Nike KD 11 Performance Review

The Nike KD 11, with its combination of React and Zoom, had me all up in my feels. But did the shoe live up to the standards of a two-time NBA champ? Let’s find out.

Traction in the KD11 was decent at best. It’s no KD 9 honeycomb traction (which was amazing), and due to the tight grooves, dust collected quickly which caused more frequent wipes. The outsole consistency over the few years of Kevin Durant’s signature line has been quite disappointing — especially coming from previously great models — unless you have access to a pristine college/NBA court.

One redeeming quality of the outsole is that if you use the shoe outdoors, it plays really well. Unfortunately, long-term durability of the outsole outdoors is unlikely.

Cushion was on point in the KD 11, once broken in. The React midsole is placed inside a rubber cupsole while the 7mm thick top-loaded full-length Zoom Air unit sits above the React. The combination provides an awesome amount of impact protection. Upon landing on rebounds and hard first steps I felt ample feedback that launched me right into my next motion. For those who require more cushion (especially those with back and knee problems), this is definitely a plus.

Another year, another Flyknit shoe, which is generally never a bad thing. The uppers of the KD line have been modified over the years to make the shoe feel more sock-like. With some suede backing along the heel counter, TPU at the lateral side, and React and Zoom Air cushion caged by a full rubber cupsole, you’d think you’re paying for a premium shoe.

The combination of the materials used on the KD 11 appears to be geared to Durant’s narrow foot and this shoe should cater to those who want their footwear to feel the same way. We’ll discuss that more in the next section, however, the materials utilized are well-thought out — just not well-executed.

While I do have slightly wide feet, the shoe actually fit me true to size, although people with different foot shapes should try the KD11 on.

Once I got rolling on the court I was not locked in. You don’t feel quite as locked in because, again, the shoe is catered to the way Kevin Durant likes to lace up his shoes (which is slightly loose). I think if Nike strategically knitted areas of the shoe tighter, like at the midfoot, I wouldn’t have felt my foot shifting inside the shoe as I did much while in movement. You might not have this experience (which I hope you don’t), but be forewarned because the knit material does stretch out over time.

NOPE! Just nope! While the fit wasn’t totally a deal breaker, the overall support is. Knowing that the upper material will eventually stretch out, the one thing that kills me is that my foot wouldn’t stay on the footbed of the shoe.

I have no idea how to pull off the cuts Durant makes on his right to left cross-over pull-up move when I don’t feel like my foot is directly in the KD11. If you’re just running up and down the court without making any lateral cuts or movements (which is totally unheard of) then you’d be just some guy or gal running for no apparent reason. The amount of torque and movement I exerted in the shoe — while not feeling locked in — made me second and triple guess every move I made, which no player should have to deal with.

When my feet got pushed forward in the shoe the stretchy knit upper could not keep me contained and thus, the heel counter did not lock me in properly. I would expect a more exaggerated outrigger, and although an outrigger is present, the high ride and stretchy upper had me coming out of the shoe. For others, it could lead to a rolled ankle, or *knock on wood*, something worse. In the KD11 it seems containment was an afterthought.

If Nike had implemented a more tightly knitted midfoot, an exaggerated lateral outrigger, or sat the wearer within the midsole, most of these hazards would have been avoided.

I wanted to love the KD11. While I had bad experiences with the KD9 (Zoom popped) and the KD10 (lacing loops ripped), I didn’t want to give up on the KD signature line. The safety of this shoe is what is keeping me away from it.

While the materials and cushioning used here are nice, I don’t see how this shoe made it through wear-testing. I understand the shoe is catered to Kevin Durant, but we all know KD dislikes changing shoes — especially ones he’s broken in — and not all consumers have narrow feet like KD. Innovation shouldn’t come at a cost, and the KD11 seems to be the prime example of that.

Trust me, I want the shoes to succeed, not only for us kd11sale.com but also for all you consumers out there. Will I be looking forward to the KD12? Possibly, as long as I keep my expectations low, but we all know father-time doesn’t wait for anyone. Until next time…

Comparison: Air Jordan 11 Pantone vs. Legend Blue

This year, Jordan Brand gave us two Air Jordan 11 releases for the holidays, the Air Jordan 11 Legend Blue and Air Jordan 11 Pantone – as part of the Air Jordan Ultimate Gift of Flight Pack.

The color “Legend Blue” was highly advertised throughout each silhouette, as one features minor accents of the Blue, while the other is fully dressed in it.

The Air Jordan 11 Retro Legend Blue is finally set to debut this Saturday, December 20th, 2014 at select Jordan Brand retailers.

Dressed in the original “Columbia” color scheme, but now named “Legend Blue” the iconic Air Jordan 11 silhouette comes in a mix of patent leather and smooth leather in all White, with a tongue tag, Jumpman logo and translucent outsole tinted in Legend Blue.

The Air Jordan 11 Retro Pantone from the Air Jordan Ultimate Gift of Flight Pack will complete this years Air Jordan 11 holiday releases. Unlike the Air Jordan 11 Legend Blue, this Retro 11 will release along side the Air Jordan XX9 in a limited edition pack.

This special version of the Air Jordan 11 features Legend Blue on the patent leather and smooth leather upper, and a White midsole and translucent outsole tinted in Legend Blue.

Some of the major difference from the releases begin on the interior, as the Pantone 11s use more of a luxury styled inner liner – similar to what we’ve seen on the Anniversary 11s. The Legend Blue pair was built with a full mesh tongue and leather upper, while the Pantone 11s has a more smooth nubuck-like leather build. Finishing up the comparison is the outsoles. The Legend Blue 11s came with a more milky/tinted outsole, while the nike kd 11 stayed more traditional with a Blue icy translucent outsole.

Check out these exclusive comparison photos of both “Pantone” and “Legend Blue” Retro 11s below and for everyone planning on picking up the Air Jordan Basketball shoes of Flight Pack tomorrow, December 23rd, good luck and please be safe.

Which pair do you find to be the victorious one? The Air Jordan 11 Pantone or Legend Blue? Speak your mind in the comments section below.

Nike KD 11 Performance Review

The Nike KD 11 went from being my most anticipated basketball shoe to test to one of the worst of 2018.

Traction started off strong with the Nike KD 11 but things quickly went south the more time I spent in it. The rubber frayed and dust got clogged instantly within the tightly spaced grooves. The KD 11 outsole couldn’t handle anything I threw at it long term.

Fortunately, there is a bright side, because the traction did well outdoors. I play primarily indoors and that’s where I had all of my issues. Of course, the traction stuck like glue on clean courts with fresher finishes. I just don’t have the chance to play on courts that nice on a regular basis.

Nike KD 11 Performance Review cushion

Surprisingly, the React and Zoom Air combination on the KD 11 was money. While it doesn’t feel like much fresh out the box, give everything some time to warm up and break in — the rubber cage especially.

Once you break the shoe in you’ll find yourself feeling a nice spring to each step, thanks to the Zoom Air, with plenty of impact protection courtesy of the React midsole. While you can’t feel it with you fingers/hands because of the firm rubber cage (cupsole), the React midsole is very soft, so just give the shoe a little time if you’re unhappy with it from a try-on perspective.

I don’t like playing in the KD 11 but I loved playing with this cushion setup and hope to see it utilized on other models in the near future.

I like Flyknit, I really do, even though it doesn’t seem like it at the moment. The forefoot of the KD 11 is firm — and backed by a layer of nylon with a lot of glue. While it looks like a knit, it doesn’t feel or act like a knit.

Then there is the rest of the knit build, which is just the way I tend to like my knitted shoes. The only thing is that this time around the knit is so stretchy that it’s made the shoes nearly unplayable for me. At least, I don’t feel safe playing in them. Casually, I think people will really love the Flyknit upper. The problem is that this is a basketball shoe. Some may enjoy the upper and the way it fits/feels but I’m not a fan.

Nike KD 11 Performance Review fit

Keeping your foot onto the footbed is the name of the game when it comes to fit, lockdown, and support. The Nike KD 11 just couldn’t do it at all, ever. I know Kevin Durant likes to wear his shoes really loose — to the point where they’ve come off of his feet during games several times — and while that’s cool for KD I like my shoes to fit a bit more securely.

Never once did I feel locked into the shoe or supported by the upper. I’d tie the shoes so tight that I’d cut off circulation to my feet — which makes you feel like you’re carrying around dead weight on the court — and that just isn’t a comfortable way to play.

Had the firm knit from the toe been swapped, or even brought over, to the midfoot I think that would have helped things out quite a bit. Perhaps throwing in a more traditional lacing system versus a Flywire-only system could have helped out as well.

This is one of those shoes that you’re going to have to wear to get the awful experience that I did. Again, some may enjoy the shoe on-court but I have a feeling many are not going to be pleased.

Nike KD 11 Performance Review support

Due to the sloppy fit and stretchy materials, support is greatly compromised. As I mentioned above, I never really felt safe playing in the shoe. Believe me, I tried to make the KD 11 work — the cushion is great — but I just couldn’t get it to work for me.

Torsional support is abundant due to the rubber cupsole while heel support is adequate with the sturdy heel counter. However, it would have been even better had the lacing system been able to really draw your foot into the rear of the sneaker to use that heel counter properly.

An outrigger is present but your foot rests on top of the midsole. Couple that with a really stretchy and forgiving upper and its roll-over city. I cannot tell you how many times the side of my foot hit the floor from rolling over the footbed in these. It’s something that you should never want in a shoe unless you’re immune to ankle injuries.

Nike KD 11 Performance Review overall

I really loved the KD 9. I really wanted to love the KD 10. I thought I would really love the KD 11. Unfortunately, it’s one of the most disappointing shoes I’ve tested in a while. We could really use a good blend of performance knits and leathers on these modern shoes. The fully knit build has been so hit or miss over the last few years that I question why we’re still trying it in 2018. Have we not learned by now that the rear of a shoe needs more structure?

Look at the PG 1, PG 2, and Kyrie 4 as examples: textiles in the front, structured heel in the back. I mean, even the KD 7 (my personal favorite KD model to play in) got it right. Weight reduction shouldn’t come at such a high cost. Support is needed in basketball shoes and the KD 11 is further proof of that.

I wish I could get a refund but I had to pay an arm and a leg to get the KD 11 early in order to review it on time. That means I didn’t go the big box retailer route.

The KD 11 hits retailers on July 18 in the U.S. If you’re able to make it work let me know in the comments down below.

Nike Hyperdunk 2018 Performance Reviews

As the U.S. Men’s Senior Basketball team recaptured an Olympic gold medal this summer for the first time in eight years, it’s also the first time in eight years that Nike embarked on their latest, most talked-about and frenzied technological innovation since Nike Shox. It was in 2000 that Vince Carter leapfrogged a seven-footer in his white and navy Shox BB4s, sparking a retail rush when the BB4 conveniently released a few months later. Even before its initial worldwide launch, the Nike Hyperdunk 2018 has already been the beneficiary of Nike Basketball’s most integrated marketing campaign to date, which includes ESPY cameos, limited Marty McFly-inspired releases, countless print and television ads, and even a fictitious Hyperdunk Recovery Center website and hotline for victims to receive treatment.

This time around, there’s no doubt that Nike’s corporate brass was hoping that Kobe Bryant and his Hyperdunk-wearing brethren could carry out the collective goal of collecting gold this summer in Beijing, helping to elevate the shoe into the upper echelon of Olympic footwear among the likes of the Air Jordan VII, Air More Uptempo and Shox BB4. As Bryant and his Team USA teammates showcased the Hyperdunk this summer, they did so in a product offering from Nike Basketball that features two technologies in their infancy, each with equally bold top billing.

The two most heralded innovations that Nike created specifically for the Olympics are Lunar Foam and Flywire technology — one a cushioning element; the other, an upper material. Developed in conjunction with NASA engineers over the past few years (fancy huh?), Lunar Foam is a resilient, high rebound, spongy foam that is actually used in the seats of NASA’s space shuttles. While Kobe Bryant might demand a light shoe that allows him to explode 40 inches off the hardwood for a crowd-silencing dunk, NASA’s space shuttles must reduce weight wherever possible in order to leave earth’s orbit – quite a difference. So, to create Lunar Foam, Nike mixed Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA for short) with Nitrate rubber, allowing for a foam cushioning unit that Nike says is 30 percent lighter than Phylon, which Nike has been using over the past decade. Lunar Foam’s responsive properties stem from the rubber compound included in it, and the lower impact and cushioned ride along with a lighter weight are certainly a welcomed innovation, though I’d argue Zoom Air is still superior. (More on that later.)

In the Hyperdunk, Lunar Foam is implemented in much the same way that Air-Sole and Zoom Air units have been in the past-as a sculpted unit embedded in the midsole just under the ball of the foot. Flywire pertains specifically to the lightweight containment provided by the upper. No matter what sport an elite athlete is participating in, reaction time and the ability to change direction are crucially important, and basketball may arguably call for the most protection and support. After examining the history of bridge designs, Jay Meschter, Innovation Director of Nike’s Innovation Kitchen, noticed advancements in bridge construction that would go on to shape the development of Flywire. After studying everything from more traditional brick structures that didn’t age well, to our more modern cable suspended bridges that can support not only the weight of a bridge across vast distances like in San Francisco, but also the weight of massive daily traffic, he discovered that a shoe’s structure can become more supportive when it is designed with long strands for support along the side. Meschter realized that by creating a cradle for the foot in a similarly arranged alignment along the shoe’s lateral and medial sides, any given sport’s unique and unpredictable movements could be better supported for quicker reaction time. The result is Flywire.

With a thin film of Polyurethane providing the structure of each Flywire panel, the thin strands that provide the support are made of a material called Vectran. Over six years ago, Meschter first aligned strands of nylon along a shoe last as he conceptualized Flywire, and after much deliberation over several materials, Vectran proved to be the most supportive material to fit the project’s needs of support, light weight and flex resistance. It was actually down to Kevlar and Vectran as the strand material of choice to be used in Flywire since Nylon and several other fabric strands proved to be far too flimsy.

In Vectran’s favor, when Kevlar is flexed, it can lose up to 25 percent of its strength, compared to zero percent strength loss in Vectran. In products like athletic footwear, any strength loss is crucial to athletes who depend on tenths and hundredths of seconds in competition. Another major factor in deciding upon a material for the groundbreaking upper construction was also the measured breaking strength between the two. Vectran boasts a higher breaking strength than Kevlar, requiring more force to compromise the high-performance multifilament yarn.

What is most clutch is also Vectran’s ability to not only allow for weight reduction in Nike’s products, but also the fact that the liquid polymer-based material is naturally very thermally stable. In an extreme climate like that of Beijing, which was being forecasted to host a sweltering summer nearing triple-digit temperatures with 70 percent humidity, it’s also very important that Vectran can perform in any environment. While it seems like lots of tech talk and the material to the naked eye may appear to be just a thin layer along the shoe with nicely placed weaves, there’s in fact quite a bit of technology and research that goes into constructing something as performance-fused as Flywire.

Deep in the Kitchen of the Mia Hamm Building, innovation never stops, and famed Hoops designer Eric Avar was hand-picked to design this latest, and perhaps greatest offering from Nike Basketball. Inspired by the classic Tinker Hatfield created Air Mag from the 1989 movie Back To The Future II, Avar began working on the Hyperdunk over two years ago. He set out to create a shoe that carried over similar ideas from the Huarache 2K series that he designed, and he also hoped to implement Flywire Technology in what would be the lightest, most supportive shoe designed for the Alpha Player.

In this case, Nike was able to tap into the perfect subject – Kobe Bryant. “He is a very demanding athlete when it comes to his product,” explains Mark Parker, Nike’s CEO and President. Whether he’s fading away for another jumper or splitting a double-team and heading straight to the rim, there’s nobody quite as skilled and efficient on-court as Bryant, and there is also no one who places quite the amount of lateral forces and strain on his footwear. The goal for Kobe is simple. “[That] I don’t lose seconds,” he says. “For me, it’s all about reaction time.”

And so, Avar began designing the shoe while simultaneously working on the Zoom Kobe III, both with the aid of regular input from Bryant himself. “I want a shoe that’s light, helps my reaction time, and is comfortable,” Bryant definitively says. “It just better not be ugly.” It’s been no mystery that Kobe has long heralded the Zoom Huarache 2K4 as his favorite game shoe, and in the Hyperdunk you’ll notice a similar silhouette, down to the assuring collar height and pronounced lateral outrigger. His needs have varied annually, from the more robust Zoom Kobe I that he wore after a summer filled with two-a-day strength workouts during which he gained 20 pounds of muscle, to his current need for a lighter shoe after weighing in at just 200 pounds, his lightest weight since 1998. “The Kobe I was a little heavier than the 2K4,” says Bryant comparatively. “That was done intentionally because I did a lot of running the summer before, and I wanted more cushioning that season at the expense, maybe, of some weight. It changes every year based on my needs.”

Where the Hyperdunk luckily excels is in its light weight and unparalleled amounts of lateral support, allowing for the re-sculpted Bryant to be more swift and nimble in a half-court set. It weighs in at just 13.0 ounces in a size nine, over a full ounce lighter than the Zoom Kobe III, which was already the lightest yet of the Zoom Kobe line. In my size 13, the Zoom Kobe III weighed 18.5 ounces, while the Hyperdunk weighs 15.6 ounces – obviously a noticeable difference on-court. Bryant, doing his best Gallagher impression, even joked that when he first saw the Hyperdunk in person, he naturally tossed it up into the air, uncertain if it would ever come back down. (Yes – the corniness of that joke was hilarious to the crowd of 300 media members.)

While lighter usually can mean flimsy – dare I remind those of you who played in the Hyperflight - in this case, the Hyperdunk arguably offers more support and stability than ever before, thanks to Flywire technology. “Lightweight containment is something that people want to have,” says Yuron White, Nike Basketball Product Director. “You’re going to see [Flywire] continue in our stuff, and they are looking to use it in all the other categories.”

The Hyperdunk is full of its own thoughtful design cues from the legendary Avar. The boldly molded midfoot and heel counters offer stability and lock the foot down, and the shoe’s upper is purposefully designed with an abundance of Nike’s revolutionary Flywire technology. With precisely placed strands of Vectran aligned over the thin and breathable Polyurethane paneling, Flywire allows for the shoe to weigh in dangerously low, yet also offers enough support for even a brute’s frame. Carlos Boozer and several other bigs wore it throughout the Olympics. Another immediately noticeable difference in the Hyperdunk is its insistence on going strapless, unlike the Zoom Kobe II, Huarache 2K4 and 2K5 before it.

To its credit, the lacing setup is linked by a hidden ghilley eyelet that helps marry the midfoot to the ankle, as compared to the Huarache 2K5, where the eyelets worked almost independently and at times created a sense of instability. Another sharp design touch from Avar is the eight dimples that can be found on the toe, midfoot and heel counter – an ode to the Beijing Opening Ceremonies held this summer on 08/08/08. Even the naming of the shoe appears straightforward, referencing the game’s single most exciting play. “The lighter the shoe, the higher you can get up. We thought the name played perfectly to that,” explains Archie McEachern, Nike Basketball Category Footwear Leader.

Above: The Hyperdunk’s original outsole (pictured at left) included solidly blocked channels, while the production version (pictured at right) features recessed grooves and a herringbone pivot point in the forefoot for improved traction. 

While the lightweight support story in the Hyperdunk is perhaps seemingly the shoe’s highlight, the cushioning embedded in the tooling is also a first in basketball, though a bit for the sake of marketing. At the heel is a standard eight millimeter, large volume Zoom Air unit, which offers an obscene level of responsiveness and impact protection. The forefoot debuts Nike’s new Lunar Foam cushioning, which can also be credited for helping with the shoe’s weight reduction. Lunar Foam is 30 percent lighter than Phylon, but provides a bounce-back cushioning feel almost comparable to Zoom Air. “I think it’s more spongy and soft,” says McEachern, when comparing the two.

The outsole is comprised of a solid rubber traction pattern that underwent quite a few changes through the development process. What began as a solidly blocked outsole configuration was soon altered to include forefoot grooves for greater traction on the final production version, as well as a herringbone inset at the pivot point. There is also a radiused, decoupled heel for smooth transition upon impact. At the midfoot resides one of Nike’s most welcomed commodities: a nicely sculpted chunk of Carbon Fiber for added support. But, enough about what the shoe boasts…

So – Does It Perform?

After an initial run at the Bo Jackson Fitness Center’s courts on the Nike Campus with other members of the media last April, I had to endure a three-week wait to get my pair back. Right away, I had one goal in mind, and that was to beat the hell out of them. Never before have I seen such a widespread marketing campaign and so much faith behind a shoe that, in my opinion, has little casual appeal, and so I knew that this shoe deserved more than my standard 10 wearings before I could come to a verdict. By the end of my testing, I’d worn the Hyperdunk nearly 30 times, on both indoor hardwood as well as on the asphalt outdoors, in both the synthetic leather based White Olympic colorway as well as the nubuck-based Black/Anthracite general release colorway.

Throughout the duration of the test, I was most comfortable lacing them up tightly one short of the top eyelet, and immediately while moving around for the first time, I could feel the shoe’s benefits come to life. Along the upper, the first perceptible difference between the Hyperdunk and the three shoes in the Zoom Kobe line before it is the height. This shoe is certainly more of an extension of the Huarache 2K series than the Kobe line, taking on a sleekly defined collar and molded heel counter for maximum lockdown. For three years, the name Huarache consisted of strapped team shoes drafted off of the 2K4, aimed for every position in mind. This year, with the advent of the Hyperdunk and the Huarache 08, you can expect to see the lineage of the 2K series in the Hyperdunk line, and the minimal and lightweight sandal-inspired aesthetic live on through the Huarache name.

In this first installment of the Hyperdunk, Nike is off to a great start, using their two-year advance product timeline to create a worthy premiere.

At its strongest points, the Hyperdunk blows past the competition, but when it strikes its low points, there’s definite room for improvement. In utilizing Flywire along the upper, Nike has found an excellent material that they can brand as their own and build off of well into the next decade. It’s what makes Nike … Nike. While adidas has taken on the adage of “Another year, another Pro Model” up until this year with the intriguing new Team Signature offerings and other performance brands have all but halted their innovation initiatives, I’ll commend Nike for at least trying new things and looking beyond their current product for solutions in footwear, especially when they’re already on top with little push from the competition outside of The Three Stripes.

After countless wearings, when the shoes are tied tightly, I can safely say that Flywire does keep you slightly locked in more than a rand of leather would, but it’s the difference in weight that makes me comfortable in calling Flywire an innovation. When wearing the shoe, I purposefully shot less 3-pointers than normal, hoping to attack the basket and place enough strain laterally on the shoe on each drive to get a good gauge on the claims of Flywire, and sure enough, there’s a noticeable difference.

Your foot simply doesn’t budge from side-to-side, and I’ve never felt a shoe where the support was so firm, and yet there was absolutely zero inner discomfort. While the Air Jordan XX3 locks your foot in wonderfully, there admittedly are some inner chafing issues due to its harsh at-times midfoot chassis. With the Hyperdunk, you’re afforded great support, gleefully soft inner comfort, and most of all, insanely light weight. I wasn’t lying earlier, as my size 13 in the Zoom Kobe III, which everyone argued is the lightest shoe of the season, indeed clocked in at 18.5 ounces. In the White/Midnight Navy/Varsity Red Kobe Olympic colorway, the Hyperdunk was 15.6 ounces. That’s a ridiculous difference for a basketball shoe, especially when you consider the other shoes I’m playing in now for reviews are all in the 18.5-19.5 ounce range, with the Zoom Soldier II most heavily clunking in at 21.6 ounces. Where the Hyperflight, which weighs 16.0 ounces in a size 13, offered the lightest possible weight at the time of its 2001 debut, its lack of support was disastrous, offering perhaps the worst lateral fit I’ve ever experienced.

Because Flywire is such a thin paneling and can offer the same, if not greater support than traditionally used materials, I’m excited to see Nike take the material even further and specifically aim to sculpt the upper more closely to the contours of your foot, just as the XX3 did. Flywire obviously makes up most of the story along the upper, but the purposeful design and noted inspiration from the Air Mag of two decades ago allow it to be a great performer. The two most noticeable design cues on the shoe, aside from Flywire, are the molded heel and midfoot wedges that are drafted off of the Mag. While a piece of TPU has been sculpted around the heel in past 2K series shoes, the foam used on the Hyperdunk offers comparable support and lockdown, but at a lighter weight.

You’ll begin to notice that every single panel and componentry involved in making the Hyperdunk is the lightest of its genre. The tongue is insanely thin, reducing weight at the slight expense of some lace pressure if you, like me, tie the laces overly tight. There’re also very few layers that make up the shoe, as the tongue extends into an inner sleeve, while the Flywire and toe overlays comprise the rest of the build. The ankle collar is equally thin, ditching previously used materials like Sphere Liner, memory foam and dual-density padding for the sake of keeping the lowest possible weight the focus. For the most part, each component of the upper serves its purpose of being light without detracting from the overall performance of the shoe.

I can’t say the same for Nike’s Lunar Foam cushioning, however, touted as a responsive and light cushioning system of the future. While Lunar Foam indeed helps reduce the overall weight of the shoe, it’s hard to confirm Nike’s claim of a 30 percent difference compared to Phylon, which can be a bit of a misleading statistic. The notion of a 30 percent difference assumes that the shoe you are playing in relies only on Phylon for its cushioning properties, which would never be the case in a $100-plus product like the Hyperdunk. If you’re going from a $65 Phylon-based option, to a shoe that incorporates Lunar Foam, you’ll certainly notice a difference in both responsiveness and weight, but if you’re a cushioning elitist like myself, you’ll also most likely be adamant about playing in Nike’s unparalleled Zoom Air. Zoom Air is already lighter and exponentially more responsive than Phylon, so the comparison to be made is truly between Zoom Air and Lunar Foam.

I’d still stick with trusty Zoom Air if given the option. The heel Zoom Air unit in the Hyperdunk is almost to the point of arrogance, as during play you can notice how far apart in cushioning the two units are. There’s perceptibly something there with Lunar Foam, so I won’t go calling the technology an absolute gimmick in a basketball application yet (and I definitely rock a pair of LunaRacers for weeks at a time), but after the fourth wearing, you’ll have already bottomed out the forefoot cushioning in the Hyperdunk, resulting in a firm and stiff feel under the ball of your foot. By the tenth wearing, all feeling of cushion is gone, and while the court feel is certainly a positive in the Hyperdunk, the forefoot cushioning has all but vanished. Lunar Foam excels in being light, but it’s at the expense of comfort and longevity, which most ballers would obviously prefer. While it’s understandable that Nike is offering Lunar Foam as it was anchored by the task of creating a shoe that was part of huge marketing campaign and also mathematically clocked in at the lightest weight yet, it’s at the expense of the overall performance of the shoe, which strikes the need for change.

Another reason the Hyperdunk remains the lightest shoe we’ve seen in years is the no-frills outsole design that incorporates a low-to-the-ground, solid rubber grooved pattern with a herringbone pivot point inset. The decoupled, radiused heel allows for perfect heel-to-toe transition during play, and the Carbon Fiber spring plate at the midfoot provides a propelling sensation that everyone will appreciate, from guards, on up to the game’s agile big men of today. If you’re on a clean hardwood surface, the traction is perfect from the jump: both squeaky and efficient. It’s on a dusty court where you’ll notice a drop off in traction compared to other shoes with more deep channels, and you’ll be forced to swipe often to keep the outsole as clean as possible. The traction pattern isn’t average by any means, and it should offer up enough maneuverability to withstand the speed and directional shifts of even the most hurried guards.

To the shoe’s credit, and of course a definite Avar touch, the Hyperdunk features a perfectly sculpted lateral outrigger. I specifically recall one half-court set where I became convinced of the Hyperdunk’s on-court stability merits. I caught the ball in my familiar right wing spot, and as I drove left past my defender towards the free throw line, I planted my left foot, dribbled left to right behind my back and finished with a right-handed layup. When planting, jab-stepping, or even while defensive sliding (I’d assume - I can’t promise I attempted this basketball maneuver), the Hyperdunk’s balance resulting from Flywire and the generous outrigger keeps your foot locked in over the footbed and allows for a great amount of control as you make your next step and take flight. Beforehand, I ranked the Zoom Kobe II as my favorite in terms of its awesomely low-to-the-ground feel and ability to change directions, but the Hyperdunk has surpassed that shoe, with an even more supportive upper thanks to Flywire, a more assuring outsole by way of the outrigger, as well as a more generous lining package compared to the harshly sculpted Kobe II.

Overall, the Hyperdunk is an excellent start to the Flywire era, promising lightweight containment and support at a relatively generous price of $110. Ten, maybe even five years ago, this shoe would have certainly retailed for $125, but our recession-crippled economy calls for even the biggest of global corporations to adjust to their consumer’s spending habits, which have been to buy remarkably less footwear than in the recent past. I definitely was impressed right out of the box with the overall comfort, fit, feel and support of the shoe. The weight is perceptibly light, traction sticky and reliable, and the cushioning added up to provide a solid combination of responsiveness and low-to-the-ground court feel for the active player, which on a good day I’d like to consider myself. Is Lunar Foam the most awesomely innovative cushioning system the industry has been waiting on after letdowns with React Juice, Tubular Air, Shox, A3 (A Cubed) and 2A? Not remotely.

This shoe is far from a HyperGimmick, but it seems as though there’s just something so superior about a low volume air bag full of tightly packed fibers ready and eager to respond against each other in an instant upon impact. Zoom Air, for now, will remain the industry benchmark, but luckily for Nike Basketball, it’s readily at their disposal. In the future, a Hyperdunk-like silhouette with ample Flywire, heel and forefoot Zoom Air, and more Herringbone coverage along the outsole would appear to be an untouchable performance masterpiece. Perhaps then, brands across the basketball landscape will step up and re-emerge on the innovation front for the first time in over a decade. Adidas is making some definite strides with the new TS Creator and Commander and the return of Formotion in the heel, but for now, the Hyperdunk is still the choice basketball shoe for next season. It makes for a great team buy for high schools and AAU teams alike, allowing for great control of your movements, sufficient cushioning, and of course, the lightest weight yet in a product of its kind. With Bryant and the “Redeem Team” recapturing the gold this summer in Beijing, it may also just be time to place the Hyperdunk alongside the greats of Olympics past.

Adidas Crazy BYW X Delivers Style and Performance Reviews

For longtime fans of Adidas Basketball, the Feet You Wear series of silhouettes that was first launched during the mid-1990s and worn by Kobe Bryant often serves as a defining era for the brand, even all these years later.

The wavy and quirky designs were rooted in performance and based on the needs of the sport, but took on a life beyond the game as the rounded styling and flowing lines extended off the court. Taking inspiration from some of the earliest beloved Feet You Wear models, Adidas is reimagining the future of their hoops category with a new modernized performance take on FYW, this time upgrading tech for today’s time with the company’s bar-raising Boost cushioning.

It’s simply dubbed the adidas Crazy BYW X, as in Boost You Wear.

First debuted by both Nick Young and Brandon Ingram just weeks ago at the Staples Center, the model is also expected to hit the hardwood throughout this month on the feet of recently re-signed All-Star point guard John Wall.

“The future of Adidas is on a different level with these,” said Swaggy P.

The same size as each aforementioned player, I was able to get my hands on a pair early, quickly throwing them on to see just how updated and improved the silhouette and tech are. As a huge, huge fan of nearly every last Feet You Wear model — I still pull out my original pairs of the Top Ten 2010, KB8, AW8 and KB8 III — I was most curious to see how the BYW X’s Boost platform felt.

While the original FYW models all featured great court feel, support and balance, they were admittedly a bit firm. The BYW X features a full-length Boost platform — there’s a healthy helping of Boost throughout each pod of the outsole. Right out the box, that familiar Boost softness fires through the heel, and feels responsive in the forefoot as well, with support on the court coming by way of a rubberized forefoot wrap.

The other impressive element that quickly stood out is how well sloped and contoured the upper’s mesh and knit construction fit. The silhouette and fit is what I had hoped for from the Crazy Explosive models. My favorite part from a design standpoint would be the toe down, which incorporates a veering accent line circling around the toe cap.

MATERIALS
WEAK ON PAPER, AMAZING ON THE COURT

Although the dual Mesh upper with some knit & suede hits sounds like a rip-off in the middle of the day considering its price, the upper actually did perform like a true banger though. Considering that the Mesh construction is double layered, it didn’t feel clumsy or thick. On the contrary, it was really soft to the touch and pretty form-fitting, while still maintaining that durability & longevity on a high level. Obviously, it’s not on the same comfort level as Primeknit or Flyknit, but I think it’s worth to give away some comfort in exchange of increased durability. Am I right?

Looking a little bit higher, there we can find a knitted ankle collar which is an essential part of a one-piece bootie construction to create an easy access to the shoe. And while I didn’t receive any issues putting them on due to fairly stretchy knit, wide footers may have a bit tougher time doing that. Still, it shouldn’t be so big of a deal whatsoever.

CUSHION
THE MOST VERSATILE SET-UP?

So we do have the Crazy Explosive line which is famous for its extremely squishy BOOST with ton of impact protection to offer. There’s also the Harden signature line for those who need a true guard-oriented tooling underneath their feet with a nice low-profile ride & plenty of responsiveness. But how about connecting best of both worlds, huh? This is where the Crazy BYW X comes in and saves the day. Save to say, this is the most well-rounded BOOST midsole out right now, period.

As you can see, the midsole is decoupled which allows the forefoot and heel move separately to even further enhance that all-around performance. And although this type of construction isn’t very commonly used in the ball shoe manufacture, I do think that it suits this sneaker perfectly in terms of how performance & style go.

The forefoot does play very much like the tooling on the Harden Vol.1 – BOOST is fully-caged with this semi-translucent rubber, making the forefoot really stable & responsive to any type of move. So if you’re a heavy forefoot striker or you just enjoy responsive ride, this is definitely what you need. Now talking about the heel, it seems like adidas just slapped that gigantic slab of BOOST and that’s about it. Yep, that should do it. Ironically, this beefy-looking slab of BOOST did its job flawlessly – crazy amount of impact protection & pillow like softness. PERFECT stuff for a heavy or explosive player.

TRACTION
YOU CAN’T GO WRONG WITH THE HERRINGBONE, AREN’T YOU?

Same thing as the cushion, the BYW X features two different traction patterns for each BOOST unit – herringbone in the forefoot & Crazy Explosive type of pattern in the back. On paper, this stuff sounds like a true punisher. However, we ain’t playing on paper, we’re playing on the damn hardwood.

No surprise, on clean courts I didn’t receive any issues whatsoever – just pure “strait up glue” performance. But that doesn’t mean much since a 50$ budget performer is able to bring out this type of performance on a regular basis as well. So the only way to separate the men from the boys, is to throw them on a dirty court.

While on clean courts these bad boys where phenomenal, dust problems kept them from being great on rough surfaces too. I’m definitely not saying that it was garbage or just a pure dog shit. Nah, that’s not the case. The main reason is the herringbone pattern being to narrow & compact to the point where it becomes a pure dust magnet once you touch the floor. The heel portion, on the other hand, did its job nicely even when dust was present. So in order to receive that killer bite, you need to wipe those damn bottoms whenever you have a free second or two (if you have two free seconds – wipe them twice for the good measure).

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the worst part… That god damn DURABILITY was the worst part of this traction. Rubber was so delicate that it did fray as fast as my ice cream on a sunny day, and I’m not exaggerating right now. I’m dead ass. It must be the softest rubber I’ve ever tested in my entire career. And that comes from a 200$ sneaker? It’s just unacceptable in any context man.

FIT
COMFORT LEVEL OVER 9000

Going back on a winning streak, fit was definitely one of the best, if not the best highlight of this shoe. As usually with my adidas kicks, I went 1/2 a size down and it did work out perfectly fine for me. Wide footers should go true to their size.

First time lacing them up, they did feel a bit too tight, especially on the lateral sides. So I was forced to chill out for a sec and loosen those laces up, in result, giving away some containment in the process. Luckily, after a few spins the mesh did break in nicely, letting me to tighten my shit up back again and put in some serious work on the hardwood. So break in process was a thing but it wasn’t super long or painful whatsoever, pause.

Again, after putting in some hours on the court, that mesh & knit combo evolved into more forgiving & better form-fitting tooling. And together with that minimalistic lacing system, I was able to achieve near custom made like fit. Just simply enjoyed every single second spend in these.

SUPPORT
NOTHING TOO INNOVATIVE, BUT GETS THE JOB DONE WELL

At first glance the BYW X clearly doesn’t seem to have a very supportive construction, however, performance speaks for itself once you get loose on the court. For what they stand for (comfort & light ride), I couldn’t be much happier with this straightforward, yet above solid set-up.

The lacing system is pretty much the same stuff as on the last year’s Crazy Explosive model, only this time, adidas added a few straps both on inner & outer sides for improved lateral containment. Talking about lateral containment, there’s a quite vastly sized suede panel, as well as, rubber extension to really keep that mesh from stretching out once pressure is applied. Meanwhile, the back has this perfectly molded internal heel counter for strong heel lock-down. Hell slippage? Not in these bad boys.

The base itself is considerably wide, so I did feel completely stable while making any type moves. And despite the fact that there isn’t any outrigger, that protruded BOOST midsole compensates its loss with bunch.

OVERALL
As much as I did enjoy playing in them, I still can’t get over their price tag. It has been bugging me the entire way. Even so, I’m still think that the Crazy BYW X is a solid performer and adidas did a great job of showing us a sneak peak of the hoop sneaker feature. However, the shoe has one pretty ugly flaw that a $200 product shouldn’t be having. Personally, I would love to see them priced at $160 or something in that price range. Let me know how much you would pay for them in the comment section below.

I can only see people who own multiple pairs in their rotations actually buying adidas hi , just to update their collection & play around from time to time. Now, if you don’t have multiple pairs to hoop in and you’re looking for a solid performer for a new season or maybe two, just pass these bro. There’re plenty of cheaper alternatives that could deliver great all-around performance and ability to play outdoors without having a head ache.

Nike Kobe NXT 360 Performance Review

Is the Nike Kobe NXT 360 better than the Kobes of the past? We’ve got the performance review ready and waiting.

Traction on the Kobe NXT 360 started out phenomenally — and I took the shoe to the worst court I play on right from the jump. For nearly two weeks I didn’t even need to wipe the soles whenever I played, dust or not, and that is rare for any shoe.

However, the extreme bite that the shoe started with hasn’t remained since I began testing it. The shoe is slowly losing some of its bite on court surfaces and the rubber is breaking off in my high-wear areas. While this is normal for an outsole over its lifespan in a player’s rotation, it is not normal for it to happen in just four weeks of testing. At $200 I’d expect the outsole to last, at the very minimum, three months before I start to see significant signs of wear and tear.

The last time I had an outsole grind down this quickly on me was with the first edition CrazyLight Boost 2015. Both shoes have produced very similar experiences as well; both had phenomenal traction to start with but slowly lost their ability to really bite the longer I used them.

This traction may be a deal breaker for some and it definitely means don’t take the Kobe NXT 360 outdoors.

React and Lunarlon make a combined appearance in the Kobe NXT 360 and it isn’t that much different from what we’ve been getting from previous drop-in midsoles.

React foam has basically replaced the Air systems you’d see installed in the heel and I think it’s a much more fluid ride once broken-in. The entire midsole reminded me a lot of the midsole that came in the Nike Kobe 11. It has plenty of court feel and responsiveness in the forefoot with lots of impact protection in the rear. I did not enjoy the extreme squish the heel offered at first — it felt a lot like the LeBron 11 midsole — but it quickly evened out to provide a much more balanced ride than before.

I think fans of the drop-in Lunar midsoles will enjoy the addition of React as it doesn’t take anything away from the midsole’s court feel and response. However, it’s able to add a little bit of extra comfort to a setup that some may have felt was lacking.

360-degrees of Flyknit was hyped up quite a bit, and while it’s cool, it wasn’t anything spectacular. If anything, the new technology speaks volumes on how much things have changed in the way shoes are made — but not on how they perform.

The Kobe NXT 360’s rear section of Flyknit is what I personally prefer from my knitted materials. Had that type of knit been from heel to toe then I would have likely loved the build. Instead, the toe was a thin, practically see-through layer of knit that felt like it was made up of fishing line — really strong fishing line.

Speaking on its performance only, I didn’t hate it. It worked well and did everything you’d come to expect out of a shoe — especially a knitted one. I still question its longevity, but my pair only shows dirt as a sign of wear vs rips and tears.

The Nike Kobe NXT 360 fits true to size. Being that the forefoot section of the shoe is practically see-through you’ll definitely know whether or not you know your actual true size. If you feel the shoe runs long then I suggest you measure your foot to ensure you’re wearing the size you think you should be. My toe edges up to the tip of the shoe which is perfect for this type of sneaker that is built on the thin/flimsy side.

Lockdown in the Kobe NXT 360 was very good — surprisingly good, actually. I didn’t expect this minimal shoe to really lock in at all but the way the midsole fills up the shoe, with your foot filling out the rest, you’re actually locked in better than some of the previous Kobe models. It isn’t quite to the level of a Kobe 5 or 6, but definitely better than something like the Kobe 10 or 11.

This is truly a shoe that fits and feels like a complete extension of your foot. One-to-one is the simplest way to describe it — if you know your proper size that is.

Support was one area that the Kobe NXT 360 lacked just a bit. Not enough to where I knocked down its score, but enough to leave me wanting a bit more for my $200.

The heel counter section of the shoe is its strongest support feature, as it should be. With the shoe contoured the way it is beefing up the security in the rear was essential for “ankle support” and heel lockdown. Midfoot torsional support was solid as well, but this is where I think a carbon fiber plate would have kept the weight down while retaining strength — and it would’ve made me feel like I bought a brand new $200 sports car for my feet. Lateral stability was a big worry for me with the way the shoe is designed to mimic your foot, down to the shape of its heel, because there is no traditional outrigger or wide forefoot base.

When I curl around a screen and stop as quickly as I can to get an open look I’m using all forefoot. Having a wide base that’s flat, firm, and supported is something I really look for, and while I did not receive that in this shoe, I never missed it. Again, the sneaker is designed to mimic the foot better than any shoe I’ve worn and that’s exactly how it plays. It’s like having feet strong enough to play barefoot…but it’s just your shoe.

The Nike Kobe NXT 360 is a next generation shoe if there ever was one. Back in the ’90s we had the Air Jordan 11 and then the Nike Foamposite. Today, there is the Kobe NXT 360.

The shoe offers enough of everything to keep a player on the floor comfortably. However, its lack of outsole durability could cause some to stay away (as if the $200 price tag wasn’t scary enough). The shoe is extremely fun to play in, which is something that isn’t easy to achieve.

There are many good/great performance models from every brand out there but they don’t all play “fun.” It’s a feeling that’s hard for me to describe but if you’ve ever had one of those shoes that you just enjoy lacing up and getting down in then this is one of those shoes for me. Maybe it’s the fact that the Kobe NXT 360 is see-through, extremely lightweight, and supportive that makes it as fun as it is. Or it could be the bright yellow and purple — I’m still DubNation though.

If you end up grabbing a pair of the Nike Kobe 1 Protro then I hope you enjoy the shoe as much as I did — and I really hope it lasts you! Traction wearing down with each wear is frustrating but the upper has stayed strong, although it’s what I thought would be the first thing to go.

Thank you for stopping by, reading, watching, and commenting. We at hoopjordan.net appreciate your continued support. Now get off your computer, smartphone, or tablet and get back on the court. Enjoy your time on the hardwood while you still can.

And1 Attack Low Performance Review

And1 is back, at least from a performance perspective. So how does the And1 Attack Low stack up? Follow the bouncing…

If you played basketball and grew up in the ’90s you wore And1 something. The Game Shorts may be the best shorts ever. The Trash Talk tees were classics. The shoes, at one time, were worn by numerous players in the NBA — most notably Vince Carter, Kevin Garnett, Latrell Sprewell, and Chauncey Billups. Simply put, the shoes played, and they spoke to the youth like no company at the time.

Flash forward nearly 20 years to now. The company signed a deal with Wal-Mart, and things went downhill from a basketball-consumer perspective. However, the company has recently focused on making a true performer, one that is worthy of NBA floors again, and with that we get the And1 Attack Low. Let’s go…

First of all, and this has to be addressed now, that gum bottom is a beauty. The color is only found with the white upper, but imagine that same gum was on the red and black colorways on the And1 site — wheeww! Okay, enough on the looks — the pattern works and works well.

A wavy tread covers the forefoot under the balls of the feet while a chevron herringbone covers you under the toes. Both hold on to the floor and push dust way off the shoe. Not one time did I have to wipe — not just per wear, I’m talking at all, from session to session, day to day. Stopping was solid and immediate with no sliding or hesitation.

As for outdoors, you’re good, even in the gum colorway. Normally gum is softer than solid, but the And1 Attack Low feels like it will hold up great. The pattern is thick so that wear isn’t an issue, and the rubber below it is thick. And1 was always good for playground/outdoors, and the Attack Low follows right back up.
I was jumping up and down when I read the And1 Attack Low had Harmonix. For those not familiar, Harmonix was a system of air bags And1 used on the KG and Sprewell lines that allowed for compression and spring-back. It was coupled with a concave heel shape underfoot to further enhance the feeling, and it felt great while playing.

This isn’t that. Don’t get it wrong, this new adidas nmd r1 feels good while playing too. The feeling I was first reminded of was Asics Gel, both to the touch and underfoot. Harmonix RX rides low and feels fast, responding quickly to any step or movement. The impact protection is there as well, although the foam carrier is a little stiff and didn’t break in much. There isn’t a real “energy return” feel — once you land it’s pretty much over — but again, the stiff midsole and soft Harmonix get you into the next step smoothly and quickly.
2008 called — it wants it’s fuse back. While fuse does work in the long run, the initial break-in time — the popping, hard spots, and stiffness — is something a player will have to fight through to get to the good. And what is the good?

Well, for one, durability; the fused and mesh upper will be able to handle those rough outdoor summer courts. Containment is another strong point, as fuse does not stretch at all (so you better get the correct size). While you are working through that, and as the shoe “learns” your foot, expect some stiffness and a fit that is a little generous (more on that shortly).

The tongue and inner padding in the And1 Attack Low is really, really nice. The detailed logos on the tongue add some touches to let you know this shoe is serious about ball. The padding on the tongue is nice and thick and removes any lace pressure. The heel, though, that’s a different animal — literally.

The exterior area around the heel counter is embroidered to create a tiger’s face. Not Tony — a legit National Geographic-looking tiger. It’s in the same color as the upper so it is extremely subtle, but it is there. This adds nothing, but looks cool as Santa’s workshop.

For the interior of the heel, Nike Lebron 15 took the tiger logo and made it into silicon, then placed the silicon inside the heel area to grip the sock and eliminate heel slippage. At first, I thought someone wore the shoes before me and got some lint balls stuck in there. Then Nightwing and Stanley looked at their pairs and we managed enough brain power to figure it out.
As discussed in materials, when a fuse upper is used, fit sometimes takes a while to dial in. The And1 Attack Low is no different. When first put on-foot, the forefoot is noticeably narrower than the heel. For the first few wears, this meant some rubbing on the pinky toe, at least until the area broke in and softened up a little bit.

It is a snug fit, but unless you are a widefooter, specifically in the forefoot, I wouldn’t go up any. The length was right on, with my normal 10.5 fitting about a thumbs-width from the end of my big toe to the end of the shoe. One area fused shoes had problems with, at least on my foot, was toe bubble (extra volume right over the toes). Thankfully, the brand dropped the box height so the And1 Attack Low fits right on top of the foot with no extra volume.

The midfoot fit is completely locked in due to one thing: the simple lacing system. No real tricks, unless you count the lace straps running to the midsole, but the spacing and number of lace holes allows the shoe to pull up and form perfectly around the foot.

As for the heel, that generous width did cause some issues, specifically heel slip if I wasn’t laced tight. The thought was the silicon tiger pattern would grab and hold, but the fit is so wide that unless you lace up super-tight (which I do) you will still feel some heel slip. Personally, after the first two or three days of wearing, I felt secure and locked in, but if you have a narrow foot, at least in the heel, you may still have issues. The Attack Mid would probably work better with its higher cut and lockdown around the ankle.
Low-riding midsole? Check. Wide outsole for a stable base? Check. Fused materials on lateral side for containment? Check. Lacing system that works? Check. About the only thing not here that helps with support and stability is a solid heel counter, but with the way the midsole rises up on the foot in the back of the shoe a counter would be overkill.

For a low (feels funny even phrasing it that way with the way lowtops are made now), the support is on par with the best in the game. There is even a TPU midfoot shank for torsional support. The And1 Attack Low has all the makings of a supportive shoe without feeling like a boot. And1 used to make “running shoes for the court” and the Attack Low gets back to those roots.

The And1 Attack Low was one of the most fun shoes I have reviewed this year. As someone who was around when the company started and saw what it would become, both good and bad, the And1 Attack Low is a serious jump back to the performance world. And1, at one time, had nearly 20% of the NBA on it’s roster. That’s a lot of players, and the brand made a lot of killer shoes.

As for the adidas hi , if you are anything from a quick guard to a banging post, you should be good from every aspect of this shoe. The low ride, solid, stable base, and stability all work for any part of any game. Maybe, just maybe, look at the Mid if the ankle height makes you feel better, but otherwise the Low has you covered.

For the summer, the And1 Attack Low is a great outdoor option as well, and the white/gum goes from courts to streets as smooth as the And1 Player’s bald head. Keep this coming and we may even get more mixtapes (but I doubt it).

Adidas NMD R1 Performance Reviewed

The adidas NMD  outsole is pretty standard in terms of what adidas shoes usually have. With a thick rubber base, this NMD R1 has great traction, and the patterned designed allows for extra grip. The traction is suited for both wet and dry conditions, but there have been some wearers who have found that the outsole lacks the responsiveness and traction needed for quick movements and turns. For outdoor and indoor runners, the outsole should provide enough grip to support and stabilize your run, but athletes such as basketball players may find that cannot pivot quickly in these shoes. The webbed design of the outsole serves to protect the thick cushioning offered up by the midsole. As there are numerous color options and limited released styles, certain NMD R1′s feature a glow in the dark outsole, which is a fun feature for night runners.

Midsole

One of the notable additions that was added to the NMD R1 is the boost outsole. Boost cushioning is unique to adidas, and it offers a higher energy return when compared with other midsoles on the market. With each stride the midsole will absorb what you put in, and in turn release that back as your foot takes off again. A unique addition to the NMD R1′s midsole is the stability plugs which can be plainly seen from the side of the shoe. While enhancing the appearance and giving a more original look, these plugs also serve to help stabilize the foot and give the wearer a bit of added balance. The stability plug near the rear of the shoe is larger in size and it serves the purpose of helping to stabilize the heel during movement. The two colored blocked plugs are a throwback to the original adidas, a nod to the history that preceded this line.

Upper

Besides the Boost cushioned midsole, the second most notable technology put in to these shoes is the Primeknit upper design. Adidas Primeknit technology is created in a way that it feels almost sock like against the foot. With a more snug fit, the Primeknit upper gives you a customized feel while providing ample support and security to the foot. Using absolute precision, the upper is knit using incredibly strong fibers; the ultimate goal being to have a material that is lightweight and breathable while remaining durable. The knit is reinforced in high use areas, such as the toes, to ensure that no degradation or holes occur over time. The stretch allows for enough freedom that the foot can move naturally without feeling restricted. Highly breathable, runners should notice that their feet don’t overheat and that there is enough air flow to provide a comfortable and sweat reduced environment.

Weight

With the addition of adidas new Primeknit technology, the upper design has a significant affect on the overall weight of the shoe. The Primeknit upper is significantly lighter than other knit materials, contributing to an overall decrease in the shoe’s weight. Not only does the upper employ light weight technologies, but the boost midsole has similar properties that allow for it to remain light while still being responsive. The stability plugs and general thickness of the midsole make for a shoe that appears to be heavier, but it is crafted from small sponge like pellets that weigh next to nothing. This use of pelleted sponge decreases weight and allows for this shoe to be great for runners who want to feel like they’re wearing nothin at all.
Breathability
One of the major benefits that the adidas NMD R1 offers is that the shoe is comfortable in warm weather just as much as cold. The thinness of the upper material allows for high breathability, reducing sweat and overheating in the summer months. In keeping their design different from other brands on the market, adidas primeknit is woven in a way that allows for larger holes to exist in between the fabric. Larger holes means larger airflow, ensuring feet sweat less and moisture is diminished throughout a run or during the day. The lack of an interior tongue also helps with breathability, as there is less padding and material pressed against your foot.

Comfort

One thing that is often remarked on again and again is how comfortable the adidas NMD R1 feels when on. From the extensive cushioning under the foot, so the molded feeling of the upper, this is a shoe that feels comfortable for the majority of wearers who try it on. With each step, this is a shoe that cradles the foot and provides ample support and padding so that shock and pressure is distributed evenly. Regardless of terrain, this shoe handles bumps and smoothness with equal efficiency, and the wearer should find their foot is adequately protected from rocks and debris. The primeknit upper molds snugly to the foot, ensuring a comfortable and customized feel, and the material is soft against the skin. Moving with you, the custom, sock like fit, allows for extensive freedom and feels more natural with every step. One thing wearers have noticed is that the NMD R1 is less comfortable than some of the other models offered by adidas, but it still ranks highly on their list of most comfortable running shoes.

Style

To list every color and pack this shoe comes in would take far too long, and it is safe to say that the options available are virtually endless. Regardless of what style is preferred, the adidas NMD R1 offers up an exhaustive list of monochrome choices as well as tri-color packs, two toned styles, and patterned designs. There are limited edition family packs, BAPE mash ups, and other one of a kind styles that won’t be found on any other shoe on the market. Because the primeknit upper is so easy to dye, it allows for limitless possibilities when it comes to style. While the camo knit is multicolored and expansive, the knit blacks are majority monochrome, only punctuated by the while midsole and red stability plugs. When it comes to general construction, the shoe features a singular unit with no separated tongue, giving it a sleek appearance. The laces are more or less decorative as the primeknit does enough to secure the shoe to the foot without the need for tightening. The stability plugs are one of the most noticeable features on the shoe, recreating the original 1980′s design.

Durability

As with any knitted upper, the long term durability is going to be affected and depending on what the shoes are being used for will determine how long the ultimately last. Where as the primeknit is more likely to stand up over time due to the stength of the fibers, intense sport or athletic pursuits will decrease the longevity. With all of that being said, for a knit shoe these are surprisingly durable and the upper has been reinforced so that high use areas don’t degrade over time. The major downfall with the upper primeknit is that the material itself is difficult to clean, and some wearers have found that these shoes get dirty very quickly and are unable to be returned to a clean looking condition. While a cleaner or protection spray may help in the short term, it is reasonable to expect these to get dirty and stay dirty after awhile.

Protection

The majority of the shoe’s protective features come from Boost sole, and little else. There is no caged design, no overlays, and no features that are going to offer up foot protection in a work, snow, or an otherwise difficult environment. This shoe really is for the city explorer, and it is designed to ensure your foot stays comfortable, supported, and cushioned throughout the day. The Boost sole promises that every step you take has superior energy return, allowing you to walk and run with ease. There is some rubber on the toe area for a bit of extra protection, and the primeknit is heated in high use areas to ensure the knit stays tight and bonded. If you want to protect your shoes and keep them long lasting, Crep Protect is going to be one of your best bets for keeping your shoe great over time.

Responsiveness

When you see that an adidas shoe has the Boost sole, you should already know that it will be one of the most responsive shoes on the market. With the ability to deliver a higher energy return than other soles available, this shoe is extremely responsive to your every step. If you are a runner, you are going to find that this shoe offers up far more consistency, and it’s heat resistant properties mean that mile after mile your shoe will keep it’s shape, bounce, and cool feel. For those on their feet all day, the responsive Boost sole reduces foot fatigue, as it makes each stride more smooth and natural. When combined with a knit upper, you have a shoe that feels almost customized on your foot, giving you a great feel for every move you make.

Support

Again this category has to go back to Boost in order to really see why this shoe has the amount of support as it does. With a shoe that responds to your foot every time to step, you know that you are getting support to ensure that you remain comfortable all day long. For those who need the additional arch support, this shoe is great and molding to your foot, allowing for added support in the areas you need it most. With the addition of the stability plugs, these shoes are now able to give you more support with your balance, great for overpronators and those who tend to supinate when they run.

Terrain

The adidas harden vol 2 is designed to be a city shoe, great for pavement in both wet and dry conditions. It’s a fantastic shoe to run or exercise in, and will hold up well regardless of the milage being put on them. While this shoe does have good grip and traction, it is not intended to be used as an off road, trail hiking shoe and it doesn’t offer the types of features and protections you would want for those types of activities. If the NMD R1 is the shoe of your dreams, and you want to be able to use it for more rugged experiences, it is worth noting that there is a model called the adidas NMD R1 Trail that is certainly worth a look. NMD stands for urban nomads, and that’s precisely who is going to find the NMD R1 ideal; city streets are the place to show off these shoes.

Price

adidas has never been considered a cheap brand, and whenever a newer model comes out there is generally a higher price tag associated with it. In terms of price, the adidas NMD R1 is expensive, that’s just a fact, but a lot of that comes down to the fact that it features two of adidas newest and best in shoe technologies. The Boost and Primeknit combination is taking the shoe market by storm, and if you want in on this top of the line pairing, you are going to have to pay for it. While the value is certainly there, some people do find that these are still too pricey, and with older models available for less, you can save money by downgrading. The price tag at the moment is highly justified, as these are some of the hottest and most popular shoes adidas has out, and even at full retail value they are selling out quickly from most stores.

Traction

With some serious webbing on the underside of this shoe, the traction you will get is going to be great on a variety of different terrains. Wet or dry pavement should make no difference to this shoe, and the grip provided will keep you stable and secure as you run or walk. Depending on which model and colorway you opt for, some of these addias NMD R1′s feature a sticky, black sole that will give an added amount of traction especially in more wet conditions. There are also a few colorways that have a diamond shaped tread instead of the web, and some wearers find this design to be more effective overall.

Flexibility

These sneakers are incredibly flexible, and that has a lot to do with their upper knit design. Because there is no stiffness in materials used, this shoe is almost sock like in feeling and will conform and bend with your foot as you move. To ensure an enhanced, better, and more breathable fit these shoes have kept a focus on flexibility to ensure that runners, and city walkers, needs are met. Although the snugness of the Primeknit may feel restrictive to some at first, many do notice that the increased flexibility ends up making for a much more comfortable shoe once they adjust to the newness of the material. For those who have owned or worn Primeknit shoes in the past, the NMD R1 will feel like a comfortable and flexible old friend.

Stability

One of the big changes that occured from the original adidas NMD to the NMD R1 was the addition of the stability plugs on the sides of the midsole. While many thought this to simply be an aesthetics choice, the real reasoning had to do with adidas wanting to add some extra support, stability, and balance to this already well rounded shoe. For runners and walkers who find that their ankles or feet don’t fall and roll naturally, the addition of these stability plugs is meant to enhance your gait so that you tend to have more natural movement. Each time your foot hits the pavement, it is the goal of the plugs to gently roll your foot in to the position it should be in. For this reason, these shoes do have better stability than previous models, but still may not have as much stability as some of the other adidas models that are on the market. While a neat feature, many wearers find that stability plugs add more to the appearance than they do to the actual performance of the shoe.

Drop

Although it was difficult to find the exact measurements, many reviewers and wearers noted that there was a distinct heel to toe drop that was noticeable. Although this didn’t seem to affect the overall rating of the shoe, some mentioned that this part of the shoe certainly took some getting used to, and so it’s important to take that into consideration before purchasing a pair for yourself. For those who are heel strikers, this can be seen as a much added bonus, but midfoot strikers may want to try a pair on before committing to such an expensive purchase.

Q4 Sports Nforcer Performance Review

Today I’m sharing my Q4 Sports Nforcer Performance Review with you all, and spoiler alert: Q4 Sports is one up-and-coming brand that you should keep your eye on.

The traction on each of Q4’s models is simple: herringbone, maybe a pivot point, and an outrigger. No frills, no gimmicks, just a pattern that’s been proven to work and an outsole durable enough to last.

While the adidas nmd NForcer was tested indoors and outdoors, we’re constantly asked what shoe can withstand the blacktop without the outsole grinding down to nothing in a matter of weeks. If you forgot to put an asterisk with the question along with “what *Nike shoe” then you’ll want to keep looking.

Believe it or not, the cushion on the NForcer is the shoe’s standout feature. Yes, new brands can have great cushioning. Just look at Under Armour…early Under Armour, the Micro G days.

Q4 Sports uses a foam that it calls KOMpress for the midsole. It’s a open celled foam in certain areas for rebound and tightly celled foam in others for court feel. The bounce I’ve received from this setup has been awesome. I’d say it’s the brand’s most comfortable tooling setup other than what’s featured on the Millennium Hi model.

I’ve been using the model outdoors since testing them indoors and I am in love with the cushion for the blacktop. The feedback I received from the foam along with its low profile forefoot make for a really fun ride.

Materials on the Q4 Sports NForcer are slightly dated. Like the recent And1 Attack Low, the build of the shoe seems more like something you’d have found on a basketball shoe back in 2008. The toebox does utilize a thin knit at the toe, but its backed with a thin TPU fuse material (as are the overlays).

Luckily, the fuse used is thin enough to make breaking in the shoe a breeze while the material is still able to retain its shape and strength. There are many types of fuse materials that vary between thickness, hardness, resiliency, etc., and Q4 Sports uses a variety of options on each of its models. If I were to compare this fuse material to a shoe I’ve worn in the past then it would have to be the SkinFuse from the NIKE KOBE 1 PROTRO. It’s just about as thin and moves just as well with the foot. The fit isn’t the same as the two models are built on different lasts but the feel and performance of the material is very similar.

While Q4’s models don’t all fit the same, I recommend going true to size if you’re looking at the NForcer. Wide footers might be able to get away with going true to size, but some very widerfooters may want to go up 1/2 size.

Lockdown in the shoe is pretty standard. The Q4 Sports Nforcer fits nicely from the midfoot to the collar and when laced up tight you don’t feel any slippage or dead space. Much like the outsole, there’s nothing fancy to see here — nothing special or extraordinary, just something that works and works well.

Materials are one area where I wasn’t feeling 100%, and support is the other. While the support on the Q4 Sports NForcer relies on its lockdown, fit, and ability to move one-to-one with your foot, it would have been nice to see the support pieces in place be a bit more sturdy.

The heel counter was my main concern. I never felt like I was going to roll over the footbed at any time, but a strong heel counter goes a long way. The Nforcer’s torsional plate could have used a bit more rigidity as well. Although, Q4’s product description reads “T.S.S./26 midfoot shank technology that “moves when you move” for optimal motion and fit” — which it does. When you’re locked into the shoe and onto the footbed you never feel like the midfoot torsion is lacking. It’s noticeable in-hand but not on-foot.

Overall, I really enjoy the Q4 Sports NForcer. I still feel the Millennium Hi is the brand’s most well-rounded performer, but I also think that that will change with the upcoming PE Collection.

When I tested the Q4 495 Lo I had enjoyed the materials and build but felt the tooling and outsole could use an upgrade. I was surprised that the NForcer, a shoe that retails for a $10 less than the 495 Lo, offered a better cushion and traction setup. I thought that it would be awesome to see the two areas of each model combined to make one really solid sneaker and sure enough the brand seems to have been on the same page — and no, I never brought it to Q4’s attention. This was purely coincidence.

Because of this, I’m very excited to play in one of the upcoming 495 Lo PE’s. It should offer the bouncy cushion setup and grip from the NForcer but the smoother feeling knit build of the 495 — in low top form, which is a big plus for me.

I feel Q4 Sports is still very much slept on. The brand is still very new to the market so that isn’t a surprise to me, but I hope that people will be willing to give it a try. Like most shoes that are overlooked because they’re missing a Swoosh/Jumpman emblem, the Q4 Sports NForcer just might surprise you.

However, if you’re truly into performance and the brand really doesn’t matter more than your dollar then look no further. Again, the Yeezy v2 350 was tested indoors, and it works well so long as there isn’t too much dust, but outdoors the rubber bites and it bites hard. Unlike outsoles from plenty of other brands that we test, there are no signs of rubber fraying or wear. For a shoe that retails for just $100, your dollar will go a long way.

adidas Pure Boost Performance Reviews

I haven’t done a shoe review for a while, but I couldn’t not let you guys know exactly what I think about these well publicised new Adidas Pure boost. These little beauty’s have been all over Instagram & Facebook as well as print media. You’ve probably seen them- they’re bright pink and blue, and have a floating arch…they’re hard to miss. They also have a rather gorgeous black pair, and a white/grey pair, plus a Stella McCartney for Adidas hi print pair.

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Let me give you a bit of background first, these women specific shoes have taken 3 years and 100 prototypes to come to market, from original brainstorming to actual conception. As I’ve mentioned they have a floating arch, basically a hole between the shoe upper and the sole which feels pretty snug and looks cool. Women’s running style is a little different to men’s, with more flexible ligaments, a greater angle is created in the arch of the foot than in men. The infamous floating arch provides a sock like ‘hug’ and supports the arch in a way that other Boosts don’t.

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They are amazingly light, and feel very cushioned (as all Boost are with the brilliant Boost technology). They’re a neutral shoe but even still feel like they’re more minimalist and less supportive than the Boost and Ultra Boost. Personally I wouldn’t be able to run more than 3-5 miles in them, and Adidas themselves recommend building up the mileage slowly in them. By the end of a 5 miler I could really feel the ache in my feet!

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Let me warn you, the shoes come up SMALL! I usually wear a side 5.5-6, I’ve got a pair of 6.5 UK and my right toe is right up at the top of the shoe and I wish I’d chosen a 7.

The front and the sides of the shoes are really bouncy and comfortable however the back comes up rather high in my opinion and rubbed my ankles when I was wearing ankle socks, and I know I’m not the only one they felt this way; a few people had a blister before leaving the press event.

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Nonetheless, with high enough socks the shoes are very comfortable, and so lightweight that you can almost forget you’re wearing them. They were perfect for my 1Rebel workouts this week, as well as my strength and conditioning PT session- apparently you could literally see my foot wobbling within the shoe whilst I tried to balance doing TRX lunges. These will become a firm favourite for treadmill workouts, HIIT style classes and definitely during Barry’s Hell Week but unfortunately they just aren’t supportive enough for training runs for me.

If you’re looking for a half or full marathon training shoe, these are not the ones, however they’re brilliantly light for gymming and short runs.

Adidas Pure Boost X were released on 1st Feb and retail for £90-£150.

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