Stanley T. With Nike Kyrie 5 Performance Review

Just before the year ends, a performance review on the Nike Kyrie 5 comes in from a bag man’s perspective.

Nike’s Kyrie 5 uses a completely different pattern than last years herringbone with some intricate designs to it. Though it’s not your typical herringbone, the multi-directional grooves gave the shoe not only a cool look, but most importantly, a functional one. No matter the change of direction or how hard I pushed the shoe, the traction was exceptional. Occasionally, you’ll need a quick wipe on those super dirty courts but on clean courts wiping the bottom of the shoe, although a habit of mine despite having good traction or not, was almost an afterthought.

The multi-directional patterns allow you to play quickly without hesitation and that’s what I prefer. While I’m not the quickest of the bunch, I do change directions often, forcing my defender off balance and by doing so, allowing myself to manipulate my stance and trust my footwork. I think quick, smaller guards or even guys who are primary ball handlers, will easily take advantage of traction this reliable. I would suggest playing with these indoor mainly. However, for those who don’t have the option or have the overseas release with the XDR rubber traction outsole, it might not last long but it’ll do the job and then some, while it lasts.

Nike utilizes the new Nike Air Zoom Turbo in the Kyrie 5. While this setup definitely gives a small nod to articulated Zoom Air of the past, it feels quite different however. For a heavy-footed person like myself, the Zoom definitely felt noticeable upon foot placement, especially heavy directional changes and planting. While the Nike Zoom Turbo isn’t overly bouncy, it does its job, especially with how the Zoom Turbo is cored into the Phylon midsole to compliment outsole design. I was really hoping for the implementation of Cushlon and Zoom Air again but this setup works. I also wouldn’t mind paying an extra $5-$10 for an additional heel Zoom Air unit.

For those anticipating major bounce-back from the ride, this isn’t it. The shoe is designed for maximum court-feel; it wasn’t a definite deal-breaker for me. However, I’d like to see Zoom Air Turbo eventually utilized in either full-length fashion or maybe in a slightly larger volume.

Engineered mesh was utilized just as it was on the Kyrie 4: the material is nice, lightweight and breaks-in rather quickly. An added nylon interior combined with the exterior mesh compliment each other so that the materials can hold well together without restriction. It would have been nice to seen some additional premium materials with the small price increase but this setup works with or without it.

SNUGGGGGGGGG! While the Kyrie 5’s predecessor, the Kyrie 4, was a little snug, the 5 really took it up a notch due to the Flytrap overlay design, which does exactly what it’s supposed to (keep you locked down). It’s definitely a shoe that everyone should try on in-store. If you can’t and have a slightly wide-foot like myself, I say go 1/2 size up to save yourself from a lack of blood flow.

This is probably one of the best locked down shoes to date. The combination of the Flytrap overlay and the structural design of the shoe, while a struggle to put on and pull off, made the foot feel extremely secure. I do love the security and lockdown provided, as long as you get the right fit.

Solid. Simple as that. It’s one of the more stable shoes released this year. While it does have a rounded outsole, the shoe was very fluid from heel-to-toe transitions but more refined. The shoe keeps you secure on the footbed, fully locked-in and has killer traction. What more can you ask for? Oh…right, more cushioning, especially what’s missing in the heel.

Hands down, one of the more fun shoes I’ve played in this year. It’s a solid overall shoe that caters to the needs of those that play a more grounded game and require unrestricted mobility. It’s the type of shoe that when someone asks you what you’re carrying around in your gym back, you tell them “THIS IS IT CHIEF!”

Again, I’ve said this repeatedly, but with the minor price increase, it’d be nice to see Nike implement a heel Zoom unit to compliment the Zoom Turbo in the forefoot. I mean, if they can do this for shoes overseas and charge the same amount, then I don’t see why not. This shoe is definitely a fun shoe that provides a smooth ride and is ready to go to war with on-court when you are ready.

Now, about that Cushlon layer into the Phylon midsole and extra Zoom in the Heel… I would love to see that on the next shoe down the line..here’s to wishful thinking.

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.

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.

Nike Pippen II 2 Retro Peformance Analysis and Review

*Sorry I struck out again with the Kobe I Protro. Lebron Solider XII next possibly . Sorry been really busy*

You know it’s hard out here for a Pippen (Pippen ain’t easy is so passé… and if you don’t know that song, go watch Hustle and Flow, you won’t regret it)

As I continue my shoe purge, I pulled these retro Nike Air More Uptempo’s out of the closet and decided to start using them them again. I never really “analyzed”what made them special but after studying what’s under the hood, I understand why I loved them so much back in the day. Twenty years later, shoes can say they look different but not many can say they are better.

Pros: traction, true to the OG Zoom, fit, support, stability, containment

Cons: leather needs break in? Some wiping needed on dusty floors

Sizing: true to size

Best for: any position

Weight: 16 ounces which is about an ounce more than average for a modern mid. Twenty years and shoes have only shed an ounce of weight in most cases.

Traction

So simple and efficient. Full herringbone with a nice pliable rubber compound. Even a top 50 of all time player didn’t get story telling on his shoe. There are no stories about Scottie and his grandma or the zip code of his old house, just a normal herringbone pattern.

These work almost as well as the Curry 5 with minimal wiping and stick to the floor traction when clean. They do need an occasional wipe of dusty floors though due to the flat “outline” around the outsole.

Cushioning

Zoom in the heel and forefoot with no break in? Sounds good to me.

These actually have the almost same forefoot Zoom set up as the OG Air jordan 13 which explains why I love this cushioning set up so much. The XIV has four sections while these seem to “only” have three. Amazingly, this 2006 retro pair has the same set up as the OG while the Jordan XIV retros do not. Cheaping out JB, who’s the CEO of JB?

adidas crazylight 2018 performance analysis review

This is a short and sweet review because the CLB 2018 is the 2016 version with a different upper material and less heel slip.

So a lot of people asked me to review this shoe but I chose to wait because I knew the 2018 was going to sit and I picked these up for $ 67.50 off during the Adidas 30% off sale. It really annoys me it when people say “Oh it’s $120 that’s a good deal” because it isn’t if you have just a little patience and understand supply and demand or if you just read my blog. Chinese heart attack is real people #aliwong

Pros: traction, cushioning, improved heel fit from 2016, stability, containment, one ounce lighter than 2016

Cons: cheaper feeling materials if you’re into that, some lace pressure at top eyelets

Sizing advice: runs long, same as the 2016, half a size down except wide footers

Best for: any position

Buying advice: $67.50 on sale and I’m happy. Bottom around $45-50 range Adidas did a poor job marketing and differentiating shoe

Weight

15 ounces which is one ounce lighter than the 2016 version. I’m guessing using the thinner mesh upper and less plastic shaved off that one ounce of weight.

Traction

Very similar to the 2016 but it did require some breaking in before it gripped like the 2016. The pattern is different but the result is the same. Very nice pliable rubber with very deep grooves.

Where did the all “important” Continental rubber go? Adidas must be reading my blog

So simple to do and execute but it’s barely down nowadays. Well done Adidas!!

Cushioning

Same as 2016 which is a good thing. Adidas has quietly firmed up the Boost in various shoes from 2016 to 2018 . DRose 6 was very soft, CLB16 and Rose 7 a little firmer, Harden V3 a little lower yet still comfortable, Harden V2 much firmer. This is a just nice blend just like the 2016. I think most players will like this set up.

Fit

These run long just like the 2016 and play even even longer by a touch because of of the thinner materials vs the 2016. I advise getting the same size you got in the 2016 especially wide footers.

I couldn’t go down half size due to wide feet so I had to stick with my normal 11. There is over a full thumb width at the toe which only took a little time to get used to. I think the majority of players will want to go down half a size

Eyelets

There is some lace pressure at the top eyelets so you have to adjust your lacing to get it right or wear thick socks. More padding would have helped

The biggest change from the 2016 to 2018 is a actually a very subtle change. Adidas basically did what I did with the CLB16 project and the stock heel fit is definitely improved. However it takes an hour or two to break in the midsole and plastic parts so it’s more flexible and starts to conform to your foot and heel.

If you just try these on in the store and walk around or don’t let them break in, you will be disappointed with the heel slip.

You can always accelerate the break in like I always do by bending them with your hands. The extra eyelets puts the top laces higher up along the foot so it helps pull the foot down AND back.

It isn’t quite kryie 5 lockdown in the heel since Nike tends to use denser/spongier and more padding that Adidas and UA but it is more than acceptable and very playable.

I’d also guess going down half a size would help even more but as I said earlier I need the width. (That’s what she said too)

As for the rest of the shoe, it fits well with a touch of dead space over the toe box

It doesn’t affect play at all either but I know shoe geeks are super anal (that’s what she said too!)

Materials

A stretchy mesh upper sounds like a my worst nightmare but this upper didn’t really let me down since they used a raised midsole in the forefoot and a pretty long heel counter to keep my foot from sliding around on hard cuts. In my article Why Knits Mesh Wovens don’t work, I spoke at length about why these mesh and knit uppers didn’t work and companies are actually implementing ways to contain the foot. For the most part, shoes like the Brandblack JC 2 and 3 which had no such raised midsole seem to be a thing of the past although it looks like the KD XI didn’t go that route. Of course it makes sense given KD’s penchant for sock like comfort.

Support and Stability

Same as the CLB16 so if those didn’t work out for you, these won’t either. Although the external heel counter is smaller than the 2016, Adidas put in an internal counter as well similar to what you find on Nike’s.

Not overly firm but still helpful.

Same exact plastic midfoot shank

Stability is exactly the same as the 2016 almost down to the forefoot nodules. Same width and notched in almost the exact same area.

Overall I had no issues with support and stability.

Containment

Another non issue just like the 2016. Raised midsole that runs along one third of the shoe.. Way to go Adidas !

Conclusion

So what’s the verdict? I think Adidas read my blog and fixed the issues the 2016 had when they could’ve done it right the first time. Four eyelets have increased to six while they moved the top eyelet back to where I put mine in the 2016.

I think for $67.50 it’s a great shoe that almost any player will enjoy but it does require a little break in time to get the most out of it. If you’re a fan of fancy named uppers, you will not like the CLB 18 but if you do like fancy names like Jacquard, buy the 2016 off eBay and poke some extra holes in it. They go for around the same price as the 2018 anyways.

Just like the modded Air More Uptempo, the fit is good but not great while everything else I enjoyed. Improve the fit a touch and you’d have a first team shoe but second team isn’t too bad either especially at $67.50.

adidas Crazy Explosive Primeknit PK 2017 Performance Analysis Review

I know everyone and their mothers loved the Crazy Explosive 2016 last year but they just didn’t work for me due to the placement of the cored out section and thin Boost in the forefoot. I wasn’t very hopeful for the 2017 but some slight tweaks ( international or not) in the cushioning made my neuroma pain a little more tolerable. As for the rest of the shoe, I feel the 2017 is superior to the 2016 but not everyone will feel the same way. Luckily, you can still buy the 2016 for less.

Pros: traction when clean, cushioning, fit, support and stabilty, containment

Cons: shoe starts off stiff but breaks in quickly, outsole needs wiping on dusty floors, outsole prone to wear and peeling

Sizing: most players will want to go up half a size since these run slightly short and narrow. Wide footers will definitely want to go up at least half a size.

Best for: guards or lighter bigs

Buying Advice: wait, they made a lot and they aren’t going anywhere. $100 is fair and what I paid, $75-85 range should be the bottom. Finishline has them for $112.50 after one month.

Weight

16.5 ounces in an 11.5 US. Pretty much the same as last year.

Traction

Power Coral, Ready for action!

Same as last year. Works great on clean floors but requires a fair amount of wiping on dusty floors. More than acceptable but still not top tier since it doesn’t have that strong bite and needs wiping to stay glued to the floor. Also it is still prone to peeling and wear so not really recommended for outdoor use. Swap out the Rose 7 traction and you’d have a beast of a shoe.

Cushioning

Similar to but slightly better feeling for me than last year’s set up.

Last year the forefoot felt thin to me and I didn’t feel it much but this year feels better for me in the forefoot. The set up feels ever so slightly firmer than last year’s which is great for me since I don’t bottom out quite as much. If it wasn’t cored out exactly where my neuroma sat, I’d have no issue but oh well at least it’s tolerable this time.
Just like last year this ridge is where the Boost actually starts.

Unfortunately, I can’t tell you if it’s supposed to feel that way or if it’s Adidas’s quality control. I actually bought the Black White Neoprene pair last year and was planning on writing about the improved traction but got sidetracked and never did. I actually bought four different pairs of the same shoe and they all felt different; Some felt great in the heel while others felt stiffer than the rest. I’ve had similar experiences with other Boost models. Don’t get me wrong it feels great underfoot pretty much no matter what but they do feel different.

Okay back to the actual cushioning on the CE17. Overall, the cushioning is slightly stiffer than the 2016 but still feels good heel to toe. Forefoot is still thin feeling due to the heel toe drop as well as the Infinity Shank. Cushioning is still softer than the Harden Vol 1, Rose 6 (in the heel) and CLB16 but just not as wide of a margin as last year’s.

Sizing
For reference I went true to size with the 2016. With the 2017, wide footers should go up half a size maybe even a full size because these run tight. Regular and narrow footers can go true to size or half a size up as well because these run a little short. I advise regular and narrow to try them on if possible.

Fit

Yes a real improvement!!

Adidas finally got the shoe sock (SHOCK) trend right. The fit on the CE 17 is fantastic and really gives a one to one sock like feel. The HD 2016 FK had a similar idea but I had some heel slip in those due to the placement of the top eyelet. This is one of the big reasons the fit works is because Adidas actually put the top eyelet where I need it to pull my ankle back and keep it there. They also made five sets of eyelets this time around (I told y’all it was a dumb gimmick last year!)

Another reason the sock works well is because Adidas padded the sewn in tongue well and kept it elastic.

By keeping it elastic, it keeps the tongue from bunching up and allows it to actually fit like a sock.

Overall the fit is excellent, well done Adidas!

Materials

Primeknit is back again but it isn’t as soft and flexible like last year’s. If you liked the softness of last year’s Primeknit, buy last year’s. Forged Primeknit is what Adidas calls it and it’s basically Primeknit with “forged yarn” plus some light glue on 95% of the upper. Adidas left out the “forged” portions along the medial forefoot to allow it to flex more naturally. It takes only a few runs to get the upper to break in. No issues here for me but if you liked the Primeknit of the 2016 version, get the 2016 version.

Support and Stability

Support comes mostly from the fit and the internal heel counter. At first glance it looks like the CE 17 sock is just there for proprioception only but only the very top of the collar is sock like so you do get a touch of support if you call padding support. You can see how thick yet flexible the padding is below.

Thankfully stability is once again excellent on the Crazy Explosive thanks a large flat outsole, low ride and infinity shank. I’m not sure if Adidas firmed up the shank but the 2017 starts out much stiffer underfoot than 2016 but breaks in nicely.

Just like the Hyperdunk 2017, I feel the combination of flexibility around the ankle with a very stable base is the best of both worlds. Great job Adidas!

Containment

My dream come true !!

Look at that roll cage.. heel to toe coverage. Containment is fantastic on the CE17. Awesome job Adidas!

Conclusion
I am probably the only “reviewer” who didn’t give the Crazy Explosive 2017 tons of praise and love. I get all geeked out over new tech like everyone else but not if it doesn’t translate onto the court it’s a simple pass for me. The 2017 made minor tweaks to the 2016 formula and the result is a better performing shoe due to a better fit and containment. I think most players will enjoy these because it does everything well if not great and really gives the player an excellent one to one fit with a low to ground yet well cushioned ride. If the cored out section wasn’t cored out and traction was improved I’d undoubtedly love these (I am a traction lover what can I say).

And if you loved the Nike Air Foamposite 2019 them again. 2016 is soooooooooooooo long ago so it’s time to clear them out of inventory and make room for the newer models. If you ever wondered why I don’t like top ten lists for a calendar year, well that’s why. Limiting your kicks to what’s new for the season really confines you to what the manufacturers make and market for the year. Keep your eyes open and you won’t have to open your wallet as wide while getting the shoes you actually want.