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

Le 22 mai à  06:07
Rubriques : Air Jordans

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?



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Nike Kyrie 4 vs. Flytrap head-to-head performance review

Le 18 mai à  06:53
Rubriques : Air Jordans

Affordable entries to Nike Basketball’s signature lines have a track record of not just being great values, but great sneakers, period. Devoid of frivolous gimmicks and not-quite-ready-for-basketball tech features, sneakers like the KD 2, Kyrie 1, and PG 1 put all of their resources where they mattered most: performance.

Those aforementioned examples utilized tried and true tech and combined it with “best practices” design elements to create sneakers that just worked. They may not have broaken much ground, but they represented the full realization of past innovations.

Thanks to that history, last October’s announcement of an even more affordable addition to Kyrie Irving’s signature line was welcomed with open arms. It offered the potential to not only make the line more accessible to Irving’s fanbase, but offer another viable performance option for players who prefer no-frills models on court.

Based on my cushioning preferences and its unique fit system, the $80 Nike Kyrie Flytrap looks like an even more attractive sneaker than the $120 Nike Kyrie on paper. But how do those features translate to performance?.

Hover over the dots below for a head-to-head breakdown of the two models, and an analysis of which one does it better.

Nike Kyrie 4 vs. Nike Kyrie Flytrap - Fit

Advantage: Nike Kyrie 4
It may not be fancy, but the Kyrie 4’s half-bootie construction allows for a glove-like fit thanks to its sculpted shape and traditional eyestay construction. When fully tightened, the upper fully engages and hugs the foot, offering a reassuring fit that inspires confidence through cuts. Unfortunately, my first time lacing the shoe up resulted in a ripped eyelet. To the shoe’s credit though, the reinforced backing prevented the rip from tearing completely though, and it caused no further issues.

The concept behind the Flytrap’s closure system is a solid one, but the execution falls flat thanks to a sloppy overall shape and sub-par materials. I typically only play in a single pair of socks, but had to double up in order to fill some of the excess space that couldn’t be tightened out of the shoe when fully laced. Going down a half size may help alleviate some of the extra room, but it is more of a volume issue than length.

Nike Kyrie 4 vs. Nike Kyrie Flytrap - Ankle Support

Advantage: Nike Kyrie 4
The Kyrie 4 and Flytrap have different cuts, but both rely on the collar padding to provide heel lockdown. In theory, they should match up well based on utilizing the same philosophy on ankle support, but the corners cut on materials in the Flytrap give a clear advantage to the more expensive Kyrie 4. The padding, while shaped properly, is just not dense enough to actually engage and fully stabilize the heel. The Flytrap’s ankle support isn’t necessarily bad, just not as comfortable or confidence-inspiring as the 4.

Nike Kyrie 4 vs. Nike Kyrie Flytrap - Cushioning

Advantage: Nike Kyrie 4
My favorite cushioning configuration from Nike is Zoom Air in the forefoot and and foam in the heel because I find it provides a perfect combination of responsiveness and impact protection where each is most needed. That should have boded well for the Flytrap, but not all Zoom Air is created equal. The bag found here is comically small—roughly the size and shape of a quarter—and about as effective. It’s placed directly under the ball of the big toe, which is fine, but it’s so low volume that it offers nothing in terms of response. Even the shoe’s insole is of the cheapest persuasion possible; there’s not as much as a Nike logo screen printed on the wafer-thin unit.

Meanwhile, the Kyrie 4 improved greatly in the comfort department over the nike Kyrie 3, despite using the same configuration of heel Zoom and forefoot foam. I found the 3’s ride to be downright harsh, but the addition of a Cushlon midsole turned the cushioning into one of the high points of the 4. It’s not as protective as a shoe like the LeBron 15 with its massive Zoom Max hybrid units, but for players who want more court feel, it’s an excellent compromise.

Nike Kyrie 4 vs. Nike Kyrie Flytrap - Traction

Advantage: Nike Kyrie 4
Traction is the one area where the Kyrie 4 and Flytrap share the most similarities, and it’s a positive point for both shoes. But despite using a very similar traction pattern, the Kyrie 4 edges out the Flytrap thanks to its level of refinement. The large zig-zag groove that runs up the middle of the sole enhances its radiused shape and offers a sticky surface regardless of the angle from which it engages. It also has the additional benefit of creating a smoother transition. That same groove is implied on the Flytrap, but doesn’t offer the full benefits of the effectively decoupled design of the 4.

Nike Kyrie 4 vs. Nike Kyrie Flytrap - Conclusion
Image via Nike
Advantage: Nike Kyrie 4
The Nike Kyrie 4 tops the Flytrap in almost every measurable category, including value. “Affordable” doesn’t always equate with “good value”—sometimes, like in the case of the Kyrie Flytrap, it mostly means “cheap.”

It’s commendable for Nike to offer such a budget-conscious option for Irving’s fans, but it’s just not one I can recommend from a performance standpoint. There’s simply not enough support and protection other than for the smallest and lightest of players. Furthermore, excellent performers like the PG1 have been regularly available on sale for even less than the Flytrap’s $80 retail price, rendering it’s primary selling point moot.

But the Kyrie 4 doesn’t just win this head-to-head matchup because the Flytrap is so bad. The Flytrap feels so cheap that it doesn’t even feel like it was made by Nike—but the Kyrie 4 is good in its own right. While not spectacular at any one thing, it’s a well-rounded sneaker that does pretty much everything one could ask for in a performance model, at a price point that’s still relatively affordable in context of the signature sneaker world. And it feels downright premium in direct comparison.



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Better Air Jordan 3: “True Blue” or “Seoul”

Le 16 mai à  06:37
Rubriques : Air Jordans

Jordan Brand is currently celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Air Jordan 3 in 2018. For the occasion, there has been a few OG and new colorways that have debuted.

One OG pair that didn’t arrive during its celebration is the “True Blue” colorway, which was last released back in 2016. The remastered version came with “Nike Air” logos on the heels.

Technically, the 2016 Nike Air Jordan 3 will be the second time we see them release, the first of course being in 1988. We saw the True Blue 3 retro for the first time in 2001 which came with the Jumpman branding. We once again saw this pair release in 2011 when the brand celebrated the 23rd anniversary of the shoes. They still came with Jumpman branding, but did have the original style box.

For 2016, the brand will return the True Blue Jordan 3 just like the originals. Featuring tumbled and smooth leather through the uppers, while Blue runs through the mudguard, Nike Air branding on the heel, eyelets and liner. The elephant print is expected to return just like in 1988, which will wrap the heel, toe box and hinted on the uppers. The last details are a White midsole and Grey outsole.

Released in very limited quantities and only available in South Korea, the “Seoul” Air Jordan 3 was one of the newer colorway that arrived in 2018. This special edition release celebrates two sports milestones that took place in 1988: the NBA Slam Dunk contest won by Michael Jordan after taking flight from the free throw line, and the Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea.

The Air Jordan 3 Seoul isThe Taegukgi (Korean flag) inspires the shoe’s overall color scheme, with the “taeguk” symbol expressed through the lining and collar’s blue and red and the white upper representing peace and purity (as it does on the flag). ?? (Seoul) is featured on the left inner tongue, while the 1988 summer games motto ??? ?? (Harmony and Progress) is featured on the right inner tongue. The heel reads “Nike Air” in a clear nod to the original Air Jordan 3.

While majority of us weren’t able to get our hands on the “Seoul” Air Jordan 3, if you did have the option of picking one of these to buy for retail, which would it be?



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Jordan CP3 11 Performance Reviews

Le 10 mai à  06:15
Rubriques : NIKE LEBRON 14

Chris Paul (with the help of James Harden) has lead the Houston Rockets to the Western Conference Finals. That means it’s about time to find out if Paul’s eleventh signature shoe, the CP3 11, is any good.

Nothing puts a level of expectation on an outsole quite like herringbone. Luckily, the outsole on the CP3 11 didn’t disappoint. Coverage is abundant and simple — two things that tend to make for good traction.

It isn’t quite as aggressive as something like the CP3.VI’s herringbone, a standard for Chris Paul’s signatures, but it works nearly as well (the CP3.VI had a bit more bite on the hardwood). The CP3 11 holds tight on a clean floor, as expected, and with only a slight delay on dustier settings. Even if the floor was really dusty, any slips would be caught with plenty of backup herringbone to spare.

One minor complaint would be that the pattern could’ve benefited from being a bit more spaced apart, as dust clumps catch quickly to the current compact design. However, a quick wipe and I was back on my way.

The rubber is soft but will grip outdoor courts, although there’s also plenty of surface space for the blacktop to burn through. If you choose to make this your primary outdoor performer then you should get some decent amount of playing time in them before needing to consider a replacement pair.

For cushioning in the CP3 11, heel and forefoot Zoom Air are laid directly into a semi-firm Phylon midsole.

The midsole itself is on the dense side, but it still has a bit of bounce to it. Couple that with the forefoot’s standard-sized Zoom unit (think Air Jordan 13) along with a moderately-sized Hex Zoom unit in the heel and you’ve got a pretty sweet ride.

It’s low enough to be considered a quicker ride, but thick enough to provide some cushion. It might not be as fast as some slightly lower-sitting models like the Why Not Zer0.1 or Kobe 1 Protro, but it’s faster than models featuring beefier cushion.

Due to the extra firmness and thickness (even though the thickness isn’t more than 1mm) in comparison to the two previous models I mentioned, I had a lot of foot fatigue during the first few nights. The feeling does go away the longer you wear the CP3 11 but it’s still something I needed to get used to. Maybe some flex grooves would’ve helped, but that’s just a guess.

Either way, the Jordan CP3 11 offers plenty of cushion and court feel for most guards. Larger wings and forwards that are nimble should find these to be very well suited for what they’d want/need in terms of cushion without sacrificing any support because the build isn’t lightweight or minimal.

That brings me to the materials. This colorway features synthetic leather on the heel and toe while the main body is comprised of a textile mesh. The mesh was awesome, as anticipated, but the synthetic leather was stiff and slow until broken in.

Having the forefoot be as stiff as it was likely added to the foot fatigue I was feeling from the midsole. Not all CP3 11 colorways feature the synthetic leather toe so if you can avoid it I would. Unless you like some stiffness in your shoe — yes, some players prefer a stiffer ride, and some feel it’s more supportive than the lighter knit and mesh models. I don’t mind having to break in an upper, but when I do, I prefer the end result to be a custom feeling build — which this type of synthetic leather just does not offer.

The CP3 11 fit true to size. However, the shoe can break in enough for those with a slightly wider foot, but those with really wide feet should try the shoe on. I still haven’t seen this model in a store but my local retailers aren’t the end all be all of inventory so it might be different where you’re located. If you can, try the CP3 11 on and see if it feels like something you’d enjoy running in.

The lockdown was solid. Dynamic lacing hasn’t been promoted as it used to be, but it’s in place on the CP3 11. When you lace them up you can feel each nylon thread cinch right around your midfoot as it grabs hold, without feeling like your foot is being choked. The heel sculpt was also comfortable and functional. No heel slip at all, and the shoes never felt like they were digging into my Achilles.

Support in the CP3 11 is adequate — nothing to write a novel over, but it’s simple and effective. An internal torsional shank is in place and works the way we have come to expect. It would have been nice had the shoe offered an external TPU shank; not for performance purposes, but I think that’d give the CP3 11 a slight pop with its otherwise plain aesthetic.

An internal heel counter is in place and works well with the overall fit. Meanwhile, the base is fairy flat which offers a ood level of stability. I’d love to have seen a wider design to the tooling to allow for an outrigger, but there was never an issue in lateral stability at the forefoot.

The base of the strap’s design doesn’t allow for much compression in that section so it could essentially take on the role of the outrigger without actually needing it there. Whether that was the intent is something I’m not sure about, but it makes sense in my mind.

The Jordan CP3 11 is definitely a step in the right direction when compared to the CP3.X (10) and CP3.IX (9). The cushion, comfort, and traction have all been upgraded. Although I’d prefer the Flyweave build of the CP3.X over what we received on this colorway of the CP3 11, I’d take traction and cushion over the materials any day of the week.

If you don’t mind some break-in time then the CP3 11 might be the shoe for you, depending on your needs. It’s very well-rounded so I don’t see many players not liking the shoe. The CP3 11 doesn’t quite make it into my “rotation” — which doesn’t really exist since I’m constantly testing new shoes — but that’s because I personally find the Kobe 1 Protro and Jordan Why Not Zer0.1 to be a bit better in both of the key areas I pointed out above (traction and cushion).

Finding yourself with a pair of Chris Paul’s signature shoes isn’t a bummer this year. If your feet end up in a pair, share your experience with us in the comments below.



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Better Air Jordan 13 : “He Got Game” OR “Bred”

Le 8 mai à  05:53
Rubriques : Air Jordans

Two original releases of the Air Jordan 13, which are considered two of the fan favorites, are the “He Got Game” and “Bred” colorways.

Dressed in a White, Black and Red color scheme that received its nickname “He Got Game” thanks to its appearance in Spike Lee’s classic basketball film. It’s safe to say that no Air Jordan Collection is completed without this colorway.This Air Jordan 13 He Got Game will feature the original color scheme of White, Black and True Red. Utilizing White tumbled leather across the uppers while Black covers the toe box and suede detailing on the midsole. Completing the look is True Red which lands on the Jumpman logo and outsole.

The “Bred” version is one of the original Air Jordan 13 colorways that was worn by Michael Jordan in the 1998 Playoffs along with the other Black-based colorway dubbed, “Playoffs.”,The last time we saw the Black and Red Air Jordan 13 Bred released was in 2013, however many were disappointed as it didn’t feature the traditional 3M reflective detailing across the uppers. For 2017, Jordan Brand will correct their wrongs.

 It’s defiantly a hard choice to pick one or the other, but if you had to choose, which is the better Air Jordan 13? Cast your vote below and leave your reasoning on why in the comments section.

It also should be noted that Jordan Brand is bridging back the Air Jordan 13 He Got Game this August 2018.



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Nike Kobe NXT 360 Performance Review

Le 3 mai à  05:32
Rubriques : Air Jordans

Who needs a bag when you have the Nike Kobe NXT 360? These shoes are super portable — just roll them up, throw them in your pocket, and go.

The Kobe NXT 360 features a translucent nubby traction pattern, and that’s all it is. Who cares about how the traction looks right? You all want to know how the stuff performs.

The traction it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t the best either. On dirty courts, the shoe tends to be the kick it spot for dust; a legit dust party was happening underneath my Kobe NXT 360s, which caused some ice skating here and there. Definitely wasn’t a fan of that, especially for $200.

If you play on extremely terrible court conditions, do not buy the Kobe NXT 360. However, on ordinary courts that most of us play on you will be fine after the traction breaks in. Dust will still stick, and some wiping will need to occur, but it will be very minimal. Don’t expect this traction to be Kobe 9 good because you will be disappointed.
The cushion was by far my favorite part of the Kobe NXT 360. You get a drop-in midsole that features Lunarlon foam along outer edge for structure and support. Plush React foam is used at the center of the midsole for that feel-good softness.

At first I was a bit skeptical about this setup because the last React cushioning system I tested was pretty trash (Hyperdunk 2017). However, that was not the case for the Kobe NXT 360. This cushion was fire — and this dual-density foam has become my favorite cushioning set up of all time. The comfort is there, the impact protection is there, the court feel is there — the stuff is just amazing.

If I’m walking around or standing around the cushion it’s plush and somewhat bouncy. If I apply any force, whether it’s running, jumping, or cutting, it doesn’t matter — the cushion stiffens up a bit, so I don’t sink into to the midsole, and becomes a bit more bouncy. It’s almost as if the React is actually reacting.

Now for the materials. 360-degrees of Flyknit equals one word: bomb. This thin material is so durable and supportive it’s mind boggling because it’s like nothing is there. The Flyknit doesn’t stretch much due to the heating process that sets it, but because it wraps beneath the foot (360-degrees) it moves with you so well I honestly don’t have anything negative to say it. I’m almost speechless when it comes to materials in the Kobe NXT 360 — the stuff was that good.

The fit of the Kobe NXT 360 is a bit longer up front, and depending on how you wear your kicks, some people may want to go down half-size. Players who like the wiggle room for your toes should stay true to size.

Widefooters: I’m sorry, but this shoe just isn’t for y’all. No disrespect to the wide-footers out there, but if y’all squeeze in this shoe it’s going be very uncomfortable for you. For starters, people with wide feet tend to make shoes flatter than usual because the shoe is stretching out width wise. Being that this Kobe is already so low to the ground, a wide-footer might as well be hooping barefoot because this shoe can’t get any flatter.

Lockdown was like a vacuumed sealed bag, but with tons of airflow, and I wasn’t going anywhere. I did have to re-lace the Kobe NXT 360 a few times, but once the materials broke in and took the shape of my foot I was able to dial in the lockdown the way I wanted.
Without the drop-in midsole, the support is nowhere to be found. Once the midsole is in place the support will become incredible. What I’m trying to say here is all of your support is mainly coming from the drop-in the midsole, which cups the entire foot to give you some excellent containment.

Beneath the midsole you will find a transparent shank plate for stability. An external heel counter also found its way onto the 360’s and does a damn good job at cradling the heel and locking it down. Flyknit 360 is the icing on the cake because it wraps the drop-in midsole and the foot for added support. What a fantastic experience.
Overall, the Kobe NXT 360 is the best Kobe shoe since the Nike LeBron Soldier 12, in my opinion. The traction isn’t as good as the Kobe 9, but I don’t care because everything else makes up for the just slightly above average traction. Plus, you can roll the shoes up and put them in your pocket.

The Kobe NXT 360 is fire — and that’s jordans for all I have to say.



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LeBron and Durant and Nike Top NBA in Sneaker For Sales

Le 2 mai à  06:25
Rubriques : NIKE LEBRON 14

Although King James isn’t favored to snatch the title this season, he still has the top-selling signature shoe.

The rankings are as follows: 1. LeBron James, 2. Kyrie Irving, 3. Kevin Durant, 4. Stephen Curry, 5. Michael Jordan.

Nike dominated the market with three of the five top-selling signature athletes. Of note, Durant sold more than his teammate Curry in 2017, a swap from the rankings in 2016. Nike is sitting comfortably atop the basketball sneaker market with James, Irving, and Durant.

According to NPD Group, a market research organization, Nike’s market share of the $1 billion performance basketball market was 73.5% in 2017, while the Nike-owned Jordan Brand added another 7.8% share. However, despite obtaining a massive market share in basketball performance sneakers, basketball isn’t a huge part of the footwear market.

“Basketball has fallen from its height of being an important streetwear product to really out of fashion right now,” Matt Powell told Forbes. In the performance basketball market, where shoes typically retail for around $120, peaked at $1.3 billion in 2015 but shrunk 13.6% last year.

Kyrie Irving, on the other hand, is bucking the trend by being the only one of the top five players to see an increase in his signature shoe sales last year. He may prove to be the next king of the basketball performance sneaker game.

Interestingly, retro sneakers are still seeing a healthy dose of revenue generation; according to NPD, retro is more than three times the size of performance basketball with sales at $3 billion last year. Jordan had a 65% share of retro basketball in 2017, followed by Nike (23%), adidas (9.3%), and Puma (2.3%). Although retro sneakers are not factored into the 2017 top-selling signature shoe chart, that market is certainly holding up.

Who do you think will have the best sneaker in 2018? Let us know in the comment section below.



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Nike LeBron Soldier 12 Deconstructed Reprot

Le 28 avril à  05:24
Rubriques : Air Jordans

The latest deconstruction by the good people over at FastPass comes right in time for the Stateside release of the Nike LeBron Soldier 12.

How much has changed as far as tech from the Soldier 11 over to the Soldier 12? Truthfully, not a lot, but enough for us to examine now, then have our WearTesters take the opportunity to see how those changes translate to performance.

Starting with a butterfly cut of the newest Soldier model, we see the expected one-piece bootie construction backed with a neoprene lining to provide comfort on contact around the foot. Bottom-loaded heel and forefoot Zoom Air units are back and inside a foam carrier that is slightly curved at the midfoot, providing less foam near the arch. There is also some subtle padding around the Achilles area and what looks to be an internal heel counter.

lebron-soldier-12-decon-2

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Going over to the cross-cut of the Nike LeBron Soldier 12, we get a different look at the inner-bootie construction, similar to that of last year’s LeBron Soldier 11. From what we can tell, the strap loop is connected directly to the footbed on the lateral side of the sneaker, while medial side only seems to be connected to the upper. It is hard to tell on the medial side given the angles presented, but if that is the case it still makes sense as that side will not require as much support as the lateral side will.

lebron-soldier-12-decon-4

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The midsole features foam underneath a TPU plate that covers more space than last year’s model. Nike likely went with the larger volume to balance out support where the foam was slightly reduced in the arch.

The forefoot and heel Zoom units come in at a thickness of around 10mm and 13mm, respectively, which is to be expected for a model of this type.

Not pictured is the outsole traction, which is listed as XDR (Extra Durable Rubber). The XDR tag has shown up on the Soldier 12 in a lot of leaks and overseas releases, yet it is unclear if all colorways of the Soldier 12 will be outdoor-ready or just a few.

lebron-soldier-12-decon-9

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Last up is a comparison of the Nike LeBron Soldier 11 alongside the Nike Lebron Soldier 12, both of which retail for $130 in standard builds.

The Nike LeBron Soldier 12 is now available in the above Black/Hazel Rush colorway at hoopjordan.net for $130. Stay tuned for an upcoming performance review from our website.



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Nike Kobe 1 Protro Performance Review

Le 26 avril à  05:01
Rubriques : Air Jordans

The Nike Kobe 1 Protro is a retro done right.

Traction was good to start, but it did have a few hiccups here and there. However, the outsole broke in with each wear and by the end of testing I really don’t want to play in anything else.

Sounds weird, I know. But I’m just telling you how I feel. It’s the tackiest of tractions, like the Air Jordan XX8 or Nike Kobe 9, and it grips the court — any court — like nobody’s business.

Reliable would be the one word I’d use to describe the traction on the Kobe 1 Protro. It’s also been very durable. Every once in a while I see someone at a gym or park wearing a pair of the original Kobe 1s and I’m always surprised that they’ve held up. Well, not anymore. I can see why people love this shoe. It’s simple and it works.

The cushion used on the original Kobe 1 was a large volume heel Zoom Air unit along with a large volume met bag in the forefoot (Zoom Air). While I never experienced the original myself, I don’t feel like I’m missing much.

The full-length Zoom Air here is incredible. This is the type of Zoom Air experience I fell in love with some 25 odd years ago.

It’s low to the ground, even lower than the original (the designers shaved the midsole thickness down a bit), ultra responsive, and has some feedback. It rests directly under your foot so what you feel is nothing but full length springy goodness.

I’ve compared the setup used in the Kobe 1 Protro to that of the Air Jordan 12 once it has been broken in. I’ll say this: the Kobe 1 Protro feels better than the Air Jordan 12 after it’s been broken in. This is a shoe that makes you smile a little after you’re done lacing it up and you walk onto the court — it feels that good.

If you’re comparing this full-length Zoom Air setup to something more current, like the Jordan Why Not Zer0.1, then I’d say these win by a very slim margin — only because the Why Not is a bottom-loaded setup, even though it doesn’t really feel like it. Honestly, it’s hard to pick between the two based on cushion alone because they’re so similar in feel. However, overall, I have to with the Kobe 1 Protro.

I have been so used to wearing textiles and knits that I had forgotten just how nice leather is to play in.

Yes, it’s a little heavier than newer age materials, but it’s nothing drastic. I mean, we’re talking ounces here, not pounds. If a basketball shoe is too heavy for you then stop skipping leg day. All jokes aside, it’s less about weight and more about construction. The Kobe 1 Protro was not constructed in a way that makes the shoe feel heavy or clunky. Can it for some? Of course. Not everyone has the same tastes and preferences. For me, this shoe just felt solid.

After a quick break-in period, the leather build felt like it was hand-made around a last of my foot — like that old mitt you had as a kid that you hated at first and then loved once you put enough time in it. The Kobe 1 Protro just feels right.

True to size is what I’d recommend. Some wide footers might be able to go either way. If you don’t have a drastically wide foot then the leather should break in around your foot as it would anyone else’s (it just might take a few extra wears). Those with a very wide foot might want to go up a 1/2 size.

Lacing is basic but the lockdown felt great. I never even felt the need to lace them to the top plastic clip at the foam/mesh collar. For whatever reason, the rear section of the shoe just wrapped around my heel and ankle perfectly. I did want to try lacing up at least one shoe all the way but when I play basketball I usually just go with feels comfortable to me, so I never ended up giving it a go.

The collar area that originally bothered me upon try-on felt wonderful after a few hours of play. You almost receive the mobility of a low top with the fit and security of a high top. This must’ve been the beginning stages of introducing proprioception into the mix. We all know where Kobe’s ended up in terms of collar height, but it almost feels like the designers were aiming for that low cut feel right from the start. The Nike Kobe 2 may not be in line with that theory, but the Kobe 3 sure is. Which then led into the 4 — and the rest is history.

You start off on a wide stable platform and then move into a midsole that hugs the hell out of your forefoot on the lateral side. Couple those aspects with the outrigger and the forefoot stability is some of the best around — maybe even of all-time.

You have the standard internal heel counter while the midfoot features a carbon fiber shank. This was another area that was slimmed down a bit from the original version of the shoe. Removing much of the forefoot’s carbon shank resulted in a much more flexible forefoot. Again, I don’t own a pair of the originals, but I’d assume that this change is a noticeable once on-foot. I know the Wade Brand used to use a carbon shank that rode into the forefoot of the shoe and that resulted in a stiffer ride. Since the brand removed it on the later models the line feels much more fluid while in motion.

I’m still not sure what the heel carbon fiber wrap is for. I didn’t really notice it at all while playing. It may be due to the fact that I rarely use my heels, but for what it’s worth it never bothered me.
I love the Kobe 1 Protro, and there’s really no other way to put it. While I was pretty excited to play in the shoe to start, I didn’t realize I’d never want to take it off.

I miss shoes that are built like this. And the fact that Nike did what it could to reduce a bit of bulk and weight here and there only made the experience that much more enjoyable. The brand trimmed the fat and left the meat of the product. The aspects that work work really well. Removing the waste only makes those areas shine that much brighter.

I can tell I love this shoe because I feel like I can keep writing — some reviews force me to finish a sentence. My point is that this is a shoe. A really well built basketball shoe. Man, I miss this s**t.

I’ve been getting “heckled” on socials when I talk about the Kobe 1 Protro — “the shoe sucks” or “it’s crap” — but I’ve got nothing to say in response. If people feel the shoe sucks, or that it’s heavy, clunky, etc., then that’s just how they feel. It’s unfortunate, as that’s clearly not how I feel, because the shoe is great.

My real complaint is that the Kobe 1 Protro is not readily available. Everyone should be able to try this shoe out on-court if they wish because it’s so much fun to play in.



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Reebok Fusion FlexWeave Performance Review

Le 25 avril à  06:30
Rubriques : Air Jordans

Reebok has been making a steady comeback in performance over the last two years, and the brand has even introduced new tech like Floatride foam and Flexweave for uppers. Now, for the first time, we see both in a new performance shoe: the Reebok Fusion Flexweave. Question is, does it perform?

There are several patterns on the outsole of the Fusion Flexweave that are mapped for specific ground-contact at each point of the foot. Under the ball of the foot we see an open grid pattern, allowing the Floatride foam to peak out, much like Boost on the adidas Ultraboost. Along the heel and back half of the lateral side we see recessed squares in a flat rubber that act like suction cups to keep you from slipping out.

Also on the lateral side we see square nubs separated by a groove that Reebok calls the “Plantar Sensor.” This groove breaks up the rubber to eliminate a stiff, slappy outsole. This also allows the outsole to stay in contact on any lateral movements. Wait, lateral movements in running? Oh, but this isn’t just billed as a running shoes.

Using its background in Crossfit, Reebok has designed the Fusion Flexweave to support all fitness activities, from running to light cardio to weight room. Thus, the grooves and splits (called the Meta Split under the forefoot) all work to keep you on the floor and slip-free.

The durability is serious; I have worn my pair for at least four days of the week (for several weeks) for all kinds of activity and the outsole shows absolutely no signs of wear. It also works in almost any weather, at least in Texas. Wet or dry, the outsole did it’s job and never failed.

This is where the magic begins. Floatride foam is responsive, soft (to a point), responsive, impact-absorbing, and, best of all, does all of this while being extremely light. Think of Boost, but half the weight. The Floatride Run (reviewed here) was a revelation in performance — lightweight, bouncy, and durable.

Now, the Fusion Flexweave is more of the same; it’s lightweight, durable, and…not as bouncy. Why? Well, the Floatride foam is encased in EVA through the midfoot (the areas between the black lines on the midsole) but exposed at the heel and forefoot areas. This EVA carrier acts as a stabilizer — it helps the “do everything” shoe “do everything” — and keeps the foam from compressing too much during heavy activity.

However, the Floatride foam used in the Fusion Flexweave is still responsive, and perhaps even more so than in the Floatride Run. The foam also has a definite bounce-back property when on-foot. Floatride Foam is fun, and because it’s lighter than most other foams, it makes it easy to consider for performance purposes.

Ah, the rest of the magic. Reebok’s Flexweave was first introduced on the Nano 8 and later seen in the Fast Flexweave runner. It is based on an open figure-8 pattern that promotes stability, flexibility, and comfort, and it doesn’t lie.

The colored threads within the weave are just that — fabric threads running through TPU strands. While it does feel rougher to the touch than most other woven textiles, the interior is lined with a 3/4 length sleeve to completely eliminate chafing. The fabric threads are soft and comfortable while the TPU strands give the upper structure and stability.

TPU is usually a stiffer material, but the spacing and the open weave make the Fusion Flexweave flex and form perfectly with the foot. The inner sleeve isn’t stretchy at all so getting into the shoe may seem like a chore, but the open mesh of the liner keeps the foot soft and cozy inside while working with the Flexweave outer shell to increase breathability.

Here is where TPU can be a problem. While the durable strands add structure, that structure comes with dead space. Most of the time that space can be filled with padding on the interior. The Fusion Flexweave has a little case of bubble toe; when the shoe is laced tightly, the extra space above the toe bubbles out. It isn’t bad, and probably won’t be noticed by anyone except picky WearTesters, but it is there. Again, it is not a deal breaker by any means because the extra space can be appreciated for comfort.

The heel is completely locked in by a semi-rigid heel counter. It isn’t completely stiff like a solid basketball shoe (or an Asics runner), but the Delta logo’ed external counter just provides enough lockdown to let you know it is there. The inner bootie having no stretch comes in perfectly to keep your foot from moving around inside the Flexweave shell.

Finally, the lacing system is almost perfect; five holes (or six, if you use the last one for more heel lockdown) run through lace straps connected to the Flexweave for total lockdown with almost no lace pressure.

Lengthwise, I would say go down a half size in the Fusion Flexweave. I have done that with Reebok since the late ’90s and they have all been perfect. Width-wise, if you are a wide-footer, you may want to try these on. The forefoot and heel are good to go, but the midfoot has a narrow area at the arch that could cause some issues. I am a little wider than normal and was fine, but just to make sure, try them on.

As discussed earlier, the Flexweave upper used on the Fusion Flexweave is solid in lateral support thanks to the TPU strands running over, above, and around the foot. The foot is held over the footbed for the most part, except on extremely violent movements (trying to play a quick game of 25 in these was wrong on many levels). For any running movements and lighter cardio or gym activity, you will be good.

The heel cup works with the laces to keep your foot locked in with no heel slip or slide. There is some slight sculpting and padding around the heel but most of the good stuff is because of the lace design. There is no midfoot shank, but the stiffer EVA carrier keeps the Fusion Flexweave from bending the wrong way under normal pressure. The midsole does have a slight flare outward on the medial and lateral forefoot, giving a wider base for better landings and uneven surfaces.

hoop jordan has a hit with the Fusion Flexweave. Light, fast, durable, and well-cushioned, the Reebok Fusion Flexweave is a shoe that can do anything — and do it well.

Floatride foam is a winner and feels as good or better than most of the foams on the market (yeah, even that one and that one). If you need a jordan 1 that can go anywhere and do anything, look no further. As I said above, this shoe has been on my feet over half of the days since I have received it, and it handles anything thrown its way.

On top of the versatility and performance, the Fusion Flexweave looks good. Reebok has figured out how to change the colors and patterns of the fabric inlays, and while nothing outlandish has been released, the subtle colorways are perfect for going from the gym to the street. The minimal branding gives the shoe an organic, every day look and feel while bouncy Floatride keeps it moving fast.



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