In a recent interview with Tinker Hatfield (the main designer for the majority of Air Jordans), he mentioned that one of the better performance shoes he designed is the "black cat shoe" (see around 7:18 on the video). This article is about that shoe, being the Air Jordan XIII Retro - Flint and Grey.
Visually, this is a good looking and well themed shoe. The story behind it is that Tinker saw Michael Jordan's on-court movement, and likened it to the movement of a cat. Unknown to Tinker at the time, Jordan's team mates were calling him "black cat". The two scenarios came together in this shoe.
The visual nods to the cat are evident in the shoe itself. The sole of the shoe resembles a cat's paw. The heel's upper has a reflective holographic element, resembling the cat's eye. The main upper of the shoe looks like the side of the cat's face, without the whiskers. The shoe is light, and offers good traction. Not that it requires it, but it has several components to ensure it being genuine. There are two holographic components on the shoe, one on the heel, and one on the sole. On top of that, this retro model also has the word Jordan written in grey on the underside of the tab on top of the toebox.
Unfortunately, this is where the build quality of the shoe lets it down. The right shoe is not built as stable as the left shoe. It is not something isolated to just the shoes I have, but to most of this round of retro XIIIs. Nightwing2303 even mentions the "wobble fault" in his video - around the 1:04 mark - when discussing the red and white model. The other minor faults I saw with this shoe is the glue is visible in a few places, as well as one of the shoe laces is slightly longer than the other one. While this is minor, I think it does heavily reflect on the bad quality control that seems to plague some of the retro XIIIs that are being released. I hope Nike reads this comment, as well as the wave of other comments on the web, and does something about it.
My thanks for shipping me this pair of sneakers goes to the team at crazyforsneaker.com. Their site is still going through maintenance, but crazyforsneaker's ebay shop is up and running.