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Air Jordan 11 ‘Cool Grey’ and ‘Rose Gold’ 2018 is back

The ‘Cool Grey’ Air Jordan 11 is back, but this time around it’s in low top form with the Air Jordan 11 Low ‘Cool Grey’.

Once just a sample, the Air Jordan 11 Low ‘Cool Grey’ is now scheduled for an April 28 release. The shoe will drop in all sizes, ranging from Men’s all the way down to infant. We were able to get our hands on the men’s and kids version to review.

Material quality will please most as it’s slightly nicer than what was featured on the 2010 edition of the Air Jordan 11 ‘Cool Grey’. Comfort is on-point as the shoe comes equipped with a Phylon midsole, full-length Air cushioning, and step-in comfort additions like a Poron strobel board and padded insole.

The kids version of the shoe isn’t quite as nice because the materials and tech have been dumbed down, but those sizes receive the same overall look.

and the Air Jordan 11 Low ‘Rose Gold’ While Jordan Brand once heavily focused on women’s footwear back in its early days (remember the 2005-2006 era?), the brand shifted its focus for years and cut the women’s footwear and apparel releases altogether.

This left women with GS (grade school) releases as their only options to grab a pair of Air Jordans. That typically means that the shoe’s shape, quality, and tech are unlike the men’s edition. Fast forward to 2018, Jordan Brand now has a reenergized focus on women’s footwear and apparel; that means that the ladies will get more footwear options without dumbed down tech and materials.

The Air Jordan 12 in Vachetta Tan was the first women’s release and was quickly followed up with the release of the Air Jordan 11 ‘Rose Gold’ . Everything from the shape, materials, and tech are different between the women’s and youth versions of these Retro models so if you wanted a detailed look — along with everything else you’d need to know — then hoop jordan has got you covered.

Nike Kyrie Flytrap Performance Reviews

In 2018, Nike and Kyrie Irving introduced an even more affordable basketball shoe than the Kyrie 4. I wear-tested the Nike Kyrie Flytrap — here’s my performance review.

Traction on the Nike Kyrie Flytrap is similar looking to that of the Nike Kyrie 4 . The main difference is the way the pattern is implemented in each model, and it was done more aggressively in the Kyrie 4 than in the Flytrap.

While the pattern on the Flytrap is flat, it wasn’t half bad depending on the court you played on. I noticed that dust wasn’t much of an issue as long as you kept the surface of the outsole clean on most courts. However, there is this one court I play on that hasn’t been refinished in 30+ years (I’m not exaggerating) and that was the one surface that the Flytrap showed its faults.

The aggressive implementation of the Nike Kyrie 4’s traction was able to hold on this same court without much issue, other than needing a wipe here or there, but I found that the Kyrie Flytrap needed constant wiping just to maintain decent grip.

If you happen to know the condition of the courts you usually play on are then that is how I’d determine if the Flytrap will bite the court in the way that you may like. If your court is maintained on regularly then you will likely be fine, but if you play on a court that needs a little bit of TLC then you may want to look at something like the Nike Kyrie 4 instead.

The cushion in the Nike Kyrie Flytrap is about as minimal as it gets. Well, not quite Curry level minimal, but for a Nike budget model, the Phylon and small Hex Zoom Air are about all you can expect nowadays.

Despite being on the minimal side, I never found the shoe to be uncomfortable. Yes, impact protection is lacking, but the here Phylon is much more forgiving than what was used on the Nike Kyrie 2 and 3.

If I were to put the Flytrap head to head with the Kyrie 4 then I’d personally go with the Kyrie 4. I loved the Cushlon midsole and heel Zoom Air setup on the shoe much more than the basic setup found here. However, if you really enjoyed the minimal setup that was on the Nike Kyrie 3 but wanted something slightly more forgiving then the Kyrie Flytrap will do you just fine.

Transition in the shoe was something I found to be very smooth and fluid.

I initially thought the Kyrie Flytrap used a cheap thin mesh build but I was quickly corrected by a member of the design team that it was actually a woven. It wasn’t until I took my camera to the upper that I was able to actually see that it was in fact a woven material — which I found to be fascinating because it’s super thin.

Being as thin as it is keeps the shoe pretty lightweight at just 11.6 oz, but the strength of the material isn’t compromised too much being that a woven tends to tighten up when more force is applied. It will allow for some stretch until the fibers are taught, but once taught it’s actually pretty strong overall.

I haven’t run into any real durability issues yet, but if you hoop outdoors regularly and toe drag then they might rip in no time.

The fit is my one major complaint about the Kyrie Flytrap. It feels like the shoe was made for wide footers, and seeing as how this shoe is priced at $80 it might be geared towards overseas players that primarily play outdoors — and usually have a wider foot than American players.

Most Nike basketball  shoes released in the Asia market have two things that American shoes don’t — XDR rubber outsoles, and the shoe is typically built on a wider last (foot shape). That’s exactly what the Kyrie Flytrap is like after I broke it in after a few days.

This is great news for wide footers as you’ll be able to go true to size without any issues in the forefoot section. For the rest of us, there is the Kyrie 4 — which was much more form fitting for me in the forefoot section of the shoe.

Lockdown was solid from the midfoot back, and the collar section was really nice as well, but the forefoot left a bit to be desired from a personal standpoint. I just felt like my forefoot was swimming inside the shoe during certain movements and it wasn’t my ideal fit.

Support is basic, but Nike didn’t leave anything necessary out. There is a small internal torsional shank and an internal heel counter.

The outrigger was kind of built into the midsole a bit as the rubber outsole wraps that section of the midsole — which does extend out just enough to be considered a wide base. To me, the support in the shoe is adequate overall.

Overall, the Nike Kyrie Flytrap was a solid performance model on-court. It doesn’t quite offer the fit that I prefer in the forefoot so for that reason I’d rather lace up the Kyrie 4 (which is a top performance model as it is), but I feel that the Kyrie Flytrap, while not made for me, was made for someone with a wide foot.

If you happen to have a wide foot and don’t want to forefoot support at all then opting for the Kyrie Flytrap over another shoe where you’d have to go up 1/2 would be a smart decision on hoop jordan.

Traction could have also been a bit more up to par with the other Kyrie models, but that was mostly dependent on the court surface. I should note that taking the Kyrie Flytrap outdoors was awesome as it gripped the blacktop nicely.

Not a bad shoe for $80, but I would opt for discounted Kyrie 4s — unless you happen to have a wide foot.

Nike LeBron 15 Low Performance Test

The Nike LeBron 15 Low was much more impressive than the LeBron Lows of years past. Find out why with our performance review.
Traction on the Nike LeBron 15 Low isn’t too far from what was used on the original Nike LeBron 15, but it was tweaked enough to make a difference. While the protruding diamond traction pattern remains the same, it’s been implemented in a way that it almost moves in a nice circle along the outsole.

With the pattern moving in this way the shoe is able to handle lateral movements much better than the midtop version of the shoe. Dust isn’t a huge issue for the LeBron 15 in general, due to the pattern being more like spikes along the sole rather than your typical average pattern, but there were a few times that I’d stop and wipe just to get a little bit extra bite.

I did have a couple of slipping issues upon certain movements, but it was near the ball of the foot/toe-off area. This section slopes in an upward direction so I think the issue was that I was moving too fast to properly to allow the sloped section of the outsole make contact with the floor. I could be wrong, of course, but that’s what I feel was causing the issue because it wasn’t present in the LeBron 15 mid at all and the outsole there was pretty even in terms of court coverage.

Overall, I’d say this was a slight improvement over the mids, but not enough to change its score. Just know that you can be confident in the outsole’s ability to maintain grip, and that was while I was testing a pair with a translucent outsole. And just as an FYI, I wouldn’t recommend playing in the pairs with iridescent outsoles; those felt much more slick in-store than this Grey/Pink pair.
Cushion from the original LeBron 15 wasn’t carried over in any way, which I find unfortunate because the rear Air Max unit could have been a Max Zoom unit. Had it been Max Zoom I think the LeBron 15 Low would have been a bit more amazing than it already is.

While the heel area isn’t as dense feeling as Air Max units can feel, it still would have been awesome to have had something a bit more absorbent and bouncy underfoot. However, the Air Max unit in place is comfortable and I feel that it offers enough impact protection for small and large players alike.

The forefoot section does have Zoom Air, just more of the traditional variety, and I loved it. This, coupled with that weird upward sloping toe-off section, created a very fluid ride with a bit of spring to each step. While the Zoom Air is bottom-loaded, it doesn’t feel like it and the entire cushion setup reminded me of what we had gotten in the Nike LeBron 9 — only a bit more comfortable.

This setup does sit a bit higher off the ground than most guard shoes, but this shoe isn’t really for guards — although it can be. If you’re a smaller player that prefers to have something more substantial under your feet without feeling like you’re unstable or about to tip over upon movements and changes of direction then I think you’ll enjoy the LeBron 15 Low quite a bit. At least I know I did.

Materials are one aspect that hasn’t really changed between the mid and low versions of the Nike LeBron 15.

Battleknit is still the primary build and there doesn’t seem to be any real difference between models other than less material being used at the collar — something I was more than fine with since the collar of the LeBron 15 mid just felt useless to me. That shoe was nearly a low within the Battleknit build but was made to look higher cut than it actually was due to the stretchy knit riding so high over the ankle.

Much like my thoughts on the materials in the mid version of the shoe, I feel that most will enjoy the materials here. There are some areas that are glued, some areas that are stretchy, and some areas that are really thick. All-in-all, it’s a wonderful upper that fits and feels great on-foot. It’s also been durable; there are no real signs of wear, which some may appreciate.
I felt the LeBron 15 mid ran a little long, but the LeBron 15 Low fits me fine going true to size. There will be some that may want to go down 1/2 size (especially narrow footers), but for the most part true to size will work — even for wide footers.

Lockdown on the shoe is much like the mid. I found no issues from the collar to the forefoot. My heel always felt locked into place and there were no hot spots or pinching anywhere. After having issues with most of the more recent LeBron low tops, I’m happy to say that these gave me no problems at all.
Support in the LeBron 15 was a bit lackluster due to the tooling setup, but that has changed with the low top version. Traditional support features like a torsional midfoot shank and TPU heel counter are all in place and work well.

However, this time around the new midsole tooling setup gave the shoe a much needed outrigger for lateral support. This small addition to the shoe gave it the stability the mids lacked which only makes me wish the LeBron 15 Low had Max Zoom Air in the heel even more as that would have been such an awesome ride — much like the Nike KD 7 on hoop jordan.
While the Nike LeBron 15 was a great shoe for those that didn’t require a lot of lateral support and stability, the Nike LeBron 15 Low changes all of that to become a shoe that anyone can enjoy on court.

Traction was solid while and there was a great balance of cushion without the loss of any mobility — even for us smaller guys. On or off the court, I think the Nike LeBron 15 Low is a hit.

Nike is on a roll this year with models like the Kyrie 4 and PG 2. Now, you can now add the LeBron 15 Low to that list.

2001 vs. 2013 vs. 2017 Air Jordan 1 Retro ‘Royal’ Comparison

It’s only been four years since the last go-round, but the ‘Royal’ Air Jordan 1 Retro is one of the year’s most anticipated sneaker releases. Originally released in 1985, the black and blue colorway first returned in 2001, before a 12-year hiatus until the next retro. This time, Jordan Brand is promising remastered quality, which means they tried to construct it as close to the original as possible.To determine how well they did with the 2017 version, we compared every ‘Royal’ Air Jordan 1 Retro to date, breaking them down by each detail. Read on to see how this year’s release stacks up against its predecessors.

QUARTER

The leather is different on each pair and the shade of blue gradually got brighter. Unlike the 2013 and 2017 releases, nubuck fills the Swoosh of the 2001 retro.

TONGUE

The font used for Nike Air embroidery is different on each tongue, as is the material used to construct them.

LINING

There’s less padding on the 2013 retro compared to the 2001 and 2017 pairs, along with a different lining pattern. The backside of the tongue on the 2001 pair features the Jumpman logo and production number. Logo on the back of the tongue and lining color is white on the 2017 retro and black on the other two.

HEEL

Sizing of heel tabs varies each year. There’s no black stitching on the heel tab on the 2013 pair and the tab is a bit higher on this year’s retro. The 2013 pair appears to be more narrow when looking at it from behind when compared to the 2001 and 2017 pairs.

COLLAR

Note the size, shape and positioning of the Wings logo on each pair.

INSOLE

After the Jumpman graced the insoles of the 2001 Jordan retro, Nike Air returned in 2013 and again this year, but this time on OG-style white insoles.

TOEBOX

The size and arrangement of the perforations differ on each pair, as does the general narrowness of the toeboxes.

SHOE BOX

The 2001 release came with the ‘Jordan for all Face’ box, while the OG-style box returned for the 2013 and 2017 releases.

Air Jordan 11 Vs. Jordan Future “bred” Comparison

Jordan Brand dresses their newest futuristic silhouette, the Air Jordan Future in the classic “Bred” color scheme. Having a similar built as the iconic Air Jordan 11 “Bred” both having a Black based-upper with Red accents, a White midsole and Red translucent outsole.

The Air Jordan Future has slowly made its way into the hearts of many. Becoming a regular sneaker in people’s rotation, the Air Jordan Future is one sneaker everyone can love. Coming in a plethora of colorways, the newest design to hit retailers is the Air Jordan Future “Bred.” This iteration of the sneaker is dressed in a black woven upper with red on the upper lining and outsole. A white midsole contrasts the look as 3M is worked into the upper. This flashy look is inspired by the classic Air Jordan 11 “Bred,”

Air Jordan 11 Bred backpack sample, an apparel item that combined the outsole of the famed patent leather gem as the base of the backpack. We never thought that the brand would release something as outlandish as a backpack turned shoe, and yet here we are. The Air Jordan 11 Bred backpack is available today. Complete with a cordura fabric to mimic the shoe’s upper with alternating black panels, accents of red arrive on the zipper.

The only differences between the two silhouettes besides the model itself is the built. The Jordan Future sports a 3M reflective Black woven upper inside of the traditional mesh from the Air Jordan 11. The tongue, laces, heel tab and inner lining on the Jordan Future are dressed in Red. To complete the comparison both pairs sit atop the same White midsole, but the Jordan Future is finished with a more milky Red translucent outsole.

Check out the additional comparison photos below as well as a few extra of the Air Jordan Future “Bred” colorway

Air Jordan 31 Black Cat Performance Reviews

While the reviews have admittedly gone away, I still keep hooping, but my beloved Kobe VIs aren’t getting any younger. My go-to shoes for the last two years are shot. With the heel foam permanently broken down and traction wearing smooth, I had tried hooping in other shoes. The Harden Vol 1s were ok (I actually really liked them through the first couple months of wearing, and gave them a positive review here) but multiple rolled ankles in them eventually forced me to retire them for something that fit more snug.

I grabbed the Zoom Run the One at the outlets for a cool $35, but the traction and cushioning left something to be desired. Cheap Zoom relegated these to workout status. Next came the Flyknit Hyperdunk 2016s from the outlets, which are still partially in the rotation. They offer fantastic cushioning (like, XX8-level cushioning) and fit, yet heel lockdown wasn’t quite perfect and I was left wanting something more traditional.

I had eyes on the Air Jordan 32 thanks to its gorgeous materials and carbon fiber support, but the $185 price tag is pretty steep. I had tried on the Air Jordan 31 in store and at the outlets a couple different times, and when Eastbay’s Final Score closeouts featured the 31 on sale plus 40% off, I pulled the trigger on the Black Cat colorway.

Schwollo, my go-to source for reviews right now, likened them to TGRR-favorite Zoom BB. After having tried them for myself for over a month now, it is uncanny how similar the 31 feels to the original Zoom BB, especially from a Zoom feel standpoint.

The 31 does have some minor drawbacks, but it’s a consistent and solid performer. It’s not the newest shoe on the market but if you’re looking for a performance shoe on a budget, these can now be had at serious discounts all over the web (I believe Weartesters’ duke4005 found them as low as $79.99 in some stores, too).

Fit
I went true to size with an 11.5. I typically like to go a half-size down in my hoop shoes in order to get a better fit thanks to a narrow foot, but having tried these on a couple times I knew the toebox ran a little short for that. I can’t imagine anyone going down a size in these so TTS is the move if you don’t get to try them on first.

There are a couple different aspects with the fit to touch on, and some of it is going to overlap into materials. The tightly woven Flyweave forefoot portion makes the shoe flexible, comfortable, and allows it to conform to the foot within a wearing or two. It felt more robust and structurally strong than the weave used on the 29 or 30.

As it transitions to leather in the heel portion, you also get a thick neoprene inner collar. The neoprene inner collar is exceptionally well padded in the Achilles area and gives the shoe a plush feel on the interior. I did not experience any Achilles pain, as some have noted in their testing.

I had zero issues with lockdown – even forefoot containment was acceptable by standards although I’d have preferred a raised midsole or bigger outrigger. I didn’t care for the traditional detached tongue as it created some pressure points on the medial sideon the ankle bone. Because of the detached tongue, leather heel portion, woven upper and neoprene inner collar, I didn’t necessarily get a second-skin type of fit. There are a lot of moving pieces there and I felt that when fully laced there was a bit of excess material or volume.

I happen to prefer the 1:1 kind of fit but it was certainly not a deal-breaker for me considering the lockdown itself was really good. With a narrow foot plus being used to the Kobe VI and Anta’s KT2 Outdoor (review to come), this may have been an issue more unique to me than most wearers.

Transition
Transition is butter-smooth right out of the box. No slap at all as the outsole is not decoupled. Initial impressions of the shoe raised concerns about the fact that the outsole in the heel and forefoot protrude slightly, giving the illusion that the shoe might be tippy or unstable.

I didn’t notice any instability – not even when standing still – and I feel like the weight of most wearers will compress the bags enough that it won’t be noticeable. This is one area where the shoe especially reminded me of the Zoom BB that I played much of my freshman year of college practice in. I loved that shoe for its consistent traction, court feel and cushioning, and the 31 ticks the latter two of those boxes.

The Flightspeed platform does not provide as much support as the Flightplate of a few years back, but does allow for a more natural feel.

Cushioning
The full length Zoom bag is how Zoom is supposed to feel – thick, allowing good court feel, and super responsive. There’s a noticeable bounce with these Zoom bags that’s not like budget Zoom-based models. I know the 31 came at a premium retail, but the Zoom setup is worthy of that price.

Responsiveness is important to me but so is ride height and court feel, and the 31 presents a fantastic combination. You don’t get the big volume, bouncy, effect that you do with the Flyknit HD 2016, but court feel is better and I felt like the ride was lower and more stable.

Again, it really is like the Zoom BB or some early 2000s Zoom model reborn. If I could design a cushioning platform from scratch, the first two criteria would be court feel and responsiveness – and the Air Jordan 31 nails both.

Speaking of 2000s Zoom cushioning platforms, if anyone reading has a pair or knows someone that has a pair of deadstock/good condition Zoom Drives, in an 11/11.5, with the caged heel Zoom and forefoot strap PLEASE HIT ME UP.

Traction
This has been and continues to be the biggest point of contention with the Jordan 31. The translucent outsole models were panned for below average traction, so I went with the Black Cat colorway mostly because of that solid outsole.

Traction, to be honest, is not fantastic. I have one league at local elementary school gym, with a floor that’s exceptionally well kept. Zero complaints with the traction in there. At the two YMCA courts I play on, the floors are not nearly as nice and traction suffers. Some shoes shed dust from the outsole, but the 31 seems to collect it. I don’t feel like the pattern is deep enough to bite the floor and isn’t spaced wide enough to flex and grab either.

I don’t feel unsafe in the shoe, but I certainly wish it was better on average floors. The top of the traction class is the Rose 7/Rose 8, and I feel the air jordan 32 why not probably falls somewhere below average compared to most high-end shoes on the market. This is also the one area that the Zoom BB is far and away better than the 31. I gave it an average rating on the scale because it still plays well on good surfaces.

Materials
Simply put, the 31 uses fantastic materials across the board. Flyweave > Flyknit, and actually has good performance properties besides being a fancy marketing piece. Full length Zoom feels like vintage Nike cushioning, and you get real leather on a performance hoop shoe in the heel portion – supple, quality leather at that. The neoprene inner collar is a great touch (although it’s apparently the source of Achilles pressure for some) and I enjoyed the excessive heel/Achilles padding.

The materials used and application of each component are extremely well-executed in the Jordan 31.

Conclusion
It’s been awhile since I’ve written up a review and this one feels clunky to me but in conclusion, I like the Jordan 31 a lot. It’s got the familiar feeling of a favorite hoodie right out of the box. It’s comfy, fits well, and plays consistently underfoot. The full Zoom setup is fantastic in all aspects. Transition is smooth. I know what I’m getting every time I slip on the 31.

That said, do I love the shoe? Sometimes. The traction is iffy on some courts and the shoe doesn’t fit like a super snug extension of the foot, two things that I typically don’t care for in my go-to shoes. Stumbling into the KT2 Outdoor, which fits and plays like my favorite Kobe VIs, makes it harder for me to choose the 31 every time too.

I do know that I’ll play in the 31 for a long time, and that’s probably the best indication of my overall feeling towards the shoe. With one of the best cushioning setups I’ve ever played in and great materials across the board, put the 31 on your short list this holiday season if you’re looking for a high-performance shoe on a budget.

Nike LeBron Ambassador 10 performance review

The Nike LeBron Ambassador 9 was a top performer last year that I liked more than the LeBron 14. But does this latest overseas alternate signature model, the LeBron Ambassador X, continue to take the reigns as a top performer? We’re here to find out.

The LeBron Ambassador X uses the same diamond grid traction pattern used on the Ambassador 9, and it has strategically placed herringbone waves that help you stop on a dime. When I tell you this traction pattern and the XDR rubber combo is amazing it’s because it’s freakin’ amazing! Why we don’t see the Swoosh use more XDR (Extra Durable Rubber) with a pattern like this on Stateside shoes nowadays still causes me to scratch my head.

The XDR rubber outsole and pattern combination is literally Goku morphing into his Ultra instinct form. Whether you hit the blacktop outdoors or play on the hardwood indoors, you’re in for not just a treat, but the whole nine-course meal.

Again, not once did I need to wipe the bottom of the shoe. Consistency is key and this pattern, material compound, and extended outrigger add up to the best of the best.

Like it’s predecessor, the LeBron Ambassador X features heel and forefoot Zoom Air unit. Needless to say, a shoe that bears LeBron’s name would need cushioning and ample support that a player of his stature needs. While the cushion combination works well, I was disappointed in finding out that there were some minor modifications towards the Zoom Air units utilized.

While the forefoot Zoom unit got thicker at 8.5mm thick, the width of the unit shrank. So for those that have heavy forefoot drop placements and have wider feet, you might feel the slight difference, but it’s minimal. The heel unit also increased in thickness to 11.16mm, which is perfect for those plant heavy on their heels.

The LeBron Ambassador X USA cushions well above average, but I still wish it used the heel unit from the Ambassador 8. That cushion worked so well, so why change it? However, getting heel and forefoot Zoom Air in a Nike Basketball shoe these days is a blessing — the only thing is you have to check overseas shops to find this model.

Mesh is used from midfoot to forefoot with TPU reinforcement at high wear areas, just like its predecessor. What has changed is the synthetic suede-like panel from midfoot to heel and the elastic band overlay right above the midfoot.

The interior of the shoe features a heavily padded bootie-like construction for support purposes. The shoe is finished with the wonderful XDR outsole while heel and forefoot Zoom units are implemented within the soft Phylon midsole.

The construction and materials bear resemblance to the recently released Nike PG 2 (both shoes were done by the same designer, shout out to TH), which isn’t a bad thing. For its price point, the Ambassador X can withstand the battles on court indoors and outdoors, with decent materials that make the shoe durable. It’s simple and well done.

The fit of the Ambassador X, for me, was decent at best. I experienced some heel slippage in the shoe, which was a surprise considering previous Ambassador models never had this problem. I also went true to size (I have a wide foot). The slippage isn’t a total deal breaker, but coming from the previous Ambassador models that worked very well, it threw me off. I even tried wearing thicker socks but moisture buildup became a problem.

The elastic band across the midfoot helps contain the foot and it’s a nice addition. However, I believe that the throat lacing structure and the extra padding layer between the inner bootie and the rounded external material at the heel didn’t allow the foot to be fully contained.

The support in the Ambassador X comes directly from the fit of the shoe, which includes the elastic band at the midfoot, the mesh upper, the forefoot and heel cushion, and the traction. The traction is top notch, the forefoot and heel cushion feel above average, and the elastic band on the midfoot provides ample lockdown. Again, the heel slip doesn’t deter from the rest of the shoe when it comes to proper support because everything else worked very well.

The LeBron Ambassador X had a lot of positive points but fell slightly short due to some minor issues. For a big man that plays like LeBron’s and Draymond’s positionless game, the shoe does everything well. If you can look past the minor heel slippage, then the shoe would be fantastic.

Like the 9, the Ambassador X offers everything you need for a basketball shoe. And I’ll say this again — how the Swoosh has decided not to bring the Ambassador line Stateside is still a shock. Perhaps its solely a business decision — if the Ambassador line came here it could wipe out the Soldier/Witness Line completely, and I truly believe it would.

If Nike makes some minor adjustments and takes cues from the previous Ambassador models to improve the next Ambassador sneaker, the Nike Lebron 15 could be next year’s top performer.

Salute to T. Hardman for creating another gem — we’re looking forward to the next one.

Nike Zoom Kobe 1 Protro Performance Review

“Make the old new again” — that’s the mantra of retro product, right? Well, Nike and Kobe Bryant decided to take those words to the next level with the Zoom Kobe 1 Protro, which debuted for All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles. The original Kobe 1 was an absolute killer on court, so does the “new and improved” build match up? Here we go…

If there was a ranking higher than Hall of Fame, the Kobe 1 Protro would get it. Using the exact same pattern as the original Kobe was a great thing because it sticks like glue to any floor. Plus, it’s thick and hard enough to hoop in outdoors. The herringbone is multi-directional and spaced wide enough that dust is no issue. During one wear at 24 Hour Fitness — a four-game session of full court — I made a point to count how many times I wiped…

Two times, that’s all. That is amazing. Since the first Kobe came out over 13 years ago, this traction has been one of my favorites, and it still is. Keep your storytelling — give me herringbone.

Full-length Zoom is rarely a bad thing, right? Right, especially when it is responsive and protects from impact. The Kobe 1 Protro is both.

The Zoom unit can be felt as soon as you step down on that first wear and it only gets better as the midsole foam begins breaking in. It isn’t a LeBron 15 Max Zoom feeling — this is fast and agile, because that’s what Zoom was meant to be before it became an impact-absorbing monster.

Don’t get me wrong – impact protection was there, as I never felt anything jarring while playing or excessive aching afterwards (well, no more than my age would allow). It’s just that when Zoom appeared, it was the low, fast, speedy, responsive cushioning while Air Max was the impact protection. Now it seems Zoom is marketed as impact protection. No difference here because the Kobe 1 Protro keeps doing it and doing it and doing it well.

One minor addition to the shoe that was found in the original but not in many other shoes is the Poron inserts on the bottom of the insole. Poron in a highly resilient, highly responsive urethane (usually blue) that can be placed in thin layers on the undersides of insoles — usually in the heel and forefoot — that adds a little initial impact protection without adding a ton of weight or height. The original had these as well, and for step-in comfort it can’t be beat.

This is it: leather, suede, and leather, and more suede. I won’t say this is premium leather, because it isn’t — if it was we would be paying $400 for these. This is the leather for leather-lovers that play ball, at least. It is thick and takes a couple of hard wears to break in and crease, but when it does, it forms to the foot and feels great. Durability is also a plus as the Kobe 1 Protro is built like a tank (yet hard to hit). I am still playing in my original Kobe 1 and the Kobe 1 Protro feels like it will still be playable in 13 years as well.

The medial side is made up of a nubuck that, again, feels like the best you can get at this price point for basketball. It is smooth and soft and should take a couple of wears to crease and feel right, but when it does…yeah. Carbon fiber — what appears to be real carbon fiber — comes back for the heel cup and midfoot shank, and it is so nice (more on that in Support).

The only real change on the Kobe 1 Protro as far as materials is the Pro Combat in the ankle collar and the missing leather circles that covered the ankle bones. Not a big change and neither one makes a difference in performance, so no harm, no foul.

The one area on the Kobe 1 Protro Reviews that takes some work is fit, and it all goes back to the previous category, the materials. As anyone who has played in a ton of leather shoes from the ’90s and early ’00s will tell you, most leather shoes take a couple of wears to crease and “learn” the foot. All those wrinkles mean the shoe is learning to flex and shape to your foot and activity.

The Kobe 1 Protro is no different. The leather upper is backed internally by a layer of foam that gives the shoe a bulky, disconnected feeling, at first. You can pull the laces as tight as you want but there is still a feeling of dead space in the forefoot. No worries! Just let the shoe break in and fit improves dramatically after the second or third day of playing.

Length-wise, stay true to size. Again, it may feel like you should have went a half-size down, but let the shoe break in before panicking. Heel slip is non-existent as long as you lace tight. The hole in the collar was seen as gimmicky when first released but does allow for ankle mobility while also locking the heel in and stopping movement. One note: lace behind the Shozoku logo on the tongue. It will make locking the laces down tight easier.

The Kobe 1 Protro offers serious support with tools in just about every category. Starting at the bottom, the base is wide and features a large outrigger on the lateral forefoot. Above that outrigger, we get foam teeth rising from the midsole over the side of the foot; they keep any lateral movements locked and caged so your foot doesn’t slide off the footbed on your Kobe-copying-Dirk one legged fadeaways.

In the midfoot, we get a carbon fiber shank that keeps the arch and midfoot rigid and supported. That shank ties into a carbon piece that circles around the heel cup, tying the midfoot to the back of the shoe. Let’s face it — even if your foot asks for permission, nicely, it ain’t getting out.

Moving up, the leather and nubuck upper may eventually stretch out and become a bit sloppy, but the lacing system allows the upper to be pulled tight in all directions, so even if the Kobe 1 Protro does lose a little shape over the years, just yank harder and you’re good to go.

It is only March, but the Kobe 1 Protro has the potential to be my Performer of the Year. It may be an opinion clouded in sentiment, as the Kobe I is my second favorite Kobe shoe ever (behind the VI), but there is no denying it: the Protro is a great, great, great performer.

If you can put up with a little extra weight (supposedly lighter materials were used, but these were within an ounce of the original Kobe I in my size 10.5) and a short break-in time, you will be blessed with a serious shoe. If you want light, thin, minimal, non-supportive uppers you may want to keep looking.

The Kobe 1 Protro should suit any player at any position, period, and if you wore the Kobe 1 the first time around and liked it, look no further. With more colorways soon to come, don’t miss the chance to wear the latest, greatest Nike performer — that first appeared 13 years ago.

Nike Kyrie Flytrap Performance Reviews

If the Nike Kyrie Flytrap had a sound all you would hear are crickets chirping.

The outsole the Nike Kyrie Flytrap resembles a watered-down Kyrie 4 outsole. The herringbone doesn’t look as aggressive as the Kyrie 4’s, but that doesn’t matter, because the traction on the Kyrie Flytrap was excellent.

I broke this shoe out on a super dirty court and probably wiped a few times the entire session. Every session after that the traction was an absolute beast on everything it touched, and I play on hardwood, rubber, tile, plastic, etc. and the traction held up nicely. I wish Nike put this outsole on the Kyrie 4 — game changer, I’m telling you.

The Kyrie Flytrap uses a Phylon midsole with a small Zoom unit underneath the balls of your feet. Now, if you are expecting this cushion setup to be on marshmallow mode, then you might want to start looking at another shoe because this ain’t that.

However, this cushion setup wasn’t horrible; the Phylon is a little softer than what was used on the last Kyrie models (excluding the Kyrie 4 BHM and its Cushlon). At the same time, you still get some excellent court feel. Those that love that low-profile and minimal cushion setup may really like Kyrie Flytrap.

The shoe features a knit upper with a textile panel on the inside of the shoe. The knit feels like a light mesh and surprisingly it’s held up so far. I thoughts it would have torn up by now but I was wrong! The knit does support and contain my foot just fine, and the breathability was on point. However, there is a slight issue with the fit that makes me dislike the materials just a tad.

Everything about the fit for me was weird. The sizing is pretty much true to size for both narrow and wide footers, but narrow footers may feel the need to go down a half size because of dead space in the toebox. However, I don’t recommend you guys do that because your toes will bust out the front like a jack-in-the-box.

I don’t know if it was because of the asymmetrical lacing but all I know is that when I tie these shoes the dead space in the toebox folds over my foot like a damn burrito with extra beef and that ain’t what’s up. On top of that, the footbed feels like a banked turn on a NASCAR race track — it slopes inward a bit — which I never got used to.

Lockdown was OK, only because I had these bad boys tied tighter than a jelly jar. The elastic band over the forefoot wasn’t bad, I could feel it holding me down, so it served its purpose. I just wish the folded burrito-style material wasn’t an issue in the toebox; it would have significantly improved the lockdown.

The support was slightly below OK. You still have your usual support features like an internal heel counter, which cradles the heel, and a midsole that cups the foot to keep it atop the footbed. I didn’t have any issues with containment. However, the stability is where my problem lies.

Remember when I said the footbed feels like a turn on NASCAR race track because it slopes inward? Try running up and down the basketball Shoes court and feeling your ankles leaning in a bit every time you plant your foot. Yeah! That’s a real uneasy feeling, let me tell you. I don’t know if my pair was a defect or what but I don’t like it at all. If the footbed were a little flatter then this review would have been different.

The Nike Kyrie Flytrap is a nice shoe casually. Is it worth your $80 bucks? I don’t think so. I would much rather spend that $80 on a great sneaker from last season that’s on sale, like the PG 1.

If you want the Kyrie logo on your shoe and just absolutely need a Kyrie signature shoe, I say do some chores, sell some shoes or whatever you have that you don’t need, and save an extra $40 to buy the Kyrie 4, which isn’t an expensive shoe at $120.

However, if traction is all you care about then you will love the Kyrie Flytrap.

Better Suede Air Jordan 11: “Pinnacle” or “Jeter”

Two of the more limited versions of the Air Jordan 11 was the “Pinnacle” and “Jeter” releases.

The Air Jordan 11 Pinnacle was only available at Concepts and Kith in NYC. It came constructed in a full premium “Grey Suede” upper atop a semi-translucent outsole.

As a nod to Derek Jeter’s retirement in 2017, Jordan Brand designed an exclusive Air Jordan 11 that was limited to only 5 pairs, each were released via a scratch-off auction. They were only available at a pop-up shop nearby Yankee Stadium. Constructed in a premium “Navy Suede” upper with Jeter’s famed number “2” on the heels in White atop a semi-translucent outsole.

Air Jordan 11 Retro Pinnacle Initially released this past November 11th at KITH and CNCPTS in New York for a promotional/celebratory 11/11 theme, the sneaker is essentially a more fashionable/lifestyle-inclined variation with smooth suede covering its upper. that comes with a premium suede upper in a “Cool Grey” colorway. It looks remarkably like a similar pair that sprung up back in October, however these look lighter in color and slightly more sophisticated in comparison.

The model is stripped of the beloved patent leather upper for a deconstructed aesthetic, while squared leather laces, a leather quilted insole, a rubber midsole, a carbon fiber spring plate and a semi-translucent outsole keep the shoe feeling Jordan-like. Interestingly, the shoe also takes a minimalistic approach to branding, with little to none besides a debossed side panel Jumpman.

Distinguishable design elements consist of leather quilted insoles, debossed Jumpman logos and no traditional “23” embroidery on the heels. Finally, a crisp white midsole unit and slightly milky translucent outsole rounds out its clean, yet luxe design.

the The super exclusive Air Jordan 11 Derek Jeter that was limited to only 5 pairs and released at a pop-up shop outside of Yankee Stadium in 2017, is now turned into a Air Jordan 11 Low Derek Jeter RE2PECT version this year, and it’s releasing to the public. Basically featuring the very same theme, the sneaker features a navy blue suede upper and matching waxed laces for a premium finish. Other details include Jeter’s number 2 embroidered on the heels, along with “RE2PECT” and “2” printed on the insoles. A contrasting white midsole and milky translucent outsole finally completes the design altogether.

While 99.9% of us don’t have both pairs in our collection, if you had the opportunity to purchase one for retail, which would it be?