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The Illuminati has its ways, just like the way Kyrie controls the ball like a yo-yo. With Zoom Turbo making a return, will the Kyrie 6 make its predecessors proud? Let’s find out.

Traction on the Kyrie 5 was good, however the traction on the Kyrie 6 is a major upgrade. Once you get past the coating material on the shoe, the shoe just clamps down. Multi-directional traction has this shoe ready for battle from the get-go. The rubber is soft (outdoor players be aware), however, the shoe grips well. The best thing about this shoe is that no matter how you plant your feet, you’re definitely covered.

Same setup as its predecessor. The Nike Zoom Turbo is used in the forefoot and it feels amazing. It’s even better because the shoe feels lower to the ground without sacrificing any stability. The added plus is the injected phylon used for the midsole itself and it feels responsive from the start. Smooth transitions, low ride, and responsive feedback are a great combination that create a nice ride.

The Kyrie 6 uses some textiles along with some genuine leather along the midfoot to give it a nice old school feel. The interior of the shoe is heavily padded, which is taken from skate shoes, to give you extra comfort. The shoe is finished off with the Zoom Turbo forefoot cushion along with injected Phylon and a soft rubber outsole for solid traction. The material usage overall is solid and the midfoot strap and extra leather along the midsole give it a 90s old school basketball vibe. A great combo.

Here’s where the minor struggle comes in. On the previous Kyrie 4 and Kyrie 5, I had to go up half a size, and unfortunately, for the Kyrie 6, it wasn’t available in the 1/2 size up of a 13.5. I had to use the 13. I will say if you wore cushioned socks, be prepared to scream in pain. I wore thin socks initially to break-in the shoe, which helped a tad bit, especially in the “less painful agony” part. After the shoe broke in, it hurt less. And while the shoe still felt tight, it was bearable to the point of being able to play aggressively and not feel worrisome.

Solid as long as you get your proper size. 360 degree traction, soft midsole, proper lockdown, an extra padded interior, and your foot sits directly on the footbed without any slippage.

If you liked balling in the Kyrie 4 or 5, then you’ll absolutely love the Kyrie 6. It’s not a big change between the models. However, it’s evolved into something much better. I wish I had a 13.5, but once broken in, the shoe was as fun as watching an aging Uncle Drew cross up the competition. I definitely suggest trying them on in-store before purchasing. Besides that, the evolution of the Kyrie line is here to stay and we’re quite impressed. Here’s to the next one.

Hey guys I just wanted to say that sometimes I have weird dreams. Sometimes I dreamThat he is meYou’ve got to see that’s how I dream to be. I dream I move, I dream I groove
Like Mike, if could be like Mike. Weird dream huh?

With the Concord XI coming out (again) I figured I might as well dust off my 2001 retros. They question is if you want to ball in $220 sneakers.

Pros: SEXY, traction when clean, cushioning, fit, stability, containment

Cons: traction gets iffy when rubber gets harder/older and can get slick on dusty floors, cushioning could be updated but not needed, carbon fiber makes shoe stiffer than newer shoes

Best for: any position

Buying advice: buy the colorways you like, don’t buy the XI just bc it’s a discounted colorway . Expect to pay retail for OG colorways

Weight

16.5 ounces which is half an ounce more than the X which I wrote about last week. I can almost guarantee people will say it doesn’t feel heavy while they say the X does. Numbers don’t lie, people do.

Traction

I’ve always found this traction to be good on clean floors, ok to awful on dusty floors depending on age of the shoe. Over time the rubber forms a shell and gets ultra slippery. You can remedy this by using sandpaper or wearing them outdoors to take off the old layer.

Most of the traction in the important areas is herringbone so it works but the little flat spots can pick up dust (dirt plus oxidation =yellowing) which can cause some slipping. However the herringbone is there to slow down the slide so it’s a bit of a mixed bag.

Overall, great when clean, ok on dusty floors, but can get worse with age.

Cushioning

Airsole unit.

Geez it sounds like such an old and antiquated term because in reality it is. But don’t worry it still shows up in shoes like the Lebron Witness 3 …you know 23 years after the AJ XI (yes I said this in my X review)

Cushioning feels good enough but it’s really the action on the foam you feel with a thin layer of air you feel. I actually like how the X feels a little better but that’s just preference.

Fit and Matierals

I decided to combine these two for the XI because the patent leather affects the fit.

Half a size down is the way to go for everyone except maybe the widest footers. Even today it’s hard to get a good fit with patent leather due to the nature of patent leather.

PL is NOT soft and flexible and is stiff in design. JB added the Pl for looks and strength around the shoe.

The rest of the shoe ballistic mesh similar to what you find on the LBJ II and would be considered premium nowadays. It’s flexible yet strong and not paper thin like a lot of mesh materials we see today.

Overall the fit is good with no heel slip and some a little space in the toe box (double sock to fill that space). That’s why I go down half a size.

Some might say the nylon webbing straps are predecessors to Flywire. I guess it kind of is but the straps cover more surface area to give a little more coverage (newer isn’t better). They also really help give the XI a sock like feel as it hugs the foot and ankle.

Overall, materials are nice although JB has skimped in the past but usually not too badly on the XI. Fit is also very good heel to toe although there can be some space in the toe box depending on your foot shape and preference.

Support and Stability

Support is extremely minimal on the AJ 11 bred and is really one of the first shoes I remember being a sock with a sole. It’s no wonder we see so many low top iterations now since this upper adds nothing support wise

Hey look I made XI lows!

Midfoot support is great thanks to MJ wanting and needing a full length carbon fiber for plantar fasciitis although this says its for propulsion ????

 

PF, at least I have that in common with MJ.

The CF does make the shoe stiffer than today’s modern shoes but once you’re playing you don’t notice it at all. And if you do, go work out.

Stability is fine with a kinda sorta outrigger and wide outsole.

Overall not issues as the shoe plays safely and naturally.

Containment

Very good no issues here . My foot actually sits below the raised midsole a few millimeters from heel to toe. Plus the patent leather doesn’t stretch (think of it is the antithesis of mesh). Aside from setting a new trend, patent actually had a job to do.

Conclusion

Twenty three years later and a pretty much the GOAT shoe of all time, the AJ XI prints money for Jordan Brand whenever they release classic colors and even some not so classic colors. (RETRO PLUS colors for old timer collectors that remember that term ).

After 23 years shouldn’t all sneakers these days put these to shame on court? The XI has been drinking legally for a a few years now. However, year after year after year after year you see NBA players rocking the XI which tells me either

1) wear what you feel confident wearing

2) technology hasn’t improved much in over two decades or make a difference at all for professional players playing for millions of dollars per game

3) look good play good is a real thing

I choose to believe all three. What if Zoom or Boost were put into the XI? Would it make it any better ? It might feel a little better and more fun but you would’t see any improved performance. Those who think that newer and improved cushioning adds any serious “performance” benefit might want to check their jumper in the mirror. Just getting the basics of a sneaker down is good enough on any court for any skill level.

I’ve always loved looking at the XI especially the concords and my closet has been filled with probably twenty plus at one point in my life. But it isn’t a shoe I absolutely love playing with on court but it’s more than serviceable after two decades and can hold more than its own against any modern shoe. Is it the shoes ? Nope but it feels good to look good so why the hell not. I can give you 220 reasons why not but rational thinking isn’t any sneaker head’s forte.

Buy it if you love them, rock it if you want to, your skills are your skills, just know you can’t buy them off a shelf.

Overall, I love how these look and they perform well on the court even against modern shoes with the latest and greatest but they’ve never been in my rotation due to some traction issues and some slight space in the forefoot. So ironically these get a second team rating. But don’t worry I’m still going to try to cop this weekend.

Executive Summary: This is a brief review because I’ve had a lot of time with the Curry One and these perform nearly as well with a more durable upper and slightly better cushioning.

I really wasn’t going to even bother picking these up but I tried them on at Dick’s and thought they felt better underfoot than the Curry One. People will pass on these since they are a take down model but that’s too bad for the uninformed because these are pretty good especially if you liked the Curry 1.

Here is my Curry One Review:

Curry One

Pros: traction, slightly improved cushioning, fit, stability, containment

Cons: old style synthetic upper looks plasticky, cushioning on the Curry 6 is still better

Sizing: true to size, same as Curry One

Buying advice: wait for sales or clearance stores $69 and under

Weight:

About the same as the Curry One.

Traction
Exactly the same as the Curry One. Great on clean floors but needs wiping on dirtier floors. These are about as low as I will go in terms of dirty floor traction performance. Anything worse than this and I don’t even bother.

If you’ve ever played in the Clutchfit Drive one or two, these play the same way.

Cushioning

I know they look like they are exactly the same set up but the Lightning 3 feels better to me than the Curry One. Even without this non descript sock liner (not even Ortholite) the cushioning has a little more give to it than the Curry One.

As Weartesters’ Duke0405’s interview with Dombrow stated, there is always a mix of Micro G and Charged and it changes from shoe to shoe. To me, these feel better than the Curry One Low which had an Ortholite sockliner rather than a Micro G sockliner in the Mid. It feels like a mix between the Curry One and Two cushioning.

I didn’t really like the cushioning of the Curry One because I felt it didn’t give much bounce and felt much harder than the Clutchfit Drive. The cushioning on the Lightning 3 is slightly better especially in the heel.

Materials

Obviously this is the biggest difference between the Curry One and Lightning 3 but surprisingly it doesn’t make a huge difference. I thought the upper would play super stiff since the upper looks like shiny plastic but it doesn’t have the cheap crunchy feel I expected. UA did a nice job eliminating the stiffness and weight by removing some of the synthetic and using straps instead.

There are some weird flexing spots but it didn’t affect the fit since the strap system holds the foot down in those areas.

It doesn’t conform to the foot all over like Anafoam but this upper is perfectly acceptable to me.
Fit

Exactly the same sizing as the air jordan 34 which is true to size size 11 for me
The materials do not conform to your foot like Anafoam but they don’t need to with the strap/wings in place.

There is no movement at all side to side or front to back. Even the deadspace in the toe box of Curry One has disappeared.

There is no dogbone or contours in the ankle collar like the Curry One but I didn’t even notice their absence as my foot was locked in perfectly. You can see the nice padding of the tongue as well.

Well done UA!
Support and stability

Support is about same as the Curry One, maybe a little better since the upper is slightly stiffer. The external heel clip looks short but there is an internal one as well

Also has the same plastic midfoot shank as well.

Stability is excellent just like the Curry One. It features an outrigger in the forefoot as well and easily passes my heel test.

Containment

Straps and synthetic ? Yes please

Containment is excellent on the Lightning 3.

Well done UA!

Conclusion

Want to play outdoors in the Curry One? Well here is your shoe. No need to worry about Anafoam ripping or tearing. You don’t even have to worry about depreciating a highly sought after collectible. If someone asked what you’re rocking, just say it’s the Veteran’s Day Curry One or S.Curry One (S is for Seth).

As with all take down models, these will go on sale soon and then hit Marshall’s, Ross etc. for $34.99 by next year but if you’re really itching for a Curry One like shoe, the Lightning 3 will do the job.

Is this how I feel about the harden Vol 4? Read on..or just scroll to the bottom you bum.

Pros: traction when clean, cushioning fit stability containment

Cons: outsole rubber is very sticky picks up dust and needs to be wiped to stay tacky, some initial pain from strap they goes away. Can easily over tighten laces due to lots padding

Best for : any position

Sizing advice: these look huge on foot but lots of interior padding so go true to size or half size up.

Buying Advice: wait as always especially with uber discount combo of Harden and Adidas. Adidas has a 20%-30% off sale almost every month and get ready for a bunch of Adidas shoes from China at the outlets. Fair is $100, bottom around $50.

Weight

 

Adidas touts these as the lightest Harden ever and they are …but then again every Harden have been over 16 ounces. The V4 is slightly lighter than past Hardens At 15.5 ounces which is on heavier side for a low but at least a marketing claim is the the truth for once.

Traction

Fibonacci where art thou? Oh the silly marketing stories people make up and believe and push. So much for tracking the Beard’s movements to “optimize” performance. 

I found the traction on these excellent when clean or freshly wiped although there are some slick spots around the medial edges thanks to zero texture as seen above. On dusty floors I didn’t have any major issues although it would pick up dust but I wasn’t on skates and a wipe would get it back on track. There is definitely more flexibility with the grooves on this pattern than what we saw on the V1/2 and the rubber is tacky so that all contributes to how well it worked for me.

Overall these are great on clean NBA floors and good enough on dusty floors so that’s good enough for me. I’d rank these #2 behind the V3 overall followed by the V2 and V1.

Cushioning

Lightstrike strikes again and will probably keep striking from here on out.

Adidas and Harden decided to take a step back or side step (pun intended) by moving away from Boost and using Lightstrike instead. Supposedly Lightstrike is used in place of Boost to save weight and while the shoe is lighter we can’t tell if it’s due to less actual foam or the the actual weight of the foam (I’m guessing the latter).

Normal foam strobel board and plenty of padding around the ankle

Lightstrike is very comfortable and I didn’t miss Boost at all during play but it’s just another foam. Wasn’t one of the benefits of eTPU (Boost) durability and extended life since it didn’t flatten out ? I do not expect Lightstrike to keep that fresh feel for long but then again I rotate my shoes a lot. Overall Lightstrike reminds me of fresh Lunarlon with a little Micro G in it. It’s a great feeling foam that plays low to the ground. I guess it’s worth the $10 price cut ? If you love Boost I suggest stocking up on Vol 3 bc I have a feeling Adidas hoops is moving away from Boost just like they have moved away from premium materials. Adidas’s sales numbers rose mostly due to running and apparel not b-ball shoe sales.

Fit

Portrait mode on iPhone 11..

I suggest true to size or half a size up.

These look huge on foot but that’s due to a lot of materials and padding. They run slightly long (not crazylight or marquee boost long) but just a tad. The shoe fits very snugly and due to all the padding you can easily over tighten the laces like I did the first time out.

suggested that back with the CLB16

There is zero heel slip almost right out of the box thanks to properly placed top eyelets, a slightly higher overall cut and plenty of internal padding.

There is zero movement inside the shoe also thanks to plenty of padding so you are locked in in every direction. It’s almost uncomfortable at first because shoes have gotten away from padding and I over tightened the laces the first time I played in these. There is a strap that digs slightly but into the bottom of the ankle but they goes away fairly quickly. It does make the midfoot fit a little tighter than the rest but overtime that strap will loosen up for any foot shape.

Well done Adidas, I’ll take my cut for the design in the form of a retweet ..oh wait I need Twitter.

Materials

Mesh and suede panels. Sure ?

Nothing offensive or outstanding about the materials, pretty much par for the price. I think a lot of people loved the perceived value of the Harden V1 but as usual as the Harden line has gone from new to oldish in three years, materials have gotten cheaper feeling. Still no issues with materials. No pinching or weird flexing so

Support and Stability 

Support is actually kind of there due tor he higher cut and firm heel counter

I think stability is where the V4 really shines. Just wide everywhere without feeling unnatural.

It does take a wear or two to get used to the width but geez it’s worth the safety. It’s somewhat set up like the old Feet You Wear (or BYW) which some may like but it’s not overly flexible especially midfoot and back for midfoot support and it allows a nice balance between stability and flexibility.

Well done Adidas!

Containment No issues here

Conclusion

Other than some small slick spots with the traction, I really have nothing bad to say about the Harden V4. Outstanding traction when clean, great fit out of the box, very stable and safe feeling plus it’s $10 less than last years? Geez Adidas, if only retail was the bottom of the V4 pricing…

Although Boost is gone on the V4, I really didn’t miss it and Lightstrike provides plenty of feedback and bounce to make running up and down the court fun. I really don’t like the styling of the V4 but maybe that’s the old curmudgeon in me who likes simpler styling. I think Adidas finally got it right with the V4 in every aspect especially stability. All in all, I think this is the best Harden Adidas has made..you known, all four of them.

Well done Adidas!

 

My Hoka Bondi 6 performance review starts as soon as I finish measuring my height while wearing them. Looks like I just got a lot taller!

If you’ve visited a running specific store in the last five years you already know about Hoka One One. Even if you’ve never worn a pair, you’ve definitely seen them. I’ve spent the majority of 2019 logging miles alongside many runners clad in Hoka’s beefy shoes. And then recently, fellow WearTester Eric did a full performance review on the Hoka Arahi 3. After that, I decided it was my turn to try a pair. Now, almost 100 miles later, here are my thoughts on the Hoka Bondi 6.

Starting from the ground up, lets talk traction. In my opinion, they did a great job balancing out the rubber to no rubber ratio. Some companies strip away as much rubber as possible to lighten the shoe up. Nike, I’m looking at you with the Epic React Flyknit 2. Other companies will use a softer rubber to cover the majority of the outsole that unfortunately gets chewed up by the constant wear and tear of the streets, for example the Under Armour HOVR Infinite. The Bondi 6 kept all the rubber you need, in all the right places AND it’s super durable. I can easily see it lasting another 200 miles out on the road.

I’m not going to lie. I was expecting a marshmallow like feel upon pulling these guys on. I mean come on. Look at that midsole! I gain an instant 2 inches in height every time I lace them up. But marshmallowy is NOT the word I’d use to describe them. They don’t squish underfoot. They’re consistent and super smooth. Those are excellent words for the way the cushion feels. No matter what I ran across, whether it was a sandy path, cracked pavement, random rocks, fruit pits (lots of cherry and plum trees to deal with around here), I felt like the EVA midsole was leveling everything out for me. It was as if I had my own mini shock system buffering the world beneath my feet. My furthest run in them was 15 miles and I had fresh legs the next day. I can’t say that about every shoe.

They have support well-covered. The air jordan 34 is just as wide as it is tall. You have a good, wide base in the forefoot, and then you are also cupped inside the midsole. And to top all that off, there’s a sturdy, yet nicely padded, heel cup. The padding actually wraps all the way around your ankle to the top eyelet. I felt locked into place without any part of the collar digging into my skin.

There is something to be said about good, old fashioned engineered mesh. It might not be pretty, but it works! It’s light. It’s airy. When the wind blows in any direction your toes get to enjoy it too. These shoes don’t lack ventilation. The tongue and ankle area get moist, but they’re lycra and padded, so it’s what I was expecting. Your sweat has to go somewhere.

Story time! After a fabulous lunch (EDITOR’S NOTE: This is without a doubt the first time anyone has ever said that on WearTesters. SIGH), I went to see what kind of Hoka I could scoop up at my local Fleet Feet. If you’ve ever been to a good running shop, you know they’re all about letting you test the shoes on an actual run prior to purchase. It was almost 100 degrees out. Also, I had a full taco plate in my stomach. So I passed on the test run. Instead, I made my purchase and went on my merry way. The next morning, I had 4 miles scheduled. It was not a great run. My feet felt so squished after mile 2. I didn’t understand why so many runners were such fans of the brand. It was not a great first experience. But we don’t do reviews after one trial. So the next day I pull the shoes back on and I am desperately trying to stretch out the upper. I’m basically trying to make space for my wide feet. While cramming my fingers down into my right shoe my fingers slipped under the insole and what do I find? Another insole! And not just a regular insole, a super fluffy one from another shoe brand. Someone had apparently tried on my shoes prior to me, maybe done a test run, threw in a second insole, and then decided the shoes were not for them. Let me tell you, once that extra insole was removed. it was like night and day. The fit went from very uncomfortable as my feet expanded during a run to me never even noticing my feet were expanding. It’s phenomenal. And I learned a valuable lesson. If you’re purchasing your shoes in a store, inspect them! Chris always talks about taking the time to inspect the retros he picks up for quality control and I got a little kick in the butt for not doing so myself.

The Hoka Bondi 6 is super reliable. It’s not quick or flashy. It’s kind of like your mom’s minivan. It gets the job done comfortably. I’ve been done testing them for a good 2 weeks now and I still find myself grabbing them for my short and long runs. If you’ve been on the fence about trying Hoka out, I say you do one of two things. 1) Grab a pair from Hoka directly. They offer you a 30 day trial period with free shipping and returns or 2) go talk to your local running store. Like I said, places like Fleet Feet want you to hit the trail and do some test miles prior to making a purchase. And to top it off they’ll even give you a 60 day grace period to try out their products. What do you have to lose?

The Nike Lebron Ambassador 12 is here. This overseas Lebron model is always a hit. Can the 12th shoe in the Ambassador series follow the same path? Let’s find out.

The Nike Lebron Ambassador 12 uses the same outsole traction pattern as the Lebron Ambassador 11. The only thing that changed in this particular pair is that it uses a translucent outsole and doesn’t state it has XDR rubber. The grooves are thick and wide and played well on clean courts. There were some instances where I had to wipe, but that was more likely due to the very dirty courts. The Ambassador line has been extremely consistent in terms of traction. The Ambassador 8 and Ambassador 9 had the best traction but the 11 is solid.

Did I say the word consistent already? Because the Ambassador line has been consistent in the cushion set up as well. As previously stated, the midsole and cushion set up is also the same as the Ambassador 11. Forefoot and heel Zoom provide ample responsiveness and court feel with a bit of impact protection. Bigger players like myself will feel the impact from the Zoom Air along with the soft phylon. This is a setup that provides good cushion and responsiveness.

The materials are where there is a slight difference from the Ambassador 11. The weatherproof shroud is gone and a wrap-around strap is implemented (similar to the Lebron 17). The Ambassador 12 has an overall mesh build with some fuse and vinyl overlays to provide durability. The upper is lightweight with support and features little to no break-in time. The shoe has a soft phylon midsole with heel and forefoot Zoom Air for added cushion. Finally, a translucent wide-gridded outsole traction pattern finishes off the shoe.

The fit was true to size for me. While the Ambassador 12 is still an Asia only release, it was built on a wider last, therefore allowing guys with wide feet like myself a perfect fit. Narrow footers, you’ll still be able to stay true to size. However, if you like your toes at the tip of the shoe, I’d suggest 1/2 size down. The lockdown was sufficient especially with the strap across the midfoot adding to the traditional lacing setup.

The midfoot strap keeps your foot locked into the heel where the external heel counter takes over. You sit slightly inside of the the phylon midsole which, along with a nice wide base, helps prevent rollovers.

I say this on every Ambassador post and I’ll say it again. The Nike Lebron Ambassador 12 needs to be STATESIDE!!!! It was a pleasant surprise to see the King himself wear this exact colorway during warmups of a preseason game. I’d love to see him actually play in a pair. The Ambassador line has been the most consistent line in the Lebron series (just don’t mention the Ambassador 10 please). They’re wide-foot friendly, outdoor-ready, and budget ready.

If you’re in the market for a less expensive, wide-foot friendly, signature line shoe, the Ambassador 12 is for you. You’ll enjoy the ride while giving people buckets.

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.

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.

Seventeen models in for LeBron James and Nike Basketball. Is the Nike LeBron 17 the best one yet? Our thoughts within our performance review.

The traction doesn’t look bad or feel bad, speaking on its rubber compound, but I could never get any reliable coverage when playing in the shoe.

Some plays would be fine while others would have me slipping. Didn’t matter which court I was playing on either. Whether it was the nicest floor, or my local 24 Hour Fitness, I just wasn’t comfortable making any move in the shoe. Something I find to be unfortunate as the traction I feel is the foundation of a shoe. The rest of the entire build could be awesome, and in this case it is, but without a solid foundation under-foot then the rest really doesn’t matter.

What could be going wrong? I’m not 100% sure. Part of me thinks someone that is a bit heavier may get a bit more bite out of the traction. That is just pure speculation, but it’s one of my initial thoughts. However, I’m also leaning heavily on the premise that it might be the forefoot cushion implementation. There is a split between the two forefoot Zoom Air units and the foam midsole is very soft. While maneuvering on-court it sometimes feels as if the two pods end up splitting to the point where I end up missing coverage by the time my foot fully plants.

Again, I don’t know what the issue truly is. Those are just my thoughts as to why I may be having issues. However, without consistent traction I’m not itching to get the LeBron 17 back on-court anytime soon.

If maximum cushion is what you’re after then the LeBron 17 should make you very happy.

You literally feel as if you’re running around on Air. Impact protection might be some of the best it’s ever been as well. You don’t even feel the impact of your foot touching down on the ground. The forefoot Zoom Air, rear Air Max and soft Phylon midsole all absorb everything before it even has a chance to reach your knees.

On the flip side… court feel is non-existent. You feel like you’re on a platform. Almost as if you’re hovering above hardwood. Some may really love this sensation, I didn’t hate it, but it’s also not my preferred setup.

There are outriggers on the forefoot lateral Zoom Air unit and the rear Air Max unit for those wondering. They’re not huge, but they get the job done in terms of helping keep you stable while you float on Air.

Again, not my preferred setup, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say they’re super comfortable. I just prefer sitting a bit closer to the ground, and if I’m not, I like shoes that feel like you are. The Air Jordan 34 is one of the better setups for that. A max cushion system that doesn’t make you feel like you’re running around on a hovercraft.

Nike has been marketing the materials as Knitposite, but I feel they should have just called it Battleknit 3.0. I realize the names are just semantics, but its better to not confuse your consumer by using the term Posite — which is synonymous with Nike’s Foamposite material.

The “posite” sections of the knit are just TPU or glue infused yarns. We’ve seen this on basketball shoes from nearly every brand at this point. Renaming it to make it sound fresh and new, while smart, is deceiving. However, it works as advertised which is the most important thing.

The pure knit sections feel and play like a shoe you’ve had for years. It has that broken-in feeling fresh out the box and feels better each time you lace them up. It’s “posite” sections are great as well. The firmer sections of the knit offer great containment and support throughout the upper. From the heel all the way to the forefoot — there is strategic support pieces throughout which has played great.

While the cushion might be one of the standout features of the Nike LeBron 17, I personally feel the best feature of the shoe is the Knitposite material.

The Nike LeBron 17 fits true to size and is very reminiscent of one of my favorite LeBron models to-date — the Nike LeBron 8.

They shoe does run a little short, something I don’t mind nor did I have an issue with as the knit build is soft in the forefoot, so I’d still recommend trying the shoe on in-store just to make sure they fit the way you prefer prior to buying a pair online.

Lockdown is something I enjoyed quite a bit. Whether I laced them all the way up to the top, or left the top eyelet alone for some additional range of motion — lockdown was nearly perfect. I say nearly since I don’t thing there is a true way to measure what “perfect” really is. Perfect for me may suck for you, but for me, the fit and lockdown were fantastic.

From the outriggers on up to the build, support was not what I was expecting. In a good way.

After the LeBron 15 I’ve been hesitant to play in some of these higher sitting shoes. However, the LeBron 16 and now the LeBron 17 have shown that brands can do maximum cushion setups while still offering a bit of stability and support. Obviously, you’re not getting the same level of stability in the LeBron 17 as you would in something like the Curry 6 or D.O.N. Issue 1, but it’s just enough.

The upper is nice and supportive in all the right areas so when you combined everything you get a fairly well-rounded shoe that excels in the cushion department.

Overall, I really enjoyed the Nike LeBron 17 from the cushion up. Traction has kept me from wanting to play in them any longer than I feel I have to. I hope that isn’t the case for everyone, and I hope there are people out there that get great traction from the shoe if they happen to purchase them. All I know is that I played in two different pairs in two different colorways and had the same results in both. I liked everything, loved some things, but disliked the traction.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the Nike LeBron 17 from a performance perspective in our WearTesters Discord community. Thanks for watching, reading and continuously supporting WearTesters!

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.

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