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PUMA Uproar Performance Review

Puma Hoops is on a roll as the Uproar is even better than the Clyde Court.

Blade traction makes an appearance on the Puma Uproar and it’s awesome. It may not be leaps and bounds better than the traction pattern found on the Clyde Court, but it was more reliable on all of the courts I play on.

The blades are in place in such a way that it covers nearly all linear movements and there is a section along the outrigger that covers lateral movement. It’s a very solid setup that really does get the job done well.

The rubber compound is also pretty hard so they would be a decent option for outdoor basketball.

Puma’s HYBRID technology is used at the heel and the tech specs on puma.com claim the midsole is IGNITE. However, the midsole doesn’t feel like IGNITE; it’s much more firm with less rebound/energy return under-foot than any of the previous iterations of IGNITE I’ve tried before.

Court feel on the Uproar is pretty good due to the firm setup but I would have liked the midsole to have sat a little lower to the ground so it didn’t feel quite as clunky until broken-in.

If you’re looking for court feel, then this setup will work very well for you. If you’re looking for something with a little bounce back or rebound then you may want to look for something else. If you want a little cushion and a lot of nike air force 1 feel, you can always replace the insole and get your wish.

Materials depend on the colorway. I personally preferred the All-Star pair that used a mixture of textiles and synthetic leathers. I felt this setup allowed for less break-in time while still containing the foot at key areas and stress zones.

For those that want more leather and less textile, the Spectra and Palace Guard colorways will fit the bill. Both used textile along the tongue and internal booty sections of the shoe while all the overlays wrapping the foot from the heel to the forefoot are leather and synthetic leather. A little more break-in time will be required, especially at the toe, but once broken-in, you’ll be good to go.

The Puma Uproar fits true to size. Wide footers may want to go up 1/2 size, but try them on first to be sure.

Lockdown was awesome in both pairs I played in. It’s a little better in the leather-based version, but not by much. The All-Star pair broke-in to the point to where I needed to readjust the forefoot lacing to get a bit of a tighter fit. Otherwise the entire lacing system works perfectly from the ankle to the forefoot.

Support in the Uproar is what you’ve come to expect from basketball shoes: heel counters and a wide, flat base for stability. An outrigger would have been nice, but you sit in the midsole enough to make it where it’s not a feature that is sorely lacking.

For only releasing two basketball shoes in the last decade or so, Puma really has impressed quite a bit. The Clyde Court was a very good start, but the Uproar is just a beast on its own. Cushion needs work but everything else on the shoe worked perfectly. Aesthetically, I think I prefer the Clyde Court in certain colorways, but the Uproar is pretty cool in certain colors as well. Best of all, they look different. You’re not one of many on the floor, you’re usually the only one out there wearing the brand.

I can’t help but wonder what Puma Hoops has in store for its third basketball shoe. Will it be even better than the Uproar? I hope so.

Stanley Tse Weighs in on the Jordan Why Not Zer0.2

It’s that time again. Stanley Tse weighs in on the Jordan Why Not Zer0.2.

Traction was just straight awesome for me. I’ve played on clean courts and some slick courts and the traction gripped. While it features a non-traditional circular pattern, the pattern gripped the floor aggressively. Keep in mind that the rubber is soft, so it won’t last long outdoors. However, that doesn’t mean it didn’t work for outdoor courts. I can’t complain, except, perhaps it would be nice if the shoes could transfer some of Brodie’s athleticism to me, and that triple-double prowess.

A slight change of pace going from Full-length Zoom Air to just Forefoot Zoom Air. However, the Forefoot Zoom Air unit is unlocked, and is the same setup found in the Air Jordan 33. The shoe also features an injected Phylon midsole, which was bouncy (and felt good for those that needed added support). Impact protection was felt immediately without any break-in time. Despite the heel not featuring any actual cushion, the Injected Phylon gave the feeling on the heel very soft and responsive protection without the lack of energy return. I did like how this felt for my heavy-footed gameplay, although I’d still prefer having Zoom Air. Overall, for slightly heavier players, and for those quick on their feet or play on their forefoot, this worked very well.

The materials feature a combination of mesh and knit. They fit and feel very comfortable around my foot without any feeling of any straining or additional lace pressure. Additionally, zero break-in time was required which is a huge plus. It would have been nice to have seen a bit more of a mix-up between materials, such as leather or Battleknit, but that is a personal want and not something that the shoe needed.

True To Size. Plain and simple. Even for a slightly wide-footer myself (and I know there are plenty of you out there wondering and have wider-feet), they fit very well. Some slight adjustments of the lacing and you’re ready to go. The lockdown was adequate, especially with the help of the overlay panels placed along the midfoot to wrap around gives the shoe a nice change of pace in aesthetics and functionality. I do wish there was an extra lace loophole along the very top of the shoe for a more secure fit at the rear ankle, but not once did I ever slip out the shoe. I was locked into place and ready to go.

Good, not great. It took a while to get adjusted to the way the outsole was designed as it’s got a slight roundedness to it. Not saying it’s a bad thing, however, not all players are used to playing on their toes, especially coming from the Why Not Zer0.1 with its very flat and stable base. If it had a slightly extended outrigger it would probably help balance out the slight wobbliness of the shoe for those who aren’t used to it, but it’s not a big gripe. It’s somewhat of a transition. Adequate lockdown, soft phylon, a large Forefoot unlocked Zoom Air bag. Overall, I really loved the setup.

The evolution of Westbrook’s line has only come to fruition of two shoes, and so far they’ve hit the mark each time. You feel quick off your feet, comfortable, all while the shoe gives you everything you need, and removed everything you didn’t want. There are some things that could have been added to the structure of the shoe, but that’s just me nitpicking. The shoe gives a little bit of a blend between the Air Jordan 28, 29, and 32 — all of which were beasts on-court. So, if you were a fan of those models all together while being a fan of Brodie’s shoe then you won’t be disappointed.

Nike+ (Plus) System Review and Basketball Performance Reviews

Here it is… the review on the Nike+ Basketball System.

Hit the jump for Pros & Cons.

Pros
– Stat tracking
– Increase competitive drive through stat tracing
– Measures your vertical
– Measures your speed/ steps per second
– Easy to use
– Interaction with other players/ friends/ ballers

Cons
– Price – sold together with sneakers – huge turnoff sneakers  – huge turnoff
– Doesn’t measure actual speed, just the amount of steps per second
– Lags and takes long to sync to iPhone/ iPod
– Takes too long to sync so I end up leaving it on making stat average inaccurate

By now you all know that I personally feel that this system is a very cool thing to have but not entirely necessary for your typical ball player. If you are the type to want an increased vertical, track and measure your progress all while competing with your peers then this is something you will greatly enjoy. However, it’s also something that the younger crowd will gravitate toward versus us older guys. If you are a College or NBA player there is no point to owning the system since you already have proven yourself to be more than capable performing at the highest level.

Most players just need to get laced up and hit the court so it’s a give or take type of thing… if the above is something you find useful then it will be an asset to your game, if not then you will just end up wasting your money… unless it’s just the shoe’s colorway you are after…

air jordan 22 performance review

Since the Curry 3 review is just around the corner, I thought I’d step back and review the AJ XX2 since the Curry 3 took a huge bite out of the AJ XX2 back story. I’m disappointed that UA went there but if the Curry 6 performs, nobody will care. I guess since the XX2 was such a sales dud maybe UA thought they could pull it off without anyone noticing? I don’t know …

Pros: traction, fit, support, materials

Cons: pod cushioning is too targeted and feels unnatural, tippy in the heel, pricey at $175 especially in 2007.

Sizing: half size down

Best for: guards

Weight

16.5 oz so just a half ounce more than the Crazylight Boost 2016.

Traction

Jordan Brand usually does a good job with traction and this was the highlight of the XX2 for me. Stuck extremely well on clean floors and needed minimal wiping on dusty floors. Probably would have been better if the entire outsole was the same depth but then the IPS system wouldn’t “work” as well

Cushioning

IPS is back again for the third straight model starting with the XX. Hurray?
I couldn’t tell a difference in density in any of the aforementioned models and this was no different. The IPS foam feels great overall at least with a nice bit of springiness.

As for the heel, Jordan Brand brought back the modularity idea allowing the player to swap between Max Air and Double Stacked Zoom. Now that sounds great in theory but the Max and Zoom don’t cover much surface area And the double stacked Zoom is nearly as thin as a quarter (I mean two quarters since its double stacked). Maybe this was the beginning of the end for real Zoom

You can feel the cushioning if you like quarter size set ups. It literally feels like a quarter size lump of cushioning is under your heel. Having the logo raised in the insole doesn’t help either.

Which feels better between the two ? Zoom pod for sure. It just has a more even feeling than the Max set up.

Overall cushioning is decent but far from ideal. A simple forefoot zoom and regular heel that covers the entire heel like the Kobe VI would have been great.

Fit

The air jordan 1 came out before Nike and JB went to a more narrow last and fit so 10.5 fit me perfectly. Finger width of space at the toe, no heel slip and no space side to side.

The upper starts a little stiff since it is real leather but it breaks in nicely and gives a decent almost one to one fit. Not quite perfect but still good overall.

I really liked the simple lacing set up with the lace lock because it just works.

Materials

What is this foreign space age material ? Oh it’s real leather. Good luck ever seeing leather again from any company.
JB and Nike were really pushing the quilted interior back in 2007.

Personally I like the look and feel but it doesn’t make a difference performance wise.

Nice materials and build quality, may leather Rest In Peace

Support and Stability
Ah, when a higher cut shoe didn’t fold like a bad hand in Texas Hold em. I really liked the combo of the firmer mid cut with a stiff heel counter

JB also says the XX2 features a titanium coated midfoot shank plate

Errr, just because it is painted silver doesn’t mean it’s titanium Jordan Brand. Clearly plastic with silver paint. It does its job just fine but don’t hype a piece a plastic as something it isn’t.

The XX2 is stable in the forefoot even without an outrigger but the heel is a little tippier than I prefer. The protruding outsole under the modular unit doesn’t help either.

Overall support is good but the tippy heel isn’t trustworthy.

Containment

Clean simple lines with no major physical barriers would be worrisome with today’s knits and woven uppers but leather is strong and doesn’t have that stretch on hard cuts. Also this extra leather rand helps in containing the foot. Similar idea to the Curry 3 “midsole frame”

Conclusion

Every sneaker has a snorey..I mean story. Out of ideas, let’s say make up one about fighter planes! Zooooom fast powerful stealthy (is that a word? ). It’s everything an Air Jordan should be! Whoever was running Jordan Brand back then needs to be destroyed like Cyberdyne in Terminator 2 to prevent the proliferation of story telling these days. Unnecessary and adds no value to sneakers; let the players wearing them write the story.

Inspiration aside, the shoe itself is a good overall performer but the ultratargeted tiny heel cushion really ruins the shoe. Let’s see how UA does with the same inspiration.

Jordan Why Not Zero 2 Performance Analysis and Review

Sorry about the delay, kids’ Spring Break put me behind a few weeks since Spring Break puts me behind on work stuff which then puts me behind other stuff etc…*

It’s funny how fast enthusiasm and hype wane after a few weeks.. one week it’s all forums and sneakerheads talk about and the next week it’s on to the next shoe. Kind of like how fast the Thunder went from possible Warrior stoppers to the 7th seed in the West. This year’s playoffs are going to be

Like Forest said, you never know what you’re going to get with a box of OKC Thunder. Conversely, you do know what you’ll get from the Why Not Zero 2… a great all around performer at a decent retail price. Wait as always folks, that one month with months hot shoe won’t hurt your skills or lack there of any.

Pros: traction, cushioning, fit, SUPPORT, stability containment, feels premium

Cons: traction pattern may tear with wear.

Sizing advice: true to size

Best for: any position

Buying advice: Wait as always. Stats are great but the world isn’t in love with Russ. $100 or less is fair, bottom around $50-65.

Weight

16.5 ounces which is slightly heavier than most mids.

Traction

Like the WNZ1, the traction is excellent. Very soft and pliable rubber with good depth keeps dust at bay. Excellent bite right out of the box on all surfaces with very little to no wiping on dusty floors

The only issue , although I haven’t had it yet, is these split 0 will split or tear with more wear. Anytime you segment pieces of an outsole, they are prone to tearing. UA are you listening ? Definitely not recommend outdoors.

Overall, well done JB!

Cushioning

Similar sized forefoot cushioning as the AJ 33 but less protrusion still gives the wearer plenty of forefoot zoom feel. It’s like 1998 again y’all!

It isn’t AJ XX8 feeling since the protrusion is huge but the size of the Zoom unit and the removal of foam make the Zoom feel Zoomy! It’s nice to see Zoom make a slight comeback now if we can only get Nike/JB to give us heel Zoom too. Glad I have all my Soldier VI’s!

The rest of the cushioning is injected Phylon which feels good underfoot from the get go. You won’t mistaken it for Lunarlon or Boost or anything premium but you’re not going to miss it either. It has just the right amount of give and spring to it that you don’t miss it and actually enjoy the full ride.

Well done JB!

Fit

I went true to size and these have a little more room than the Why not 1 which is a good thing imo. If you want a really tight fit you could go down but true to size should fit most everyone

No movement inside the shoe, no heel slip, so simple I barley have to write a paragraph.

Straps for just a little more lockdown around the midfoot

Same with the wrap around around the ankle

Overall I had zero issues out of the box, none during play which is exactly what you want.

Great job Nike!

Materials

Materials don’t matter for me but these materials LOOK way more premium than most shoes in the 140 under range. All the textures and contours gives off a luxurious feeling than pretty much every shoe I’ve reviewed under $140. Once again, value is the operative word. No difference in performance versus something made out of plain mesh like you see in the toe box but it feels a lot more expensive than most.

It’s a bit of a throwback with the quilted feel ala Aj xx1, xx2, Lebro sphere linings etc but on the outside instead.

Nice job stretching that dollar for us JB!

Support and Stability

A shoe with some support ? Why not right ?

With the basketball shoes going lower and lower every day, it’s nice to feel some support around my ankles. It isn’t a sock like mid cut but a mid with some actual structure. You can still fold over the lateral side but if you push from the medial side from the inside, you have some actual support. JB/Nike used an asymmetrical design on the AJ XIV and Soldier VI with a higher medial side and this gives off a similar feeling of support.

Midfoot support is good as well with a nice plastic midfoot shank in the shape of a W.. as in Westbrook for those who aren’t.

There is also plenty of arch support as you can see on the medial side.

Although the WNZ2 does not have an outrigger it is plenty wide in the forefoot for support.

Overall zero issues with support and stability.

Well done JB!

Containment

Yeppers, no issues here

Conclusion

I’ve literally got nothing to complain about with this shoe. If The AJ XX8 had a baby with the Soldier VI, this is pretty much what you’d get. JB made the WNZ2 a lot more fun this time around with a bouncier cushioning set up while keeping the shoe just great all around.. kind of like Mr. Triple Double.

Price wise, at $125, it isn’t the cheapest shoe out there but if you’re worrying about a $15 difference between what typically constitutes “budget”, maybe you shouldn’t buy these at retail and just wait like I always suggest. Russ isn’t loved like MJ, Steph or Lebron so guess what, these will fall in price just like the WNZ1 (man I hate typing the whole name). Fair is around $90 with the bottom around $50-60. With the playoffs and Thunder season possibly ending early, expect these to drop in price quickly by summer.

The streak of first teams continues for 2019

Air Jordan 22 Performance Review

Since the Curry 3 review is just around the corner, I thought I’d step back and review the AJ XX2 since the Curry 3 took a huge bite out of the AJ XX2 back story.  I’m disappointed that UA went there but if the Curry 6 performs, nobody will care. I guess since the XX2 was such a sales dud maybe UA thought they could pull it off without anyone noticing? I don’t know …

Pros
: traction, fit, support, materials

Cons: pod cushioning is too targeted and feels unnatural, tippy in the heel, pricey at $175 especially in 2007.

Sizing: half size down

Best for: guards

Weight

16.5 oz so just a half ounce more than the Crazylight Boost 2016.

TractionJordan Brand usually does a good job with traction and this was the highlight of the XX2 for me. Stuck extremely well on clean floors and needed minimal wiping on dusty floors.  Probably would have been better if the entire outsole was the same depth but then the IPS system wouldn’t “work” as well

Cushioning

IPS is back again for the third straight model starting with the XX. Hurray?
I couldn’t tell a difference in density in any of the aforementioned models and this was no different. The IPS foam feels great overall at least with a nice bit of springiness.

As for the heel, Jordan Brand brought back the modularity idea allowing the player to swap between Max Air and Double Stacked Zoom. Now that sounds great in theory but the Max and Zoom don’t cover much surface area And the double stacked Zoom is nearly as thin as a quarter (I mean two quarters since its double stacked). Maybe this was the beginning of the end for real Zoom
You can feel the cushioning if you like quarter size set ups. It literally feels like a quarter size lump of cushioning is under your heel. Having the logo raised in the insole doesn’t help either.
Which feels better between the two ? Zoom pod for sure. It just has a more even feeling than the Max set up.

Overall cushioning is decent but far from ideal. A simple forefoot zoom and regular heel that covers the entire heel like the Kobe VI would have been great.

Fit

The XX2 came out before Nike and JB went to a more narrow last and fit so 10.5 fit me perfectly. Finger width of space at the toe, no heel slip and no space side to side.

The upper starts a little stiff since it is real leather but it breaks in nicely and gives a decent almost one to one fit. Not quite perfect but still good overall.

I really liked the simple lacing set up with the lace lock because it just works.

Materials

What is this foreign space age material ? Oh it’s real leather. Good luck ever seeing leather again from any company.
JB and Nike were really pushing the quilted interior back in 2007.

Personally I like the look and feel but it doesn’t make a difference performance wise.

Nice materials and build quality, may leather Rest In Peace

Support and Stability 

Ah, when a higher cut shoe didn’t fold like a bad hand in Texas Hold em. I really liked the combo of the firmer mid cut with a stiff heel counter
JB also says the XX2 features a titanium coated midfoot shank plate
Errr, just because it is painted silver doesn’t mean it’s titanium Jordan Brand. Clearly plastic with silver paint. It does its job just fine but don’t hype a piece a plastic as something it isn’t.

The air jordan is stable in the forefoot even without an outrigger but the heel is a little tippier than I prefer. The protruding outsole under the modular unit doesn’t help either.

Overall support is good but the tippy heel isn’t trustworthy.

Containment

Clean simple lines with no major physical barriers would be worrisome with today’s knits and woven uppers but leather is strong and doesn’t have that stretch on hard cuts. Also this extra leather rand helps in containing the foot. Similar idea to the Curry 3 “midsole frame”

Conclusion 

Every sneaker has a snorey..I mean story. Out of ideas, let’s say make up one about fighter planes! Zooooom fast powerful stealthy (is that a word? ). It’s everything an Air Jordan should be! Whoever was running Jordan Brand back then needs to be destroyed like Cyberdyne in Terminator 2 to prevent the proliferation of story telling these days. Unnecessary and adds no value to sneakers; let the players wearing them write the story.

Inspiration aside, the shoe itself is a good overall performer but the ultratargeted tiny heel cushion really ruins the shoe. Let’s see how UA does with the same inspiration.

adidas Pro Bounce Madness 2019 Performance Review

With March Madness underway, we bring you a performance review on adidas hoops’ latest team model: the Pro Bounce Madness 2019.

adidas. Basketball. Herringbone. At this point, that should be no surprise and I am not tired of the pattern. On a diverse set of gym floors, some with major flaws like humidity or general slickness, the Pro Bounce Madness’s traction was as reliable as a certain Samuel L. Jackson outburst, which was honestly a surprise given how tightly packed the herringbone is.

I surmise that the consistency of the traction is due to good rubber compound, though I suppose a ton of herringbone coverage for both linear and lateral movement did help so long as a ton of dust isn’t present, which somehow was the case for the most part of three weeks testing.

As a team shoe with soft rubber and not much depth, I wouldn’t even consider these as an outdoor option.

Full-length Bounce was on point from day one until now. You get a lot of it in the Pro Bounce Madness 2019 as the name would imply, but using a word like ‘chunky’ would be a disservice in this case, being that you still get a lot of court feel and smooth transition compared to some other sneakers.

My favorite part of the Pro Bounce Madness 2019 cushion is the added impact protection and feedback it gave. I’ve needed it in league games recently where I’ve been relied on for a lot of rebounding. Having to play a somewhat inside-out game, I can understand why this type of Bounce is used for what can be considered an everyman’s basketball sneaker.

This may be an unpopular opinion, but I generally liked this Pro Bounce Madness 2019’s materials. It’s nearly 100 percent mesh with near minimal (but still unnecessary) fuse and synthetic suede overlays. The rear panel mesh on the lateral side and tongue is a bit beefier while the rest of the shoe’s upper is super lightweight with minimal layering underneath. Inside, you have nylon lining which I hope is now standard with adidas, and there is a molded collar on the high cut that is comfortable, but still not my cup of tea.

As much as I liked the upper, there was still a bit to be desired. The materials just did not feel substantial in the forefoot. No required break-in is great, but it nearly felt like nothing was there for containment, which was a little bit of a distraction. It wouldn’t have helped make the shoe feel premium but I would have liked to see ForgeFiber return for some reinforcement and added aesthetic.

Durability has been surprisingly good minus the dirt and grime of getting stepped on constantly down in the paint. I expected all kinds of fraying by now at the toe, but everything is still intact – including that cheap felt-suede, though that is likely because it is a little more protected on the medial side of the shoe.

I have no regrets about going true to size. They do stop a tad short before the toe for me, but the mesh is forgiving enough for multiple foot width’s unless you are on the extreme end of either side of that spectrum.

With a near traditional tongue, there is enough room for lacing adjustments. Midfoot lockdown was good and going with the high cut will allow you to get good heel lockdown without having to lace through every eyelet. There does seem to be a tiny bit of space above the toes but again, I think that is more of a material issue than the actual fit.

Not enough forefoot containment? No problem. Everything else about the adidas Ultra Boost 2019 lends itself to the support department. The Bounce cushioning is stable, the base is wide with massive outriggers, lateral TPU banking barriers are present with the look of skewed Pizza Hut logos and the internal heel counter is decent enough. While my forefoot issues didn’t give much assurance when putting the shoe on before games, I was totally fine on the footbed when things got going, so there really isn’t much to worry about.

I think the adidas Pro Bounce Madness 2019 is a solid basketball sneaker. As much as I enjoyed it, I still can’t recommend it over something like the adidas Dame 5, which is a very similar sneaker with even better traction, making it a better value at a price point right in between the Pro Bounce Madness high and low versions.

adidas has hit us with a ton of good options this season but as a team shoe, the Pro Bounce Madness 2019 stands on its own and because of that, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed if this happens to be a shoe provided to you, no matter what position/style you play on the floor. In a vacuum, I give these a thumbs up.

Duke4005 Weighs in on the UA Anatomix Spawn Low for 2019

Okay, Under Armour, this is more like it…

If you read my M-Tag performance review, it wasn’t pretty, which was shocking. Under Armour has been fairly consistent in performance over the last few years and the anomaly that was the M-Tag threw me off track. Now, with the new Spawn, Under Armour goes back to what works for them. Here we go…M-Tag threw me off track. Now, with the new Spawn, Under Armour goes back to what works for them. Here we go…

Dang sticky. Even walking on the concrete driveway to and from my car, the soles were squeaking, one of the few times I have heard that from a shoe. On all three courts I play on, the Spawn locked it down with no slipping at all except for Friday afternoons at my main gym – we call that dust-bunny day (they only sweep on Monday mornings). I wouldn’t put these in the Jordan 28/Curry 6/Rose 7 category, but they are right below. The grooves are wide so dust doesn’t really stick to them once broken in, but wiping the first couple of games did help. After that, the dust was pushed out and off and on at least a decent court, all was right in the traction world.shoe. On all three courts I play on, the Spawn locked it down with no slipping at all except for Friday afternoons at my main gym – we call that dust-bunny day (they only sweep on Monday mornings). I wouldn’t put these in the Jordan 28/Curry 2/Rose 7 category, but they are right below. The grooves are wide so dust doesn’t really stick to them once broken in, but wiping the first couple of games did help. After that, the dust was pushed out and off and on at least a decent court, all was right in the traction world.

We all saw the “MICRO G” logo in the early pics and we all got cushion-excited. The original Micro G was bouncy, stable, dense and had just the right amount of court feel versus impact protection. By now, if you have read or watched WearTesters long enough, you are SICK of hearing about old-school Micro G. Good, because this ain’t it. Don’t jump to conclusions – it’s good. Impact protection is outstanding and court feel is really nice and quick. Transition in full-court running or stopping and cutting is smooth and thoughtless. It’s the bounce – there isn’t really any. That original “crush and spring back” feel, much like Boost, just isn’t there on the Spawn.Micro G was bouncy, stable, dense and had just the right amount of court feel versus impact protection. By now, if you have read or watched WearTesters long enough, you are SICK of hearing about old-school Micro G. Good, because this ain’t it. Don’t jump to conclusions – it’s good. Impact protection is outstanding and court feel is really nice and quick. Transition in full-court running or stopping and cutting is smooth and thoughtless. It’s the bounce – there isn’t really any. That original “crush and spring back” feel, much like Boost, just isn’t there on the Spawn.

But let’s be honest – as good as we all think that “sink and respond” feels under foot, and it feels good, it does tend to be a little sluggish on certain movements – that’s why some find Bounce to be better, but enough adidas comparisons. This Micro G lets you slide into your next move with no delay while keeping you close to the floor and your joints feeling happy.

Described on the Under Armour website as “Interwoven layers of TPU films & PU coated mesh for multi-layer support in an anatomical design,” the Spawn appears to have more in common with the fuse/mesh era from a few years ago than the knit sock-shoe of today – and you would be right. While the plasticky feel of the old fuse is gone, the new Spawn has TPU across high-stress areas (lateral forefoot, laces, heel counter, toe drag) that add a structure to the mesh and stability to the ride.

The toebox is left mostly uncovered and the ankle area is as well for some flexibility in those normal hot-spots, making break-in time almost nothing (the midfoot does need some flex time to fit a little better). The tongue also has some horizontal quilting running over the foot, giving the toebox natural flex and motion. The tongue is a denser foam under the laces to take away the pressure, and it is needed – the thin, flat laces cut tight on top of your foot. Overall, not the most premium feel in-hand but on-foot, the package is nice while playing.

The one area I had a little issue with is the fit. It’s not bad, just confusing. The toebox is wide – semi-wide footers rejoice!!! – but the heel feels narrow. This isn’t completely crazy as most feet are built like that, and the Anatomix in the name of the shoe means they are trying to “anatomically” fit your feet. The issue I had was with the midfoot. For my foot, it flared out and was too wide, but the lacing system and the TPU overlays kept the shoe from forming around my foot. After about three weeks (nine wears of at least four full-court games each night) the shoe began to lock in and lace up, but until then I could feel my foot floating just a bit.

The forefoot, again, is semi-wide, but beware – that TPU overlay on the pinky toe can be a killer. Actually, it bothered me more when laced looser than when laced super-tight, and it only bothered me on my left foot. For that reason, I am not counting off points – the Jordan 33 did the same thing, so I’m pretty sure after 30+ years of ball my foot is deformed. The bad part is, it doesn’t rub all the time. I will be playing all-day and it won’t bother me, then on the next cut I will feel a sharp pain and realize it stung me, then I’m hurting for a while. Again, only on my left foot, so I cannot say it is the shoe, but it’s something to take note of.

Midfoot shank. Wide base. Wide lacing. Lateral wing tied into the lacing system. NO OUTRIGGER, but no problem. All things we have seen or heard, and we all know how these structures affect your foot in a normal setting, but without a good fit, these are just words and stories. For the first few wears, until the upper flexed and learned my foot, the stability and support was a little less than ideal. Once the fit dialed in, support and stability followed suit. See a trend? It doesn’t matter how many straps, shanks, or outriggers a shoe has (unless it is an Ektio, RIP), if the fit is off, your foot isn’t safe. The Spawn Anatomix improved by leaps and bounds from first day to the last and in that sense, my foot felt wrapped, locked, and secure. The fit improving and no obtrusive support structures lets the Spawn feel fast and free while still solid under foot.

This ain’t your regular Anatomix Spawn, if you are old enough to remember the original. The upper isn’t as flexible and the sole isn’t as segmented, but it is really close, and may be the best Under Armour basketball shoes this season (I say the HOVR Havoc is still slightly above, with the Curry 6 coming in third). If you are looking for a low, fast, cushioned ride that will draw some attention for the looks and colors, the Anatomix Spawn is it. Any position can feel safe in these, and the traction works on just about any indoor floor, so no fear. Just DON’T TAKE THEM OUTSIDE!!!!

With all of the attention put on Steph Curry and his shoe every year, and rightfully so, it’s amazing how slept on the team shoes from Under Armour are when they perform as good or better than anything else on the market. The Anatomix Spawnwas in hibernation for the last few years, but like the beast from the past, it has come back with a vengeance.

Nike KD 12 Everything You Need to Know

The Nike KD 12 has officially been unveiled and this is everything you need to know.

Once again, the upcoming KD model has piqued my interest with the tech specs alone.

While the build looks deceptively simple, the interior features look to have had a lot of thought put into it.

The strobel board was the main point of emphasis with this year’s KD 12. Typically made of nylon or a soft foam, the strobel is the one thing that separates the foot from the cushion. While the layer in-between those two areas is extremely thin, when it’s combined with glue during the manufacturing process, you can lose a bit of the cushion’s feel under-foot until broken-in.

The theory here is that the strobel disconnects the athlete from the shoe’s responsive cushioning. But by stitching a full-length articulated Air Zoom bag to the upper, designer Leo Chang and Nike engineers made the Air unit a more dynamic element of the shoe.

For the KD 12, they’ve engineered a way to place the full-length Zoom Air unit within the shoe’s build while keeping the strobel layer underneath it. However, to keep the shoe flexible, they’ve heat welded flex grooves into the Zoom unit, much like the Nike Kyrie 5’s cushioning system.

Because the strobel defines the size of a shoe, there is one Air unit for every half-size of the KD 12, all the way from size 3.5 to 18 (Durant’s size). That’s the most specific Air-Sole size scale that Nike has ever done. This would explain why each of these sizes will retail at $150 rather than reducing the price for shoes made without the same technology that the men’s sizes are equipped with.

There is a second Zoom unit that has been bottom loaded in the heel. It’s cool that it’s there but the Hex Zoom units aren’t too impressive in most cases. Placing it under a strike zone at the main point of impact while still retaining actual internal cushion was a smart move.

Additionally, the Phylon midsole has been cored out from heel to toe. While we’ve seen foam midsoles cored out before, I’ve never seen one that has been perforated in this way. With the amount of cores throughout, this should allow this basic Phylon midsole to feel incredibly soft and responsive. Though this required them to wrap the midsole in TPU so that feeling may be subdued a bit, that is where the internal coring comes into play as with each step, the foam will compress into the center of each hole — so you should be able to feel something.

Additional details include Dynamic and independent Flywire that have been engineered in four different directions along with a hinged tongue for easier entry into the shoe.

The launch colorway of the Nike KD 12 has been named “The Day One” colorway and will be available April 6 for $150.

air jordan 31 low performance analysis and review

I told you I was way behind!
Nike clearance time always gets me For 95 bucks, I thought I’d give these a shot and I’m really glad I did. This review will be short and sweet since most of the elements of the XXXI went directly to the low. A few important things changed though to make this a great all around performer and my favorite low top in a long long long long long time…and it’s now a new member of my rotation now as it replaces my lone low top, the Kobe IV.

Pros: traction, Zoom feels like Zoom and plays low to the ground, improved fit, support, improved containment

Cons: protruding Zoom in the heel takes a little time to get used to but doesn’t affect stability.

Sizing: runs a little short and tight. Narrow or regular width will probably want to stay true to size but best to try on. Wide footers will want to go up half a size.

Buying Advice: still full size runs even at clearance sale prices of $95. $95 or less is very fair, bottom might be around $70 based on lack of movement at the current clearance price.

Weight

Not the lightest low but perfectly fine for me.

Traction

Finally a solid outsole on the AJ XXXI!
I get it Jordan Brand, translucent looks better . I used to stare at my Air jordan 5, VI and XI’s just because of that beautiful barely blue tint. I used to buy two or three pairs at a time because I couldn’t stand the yellowing. But that was for collecting purposes and for actual balling I could care less.
And as theorized, the solid outsole works great and needs just a little bit of time to break in to really grab. Not top tier but easily better than my Clutchfit Drive 1’s which is the bottom of my rotation in terms of traction yet still not as good as the Curry 2 Rose 7 etc. Still very happy with traction overall though.

Cushioning

Same as the mid which is a good thing. Real Zoom feel although they could have implemented it like the Zoom BB for even better feel. Call me old fashioned but I still really love Zoom when done right and this just how I like it. It is stable and firm yet provides just enough spring that you can feel without any lag. Nice to see you get back to your roots JB, keep bringing this back out please!

Sizing

I went true to size with the mid but the low fits tighter and shorter in the toe box in my true size. My toe was at the front of the shoe with my true size 11 so I went up half a size to 11.5 and the fit was much better for me giving me a forefinger width. If you like a tighter fit or have narrow or regular width feet go true to size.

Fit

Better than the mid, just a nice one to one fit with no heel slippage from the get go. I’ve said it before but Nike/JB is very consistent and make lows better than the rest. I don’t have to fiddle around and make mods, these just go out of the box.

The upper just hugs the foot out of the box like a sock which is what the materials are supposed to do while the heel is locked thanks to the way Nike designs their ankle collars.

Seriously, unless it’s patented, why don’t others don’t copy their design? Whether it’s a budget model or a Kobe or Jordan, I’ve almost never had an issue with heel slip.

Overall just an excellent fit right out the box with no slippage or excess movement.

Materials

Same as the mid with Flyknit covering the front 2/3 and patent or synthetic covering the back. Basically a mullet for sneakers.

Support and Stability

Gotta get that smudge off
Pretty much the same as the mid. All of the support comes from the fit and heel counter so if you want a little more support go with the mid.

Stability is still good overall even though the Zoom protrudes a little.

There is a little tippiness due to the protrusion when walking around but it doesn’t affect stability during play as it compresses. A nice long outrigger just like the mid in the forefoot also aids with stability.

Overall no issues with support or stability just like the mids.

Containment

Surprisingly pretty good. I had some movement in the mids but these seem to do a slightly better job since my foot sits below the black line whereas the mid sat above the line. The containment on the AJ XXXI low is far better than the Melo M12, JC2, JC3, and to a lesser extent the KD 12 but not as good as shoes with higher raised midsoles or roll cages like the CLB16 or CE17. Amazing how that little bit of extra midsole and a firmer patent leather heel counter really helps keep my foot in on hard cuts. Not perfect but still very good.

Conclusion

I don’t even remember the release date of the XXXI lows but I’m really glad I picked these up. I really enjoyed playing in these right out of the box and it reminds me a lot of how the original Zoom BB Low played. Fit was excellent with no fiddling around or heel slip and Zoom felt like it should, almost as good as the Zoom BB Mid. Of course as a traction lover, I was very pleased to see and feel the improved traction with the solid outsole. The AJ XXXI Low’s combo of low profile cushioning, excellent fit and traction just make this a very nimble shoe on the court. Dare I say it? This is the best low I’ve played in since the Kobe VI despite weighing four or five ounces more. It might even surpass the Kobe IV which you all know I love to death and is one of the few lows I actually play in still. Removing nostalgia and positive results on court from the past here is a break it down versus the IV.

Traction: tie
Cushioning: AJ XXXI Low
Fit: slight edge to the XXXI Low
Support and Stabilty: technically a tie but takes time to get used to the protruding Zoom of the XXXI
Containment: slight edge to the Kobe IV
Materials: not a big deal to me but softer overall and nice quality feel on the XXXI
So there you have it, a new low that does everything well has made it into my rotation market for under $100. Winner winner chicken dinner!

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