Let’s take a moment to appreciate the simplicity and beauty of the Zoom BB

The Zoom BB came out in 2007 when Steve Nash was near the peak of his powers and the BB was getting some serious team shoe time. 
Why Nike only made three of the Zoom BB is beyond me. I never tried the Fuse 1.5 but I’ll bet it performs as decently although it is only forefoot Zoom. Out of the BB I and II, I preferred the I because the upper had a tighter overall fit with no deadspace.  And in case you didn’t know both generations of the BB feature the same outsole and full length Zoom set up. I suspect a retro will be coming in the next year or two. 
Pros: traction, cushioning, fit, support and stabilty, containment, low fast ride 

Cons: piece in outer forefoot gets soft and containment suffers over time. 

Best for: Guards

Sizing: true to size


17.5 ounces so not a lightweight nowadays 

I remember the first time I played in these like it was yesterday. Just seriously loud squeak and stop traction. 

I actually used these last week in my open league and prior to that, I played with these side by side with the Hyperdunk 2016 to compare the cushioning and the traction is still fantastic. It does require some wiping on dusty floors but it can still almost hang with the top tier traction set ups and still better than most. 

Nike used a simple and innovative approach to making the cushioning a guards dream

Step 1: full length Zoom

Step 2: do not use any fillers such as EVA or Phylon. Before Pure Boost there was Pure Zoom

Step 3: remove strobel board and use cloth instead

Step 4: use Pebax to stabilize the Zoom yet keep it flexible and springy 

Even the sockliner had a little extra spring to it

This is as pure of a Zoom set up as you’re going to get. Low profile and springy or every guard’s wishlist. No foam allows the player to feel the Zoom and eliminates any extra ride height. 

Regarding the lows, I thought the set up was the same but upon further inspection it is heel (very small and short heel but thick) and forefoot Zoom. Still a great ride but not as springy from heel to toe. 

The only reason why Nike got rid of this set up could be due to the Zoom popping although I have never read of any but I could see it happening since you’re essentially stepping directly onto the Zoom. 


The Zoom BB I simply fit true to size. No need to size down or up to get a one to one fit because back then, there weren’t as many choices in materials. My normal size 11 fit perfectly length and width wise. 

Sit back, let the basic lacing set up and mid cut do its job. No heel slip or movement side to side or front to back. 

So simple, so effective, so so nice


These are the suede version and although it isn’t my first choice in materials, it works.

 The suede version is just softer and stretchier than the leather plus patent version and gets sloppier over time but these have held up well after ten years. I have the Tony Parker PE somewhere but I can’t find it 😦

Support and Stability 

The leather version actually has more support than the suede because of the materials. I actually left the top loop undone on the leather pair because it was almost too restrictive. This suede pair is a little more flexible and conforms to the foot like a sock. 

Here you can see the simple heel counter.  Notice it only extends to the lateral (outer) side, similar to what the CLB 16, to save weight. 

Low to the ground with a flat outsole, these just keep you planted to the ground. No worries of any instability. 


People think I’m crazy when I talk about lateral containment but look at the pic above and you can see it mattered at some point to Nike. Unseen, there is a plastic piece behind the upper that sits where that leather rand is. I’ve worn my BB down so it’s a little flimsy now but still miles better than the new generation of mesh and knits that have a total disregard for this performance aspect. 


Do away with all the technical mumbo jumbo and marketing and just give me a shoe that performs like the Zoom BB and you’ll have my endorsement. There was no fanfare, no YouTube reviews back in 2007,  just word of mouth from genuine basketball enthusiasts like Niketalk. Even the Nike ad was simplistic. 


Technology may have changed but it really hasn’t improved in a significant way in ten years and the Zoom BB proves it. It’s also why I don’t just pick ten shoes every year and give them a ringing endorsement. 

37 Comment on “The Archive: Nike Zoom BB I Performance Review 

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