Clothes and Sneaker Reviews 2017~2018

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15.10.2019.

Nike Zoom Kobe III Retro Review

Largely forgotten thanks to the popularity and greatness of the Kobe IV, the ZK III was and still is one of the best fitting shoes of all time and is the granddaddy of Nike’s current line of shoes. I remember the first time I laid eyes on the Kobe III… I almost threw up. Coming from my love of classic Jordans,  I thought to myself, this has got to be one ugliest shoes of all time. I never tried them due to how hideous I found them to be. I was repulsed, but then I decided to buy a pair after they went on sale, and then I fell in love. TRACTION Okay, well nobody is perfect . Traction on the ZK III is by far the worst aspect of the shoe as sports a diamond patterned sole. The ZK III has a diamond theme throughout the shoe inspired by Kobe’s daughter Diamante It isn’t terrible after break in but it certainly isn’t great either. The diamond pattern doesn’t allow the rubber to flex and push away dirt like a traditional herringbone pattern would; Actually , it inhibits it since the thickness of the diamond makes that section firmer since so much rubber exists inside each diamond. Luckily the rubber is pliable and soft so some dirt can get swept away. This is by far the worst traction pattern on any Kobe 4 Protro though. I still slipped everywhere on dirty floors but on clean floors it was good but still not great especially for a Kobe. CUSHIONING Targeted Zoom in the heel and forefoot. Despite having the same set up as many other Nikes at the time, this set up felt very muted to me. Didn’t really get the bounce back even though it was there but it doesn’t feel like the crappy Zoom Air that Nike has been putting out lately either. I can feel it but I guess the response in the heel is more dissipated throughout the entire heel area. I was surprised how low to the ground the forefoot felt back then although a lot of shoes have gone that route since then. Can’t really feel the Zoom in the forefoot but I’m guessing Kobe wanted that court feel instead.  There is a noticeable heel to toe drop but it isn’t bothersome but takes a little time to get used to. FIT Fits like a sock with a sole, Just a plain perfect fit all the way around. No heel slippage, no deadspace at all.  The upper literally wraps around the foot and ankle thanks to the flexible upper. The upper is made of mesh with a tpu overlay to provide support and containment. Below: hey look real leather ! Compared to newer shoes, the upper reminds me of the Clutchfit Drive… Actually the whole shoe reminds me of the Clutchfit Drive (except the CF has better traction). SUPPORT AND STABILITY Support comes mainly from the fit and the large outrigger at the forefoot.  The heel counter is hidden but is effective albeit flexible.  Stability is excellent due to the outrigger and wide flat outsole.  I never felt like i would sprain my ankle in these thanks to how stable try were.  Despite the wonderful stability, the III feels natural underfoot. CONTAINMENT: Despite a minimal upper my foot never left the footbed on hard cuts. The TPU upper kept my foot in place perfectly. CONCLUSION This shoe is 8 years old, how did time go by so fast ? I still remember Kobe wearing these agains the Celtics in the finals like it were yesterday.  Regardless of age, this shoe set up the platform for Nike basketball; look at the lineage since then and you can connect the ancestry straight to the Kobe III: Hyperdunk(s) or any Hyper shoe, fuse or mesh uppers, low tops (the upper is so flexible it Nike decided to get rid of mids).  If Nike gave the Kobe III the Kobe IV sole, you’d pretty much have a perfect shoe.

14.10.2019.

UA Black Ice Performance Analysis and Review

Since the Bucks are balling tonight, I figured I’d dig these out and write a review on them. Back in the day Brandon Jennings was the only face of UA hoops while he was in Milwaukee so why not bust out the tried and true Gucci black and red Black Ice (s) for shits and giggles. I’ve had these in cold storage for the past 8 or 9 years..get it? Ice? Black ice? Nevemind I thought these were sexy as hell when I bought them and I really liked the UA curry 7 brand. And for $110 what the hell right? I remember getting them late at night around Thanksgiving time and I opened them up and smiled because the new shoe smell slapped me in the face and the patent leather sparkled with hints of green. And damn that Micro G felt amazing. Micro G >>>>> HOVR which is pretty much rexafsed garbage. Pros: traction when clean, cushioning, fit, support and stability, containment Cons: lots of wiping needed on dusty floors, Sizing : true to size to half a size down depending on preference Best For:any position Weight A little lighter than average for a mid at 14 ounces. Most mids are around 14.5-16 ounces Traction Shattered glass or ice traction pattern looks cool and works great on clean floors, but can be Chazz Michael Michaels on dusty floors…get it ? Ice skating? Blades of Glory ? Black ice ? Never m.. Although the traction isn’t the worst on dusty floors, this is the main weakness of the Black Ice. Really skating on thin ice when it comes to acceptability with these on dusty floors. Get it ? Thin ice? Black Ice? Never.. Cushioning I’ll take this “old” cushioning over HOVR in the Havoc and Curry 6 any day every day, no questions asked. Zero, Zilch, Nada. Micro G on the Black Ice gives me everything; it’s low to the ground and springy right out of the box. Oh yea Mr Orange sole. Micro G insole I do miss theeSome shoetubers don’t even know the difference between a open cell ortholite insole which is BLUE vs an orange Micro G insole You’d think Micro G was made of diamond dust the way UA has gotten so cheap with it. HOVR is xafsed like a MOFO but it’s 95% BS. UA is slowly putting more Micro G on their shoes again at least. Fit Ah back in the day when one size didn’t fit one. I bought a 10.5 and 11 and went with the 10.5. Patent leather toe boxes like this usually have more room in the toe box and these are no different. Easily could have gone with 11 though without any issues since the fit is adaptable to many foot sizes. No heel slip or side to side movement. The strap is just there so don’t expect any help from it. You can’t really make patent leather hug your foot (see Aj Xi) so there isn’t a perfect one to one fit in the toe box but it’s acceptable. Materials Definitely considered premium today. Patent leather and synthetic leather that feels like leather/nubuck. No issues here but no awards given by me for materials. Support and stability So asymmetrical it looks like a haircut from the 90’s A lowish Mid that has a higher medial side to help with ankle support m. Air Jordan XIV anyone? I really love this concept because it works without compromising ankle mobility. Even though there is no a super tiny outrigger I had no issues underfoot since the outsole is very wide and flat. No issues overall here Containment No issues thanks to stiff patent leather, a little strap etc.. Conclusion This was the first b-ball shoe for UA and they did a great job. Maybe UA should revisit the mold or rehire the designer. If traction was better like the UA Juke, then these would be probably be considered into getting some PT but of course with sig shoes you gotta make them unique. Man the Juke traction is/was fantastic.. The rest of the shoe works pretty well and I have zero complaints. It’s one of the shoes I like but don’t love but could have loved if a few improvements were made. Oh and by the way Bucks in 6 over my dude Kawhi and company. Unless the Klaw gets some help, I just don’t see them getting to the finals over a more talented and deeper team.

13.10.2019.

Nike LeBron 17 Performance Review

Seventeen models in for LeBron James and Nike Basketball. Is the Nike LeBron 17 the best one yet? Our thoughts within our performance review. The traction doesn’t look bad or feel bad, speaking on its rubber compound, but I could never get any reliable coverage when playing in the shoe. Some plays would be fine while others would have me slipping. Didn’t matter which court I was playing on either. Whether it was the nicest floor, or my local 24 Hour Fitness, I just wasn’t comfortable making any move in the shoe. Something I find to be unfortunate as the traction I feel is the foundation of a shoe. The rest of the entire build could be awesome, and in this case it is, but without a solid foundation under-foot then the rest really doesn’t matter. What could be going wrong? I’m not 100% sure. Part of me thinks someone that is a bit heavier may get a bit more bite out of the traction. That is just pure speculation, but it’s one of my initial thoughts. However, I’m also leaning heavily on the premise that it might be the forefoot cushion implementation. There is a split between the two forefoot Zoom Air units and the foam midsole is very soft. While maneuvering on-court it sometimes feels as if the two pods end up splitting to the point where I end up missing coverage by the time my foot fully plants. Again, I don’t know what the issue truly is. Those are just my thoughts as to why I may be having issues. However, without consistent traction I’m not itching to get the LeBron 17 back on-court anytime soon. If maximum cushion is what you’re after then the LeBron 17 should make you very happy. You literally feel as if you’re running around on Air. Impact protection might be some of the best it’s ever been as well. You don’t even feel the impact of your foot touching down on the ground. The forefoot Zoom Air, rear Air Max and soft Phylon midsole all absorb everything before it even has a chance to reach your knees. On the flip side… court feel is non-existent. You feel like you’re on a platform. Almost as if you’re hovering above hardwood. Some may really love this sensation, I didn’t hate it, but it’s also not my preferred setup. There are outriggers on the forefoot lateral Zoom Air unit and the rear Air Max unit for those wondering. They’re not huge, but they get the job done in terms of helping keep you stable while you float on Air. Again, not my preferred setup, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say they’re super comfortable. I just prefer sitting a bit closer to the ground, and if I’m not, I like shoes that feel like you are. The Air Jordan 34 is one of the better setups for that. A max cushion system that doesn’t make you feel like you’re running around on a hovercraft. Nike has been xafsing the materials as Knitposite, but I feel they should have just called it Battleknit 3.0. I realize the names are just semantics, but its better to not confuse your consumer by using the term Posite — which is synonymous with Nike’s Foamposite material. The “posite” sections of the knit are just TPU or glue infused yarns. We’ve seen this on basketball shoes from nearly every brand at this point. Renaming it to make it sound fresh and new, while smart, is deceiving. However, it works as advertised which is the most important thing. The pure knit sections feel and play like a shoe you’ve had for years. It has that broken-in feeling fresh out the box and feels better each time you lace them up. It’s “posite” sections are great as well. The firmer sections of the knit offer great containment and support throughout the upper. From the heel all the way to the forefoot — there is strategic support pieces throughout which has played great. While the cushion might be one of the standout features of the Nike LeBron 17, I personally feel the best feature of the shoe is the Knitposite material. The Nike LeBron 17 fits true to size and is very reminiscent of one of my favorite LeBron models to-date — the Nike LeBron 8. They shoe does run a little short, something I don’t mind nor did I have an issue with as the knit build is soft in the forefoot, so I’d still recommend trying the shoe on in-store just to make sure they fit the way you prefer prior to buying a pair online. Lockdown is something I enjoyed quite a bit. Whether I laced them all the way up to the top, or left the top eyelet alone for some additional range of motion — lockdown was nearly perfect. I say nearly since I don’t thing there is a true way to measure what “perfect” really is. Perfect for me may suck for you, but for me, the fit and lockdown were fantastic. From the outriggers on up to the build, support was not what I was expecting. In a good way. After the LeBron 15 I’ve been hesitant to play in some of these higher sitting shoes. However, the LeBron 16 and now the LeBron 17 have shown that brands can do maximum cushion setups while still offering a bit of stability and support. Obviously, you’re not getting the same level of stability in the LeBron 17 as you would in something like the Curry 6 or D.O.N. Issue 1, but it’s just enough. The upper is nice and supportive in all the right areas so when you combined everything you get a fairly well-rounded shoe that excels in the cushion department. Overall, I really enjoyed the Nike LeBron 17 from the cushion up. Traction has kept me from wanting to play in them any longer than I feel I have to. I hope that isn’t the case for everyone, and I hope there are people out there that get great traction from the shoe if they happen to purchase them. All I know is that I played in two different pairs in two different colorways and had the same results in both. I liked everything, loved some things, but disliked the traction. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the Nike LeBron 17 from a performance perspective in our WearTesters Discord community. Thanks for watching, reading and continuously supporting WearTesters!

10.10.2019.

Reebok Nano 9 Performance Review

Crossfit has come a long way in the last few years, and the Reebok Nano has been here every step, jump, and WOD of the way. The Nano 9 is billed as the best yet, but is it? Only one way to find out… Reebok is still using the split-finger outsole we have seen in just about every other Nano model (at least he ones I am familiar with) and it works. Not to the extreme of the Vibram Five Fingers but using the same concept, the Nano 9 outsole is split in the forefoot enough to allow for each toe and toe area to grip the floor almost independently. Called METASPLIT, the outsole also allows for lateral flex, meaning the shoe rolls sideways as well as forward, so on lateral movements or climbs the outsole stay in contact with the surface. The heel area in this colorway is a translucent, which is normally bad, but it is Reebok, which is good. For some reason, Reebok historically has had great translucent rubber and the Nano 9 is no different – thick, solid, and wears extremely well under stress. The diamond pattern worked well on squats and lunges as well as box jumps, short runs (more on that next), and even some court work – not basketball shoes, but some drills one of the new trainers at 24 Hour Fitness showed me (he plays on our league basketball team – I don’t need a trainer). Here is the main change and the one that may really get on Reebok Nano/Crossfit traditionalists nerves. The Nano 9 has added cushioning to an already solid platform, which would seem like the opposite of what most Crossfit/workout shoes aim for. Never fear – Reebok knows what they are doing. While I might have wished for some Floatride (that stuff is AWESOME!!!), Reebok stayed with some normal EVA and it is just enough to make short runs fun but doesn’t set the heel-to-toe offset completely crazy. To be completly honest, I am NOT a Crossfitter – I do some of the same exercises and lifts but I don’t compete and haven’t converted to “the lifestyle”. However, I do lift three days a week, short HIIT runs on those days, and warm up for basketball days with box jumps, lunges, and rope drills. The Nano 9 had no “energy return” as claimed by other cushioning systems, but it did absorb every landing and running 2-4 miles on treadmills or hitting stairsteppers was no problem. I freaking LOVE the Flexweave uppers Reebok has used over the past couple of years. The Nano 8, JJ WattII, the Fusion Flexweave runner – all of those uppers were flexible, lightweight, breathable, and durable. The Nano 9 upper takes things a bit further with the Flexweave Stretch. The concept is the same – nylon threads woven to give lateral support while still being flexible in the toebox, but the new weave allows for some stretch (well, it is right there in the name), just enough to keep from restricting movement but still keeps your foot on the footbed during movements. The one thing the Flexweave Stretch has over the older materials is it is softer to the touch – not much of a performance feature but it does feel better on the foot. The Nano 9 does have some areas of fuse over the weave, mainly around the laceholes, but the beloved Vector logo comes back for the first time in years and it is fused over the weave as well. The toe rand also has some light fuse around the edges for toedrag and ropeclimbing durability but it isn’t thick enough to stiffen the shoe. The tongue is well padded but not bulky and is part of an inner bootie system that feels great on the inside, with no hotspots to rub blisters or chafe. The Nano 9 is a curious fit. Length-wise, I normally have to go down a half size in Reebok performance to a 10, but the Nano fit around a 10.25. I don’t think I could have went down, but true to size gave me just a little more length than I normally like. The forefoot is also roomy, with some deadspace around the outside of the footbed and a little over the toes, so when laced tight there was a slight bunching at he end of the lacing system. This could be because of the Flexweave Stretch not being completely solid, and it wasn’t enough to completely compromise stability, but the fit was not one-to-one if that is what you are looking for. The midfoot fit is solid, mostly due to the laces but also because the inner sleeve takes up any of the extra room in that area. The sleeve isn’t a true one-piece upper system but the tongue is attached to the sleeve about halfway down. The heel fit is absolutely locked in with an extension of the sleeve running around the heel and up to the top laceloop. The inner has sculpted padding that fits and molds around the heel and sits right under the ankle, taking away any extra movement. One worry about cushioned shoes while lifting is the instability, especially in the heel – no one wants a soft foam midsole collapsing under a 400 pound squat bar or when coming down from a jump. If you want to know how to cause an ankle roll or knee injury, that is it. Luckily, the Nano 9 has a crazy support system in the heel, featuring raised sidewalls along the lateral and medial heel that runs all the way to the midfoot. It isn’t a hard rubber but is stiff enough to provide enough support for any lift you would do. The rubber sidewalls run down and around the cushioning, tying the sidewalls into the outsole, providing an even stronger support system on lateral movements. The forefoot outsole/midsole combo is wider than the footbed, which gives the forefoot a solid base for planting and jumping as well as landings. There is no midfoot support shank but the stiffness of the rubber and the flat platform work well to keep your foot bending the right way. Best Nano ever, but I have only tried 4 of them. The added cushioning is perfect for the athlete that may not be a true Crossfitter but the Nano 9 still has the best qualities of the previous models, which should make the diehard ‘Fitters happy. If you need a shoe for the weightroom, rope climbs, two-miler, and plyometrics, the Nano 9 is perfect out of the box. If you desire a true zero-drop, minimally padded shoe, like a Chuck Taylor, you will want to keep looking. Reebok has been making some serious performance shoe sin the training and running line for at least the last 6 years. they just usually fly under the radar because of the Classics line (kind of like the new Air Jordan models). It’s a shame really – the Flexweave is a seriously awesome upper material and their Floatride cushioning is just as good as Boost but waaaaay lighter. The Nano 9 just continues in the performance vein and shows how advancement doesn’t have to mean scrapping the old – it sometimes means tweaking what works. Oh, and the Vector logo – please Reebok, don’t ever let it go away. Sincereley, everyone.

09.10.2019.

adidas Harden Vol 4 Performance Review

adidas switched things up a little bit with the Harden Vol 4. Were the changes worth while? Find out in our performance review. Herringbone was used on the Harden Vol 3, and most of us loved it. No frills. No gimmicks. No data driven patterns. Just traction that worked. With the Vol 4 adidas went back to the way things were, with a pattern that doesn’t look like it’ll play well, but surprised us once we took them for a spin. Despite the pattern being flat and unimpressive looking, I rarely found myself having issues. If dust became a major concern a quick wipe and I was quickly back to playing without even thinking about traction. When a pattern/rubber compound works as well as this you end up with a bit more confidence as you know the foundation of the shoe won’t fail you. That’s pretty much how I felt with the Harden Vol 4. I didn’t really have to worry. On really bad floors I just wiped every-so-often and I was on my way. Traction on the Harden Vol. 4 is crazy. It’s great. It’s CR-R-REAT (no?)! On only one court did I ever have to wipe. Even so, each time I returned to that court the need to wipe was less frequent and all it took was a light stroke to get that Red Nose-hanging-off-a-tire-swing bite I was accustomed to on every other floor. The rubber is super tacky, especially in the forefoot where the pattern becomes more compact and covers more ground. It may even be strong enough to handle outdoors fairly well, but all I know for sure is indoors, this is one of the better tractions I’ve experienced in the smaller selection of shoes I’ve played in this year. Again, CREAT. Boost is missing from the Harden line for the very first time, and I will admit I did miss it a bit. I felt the Harden Vol 3 had the best implementation of Boost as it sat low to the ground while still providing a bit of impact protection. When I heard Lightstrike was replacing the Boost cushion I was excited. I loved Lightstrike in the N3XT L3V3l, but here I felt it was a bit too soft. Stability was never compromised as you sit just as low to the ground as you would in the Vol 3, but the Lightstrike on the N3XT L3V3L was a little thicker and had a bit more density to it. It gave off a lighter feeling Bounce whereas the Lightstrike in the Harden Vol 4 just feels… soft. It wound up causing some leg pains as I’ve been ramping up my days on-court since the calf tear. I don’t have these same pains when I play in my Air Jordan 34, LeBron 17 or ANTA KT5, so it has left me with the conclusion that this implementation of Lightstrike just isn’t for me. I was nervous about Lightstrike after my experience in the adidas Streetball, but after some testing overlap in the Harden Vol. 4, I’m now all in with the foam – when implemented correctly. Maybe its because I’ve played some models by adidas that used Bounce to take court feel to a whole new level, but the Lightstrike in the Harden Vol. 4 felt leaps and bounds better than most foams I’ve experienced, despite having an extremely thin layout itself. I’m not sure what was different, but I even felt well protected against impact in the 4 while recovering from outdoor play in the Streetball – a pair that did nothing for my triple-decade knees. If you like Bounce, this feels like an even lighter version of it while still carrying some properties of Boost. Even better – and maybe it’s just me – the cushion feels better underfoot the longer I wear. I’m talking feel good at the beginning of a session, feel great by the end of a session, then start all over the next time. Big fan of this, I am. There looks to be two different styles of build with the Harden Vol 4. One features a lightweight mesh build with premium overlays. Meanwhile, the other features a Primeknit build with synthetic TPU overlays. The pair I’ve been wearing uses the Primeknit build and they still look brand-new despite wearing them for the past few weeks on-court. Break-in time with most of the upper is quick and painless, but there is this section where the elastic band sits atop the midfoot that still hasn’t quite broken-in and I’m not sure if it ever will. This elastic band is on both versions of the shoe, so keep that in mind. If you wanted something that was a bit more breathable then I’d recommend going with the mesh build with premium overlays. However, both versions will perform the same. No nice, raw materials in this colorway. I guess there’s nothing to complain about when a pair slips through the cracks early, and honestly the Primeknit upper and synthetic overlays of the colorway tested worked extremely well for me personally. The fuse is thin, flexible and does its job to protect the knit from high wear while the upper wraps and flexes nicely with the foot. The synthetic leather panels and heavily stitched areas that reinforce the lacing system have no negative impact on comfort. The elastic midfoot band, while tight at first, did eventually break in to a comfortable level while barely needing laces for lockdown in the area. I’m still interested in testing the mesh and suede builds arriving, and I believe there may even be some full leather builds down the line but for now, I’m happy with performance of this Harden’s materials. I went true to size, and have for all of the Harden models I’ve worn. The only one where I felt they fit a bit big were the Harden Vol 1. Going TTS worked out perfectly for me and I have no real complaints about the fit other than the elastic band area. The first time I wore them I had to take them off due to foot cramps. Since that initial run it’s gotten better, but they still feel as if they’re brand-new each time I lace them up. Lockdown I felt was very good. Much like the previous versions of the Harden Signature line. If you have a wide foot and wind up going up half a size then you may encounter some heel lockdown issues, but if the shoe fits you the way they should then you shouldn’t have any problems. There is even the external cage with alternate lacing holes just in case you need to experiment a bit to achieve the lockdown you prefer. True to size was perfectly fine for me, but I can’t speak for wide-footers. Maybe there is some hope since I have a higher instep which didn’t take so well to the suffocating midfoot band initially but eventually found a sweet spot of comfort. I just say prepare to ask for two sizes if you get the chance to try on, because that band is seriously snug. Midfoot lockdown is exceptionally good of course, but if I were to nitpick I’d prefer the first set of lace-loops start a little bit further towards the forefoot. Luckily movement up front was not an issue, so that is just a preference. Near flawless otherwise. Other than the traction, the support is the one aspect of the shoe where I feel they’ve really found their groove. From the low profile tooling, to the FYW (Feet You Wear) styled setup and the way they blend it all together. The entire shoe works in synergy with itself in all aspects. The midsole really cradles the foot, the lacing keeps you locked-in at all times. Standard features like the heel counter and torsional plate all work well. I know low tops get a bad wrap in terms of support, which is unfortunate as some of the more supportive basketball shoes every made have been lows. All the little things make the Harden Vol. 4 good for support. You sit low to the ground over a wide base with portions caging you in and acting as outriggers. The customizable lacing panels and elastic also help keep the foot in place always while a strong plastic counter and sculpting keeps the heel in place as well. adidas has been killing it with support for most of its signatures and team shoes, and these are no exception. I love everything about the Harden Vol 4 except for two things. First, the cushion didn’t work well for me this time around. Second, that elastic band has really been a pain in my ass… or foot. Strangely enough as I love a nice snug/secure fit, but this thing felt like it was strangling my feet half the time. However, despite my personal issues with those two areas, everything else really worked well. Lockdown and stability are two major wins while the traction was a huge plus. If you’ve enjoyed the last three Harden models then you’ll likely like the air force 1 as well. Wide footers may want to try them on first because the elastic band, but otherwise these will suit the needs of those looking for something lightweight, supportive and comfortable. The Harden Vol. 4 is fast, controlled, and has been a personal joy to play in. I do think it may be a hit or miss for some, but from my personal experience it has been a top performer. I typically prefer more of a cushioned feel over court feel, but I feel the Harden Vol. 4 gives enough of the former and even more of the latter, and that’s something I would love to see in a lot more shoes going forward. The Beard’s step-back is going to be serious in the Harden Vol. 4, but hopefully if you try then you won’t feel any steps back in the signature line. I didn’t.

07.10.2019.

Nike Zoom Lebron V Performance Review

Love him or hate him, it is more than safe to say that Lebron James is in the conversation for GOAT. I mean the guy averaged a triple double in the finals against the Warriors and we barely batted an eye. When phenomenal numbers becomes pedestrian, you need to appreciate it before it’s gone,  that’s all I’m saying. One the other hand or foot,  his signature line has been more about showcasing Nike technology than creating an aesthetically pleasing shoe. Some of the shoes performed well on court but for the most part Lebron sneaker reception has been luke warm aside from the consumers buying the Lebron name. Despite rarely being in the mix for favorite or most memorable Lebron sneaker, the Lebron V performs very well on the court even if it’s weight was Cleveland Shaq-like. Pros: traction, cushioning, fit, support and stability, containment Cons: starts a little clunky but breaks in, more support than some may want, heavy Best For: bigger players Weight 19 ounces in a size 11. Pretty much 5-6 ounces heavier than today’s average shoe. Traction As I’ve I’ve said in past reviews, traction has never seemed to be a strength of the Lebron line but the V is an exception to the rule even if it’s not perfect. I’ll call this a sun ray pattern and it works well on clean and lightly dusty floors but still needs wiping on dusty floors. The rubber compound is soft and pliable while the blades are abundant. Overall though the pattern works well and is definitely one of the best of the  Lebron signature line. Cushioning Legit Zoom! That’s all I want Nike. It isn’t super soft like the KD 12 or Lebron X but it’s the feeling I associate with Zoom. I’ve read it’s full length Zoom and double stacked in the heel but it doesn’t feel like the double stacked Zoom to me. (Thanks to reader Danimal  for the correction). Doesn’t look like it either based on this video Lebrons have always used a lot of cushioning. Have you ever seen what the Zoom looked like on the Lebron II? Amazing. That’s like two and half pairs of today’s shoes worth of Zoom. Thanks to my buddy Ben for the pic, I’ll fix them next time I see you. Fit True to size although the V looks big on foot due to the endoskeleton design. I have my normal finger width at the toe box and as a wide footer, these fit great because Nike didn’t stray from what works. Lacing up the LBJ V reminds me a lot of how the HD 2016 just wraps up the foot and pulls the ankle back. In addition the strap adds some additional lockdown thanks to its placement right across the ankle. There is also plenty of padding in the heel to help with comfort and lockdown. Once laced and strapped, the V just doesn’t let go. Note to shoe companies, get the basics down first before venturing into new and “better”. Materials Check out the quadruple stitching. Ah, when Nike really gave a sh*t about quality or at least the appearance of quality PETA would highly disapprove of the suede and leather on the nike lebron 17. My sweat glands also disapproved due to being overworked. There is nowhere for heat to go except the tongue. I highly do not recommend wearing these outdoors in the hot sun unless you want your feet to melt off. If you want a luxurious feel, you use leather simple as that. If you disagree, let me know when mesh is an upgrade on a car. Ahhh the sweet smell of mesh. Support and Stability Just plain fantastic, maybe even over done by a hair. The V feels a little clunky to start but once you get used to the feel, you can ball out without fear. The key design feature of the Lebron V is the Phyposite Skelton. Rather than submerge the entire shoe in a Posite variant, Nike just made a skeleton to add strength and structure to the Lebron V.  You can literally see it from heel to toe. Below: more Posite on the medial side that you can see connects to the lateral side. The foot just slides into the V and deep into the endoskeleton and really keeps the foot from moving around excessively. Some players will want more freedom and flexibility but for safety purposes the V is great. No issues at all with stability either due to a flat outsole. In addition to the skeleton, Nike added a carbon fiber shank for midfoot support. I can safely say the Lebron V is the antithesis to the Mamba Instinct in terms of support. Don’t buy a Prius to do the job of Ford F-150. As I work my way back, I plan on using these and the Curry 2 because I know I can trust them. Containment  The Lebron signature line rarely disappoints here and the V is no different. There isn’t a need for any external raises midsole since the skelton keeps the foot in place on hard cuts. Lovely just lovely. Conclusion  I watch a lot of hoops and Lebron has done a lot of great things over the past fourteen years but I can’t remember a signature moment when he was wearing the V. I’m sure he did something monumental but the shoe itself gets lost in the shuffle of his sneaker hierarchy. What I do remember is these sitting on the Finishline clearance rack and still passing on them for $69 bucks. Even today these don’t go for much more than $125 on eBay deadstock. Overall, I don’t feel the V gets the respect it deserves. I put the V at number two behind the II in terms of overall performance. Certain Lebrons do some things better but none really do everything well like the II and V. If you feel nostalgic or want a good performer that I guarantee that nobody else will wearing, scour eBay and get the Lebron V.

03.10.2019.

adidas Streetball Performance Review

A modern take on the adidas Streetball 2, the 2019 edition looks to blur lines between lifestyle and performance, but does it truly live up to its name? Jalique is here to provide a performance review after primarily testing outdoors. The outsole pattern of the new Streetball has rugged, almost boot-like vibes – and in terms of durability it’s a go. For actual performance, however, there was a little left to be desired in terms of traction. Often, a light slip could be felt on shiftier movements, taking away milliseconds I would have loved to at least feel I had by placebo to gain separation. On defense, I was a little more secure, probably because that’s more familiar territory for me as far as footwork – I’m certainly no Kyrie with the ball in my hands. I’ve gotten some questions about indoor performance through our WearTesters Discord Community, so I did take the Streetball inside for practice and one indoor game. Traction didn’t feel any better inside unfortunately, it was about the same experience. My conclusion is that there is just not enough coverage throughout the shoe to give more stopping power. I think adding more herringbone where the super-thick and wide spaced chevron pattern may have added some stopping power. Not the worst, but certainly not the best, even for outdoors. One of the main features that drew me towards the Streetball was the cushion after positive reviews of Lightstrike on the adidas N3XT L3V3L. I regret to say on the adidas Streetball I didn’t have the best first impression of it, and I now know it just isn’t the best implementation of the foam on this sneaker. While testing my pair, I was fortunate enough to acquire both the N3XT L3V3L at a steal and the Harden Vol. 4 early. Man, do I have a much better opinion of those two sneakers and their cushion. The adidas Streetball midsole just feels dead in the forefoot, if I’m being honest. Don’t let the chunky aesthetic fool you, there is a ton of court feel up front and a lot of flex which makes for good transition, but it also feels dead as if no real protection is there. The heel feels a lot better, with a little bit of bounce back after some break in, it’s just too bad that wasn’t of much use to me while playing. Court feel is cool and all, but when other sneakers can provide that and cushion underfoot with the same foam, and the outdoor shoe doesn’t its just difficult for me to enjoy – also, my knees haven’t felt great from the moment I finished testing the Streetball 2019 outside. This is where things get good for the Streetball – in most colorways. In the upper you get a little bit of everything, some of which varies between colorways but doesn’t affect performance. The main highlights are the raw materials, which this shoe gets right on the money. Tumbled leather and buttery suede hits — what’s not to like about that? If you are a fan of the adidas Continental 80 and its leather, then you should be happy with this build – its soft, molds well (so long as you find the right fit), can take a little beating, and is still supportive despite being a thin cut. I dig it — a lot. Even though the neoprene is an actual tongue connected to the footbed by elastic bands, it gives off even more of a 90’s vibe like sneakers of the time with internal sleeves. For all the materials that some will not find any excitement in, they are applied in moderation and/or strategically placed, such as the rubber piece sitting on the suede overlay near the pinky toe. A good mix of fashion and function, materials are good in the adidas Streetball, just stay away from the Flash Orange colorway – the quality of those just doesn’t compare to the rest. Two colorways have been available for some time through adidas online, but I thought it was best to wait until now when more colorways have gotten a wider release and hopefully on shelves for everyone to try on first. As a slightly narrow footer, ideally I could have gone a half size down as the shoe ran a little wide and long, but I know of some others that feel perfectly fine going true to size. Lockdown could’ve been better, but wasn’t terrible. More lace holders could have improved it, but at the same time it was nice to do a quick yank to tighten up all the way through the lacing system. However, the round laces were a little annoying as they come undone easily, even when double knotting. Overall, fit is a little too much of a guessing game when ordering online. True to size in the shoe may work well for a broader spectrum of folks, but I strongly encourage everyone to judge for themselves in store, if possible. For me personally, a half size down would have given a little more security, not that I was at much risk in my true size. You don’t get all of the standard support features in the adidas Harden vol 4, but for what you do get, it is adequate. Under foot, I can’t feel any torsional plate or bar under foot, but the midsole damn sure doesn’t budge when you try to bend it, so there shouldn’t be issues in that area. Speaking of the midsole, it does cup the foot just slightly most of the way around and the outsole uses exaggerated pieces at each side of the heel to stabilize it along with the rubber/suede overlays in the forefoot, which also laterally contain you a bit. I don’t feel a real heel cup either, but was saved from any side movement at the heel somehow. Normal heel slip did occur, but few and far in between. While it wasn’t enough to concern me, some may not feel comfortable with that at all, so you’ve been warned. Otherwise, I felt perfectly fine moving around with the few support features given, despite not having the best fit and traction. When asked before, I’ve said I think the adidas Streetball meets minimum requirements to hoop in. After owning for over a month I somewhat stand by that, I would just revise by saying the shoe has just enough performance aspects to hoop in. Despite its confusing nature as an adidas Original branded model, the company has openly showcased the sneaker as one you should not be afraid to play in. I didn’t mind playing in it, buy I do find it to be more lifestyle-driven than performance-oriented. Don’t get me wrong, if you find the right fit, don’t mind minimal cushion over asphalt, and like the looks of the adidas Streetball, then this could be an option. For me, I just expected a little more for outdoors – as did my aging legs. I wouldn’t call this a go-to outdoor option but I will say if I am wearing the Streetball — which has grown on me casually with that chunky Yeezy look — and I get put on the spot to play a game or two outside, I don’t feel like I have much of an excuse shoe-wise to not try and get some buckets. If that doesn’t happen though, then I’m perfectly fine to continue rocking these at leisure — the adidas Streetball is still one of my favorite pickups this year.

30.09.2019.

Air Jordan XIV Performance Review

Since the Oxy XIV retro just came out I thought I’d finally write about my love for the XIV. These would still be in my top 5 if they were wearable but being 18 years old (yikes!!), I can’t trust them to hold up. Please note that this is a review of the original 1998 release not the crappy retros. I tried the 2006 retros out and could tell they weren’t the same so I gave up on them and stuck to collecting and playing in only the originals. I have not tried any of the newer retros. I’ve probably trashed about 10 pair. I do not recommend buying them to play in due to the risk of watching them fall apart. I’ve had to Shoe Goo my current pair a few times. Shoo goo is awesome if you’ve never tried it. This is the shoe that made me realize all shoes are not made equal. I actually fell in love with the looks of the shoe because of how it performed on court and all the great memories I had playing in them. Just simple and clean. Of course everyone else’s memory is MJ’s last shot. Photo courtesy of Solecollector . Pros: traction, perfect cushioning, fit, support and stability, containment Cons: durabilityforefoot midsole “teeth”‘come apart after heavy wear, sole and upper at toe box separate over time, metal bar in tongue can be painful, tongue likes to slide off to the side, Ferrari shield needs break in on some pairs. Sizing: true to size Best for: guards Weight: I never weighed these before and it weighs a whopping half ounce more than the Crazylight 2016. It doesn’t matter how much a shoe weighs if it feels like an extension of your foot. Traction:  The late 90’s, early 2000’s were simpler times. Full length herringbone made out a soft pliable rubber that sticks to the floor like glue. Dirty floor ? No problem. If you like to hear squeaky traction, these are for you. They could extend the herringbone up and around the forefoot like they do nowadays but not need really. So simple yet effective. Just plain awesome. Cushioning Want to feel what Zoom is supposed to feel like and why it is so addictive ? Try the OG XIV. Low to the ground yet springy and responsive. These actually have articulated forefoot Zoom like the Super Fly 4 and covers almost the full width of the forefoot. No tiny Met Bag like the Kobe V/VI. Picture courtesy of sneakerdebut.com The heel features Zoom as well and back then, Zoom bags were big, not the quarter size things we see today. Notice the heel cut out? Very similar idea to the Kobe IV V VI “Y heel”. Insoles these days are usually just a piece of Ortholite or thin cheap foam but these XIV (2006 retros included) feature these heel and forefoot inserts that feel almost like Adiprene. This gives the wearer a little more cushioning and step in comfort. The end result is cushioning perfection. Responsive yet protective. If cushioning is a drug, this is the crack that got me hooked on Zoom. Fit: Back then, I wore a 10.5 but my feet have flattened out and lengthened in the past eighteen years so now I need an 11. However I can still wear the 10.5 but don’t have the toe box space I like. I know I sound like a broken record but back in the 90’s, Jordans were really wear tested a lot so the fit on the XIV is like a glove. No straps or gimmicks, just an effective lacing system that kept your foot in. There is zero heel slip with a 3/4 mid cut The memory foam in the ankle collar is the perfect amount. Just feels like true extension of the foot. Man I miss these.  Maybe I’ll get the newer retros. Support and stability  The AJ XIV features an assymetrical collar which allows freedom on movement on cuts but support on ankle ankle inversions. The higher medial side “slows the roll” if you turn your ankle. Tons of real carbon fiber.. So sexy Of course the base of the shoe is flat and stable with no tippiness. Once again, simple yet effective use of design and technology. Containment  Upon examining the XIV, Jordan Brand was way ahead of its time and is still designed better than a lot of shoes today that feature mesh or knit uppers **cough, melo m12, JC2, JC3, AJ XX9, Soldier X** Almost the entire shoe features an extended midsole to keep the foot in place on cuts. Some of the extension was removed to allow more flexibility . I have probably reglued the forefoot “teeth” about five times on this pair. Regardless of durability, containment is excellent. Flaws: No actual performance flaws with the XIV but some irritants.

  1. Metal bar across the top of the tongue can jam into your ankle and be painful. Only certain pairs of mine did this.
  2. Tongue doesn’t sit straight up on some pairs and usually slides to a side
  3. The Ferrari Jordan shield is another hard spot but softens with time.
  4. Toe box and sole can separate but that’s due to the age of the shoe and use of leather. Shoe goo to the rescue!
Conclusion  In shoe collectors’ eyes, the Air Jordan XIV is not a holy grail. Sure MJ hit one of his most famous shots in them but he only wore the Last Shots in the playoffs. Sales were lackluster since MJ retired and never wore these on court the next season. However, from a performance perspective, these were and still are the BEST PERFORMING AIR JORDAN OF ALL TIME. the AJ XI, XII, and XIII a get a lot of love and rightfully so but the XIV is just flawless from top to bottom (don’t get me started on anything post XIV because they all have their flaws especially XV to XVIII).  These would still be in my top 5 rotation if they would hold up. Maybe I’ll try a newer retro pair for fun..
28.09.2019.

Air Jordan XIV Performance Review

Since the Oxy XIV retro just came out I thought I’d finally write about my love for the XIV. These would still be in my top 5 if they were wearable but being 18 years old (yikes!!), I can’t trust them to hold up. Please note that this is a review of the original 1998 release not the crappy retros. I tried the 2006 retros out and could tell they weren’t the same so I gave up on them and stuck to collecting and playing in only the originals. I have not tried any of the newer retros. I’ve probably trashed about 10 pair. I do not recommend buying them to play in due to the risk of watching them fall apart. I’ve had to Shoe Goo my current pair a few times. Shoo goo is awesome if you’ve never tried it. This is the shoe that made me realize all shoes are not made equal. I actually fell in love with the looks of the shoe because of how it performed on court and all the great memories I had playing in them. Just simple and clean. Of course everyone else’s memory is MJ’s last shot. Photo courtesy of Solecollector . Pros: traction, perfect cushioning, fit, support and stability, containment Cons: durabilityforefoot midsole “teeth”‘come apart after heavy wear, sole and upper at toe box separate over time, metal bar in tongue can be painful, tongue likes to slide off to the side, Ferrari shield needs break in on some pairs. Sizing: true to size Best for: guards Weight: I never weighed these before and it weighs a whopping half ounce more than the Crazylight 2016. It doesn’t matter how much a shoe weighs if it feels like an extension of your foot. Traction:  The late 90’s, early 2000’s were simpler times. Full length herringbone made out a soft pliable rubber that sticks to the floor like glue. Dirty floor ? No problem. If you like to hear squeaky traction, these are for you. They could extend the herringbone up and around the forefoot like they do nowadays but not need really. So simple yet effective. Just plain awesome. Cushioning Want to feel what Zoom is supposed to feel like and why it is so addictive ? Try the OG XIV. Low to the ground yet springy and responsive. These actually have articulated forefoot Zoom like the Super Fly 4 and covers almost the full width of the forefoot. No tiny Met Bag like the Kobe V/VI. Picture courtesy of sneakerdebut.com The heel features Zoom as well and back then, Zoom bags were big, not the quarter size things we see today. Notice the heel cut out? Very similar idea to the Kobe IV V VI “Y heel”. Insoles these days are usually just a piece of Ortholite or thin cheap foam but these XIV (2006 retros included) feature these heel and forefoot inserts that feel almost like Adiprene. This gives the wearer a little more cushioning and step in comfort. The end result is cushioning perfection. Responsive yet protective. If cushioning is a drug, this is the crack that got me hooked on Zoom. Fit: Back then, I wore a 10.5 but my feet have flattened out and lengthened in the past eighteen years so now I need an 11. However I can still wear the 10.5 but don’t have the toe box space I like. I know I sound like a broken record but back in the 90’s, Jordans were really wear tested a lot so the fit on the XIV is like a glove. No straps or gimmicks, just an effective lacing system that kept your foot in. There is zero heel slip with a 3/4 mid cut The memory foam in the ankle collar is the perfect amount. Just feels like true extension of the foot. Man I miss these.  Maybe I’ll get the newer retros. Support and stability  The AJ XIV features an assymetrical collar which allows freedom on movement on cuts but support on ankle ankle inversions. The higher medial side “slows the roll” if you turn your ankle. Tons of real carbon fiber.. So sexy Of course the base of the shoe is flat and stable with no tippiness. Once again, simple yet effective use of design and technology. Containment  Upon examining the XIV, Jordan Brand was way ahead of its time and is still designed better than a lot of shoes today that feature mesh or knit uppers **cough, melo m12, JC2, JC3, AJ XX9, Soldier X** Almost the entire shoe features an extended midsole to keep the foot in place on cuts. Some of the extension was removed to allow more flexibility . I have probably reglued the forefoot “teeth” about five times on this pair. Regardless of durability, containment is excellent. Flaws: No actual performance flaws with the XIV but some irritants.

  1. Metal bar across the top of the tongue can jam into your ankle and be painful. Only certain pairs of mine did this.
  2. Tongue doesn’t sit straight up on some pairs and usually slides to a side
  3. The Ferrari Jordan shield is another hard spot but softens with time.
  4. Toe box and sole can separate but that’s due to the age of the shoe and use of leather. Shoe goo to the rescue!
Conclusion  In shoe collectors’ eyes, the Air Jordan XIV is not a holy grail. Sure MJ hit one of his most famous shots in them but he only wore the Last Shots in the playoffs. Sales were lackluster since MJ retired and never wore these on court the next season. However, from a performance perspective, these were and still are the BEST PERFORMING AIR JORDAN OF ALL TIME. the AJ XI, XII, and XIII a get a lot of love and rightfully so but the XIV is just flawless from top to bottom (don’t get me started on anything post XIV because they all have their flaws especially XV to XVIII).  These would still be in my top 5 rotation if they would hold up. Maybe I’ll try a newer retro pair for fun..
28.09.2019.

Air Jordan XIV Performance Review

Since the Oxy XIV retro just came out I thought I’d finally write about my love for the XIV. These would still be in my top 5 if they were wearable but being 18 years old (yikes!!), I can’t trust them to hold up. Please note that this is a review of the original 1998 release not the crappy retros. I tried the 2006 retros out and could tell they weren’t the same so I gave up on them and stuck to collecting and playing in only the originals. I have not tried any of the newer retros. I’ve probably trashed about 10 pair. I do not recommend buying them to play in due to the risk of watching them fall apart. I’ve had to Shoe Goo my current pair a few times. Shoo goo is awesome if you’ve never tried it. This is the shoe that made me realize all shoes are not made equal. I actually fell in love with the looks of the shoe because of how it performed on court and all the great memories I had playing in them. Just simple and clean. Of course everyone else’s memory is MJ’s last shot. Photo courtesy of Solecollector . Pros: traction, perfect cushioning, fit, support and stability, containment Cons: durabilityforefoot midsole “teeth”‘come apart after heavy wear, sole and upper at toe box separate over time, metal bar in tongue can be painful, tongue likes to slide off to the side, Ferrari shield needs break in on some pairs. Sizing: true to size Best for: guards Weight: I never weighed these before and it weighs a whopping half ounce more than the Crazylight 2016. It doesn’t matter how much a shoe weighs if it feels like an extension of your foot. Traction:  The late 90’s, early 2000’s were simpler times. Full length herringbone made out a soft pliable rubber that sticks to the floor like glue. Dirty floor ? No problem. If you like to hear squeaky traction, these are for you. They could extend the herringbone up and around the forefoot like they do nowadays but not need really. So simple yet effective. Just plain awesome. Cushioning Want to feel what Zoom is supposed to feel like and why it is so addictive ? Try the OG XIV. Low to the ground yet springy and responsive. These actually have articulated forefoot Zoom like the Super Fly 4 and covers almost the full width of the forefoot. No tiny Met Bag like the Kobe V/VI. Picture courtesy of sneakerdebut.com The heel features Zoom as well and back then, Zoom bags were big, not the quarter size things we see today. Notice the heel cut out? Very similar idea to the Kobe IV V VI “Y heel”. Insoles these days are usually just a piece of Ortholite or thin cheap foam but these XIV (2006 retros included) feature these heel and forefoot inserts that feel almost like Adiprene. This gives the wearer a little more cushioning and step in comfort. The end result is cushioning perfection. Responsive yet protective. If cushioning is a drug, this is the crack that got me hooked on Zoom. Fit: Back then, I wore a 10.5 but my feet have flattened out and lengthened in the past eighteen years so now I need an 11. However I can still wear the 10.5 but don’t have the toe box space I like. I know I sound like a broken record but back in the 90’s, Jordans were really wear tested a lot so the fit on the XIV is like a glove. No straps or gimmicks, just an effective lacing system that kept your foot in. There is zero heel slip with a 3/4 mid cut The memory foam in the ankle collar is the perfect amount. Just feels like true extension of the foot. Man I miss these.  Maybe I’ll get the newer retros. Support and stability  The AJ XIV features an assymetrical collar which allows freedom on movement on cuts but support on ankle ankle inversions. The higher medial side “slows the roll” if you turn your ankle. Tons of real carbon fiber.. So sexy Of course the base of the shoe is flat and stable with no tippiness. Once again, simple yet effective use of design and technology. Containment  Upon examining the XIV, Jordan Brand was way ahead of its time and is still designed better than a lot of shoes today that feature mesh or knit uppers **cough, melo m12, JC2, JC3, AJ XX9, Soldier X** Almost the entire shoe features an extended midsole to keep the foot in place on cuts. Some of the extension was removed to allow more flexibility . I have probably reglued the forefoot “teeth” about five times on this pair. Regardless of durability, containment is excellent. Flaws: No actual performance flaws with the XIV but some irritants.

  1. Metal bar across the top of the tongue can jam into your ankle and be painful. Only certain pairs of mine did this.
  2. Tongue doesn’t sit straight up on some pairs and usually slides to a side
  3. The Ferrari Jordan shield is another hard spot but softens with time.
  4. Toe box and sole can separate but that’s due to the age of the shoe and use of leather. Shoe goo to the rescue!
Conclusion  In shoe collectors’ eyes, the Air Jordan XIV is not a holy grail. Sure MJ hit one of his most famous shots in them but he only wore the Last Shots in the playoffs. Sales were lackluster since MJ retired and never wore these on court the next season. However, from a performance perspective, these were and still are the BEST PERFORMING AIR JORDAN OF ALL TIME. the AJ XI, XII, and XIII a get a lot of love and rightfully so but the XIV is just flawless from top to bottom (don’t get me started on anything post XIV because they all have their flaws especially XV to XVIII).  These would still be in my top 5 rotation if they would hold up. Maybe I’ll try a newer retro pair for fun..

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