Sneaker Showdown: Air Jordan 33 or PUMA Clyde Court Disrupt?
It is a fascinating time in the ongoing fight for hardwood supremacy, with brands looking to expand their arsenals amid reinvigorated interest in performance basketball footwear. PUMA have gone hard in the paint, looking to disrupt the market with the aptly named Clyde Court Disrupt — their first performance basketball sneaker in years. However, Jordan Brand weren’t to be outdone, adding to their legendary lineage with the Air Jordan 33.
Unsurprisingly, both models have quickly garnered avid followings both on the court and on the street, thanks to cutting-edge tech and futuristic facades. But which baller takes it out one-on-one? In this instalment of Sneaker Showdown, we find out whether the Big Cat has brought enough game to bring down the Jumpman’s latest.
The Air Jordan 33 marked an ambitious leap forward for Jordan Brand, opting for a laceless design via the new FastFit entry, tightening and release system. Inspired by flight utility, the sneaker also packs a knit-textile upper combined with a carbon reinforced FlightSpeed Plate and Zoom Air Unit for game-changing on-court propulsion.
‘We looked at flight suits, we looked at, like, if you’re going to eject, what that cord looks like,’ explains Jumpman designer Tate Kuerbis. ‘When you look at spaceships or even aircrafts, how they have the graphics, it’s very visible technology. I wanted to express the technology in a way that the consumer can see.’
On the flipside, PUMA’s first performance basketball sneaker in over 20 years tips its hat to the past. The Clyde Court Disrupt is a modern reinterpretation of an OG silhouette — NBA legend Walter ‘Clyde’ Frazier’s beloved signature sneaker. Blessed with a sock-like upper, the sneaker is powered with two of PUMA’s best technologies — IGNITE foam and NRGY beads — for next-level cushioning and stability. In a fitting tribute, the iconic Formstripe remains the centrepiece of the design.
The Big Cat certainty roared back into relevancy with the Clyde Court Disrupt, but it’s hard not to respect the Jumpman’s efforts to push the boundaries. It’s been a hard-fought round, but there can only be one winner…
WINNER: AIR JORDAN 33
Retailing for $175, Jordan Brand have positioned the Air Jordan 33 as one of most opulent offerings on the market. The intricate FastFit system and carbon-reinforced Flightspeed plate perhaps justify the premium price point, but it’s definitely a sneaker geared towards the serious ballers.
In contrast, PUMA’s Clyde Court Disrupt comes in at a mere $120, comfortably making it the more affordable option. It may not sport the lavish aesthetic of the AJ33, but inclusion of marquee technologies such as IGNITE and NRGY position it as one of best-value flagship models going around. It also (arguably) packs more off-court appeal, making it more of an all-round rotation filler.
The Big Cat land one on the chin this round.
WINNER: PUMA CLYDE COURT DISRUPT
PUMA’s reintroduction to the basketball market has snowballed in momentum since they announced Jay-Z as the prez of basketball operations. They’ve made the high-profile signing of Demarcus Cousins to their roster, and recently inked a multiyear footwear partnership with the NBA. Some big money moves from the Big Cat.
Unfortunately for them, they better get used to being the underdog in this battle. The Air Jordan 33 has already become one of the most ubiquitous ballers in the NBA, and championed a new line of Flight Utility releases. Travis Scott also took to the new silhouette as part of his much-hyped ‘Cactus Jack’ collaborations earlier this year.
WINNER: AIR JORDAN 33
It’s been a closely contested stoush, with PUMA punching well above their weight. However, it was never going to be easy competing against arguably Jordan Brand’s best Jay in a decade.
The AJ33 has caught the sneakersphere off guard, shaking up the status quo. It’s an ambitious change of direction that opens up the realms of possibilities for future releases. You’d best jump on for the ride.