Under Armour Curry 6 Performance Review

Feels like it was yesterday that I reviewed the Curry 1 and now we’re on the Curry 6. Time sure does fly.

Since people can’t help but prefer to have things ranked, I’d still pick the Under Armour Curry 2 as the model with the best traction out of the main signature line. That’s followed by the Curry 4 and closely following would be the Curry 6.

Sporting a circular traction pattern on the lateral side offers superb multi-directional grip — dust or no dust. I love the use of spirals for traction and prefer it if herringbone isn’t in the plans. Along the medial side, we have a cross-hatched pattern that was inspired by the stucco on Curry’s house he grew up in in Charlotte. No, that’s not a joke; it’s definitely a reach when it comes to storytelling and it would have been best to have used herringbone in that section or continue the circular pattern all the way around. However, this cross-hatched section didn’t perform poorly, so looking at it strictly from a performance perspective — it wasn’t a disappointment. I just feel it would have been safer to have used what is known to work.

If dust is present, you’ll need to wipe due to the cross-hatched portion of the outsole. That’s the area that will collect dust quickly. Once you wipe the debris away, you’re back to your regular scheduled stop-on-a-dime coverage that most hoopers love.

Outdoors, the traction worked better than I thought. There was no slipping or sliding out, something I was actually expecting from the cross-hatched side. But, and there is always a but, I wouldn’t expect the traction to last a long period of time outdoors. It’s soft and shallow and it’s good for indoors, but not so much outdoors.

Full-length HOVR cushioning is used and it’s the entire midsole. Also, it’s a bit different from the HOVR Havoc, which housed the HOVR foam within an EVA carrier.

The HOVR has been tweaked so it’s a bit more subdued than the running version, which is super bouncy, yet the design team at UA was still able to keep the HOVR under control enough to where you don’t feel like you’ve stepped in Flubber. However, you still feel like you’ve got some cushion underfoot. On a personal level, having played in every Curry shoe made thus far, this is the best they’ve done at giving a little bit of something for everyone.

If you prefer the low profile feel of the Curry models of the past, then you won’t be disappointed with the Curry 6. However, if cushion has been the one thing stopping you from trying a Curry model then the Curry 6 will change that.

With the Curry 6 you get it all: Cushion. Court feel. Full length implementation. All for $130. Not bad.

Knit is used full-length, from heel to toe. There are some fuse overlays in the standard high-wear areas such as the toe along with the reinforced sections along the eyestay so the laces don’t rip through the knit.

Once broken-in, which is a very short break-in process by the way, then you’ll likely enjoy the build, especially if you’re already accustomed to knit basketball shoes. It’s not overly stretching (KD 11) or overly stiff (Kobe 9) but it’s a good balance of strength where you need it and flex where you’d want it.

When I first tried on the Curry 6, they felt like they ran a tad bit short with some volume above the toe area. After wearing them for the past few weeks, they feel perfect and I’d recommend going true to size for most — wide footers will want to try them on just in case the shorter length bothers them.

The volume in the toe goes away after you break the toe section of the knit in. It’s got a little bit of additional material backing it in some sections which caused them to feel like the forefoot is moving away from your foot, but once you heat the materials up, they start to mold and move to your foot which is an awesome feeling. This is similar to the knit used in the Harden Vol. 3 and LeBron 16. Once the Curry 6 is broken-in, it’s as close to mimicking leather as you can get.

Lockdown is great once everything has broken-in as well. Your initial try-on will leave a bit to be desired, but you can’t rely on a try-on to determine how a shoe will feel once they’ve been properly worn on-court for a handful of hours. The lace area does a good job at keeping you locked down onto the footbed while the flat laces help alleviate potential lace pressure issues. I would have preferred a separate tongue, but as one-piece constructions go, this is one of the better ones.

Traction and support/stability are what Curry models are most known for and the Curry 6 is no exception.

The base of the shoe is fairly wide and flat for stability, while flex grooves are carved into the outsole to promote natural motion. You sit within the majority of the midsole while the lateral section has been extended to act as an outrigger. UA also implemented a TPU support plate which they call it a speed plate, that helps reinforce the HOVR and also acts as a full-length outrigger without restricting mobility — something spring plates are known for as they’re implemented directionally underfoot.

I liked playing in the Curry 1. I loved playing in the Curry 2. Curry 3 was meh. Curry 4 was amazing. Curry 5 was… painful. The Curry 6 is easily the best they’ve done and it has been a blast to play in. It’s always a good sign when I don’t want to stop wearing a shoe once testing is complete because I like playing in them so much — that’s what it’s like for me and the Curry 6. I love everything about them — although I’d have done something slightly different with the traction.

Is it the best Curry to date? Yes. It’s the most well-rounded of the bunch that will cater to more than just the player that wants court feel. It has something for everyone, which is what a good performance shoe will offer. While it may be made for the player they’re named after, you’re trying to sell the shoe to everyone but him (her). You can only do that successfully if you make a shoe “everyone” will want to play in rather than just focusing on one athlete.

Solid job by Under Armour. I can’t wait to grab a few more colorways once they’re available.

Big Baller Brand Zo2.19 Performance Review

The new kid on the block, Big Baller Brand, impresses with the Zo2.19.

The traction on the Zo2.19 is outstanding. The original Zo2 Prime Remix featured the same exact tooling and traction as the Brandblack Rare Metal — which had some good traction but the outsole featured here takes things up more than a few notches.

There is nowhere for dust to get clogged. While you’ll need to wipe the soles at times, when dust is heavy, you’re only quickly removing it from the surface rather than trying to clear grooves of the debris. Each little ‘X’ within the pattern serves as a multi-directional type of coverage and it’s noticeable on every court I had tested them on — including outdoor courts.

Out of every shoe I tested and reviewed in 2018, these outperformed all of them in the traction department. Yes, that includes my beloved Kobe 1 Protro.

The cushion is simply called ‘next generation foam’, but if you’ve been reading/watching WearTesters for a number of years, then the names ‘Jetlon’ or ‘BlackFoam’ will likely ring a bell.

The cushion used on the Zo2.19 is the same stuff; they just can’t call it that since it’s Brandblack tech and this is a Big Baller Brand shoe. However, its performance on the other hand … it’s very similar in feel to the Under Armour Curry 6 HOVR setup, which means I love it.

There is just enough plushness, mixed with just enough firmness, to give you a slight bounce in your step — without making you feel like you’re running around on springs or sinking into the tooling. Some people like springs, some people like that sinking in type of plush feel. I happen to prefer a more fluid ride underfoot and that is how these feel.

The best word I can think of when speaking about the shoe’s cushion is “smooth”. They just feel smooth. If you end up trying a pair out, then you’ll know what I mean. If you’ve played in the Brandblack Future Legend or Curry 6 and enjoyed it, then you’ll likely enjoy these as well.

There is a little bit of old school mixed with a little bit of new school as mesh makes up the majority of the build while premium leather and suede overlay the mesh in strategically placed areas to enhance support and lockdown. It’s very much like an old school pair of sneakers.

The mesh keeps things lightweight and breathable and its premium overlays take care of all the heavy lifting when it comes to lockdown and support.

They feel good like a second skin, which is what premium raw materials are. This is especially evident the more you wear them.

I wound up with my true size and they work well for the most part. There is a slight bit of extra length in the toe that I feel going down 1/2 size would relieve — so if you prefer a snug fit go down 1/2 size. If you like a little bit of wiggle room, then true-to-size is the way to go. Wide footers will be fine going true-to-size as well — the materials should conform around your foot shape nicely.

Lockdown is so nice that it might be my second favorite aspect next to the shoe’s traction. I’m able to lace up the forefoot section super tight and then the strap takes care of lateral containment. The midfoot lacing system is very traditional, nothing crazy, but works really well. Meanwhile, the rear section is fantastic. The leather molds and wraps itself around my ankle so nicely that they feel like they were made on a last of my own foot. Premium leathers are something I genuinely miss in modern performance footwear as nothing beats the feeling of a nicely broken-in pair of leather shoes.

Everything you’ve come to expect in your basketball shoes are featured here. Flat stable platform — check. Midfoot torsion support/shank — check. Foot resting within the midsole for added containment — check. Combine these aspects with the way the upper fits and locks the foot in and you have one hell of a sneaker.

The smartest thing Lavar Ball has done for the Big Baller Brand was team up with the folks over at Brandblack. Footwear designer, David Raysse, has been in the footwear industry for a very long time. Previously known for his work on signature performance sneakers for NBA superstars like Grant Hill and Kobe Bryant, as well as being a former College-level ball player himself — the guy knows what players need out of their basketball shoes.

If I were to compare them to anything, the Nike Air Jet Flight is the first thing that comes to mind. They have very similar builds between the two as both utilized mesh and overlays perfectly. The Air Jet Flight is known as being one of the greatest shoes in Nike Basketball history.

With the help of Raysse, the Big Baller Brand has a very good shoe on its hands. Whether or not people will be open-minded enough to actually accept that is something, remains to be seen. If you play basketball on the regular and take a chance of these things… let me know. I’d love to know if they were as good for you as they’ve been for me.

Li-Ning Way of Wade 7 Performance Review

The Way of Wade 7 is finally here. How many of you slept on this solid performer?

Starting with the outsole, Li-Ning decided to go with a translucent traction pattern with Dwyane Wade’s logo all over it, which is different. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like this before, but it’s dope. The traction was solid; they do pick up dust on dirtier courts but as long as you keep up on your wipes, you will be fine.

If you are looking for something you can play in outdoors, I do think this shoe can be a candidate because it won’t wear down as quickly as others.

The cushion is a little different this year in the 7’s. Drive Foam has been removed and replaced with something that looks a lot like Boost. The deconstruction of the shoe is here on thesoleline.com, so if you want to see what that new cushion looks like, go check it out.

Anyway, the cushion didn’t feel as plush as it did in the Way of Nike LeBron 16 . The Wade 7’s is little more on the firm side, but not a bad firm.
The cushion is still lovely especially with the pillow on the heel of the insole. My goodness, this thing gave me life. Responsiveness is there, only if you concentrate. However, the impact protection is fire and makes up for that lack of responsiveness — it’s definitely a comfortable ride.

Moving on to the materials, you got a textile mesh upper with a synthetic shroud at the forefoot. I feel like the shroud is there for looks and the reason I say that is because it didn’t do anything for me. It didn’t wrap my foot the way I would have liked.

However, the mesh underneath had its back for sure because that stuff wrapped my foot nicely. It’s like taking a baked potato wrapped up really good in foil, a.k.a mesh, then putting it in a bag, a.k.a the synthetic overlay. The overlay is pretty soft, so you don’t have to worry about it pinching or anything like that. Overall, I enjoyed the materials

As for the fit, the Way of Wade 7’s does run a bit long. Some of you may want to go down a half-size. I went true-to-size and that works for me. However, what works for me may not work for you. Wide footers, I think you guys can stay TTS as well.

If you own a pair of the WOW 6’s, they fit a little like that so you can use that shoe to help you with your sizing. If you don’t own the WOW 6, then may God be with you, because Lord knows if I tell you all one thing and I’m wrong, oh man, y’all will turn into mini-devil babies and try to tear a brother down. It’s all love though.

Now, the support was fire. This shoe did a great job of making sure your foot is secure and glued to the footbed. The midsole is cupping the midfoot, so no lateral movements occur. There’s an internal heel counter and a carbon fiber external heel counter in place to contain the heel. The base is wide, giving you a natural outrigger and a huge carbon fiber shank plate for torsional support. I have no complaints about the support whatsoever.

Overall, the Way of Wade 7’s are a fun shoes to play in; I enjoyed playing ball in these thang thangs. Would I recommend them? Most definitely. I think more people should give the Wade’s a try anyway because if you ask me, they are a sleeper.

Adidas Marquee Boost Performance Analysis and Review

Merry Christmas everyone. You now have something to read in between commercials and talking to relatives about when I was kid…

If you liked the Harden V3 but didn’t like the plain jane look or if you really enjoyed Beat Street and Breakin, Nique’s old Avias or Dream’s Etonics, the Marquee Boost might be for you. If you want a shoe that’s flat out fun and a great on court, well here’s your shoe too.. or you can pick from the Harden V3 and Tmac Millennium as well since they all perform similarly and very well on court. But it’s not often I see a shoe that speaks to me like the Marquee Boost. What can I say, I ❤️ the 80’s.

Pros: traction, cushioning, fit, support and stability, containment

Cons: retro styling isn’t for everyone ? Runs long

Best for: anyone or 80’s kids

Sizing: half size down to a full size these run long

Buying advice: wait as always, these are everywhere collecting dust. $100 or less is fair, low around 50-60. Make sure to buy the right size these run long

DID I MENTION THEY RUN LONG?

Weight

17 ounces which is similar to the Harden V2 and a lot of other Adidas hoops shoes. If they didn’t run so long maybe they would have shaved a half ounce.

Traction

I took these out on the worst combo floor again..a pergo middle school floor where assemblies happen daily. Pergo doesn’t absorb anything so all the dirt from the day just sits on top. The Marquee started off needing some wiping but got better as the three hour session wore on. Even with some dust stuck on the outsole I didn’t have to wipe much at all.

The pattern is very similar to the Harden and Tmac and doesn’t feature any dumb story telling elements. It just works. I really love how Adidas has been making the forefoot lateral area run perpendicular to the rest of the shoe. It really helps slow the slide on lateral movements. Not groundbreaking but shoe companies have forgotten the basics as of late as getting the basics right is the key to my heart. That and food..

Well done Adidas!

Cushioning

Love the Harden V3 set up? Well I think Adidas slapped almost the exact same set up on these. Not quite as thick feeling as the Millennium, these feel just like the a slightly thicker Harden V3 to me and are just smooth from heel to toe. Hard to get a good measurement but I’d say the Marquee is about 2mm thicker in the heel.

Like the Mac These use a foam strobel as well while the Harden uses a cloth strobel.

And like the Mac, Boost sits around the shoe as the foot sits below the top line a few millimeters.

Very comfortable out of the box and on court. No bottoming out like the Crazy Explosive 2016.

Well done Adidas!

Fit

I bought my regular size 11 and could have sworn it was a 11.5 or twelve. I had over a thumb of extra space at the toe. Width wide they fit fine but that extra length isn’t my preferred length so I went down to 10.5 and was much happier.

No movement inside the shoe no heel slip when I laced to the top, no deadspace in the toe box.

Some people will not like all the laces since this is the antithesis of the CLB minimal lacing set up. These really pull your ankle and foot back in the shoe so if you don’t like that feeling, get the low. I’m a mid guy and I really like how these give me a one to one fit.

Well done Adidas? Half size down people, just remember that.

Materials

I’ve said this before but adidas basketball shoes has gotten really good at premiumizing mesh (see dames, harden v2). I didn’t read the marketing descriptions until yesterday and I thought the toe box was prime knit (not that it matters). The shoe is primarily mesh and fuse (does that make it forged mesh Adidas?) but they put the fuse in high wear areas and made it look like it was there for stylistic reasons. Check out that white synthetic leather! That material really adds some performance!! Not

There is no popping (and locking) or hot spots all the thicker areas don’t require breakin (get it?) at all.

Premiumizing, covfefe, huuuuuge: all to be added to Webster’s dictionary soon. Worst case Wikipedia. Might be in there already

Support and stability

These might feel too restrictive if you just put them on in store but once you play in them, they soften up and conform around your ankle and movements.

Usually I can just fold the entire heel collar but there is a little extra stiffness (that’s what she said) around the Achilles that adds just a little more support kinda like the HD16

Midfoot support is good as it features the same shank as the Harden V3

Adidas extended the Boost pretty wide and it adds support so flat footers like myself don’t have extra flab hanging off the sides

Stability is excellent as well with a very wide outsole, wider than the Harden V3 in fact.

Overall no issues at all here.

Well done Adidas!

Containment

No issues here. Raised midsole really keeps your foot in place on hard cuts. Did I design this shoe?

Conclusion

If the Beard was the Beard balling in the 80s this would be his sig shoe. The Marquee Boost plays almost exactly the same as the Harden except it’s a high/mid with different styling. If you buy a BMW and swap out the exterior of the car, that car will still feel like a BMW since the actual guts of the car haven’t changed. The same thing applies here; the V3 was already a great shoe except for a little heel slip for me but with the Marquee, I get the almost the exact same cushioning, similar traction but with a whole new upper look that actually improved the fit for me. This is one of those shoes that I forget I’m wearing when I’m court but at the same time I get the look good feel good effect and at the same time I’m getting everything I could want out of a shoe. Is this SOY? No not soy sauce you racists, is this the Shoe Of the Year? It might just be, just let me make my mind up after the Curry 6 (let’s hope I can get them tomorrow so I can finish my 2018 Review).

Should you buy these today? These are sitting everywhere so wait another month or so and we should start seeing discounts because the last thing retailers want is inventory sitting on their shelves. I expect these to drop to the $110-99 range plus coupons very soon so I’ll probably stock up when they get to the $50-60 range. Any other person who uses retail as their basis for value is a fool. At $130 retail, this is ten bucks less than the Harden but I got these with the 30% off sale so they come out to $92. Adidas sales are nuts these days and very frequent so if you like bang for your buck, Adidas is where it’s at. 90% sure we see another Adidas sale after Christmas or the New Year. Nothing makes you perform better than extra cash in your wallet. #crazycheapasians

Retro styling isn’t for everyone so that’s great for me. Pretty sure I’ll the only one on the court wearing them and that’s part of the fun of sneakers isn’t it? Getting to express yourself without saying a word? I like doing it with my game personally but sometimes a shoe it just the right fit from all aspects and the Marquee is one of those shoes for me. Understated yet unique and sexy AF (just like me).

I really thought Nike was going to earn most of my business this year (yes earned bc I buy my own sht) but Adidas really came on strong this year even if their marketing campaign was nonexistent. Hey Adidas, can I please run the b-ball division ? UA? Nike? ? No takers ? Oh well.

First team rating, well done Adidas!

Air Jordan 33 Performance Review

Duke4005’s performance review on the Air Jordan 33 is here. Grab some popcorn, it’s another great review.

If anything in this industry makes me feel old, it is the annual release of the Air Jordan signature shoe. Seriously – Jordan 33? My first Jordans were, well, the first Jordans. That’s a long time. But like the Air Jordan itself, age ain’t nothing but a number and 33 years is a long time to learn. Did Jordan Brand make the best AJ yet? Let’s get it…

Nub, nubs, nubs. No real pattern, no story-telling (that I have seen) – it’s just some rubber nubs covering from heel to toe. The pattern isn’t deep and the rubber isn’t exactly hard, so outdoors will probably not be a good idea, especially the translucent colorway. So, now that that question is out of the way, let’s get back inside.

On the regular floor I play at on Mondays and Wednesdays, traction was lacking – seriously. On curls and cuts, my feet would slide out on first steps and trying to plant. On defense though, I was getting good grip and was able to stay in front of my man on lateral moves, so no issues there. In defense of the shoe, I also had this issue in every shoe except the Kobe Protro and LeBron 16 – this floor has no finish and is only swept twice a week, so it ain’t the shoes. Again, only the absolute best shoes stick on this floor, so don’t blame the 33.

On the league floor I play on, which was recently refinished (October), the traction was almost too good. There was no issues anywhere, anytime and my feet were Spider-Verse stuck. On one last floor, another 24 Hour Fitness gym, (that is a little better kept but still has no finish) the traction was solid and screeching. I didn’t have any slips or slides but the motion of stopping just screamed “STOOOPPPPP!!!!” – once I got used to the forefoot. More on the reasons for that next in…

A great big slab of Zoom Air in that forefoot. It’s so big that the outsole had to bubble out (that’s not really the reason for the bubble, I don’t think). The heel is a hex unit and coupled with the forefoot gives a great rebound and response – once the Phylon softens up a little. Yeah, they used a hard, stiff Phylon carrier that would make Kyrie 5 proud but luckily, it does break in after a couple of weeks of consistent wear and begins to operate as ordered. There still isn’t a rebound and respond-feel like we felt in the Jordan XXXI and XXXII, but impact protection is covered almost perfectly and stability in the heel and laterally is near perfect.

Going back to the traction and how the cushioning affected it (told you I would come back), the forefoot Zoom unit protrudes from the outsole like the XXXI, but the curve of the forefoot from the Zoom to the toes is drastic, almost ski-slope steep. This means if you aren’t heavy enough to compress the Zoom, your toes will have a difficult time grabbing the floor – mostly because they won’t touch the floor. Luckily, I am that heavy (weight room baby!!!!) but I still did have some instances where I slipped out. Not all the time, but footwork is key to staying on top of the issue.

Well, no shoe is perfect. The main body of the shoe is a mesh/fuse construction with foam backing against the foot with some synthetic leather at the medial forefoot and around the heel cup. The ankle is heavily padded and solid with a thick padded double tongue. All of this thick padding is completely necessary – without it, the wires and straps would feel like a medieval torture device. As it is, there is a slight pressure from the ankle/heel strap but nothing that will make your feet scream. Actually, for all the complaints about not being “premium” materials and “feeling cheap”, the mesh and synthetics do what they are supposed to do – feel good on-foot and are flexible and form-fitting under the new lacing system.

Ok, let’s talk about the new lacing system. By now, surely you have seen or heard, but in case you haven’t, the laces are gone. They’ve been replaced by a pully-cable-gear system that runs from the midsole, around the ankle and across the forefoot. The concern of the cables was durability – if they break, you are theoretically done (I say theoretically because if you have even a slightly wide foot you don’t need to tighten much to get a great fit). The cord over the top of the foot is pulled up, clicking the system into place. The yellow pull cord loosens the system – but not by much. The thought when we all saw this device was “pull the cord and the panels open up”.. They don’t. You have to loosen the cord, pull the panels open manually and pull the strap under the tongue to get the shoe completely loose and even then, it is still a tight fit.

The ankle strap pulls the ankle completely into the heel and the lockdown in that area is complete and total – you will have NO heel slip or movement if you strap in tight. The midfoot fit is really tight in the arch area and if you have wide feet, you are in trouble – even going up half didn’t help much. It is just a seriously tight, snug fit. Because of that, I would say go true-to-size and try to break them in as quickly as possible.

The Jordan XXXIII is easily the most supportive, structured shoe on the market today from a major brand (there may be some shoe somewhere that is better, but I haven’t seen it, so it doesn’t count). The overlays and panels work with the cables and straps and make the whole body of the shoe wrap around the foot like a brace. The stability in the midsole with the harder Phylon makes landings solid and controlled, but even if you end up slightly off-center, the upper should hold you tight – unless you land on a foot, of course.

On lateral movements, the shoe is completely locked and controlled. The only real issue with stability is the sloping forefoot sole and as soon as you get used to the feeling, you will enjoy the added feel in transition. The midsole feels a little blocky until the Phylon softens up so any added help in transition is welcome. If you miss the days of big man shoe, ankle straps or Ektio, the Jordan XXXIII will quench that craving.

Overall, while I really enjoyed the idea and execution of the cable lacing, the Jordan XXXIII was a little more shoe than I usually like. The cushioning and build scream “POST PLAY” and the shoe does play big. The Jordan XXXII had similar cushioning and traction but played faster and quicker. The cables do work and the fit is great, but the same lockdown and fit could be achieved with regular laces. If you are a fan of the Jordan line, as I am, you should definitely look into a pair, as the cushioning and traction are extremely playable. If you are a big man or don’t like a minimal, quick-feeling shoe, the Jordan XXXIII is perfect. If you like freedom of movement in your ankle and a low-top, running feel, run away.

There are some saying this doesn’t feel like a Jordan shoe – and they are wrong: Jordan signatures were about pushing the envelope, trying new things and trying to make the public take notice. The Jordan XXXIII definitely makes you take notice and whether your opinion if like it or leave it, at least it’s drawing looks. Keep pushing Jordan designers (you know who you are) – we like to try to fly.

Air Jordan 11 Performance Analysis and Review

Hey guys I just wanted to say that sometimes I have weird dreams. Sometimes I dream. That he is me. You’ve got to see that’s how I dream to be. I dream I move, I dream I groove
Like Mike, if could be like Mike. Weird dream huh?

With the Concord XI coming out (again) I figured I might as well dust off my 2001 retros. They question is if you want to ball in $220 sneakers.

Pros: SEXY, traction when clean, cushioning, fit, stability, containment

Cons: traction gets iffy when rubber gets harder/older and can get slick on dusty floors, cushioning could be updated but not needed, carbon fiber makes shoe stiffer than newer shoes

Best for: any position

Buying advice: buy the colorways you like, don’t buy the XI just bc it’s a discounted colorway . Expect to pay retail for OG colorways

Weight

16.5 ounces which is half an ounce more than the X which I wrote about last week. I can almost guarantee people will say it doesn’t feel heavy while they say the X does. Numbers don’t lie, people do.

Traction

I’ve always found this traction to be good on clean floors, ok to awful on dusty floors depending on age of the shoe. Over time the rubber forms a shell and gets ultra slippery. You can remedy this by using sandpaper or wearing them outdoors to take off the old layer.

Most of the traction in the important areas is herringbone so it works but the little flat spots can pick up dust (dirt plus oxidation =yellowing) which can cause some slipping. However the herringbone is there to slow down the slide so it’s a bit of a mixed bag.

Overall, great when clean, ok on dusty floors, but can get worse with age.

Cushioning

Airsole unit.

Geez it sounds like such an old and antiquated term because in reality it is. But don’t worry it still shows up in shoes like the Lebron Witness 3 …you know 23 years after the Air Jordan 11 (yes I said this in my X review)

Cushioning feels good enough but it’s really the action on the foam you feel with a thin layer of air you feel. I actually like how the X feels a little better but that’s just preference.

Fit and Matierals

I decided to combine these two for the XI because the patent leather affects the fit.

Half a size down is the way to go for everyone except maybe the widest footers. Even today it’s hard to get a good fit with patent leather due to the nature of patent leather.

PL is NOT soft and flexible and is stiff in design. JB added the Pl for looks and strength around the shoe.

The rest of the shoe ballistic mesh similar to what you find on the LBJ II and would be considered premium nowadays. It’s flexible yet strong and not paper thin like a lot of mesh materials we see today.

Overall the fit is good with no heel slip and some a little space in the toe box (double sock to fill that space). That’s why I go down half a size.

Some might say the nylon webbing straps are predecessors to Flywire. I guess it kind of is but the straps cover more surface area to give a little more coverage (newer isn’t better). They also really help give the XI a sock like feel as it hugs the foot and ankle.

Overall, materials are nice although JB has skimped in the past but usually not too badly on the XI. Fit is also very good heel to toe although there can be some space in the toe box depending on your foot shape and preference.

Support and Stability

Support is extremely minimal on the AJ XI and is really one of the first shoes I remember being a sock with a sole. It’s no wonder we see so many low top iterations now since this upper adds nothing support wise

Hey look I made XI lows!

Midfoot support is great thanks to MJ wanting and needing a full length carbon fiber for plantar fasciitis although this says its for propulsion

Nike Kyrie 5 performance review

The Nike Kyrie 5 performance review is ready, just in time for the upcoming Best Basketball Shoes of 2018 list. Stay tuned.

We’ve seen herringbone in some way, shape or form used on nearly every Kyrie model to date with the exception of the Kyrie 2 and Kyrie Low — and now, the Kyrie 5.

Despite missing the near flawless pattern that most hoopers have come to know and love, the multi-directional pattern used on the Kyrie 5 has been exceptional. My very first run was a bit slick to start, much like it was on the Kyrie 4, but each and every time I’ve played in them since my initial outing, the traction has only gotten better. Even on the worst courts, the outsole has been able to perform with little issue. Maybe a quick wipe here or there when dust has taken over the gym but it’s not like other shoes where wiping may need to be a constant thing you do while you play in order to maintain some sort of grip.

Outdoor players will also enjoy the traction, even if it doesn’t last as long as they may want it to. I’d still recommend the shoe overall for indoor use only, but if you only play outside then you should, at the very least, be satisfied with the grip.

Nike’s new Zoom Air Turbo was the Kyrie 5’s big draw and it’s a pretty nice setup for those wanting the court feel that they’re used to within the Kyrie line while still wanting some sort of cushion under foot.

The Zoom Turbo does not feel like your typical Zoom Air; instead it rides more like a nice foam. It’s kind of subtle, but still noticeable when you pay attention to it. Due to the large Zoom unit having seams, or flex grooves, heat pressed into it, the Air doesn’t have much space to flow throughout under foot — which is why you typically have a bouncy feel from most Zoom Air units. You can feel the larger sections of Zoom, but it’s more like a small pillow rather than a spring. Again, it’s closer to the feel of a nice fluid foam vs. the standard Zoom Air ride that you may be expecting.

The midsole is Phylon: it’s nothing special and a bit on the firm side. I would have loved to have seen Cushlon return as the midsole foam, or a heel Zoom Air unit, but it wasn’t a deal breaker for me.

Overall, the shoe maintains a nice minimal under-foot feel while offering a fast, fluid and agile ride.

Engineered mesh is back and feels just like it had on the Kyrie 4. It’s a little stiff to start but breaks in rather quickly, to the point where it fits and moves like mesh but with the added strength of the Nylon that lines the inside of it.

It would have been nice to have seen some premium touches with the price increase, but from a performance standpoint, the build gets the job done perfectly

The Kyrie 5 fits very snug but I went true to size and I’m glad I did. Some may want to go up 1/2 size, some may have to due to the Flytrap enclosure, but true to size is what I’d go with if possible.

Lockdown is awesome. The Flytrap overlay does exactly what it was designed to do and its something that I love. Having the top of my foot feel snug and secure is something I love in a shoe as long as its not restrictive. These check all those boxes.

The support has been solid on the shoe and I have no complaints.

The tooling is still rounded, something I’m not a huge fan of, but it’s flat from the heel through the forefoot and just rounded at the edges. It makes me feel much more stable than I had in past Kyrie models. There is not a normal outrigger, but the outrigger section of the tooling is exaggerated a bit and reinforced with TPU to reduce compression in that section of the foam midsole. Fit was fantastic, which kept you safe and secure on the footbed.

Just a solid all-around shoe sans a ton of cushion.

The Nike Kyrie 4 was tied for best shoe of 2017. The Kyrie 5 is not far behind. I still prefer the Kobe 1 Protro over the Kyrie 5, but if I’m picking something other than the Protro to play in, the Kyrie 5 is next in line. They’re extremely fun and they cover you from all angles other than not having a lot of cushion — something a heel Zoom unit could have quickly, and inexpensively, fixed had Nike Basketball wanted to make the price increase feel deserved.

The Nike Kyrie 5 caters to those looking for a shoe that moves smoothly on-court. It offers plenty of court feel, a little bit of cushion, great lockdown and aggressive traction wrapped up in a lightweight package. If those things sound appealing to you, then the Kyrie 5 might be your next go-to on-court.

Air Jordan X 10 Performance Analysis and Reviews

“The Air Jordan 10 is my favorite shoe of all time”- said by no one ever

Why in the world would anyone review the X before the XI? Yea yea it isn’t the prettiest shoe but man I don’t care I love playing in them. Since the Orlando X City Pack is coming soon I figured why not write a review on these?Don’t worry I’ll get my Air Jordan 11 up since the XI is coming out.. again

Pros: traction, cushioning, fit, stability, containment

Cons: protro this shoe JB.Cushioning could be updated and traction could be even better. I’ll even allow you to say new and improved.

Best for: Any

Buying Advice: nobody but collectors and Kemba buy retro X’s. Wait for price drops around $125 or less.

Weight

Twenty four years later and shoes weigh on average 15-16 ounces. Way to go technology advancements !

Traction

These look like they would suck and they do. They suck to the ground which is a good thing.

MJ was pretty good his first three in a row. How many back to back to backs have we seen since MJ? One with Shaq and Kobe . MJ has done it twice. ..on the same team. Get this LBJ goat talk out of here

Fantastic when clean, needs some wiping on dusty floors. I thought I’d have to wipe 24/7 based on looks but it works fine with just some occasional wiping.

Overall fantastic when clean, needs wiping to keep tackiness.

Cushioning

Air sole unit.

It sounds so old and antiquated but it works just fine. Hell, the Lebron Witness III is using it (why

Adidas Harden Vol. 3 Performance Review

At a recent media event held in Houston, James Harden took questions from a group of reporters during an appearance at the Adidas store at The Galleria mall. Harden had been ruled out of the Rockets’ next two games at practice earlier that day, but was in good spirits when it came to discussing his latest signature shoe, the Adidas Harden Vol. 3. He took particular pride when asked about his level of involvement in the design.

“From materials, to the way it looks, to the colorways—everything,” Harden revealed regarding the process. “Business emails, conference calls, the Adidas team flying out to Houston or wherever I am, to when I’m in Portland going over it—it’s a lot. It’s a dope process to create and design your own shoe.”

Based on Harden’s unique style of play and innovative offensive game, it makes sense that he’d want to take a hands-on approach to the design. He might not have the experience in making shoes that the Adidas team has, but does have direct knowledge of what he needs in a shoe when it comes to things like creating space. “Your footwork, and how fast you can stop and go, how fast you change directions—it’s extremely important for my game,” Harden said. “That’s one of the main keys I have to have in my shoe.”

With that in mind, if the Harden Vol. 3 doesn’t perform, it falls squarely on him. For better or worse, it’s the shoe that he wanted. Can James Harden add sneaker designer to his MVP resume?

Hover over the dots for a full performance review.

Adidas Harden Vol. 3 – Fit

Adidas Harden Vol. 3 – Ankle Support

Adidas Harden Vol. 3 – Cushioning

Adidas Harden Vol. 3 – Traction

I can’t say that the Harden Vol. 3 excites me from an aesthetic, storytelling, or innovation standpoint in the way that a reigning MVP’s signature shoe maybe should, but in the only area that actually matters when it comes to a true hoops shoe—performance—it’s a standout. It checks all the boxes for comfort and fit, and does so at a relatively affordable $140 price point.

Don’t let its throwback design and construction fool you either—innovation for the sake of innovation has a tendency to have a bigger impact on a shoe’s price than its performance. The Vol. 3 may not do any new tricks, but it does refine some of the best existing practices, and brings them together for what’s probably my favorite air jordan 1 shoe since 2011’s original Crazy Light.

At that same media event, Harden explained that when he steps away from the game one day, he wants his line to be remembered for “how authentic it was.” He went on to say that that for others, it may just be putting their name on something that already exists, but for him, “It’s really me. I’m really putting the work in for this. That’s what makes it authentic and real. When you’re authentic and real, that lasts longer than anything else—not just in the shoe business, but in life.”

The Harden Vol. 3 is an easy recommendation based on value, but it’s also a great shoe, period. I thoroughly enjoyed playing in the reigning MVP’s latest signature, and if his involvement is all he says it is, then apparently we have him to thank for it.

nike kd 8 viii elite performance review

I did not like last year’s KD 7 Elite because I didn’t feel it embodied KD and his playing style. That and it was super stiff and had some serious heel slip just like the non elite pair. This year’s elite model actually looks like KD 11 with the long extended compression sock. Can it make me ball like him too?

Here is my original review for the KD8

KD 8 Review

Pros: traction, full length Zoom, fit, stability, nice materials upgrade

Cons: hard to put on, compression sock gets hot (although it is the purpose), Signature Zoom feel isn’t quite there, forefoot shell takes time to break in, lace pressure, pricey

Sizing: true to size (I went up half size with non elite), super wide footers may want to go up half size

Best for: guards but stable enough for bigger players.

Weight:

1 ounce difference due to materials and extra long ankle sock . The half size difference has a minimal effect on weight. Still very light regardless.

By the way, the box is enormous

Traction

Same rubber as before and works the same as before. Wiping is required but not like Kobe XI or anything remotely close to that.

Cushioning

Same set up as the non elite. If you didn’t like the non elite set up, you won’t like this one.

The plastic clips on the lateral side are in place to keep the Zoom stable and firm for cuts. Although this takes away from the feel of Zoom, it has a functional purpose of keeping the player stable on cuts.

Above: you can see the articulated Zoom in the forefoot

Below: articulated heel

Nike claimed they articulated the Zoom for enhanced flexibility but I really couldn’t tell a difference. Just a standard Zoom would have worked just as well or better. Let’s see how the KD9 works up in a few months.

Fit

I went half a size up with the regular KD and went true to size with these. I’m guessing that the materials and “forefoot shell” allow the shoe to fit a bit longer and wider at the toe box. If you have really really wide feet I suggest trying half a size up.

Left is size 11 and right is 11.5. I know it’s hard to see any difference in size just by looking at outside of shoe but just shows how similar in size they are.

Is the shoe hard to put on?

Yes, have you tried to put a condom on your foot?
I was literally sweating after putting these on the first few times but I figured out a decent way to get them on but needed to be sitting down. You can also pull the ends like a sock and slip into the shoe. The sock itself seems to be very durable.

Thankfully, all that sweat and effort is worth it as these are really a sock with a sole. You can see the little ankle pads in the compression sock in the pic above. These pillows sit higher up the Achilles than the regular KD and do a good job locking the heel in. I noticed my socks were soaked in sweat at the ankle and above due to the compression sock. I didn’t notice it until after playing but just something to note.

You can even fold it down but I think they look worse

The upper of the KD 8 was redesigned and is now a one piece upper composed of mesh with a synthetic shell at the forefoot

If you look closely at the pics you can see the Flywire throughout the shell. The shell is very similar to the Flywire upper found on the Kobe IV so it is plasticky and needs break in (it is thinner overall though). Nike states they are Kevlar which is nice to see them use again. Personally I don’t mind a little break in time but it isn’t as natural feeling as the Flyweave on the regular 8. Not a deal breaker for me but I know some people prefer knit uppers.

I had some lace pressure problems at the top eyelet the first few times but it went away as I played. The regular KD didn’t have this issue because the tongue was nicely padded.

The way the plastic straps come around the top help with the lockdown.

Support and Stability

The sock doesn’t do anything in regard to support; it is only there for proprioception purposes and to keep the ankle warm.

The rest of the shoe is very stable as I said in my air jordan 1. Probably one of the most stable low tops I’ve ever worn. The whole design of the shoe seemed to be centered around taking pressure off the forefoot especially after KD’s Jones fracture surgery. I never felt unstable in these or the non elites due to the wide sole design and heel counter

Containment

Despite having a Flyweave upper, the non elite KD did a great job with lateral containment and the same holds true for the Elites. I never felt my foot slide out of the footbed even on hard cuts or change of direction. Well done Nike!

Conclusion

The past few years Nike didn’t really make any “upgrades” with the Elite models, but this year’s KD8 Elite feels like a step up in terms of materials and looks. As far as performance, I don’t feel they are much of a step up; marginally better lockdown in the heel but stiffer forefoot make it a wash. Nothing really stood out with the Elite versus the regular KD 8 aside from the compression sock. Even KD himself is wearing the regular KD8 during the the Thunder’s playoff run.

In all honesty, I feel the Elite series of shoes is just a way for Nike to create new sales since the NBA season is almost over and the regular pairs have been sitting on shelves for over six months. By creating a new sales cycle sooner, shoe sales have shallower and shorter valleys (very smart move). Since the price difference isn’t exorbitant like prior years, it really comes down to looks and I think these are much better looking than the non elites. Expect these to drop in price because I know a lot of people aren’t digging the high cut look. $90-120 is what I expect these to get down to in price.