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Today we take a first look at the upcoming Nike KD 13.

The Nike KD 12 is still one of my favorite sneakers to play in and the upcoming KD 13 might take its place whenever we’re no longer on quarantine.

Everything [almost] that I loved on the KD 12 made its way back onto the KD 13 — plus a couple of changes I enjoy.

Some of the things that have remained the same are the $150 price point, the full length Zoom Air strobel and the rear midsole containment. I enjoyed all of these aspects in the KD 12 so I’m happy to see them back again.

Now, some of the things that have changed — for the better — are the additional double stacked Zoom Air units. Instead of having a rear Hex Zoom unit we now have a larger forefoot Zoom Air unit sitting under the full length Zoom Air strobel. This means more cushion in the forefoot which is great for those that prefer it. The shoe is much lighter than the KD 12 — some may like this some may not care one way or the other. Traction has also changed — whether or not this is for the better remains to be determined, but we hope it’s better than the KD 12 — which was pretty solid in most situations.

Something that has changed that I’m not too fond of are the materials. There are no premium materials used on the KD 13, which is fine, but I don’t love how cheap the new rip-stop esque material feels or flexes compared to the gimmicky Quad-Axial Flywire from the KD 12.

While we’re unable to test the shoes indoors for the time being, we hope you at least enjoy our Nike KD 13 detailed look and review. Stay tuned for the eventual performance review and we’ll catch you on the next one.

Release Date: April 17, 2020
Retail Price: $150
Available at: Phenom Global

The adidas SL20 is one of the first running shoes to feature adidas’ new Lightstrike cushioning. We’ve been waiting for Lightstrike to come to running shoes since it’s debut last year in the adidas yeezy 350 v2 basketball shoe. Lightstrike is lightweight while also providing a nice well-balanced ride. Does it work for running? Let’s find out…

Cushion

Drew: I really like Lightstrike for running. I like it enough that I wore the adidas SL20 in a recent 10k race. At around 8 ounces, it’s just light enough to use as a race day shoe (though probably not if you’re an elite runner).

The Lightstrike is actually light enough that the majority of the SL20’s weight comes from the upper. Most shoes are bottom heavy so having this one be reversed feels great. It makes your brain believe you don’t have much on your feet. Mentally, that’s great during speed workouts and on race days. I constantly found myself reaching for the SL20 before speed workouts.

The impact protection is also top notch. There’s only 14mm of Lightstrike in the forefoot but I never felt too much ground impact. Because there’s so little foam, I also expected the foam to bottom out on long runs or after I put a bunch of miles on the shoes. But here I am with 65+ miles in the shoes, having done a couple 10+ mile runs in them, and they still feel great.

Again, Lightstrike is great for running. I’m convinced adidas is just scratching the surface of what’s possible with a Lightstrike-based running shoe. The fact that the first iteration is so good is a great sign of things to come.

Jodi: Being married to Chris, I’ve heard tons of great things about Lightstrike in the basketball world, so I was pretty excited to see what it was all about. I’m actually surprised it didn’t hit the running world first since in a lot of ways, us runners are guinea pigs. I have to say, the cushion system lives up to the hype. It’s flexible, bouncy, and light. And has great impact protection. Every time I ran in these I felt like a sprinter, super quick. And my mile splits for those days reflected the feeling. Placebo effect? Maybe. But I’m not complaining about it.

Traction

Drew: Continental rubber is adidas’ go-to rubber compound and they’ve used it to great effect on the SL20. It rained the night before my recent 10k and the entire course was still wet when we toed the line at 7am. After the race, I heard several people complain that the roads felt slippery and that they couldn’t get great traction. I had to think about why they would have problems because I didn’t even notice the moisture. The SL20’s outsole gripped just like a normal day despite the wet conditions.

It wasn’t a surprise because while training in the SL20 I ran in rainstorms and several other iffy conditions and never had a problem with the traction. It’s one of those shoes where you don’t even have to think about your footing because every footfall is secure.

Jodi: Continental rubber is my jam, so I’m always happy when adidas uses it on its runners. I think the way they incorporate it with the stretch web pattern not only helps for great grip on the roads but also helps with whatever cushion system is being used. It’s just another great flexible layer to keep all your joints happy.

Support

Drew: The support is solid enough to compete with most everyday trainers. Adidas included their standard Y-shaped Torsional plate at the midfoot, went with a fairly beefy heel counter that extends beyond the heel on both the medial and lateral sides of the foot. The SL20 uses a fuse overlay along the bottom third of the shoe that starts at the heel and extends all the way to the forefoot on both sides of the upper. It does the job of really keeping you on the footbed. Then the ball of the foot also sits ever so slightly inside the Lightstrike midsole to help prevent rollovers. Finally, the midsole flares out a bit on both sides of the forefoot to provide a wider base for pushing off.

It’s a full package of support despite the lightweight nature of the shoe. I feel adidas went above and beyond what it’s expected from an everyday trainer in this weight class.

Jodi: As Drew has already stated, adidas really went all out making sure it would be next to impossible to not feel supported by the SL20. The heel cup is super rigid and extended along both sides of your foot. Then up top they gave you plenty of padding that wraps all the way around to the where the collar meets your ankle. And you can see your midsole peeking way out when you’re standing in them. You would have to land pretty awkwardly for your ankle to roll in these guys.

Materials

Drew: The SL20 features a typical mesh upper with fuse overlays. The tongue is a thin, stretchier mesh that is sewn to the upper. The laces are fairly typical and the insole is extremely thin and doesn’t really help the step-in comfort at all. So while the materials are pretty blah, they do the job, and allow adidas to keep the SL20 at the $120 price point. I like the trade offs they made because the price is a huge selling point of this shoe.

Jodi: There is absolutely no stretch in the materials, not even anywhere on the tongue, which is also attached to the upper. And because of those two things, I really gotta talk about the fit.

Fit

Drew: The adidas SL20 fits true to size. Some narrow footers may notice some puffiness in the toe box when they lace the shoe up tight. This is a result of the way adidas sewed the tongue to the upper. The tongue/upper combo could have been executed better but in practice the excess toe box material didn’t annoy me or get in the way. This is where using a flexible mesh helps hide the issue. The thin tongue could also fold up a little while putting the shoe on but the pull tab helps sort that out.

It’s not a perfect upper but it gets the job done and let’s the real star of the shoe, the Lightstrike cushioning, shine.

Jodi: Just in case anyone is new to my running reviews, I’m a wide footer. So if you are also a wide footer you’re going to want to stay tuned. As fantastic as this shoe was in the cushion department I struggled greatly with how the shoe fit. I feel like the length was half a size too long, but I could not have gone down a half size because there was no stretch in the upper and the shoe fit me really snug. Also, the tongue that was attached to the upper would somehow fold on itself always on my left foot and it would run between the bones on top of my foot. So I’d have to work at getting that shoe on just right almost every time I’d be getting ready to get out the door. It’s still a great shoe despite those things, definitely not a deal breaker for me. But they are used now for runs that I know will be under 45 minutes. Anything over that and I know I’m going to be feeling uncomfortable pretty quickly.

Overall

Drew: The adidas SL20 proves that Lightstrike cushioning in running shoes is a great option. For $120, you get an amazing cushioning experience, top tier traction, solid support, basic materials, and a few ignorable fit issues. But even if it was just the Lightstrike experience alone, I’d recommend these shoes. It’s a cushion that’s really fun to run in and worth the money.

Jodi: I’m pretty happy with what adidas did with its first Lightstrike runner. Dare I say that the cushion could take over the almighty Boost? I can definitely see it being used in a lot of future runners. In fact, I hope they do. If you’re looking for a runner that feels fast, has solid cushion, great support, excellent traction and you have an average sized foot, I’d definitely recommend these. If you have wide feet like me or even very narrow feet, I’d go in store and try them on first. Make sure you can handle the way they fit because like Drew and I both said, due to the way the upper is constructed there’s no way to hide any flaws.

The Hoop team received pairs of the Under Armour HOVR Machina in advance of Under Armour’s Human Performance Summit. The shoes were sent so we could preview them and use them during the summit’s running workouts.

Of course, being WearTesters, Jodi and I jumped right into intensely testing them and put a bunch of miles on them before we even made it to the summit. Chris wore his, but didn’t test them. That’s ok, we’ll always have this gem of him testing the adidas Energy Boost in 2013. His thoughts are in the first look video. Keep reading for Jodi and I’s unfiltered performance review of the Under Armour HOVR Machina.

Cushion

Drew: The Under Armour HOVR Machina uses (surprise!) HOVR as the foam cushion. The shoe features an ample amount of HOVR. It actually has a 2mm stack height advantage on the Under Armour HOVR Infinite, UA’s most cushioned running shoe of 2019. Despite the stack height difference, the amount of HOVR used seems similar.

The 2mm difference may come from the inclusion of a Pebax propulsion plate sandwiched between two layers of HOVR in the midsole. The propulsion plate was inspired by similar plates in track spikes and adds bounce. I felt a nice spring while running in them. It wasn’t a carbon fiber plate level spring, but it was noticeable, and helped make it easy for me to wear them enough to put in 75+ miles.

And, adding to a very well-cushioned shoe, Under Armour included a thick ortholite insole to secure step-in and all day comfort. The combo of HOVR, propulsion plate, and cushy insole make the HOVR Machina Under Armour’s most cushioned running shoe to-date.

Jodi: The HOVR Machina had a disadvantage when it came to my testing. I keep a rotation going during testing because there’s so many shoes and I only have two feet. So this poor shoe was pitted up against the Nike Infinity React AND the adidas UltraBoost 20. Both shoes feature instant, plush step-in comfort. So when someone asks about great cushioning in a running shoe, my mind immediately turns to those shoes. But I will say, if you’re looking for a neutral ride, the HOVR Machina holds its own. It’s a more firm set up then the other two shoes I mentioned, which made it a better shoe to take out on the road multiple days in a row. The cushion doesn’t seem to need a recovery day. So in that respect, kudos to Under Armour. Not every brand can say that about it’s cushion set up.

Materials

Drew: Complementing the midsole’s HOVR, the upper is 100% engineered mesh in a cool new pattern that’s reminiscent of a cheetah’s fur. The HOVR Machina looks fast. The tongue is also mesh and topped with soft, padded laces that don’t loosen as you run (a pet peeve of mine with some thinner laces). Most of the laces loops feature fuse reinforcement while the top two have metal eyelets. The materials don’t leave any room for durability issues.

One other thing I should mention is the inclusion of a Bluetooth performance pod in the right shoe. A lot of Under Armour shoes, even lifestyle shoes, have a performance pod now. It automatically measures distance, time, stride length, cadence (steps per minute), foot strike angle, ground contact time, pace, and calories. If you’ve paired the shoes with MapMyRun, Under Armour’s running app, it will upload all your run stats every time you log into the app. It uses AI to analyze your stats and give you tips on how to improve. If you run with your phone on and MapMyRun connected to your shoes, you can get personalized coaching tips as you run. While I wouldn’t recommend paying more for shoes with a Bluetooth setup like this, it’s fun to play with and see where your running form could improve (without having to hire a professional coach).

Jodi: I would like to second how awesome the laces are. It might be a small thing, but not all laces are created equal. These are soft to the point they’re almost silky, and with enough stretch that you can tie them up without double knotting and know they are now locked into place. The engineered mesh that encases the upper is tough. I almost ate it along the streets of Baltimore where my ankle unfortunately rolled due to some horrible cobblestone. I was sure this graceful move left me with a hole in the upper and my pinky toe sticking out. Nope. There’s not even a frayed thread sticking out to remind me of my klutzy move.

Fit

Drew: The engineered mesh upper on the HOVR Machina fits true to size (though wide footers will have to break them in a little) and provides the comfort you’d expect from a mesh shoe. The tongue is also mesh and thick enough to distribute any lace pressure. The tongue is secured to the strobel board and midsole by elastic mesh straps that hug both sides of the midfoot. Because of those straps, I doubted I’d get any tongue slippage. Even then, Under Armour included the fail safe of dual loops on the tongue (one for each side of the lace) that you loop through before the final eyelets. With this setup, there’s no way the tongue moves at all. It’s super secure.

I really enjoyed the quilted mesh on the back of the tongue and around the collar. It’s still an engineered mesh, but the pattern used makes it super comfortable on the sensitive top of foot and ankle areas. I wish more brands would adopt a similar pattern when using mesh on the inside of a shoe as it was plush. The ankle area also features heavy padding underneath the quilted mesh that both helps lockdown and feels good.

Jodi: The fit was difficult for me at first for multiple reasons. The first one being the tongue booty system. My wide feet had to get the straps locking the tongue into place stretched out. And even now, after 50+ miles, sometimes my socks will roll the strap on my right foot when I’m pulling the shoe onto my foot. I have to do some wiggling and maneuvering for everything to feel just right.

That dang propulsion plate Drew mentioned earlier was a bit of a hassle as well. We were fortunate enough to be invited out to UA’s Human Performance Summit and were taken into the lab where we saw the shoe fully deconstructed. You literally got to put the shoe together like a sandwich. Seeing that propulsion plate, I was like, this little guy is what’s giving me problems? I love the idea of it. Who doesn’t want help being propelled forward on a run? But the way it was caged inside of the tooling made the shoe extremely stiff to the point I could feel my heel slipping out of the shoe on those first runs. If you watch our initial look video, I talked about how I was having a serious love/hate relationship with the HOVR Machina because of this. When it came down to it, I just needed to break everything in. The sole hello base of the shoe is now much more pliable and I am locked into place. Which brings us to support…

Support

Drew: The HOVR Machina’s support is pretty normal for a neutral running shoe. There’s a normal sized internal heel counter, you sit slightly inside the midsole at the heel, and the lateral forefoot midsole flares out slightly into a very small but natural outrigger. These aren’t meant for any type of offroading but they’ll do great on city streets or roads.

Jodi: Once the stiffness of the shoe was worked out, I was able to appreciate other aspects of the shoe. The heel is super padded around the collar, and balanced out nicely along the top of the tongue. And the engineered mesh along the whole upper is great because it doesn’t stretch on turns or uneven pavement. All of that left my feet feeling really secure.

Traction

Drew: The outsole is a mix of blown rubber and high abrasion rubber. It’s an improvement from the UA HOVR Infinite but there’s still too much of the soft blown rubber. The high abrasion rubber sits at the top of the toes and the heel. While the high abrasion rubber is holding firm and showing little signs of wear, I’ve managed to really ground down the blown rubber. The HOVR Machina’s outsole will still last 300+ miles but by the time you get there your forefoot strike zone will be bald as your Uncle Donny with no comb over to save(?) the day.

Jodi: I understand the purpose of blown rubber, it makes the shoe lighter and helps give you a more cushioned ride. But I too wish there was less of it. I’m a supinator, which leads me to destroy the outside edge of my traction in most running shoes. So I wish the high abrasion rubber they use on the heel and toe also wrapped up along the edge where I land. I’m pretty confident this shoe will last the typical 300+ miles, but I’m right there with you Drew. That last mile you run in them better end at your local running store for a new pick up.

Overall

Drew: The Under Armour HOVR Machina is a nicely built running shoe. If not for the beloved original Under Armour HOVR Sonic, the HOVR Machina would be the new high water mark for Under Armour running shoes. At $150, the price is about $10-20 too high but not entirely out of the right general range. The great news is that the HOVR Machina is a running shoe that competes well with everyday trainers from all the other major brands. With running being such a big category, it’s nice to have other brands producing shoes that are just as good as their larger, richer competitors. That just gives us consumers more choices to find the perfect shoe for our feet.

Jodi: I personally found the HOVR Machina to be a great improvement over my last experience with Under Armour, the HOVR Infinite. It’s sturdy and comfortable, and if you happen to grab this colorway, everyone is going to see you on the running trails and they will let you know about it. I received lots of compliments on them. If you’re not a social butterfly and want to fly more under the radar there’s a lot of great neutral colorways coming too.
Hopefully you found our thoughts on Under Armour’s latest runner helpful. Make sure you join our hoop jordan Discord Community so you can chat with us about your experience with running shoes from Under Armour.

The adidas Dame 6 is our first performance review for 2020. Did it enter the new year on a positive note? Lets find out…

Herringbone from heel to toe — typically a tried and true setup. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case for me when it came to the Dame 6. I had high expectations as the Dame 5 featured a very similar setup that I loved.

However, there were plenty online that claim the Dame 5 was slick and lackluster. It’s always hard for me to know if online comments are truthful or not as we’re in the age of the troll when it comes to leaving anonymous comments. Luckily I had a personal friend of mine complain about the issue with the Dame 5s which made me believe the majority of what I had read. Now, I’m the one complaining about slick traction as the Dame 6 was simply awful for me.

I only had good traction on the Lifetime court I play at. Every other court, from the local high school to 24 Hour Fitness — the traction was as slick laterally. Liner movements had some decent bite, but I still had to wipe every chance I got. When I would wipe it wasn’t the typical quick wipe and continue playing. I literally had to stop in my tracks, lift my foot up and rub my hand up and down — watching the dust clumps fall as if it were the North Pole.

Traction patterns can save poor rubber compound, but poor rubber compounds can kill great traction patterns. If you have to play in the Dame 6 then  I’d try to get a pair with solid rubber along the outsole. That may prove to be better overall than this split-died translucent.

Lightstrike is used for the first time on a Dame signature model, and I didn’t hate it.

I say this because I wasn’t a fan of the Lightstrike in the Harden Vol 4, but I loved it in the adidas N3XT L3V3L. This time around it was a bit more in between the two aforementioned models. Not too thin, but not too thick. For a shoe that was designed for guard style play, this was just right.

Bounce is still my preferred cushion setup from adidas so I hope they aren’t beginning to phase it out. With the Dame being adidas’ annual budget model featuring Bounce, we may not see it again on a main signature model — at least not for a while.

Transition was smooth as butter and impact protection was very nice overall. Court feel wasn’t lost and I never felt slow or laggy due to sinking into the footbed. It may not be Bounce, but it’s pretty close to it.

Materials featured on the kyrie 6 are primarily textiles. They feel and play cheap.

It was something that was a minor concern in my initial first impressions, but I was hopeful that they’d play just fine. I wouldn’t say the materials killed the performance or playability of the shoe at all, but the durability definitely took a hit.

My left shoe’s outsole is peeling away from the upper. Either the glue job was poor to begin with or the type of glue used isn’t strong enough to bond to textiles properly. I find the latter option to be a bit far fetched as adidas is no stranger to gluing outsole and midsole tooling to textile builds. But, for whatever reason, the shoe looks like it was run over and this is a primarily black shoe. If a black shoe is showing signs of wear this bad, on top of falling apart, then something went wrong.

I bought two sizes — one in my true size and one 1/2 size down. The pair that was 1/2 size down is what fit best so that is what I’d recommend for most.

Lockdown was okay, but nothing noteworthy. The heel area couldn’t keep the heel in place properly either — which is not a good thing when it comes to support.

Speaking of support…

It would have been better had the materials not buckled under certain movements and my heel been properly locked in. The wide base is nice and saved my ass when making lateral cuts and changes in direction without feeling cumbersome underfoot.

However, having a solid wide platform is only a piece of the puzzle when it comes to support. The shoe should have a little of everything — and each of those things should work in unison with one another. The Dame 6 has pieces, but not every piece works perfectly, thus the unity that most basketball shoes have… these do not.

Not the best way to start 2020 off, but it is what it is.

Traction should have been much better than what it was while support could have been better as well. Fit needs work and the materials are as cheap as they come. Even at $110, this is not a shoe that I can say offers any bang for your buck. At least, I didn’t feel like I spent $110 on a solid product and that’s what these reviews are about. Helping others figure out what they need/want out of a shoe and helping them understand if a shoe offers enough bang for the buck (retail price).

Everyone has a bad day at the office, and I still enjoy the Dame 2 through 5, so I hope this is just a hiccup in the line and not an indication of what’s to come moving forward.

 

Today, we take a dive into the sub $100 category with a performance review of a takedown model — the adidas Harden Stepback.

So, we start with a Harden Vol. 3 style herringbone in the forefoot and a Harden Vol. 4 style pattern at the heel section. I’d like to call this setup “business in the front, party in the back”, but the herringbone didn’t quite take care of business the way I would have liked.

The Harden Stepback does have some bite to it. However, it’s not always immediately present and packs dust up in those tight herringbone grooves a little too easily. I didn’t really notice any issues with the heel section, but for the forefoot, expect to wipe quite a bit if you want to maintain some level of consistency while playing.

It seems for the Stepback’s traction to perform optimally, either the outsole or the floor needs to be in pristine condition – which is rare for the average consumer. On the plus side, I’ll give the Harden Stepback traction some credit for durability as there are hardly any signs of fraying over a month of ownership and testing. This would make these a solid option for those that play primarily outdoors — which is what the Stepback feels they were intended for in the first place.

For well under $100 you get full-length Bounce in the Harden Stepback — but it doesn’t quite feel like the Bounce you may expect. Like the Harden Vol. 4’s thin implementation of Lightstrike, the Bounce feels just as thin and low to the ground, which some may like, others may not.

FroThis firmer minimal setup may be a good thing for some as you get a ton of court feel without feeling like you’re busting directly through the soles and into the playing surface. But, there just isn’t going to be enough impact protection or rebound for some to feel comfortable in the shoe.

Cushion is subjective, but I think it’s safe to say this will not be a great choice for everyone, and it certainly isn’t the best representation of Bounce for anyone that may be trying the foam for the first time.

For those familiar with the Stepback’s flagship counterpart, you’ll notice the same mesh base used on the Stepback is used on select colorways of the Vol. 4. The difference is a heavier use of synthetics in high wear areas such as the toebox and eyelet panels.

My main concern with materials doesn’t come from the synthetic overlays – its more of the interior construction. Materials aren’t all that well lined or stitched down so I experienced a lot of bunching up internally which caused discomfort around the midfoot while testing. Also, the lacing setup leaves parts of the laces exposed against the forefoot, which took some time to adjust to and prevented me from comfortably sizing down. Props to adidas for including even a minimal amount of sculpting inside around the ankle, though.

What feels like a thin-vinyl covers most of the toe area – I found it to be a good touch as it wasn’t stiff or crinkly at all – just maybe a little bubbly. Minus a thin tongue that lace pressure will cut right through if you aren’t careful – the rest of the uppers textiles, plastics, and synthetic leather do their job well enough.

As hinted to previously, I could’ve probably gone down half a size if I wasn’t in fear of a painful break in. Going true to size may not have been optimal, but it was good enough to never be a security concern. The fit reminds me of the Marquee Boost a bit – narrow through the midfoot but widened out more in the toebox. The difference between the two would be there is breathing room above the toe in the Stepback, where the Marquee wrapped closely over the toe.

I’d advise anyone who has the means to – try these on before purchase, no matter your foot type. At retailers like the Shoe Dept or Hoop Jordan, luck should be in your favor to walk-in, grab a box, and get a good feel for how they fit you.

Individually, most support features may seem underwhelming, but together they work decently overall.

The external heel cup isn’t the strongest, however with the help of lacing through the top eyelets there was no issue with slippage in that area. It is also sculpted, though not immaculately so around the ankle, so there’s that.

A thin, Z-shaped bar at the midfoot provides torsional support and lateral support is aided by a midsole and outsole that cup the foot heavily around certain areas. Support should always be a focus for a basketball sneaker, but I must admit I was surprised to see the amount of focus that went in to an $80 pair of sneakers.

A cut in cost takes away from getting some serious performance out of the Harden Stepback. Overall, it is what some might expect, and maybe even a little more.

If you prefer minimal cushion and would like to support Harden without spending $140 then this is a proper takedown of the adidas Harden Vol. 4. However, if we are basing things off of performance rather than price, then the traction could have [should have] been better, but will suffice for outdoor hoopers looking to stay within a budget while still satisfying the desire to wear the latest and greatest.

Jordan Brand’s own signature athlete and All-Star Russell Westbrook is now releasing his third signature shoe, the Jordan Why Not Zero.3. Much like the Jordan Why Not Zero.2, this new iteration of the shoes intros a disruptive design to match his game on-court and his style off-court.

The Why Not Zero.3 is an evolved version of last year’s Why Not Zero.2 The shoe recalibrates the look and feels of Russell’s signature shoe, bringing in an all-new articulated Zoom Air cushioning system for linear speed and a midfoot strap for containment. On top of that, the Why Not Zero.3 is the lightest in Russell Westbrook’s signature line.

 

Exclusive to the Why Not Zero.3, an all-new articulated Nike Zoom Air cushioning system (similar to but not exactly like the articulated Zoom Air in Nike Kyrie 6) in the forefoot features horizontal flex grooves that help enable linear speed. The idea is to provide an end-to-end explosiveness and propulsive feel on the court.

The outsole has been updated with modified herringbone traction to better enable quickness and control on-court. The decoupled outsole separates the forefoot from the heel and is an evolution of one of Russ’s favorite shoes – the Jordan XX8 and XX9.

The materials are a blend of textiles, anesthetics, and skins with stitching providing reinforcement and design aesthetics. There’s also a sleek double padded collar for in foot comfort.

To finish off the look the shoe features a clear TPU midfoot strap for containment along with a visible, exposed TPU shank plate in between the decoupled outsole to help provide stability when moving from the heel to forefoot.

The launch colorway “Zer0 Noise” is set to release January 2, 2020. It represents Russ’ desire to inspire people to block out unnecessary noise and play the game their own way.

The “Family” colorway will release January 9, 2020. It represents Russell’s family.

The “Heartbeat” colorway will release February 27, 2020. It represents Russ and his wife Nina welcoming twin girls who are now the heartbeat of their life. The colorway is also inspired by his twin girls’ bedroom which reminds girls everywhere to own their power and follow their dreams.

The Jordan Why Not Zero.3 will be available on Nike.com in full family sizing with the pricing starting at $130 for Men, $105 for GS, $75 for Pre-school, and $55 for toddlers.

An upcoming Why Not? Apparel collection will also release.

The Nike Joyride Dual Run is an evolution in the Joyride line of running shoes. The original Nike Joyride Run Flyknit (click to read our review) was Nike’s first use of Joyride and aimed at weekend warriors running short distances. It was fun to wear but not great for more than 3-4 miles of running.

The Joyride Dual Run is both more affordable and aimed at allowing serious runners to get in on the Joyride experience.

Cushion

The Joyride Dual Run downsizes the number of compartments filled with beads from four to two. Nike removed the two forefoot compartments to make the forefoot more stable and remove the “beads sliding out from beneath your foot” problem. This makes a big difference in speed workouts. You no longer lose energy pushing the beads and instead have really good ground feel.

The same super comfy, yet unnamed, foam from the Joyride Run Flyknit returns to be the midsole in the Joyride Dual Run. The midsole only offers 19mm of foam between your forefoot and the ground but you still end up with a plush forefoot ride.

There also appears to be less beads in both the heel and midfoot compartments. The original tech featured mounds of beads pushing up into your foot. The Joyride Dual Run’s beads don’t do that. It also feels as if the insole layer between your foot and the beads includes a thin layer of padding so you don’t feel any individual beads beneath your foot.

While I don’t 100% love Joyride for running, it’s still fun, and the Joyride Dual Run improves the overall formula.

Traction

The traction pattern in the Joyride Dual Run Black and Joyride Run Flyknit is almost the same. The Joyride Dual Run dispenses with some of the hard rubber that surrounded the forefoot pods and one of the rubber pieces in the heel. Honestly, it feels about the same but the Joyride Dual Run will not be as durable as the Joyride Run Flyknit due to the missing rubber at the forefoot.

Support

The rear Joyride compartment’s casing extends almost to the ankle on the lateral side of the heel. That little bit of extra rubber, a normal sized heel counter, and your foot sitting slightly inside the midsole throughout the entire shoe keep your foot on the footbed. Nike also gives the midsole a nice wide base. While it’s not an ultra supportive shoe, Nike does a good job of making you feel as secure as you can given you’re standing on a bunch of beads.

Materials

The Nike Joyride Dual Run’s materials are standard mesh with fuse overlays. The fuse overlay in the toe is mostly a design element that wraps around and reinforces the bottom two lace loops on the lateral side. The fuse below the Swoosh logo also wraps around and reinforces both the heel and the bottom two lace lops on the medial side.

We’ve seen these materials on running shoes for years and years. Though they’re nothing special, they get the job done. It’s just kind of strange seeing pedestrian materials paired with space age Joyride tech.

Fit

While the Joyride Dual Run fits true to size (order your typical Nike size), the overall Fit of the shoe is just ok. The tongue is a stretchy half bootie that’s too short. Because of that, you’ve got to hold it a certain way to make sure it doesn’t fold up as you slip your foot inside. It was annoying every time I put on the shoe. The heel tab does help but it’s too little to overcome the tongue’s issues.

Along with the tongue, the lacing system is not very good. It has two plastic (and fuse reinforced) holes at the bottom but the top three lace loops are hidden. You lace through a layer of nylon that hides behind mesh or fuse. This makes them difficult to lace. And to make matters worse, the laces are super thin and super short. I finally stopped messing with the laces and left them tied. This made it harder to get into the shoe but it was better than messing with the laces each day.

The rest of the shoe’s mesh and it’s padded ankle collar are fairly normal for a runner. If Nike hadn’t gotten cutesy with the tongue or laces the Fit would have been solid all around.

Overall

The Nike Joyride Dual Run is an incremental improvement in the run-ability of the Joyride line. If the tongue and laces don’t bother you, it’s an inexpensive way to experience Joyride.

And despite the Joyride Dual Run’s issues, Nike is moving in the right direction. I’m optimistic 2020 will bring us a Joyride model that works for serious running while also fitting great. Keep your fingers crossed.

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.

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