First off I just wanted to thank everyone for reading. Kind of boring writing to an audience of one. Big thanks to Randy Booker for supporting my blog by sharing my review of the Curry Two on YouTube. I found some great videos that will help everyone get better at the game we love and I’ll post in the New Year how and why they work. 

I’ve  been blogging for almost a year and it sure went fast.  I knew that there were tons of shoe releases but to try and write about all of the ones that interested me really shoes how flooded the shoe market is. So much marketing is thrown in our faces that I hope my experiences help everyone make informed decisions. I don’t get free stuff to test or review so it puts me in the same shoes (literally) you’re in. I have to pick and choose based on my budget so when I get a stinker of a shoe, I feel it in my wallet because I just wasted money I could have spent elsewhere.
My rotation doesn’t change on a yearly basis because a release date doesn’t affect a shoe’s performance. Here is my current top 5 that I generally rotate around. If my OG AJ XIV still held up they’d be included in my top 5 but the glue on even my dead stock pairs have become too brittle to risk wearing.

  1. Curry Two
  2. Rose 6
  3. Clutchfit Drive 1
  4. Rose 5
  5. Lebron Soldier VI/Kobe I

That being said here are my awards for this year. I think I’ll call them the Sole Train Awards.

Best traction 

Curry Two

  
I have it up there with the Kobe IX and AJ XX8. Unles you play on a pristine court everyday, traction should be the top priority because the outsole is the only part of the shoe that touches a variable ( the floor). 

The Curry Two works on everything which is a big reason why I love them. 

Best Cushion

Rose 6
  
Although not full length Boost, Adidas gave us what we wanted in the Rose 6. More Boost in the heel and forefoot resulted in cushioning perfection.  Just nothing like it.

 
Most Improved

KD8

  
I had terrible heel slip with the KD 7 but the KD 8 fixed that as well as giving us full length Zoom that isn’t overly squishy and unstable like on the KD 6 Elite. Also these have best containment of a woven shoe I’ve experienced. Leo Chang designed a shoe to fit KD’s actual needs, what a refreshing concept. Retail is $180 but these are sitting everywhere due to a dumb summer release and an underwhelming marketing campaign for KD. Nike clearance sale has them for $108 to $115 . Use code BESTYOU

KD 8 clearance
This also gets the nod for

Low top of the year. Great traction, fit, stability, cushioning and  does what it is supposed to do for a player’s specific needs. The Kobe X Lunarlon forefoot died on me .. Clutchfit Drive Low came out in 2014 so I’m not counting it for 2015. These don’t get much fanfare which is great for my wallet.

Soldier IX
  
The Soldier VIII was garbage and the Soldier IX is almost as good as my beloved Soldier VI.. Almost 

Hyperrev2015

  
The Hyperrev 2014 was just an ankle sprain waiting to happen. Ok traction, absolutely no containment on a very minimal upper held together with free floating Flywire. It was like trying to hold a car down with fishing line. 

The 2015 version put support in the right places and gave us and excellent Aquasock like fit while improving traction.

Caitlyn Jenner Award

Super.fly 

  

The first 3 Superfly models were plush and bulky looking and designed for a low post monster named Blake Griffin. As Blake has improved his jumper and handles, his shoes changed as well. The SF4 resembles more of a Hyperdunk guard like shoe than a big man’s shoe. Lightweight with minimal padding and a low to the ground feel . Transformation complete

Most disappointing

Hyperdunk 2015

  
I was so excited that Zoom returned to the HD15 except it didn’t feel like it at all. 
Shoe of the year

Nike Hyperchase 
Wait that’s the worst shoe of the year 

I made a mistake 

  
The shoe of the year is 

Under Armour Curry Two 

  
I was asked by Tackl to write an article on my performance shoe of the year and you can read it Here or read below 

Why the UA Curry Two is my performance shoe of the year
I’m sure I’m one of the most enthusiastic supporters of the Curry Two for performance shoe of the year as it made it to the top of my ongoing rotation that goes all the back to the original Air Jordan XIV. I know a great shoe when I play in one after years and years of trying everything under the sun. I loved it so much I even customized a pair myself. Here is what makes the Curry Two my shoe of the year 
Traction
  

Personally, I weight traction performance more heavily than anything else. Why you may ask? Because the outsole is the only part of the shoe that comes in contact with a variable (i.e. the floor). Some floors are dusty while some are pristine so I want traction that performs without question no matter the condition. The Curry Two traction is on par with the Kobe IX and AJ XX8 which are pretty much the standard of traction performance. Easily the best traction pattern of the year 

Fit
 The Curry Two provides a one to one fit with no movement side to side or front to back with no heel slippage at all. Truly feels like an extension of the foot.
Cushioning 
   Full length Charged cushioning is softer and bouncier than the Curry 1 set up and still low to the ground. 

  
Materials 
  
I am not a big materials guy. If I don’t notice it and it works well then it’s A OK by me. Speedform in the rear and Synthetic in the forefoot move well with the foot with minimal break in time. 

Support and Stability
 

  
The shoe doesn’t have a lot of external support but it doesn’t need to because it is inherently extremely stable underfoot. A forfoot outrigger and segmented heel all the foot to be planted firmly without making the shoe feel unnatural. Given Steph’s previous ankle issues I’m sure UA made sure to design to this very specific need.
 

Containment 

Containment is a shoe’s ability to keep the foot in place on hard cuts and change of direction. Many manufacturers seem to ignore this need and the result is a shoe that might feel great due to a minimal upper ( ala wovens) but allow the foot to slide off the footbed . Under Armour used a stiffer synthetic as well as raising the midsole to keep the foot in place on hard cuts and change of direction.

Price
 
Last but not least, the Curry Two retails for $130 and can be found for around $100 after coupon codes in various colorways. This is cheaper than most team models of various manufacturers. So not only are you getting a great performing shoe, but you’re getting the most bang for the buck as well. 
Happy New Year everyone!



14 Comment on “End of the Year Review and Awards

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