe, making the shoes much more comfortable than earlier Jordan releases.
The outsole has the signature herringbone pattern for traction and specially designed grooves for a more flexible sole. It's a very clean, modern-looking shoe that's different enough from previous models but still maintains the Jumpman branding.
Performance wise, the Jordan Reveal is comfortable enough to log some walks, but it's not stable enough to do any serious running. Even when laced tight, my ankles rolled to either side. The mesh upper is too soft to provide stability or truly hug the foot. The outsole does have some traction and grips decently to cement or hardwood, but not so much to grass. I managed to do basic bodyweight exercises and stretches with relative ease, but I noticed that I was over compensating a bit to maintain my balance.
When running, the toe box of the shoe buckled and because I have a high arch, I felt a bit of pain in the bottom of my foot due to lack of support. The midsole is cozy but it's not bouncy or responsive compared with other casual shoes that use running technology.
Since the tongue is leather, it's not very functional and doesn't hug the foot like I prefer, but it's pretty. The shoe is relatively breathable and the interior padding of the shoes hugs your foot, but the Reveal is just too soft and flexible for any real heavy performance activities.
Worth the money?
The Jordan Reveal will retail for $95 U.S. and is priced below all the other Jordan sneakers in the Heiress collection. I recommend it purely as an everyday or travel shoe as it's lightweight, breathable and versatile to style, thanks to the minimal look and neutral color palette. While I wouldn't recommend it for training, running or any intense activities, the shoes are OK for basic moves in the gym in a pinch. Squat on, ladies.