Jordan 13 Court Purple: The Disrespected Retro?
Price: $190 [Sold Out, Check eBay for Prices]
The Jordan 13 Court Purple is one of the most comfortable retros you can buy, and resale prices are (somewhat) reasonable.
The Jordan 13 Court Purple features typical Jordan Brand QC, and the materials don’t belong on a $200 shoe.
|Model||Jordan 13 Court Purple|
|Material||Leather / Faux-Suede / Textile Panels / Rubber|
|Weight||510 g / 1 lb. 2.0 oz|
|Country of Origin||China|
I’ve always felt like the Jordan 13 has gotten the short end of the stick. It doesn’t get the love that the early retros get in the eyes of hype beasts. And, after carrying Jordan through almost the entire 97-98 season, Jordan swapped in the 14 for the famous “Last Shot.”
In fact, the most memorable moment for the Jordan 13 in the 1990’s wasn’t even on the court. Instead, the 13 is probably best known for a cameo in the movie “He Got Game.”
If you didn’t know, the Jordan 13 wasn’t meant to only be a movie prop. Designed by Tinker Hatfield while the Bulls were in the middle of their second three-peat, the shoe was meant to be a technological tour-de-force. Designed to mimic the paws of a panther, the 13 was built in a way to allow Jordan to move more freely. It was only after he showed Jordan that Tinker found out “Black Cat” was a nickname he had gone by with his friends.
Of course, that’s all in the past now. The only time the 13’s are seeing regular court time is on the sidelines. The question here is – are the Jordan 13 Court Purple trying to be a movie prop, all show, or does it fit Tinker’s original design. Let’s find out.
The upper of the Jordan 13 Court Purple is a take on the original Bred color-blocking. That means there are only two major colors on the upper – black and (in this case) purple. On the 2022 version of this shoe, Jordan Brand went for a darker color purple than they typically use on “Court Purple” sneakers. Personally, I think this works really well for a primarily black sneaker, but it does give a bit of black-AF1 vibes.
Diving into the details, up front the shoe features a black, tumbled-look leather on the toebox. This tumbled texture gives a hint to what’s coming as you move back.
On either side of the toebox, and running the length of the entire shoe, you’ll find one of the classic Jordan 13 features. Two fabric panels, each featuring a circular stitch design. The real standout feature of these panels is the woven reflective material. In pictures you can really only capture it “on” or “off”, but in person it gives the shoes real depth.
Moving further down, the purple coloring can be found on the faux-suede pattern which runs below the weave and down onto the midsole. These panels feel pretty nice to the touch. Though, whoever put this pair together went way too heavy with the glue.
Near the very back, where the faux-suede wraps up, find the “cat’s eye.” A holographic circle with the Jumpman and 23 in it. I know some people find this cheesy, but as a 90’s kid, when I look at them, I’m transported back when Magic Eyes posters were in every McDonalds. Your mileage may vary depending on the decade you were born.
In between the reflective panels, a soft padded tongue with a purple Jumpman up top and “JORDAN” at the bottom ties it all together.
Mid- and Outsole:
Moving down to the midsole of the Jordan 13 Court Purple, you’ll find the other Jordan 13 classic design – faux-suede covering much of the midsole. This is probably my least favorite part of the sneaker. Don’t get me wrong, out of the box this looks great, but you always know that the first puddle you walk in is going to ruin the midsole.
Extending out from the faux-suede sections are several rubber pods. From the sides it’s hard to tell exactly what they are designed to be, but flip the shoe over and you can see the panther inspiration. Once you’re down there you’ll find another cool detail. In addition to the herringbone traction pattern, Jordan brand adds a carbon plate to give support.
On the Court Purples, Jordan brand tried to mix three colors: white on the herringbone, black around it, and purple in between. Unfortunately, their molding process wasn’t really up to the task, and the colors are all mixed up near the edges.
Maybe it’s just the Baltimore Ravens fan in me, but taking classic Jordan colorways and replacing red with purple is one of my favorite updates they can do. From my all-time favorite Jordan – the Chicago-colorblocking inspired Jordan 1 Court Purple 2.0s – to this pair, I feel it makes it easier to pull off a harder-to-pull-off color like purple.
Other than a few QC issues, these look great.
Fit & Comfort:
In most Nike-made shoes I’ve reviewed, I’ve found they run too long and too narrow. Not the Jordan 13 Court Purple. These have a much more foot-shaped last – which is great if you’re going to wear them on your feet.
That being said, I still found that my typical Nike size fit best. While they are wider than a comparable Jordan 1 or Airmax 90, they are also a bit shorter. If you have narrow feet and only just fit into most retro Nikes, I’d consider sizing up – though except to be swimming in the width.
While I think the Jordan 13 isn’t a bad looking shoe, it’s their comfort that really makes me upset they don’t get more love. They are not just good for a retro, or good for a basketball shoe. They are good period.
As the second Jordan to release after switching from traditional air to “Zoom Air,” the brand was able to really dial it in. The Jordan 11’s carbon plate was too big, and the Jordan 12’s cushioning was too stiff – both of those shoes felt pretty clunky. At least for casual wear. The Jordan 13 manages to feel light on your foot, while still giving you the bounce from the Zoom Air and the spring from the plate.
Add in padding in all the right places, and the end result is my vote for the most comfortable Jordan retro. Of course, everyone has different preferences, but I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Materials & Construction:
When it comes to the Jordan 13 Court Purple, the material selection for this shoe can be seen in one of two ways.
If you’re looking for something that looks well made, there is no really nice way to say it, almost every material on the upper could be better. The leather on the toebox is probably the most egregious. It’s extremely hard, and has a thick plastic coating. This is some Payless Shoes type leather.
However, as bad as that is, the suede is the one that gets me. Real suede is incredibly cheap, and good fake suede is even cheaper. On shoes like the Jordan 1 Blue the Greats, or the Adidas ZX-4000, the suede materials felt so good it was a highlight of the shoe. Even though this shoe cost more than either of them, the suede panels on these shoes feel much worse.
On the other hand, however, this sneaker has some pretty great stuff once you get past what you see up top. The stars of the show are the Zoom Air units under both the ball and heel of your foot. They feel great, and get even better after the first few wears. These are encased in a nice soft foam, and stabilized with a carbon plate.
It still is amazing to me that it wasn’t until the past few years that running shoes started to seriously incorporate plates when Jordans had been doing in since the mid 90’s. The technology in this sneaker really shines.
Which is more important is up to you.
The Jordan 13 Court Purple is held together with cemented construction. If you want a more in-depth guide, check this out. However, if you want the cliff notes version, the upper of the shoe is held onto the midsole using a strong glue.
This type of construction is the least durable, but offers the lowest weight, the best flexibility, and is the cheapest to produce. It is also the standard in modern performance sneakers, and nothing to really worry about.
Ease of Care:
If you want your Jordan 13 Court Purples to last, you’ll need to be sure you take care of them. The biggest hurdle you’re going to face is that midsole – especially the suede. It will make sense to pick up a cleaning kit designed for suede-like materials. The detergents and brushes that come in most sneaker cleaning kits are going to be too harsh for suede. They may do more harm than good. You’ll also want to be sure to use a soft brush on the woven side panels – anything too hard could start to pull the weaving apart.
Additionally, with such hard materials on the toe and sides, getting some shoe trees to keep in these when you’re not wearing them will go a long way in preventing creases. Wooden ones look nice, and will dry out the shoe better (prolonging the life of the sole), but the plastic ones will still be much better than nothing.
Pricing & Value:
Originally priced at $190 retail, the Jordan 13 Court Purple sold out (almost) instantly. Thankfully, if you’re looking to pick up a pair, resale is hovering close to retail. At time of writing, prices are between $195 and $220, depending on size.
As always, I suggest checking out eBay if you’re looking for a pair of sneakers. While they are now charging normal fees to the seller, you’ll be paying no fees as a buyer and they are still using an authentication service.
Just for fun, I ran the price of the Jordan 13 in He Got Game ($139) through the inflation calculator. It works out to $241 in 2022 dollars. Maybe that $190 isn’t so bad.
To start off, when it comes to any retro, you’re pay for the nostalgia. If you’re looking to ensure that you get the most bang for your buck, it isn’t going to be these.
Knowing that, how do these Jordan 13 Court Purples hold up to other retro sneakers? I think that depends on what you’re looking for.
If you’re main goal is to out hype-beast your Instagram followers (nothing wrong with that!), I’m not sure any Jordan 13 will be able to do that. They just don’t have the cachet that some of the other models have.
If you’re trying to find something with high quality materials that will last for years, again I’m not sure the Jordan 13 Court Purple fills the role. The materials on this shoe are pretty terrible.
However, if you’re looking for a retro that is extremely comfortable, recognizable, and at least kind of affordable in a world of ever-increasing sneaker prices – the Jordan 13 Court Purple fits the bill nicely.
The Jordan 13 Court Purple isn’t a perfect sneaker. It isn’t hyped, and it isn’t well made.
Knowing that, though, does it really matter? I’m not sure that every sneaker in a collection needs to be heat. Sometimes you just need a comfortable sneaker that looks good as you’re running errands. If that is what you’re looking for, this pair will do so while being more comfortable than an Air Force 1.
Just be sure the sun is shining when you do it.
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