*Executive summary: very average cushioning and ok traction ruined everything else on this $190 shoe. At this price point look elsewhere unless it’s for collection purposes *
I love watching great players turn back the clock and watching Dwade during these playoffs made me think “is it the shoes ? ”
For me, the main deterrent to buying the WoW 4 was the price. At $190, these are $10 less than the AJ XXX, $60 more than my top shoe, the Curry Two, and $85 more than the Lillard 2. Not sure who was high when they set the prices on these but the Li-Ning brand isn’t strong in the US. Even Anta, who has Klay Thompson as their main endorser, only charged $99 for his sig shoe. I’m sure next year they will be on sale for $55 bucks or so but come on, get a grip Dwade and Li-Ning
Pros: fit, stability, containment, looks
Cons: very average cushioning, traction easily affected by dust and needs lots of wiping on dusty floors, “numbingly” painful break in
Best for: Any position
Sizing: true to size but slightly short toe box. Narrow foot stay true to size, wide footers go up a half a size.
14 oz which is pretty much average these days. Curry two is the same weight. I usually don’t comment on weight but these feel much heavier than 14oz
I always rate traction first because I feel it is the most important aspect of a shoe. I had high hopes after watching reviews and went with a non translucent sole. I found the traction good on clean floors but not great with even a little dust.
On perfectly clean floors they worked great but what doesn’t ? Small amounts of dirt and I was slipping a bit. I had to wipe on this pristine floor which is pretty sad. Pic above is taken on same day.
The compound used on the WoW 4 isn’t very pliable or soft but it looks like it would last outdoors. In addition the grooves of the pattern are flat rather than sharp so that doesn’t allow the grooves flex and brush away dirt as effectively. I also feel that making the pattern a triangle inhibits how much the grooves can flex. Triangles are very strong structures and basically each side is supporting the the others, therefore preventing them from flexing fully.
Also worth noting is that that the orange portions of the sole protrude slightly from the rest of the sole. Not sure what the purpose is aside from possibly pressure mapping but a normal outsole would have sufficed
Li-Ning uses Bounse as their “premium”cushioning set up and I put premium in quotes because it doesn’t feel like anything special at all.
It is very dense and thick and ironically has no bounce, it is just there. I was hoping I might be pleasantly surprised like I was with the Lillard 2 Bounce but unfortunately I was not. Step in comfort is nice due to the nice insole but that’s about it. Very soft and spongy
The first few hours, I really hated the cushioning; I could feel my neuromas in my feet talking to me during play asking for forgiveness. The next few times I played in these, they played slightly softer but it didn’t magically turn into anything special. As harsh as this sounds, I’d take Nike Phylon over this. It at least has some rebound effect and isn’t nearly as dense feeling. Note to LiNing, Just because you call it a cool name doesn’t mean it works.
Fit and Materials
I went true to size and I should have gone up half a size. The toe box is a little short, by about 1/4 size -1/3size . I figured this would be okay since I don’t have super wide Flintstone feet but I was wrong and should have gone up half a size. My feet were killing me and my left foot went NUMB while I was playing (and yes I adjusted the laces loosely) the first few hours. I think had I opted for the mesh upper, it would have been fine because the synthetic has very little stretch in it. Thankfully after that break in period, the numbing subsided as the upper stretched a little.
Speaking of materials, as I’ve stated before I’m not a materials snob but for $190 for an off brand, these better have amazing materials. And the verdict for me is they are above average but not premium. I know previous models of the WoW featured real leather and was a big selling point but I guess Flash decided he need a little more flash and speed so he opted for a lighter material. I went with the full synthetic 3m upper because I wanted the best possible lateral containment. There is very little stretch or give in this upper. If you want more comfortable upper, I suggest going with mesh but if you need more containment like me, stick with synthetic.
Back to the fit
The fit of the WoW 4 is fantastic despite my issues. Zero movement side to side or front to back. Remember the Lebron IX “wings” ? The WoW 4 took that idea multipled it by 2.5
The straps actually stretch all the way down into the base of the shoe so you’re really strapped into the the shoe. The width of the straps also aid in containing the foot on lateral movements so even with the mesh upper, I think you’ll be fine. Unlike Flywire, a wide strap has more surface area and width to absorb force. That’s why you don’t see strings used on seat belts.
There are plenty of lacing options with the WoW 4 which is a rarity these days.
In addition to the lacing system, the ankle collar and nicely padded tongue keep the ankle and heel perfectly in place. Zero heel slippage
Support and Stability
These are what I call high low cuts. Not really low like current Kobes but more like the AJ III which I really like. Gives you just enough mobility around the ankle but not so much that you feel like you’re playing in running shoes.
Additional torsional and midfoot support is given with this carbon fiber shank. I never felt unsafe in the WoW4
Well done WoW4!
Lateral containment is a strength of the WoW 4. The previously mentioned straps add additional strength on hard cuts but most of the containment is due to the synthetic upper and the extended heel counter that come all the way to the midfoot.
The midsole isn’t raised at all but containment was still excellent for me. I doubt the mesh version does as good of a of a job as the synthetic but I think containment will still be good especially with the straps that extend down into the forefoot
I really wanted to like this shoe because I’ve always liked Dwade as a player and almost bought those Converse Weapons he wore back in 06 just because he rocked them. However, for the $190 price tag, you’re only paying for the Wade name; Li-Ning, at least here in the US, has nearly no weight as a brand. The Wow 4 is a very mixed bag for me. The highlights of the shoe are the fit, stability and containment while the lowlights of the shoe was the cushioning and slightly above average traction. Some players won’t mind the cushioning set up but I for one, expect a shoe to excel in every aspect when I’m paying $190. There are much better options at lower price points . Actually at $190 there aren’t many shoes above that price that go buy something else and take your girlfriend or/and wife out to a nice dinner.