Clothes and Sneaker Reviews 2017~2018

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14.06.2018.

Q4 Sports Nforcer Performance Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

07.06.2018.

adidas Pure Boost Performance Reviews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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06.06.2018.

Better Air Jordan 6: “Slam Dunk” or “Cigar”

Jordan Brand has used their popular Air Jordan 6 silhouette in multiple packs as well as a few collaboration. Showcased today is the “Slam Dunk” and “Cigar” releases. The Air Jordan 6 “Slam Dunk” rendition was a unique collaboration between Jordan Brand and Japanese artist Takehiko Inoue, creator of the Slam Dunk cartoon series. It came in an all-red upper with imagery from the 31-volumed manga series.If you look closely, the Air Jordan 6 Slam Dunk has tonal 3M red characters throughout the uppers from the magna which are subtle on the red base. The brand will also use a white midsole, translucent sole, tongue and heel tab. From the Air Jordan 6 “Champagne and Cigar” Pack that celebrates Michael Jordan’s first championship in 1991, the year he wore the model of the shoe. Looking back at the “Cigar” colorway, this release features a Brown leather upper to mimic the look of a cigar with Metallic Gold, Maroon and Bright Red accents. Finishing of the theme was a championship ring lacelock added to each shoe.The Air Jordan 6 “Championship Cigar” features a Rich Brown leather upper with Crimson and Infrared accents, Gold lace locks, embossed heel stamp, and a cork insole. The Air Jordan 6 “Championship Champagne” features a Green patent leather upper with Gold accents and lace locks, sitting atop a Black and Gold speckled midsole finished with a translucent tongue, heel tab and outsole. Having already shared both individual and group shots of the previously mentioned duo, we’ve got another look for you all to enjoy. Whether you like to pop bottles or light one up, a cigar that is, these forthcoming offerings have both of your vices covered Looking back at both, which would you guys consider was the better release? Cast your vote below and leave your thoughts in the comments section.

05.06.2018.

The adidas Ultra Boost Performance Review

When adidas first revealed their groundbreaking adidas Ultra Boost performance runner back in January ahead of its global release the following month, much of the excitement surrounding the progressive silhouette aligned intimately with its xafsing campaign. adidas felt they had produced “the best running shoe ever,” a bold claim that at first mention seemed like gerrymandering in its highest form. But what happened next would both compel and intrigue. Runners would begin to co-sign adidas’ brassy claims. It was exactly what the brand wanted to happen. I, too, was almost instantaneously overwhelmed with how well the shoe ran. But as any avid runner will insist, it’s not that first mile that counts, but the next few hundred that truly lend to the character of the shoe. This would be the median in which I hoped to delve into such a paramount creation. How would the adidas Ultra Boost facilitate betterment after 100 miles? 200 miles? Then upwards to the 400 mile mark, where most experts suggest to replace a shoe for safety precautions. Likening the sartorially savvy shoe to car tires was where my rubber would meet the road. Typically, if consistency extends its hand to my aid, running about 15 miles per week satisfies my appetite for cardio. That, along with a few sluggish episodes on the hardwood. The adidas Ultra Boost has pleasantly been my footwear choice for each and every run since early February until now, mid-September. And for argument’s sake, let’s say I’ve been steady in my endeavors. I’m approximately 400 miles in at present time. Firstly, Primeknit construction is what makes it all worthwhile. Lightweight, breathable and with a unique stretching ability that allows for free motion, the shoe’s unique collar sleeve helps cradle the foot with lockdown support perfect for a runner – not too strenuous but firmly secure. Comfort is at a premium here, and that would lead to all sorts of profoundly positive revelations later on. Many of which I still have a hard time believing. And much of that – as corny as it sounds – is because the wear is so seamless the minutes, hours and miles go by like the snap of a finger. Unlike performance basketball models, I don’t feel much like a quarterback when evaluating likeness. I’m not going through progressions with each step. Nor am I reading and assessing terrain like a field general does opposing defenses. In a more literal sense – this is a marathon, not a race. Day in and day out, I’m looking to feel good through the duration of my run and most important, after that continual and often exhaustive conditioning is done. That, for me, is where the Ultra Boost serves its greatest long-term value. Recovery is almost absent with the Ultra Boost. The energy return uniquely makes everything easier over time. Thus, the strain on your body is far less damaging. So whether I’m moving at a lesser pace towards a greater distance, or at a faster stride for interval training, recovery, or lack there of, doesn’t change. This is huge. adidas has effectively and systematically allowed me to run longer, stronger and with less strain on my legs. Speaking of legs; I kind of have a bum right knee. Now, I’d like to think it’s a result of savagely embarrassing my friends on the basketball court over the years, but that’s only true in my often misleading imagination. Whatever the cause, it’s been a hindrance where running is concerned. So much in fact that I’ve been relegated to running with a compression sleeve on said knee. But after a few months in the Ultra Boost, I had the genius idea to remove UNDFTD x adidas Ultra Boost . Risking further injury, my thought was that maybe my issue wasn’t bad health but less-than-stellar running shoes and true to size fitting. And much to my surprise – although technically unproven medically – I was right. I’ve been running fine without the sleeve for months now, with no discomfort and seemingly with better posture and form. Boost cushioning undoubtedly plays a critical role in this remarkable turnaround. Layers of buffering bolster stronger footing. Though it’s a fleeting thought, even the most graceful runner inflicts a grave measure of force on their feet with each stride. Boost cushioning turns the track, trail or treadmill into something else, something softer. Even after enduring roughly 400 miles, there is still some tread on those tires, which is really, really impressive. In a densely populated running shoe xafs that orbits around singular potency, the adidas Ultra Boost set its course on a daunting vocation. Whether it was aforesaid or simply inferred by the grandiosity of the release, taking down the best of Brooks, New Balance and Saucony in one fell swoop was assuredly the mission. Did adidas accomplish what they set out to do? Absolutely. Did they make “the best running shoes ever?” Surprisingly, as grand sweeping as it may sound, yeah, they did for a large legion of fans both old and new. I count myself among their unwavering followers in that regard. In fact, I did something I’ve only done once before, and never with a running shoe. I bought a second pair. As far as I’m concerned, any shoe that can make me do that deserves all the praise I can muster.

04.06.2018.

Reebok CrossFit Nano 8 Flexweave Performance Review

Reebok owns CrossFit — well, at least the CrossFit Games — and seeing what the brand thought would be a huge xafs (it is), Reebok partnered with the workout system early and the benefits have been amazing. Eight years later, we get the CrossFit Nano 8 Flexweave, the newest shoe built specifically for the Games. Performance review, you say? Sure, why not… Like a hot knife through butter. No, really, the blade traction pattern in the forefoot grips everything in the gym with no issues at all (basketball Shoes designers should take note). The forefoot uses a widely spaced wiper-blade pattern with the second and third rows slightly turned under the ball of your foot, giving some additional lateral coverage. This rubber is thick, solid, and finally showing signs of wear after almost four months of three day a week workouts. The midfoot and heel are more linear in pattern, which helps with lateral traction and climbing activities. For those that have never done a CrossFit workout, or never worn a CF-specific shoe, the midfoot usually has traction under the arch of the foot that extends up the midsole of the shoe. This is called the RopePro on Reebok shoes, and it helps immensely in keeping your feet on the rope and going up instead of down — the rest is up to you. Going from mostly runners and basketball to a CrossFit shoe is a serious endeavor. While cushioning is premium in the other lines, weight training/CrossFit is more about transition and stability. The CrossFit Nano 8 follows that same platform, with a little more. The midsole is a solid EVA that rides low with only a 4mm heel to toe drop. This means you are almost flat on the floor in the shoe. There is, however, additional forefoot cushioning to help with impact off landings from jumps and runs. It isn’t enough to make the shoe seem slow or wobbly, but it does take the sting out of those last few sloppy landings when you are dead dog tired and wanting to quit or puke. For any activity where stability is a must (cleans, squats), the low-riding flat base never faltered or felt like it would crush under stress. It isn’t as solid as a true squat/deadlift shoe (like the Reebok Legacy), but the CrossFit Nano 8 has enough for most gym rats that lift and work on other exercises. The CrossFit Nano 8 uses Reebok’s latest Flexweave material that was reviewed on the Fusion Flexweave last month. In case you missed it, this means you are getting a textile upper mixed with TPU strands that is flexible over the foot but solid and strong for lateral movements and containment. yeezy 350 is based on a figure-8 design and the strands can be intertwined to create some serious looks. Beneath the Flexweave is an internal bootie that keeps any of the TPU from chafing and rubbing. (It’s needed, because Flexweave isn’t the softest material to the touch.) The bootie runs around the heel collar and feels great on bare feet or in socks. It does hinder ventilation around the midfoot to the heel, but the toes stay airy and cool. With the wide use of textile/mesh uppers and internal booties fit has never been better across the shoe industry, and the CrossFit Nano 8 falls right in line. The Flexweave fits right over your foot in the toebox and forms around the midfoot almost perfectly. Any dead space is taken by the inner bootie. Additionally, the forefoot features a wide toebox for splaying and gripping while working out and climbing — but not so wide you want to go a half-size down. It is designed to be wide, don’t overthink the shoe. The midfoot is locked down by a fairly normal lacing system — no bells and whistles — just seven lace holes spaced perfectly for good fit. The heel is locked in by the internal bootie, padding, and the lacing system, which comes high enough to lock the heel into the back of the shoe. As for length, I did go a half size down, something I have done in Reeboks since the first Question shoe. The only real support structure in the shoe is the TPU split heel cup, and honestly, that’s enough. The heel cup works well with the lacing system to lock you in and the midfoot is supported by the upper. Really, the best support “piece” on the shoe is the low ride and wide base. As the shoe lands, the foot is allowed to spread or splay for better balance and grip so there is little danger of rolling over. The midsole is structured for arch support (just right) and with an almost zero drop the shoe doesn’t allow much bend under the arch at all. While the cushioning wasn’t exactly “cushioned,” this is the place it shines; the midfoot is solid and stable, even on the edges, so there is no tipping under heavy weights or difficult landings — just a solid, supportive base that won’t give out on you. By now, I have tested quite a few training shoes. When I started doing them, I lifted weights, I ran, and I did some other plyometric exercises, but never felt the need to change from basketball or running shoes just for that. Since I have been reviewing trainers, it makes sense; if there is a need for basketball shoes that are different from runners, then trainers for the weight room or other exercises makes sense. The adidas hi is a well-rounded shoe built for the gym. The upper is supportive but flexible and the cushioning will handle anything a workout can throw at it. If you are looking for a shoe that will come back for more when the plates and bars and ropes are done, look no further. If you need a more cushioned ride, or enjoy more cardio/running, you may want to look at the Reebok Hydrorush or Watt II (still my favorite). Otherwise, why are you still reading this? Get to work.

25.05.2018.

Air Jordan 1 “Royal” 2013 VS. 2017 Comparison

How many of you are planning on picking up the return of the Air Jordan 1 “Royal” on April 1st? I’m sure a lot of you guys answered yes, and for good reasoning too.

Jordan Brand is finally giving us a remastered release of the Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG “Royal” as they continue to bring back legendary original Air Jordans. Last seen in 2013, the classic Air Jordan 1 will return in its OG high-cut that’s dressed in the traditional Black and Varsity Royal color scheme. The shoe features a clean Black leather upper with Royal overlays on the toe, heel and Nike Swoosh logos. Staying true to its heritage, the release will also come with OG Nike Air branding on the tongue and outsole. Similar to recent remastered reissues, this Air Jordan 1 release compared to the 2013 version will come with better quality. Featuring a mix of smooth and premium textured leather that’s dressed in the OG Black and Varsity Royal with Nike Air branding throughout. Look for the Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG “Royal” to release on April 1st at select Jordan Brand retailers. The retail price tag is set at $160 USD.
22.05.2018.

Better Air Jordan 11: “Gamma” or “Cap and Gown”

Every year Jordan Brand either releases original or new colorways of the Air Jordan 11 typically during the holiday season.

Back in 2014, they introduced the Air Jordan 11 Gamma, which featured a Stealthy all-Black upper highlighted with Gamma Blue and Varsity Maize accents.The Jordan Brand serves up an all-new colorway of the iconic Air Jordan 11 for Holiday '13. This retro features a black cordura and patent leather upper with Gamma Blue 11's Jumpman Branding. Varsity Maize provides subtle detailing on the tongue and heel. A blue-tinted translucent outsole caps off the look below For May 2018, Jordan Brand will be releasing a dressed-up Air Jordan 11 Cap and Gown that also comes in a full Black-based upper with premium detailing. It comes with a suede base, Metallic Jumpman logos and laces that resembles graduation cords.the Air Jordan 11 ‘Cap and Gown’ which will release on May 26th.
While both pairs strongly resemble one another, if you could only select one, which would it be?
23.03.2018.

Nike Air Max 95: The Story Behind the Revolutionary Runner

It’s been 20 years since Nike first debuted the classic Air Max 95, which marked a big shift in the performance running sneaker xafs at the time. With its distinct rippled design across its upper, gradient gray color scheme, and bright neon yellow accents, the original model was a bold, provocative silhouette that had not been preceded by any sneaker before its time. Nike brought on board Nike ACG designer Sergio Lozano to spearhead the project, a trained industrial designer whose four-year experience with tennis and training shoes would bring a fresh perspective to the Air Max family.

The ’90s Sneaker xxx

In the early ’90s Nike Basketball was dominating the sneaker xafs, with the popularity of basketball shoes gaining traction well ahead of runners. Lozano positioned the revolutionary Air Max 95 project as a means to recapture the public’s attention towards the performance running category.

New Color, New Swoosh

Lozano wanted to minimize the appearance of dirt, mud, and wear-and-tear that the shoe would achieve over time and use, so he prioritized the use of the gradient gray even when told that the colorway would not sell. The signature neon yellow shade too is a direct nod towards Nike’s race kit that continues to incorporate bright colors. This neon “Volt” colorway has since become a heritage-defining Nike color theme that is consistently reissued for other silhouettes. The first 95 prototype didn’t have the Swoosh logo at all. Eventually it came to incorporate the minimal branding as a small accent, with an unconventional placement that could not distract attention from the undulating lines of the upper. Lozano told Sneaker Freaker, “from the design to the color to the little Swoosh, it all caused controversy. I had initially designed the shoe without a Swoosh because we believed the design was aesthetically strong… so we positioned it as a signature, a sign off on the shoe for jordans for all .”  

Reception

The 95 was a brand new approach to runner cushioning by being the first-ever shoe to also feature the visible Air unit in the forefoot. It was also the first Air Max model to have a black midsole. Despite these innovations, the Air Max 95 was considered an outcast. Even the advertising was quite unconventional for Nike – check out this retro commercial advertising the bold atmos x Nike Air Max 95 2006 Supreme “Animal” silhouette that was made in collaboration with the Tokyo-based streetwear boutique. With its unique colorway, Swoosh placement, and dual air-powered cushioning system, the unapologetically brash Air Max 95 quickly progressed into a youth culture icon. This was especially so throughout Europe and Australia. A smaller following in America includes much of the hip-hop community, with artists like Gucci Mane and Danny Brown having dropped bars about the sneaker. “I’ll kill you if you try me for my Air Max 95s,” rapped The Game in “Hate It Or Love It” (2005) as a direct reference to the Bloods adopting the Air Max 95 as their signature shoe, while the Crips had the Air Max 98s. Other fans of the beloved sneaker include 2 Chainz, Big Boi, Eminem, The Game, Busta Rhymes, DJ Khaled, Nelly, T.I., T-Pain, Wale, Spike Lee, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Floyd Mayweather, Jr., and J.R. Smith.

Notable Colorways and Collaborations

Though not the most often reiterated Nike model, the Air Max 95 has seen its share of vibrant colorways and modern collaborations, especially so throughout the 2000s. Colorways like the Air Max 95 “Black Grape” and the Air Max 95 Pure White/Black exhibit cleaner iterations of the sneaker, while special models like the NFL x Nike Air Max 95 “NFC East” Pack and the Air Max 95 “Country Camo” Japan exemplify the silhouette’s versatility in adopting bold themes.

The Air Max 95 Legacy

“The Air Max 95’s greatest strength, its individuality, was also its greatest hurdle,” Nike’s website states. As the first of its kind, the model considerably paved the way for other forthcoming silhouettes of similarly ostentatious designs, such as the Air Max Plus — known on the street and overseas as the Tuned 1 or TNs — that released in 1998. The subsequent Air Max 97 was also another iteration of the wavy-lined upper. In celebration of its 20th anniversary, Nike will be releasing the original model in its original box along with two new Air Max 95s: the Air Max 95 White Red, designed by Air Max Ultra and Roshe One designer Dylan Raasch, and the Air Max 95 Ultra “Jacquard,” designed by Ben Yun. The Ultra “Jacquard” will be launched in the classic neon “Volt” as well as other colorways like Total Orange, Stealth Black, White/Grey and White/Blue. The new releases drop July 16.
19.03.2018.

Better Off-White Air Jordan 1: “Chicago” Or “White”

It all started late 2017 when Virgil Abloh debuted his Off-White x Air Jordan 1 from the “The Ten” Collection. The first release came dressed in the original “Chicago” Air Jordan 1 off-white colorway that featured details to coincide with the rest of the ten models like exposed foam, stitching on the Swooshes, and signature Red zip tie.This Air Jordan 1 uses a constructed build that pretty much mixes both the Air Jordan 1 High Ultra and Deconstructed tooling. The high-top sneaker comes dressed in familiar Red, White and Black Chicago Bulls-inspired color scheme. Its branded with OFF-WHITE for Nike tagging on the medial side, along with a unique Nike Swoosh logo and “AIR” branding on the midsole. Other notable details include branding on the laces and the year ’85 on the inner ankle flap. look for the OFF-WHITE x Air Jordan 1 to release in November. Months later to kick off 2018, Virgil dropped his second Off-White x Air Jordan 1, but this time in a White colorway that was exclusive to Europe. Still no word on a stateside release. "That shoe originally was all white," Abloh said, telling the story of the shoe's development. "I was in the airport—I was at Newark; I can remember it—and I was going through the security and I saw somebody in a white pair of Dunks and I couldn’t tell the difference. And I was like, “Emergency: The Jordan needs to be the Chicago colorway. That shoe would have just been a sort of anonymous white shoe. The Off-White x Air Jordan 1 "White" will be releasing on Feb. 27 exclusively in Europe in both men's and women's sizing. Looking back at air jordan 1 both, which would you guys say was the better release? Cast your vote below and leave your thoughts in the comments section.

16.03.2018.

Air Jordan 28 SE Performance Review

When the Air Jordan XX8 was unveiled to the public for the first time in December of 2012, it was introduced along with the concept of “stealth.” During the design process, when the theme was taken to MJ, he pulled no punches when explaining what the concept meant to him. “Stealth is like Black Cat. It’s an ultimate aircraft. You never hear it coming, but it’s deadly as hell. You don’t ‘F’ with stealth. My game is like that. When you see it, it’s too ‘F-ing’ late.” The concept of stealth could even be tied in to the fact that the shoe was the first Air Jordan of the blog-era to not leak beforehand. But while “stealth” may have defined the shoe’s design aesthetic, and even the unveiling, beneath it all, it was basically a shoe you’d seen before. A much better version than you’d seen before, but still a shoe who’s lasting impression came more from its refinements rather than breaking entirely new ground. There are a handful of differences, which we’ll get into later, but if you are familiar with the Air Jordan XX8, then the easiest way of describing the SE is that it is the Air Jordan 1 , minus the stealth. The sky-high cut of the Air Jordan XX8 may have garnered most of the attention, but it was the shoe’s tooling that boasted the real breakthroughs. Zoom Air has been around since the mid-‘90s, and has been our benchmark for what’s possible in basketball cushioning. In over 20 years, nothing new that has come out since has topped it. That still hasn’t changed, but thanks to the introduction of Flight Plate, Zoom Air has gotten even better. It’s still Zoom Air, but thanks to a holistic system, you are able to get more out of it than ever before. “The basic system is all around compression, deflection, and ultimately moderation,” explained the shoe’s developer, Josh Heard, when the XX8 launched. “Zoom Air bags by themselves are extremely energy efficient," he continued. "The problem was the way we had used Zoom Air bags in the past. We would encapsulate them in foam and whatnot, and it would lock up all the energy. You couldn’t get anything out of it. So what we did was we unlocked the Zoom. We unleashed the Zoom. We’ve cored out foam all around the Zoom Air bags, so literally you are stepping directly on Zoom when you are getting that first, initial feel. The outsole also helps, as I said, piston that effect. And then we have a moderator plate on top, that eliminates any bumps or hot spots under the foot. So, it’s moderated all the way through, and you get that nice, comfortable smooth feel.” The change may seem subtle, and compared to an entire new cushioning technology, it is. But the results are immediately noticeable, and make “regular” Zoom now seem lacking. It allows the wearer to feel “more” Zoom, without the use of “bigger” Zoom, such as the full-length Max Zoom bag found in the LeBron X. That means more responsiveness, with better court feel, and a stance closer to the floor. Cushioning and court feel typically have an inverse relationship. As one increases, the other deceases. But thanks to this new system, protection and flexibility increased simultaneously. When combined with an outstanding midfoot shank, the Air Jordan XX8 and XX8 SE were simply some of the best playing experiences I’ve ever had. The shoes flex where needed, offer up support where needed, provide responsive cushioning where needed, and have zero break-in time. I can’t think of a performance shoe that’s ever felt as good right out of the box as the two of these. With the only exception possibly coming from the traction improving over the first few wearings, the shoes felt as good on the first runs as the twentieth. I haven’t mentioned any differences yet between the original and SE editions of the XX8, because when it comes to the shoes' toolings, there aren’t any differences. It’s the exact same shoe underfoot. And the uppers are similar enough to not effect the way the tooling plays. The most obvious difference though is the XX8 SE’s lack of a shroud. But considering the shroud was largely a cosmetic feature, the shoe feels much more similar than you may expect. The plushness of the XX8's inner workings provided a level of comfort that isn’t quite matched by the SE, but at the same time, the synthetics used here are more supportive, and have proven to be more durable after long-term testing. And strangely enough, the cut of the XX8 SE actually feels slightly taller than the original. The lack of shroud also means better breathability, which was one of the few negatives of the original. Unsurprisingly, since it was also the case with the original XX8, the SE runs a bit large. I’d recommend starting a half-size smaller than what you normally wear. Jordan Brand has stuck with the traditional, generally accommodating last, which they’ve used on all recent Game shoes. This means the shoe will fit more people than the sleeker and more narrow lasts used by Nike Basketball, but it won’t fit as well. After playing in my normal size 13 in the air jordan 1, and 12.5 in the SE, I found the ideal fit came by sizing down. The XX8 was an excellent example of the law of diminishing returns. It was the best performing hoops shoe of 2013 at any price, but it wasn’t twice as good as shoes costing half as much. But with the XX8 SE, you are getting almost the exact same shoe, for $100 less. And with better breathability, more durability and slightly more support, you could almost argue it’s a better shoe. If I had to choose between the two, I’d probably go with the original XX8, if price was no object. But then again, I could get 2 pairs of SEs for close to the same price. It’s hard to call a shoe costing $150 a deal, but with prices constantly rising, that’s practically at the team level in 2014. At this point in time though, you won’t find a better value, and probably not a better shoe period, at any price. GRADE BREAKOUT best for: most players other than larger forwards and centers who need abrasion protection in the post colorway tested: Black/Dark Powder Blue/Team Orange/White key tech: Flight Plate system, Carbon Fiber midfoot shank and heel counter, Dynamic Fit pros: comfort; cushioning; transition; fit; zero break-in time cons: sizing improvements: Fit more true to size buying advice: The SE edition of the Air Jordan XX8 offers almost all of the positives of the original, for $100 less. It’s slightly less comfortable, but slightly more breathable. And in my experience, the SE has been much more durable as well. Its cushioning is second to none, and I’ve never felt a more effective carbon fiber shank. Considering that the $250 Air Jordan 4 was an easy recommendation, at $150, the SE is one of the easiest recommendations I’ve ever made for a hoops shoe. Just be sure to try a pair on, or size down a half size, for proper fit.


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