Clothes and Sneaker Reviews 2017~2018

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The Nike Hyperdunk X Deconstructed

The Hyperdunk X celebrates a decade since the line began in 2008. Thus, you won’t find anything new in this Nike Hyperdunk X deconstruction. Like past setups — most recently the Hyperdunk 2016 — the Hyperdunk X features heel and forefoot Zoom Air units; this offers impact protection at the heel and responsiveness at the forefoot. However, what’s notable in this latest Hyperdunk is just how much Zoom we’re getting. The heel Zoom Air unit in the Hyperdunk X is 14.10mm thick — that’s nearly double the 8.20mm thick heel unit in the Hyperdunk 2016 (scroll down to the bottom for a comparison). The forefoot unit is only 6.87mm thick, on-par with what we’ve seen in several Nike Basketball models. The units are top-loaded and protected via small 1.24mm thick windows that create 7-8mm gaps between the unit and the outsole. Gone is the React foam from the Hyperdunk 2017, which many of our thought was lackluster in its basketball implementation, but the small support plate at the midfoot (used in past Hyperdunk models) is back.

Moreover, it looks like wearers will sit within this tooling, although it is a bit higher off the ground than past Basketball Shoes models. Beneath the thick insole is a layer of white EVA that shows the tooling’s curvature around the foot. Finally, the upper of the Hyperdunk X is minimal and seems to be designed for breathability. A fairly open-celled mesh is backed by a thin film for reinforcement while the toe (above the mesh) is covered in fuse/TPU to protect against toe-drags. The Nike Hyperdunk X has retained its $130 price point and is available now at in both men’s and women’s sizes. Did you notice anything unusual in this Nike Hyperdunk X deconstruction? Let us know in the comments below.

Better Air Jordan 4 Collaboration: “Levi’s” or “KAWS”

Jordan Brand as used the Air Jordan 4 in some of the most recent bigger collaborations by hooking up with KAWS on two colorways as most recently with Levi’s. The Levi’s x Air Jordan 4 Denim is part of the upcoming Levi’s x Air Jordan 4 Collection which will release during 2018 This isn’t the first time that Levi’s and Jordan Brand collaborated, the first time was on the Levi’s x Air Jordan 1 Pack which also came with a pair of jeans. This took place in 2008 marking its 10th Anniversary. This Air Jordan 4 is highlighted in Blue Denim across the uppers while Tan and Red detailing is seen throughout. Following we have a bit of White on the midsole and Gum on the outsole. Finishing the look is Levi’s branding on the insoles. The Black KAWS Air Jordan 4 was the more limited pair out of the two, first appearing as a friends and family edition. The KAWS Air Jordan 4 Black will release during November part of Jordan Brand’s Holiday lineup. This marks the second collaboration between KAWS and Jordan Brand on the Jordan 4 which will launch on Cyber Monday. This Air Jordan 4 by KAWS comes dressed in predominate Black while premium suede runs throughout. Following we have his trademark Mickey Mouse like hands stitched while the ‘XX’ logo is seen on the heel. Other details includes the Jumpman x KAWS branding on the insoles while a Glow in the Dark outsole completes the look. Kicking of 2018, Jordan Brand and Levi’s dropped their Air Jordan 4 collaboration in its first of three colorways covered in full denim. If you have both pairs in your collection, consider yourself lucky. Looking back, which would you say was the better release? Cast your vote below and leave your thoughts in the comments section.


Nike KD 5 Performance Review

They got it right on the money this time. Leo Chang deserves a round of applause for this one. Traction – While these perform great on clean courts – as most shoes do – they were surprisingly good on dusty floors as well even with the story telling pattern. Luckily they went with a much more pliable rubber compound with the KD V versus the KD 11 so you have plenty of friction between your foot and the hardwood. As a fast paced PG… I thought these were fantastic. Cushion – Give them time to break-in and you’ll eventually fall in love with them. I personally would have liked to have fallen in love with them right from the start but impressing me each and every time I finished running in them was actually something I enjoyed as well. The 10mm forefoot Zoom unit was a nice change of pace – usually the KD signature has a much thinner Zoom unit – and the heel Air unit was a nice addition as well. What I thought was most important was their choice in foam as that can make or break almost any cushion source since it rest directly under foot. This foam breaks in nicely and feels better with each and every wear… not something I experienced with the KD IV. Material – Fuse is placed along the upper – a very thin layer by the way – and feels great as it wraps around the foot nicely. It still retains its shape better than any other material that we’ve seen placed on a performance sneaker and can withstand heavy beatings. You really can’t go wrong with Nike’s modern Fuse base… it’s probably one of the best synthetics around for performance footwear. Fit – You like wearing socks right? That’s how these feel on your feet. Like I noted above, the upper wraps your foot up perfectly and once the break-in period is complete you have a sneaker that will last and feel great on foot. I personal feel going ½ size down was appropriate but try them on yourself if possible just to be sure you get the correct size. Lockdown isn’t an issue in any area of the shoe. Midfoot lockdown is perfect, there is zero dead space at the forefoot and the heel fits perfectly and keeps you secured in place. I didn’t even have to use all the eyelets in order to achieve perfect lockdown so it felt as if I was wearing a low top even though these are mids/ highs. Ventilation – There isn’t much ventilation but with the materials used and the superb fit, their performance isn’t hindered one bit. Basically, if you feel your ‘feet get too hot’ when playing, you either should look at something else entirely or take care of that athletes foot. Support – Because the fit and lockdown are so great, the support is awesome. Keeping you secure in the shoe without movement provides you with all the support one would need without adding extra material. Having a lateral outrigger and stable base just improve the support by giving you some additional stability. Overall – This is one hell of a shoes . Talk about bang for your buck too… at $115 these are a steal. Just make sure you can handle the break-in process and you will love these the way you do your favorite pair of jeans.


Nike KD 6 Performance Review

The KD V is available but so is the KD VI… decisions… Traction – It isn’t horrible but it’s not as good as last years. While I was editing the video review I noticed that the pattern featured on both the KD V & KD VI are nearly identical but executed differently. The KD V‘s pattern was made so that the outline of the pattern was cut away and removed from the outsole, this provided an aggressive pattern which worked well. Meanwhile, the KD VI did the opposite and left the outline of the pattern in place and removed the inner portions which made for a slick surface when dust is involved. Next time… I hope they go the KD 11 route because it was much more efficient on-court. Just a tip, wipe the outsole at every dead ball and you will be good to go with traction… allow the dust to pile up under your foot and you’ll be ice skating. Cushion – The cushion is the same exact setup as the KD V but this time around they just feel much better right when you first walk out onto the court. These feel the way the KD V‘s feel after they’ve been broken-in… without needing to be broken-in. Awesome! These wiped the floor with the Zoom Soldier VII’s (I have been alternating between the two) in terms of comfort which is a surprise because I would have guess it to be the other way around prior to wearing them both. Bottom line… the KD VI won’t disappoint. Material – The Fuse is thin, pliable and requires nearly zero break-in time. Unfortunately, I do feel as if it isn’t quite as nice as the KD V’s and feels almost cheap in comparison. Why so many direct comparisons to the KD V you ask? Simple… they are sitting on shelves as we speak… right next to the KD VI… only one is priced at $115 while the other is $130. You do the math. Luckily, I don’t feel as if the materials feel warrants a bad score – it just ‘feels’ cheaper than the KD V’s more rugged upper that I love so much. It’ll still support you while remaining durable so there isn’t much to complain about… unless you have a weird infatuation with the KD V… like I do. Fit – I went up 1/2 size and it worked perfectly fine for me. You will still want to try them on in-store if possible and if it isn’t possible then I hope you’ve owned the KD IV as that is the one shoe that you can kind of compare it to. Lockdown though… incredible. Who knew such a low shoe would be so secure. I didn’t have one issue with them once laced up… not one. I haven’t worn a soccer cleat since I was 7 so I cant tell you if they have similar attributes in terms of fit and lockdown but since they look so much like one… its safe to assume that its pretty darn close. These are the best fitting low top basketball shoes since the Kobe V… that is all. Ventilation – Its better than the KD V but still nothing to write home about. I’m just glad the fit/ lockdown was near perfect so I didn’t wind up walking away with more blisters on my feet. Support – Most of the support comes from the fit and lockdown and those of you that wish to have plenty of torsional support along with arch support… you may be disappointed. The Air Jordan X was the last time a lack of arch support was apparent while in-game and these have a similar feel. I was able to feel my arch and the shoe separate slightly when in motion – typically after playing for 2+ hours – so if you have arch support insoles… take them with you. Overall – These are really fun to play in. The only thing that truly bothered me personally was the traction but again, wipe the outsole at every dead ball and you’ll be good to go. Comfort and lockdown are definitely their highlights so if those two areas are high on your list of personal on-court needs then you should be very please. Its rare that the previous model is still on shelves by the time the next version releases so with that… I’d go with the KD Shoes still as an overall package is concerned – including price. Don’t get me wrong, the KD VI is awesome but the KD V just feels like you get a little more while paying a little bit less… and they haven’t even hit outlets yet.


Air Jordan XVII (17) Retro Performance Review

Jazz it up....

Traction – This is how you pull off a storytelling traction surface. The entire design is based on MJ’s love for Golf and instead of using some random pattern they went with herringbone – which worked really well. They used contrasting colors to add additional effects without sacrificing coverage. Now, I will say that the traction wasn’t perfect but it was pretty damn close. Only time I had an issue was during certain movements where the shoe flexed at a point where the traction wasn’t in contact with the floor so I had slight slippage but that didn’t happen often so it was nothing crazy… very minor and its the only thing I experienced that I could nit-pick on.

Cushion – This air jordan 17 shoes was built for an aging MJ that required quite a bit of support in order for his knees to hold up on-court. There was a blow molded Air unit in place at the heel – I still don’t know the difference between blow molded Air units vs a regular one – which was housed within a giant TPU (plastic) cage. The entire heel area reminded me a lot of caged Zoom Air but firmer. Was it incredibly uncomfortable? No, but it wasn’t what I’ve been used to with previous Air setups. However, forefoot cushion was fantastic. Zoom Air is placed at the forefoot and the entire forefoot section of the shoe is built traditionally with a Phylon footbed which happens to be double lasted. Its a really interesting way to construct a shoe where you have incredible support with adequate cushion.

Material – I love the materials used on this 2008 CDP version and especially the originals which featured buttery leather uppers. This pair utilizes a nice nubuck at the heel and forefoot. This has its strong points and weak points. Its strength is its fit and feel along with the minimal break-in time required. As for the weakness… its just not as durable as leather overall but again… that’s me nitpicking since the materials are really nice in general. There is a section of woven material – identical to what was used on the LeBron 9’s support wings – at the midfoot that offers great fit and its the most durable section of the upper. My favorite material used is located at the collar… the Neoprene lining is so comfortable it makes all other collars seem inferior.

Fit – They fit true to size and lockdown for me was near perfect. Only gripe is that I had to lace them all the way to the top eyelet and I usually leave one or two free so I have better range of motion for my ankles. I couldn’t do that with these since every time I tried my heel would flop in and out of the shoe a bit but once laced them up the way they were intended then they were perfectly fine. The midfoot lockdown was fantastic and you even have additional lacing options if you wish with the Shroud’s ‘eyelet’ system for a more snug fit. We also have a squared toe again so that area of the shoe is very comfortable while stoping and changing direction without jamming any toes.

Support – As mentioned earlier, this shoe was designed for an aging MJ that needed more support than his past models provided. The TPU heel, lacing system and Carbon Fiber plate running throughout the entire outsole provided some of the best support I’ve had in any Air Jordan 1 to date… almost topping the XX8. Only reason why I’d personally choose the XX8 over these is due to the fact that they offer support that wont restrict my movement at all while these are a bit more restrictive overall.

Overall – This was probably the one shoe – besides the kd 11 – that I was looking forward to wearing the least. I don’t know why… I’ve just never been entirely enthusiastic about the model in general. After playing in them they’ve actually surpassed my initial impression and are among the top performance models featured within the Air Jordan Legacy. This is definitely one model that I’d love to see get the Retro treatment as they are 100% playable even by today’s standards. Truly an innovative sneaker that was ahead of its time.


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 xafsing 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 xafsing. 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 xafsing 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 xafsing 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.


Nike Zoom KD IV Performance Review

Kevin Durant's newest signature is certainly getting some love off the court, but just how well does it perform on the hardwood? For the past two years, Kevin Durant's signature sneaker has been the best performing shoe available at retail. I really believe that. It's worth noting, of course, that the "at retail" part is all the more impressive when you factor in the fact that the shoes were "just" a mere $88. At anywhere from $30 to even $70 less than competing signature products, every part about that is tremendous. The shoes held up well, had great traction, cushioning and all of the stuff you're looking for for the hardwood -- and then on top of that, they were also affordable. So why the big intro about the great performance and relatively low price of the Kevin Durant series up til now? Well, the Zoom KD 11 is by its own merit an outstanding shoe on-court, but for the $7 more at retail that Durant's fourth model jumps to, it's perhaps a step back in overall performance from the exceptional level of playability that his line has already reached. If you're a guard looking for a supportive, reliable and cushioned sneaker, the KD IV is a great choice, but if you're a close follower of the line so far, you might find a few points that let you down. To get right into it, the shoe's new Adaptive Fit system, a variation of which we've seen over in Nike Running, offers great fit through the midfoot, but is perhaps too narrow for most. The more you pull on the lower two medial lace loops and the adjoining strap system, the more snug the shoe's midfoot will be, as the dual-pull harness tightens accordingly through the arch. This might create a struggle for people with wide feet to find just the right balance of fit. I have a pretty standard D width foot, but anything wider and you might need to size up for more room through the body of the shoe. Regardless of how the midfoot fits you, you'll also notice the arch of the shoe is rather pronounced, a noticeable difference right away from the KD II & III. While the exact same shank is carried over from last year's model (a nice way to save some money in the constant quest to keep the shoe under $100), the extra midfoot sculpting and stance of the shoe still make for a substantial arch. If you have flat feet, you'll want to try these on ahead of time. Just ahead of the shoe's midfoot, I also noticed quite a bit of irritation and discomfort stemming from the underside of the forefoot lateral fused vent. This is what you might traditionally call a "hot spot." I tried a few different sock thicknesses over the course of my testing to see if I could build up a buffer of sorts, but nothing seemed to work. The toe box is a bit snug side-to-side to begin with, and the vent underside pressure only compounds the problems up front. Above: The underside of the forefoot vent is where I experienced the most irritation and rubbing during play. While the shoe has a few fit and irritation issues, there are quite a few bright spots to touch on as well, but I'll get to those in a few. One last complaint first! For years now, I've sworn by no-show socks. Simply a personal preference, and ideally I'd be playing in an ultra-thin no-show in every shoe. I found the collar of the KD IV to initially also be quite harsh during my testing, and it wasn't until the fourth or fifth wearings that the chafing and irritation of the collar softened up and went away. After the first night, I was in quite some pain, had visible callouses, and had to switch to some taller socks towards the end of the trial. I'd definitely recommend a thicker quarter cut sock with these. Of course, that might also make the midfoot far too narrow, so try these on first if you can, with thick socks on hand. The underside of the Hyperfuse layered upper and edging of the collar are simply too harsh at first otherwise. Because I was curious, I even took a night off during the testing and played in my trusty KD IIIs from last year. The collar felt amazing by comparison, and the shoe had no pressure spots. Much of that newfound discomfort can be attributed to the new fused approach. There's just less padding along the underside in the hopes of shedding some weight. Now that we have all of the negatives out of the way, let's turn that frown upside down and take a glance at what I loved about the KD IV. The strap, entirely unique and at first glance rather odd, works great. It's not useless like a forefoot strap, and not too restrictive like a collar strap either. It's there for a nice additional layer of lockdown, is fully adjustable and works in tandem with the shoe's Adaptive Fit arch system. Well done. Will it continue in the KD line and in other shoes? That might be too early to get into, but I definitely wouldn't mind seeing it in other shoes. This coming from a guy who hates pointless straps. But, it's not pointless here, so that's a good thing. Another great item of the shoes is its transition, as we've come to expect from the KD line. There's a full-length Phylon midsole for a smooth ride and the same propelling TPU midfoot shank from the KD III. Great ride, stance and bounce in the open court. While the shank and story-telling approach is carried over throughout the outsole, there is one big shift in the shoe's traction pattern. Gone is the herringbone outsole that we saw in the first three models, as the IV features an integrated thunder bolt pattern. Clearly inspired by his team name -- the guy is all about team, afterall -- I found the traction to be great. Not screech and squeak inducing like the best herringbone designs, and not quite as the bar-setting KD IIs, but still reliable on marginal courts and outstanding on outstanding courts, as you might expect. I always will vote for herringbone if given an option, but the traction works here. We've seen quite a few signature themed patterns fail in recent years, so it was nice to see this tread work nearly as well as the tried and true. Ever since the KD series began, people have complained about the lack of heel cushioning. Well, the shoes wouldn't be under $100 if there was heel and forefoot Zoom Air, and that's really all it comes down to. On top of that, KD himself barely makes contact with the very back of the heel, so a forefoot unit also does more for him. Which I'm thankful for. The forefoot Zoom unit here feels great, and in tandem with the full Phylon midsole, the shoe has a great cushioned ride. It could be better, but that's what the $140 Zoom Kobe VII is for if you really want both heel & forefoot cushioning. All in all, the KD IV's style clearly has taken Durant to a different level in the overall signature shoe landscape, thanks mostly to the awesomely executed Nerf and Weatherman themed versions. On the court though, his line was already *there* in my opinion, and I'm afraid this fourth model is a slight step backwards because of the fit and irritation issues that I had to get off my chest during the first half of the article. Definitely check them out if you have a standard or narrow foot and like playing in taller, thicker socks. They have a great combination of cushioning, transition, traction, lockdown and support. However, there's quite a bit of irritation and a troublesome hotspot along the lateral forefoot if you, like me, enjoy playing in no-show or thinner socks. The adidas harden vol 2 is priced exceptionally well at just $95, but be sure and try them on first if you're interested in making them your next on-court sneaker. Grade Breakout: designed by: Leo Chang best for: shooting guards and small forwards with slashing style of play colorway tested: Varsity Purple / Orange Blaze / Neo Lime key tech: Hyperfuse upper construction, Adaptive Fit strap system, full-length Phylon midsole, 6mm forefoot Zoom Air unit pros: transition, forefoot cushioning, nice lockdown and great value for price cons: runs fairly narrow through midfoot, forefoot has some hot spots, collar is harsh through first week improvements: better protection from hot spots in the forefoot, improve fit issues through midfoot and irritation issues along collar. buying advice: The KD IV, much like the past two models in the Durant signature series, is a great on-court performer with outstanding cushioning, traction and transition. Unfortunately, I liked the II and III better, as the IV has a few fit issues and some hot spots throughout. Check them out if you have a narrow foot and don’t mind wearing thicker socks, but be cautious or try them on first if your sleds are on the wider side. At $95, they’re a great value with durable support and lockdown.


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 Air Maestro 2 Performance Review

24 years. That’s how long ago Scottie Pippen broke the “red shoe” ice and blessed us with the red Air Maestro 2 for All-Star Weekend. He rocked them to a 29 point, 11 rebound effort and an MVP trophy. Like a former Chicago teammate who had recently retired once said, it must have been the shoes, right? Only one way to find out… Who needs storytelling? Simple herringbone, spaced wide with thick rubber, grips the floor in every way and it’s durable enough for a few months outdoors. Granted, it isn’t pretty, but it’s on the bottom of the shoe, so who cares, right? I feel like I wrote this same thing in a review already — oh, yeah, it was the Kobe 1 Protro Performance Review. What do the two shoes have in common? Simple design, no overthinking, and they work. Dust doesn’t really clog up or hang on because of the wide channels. The edges of the blades are peaked like wiper blades to push the dust away as well, meaning I haven’t wiped — ever. It didn’t matter what floor I was on or if it was dirty or clean, the Air Maestro 2 was a glue trap. One major detail the Maestro 2 brought to the table was the huge flex grooves cut across the forefoot. At the time, solid, thick rubber soles and leather shoes could, and did, make for a Doc Marten boot, but the Maestro forefoot flexed perfectly while running, which adds to the traction. The flex also allows the shoe to keep more outsole in contact with the floor, which means more grippy, less slippy. Surprisingly, the encapsulated Air unit in the heel and the foam forefoot weren’t bad. There wasn’t much response from the forefoot, but the impact protection was good. The Maestro line was one of the first to use a lightweight foam instead of polyurethane, and its reduction in weight and rebound properties (at the time) were amazing. Now, at least in the forefoot, the set-up feels a little “budget-y,” but still completely playable. One plus is the court feel from the low ride that makes the Maestro 2 feel quicker than a bulky retro probably should. Coupled with the killer traction, the response while playing is completely serious. The heel cushioning is a large Air unit encapsulated (inside) the same foam as the forefoot, and it is great underfoot. The Air unit actually feels stiffer than the foam, so directly underfoot you feel the push back of the Air unit, but as it compresses the foam allows for expansion and rebound so you are never unstable on landings. Nike Air Maestro 2 Performance Review materials Here is where the Air Maestro 2 gets lovely. When we first saw images of the retro, most assumed we would get the stiff plastic-y leather found on Nike retros over the last few years. To be honest, I wasn’t even considering buying these — the originals were my favorite shoes ever and I was not in the mood to have my memories shattered. However, when Foot Locker put these on the shelf about 10 minutes before my arrival, the leather was looking soft and broken in from the start. This is the softest leather on a Nike shoe in years! It forms around your foot like a ballet slipper. It’s so ’90s that the Air Maestro 2 should come with a Zach Morris poster. The heel is nubuck and although it isn’t as plush as the original it is still a nice quality. Thick padding all around the heel gives the full-on ’90s feel, and possibly the best implementation of an inner bootie ever makes up the lacing system (but more on that in the next section). Well done, Swoosh. Nike Air Maestro 2 Performance Review fit First off: true to size, or even a half-size down, will work for most in the Air Maestro 2. The length may be too short if you size down, but width will work fine. The inner sleeve takes up any empty space the leather shell might have. Being a shell-and-sleeve shoe, when pulled tight, the upper forms right around the sleeve and provides serious lockdown — at first. As with most leather shoes, after a few wears (or with leather this soft, a few hours) the upper stretches out and will need to be re-tightened, possibly several times. It’s a small price to pay for materials this nice and a trade I will gladly make. The lacing system is magical. It flows through the outer leather shell and the inner sleeve to create a midfoot that is straight-jacket tight and completely hugged up. This is my favorite feature of the Air Maestro 2 and the one thing I really remember from the Nike Air Foamposite One OG pair. The ankle padding is thick, and coupled with the lacing system and high collar, your heel will encounter no slide or movement. With the leather, inner sleeve, and ankle padding, the Air Maestro 2 is extremely hot. Like, no breeze at all. My feet were soaked through every wear and the upper holds moisture. Not to be too nasty, but even a couple of hours after finishing my games the shoes were still soaked. Not a shoe for the summer comfort, for sure, and the moisture build-up does affect the fit. Nike Air Maestro 2 Performance Review support Support in the Air Maestro 2 is a little behind the times, at least as far as technology, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. There is no midfoot shank, but the midsole is thick and solid enough in that area that there is no fear of bending awkwardly. There is also no real outrigger, but the sole is wide in the forefoot and feels ultra-stable while playing. The ankle collar fits and forms perfectly around the joint, providing coverage and peace of mind (if that’s what you need). The lacing system does its best to provide lockdown but the soft materials make lateral stability a little less than perfect. There was some shifting in the forefoot while planting laterally and pushing off for drives or on defense, but not enough to feel unsafe — it just felt a little slow recovering. Nike Air Maestro 2 Performance Review overall It is no secret, if you have read this site or my reviews for any length of time, that the Air Maestro 2 is my favorite Nike Basketball shoe of all time. The design, with its smaller heel-oriented swoosh, screamed speed, and the inner comfort from the sleeve and padding, was unbelievable. Surprisingly, the Air Maestro 2 isn’t heavy — sure, it’s heavier than shoes like the Kobe 8 and Curry 4, but it is close to the LeBron 15 and Dame 4. If you are looking for a moderately cushioned raw materials shoe with serious traction, or if you are just a sucker for retros but you still want a playable shoe, the Air Maestro 2 will fit your needs perfectly. Honestly, this may be the best retro Nike has done — as far as being close to the original. The Air Maestro 2 makes me want to bring out my Cross Colours and bucket hats for the summer and bring the boom box to the park — if anyone still played outdoors.

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