Brandblack, a shoe nerd’s dream

  
You’d think I got a media pack but nope, just standard packaging.

I love the little guy, the underdog, the David to Goliath so I decided to check out the J Crossover 3. Not many reviews on this shoe other than Weartesters so might as well have a second opinion right ? 
I liked the J Crossover 2 but the cushioning didn’t wow me and containment wasn’t good at all. From the flyer included in the box, it looks like they addressed my concerns on paper but let’s see how it works on the hardwood. 

*although I hate Finishline these are on sale for 119 already. Here is the link JC 3 *

  

Pros: traction, cushioning, stability, high quality build, addictive smell 

Cons: containment .. Again

 Best for: any players that don’t cut a lot

Sizing: true to size 

Price: $160

Weight:

   

 

15.5 oz with shroud 14.5 without three for the shroud weighs 1 oz ( I’m Asian so I’m good at math )
Traction

  

Wiper blades are back and they are stickier this time around. I enjoyed the traction last year but felt it could use more stopping power on lateral movements. 

   
  

 This year works just aa little better because they are stickier but they do gather dust so wipe accordingly. There is more texture on the outsole but I don’t think it made a huge difference. The rubber compound feels softer and is translucent so it’s just plain stickier. It doesn’t cake up dust like the Kobe XI m. Traction improved over last year so I’m happy.

 
Cushioning

 Black foam replaced Jetlon in the JC3. It has a “20% higher rebound rate ” over Jetlon and “40% higher versus EVA” according to BB but all you need to know is that it feels great. Much better then last year in my opinion. It does ride noticeably higher off the ground that the JC2 though
Fantastic step in comfort insole  
 Force Vector plates “cradle” the foam  so it remains stable. This cushioning was my favorite part of the shoe. Doesn’t feel quite as good as Boost but pretty damn close, it feels good, like a thicker Micro G but muted due to the Vector plate. I rank this behind Boost but ahead of all other foams including Micro G and Bounce 

Well done Brandblack!

 Fit

  
I went true to size with my normal sz 11 and had a finger width at the toe which is my ideal. I felt these look narrow but fit width wise they fit perfectly. If you have narrow feet go down half a size. I had zero heel slip and zero movement side to side. 

BB added contoured heel cushions to enhance the fit and it works well

  

  
 

The upper conforms to the foot well due to the use of ballistic mesh ( same as the AJ XI, Lebron II)

 
For even better fit and comfort, the inner sleeve runs from the tongue all the way to the toe for a sock like feel.  

Well done Brand Black!
  
Support and stability 

Not much going on support wise other than the fit, outrigger, shank and  rigid heel counter. 

  
    

The shroud… I actually preferred it on because  I felt it gave a little more support with a snug feel. I was very skeptical at first and was planning on never using it but the feeling is noticeable because it fits perfectly around the ankle with no gaps and the leather doesn’t stretch. 

  
BB says it was inspired by players who tape their shoes for support which I find a bit out there but it works like it says so can’t knock it.

Btw, the detailing on the shroud is amazing and is well crafted.

  
The JC 2 had outstanding stability and these aren’t quite as stable feeling especially at the heel. These ride a little higher but still provide good stability thanks to the forefoot outrigger, Vector plate and a stable heel that passed my heel test. 

  

Containment 

This is my biggest gripe with the shoe because every other company seems to have realized that wovens and mesh do a poor job containing the foot since they stretch so much on cuts. The big 3 all have added structure such as foot stays or raised midsoles to keep the foot in place. Brandblack, on the other hand, opted to use a TPU layer but it’s really thin and really looks and feels like paint to me.  I guess it provides extra some elasticity but not much.

 
Above: The layer of TPU is so thin that the texture of the mesh can still be seen clearly 
Below: I can pinch the TPU just as easily as the non TPU

 

 Here you can see how easily I can push the slightly raised midsole with my finger 
Here is the end result and it isn’t pretty.. At all 

I filmed this starting and stopping from only  five feet so imagine what it would be like with a full head of steam. Notice on the video that my shoe tips because of how much it slips out due to the upper.  Granted I’m 178 lbs 5’10 so my weight distribution isn’t like Jamal Crossover but still… Sizing down would have helped a little since it would  tighten the fit a little but if I played more games it would stretch even more so I’d be back at square one.  

  
Here are pics of the AJ XI and Lebron II. 
The same mesh was used on the AJ XI but Nike used patent leather, a very stiff and inelastic  leather, to keep the foot contained. 

  
The Lebron II featured ballistic mesh but featured leather and a foot stay in high pressure areas. 

 

And here we are 12 years later and Brandblack couldn’t figure it out ? They could have simply hidden a synthetic rand under the “TPU” portions if they wanted to keep the look clean. 

Please put more lateral support on the shoe Brandblack! The JC 2 low will feature synthetic in the forefoot so why not these ?   

Containment is just as bad as the Melo M12 but slightly better than the JC 2.  I want it all when I look for a performance shoe and this is the one area I felt the JC 3 fell short. If containment was at least average this would be a near perfect shoe for me. It’s frustrating because I love everything else about the shoe.

*read my Food for Thought

Why Wovens and Mesh don’t work for me
 Conclusion

Overall I think the JC 3 is an improvement over the JC 2. Exceptional cushioning, better traction, and slightly improved containment.  I think most players won’t mind the containment but if you are a quick shifty player that changes directions a lot you’ll feel your foot sliding out. Some more reinforcement at the high pressure area (forefoot ) would have really helped. I felt like the $20 price increase is warranted for the cushioning upgrade but they opted for mesh rather then woven so overall it’s actually a wash. 

Price wise, I feel Brandblack overpriced itself. At $140, the JC 2 was a decent bargain with its woven upper but at $160, Brandblack priced itself above Adidas’ most expensive shoe, the Drose 6 ($140) and right in Nike’s wheelhouse when their sig shoes hit discounts on Eastbay for 20% off ($200 * 80%= $160) . To a sneakerhead who knows a little about Brandblack, the price might be justifiable but even I had to really decide if I wanted to try these out. Ask 1,000 people on the street which one they’d pick and I’m pretty sure all 1,000 would go with one of the big brands just because of the name.  

Some things I’d also like to see BB do:

  1. Do away with these frequent super limited releases on their general releases.  I tried getting these the first time and they were gone in seconds. I doubt they were testing the waters for demand since they can forecast sales pretty accurately off previous years and there really isn’t a secondary resale market so I doubt bots/ resellers scooped them up. Limiting supply to create hype isn’t a long term solution for sales. Nike can get away with it because they have the brand power and are the king of that cheese move. Be better than that Brandblack.
  2. Fix the website checkout. If it says in stock and I am about to check out and then it says out of stock, I find that more disheartening because I had my hopes up. The fewer barriers to purchase equals more sales and a happier consumer. 
  3. Price themselves around $120 to $135.  This might encourage potential customers to try their shoes since BB is competing in a very price sensitive market. Hard to get people to buy a relatively new unknown brand when big name brands are priced the same or better. This price range doesn’t cheapen the brand either. 
  4. 30 day return policy on the website. I realize that BB is small and this is risky but once again this would encourage consumers to at least try the shoe. Be confident knowing that Black foam and the quality of the shoe is as good or better than the big boys. 
  5. Make a shoe for bigger players. I’m sure they will since the Force Vector mesh and leather came out last year. 

I say all this from a good place and hope Brandblack thrives and grows.  The JC 3isn’t going to make the cut for me but if containment isn’t important to you, you’ll love this shoe. 

 

    53 Comment on “Brandblack J Crossover III 3 Performance Review

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