LeapZipBlog: tinmy2014

tinmy2014's blog

53 blogs

Jordan Jumpman Diamond Low Performance Review

October 18, 2019 by tinmy2014  

Long before the Jordan Jumpman Diamond, Team Jumpman models were considered a thing of the past. Not anymore. Over the past year or so, Jordan Brand has been coming up with budget-friendly models that do more than just sit on shelves, they perform.

The traction of the Jordan Jumpman Diamond Low is interesting. It utilizes a multidirectional diamond and herringbone traction pattern that’s very thinly and closely aligned. This particular model was purchased from Asia, so it also provided XDR rubber. One gripe I did have, and not just for this Jordan Model but for a lot of Nike and Jordan shoes, is the clear coating they apply to certain outsoles which causes a lot of slippage till it wears off. I honestly don’t believe it’s necessary. I want something to grip the hell out of the court, rather than having to break in the outsole. After the coating rubbed off, the traction was great. I was able to stop on a dime and gather myself quick even when the court wasn’t clean. An occasional quick wipe and I was good to go. I do wish the outsole traction was thicker with larger gaps so it didn’t pick up dust in between the grooves. However, as stated before, one wipe and I was good to go. Outdoor ballers beware as the thin traction lines frayed quickly.

The cushion of the Jumpman Diamond is made up of a soft Phylon midsole and a responsive top-loaded forefoot Zoom Air unit. It felt very similar to the Why.Not.Zero2. And that’s not a bad thing because I loved how that shoe felt on foot, even as a heavy-footed player. Could they have added a small volume Zoom Air Unit in the heel? Yes. Would it make a vast difference? Probably not. I would have liked to see some heel Zoom Air implemented, but for a budget-friendly model like this I don’t expect it.

The full list of materials are a simple textile and synthetic upper, a diamond gridded cage system for lightweight support and stability, a soft phylon midsole complemented with forefoot Zoom Air, and a diamond herringbone rubber outsole. One gripe I had was very minor. The tag inside the tongue of the shoe (images can be viewed here) chafed. The message could have easily been stitched into the tongue rather than placing a layering material that caused discomfort and scratching on the front of my shin (if I wore no-show socks). Mid or crew socks are necessary. The combination of everything put together was simple while providing me all the necessities without the extra added weight (similar to the Air Jordan 34). I like what Jordan is doing and I hope they continue.

The Jordan Jumpman Diamond Low fit true to size. I ordered an overseas model which are generally built on a wider last. I did try on the US model as well and there’s not much of a difference. Wider-footers like myself are able to stay true to size while normal footers will want to try on in-store. Some may consider going down a half size due to the slight bit of extra spacing in the toe area. I like the extra little room, but your preferences may vary. The shoe seemed to contour very well to my foot so I didn’t have a problem tying them up tight.

Support comes directly from the fit of the shoe and the build. The big tongue seemed to be used on both the low and mid versions of the Jordan Jumpman Diamond and didn’t cause any hindrance once the shoe was laced tight. The Diamond gridded cage structure really gave the feeling of solid stability. My foot and heel felt locked in and ready to go. The traction (once the coating of the outsole wears off) is solid, especially on heavy defensive slides while staying in front of your opponent (unless of course your teammates don’t call out a pick and you get pummeled by a big ogre). And the soft midsole along with the forefoot Zoom Air unit provid enough responsiveness on heel to toe transition.

The Jordan Jumpman Diamond was a really dynamic shoe. It’s made for those that want to be treated seriously on the hardwood. From the price, build, fit, materials, to the overall build of the shoe, anyone who puts on this shoe is in for a fun ride. The Jordan Brand team has really stepped up their game to help people realize their flagship model isn’t the only shoe that can perform well on the court.

Jordan Jumpman 2020 Performance Review

October 17, 2019 by tinmy2014  

The Jordan 2X3 was a nice performer that unfortunately never made its way to retail stateside. However, what could be called its successor in the Jordan Jumpman 2020 is available and we have a performance review ready.

Herringbone in a mostly traditional fashion makes up the Jumpman 2020. Though it directs from front to back, there is still multidirectional coverage due to the nature of the pattern. I wouldn’t call it super tacky or crazy stopping power, but I was secure making all types of movements on court, even when caught around the divot under the heel.

Most of the rubber is solid with nice groove spacing, while the forefoot pod showcasing tech is packed a little tighter in a translucent compound. This area not only attracts more dust but is a little more difficult to clear of any buildup.

Fortunately, the traction only failed me once early on in testing, and that was on a super dusty court. Otherwise traction has been super reliable indoors and outdoors, though I wouldn’t recommend spending too much time outside as the rubber wears down significantly from a few hours in the elements.

Nike has been doing a lot lately with larger volume forefoot Zoom units, and that trend has spilled over onto this Jordan 1 sneaker. I won’t lie – in person I was a little underwhelmed with the actual volume of the Jumpman 2020 Zoom compared to other sneakers with more standard oval-shaped bags, but on foot it does make a difference in my opinion.

I had a great experience with transition and response in the Jumpman 2020 as the extra bit of coverage up front added some fluidity to different types of movement. While the midsole doesn’t sit as close to the floor as some other sneakers, I don’t feel those that appreciate court feel will have much to complain about here as it rides lower than it appears to be externally.

There is no cushion in the rear of the shoe – my guess is that it is an injected Phylon — even though it is a little on the dense side. Fortunately, Jordan Brand added those divots – or “Landing Zone” as they call it – under each heel which provides some compression and slight bounce back upon impact. Despite my feelings that this part of the midsole may be bottoming out, this addition kept the Jumpman 2020 from being a pain to play in.

I also want to note that the midsole doesn’t seem to have much of a heel-to-toe drop. Some hoopers may like this, some may hate it. Personally, it didn’t bother me – just something I felt should be noted.

Well, if you’re not psyched to pay a premium for the mesh and other minimal materials the Air Jordan 34 offers, the good news is you can save $70 to get a similar build, which is a little beefier in some areas.

The mesh feels plasticky on the exterior, but on foot there hasn’t been any discomfort, pinching, or anything of the sort. The textile lining probably helps with that while the rest of the upper features synthetic leather overlays and skin fuse over the toe. Everything is lightweight, durable and supportive, including the thick nylon cables embedded in the upper, like the Nike Zoom Rize. I feel the synthetic leather could’ve been scaled down a bit, but for $110 you get cost-efficient materials that work, simple as that.

True to size works perfectly fine for me, and some wide footers may also be able to get away with true to size, though a half size up may also be more suitable – you’ll just have to judge for yourself. The lacing system allows for customization at each pair of eyelets and does a good job of locking down.

If you’ve had the chance to try on its big brother, the Air Jordan 34, expect the Jumpman 2020 to fit similar but not quite as snug. I liked the fit of both, but I feel the 2020 is a lot more forgiving while still being able to tighten things down so there are not issues with movement of the foot anywhere in the shoe.

All of the usual contributes to good support in the Jumpman 2020. It isn’t a standout in terms of category, but I had no issues with support at all. The internal heel counter does feel a little weak, but a good fit helped prevent any heel slip and the materials don’t seem substantial in the areas needed, but are actually pretty sturdy.

Most of all I enjoyed the nylon cabling along each side. As a part of the lacing system and the upper, they do a good job of keeping you in place on the footbed. That, combined with a semi-wide base make the Jordan Jumpman 2020 a breeze to play in.

Jordan Brand continues to follow a simple formula that offers signature-worthy performance in its lower-priced models. The Jordan Jumpman 2020 is a great alternative to the higher tier models as it is a more tried and truer set up compared to the potential growing pains that come with innovation in signature models. For a while I even enjoyed playing in the Jumpman 2020 over the flagship it was designed after.

If the Jordan Jumpman 2020 is on your radar, I say go for it as I think it does everything well enough to satisfy everyone, no matter the play style. As I sort of already mentioned, the flashy new stuff is great – even functional in many cases – but sometimes reliability trumps all, especially when its on better end of the hundred-dollar range.

UA Black Ice Performance Analysis and Review

October 14, 2019 by tinmy2014  

Since the Bucks are balling tonight, I figured I’d dig these out and write a review on them. Back in the day Brandon Jennings was the only face of UA hoops while he was in Milwaukee so why not bust out the tried and true Gucci black and red Black Ice (s) for shits and giggles. I’ve had these in cold storage for the past 8 or 9 years..get it? Ice? Black ice? Nevemind

I thought these were sexy as hell when I bought them and I really liked the UA curry 7 brand. And for $110 what the hell right? I remember getting them late at night around Thanksgiving time and I opened them up and smiled because the new shoe smell slapped me in the face and the patent leather sparkled with hints of green. And damn that Micro G felt amazing. Micro G >>>>> HOVR which is pretty much remarketed garbage.

Pros: traction when clean, cushioning, fit, support and stability, containment

Cons: lots of wiping needed on dusty floors,

Sizing : true to size to half a size down depending on preference

Best For:any position

Weight

A little lighter than average for a mid at 14 ounces. Most mids are around 14.5-16 ounces

Traction

Shattered glass or ice traction pattern looks cool and works great on clean floors, but can be Chazz Michael Michaels on dusty floors…get it ? Ice skating? Blades of Glory ? Black ice ? Never m..

Although the traction isn’t the worst on dusty floors, this is the main weakness of the Black Ice. Really skating on thin ice when it comes to acceptability with these on dusty floors. Get it ? Thin ice? Black Ice? Never..

Cushioning

I’ll take this “old” cushioning over HOVR in the Havoc and Curry 6 any day every day, no questions asked. Zero, Zilch, Nada. Micro G on the Black Ice gives me everything; it’s low to the ground and springy right out of the box.

Oh yea Mr Orange sole. Micro G insole I do miss theeSome shoetubers don’t even know the difference between a open cell ortholite insole which is BLUE vs an orange Micro G insole

You’d think Micro G was made of diamond dust the way UA has gotten so cheap with it. HOVR is marketed like a MOFO but it’s 95% BS. UA is slowly putting more Micro G on their shoes again at least.

Fit

Ah back in the day when one size didn’t fit one. I bought a 10.5 and 11 and went with the 10.5. Patent leather toe boxes like this usually have more room in the toe box and these are no different. Easily could have gone with 11 though without any issues since the fit is adaptable to many foot sizes.

No heel slip or side to side movement. The strap is just there so don’t expect any help from it. You can’t really make patent leather hug your foot (see Aj Xi) so there isn’t a perfect one to one fit in the toe box but it’s acceptable.

Materials

Definitely considered premium today. Patent leather and synthetic leather that feels like leather/nubuck. No issues here but no awards given by me for materials.

Support and stability

So asymmetrical it looks like a haircut from the 90’s

A lowish Mid that has a higher medial side to help with ankle support m. Air Jordan XIV anyone? I really love this concept because it works without compromising ankle mobility.

Even though there is no a super tiny outrigger I had no issues underfoot since the outsole is very wide and flat.

No issues overall here

Containment

No issues thanks to stiff patent leather, a little strap etc..

Conclusion

This was the first b-ball shoe for UA and they did a great job. Maybe UA should revisit the mold or rehire the designer. If traction was better like the UA Juke, then these would be probably be considered into getting some PT but of course with sig shoes you gotta make them unique. Man the Juke traction is/was fantastic..

The rest of the shoe works pretty well and I have zero complaints. It’s one of the shoes I like but don’t love but could have loved if a few improvements were made.

Oh and by the way Bucks in 6 over my dude Kawhi and company. Unless the Klaw gets some help, I just don’t see them getting to the finals over a more talented and deeper team.

Reebok Nano 9 Performance Review

October 10, 2019 by tinmy2014  

Crossfit has come a long way in the last few years, and the Reebok Nano has been here every step, jump, and WOD of the way. The Nano 9 is billed as the best yet, but is it? Only one way to find out…

Reebok is still using the split-finger outsole we have seen in just about every other Nano model (at least he ones I am familiar with) and it works. Not to the extreme of the Vibram Five Fingers but using the same concept, the Nano 9 outsole is split in the forefoot enough to allow for each toe and toe area to grip the floor almost independently. Called METASPLIT, the outsole also allows for lateral flex, meaning the shoe rolls sideways as well as forward, so on lateral movements or climbs the outsole stay in contact with the surface. The heel area in this colorway is a translucent, which is normally bad, but it is Reebok, which is good. For some reason, Reebok historically has had great translucent rubber and the Nano 9 is no different – thick, solid, and wears extremely well under stress. The diamond pattern worked well on squats and lunges as well as box jumps, short runs (more on that next), and even some court work – not basketball shoes, but some drills one of the new trainers at 24 Hour Fitness showed me (he plays on our league basketball team – I don’t need a trainer).

Here is the main change and the one that may really get on Reebok Nano/Crossfit traditionalists nerves. The Nano 9 has added cushioning to an already solid platform, which would seem like the opposite of what most Crossfit/workout shoes aim for. Never fear – Reebok knows what they are doing. While I might have wished for some Floatride (that stuff is AWESOME!!!), Reebok stayed with some normal EVA and it is just enough to make short runs fun but doesn’t set the heel-to-toe offset completely crazy. To be completly honest, I am NOT a Crossfitter – I do some of the same exercises and lifts but I don’t compete and haven’t converted to “the lifestyle”. However, I do lift three days a week, short HIIT runs on those days, and warm up for basketball days with box jumps, lunges, and rope drills. The Nano 9 had no “energy return” as claimed by other cushioning systems, but it did absorb every landing and running 2-4 miles on treadmills or hitting stairsteppers was no problem.

I freaking LOVE the Flexweave uppers Reebok has used over the past couple of years. The Nano 8, JJ WattII, the Fusion Flexweave runner – all of those uppers were flexible, lightweight, breathable, and durable. The Nano 9 upper takes things a bit further with the Flexweave Stretch. The concept is the same – nylon threads woven to give lateral support while still being flexible in the toebox, but the new weave allows for some stretch (well, it is right there in the name), just enough to keep from restricting movement but still keeps your foot on the footbed during movements. The one thing the Flexweave Stretch has over the older materials is it is softer to the touch – not much of a performance feature but it does feel better on the foot.

The Nano 9 does have some areas of fuse over the weave, mainly around the laceholes, but the beloved Vector logo comes back for the first time in years and it is fused over the weave as well. The toe rand also has some light fuse around the edges for toedrag and ropeclimbing durability but it isn’t thick enough to stiffen the shoe. The tongue is well padded but not bulky and is part of an inner bootie system that feels great on the inside, with no hotspots to rub blisters or chafe.

The Nano 9 is a curious fit. Length-wise, I normally have to go down a half size in Reebok performance to a 10, but the Nano fit around a 10.25. I don’t think I could have went down, but true to size gave me just a little more length than I normally like. The forefoot is also roomy, with some deadspace around the outside of the footbed and a little over the toes, so when laced tight there was a slight bunching at he end of the lacing system. This could be because of the Flexweave Stretch not being completely solid, and it wasn’t enough to completely compromise stability, but the fit was not one-to-one if that is what you are looking for.

The midfoot fit is solid, mostly due to the laces but also because the inner sleeve takes up any of the extra room in that area. The sleeve isn’t a true one-piece upper system but the tongue is attached to the sleeve about halfway down. The heel fit is absolutely locked in with an extension of the sleeve running around the heel and up to the top laceloop. The inner has sculpted padding that fits and molds around the heel and sits right under the ankle, taking away any extra movement.

One worry about cushioned shoes while lifting is the instability, especially in the heel – no one wants a soft foam midsole collapsing under a 400 pound squat bar or when coming down from a jump. If you want to know how to cause an ankle roll or knee injury, that is it. Luckily, the Nano 9 has a crazy support system in the heel, featuring raised sidewalls along the lateral and medial heel that runs all the way to the midfoot. It isn’t a hard rubber but is stiff enough to provide enough support for any lift you would do. The rubber sidewalls run down and around the cushioning, tying the sidewalls into the outsole, providing an even stronger support system on lateral movements.

The forefoot outsole/midsole combo is wider than the footbed, which gives the forefoot a solid base for planting and jumping as well as landings. There is no midfoot support shank but the stiffness of the rubber and the flat platform work well to keep your foot bending the right way.

Best Nano ever, but I have only tried 4 of them. The added cushioning is perfect for the athlete that may not be a true Crossfitter but the Nano 9 still has the best qualities of the previous models, which should make the diehard ‘Fitters happy. If you need a shoe for the weightroom, rope climbs, two-miler, and plyometrics, the Nano 9 is perfect out of the box. If you desire a true zero-drop, minimally padded shoe, like a Chuck Taylor, you will want to keep looking.

Reebok has been making some serious performance shoe sin the training and running line for at least the last 6 years. they just usually fly under the radar because of the Classics line (kind of like the new Air Jordan models). It’s a shame really – the Flexweave is a seriously awesome upper material and their Floatride cushioning is just as good as Boost but waaaaay lighter. The Nano 9 just continues in the performance vein and shows how advancement doesn’t have to mean scrapping the old – it sometimes means tweaking what works. Oh, and the Vector logo – please Reebok, don’t ever let it go away. Sincereley, everyone.

adidas Harden Vol 4 Performance Review

October 9, 2019 by tinmy2014  

adidas switched things up a little bit with the Harden Vol 4. Were the changes worth while? Find out in our performance review.

Herringbone was used on the Harden Vol 3, and most of us loved it. No frills. No gimmicks. No data driven patterns. Just traction that worked. With the Vol 4 adidas went back to the way things were, with a pattern that doesn’t look like it’ll play well, but surprised us once we took them for a spin.

Despite the pattern being flat and unimpressive looking, I rarely found myself having issues. If dust became a major concern a quick wipe and I was quickly back to playing without even thinking about traction.

When a pattern/rubber compound works as well as this you end up with a bit more confidence as you know the foundation of the shoe won’t fail you. That’s pretty much how I felt with the Harden Vol 4. I didn’t really have to worry. On really bad floors I just wiped every-so-often and I was on my way.

Traction on the Harden Vol. 4 is crazy. It’s great. It’s CR-R-REAT (no?)! On only one court did I ever have to wipe. Even so, each time I returned to that court the need to wipe was less frequent and all it took was a light stroke to get that Red Nose-hanging-off-a-tire-swing bite I was accustomed to on every other floor.

The rubber is super tacky, especially in the forefoot where the pattern becomes more compact and covers more ground. It may even be strong enough to handle outdoors fairly well, but all I know for sure is indoors, this is one of the better tractions I’ve experienced in the smaller selection of shoes I’ve played in this year. Again, CREAT.

Boost is missing from the Harden line for the very first time, and I will admit I did miss it a bit.

I felt the Harden Vol 3 had the best implementation of Boost as it sat low to the ground while still providing a bit of impact protection. When I heard Lightstrike was replacing the Boost cushion I was excited. I loved Lightstrike in the N3XT L3V3l, but here I felt it was a bit too soft.

Stability was never compromised as you sit just as low to the ground as you would in the Vol 3, but the Lightstrike on the N3XT L3V3L was a little thicker and had a bit more density to it. It gave off a lighter feeling Bounce whereas the Lightstrike in the Harden Vol 4 just feels… soft. It wound up causing some leg pains as I’ve been ramping up my days on-court since the calf tear. I don’t have these same pains when I play in my Air Jordan 34, LeBron 17 or ANTA KT5, so it has left me with the conclusion that this implementation of Lightstrike just isn’t for me.

I was nervous about Lightstrike after my experience in the adidas Streetball, but after some testing overlap in the Harden Vol. 4, I’m now all in with the foam – when implemented correctly.

Maybe its because I’ve played some models by adidas that used Bounce to take court feel to a whole new level, but the Lightstrike in the Harden Vol. 4 felt leaps and bounds better than most foams I’ve experienced, despite having an extremely thin layout itself. I’m not sure what was different, but I even felt well protected against impact in the 4 while recovering from outdoor play in the Streetball – a pair that did nothing for my triple-decade knees.

If you like Bounce, this feels like an even lighter version of it while still carrying some properties of Boost. Even better – and maybe it’s just me – the cushion feels better underfoot the longer I wear. I’m talking feel good at the beginning of a session, feel great by the end of a session, then start all over the next time. Big fan of this, I am.

There looks to be two different styles of build with the Harden Vol 4. One features a lightweight mesh build with premium overlays. Meanwhile, the other features a Primeknit build with synthetic TPU overlays.

The pair I’ve been wearing uses the Primeknit build and they still look brand-new despite wearing them for the past few weeks on-court. Break-in time with most of the upper is quick and painless, but there is this section where the elastic band sits atop the midfoot that still hasn’t quite broken-in and I’m not sure if it ever will.

This elastic band is on both versions of the shoe, so keep that in mind. If you wanted something that was a bit more breathable then I’d recommend going with the mesh build with premium overlays. However, both versions will perform the same.

No nice, raw materials in this colorway. I guess there’s nothing to complain about when a pair slips through the cracks early, and honestly the Primeknit upper and synthetic overlays of the colorway tested worked extremely well for me personally.

The fuse is thin, flexible and does its job to protect the knit from high wear while the upper wraps and flexes nicely with the foot. The synthetic leather panels and heavily stitched areas that reinforce the lacing system have no negative impact on comfort. The elastic midfoot band, while tight at first, did eventually break in to a comfortable level while barely needing laces for lockdown in the area.

I’m still interested in testing the mesh and suede builds arriving, and I believe there may even be some full leather builds down the line but for now, I’m happy with performance of this Harden’s materials.

I went true to size, and have for all of the Harden models I’ve worn. The only one where I felt they fit a bit big were the Harden Vol 1.

Going TTS worked out perfectly for me and I have no real complaints about the fit other than the elastic band area. The first time I wore them I had to take them off due to foot cramps. Since that initial run it’s gotten better, but they still feel as if they’re brand-new each time I lace them up.

Lockdown I felt was very good. Much like the previous versions of the Harden Signature line. If you have a wide foot and wind up going up half a size then you may encounter some heel lockdown issues, but if the shoe fits you the way they should then you shouldn’t have any problems. There is even the external cage with alternate lacing holes just in case you need to experiment a bit to achieve the lockdown you prefer.

True to size was perfectly fine for me, but I can’t speak for wide-footers. Maybe there is some hope since I have a higher instep which didn’t take so well to the suffocating midfoot band initially but eventually found a sweet spot of comfort. I just say prepare to ask for two sizes if you get the chance to try on, because that band is seriously snug.

Midfoot lockdown is exceptionally good of course, but if I were to nitpick I’d prefer the first set of lace-loops start a little bit further towards the forefoot. Luckily movement up front was not an issue, so that is just a preference. Near flawless otherwise.

Other than the traction, the support is the one aspect of the shoe where I feel they’ve really found their groove.

From the low profile tooling, to the FYW (Feet You Wear) styled setup and the way they blend it all together. The entire shoe works in synergy with itself in all aspects. The midsole really cradles the foot, the lacing keeps you locked-in at all times. Standard features like the heel counter and torsional plate all work well.

I know low tops get a bad wrap in terms of support, which is unfortunate as some of the more supportive basketball shoes every made have been lows.

All the little things make the Harden Vol. 4 good for support. You sit low to the ground over a wide base with portions caging you in and acting as outriggers. The customizable lacing panels and elastic also help keep the foot in place always while a strong plastic counter and sculpting keeps the heel in place as well. adidas has been killing it with support for most of its signatures and team shoes, and these are no exception.

I love everything about the Harden Vol 4 except for two things. First, the cushion didn’t work well for me this time around. Second, that elastic band has really been a pain in my ass… or foot. Strangely enough as I love a nice snug/secure fit, but this thing felt like it was strangling my feet half the time.

However, despite my personal issues with those two areas, everything else really worked well. Lockdown and stability are two major wins while the traction was a huge plus. If you’ve enjoyed the last three Harden models then you’ll likely like the air force 1 as well. Wide footers may want to try them on first because the elastic band, but otherwise these will suit the needs of those looking for something lightweight, supportive and comfortable.

The Harden Vol. 4 is fast, controlled, and has been a personal joy to play in. I do think it may be a hit or miss for some, but from my personal experience it has been a top performer.

I typically prefer more of a cushioned feel over court feel, but I feel the Harden Vol. 4 gives enough of the former and even more of the latter, and that’s something I would love to see in a lot more shoes going forward. The Beard’s step-back is going to be serious in the Harden Vol. 4, but hopefully if you try then you won’t feel any steps back in the signature line. I didn’t.

Nike Zoom Lebron V Performance Review

October 8, 2019 by tinmy2014  

Love him or hate him, it is more than safe to say that Lebron James is in the conversation for GOAT. I mean the guy averaged a triple double in the finals against the Warriors and we barely batted an eye. When phenomenal numbers becomes pedestrian, you need to appreciate it before it’s gone,  that’s all I’m saying.
One the other hand or foot,  his signature line has been more about showcasing Nike technology than creating an aesthetically pleasing shoe. Some of the shoes performed well on court but for the most part Lebron sneaker reception has been luke warm aside from the consumers buying the Lebron name. Despite rarely being in the mix for favorite or most memorable Lebron sneaker, the Lebron V performs very well on the court even if it’s weight was Cleveland Shaq-like.

Pros: traction, cushioning, fit, support and stability, containment

Cons: starts a little clunky but breaks in, more support than some may want, heavy

Best For: bigger players

Weight 19 ounces in a size 11. Pretty much 5-6 ounces heavier than today’s average shoe.

Traction

As I’ve I’ve said in past reviews, traction has never seemed to be a strength of the Lebron line but the V is an exception to the rule even if it’s not perfect. I’ll call this a sun ray pattern and it works well on clean and lightly dusty floors but still needs wiping on dusty floors. The rubber compound is soft and pliable while the blades are abundant. Overall though the pattern works well and is definitely one of the best of the  Lebron signature line.

Cushioning
Legit Zoom! That’s all I want Nike. It isn’t super soft like the KD 12 or Lebron X but it’s the feeling I associate with Zoom. I’ve read it’s full length Zoom and double stacked in the heel but it doesn’t feel like the double stacked Zoom to me. (Thanks to reader Danimal  for the correction). Doesn’t look like it either based on this video

Lebrons have always used a lot of cushioning. Have you ever seen what the Zoom looked like on the Lebron II? Amazing. That’s like two and half pairs of today’s shoes worth of Zoom.

Thanks to my buddy Ben for the pic, I’ll fix them next time I see you.

Fit

True to size although the V looks big on foot due to the endoskeleton design. I have my normal finger width at the toe box and as a wide footer, these fit great because Nike didn’t stray from what works.

Lacing up the LBJ V reminds me a lot of how the HD 2016 just wraps up the foot and pulls the ankle back. In addition the strap adds some additional lockdown thanks to its placement right across the ankle.

There is also plenty of padding in the heel to help with comfort and lockdown. Once laced and strapped, the V just doesn’t let go. Note to shoe companies, get the basics down first before venturing into new and “better”.

Materials

Check out the quadruple stitching. Ah, when Nike really gave a sh*t about quality or at least the appearance of quality

PETA would highly disapprove of the suede and leather on the nike lebron 17. My sweat glands also disapproved due to being overworked.
There is nowhere for heat to go except the tongue. I highly do not recommend wearing these outdoors in the hot sun unless you want your feet to melt off. If you want a luxurious feel, you use leather simple as that. If you disagree, let me know when mesh is an upgrade on a car. Ahhh the sweet smell of mesh.

Support and Stability

Just plain fantastic, maybe even over done by a hair. The V feels a little clunky to start but once you get used to the feel, you can ball out without fear. The key design feature of the Lebron V is the Phyposite Skelton.

Rather than submerge the entire shoe in a Posite variant, Nike just made a skeleton to add strength and structure to the Lebron V.  You can literally see it from heel to toe.

Below: more Posite on the medial side that you can see connects to the lateral side. The foot just slides into the V and deep into the endoskeleton and really keeps the foot from moving around excessively. Some players will want more freedom and flexibility but for safety purposes the V is great. No issues at all with stability either due to a flat outsole.

In addition to the skeleton, Nike added a carbon fiber shank for midfoot support.

I can safely say the Lebron V is the antithesis to the Mamba Instinct in terms of support. Don’t buy a Prius to do the job of Ford F-150. As I work my way back, I plan on using these and the Curry 2 because I know I can trust them.

Containment 
The Lebron signature line rarely disappoints here and the V is no different. There isn’t a need for any external raises midsole since the skelton keeps the foot in place on hard cuts. Lovely just lovely.

Conclusion 

I watch a lot of hoops and Lebron has done a lot of great things over the past fourteen years but I can’t remember a signature moment when he was wearing the V. I’m sure he did something monumental but the shoe itself gets lost in the shuffle of his sneaker hierarchy. What I do remember is these sitting on the Finishline clearance rack and still passing on them for $69 bucks. Even today these don’t go for much more than $125 on eBay deadstock.

Overall, I don’t feel the V gets the respect it deserves. I put the V at number two behind the II in terms of overall performance. Certain Lebrons do some things better but none really do everything well like the II and V. If you feel nostalgic or want a good performer that I guarantee that nobody else will wearing, scour eBay and get the Lebron V.

adidas Streetball Performance Review

October 3, 2019 by tinmy2014  

A modern take on the adidas Streetball 2, the 2019 edition looks to blur lines between lifestyle and performance, but does it truly live up to its name? Jalique is here to provide a performance review after primarily testing outdoors.

The outsole pattern of the new Streetball has rugged, almost boot-like vibes – and in terms of durability it’s a go. For actual performance, however, there was a little left to be desired in terms of traction. Often, a light slip could be felt on shiftier movements, taking away milliseconds I would have loved to at least feel I had by placebo to gain separation. On defense, I was a little more secure, probably because that’s more familiar territory for me as far as footwork – I’m certainly no Kyrie with the ball in my hands.

I’ve gotten some questions about indoor performance through our WearTesters Discord Community, so I did take the Streetball inside for practice and one indoor game. Traction didn’t feel any better inside unfortunately, it was about the same experience. My conclusion is that there is just not enough coverage throughout the shoe to give more stopping power. I think adding more herringbone where the super-thick and wide spaced chevron pattern may have added some stopping power. Not the worst, but certainly not the best, even for outdoors.

One of the main features that drew me towards the Streetball was the cushion after positive reviews of Lightstrike on the adidas N3XT L3V3L. I regret to say on the adidas Streetball I didn’t have the best first impression of it, and I now know it just isn’t the best implementation of the foam on this sneaker. While testing my pair, I was fortunate enough to acquire both the N3XT L3V3L at a steal and the Harden Vol. 4 early. Man, do I have a much better opinion of those two sneakers and their cushion.

The adidas Streetball midsole just feels dead in the forefoot, if I’m being honest. Don’t let the chunky aesthetic fool you, there is a ton of court feel up front and a lot of flex which makes for good transition, but it also feels dead as if no real protection is there. The heel feels a lot better, with a little bit of bounce back after some break in, it’s just too bad that wasn’t of much use to me while playing.

Court feel is cool and all, but when other sneakers can provide that and cushion underfoot with the same foam, and the outdoor shoe doesn’t its just difficult for me to enjoy – also, my knees haven’t felt great from the moment I finished testing the Streetball 2019 outside.

This is where things get good for the Streetball – in most colorways. In the upper you get a little bit of everything, some of which varies between colorways but doesn’t affect performance. The main highlights are the raw materials, which this shoe gets right on the money. Tumbled leather and buttery suede hits — what’s not to like about that? If you are a fan of the adidas Continental 80 and its leather, then you should be happy with this build – its soft, molds well (so long as you find the right fit), can take a little beating, and is still supportive despite being a thin cut. I dig it — a lot.

Even though the neoprene is an actual tongue connected to the footbed by elastic bands, it gives off even more of a 90’s vibe like sneakers of the time with internal sleeves. For all the materials that some will not find any excitement in, they are applied in moderation and/or strategically placed, such as the rubber piece sitting on the suede overlay near the pinky toe. A good mix of fashion and function, materials are good in the adidas Streetball, just stay away from the Flash Orange colorway – the quality of those just doesn’t compare to the rest.

Two colorways have been available for some time through adidas online, but I thought it was best to wait until now when more colorways have gotten a wider release and hopefully on shelves for everyone to try on first. As a slightly narrow footer, ideally I could have gone a half size down as the shoe ran a little wide and long, but I know of some others that feel perfectly fine going true to size.

Lockdown could’ve been better, but wasn’t terrible. More lace holders could have improved it, but at the same time it was nice to do a quick yank to tighten up all the way through the lacing system. However, the round laces were a little annoying as they come undone easily, even when double knotting.

Overall, fit is a little too much of a guessing game when ordering online. True to size in the shoe may work well for a broader spectrum of folks, but I strongly encourage everyone to judge for themselves in store, if possible. For me personally, a half size down would have given a little more security, not that I was at much risk in my true size.

You don’t get all of the standard support features in the adidas Harden vol 4, but for what you do get, it is adequate. Under foot, I can’t feel any torsional plate or bar under foot, but the midsole damn sure doesn’t budge when you try to bend it, so there shouldn’t be issues in that area. Speaking of the midsole, it does cup the foot just slightly most of the way around and the outsole uses exaggerated pieces at each side of the heel to stabilize it along with the rubber/suede overlays in the forefoot, which also laterally contain you a bit.

I don’t feel a real heel cup either, but was saved from any side movement at the heel somehow. Normal heel slip did occur, but few and far in between. While it wasn’t enough to concern me, some may not feel comfortable with that at all, so you’ve been warned. Otherwise, I felt perfectly fine moving around with the few support features given, despite not having the best fit and traction.

When asked before, I’ve said I think the adidas Streetball meets minimum requirements to hoop in. After owning for over a month I somewhat stand by that, I would just revise by saying the shoe has just enough performance aspects to hoop in. Despite its confusing nature as an adidas Original branded model, the company has openly showcased the sneaker as one you should not be afraid to play in. I didn’t mind playing in it, buy I do find it to be more lifestyle-driven than performance-oriented.

Don’t get me wrong, if you find the right fit, don’t mind minimal cushion over asphalt, and like the looks of the adidas Streetball, then this could be an option. For me, I just expected a little more for outdoors – as did my aging legs.

I wouldn’t call this a go-to outdoor option but I will say if I am wearing the Streetball — which has grown on me casually with that chunky Yeezy look — and I get put on the spot to play a game or two outside, I don’t feel like I have much of an excuse shoe-wise to not try and get some buckets. If that doesn’t happen though, then I’m perfectly fine to continue rocking these at leisure — the adidas Streetball is still one of my favorite pickups this year.

Air Jordan XIV Performance Review

September 30, 2019 by tinmy2014  

Since the Oxy XIV retro just came out I thought I’d finally write about my love for the XIV. These would still be in my top 5 if they were wearable but being 18 years old (yikes!!), I can’t trust them to hold up. Please note that this is a review of the original 1998 release not the crappy retros. I tried the 2006 retros out and could tell they weren’t the same so I gave up on them and stuck to collecting and playing in only the originals. I have not tried any of the newer retros. I’ve probably trashed about 10 pair. I do not recommend buying them to play in due to the risk of watching them fall apart. I’ve had to Shoe Goo my current pair a few times. Shoo goo is awesome if you’ve never tried it.

This is the shoe that made me realize all shoes are not made equal. I actually fell in love with the looks of the shoe because of how it performed on court and all the great memories I had playing in them. Just simple and clean. Of course everyone else’s memory is MJ’s last shot. Photo courtesy of Solecollector .

Pros: traction, perfect cushioning, fit, support and stability, containment

Cons: durabilityforefoot midsole “teeth”‘come apart after heavy wear, sole and upper at toe box separate over time, metal bar in tongue can be painful, tongue likes to slide off to the side, Ferrari shield needs break in on some pairs.

Sizing: true to size

Best for: guards

Weight:

I never weighed these before and it weighs a whopping half ounce more than the Crazylight 2016. It doesn’t matter how much a shoe weighs if it feels like an extension of your foot.

Traction: 

The late 90’s, early 2000’s were simpler times. Full length herringbone made out a soft pliable rubber that sticks to the floor like glue. Dirty floor ? No problem. If you like to hear squeaky traction, these are for you.

They could extend the herringbone up and around the forefoot like they do nowadays but not need really.

So simple yet effective. Just plain awesome.

Cushioning

Want to feel what Zoom is supposed to feel like and why it is so addictive ? Try the OG XIV. Low to the ground yet springy and responsive.

These actually have articulated forefoot Zoom like the Super Fly 4 and covers almost the full width of the forefoot. No tiny Met Bag like the Kobe V/VI. Picture courtesy of sneakerdebut.com

The heel features Zoom as well and back then, Zoom bags were big, not the quarter size things we see today. Notice the heel cut out? Very similar idea to the Kobe IV V VI “Y heel”.

Insoles these days are usually just a piece of Ortholite or thin cheap foam but these XIV (2006 retros included) feature these heel and forefoot inserts that feel almost like Adiprene. This gives the wearer a little more cushioning and step in comfort.

The end result is cushioning perfection. Responsive yet protective. If cushioning is a drug, this is the crack that got me hooked on Zoom.
Fit:

Back then, I wore a 10.5 but my feet have flattened out and lengthened in the past eighteen years so now I need an 11. However I can still wear the 10.5 but don’t have the toe box space I like.

I know I sound like a broken record but back in the 90’s, Jordans were really wear tested a lot so the fit on the XIV is like a glove. No straps or gimmicks, just an effective lacing system that kept your foot in.

There is zero heel slip with a 3/4 mid cut
The memory foam in the ankle collar is the perfect amount.

Just feels like true extension of the foot. Man I miss these.  Maybe I’ll get the newer retros.
Support and stability 

The AJ XIV features an assymetrical collar which allows freedom on movement on cuts but support on ankle ankle inversions. The higher medial side “slows the roll” if you turn your ankle.

Tons of real carbon fiber.. So sexy

Of course the base of the shoe is flat and stable with no tippiness.

Once again, simple yet effective use of design and technology.

Containment 

Upon examining the XIV, Jordan Brand was way ahead of its time and is still designed better than a lot of shoes today that feature mesh or knit uppers **cough, melo m12, JC2, JC3, AJ XX9, Soldier X**

Almost the entire shoe features an extended midsole to keep the foot in place on cuts. Some of the extension was removed to allow more flexibility .

I have probably reglued the forefoot “teeth” about five times on this pair.

Regardless of durability, containment is excellent.

Flaws:

No actual performance flaws with the XIV but some irritants.

  1. Metal bar across the top of the tongue can jam into your ankle and be painful. Only certain pairs of mine did this.
  2. Tongue doesn’t sit straight up on some pairs and usually slides to a side
  3. The Ferrari Jordan shield is another hard spot but softens with time.
  4. Toe box and sole can separate but that’s due to the age of the shoe and use of leather. Shoe goo to the rescue!

Conclusion 

In shoe collectors’ eyes, the Air Jordan XIV is not a holy grail. Sure MJ hit one of his most famous shots in them but he only wore the Last Shots in the playoffs. Sales were lackluster since MJ retired and never wore these on court the next season. However, from a performance perspective, these were and still are the BEST PERFORMING AIR JORDAN OF ALL TIME. the AJ XI, XII, and XIII a get a lot of love and rightfully so but the XIV is just flawless from top to bottom (don’t get me started on anything post XIV because they all have their flaws especially XV to XVIII).  These would still be in my top 5 rotation if they would hold up. Maybe I’ll try a newer retro pair for fun..

Jordan Superfly 3 PO Performance Review

September 25, 2019 by tinmy2014  

I’ll be honest, I thought BG was way overrated when he started getting all this hype, especially for dunking over a car. However, as the years have gone by, I’ve been impressed by his improvement year over year. His jumper looks remarkably better and his domination in the Clippers Rockets series really gained my respect (until he disappeared but that’s another story).

His shoes have underwhelmed me for the most part and after reading Bryan Hinkle’s (duke) review on sneaker debut, I was intrigued. Since the Clippers made history the wrong way, the Sf3 PO is already on sale for $99 on Finishline so I picked up a pair. They will drop some more in price and will hit outlets as all BG shoes do but I had to check these out bc they sounded right up my alley.

Traction

I don’t mind translucent outsoles bc their stickiness tend to work in their favor of the court isn’t overly dusty (although I do hate the yellowing).

This traction pattern is almost identical to the XX9 and it works great. I hardly wiped at all with these despite playing on dusty floors.  Just as good as the air jordan 34 IMO if not better.

Cushioning

Same set up as the XX9 on paper but these feel more muted at the forefoot and more cushioned/thicker all the way around.  I could feel the unlocked Zoom but it doesn’t have that same sensation as the XX8 just like the XX9. Like I said in my XX9 review, the unlocked Zoom in more recessed than in the XX8 so I believe that’s why you can’t feel it quite as much (foam and Zoom is contacting floor more closely together now whereas the XX8 the Zoom hit the floor much earlier (thus popping too).

The rest of the cushioning is cored out foam and it feels remarkably good for foam. It has a nice bounce to it to and feels better than a lot of crappy Zoom set ups. Don’t know how long that feeling will last though in the long term.

Overall I found the cushioning set up great, especially for the price although I still miss Zoom in the heel since I’m a heavy heel striker. If Nike plans to do Zoom only in the forefoot setups I hope they make all foams feel like the SF3. It felt thicker and a bit higher off the ground in the ground than the XX9 but only by a millimeter or two.

Fit

I went true to size with my normal sz 11 and these fit me perfectly. The upper is made of a mesh upper that has some structure  and strength to it due to glue and these little hexagon structures. The design really adds strength to the upper while keeping weight down and keeping flexibility.

I felt a little popping upon trying them on but it went away within ten minutes. The upper doesn’t conform to the foot like a sock like the XX9 but it is still wraps the foot nicely since it is flexible.  To compare it to the XX9 or BB JC2 upper is unfair so I’d say a better comparison would be a beefier Kobe 8 upper. Hard to find a direct comparison since it is unique to this shoe. FWIW I did not try the Non PO version but when I checked them out at the store, the old upper felt like the Kobe VII which I didn’t mind but didn’t love either.

Below: a shot of the forefoot and the fuse overlay

Okay enough about the upper. The ankle collar is plush compared to today’s lightweight shoes and really locked my heel in place due to the extra padding and the dog bone padding. All shoes IMO should use the dog bone.

Overall the fit was nearly perfect with a tiny bit of dead space over my forefoot.

Support and Stability

One of my main gripes of the XX9, aside from the price, was the lack of the support with a minimal upper like Flightweave.  I could push my foot out and feel it push out since the upper was so thin. Since the SF3 was created more or less for Blake Griffin, Jordan Brand addressed these issues by

  • beefing up the upper with a thicker material
  • Thickening the ankle collar padding
  • Stiffer external heel counter
  • Reshaping the heel, making it flatter

Thankfully all the changes really helped. Since I already covered the first two in the fit section, I’ll just go over the last two.

The stiffer external heel counter gives the ankle and foot something firm to lean ln when it is turned or leaning one way or another. Think of it like leaning on a concrete (well not that hard) pillar versus a pillar made of pillows. If you don’t have a supportive structure to lean on you’ll just fall over but if it is stiff enough that fall can keep you from falling or at least slow you down.

The clear blue portion reminds me a lot of the fit frame on the Rose 5 since they basically run alongside the entire foot.

Below: the line segments the fit frame from the midsole and rides alongside the entire shoe/foot

It doesn’t run under the foot like sprint frame but it runs around the foot to help keep the foot in place like a safety rail. Love this small change.

The change to a flattened heel area and me traditional sole (not decoupled) really makes the shoe a lot more stable on transition and at the heel vs the XX9 single tendril

These passed my heel test with flying colors and never felt like I’d turn my ankles in these.

Containment 

Another weak point of the XX9 was its containment on hard cuts and change of direction. Since Flightweave is a woven upper, the only containment was its plastic foot stay at the forefoot.  I think JB tried to address this on the SF3 and it improved overall but could it could be better in the forefoot.  (the rest of the shoe was good though). I could feel my foot slide between the insole and upper on hard cuts. Most people won’t even notice the feeling but since I’ve play in shoes that don’t give it all in the forefoot, I know the SF3 can do better.

Fuse and a foot stay is used to keep the forefoot in place on cuts ( the white part isn’t another layer on top of the silver layer, just a different color) . If the foot stay was higher and or stiffer containment would be perfect.

Conclusion

So close to being perfectly perfect  for me. Great fit, traction, cushioning, excellent support and stability at a great price. If containment was a little better this would be my goto but making my top ten is an accomplishment all in itself lol. Since I’m not a big upper materials guy, the lebron 17 easily outperforms the XX9 in every aspect and for a retail price point of $140 vs $225 it’s no contest.  Id recommend these for guys like me who need the extra support and containment while not feeling restricted. I could see this shoe replacing my Soldier VI if the containment was better and that says a lot.

September 22, 2019 by tinmy2014  

The Nike Zoom Fly 3 is one of two Nike running shoes in 2019 to feature a carbon fiber plate. The Zoom Fly 3 is the more budget friendly of those two shoes. The other shoe is the world’s consensus number one racing shoe, the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% ($250). Nike has been the driving force behind returning carbon fiber plates to popularity. Other brands have caught on and are releasing their own really good carbon fiber plate shoes (for example, the Hoka Carbon X). At $160, the Nike Zoom Fly 3 is among the least expensive running shoes to feature a carbon fiber plate so we had to try them out.

The WearTesters team (Eric Delgado and Drew Whitcomb) tested the Nike Zoom Fly 3 for over 140 miles across a wide variety of surfaces in speed workouts, treadmill training, long runs, casual wear, and more.

Eric: I was skeptical of the cushioning when I first tried on the Zoom Fly 3. The React cushioning on these is not as soft as the React found in other Nike running models (like the Epic React), it’s bouncier and denser. The bounce is a good thing, but I thought the density would make my knees hurt after long runs. Surprisingly, that didn’t happen. After a few miles, the cushioning really softens up and the carbon fiber plate, coupled with the bounce of the React foam, continue to propel you forward effortlessly. I was running times I usually run with less effort than normal. I ran my personal 5k record the very first time I wore them. I thought I was traveling at my usual pace until I looked down at my watch and saw that I was about 30 seconds faster. My knees and back always felt great after runs in Zoom Fly 3.

Drew:  I agree with Eric that the Zoom Fly 3 feels heavy in hand but not on foot. Once you start running the amazing bounce it provides, due to the pairing of React and the carbon fiber plate, make it feel like the shoe is really pushing and helping you with every step. It’s a really nice, plush ride. A side benefit of the midsole being so heavy is that the cushion doesn’t bottom out. Ever. To test the endurance of the cushioning set up, I wore them for an entire week. 40 total miles spread over 5 straight days of running workouts, a rest day, and an 11.5 mile long run. The cushion took the punishment. There was a noticeable loss of bounce by the end of the week but the shoes were still performing at a high level. That’s unheard of among mainstream running shoes. This is one of the better cushioning setups on the market.

Eric: Nike used a hard rubber for most of the forefoot area as well as two spots on each side of the heel. The rest of outsole is exposed React. The traction on these wasn’t impressive but it got the job done. I felt like I would more easily slide on smooth surfaces compared to typical running shoes. But this is a hybrid racing shoe, so traction isn’t as important when you’re expecting to run on dry concrete and asphalt. I experienced zero issues when running on normal race friendly surfaces.

Drew: The first time I wore the Nike Zoom Fly 3 I ended up running in a driving rainstorm. Within minutes my clothes, my shoes, and the roads were soaked. That storm gave me the chance to try brand new traction in the slipperiest possible conditions. And I didn’t have any issues. No slipping or sliding at all. Even though the outsole doesn’t look like much, it operates like a car tire channeling the water away and letting you get a good grip.

After about 80 miles in them, the traction was showing heavy wear. I doubt I’ll get the desired 300 miles out of the Zoom Fly 3, 200-250 miles seems like a more realistic target. That’s not unexpected with a shoe that proclaims itself race-day ready, but it’s also marketed as an everyday shoe. It would be nice to get more miles from the outsole.

Eric: Not much to write about here, this is a neutral shoe with a very narrow last and midsole. It was a problem for me and my wide feet. I felt like a bit of my midfoot was hanging over the edge of the midsole. I was able to help the situation with an arch support insole (this one’s my favorite). Because of the instability, I completely avoided running on trails or uneven surfaces when wearing the Zoom Fly 3. I did notice that the faster I went, the less I noticed the instability. I’m not an overpronator nor do I heel strike, but I like shoes with a bit of support (as you can see in my review of the Hoka Arahi 3). If you have a narrow foot and prefer forefoot striking when you run, then the lack of stability won’t be a problem.

Drew: As long as you don’t spill over the footbed, the Nike Zoom Fly 3 will support you on roads, sidewalks, and tracks. I tested these on uneven ground and rocks to get a feel for how they’d respond. The React midsole absorbs the rocks well but there’s not enough side to side protection to avoid ankle sprains on real trails. The midsole does flare out in a sort of outrigger-like way at the forefoot but doesn’t do much due to the pliability of the React cushioning. Save these for your road and track runs.

Eric: The materials on the Zoom Fly 3 are fantastic. I thought it was a bit too heavy to be on par with other serious racing shoes. Nike’s other carbon plate option, the Nike lebron 17 is about 2.3 ounces lighter. That’s a huge difference in a running shoe, especially when you compound that over a 6, 13, or 26 mile race. The weight discrepancy is mainly caused by the React cushioning. React cushioning is a lot heavier than ZoomX (but also a lot cheaper). The rest of the shoe is fantastic, the inner booty on the shoe is amazingly comfortable and more breathable than I thought it would be. The Vaporweave shroud on top of the booty is great for running in wet conditions and dries quick.

Drew: The Vaporweave upper is super light. I don’t know how they make Vaporweave but Nike has another winning material. It looks like ripstop or plastic in pictures but in reality it’s a stretchy plastic-y material. It reminds me of the type of material used to laminate paper. Hopefully Nike tells us more about it in the future because I can see them using it a lot more in upcoming running models.

The materials do have some issues. The half neoprene/half mesh bootie gets really smelly. The neoprene portion around the collar and down what would be the tongue absorbs massive amounts of sweat and is the last part of the shoe to dry. I like how it hugs the foot, but now that my shoes are too disgusting to be used casually I wish they’d used a different material. Even touching them for this review is…not the best experience. I’m going to have to wash my hands (and keyboard) after I’m done.

The laces, while better than those on the Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo 2, come undone when soaked. I had them untie on me on 3 separate long runs (I even double knotted them!). Instagram has taught me some people solve this with elastic speedlaces but a shoe of this caliber should have better laces out of the box.

Eric: These fit long and narrow. If you have a narrow foot, I would recommend going a half size down on these. I took my usual size 13 but felt like I had a bit too much room in the toe box after my first run. Besides the length of the shoe, the fit on these felt fantastic. The inner booty forms great around your foot and I didn’t experience any pressure points when I was running.

Drew: I’ve got a narrow foot and can safely say these are one of the more narrow runners I’ve tried. The heel is really narrow. If your foot doesn’t taper to a smaller heel these shoes will most likely not be for you.

My big toe had more room than usual and I may have been able to go down half a size but I decided doing so might crush my small toes. The lateral side of the shoe curves sharply and I was worried I’d lose some toenails if I went smaller. Trying them on will help if you’re worried about extra room.

The achilles pillows are a nice touch though I wish they had put a little more padding over the seams at the rear collar. They didn’t cause any hotspots for me but I’ve seen seams like that do so. Finally, the neoprene bootie collar isn’t easy to slip on and could use tabs on tongue or heel to help get them on easier.

Eric: I was very skeptical of carbon fiber plates and thought it would be more of a gimmick, but man was I wrong. The stiffness of the plate really springs you forward when you press off your stride and I was running the same times as usual with less effort compared to other shoes. It really helped in the later miles of my workouts when I got a bit tired. It’s one of those shoes that makes you want to run 1-2 more miles than you intended. The instability was an issue for me and I also wasn’t happy with how heavy they were compared to other carbon plate options, but at $50-$100 less than most pairs it’s a good trade off. The materials were top notch and if I needed to run my fastest 5k these are the shoes I would grab out of my closet.

Drew: The Air More Uptempo Denim has flaws but overall I think it’s worth the money. Most long distance runners will feel an extra bounce in their stride, enjoy the high end cushioning and construction, and be able to utilize these for speed work, long runs, and races. It’s a versatile shoe that makes running a little more fun.