Sorry for the delay. No time to take new pics or add hyperlinks as I’ve been slammed. You can just scroll on the menu for the full reviews.
2016 was an interesting year for me as I learned a lot about myself. As some of you know I had a good amount of time off due to wrist surgery to fix a totally ruptured scapholunate ligament in my right wrist. I was about to write about but I decided against it since it was felt mundane. However, I learned a few lessons:
Health insurance and doctors offices suck
Although I already knew that I didn’t know they sucked this badly. Went to two specialists to get a second opinion, was clearly told they took my insurance and was IN NETWORK only to find out later they were OUT OF NETWORK. I got a Sorry, our bad and a bill shortly there after. Always check with your insurance not just the doctors office about coverage. After some arguing I got one doctor to bill me as in network and the other to reduce the charges. Canada is sounding better and better..
I am a “when life hands you lemons, make lemonade” kind of person
I got a big bag of lemons this year. When I was in a cast for 6 weeks I didn’t just sit around and mope even though I couldn’t lift weights or play basketball or golf or tennis or…you get the point. I worked on my shot even with a cast on my right arm.. I worked on my legs, ankles and basketball cardio plus learned to stretch my hip flexors so I could prevent injury and be close to game ready when I got back on the floor. Working out the upper body is great but the legs are the engine to the machine so don’t neglect them.
A 3-1 lead doesn’t mean sh*t
See Warriors vs Cavs, Cubs vs Indians, Clinton vs Trump
I am Not an Influencer
Actually I already knew that but I’m proud of that. I’m just a guy doing the same things every sneakerhead does but I decided to write about it for fun and try to learn more about myself and my passions. I don’t post a bunch of pics on Instagram or tweet about the latest drops and pick ups because I don’t have the time. I just found out that WordPress runs ads on my blog so I just upgraded my plan to get them removed. Google Ad sense is the smartest yet most annoying (and scariest) thing in the world. If you’re wondering why you see the same pop up Ax for Men ad on every sneaker site, Google Ad Sense is your answer.
There are more important things in life than shoes.. much more important, it isn’t really even a discussion. I enjoy writing because it lets me escape from reality for a few hours at a time.
Ok enough chit chat here is my 2016 . I will say that 2016 was a good year overall with better cushioning namely thanks to Adidas. It also was nice to see Nike come down to earth with some of their prices. Twenty to thirty bucks off Lebrons and KD’s isn’t that much when you look at their entire line up. Most of the prices stayed the same especially the Kyrie and team shoes. Don’t forget Jordan Brand pushed some of their retros prices up to $220 so it all evens out …sort of. Nike/JB giveth and Nike/JB taketh away in one form or another. Pretty sure they still came out ahead. Competition is a great thing even if they still own 90% of the market. I’m hoping that just losing that tiny bit of market share wakes the bear and Nike shows us what they can really do like the early 2000’s.
On the whole though, the average shoe in 2016 was better, Nike prices fell a little, while Adidas and UA prices were left unchanged or increased. If you wait for a month or two, all shoes can be had at a nice discount, so the retuL price drop isn’t that big a deal to me. KD IX everywhere for $99 anyone?
I also called the bandwagon effect on UA as they got pounded by Wall Street. Diversify your portfolio UA.. Can Curry carry UA alone?
Photo courtesy of Chapelle’s show and Comedy Central
I should note that ONLY ONE shoe from 2016 made my rotation to end the year.
Nike Lebron Soldier X
I should have known better. Average traction, hard cushioning, slight heel slip, no containment. This shoe proves that it isn’t the shoes at all as Lebron just changed his legacy in one series.
Li Ning Way of Wade 4
This was my first and probably last attempt with a Chinese brand. I found them to be painfully numbing with very firm cushioning. Just because a cushioning has fancier name doesn’t mean it works. $195 retail. Just a joke at that price for what you get. Even at $160 it was way too pricey.
Most Underrated/Best Comeback
Nike Hyperdunk 2016
Great comeback by Nike. No frills no fanfare. Not the most exciting shoe but a good solid shoe that gets cheaper each month as inventory piles up.
Under Armour Clutchfit Drive 3
Making the shoe out of its namesake was a great idea UA unlike the CFD 2. Cushioning was ok, traction was good for the most part. Just very CFD like overall.
Risewear 720 Halo
For under $35 bucks retail you get a shoe that has similar materials, nice fit and decent traction for lots less than the big boys. EVA feels decent in these but doesn’t typically last long but they look good for being a discount brand. I really applaud them for “fixing” a glaring hole in the discount shoe industry. Please don’t make fun of what people wear, $35 to some is $200 to others and pennies to another. And if you do, I hope you get crossed up and break your ankles and become a viral sensation. #karma
I keep flip flopping between the KD IX and the Adidas Boost line up so I chickened out and made it a tie. My friend who has back issues swears that his back is great thanks to the KD. He was going to give my Rose 7 a try but he just didn’t like the fit or the thinner forefoot cushioning.
I love the Zoom on the Hyperrev 2016 and I think the full length Zoom on the Hyperdunk Fk and Jordan XXX1 shouldn’t be left out. Just because it’s old doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. Low profile and springy works for me.
Adidas’s Bounce deserves more praise than it gets. Feels good right out of the box plus it’s stable and soft where and when it should be.
The Rare Metals took the Blackfoam from the JC3 and lowered the ride to make it a quicker more balanced cushioning. Just good stuff.
Crazy Explosive heel and midfoot cushioning
Why so low? I bottomed out in the forefoot because of the cored out area. I finally figured out that was the issue. Couldn’t really feel the Boost in the forefoot either. Also I had to go through multiple pairs to find the Boostiest pair which is a real issue. Some were harder than the Rose 7 and CLB.
I heart traction…I may have forgotten one or two good ones but the first few really stood out. The Curry 3 and KD 9 aren’t far behind either.
Least Bad Low Top
I didn’t really love any low this year for one reason or another. Some shoes did a few things great but nothing killed it all around. None of these are making my rotation but if I were to pick on to play in today…
1. Project Crazylight Boost 2016
I really shouldn’t have to modify a shoe to find the right fit but the extra eyelets helped a ton. Heel fit was sloppy in my true size that I had to make new eyelets which eliminated 95% of the heel slip. Going down half a size did help but my wide feet couldn’t stand wearing them for too long. I shouldn’t have to compromise comfort and performance or be forced to choose what is the lesser of two flaws. Plus the four lace loops didn’t help with making a one to one fit. Some suggested more adding more eyelets and I don’t doubt it would work but then I have to find new laces to match.. just a lot of extra steps. The stock Crazylight is good if you have the right foot and ankle for it but since I don’t, it’s not on my list.
2. Nike Kobe A.D.
Excellent fit and traction got me to enjoy this shoe. Cushioning is not as soft as previous Kobe’s, most notably 8-11 but it feels responsive and pretty good after break in, not rock hard like the Kyrie 2. Think a slightly softer Curry 2.5 . The forefoot outrigger does roll under the outsole on hard crossovers which is annoying but mine have held up and it happens only on occasion. Long term I’m not sure how it will hold up but at least Nike has a two year warranty?
3. Adidas Harden Vol 1
I wasn’t sure where to place this shoe but it’s overall a better shoe than the stock lace set up of Crazylight Boost 2016. Adidas improved all facets of the CLB except traction on dusty floors. Needed some serious break in time for me and my arches still get sore. If these had better traction on dusty floors I’d like the a lot more.
4. Kobe XI
Another shoe I didn’t love due to traction. I loved the heel fit, cushioning was good, containment was ok. I may try a solid outsole once prices fall some more but with the A.D. I already found a better traction pattern.
5. Brandblack Rare Metal
Everything about the shoe is great except traction. Just not as much bite as other shoes overall and stupidly placed foam on the outsole plus a harder rubber compound made for inconsistent traction.
*I didn’t count the KD IX as a low although I guess it could be?*
Top 6 Overall
This list is not my top 6 rotation. Only the Rose and Curry 2.5 are in my rotation although the Soldier VI nostalgia has made me give it a lot more PT lately. Newer almost never means better kids.
I like all the shoes on the list but some performance flaws keep them out of my rotation . I wasn’t sure if I should count the Curry 2.5 since it’s pretty much a better fitting Curry 2 so I made it a top 6 instead.
1. Adidas D Rose 7
I don’t hide my unabashed love for excellent traction so this should come as no surprise. Ridiculous traction, great cushioning made even better with an insole swap. Flexible yet supportive, it just fits my game. And prices keep falling so really can’t beat that.
2. Curry 2.5
Same as the Curry 2 but with an even better fit. Once again a top traction set up, decent cushioning (it just plays fast) and super stable.
3. Hyperrev 2016
Most have probably forgotten about this shoe..I mean it’s almost a year old (sarcasm). It fell out of my rotation because it played to similar to the Soldier VI but Nike gave us awesome Zoom, excellent traction (one of the best this year), while being supportive and stable. My heel counter got beat up and lost its stiffness which I should have expected given how soft it was to begin with while my Soldiers have kept trucking along.
4. Hyperdunk 2016
The HD16. My review didn’t sound enthusiastic about it but it wasn’t because it didn’t perform. It did everything well just not lights out great. However, I do have to say the way it pulled the ankle and foot back really stood out to me. Just a solid performer if not exciting. And for the price ..
5. Adidas D Lillard 2
The Lillard 2 is another shoe that I love and I wish its traction on dusty floors was at least better than average. Very comfortable out of the box without sacrificing performance. Looks great and else about the shoe is excellent and at $105, pretty much a no brainer. I even picked up a Primeknit Rip City pair for $85 bucks because I like Dame and the shoe itself. And no, there is no performance difference between the uppers.
6. Nike KD IX
This is why I love competition. Nike brought the big guns with the revamped Zoom and great traction. I felt it was a little too soft for me and the containment wasn’t the greatest. Over time the shoe’s upper and heel counter has gotten too soft and I can’t move like I want to in these because I’m sliding off the footbed. But the good outweighed the bad for the most part and at $99 bucks and below now, it’s almost a no brainer. Nike has the Birds of Prey on sale for $75 and even I picked those up for that price.
Brandblack Rare Metal
I didn’t think fit could be addictive but man these fit great out of the box. No break in time to get locked in. Too bad traction held it back.
What about the Crazylight Boost 2016? See low top section
What about the Crazy Explosive? Just didn’t float my boat like the rest of the sneaker world. Traction was decent not great and prone to peeling. I had pain in the ball of my due to the cored out areas in the forefoot. In addition the forefoot cushioning felt thin to me probably because most of the foot pressure was landing right in that cored out area. Materials? Yes it’s soft but I’d rather just be locked in than have knit materials sitting on top of my foot. To me, materials are almost a non factor in terms of performance unless the material cause constant pain even after break in. Materials are only a talking point nowadays because shoe companies all use different materials now since they all ditched leather. Can’t hurt to market one more thing right? Would MJ missed his last shot if the upper were stiffer on the AJ XIV? Very doubtful, but if the traction sucked and he slipped..well you can’t score when your turn it over.
Love it! Thanks for the write up. Always enjoy your thoughts. Shoes I played in….
1. Kobe 11 EM(draft day hornets colorway) – great traction, great fit and lockdown, good cushion, very light. I forget this one is even on my foot. So much confidence in the stopping power too, I feel quick as hell in this shoe.
2. Hyperdunk 2016 Low – just a good all around shoe. Love the cushion. If the traction bit the floor a little harder, this might be #1.
3. Melo M12 – I know you had major containment problems with this one, but I didn’t. Love the fit, maybe as good as any shoe I’ve had in that regard. Love the unlocked zoom feel in the forefoot, traction is good. For me it’s basically the same as the Hyperdunk….hyperdunk gets the edge because of heel cushion. My top 3 are close though. I go with the Kobe’s just because they bite the floor so hard.
4. D Rose 6 primeknit – Very comfortable. Very supportive. Great traction. It’s just too much shoe and too much cushion for me….I feel sluggish and slow. But my feet never hurt after. I basically wear this to shoot around and if I’m jumping rope or doing jumping drills.
5. D Lillard 2. Man….I wanted to like this more. Feels good. Love the cushion, it’s just right. They just don’t bite the floor hard enough and there’s too much space above my toes. I want a tight fit there.
6. Curry 2 – asterisk here….I got the All Star colorway with the translucent bottoms and I slide all over the place. Damn shame, because I love the fit of this shoe(cushion is eh), and would play in it a lot of the traction was good on my shoe. As it stands, these sit in the box and I check eBay often to see if they’re worth selling. Go Dubs, win another chip and get people hyped on these again!
7. UA Torch 4 – Man, these aren’t bad at all. Very solid traction. Good support. It’s just too bulky and stiff feeling for me. I picked these up cheap to play outdoors, and I’m happy with that. Cushion feels kind of weird to me….almost like it’s too high up on the outsides of my feet. Feels awkward. Maybe it’s just my pair, or maybe it’s my feet.
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That’s a nice list. Kobe XI didn’t get much love but the fit and cushioning felt good to me as well. Never got around to a solid outsole but I know they are hitting sales racks. Agree about the drose 6, somedays it’s nice to have that plushness but most days it’s not necessary. Torch 4 is good overall just a few things here and there it would have been great. Thanks for always commenting Jon! How bout them Knicks? 🙂
Haha, you know I’m sensitive on that. My first comment on here was me overreacting to a Melo slighting. LOL.
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Hahah I remember that. I liked the van gundy era of the Knicks despite how they ground the game to a halt.
I should add that I went a little overboard on buying shoes this year, but justified it by reminding myself that I had not bought a new shoe since the Jordan “Play in These” in 2011! Just wasn’t playing enough for a couple years to care about buying anything new, and then really got behind in my knowledge. Props to you and a few other reviewers, I read your stuff religiously. By trying so many shoes, I know a lot more about what I like that’s out there now. Used to really be up on shoes, glad to be back in the know!
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Haha it’s a fun hobby but it’s easy to go overboard. Best to wait until year end sales or new year sales and pick from there in my experience (do as I say not as I do).
Yeah, I got most of those shoes on a pretty good discount. The Lillard I paid full price just because I really wanted that Rip City primeknit and didn’t want to risk missing out on it by waiting since by the time they came out the previous colorways that I liked (statics, and the regular Rip City) seemed to be impossible to find.
Regular Rip City disappeared after the adidas “recall” but they have some floating around on eBay . Surprised about the statics though . I love the Rip City Primeknit version, I picked a pair up myself (on discount of course)
I got the DRose 7 mesh version on strength of the supposed grip. Here’s the question – does the traction need to be broken in?
I have the Curry 2’s by comparison and the Rose 7 fresh out of the box is very muted compared to Curry 2.
Which is not what I expected as the video that the sole bros did on the Rose 7, in the 3 second clip of them showcasing the squeakiness of the grip, it was VERY loud. Mine are very muted.
Just wondering if they need to be broken in to realize the outstanding grip you and everyone else says they have.
No I didn’t need any break in time. Solid outsole ?
Just give it some time. I’ve had some Boost issues but never traction issues between pairs.
Here’s a very short video clip between my Curry 2 and Rose 7 and how muted it is. 😦
In my opinion squeakiness doesn’t determine how good a traction pattern is. It’s a nice reminder though. You should be fine.
I always thought less squeaking was better, lol – anyways the traction out of the box was great for me as well.
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No doubt. Just find it really really weird that it isn’t squeaky like in this vid. They are hella squeaky in this clip compared to mine!
Far from a perfect science try wearing them outside a little to rough up the outsole and remove and wax or buildup from the factory then wash with dawn and a toothbrush..just a thought .
Just want to note that Anta KT2 is relatively cheap has been getting pretty good reviews so don’t give up on Chinese brand just yet.
Also, where’s the ‘best shoe for wide footers’ section. 😀 Just kidding but I do wonder if there’s anyone in the NBA who has signature shoes and wide feet.
Lastly, thanks for all the reviews. I would rank Schwollo’s reviews at the pinnacle of basketball review sites/vids because it’s so detailed. #2 goes to weartester or sole bros.
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Thanks Gene. Yea I was interested in the KT2 but even at 90 ? I can get other proven shoes I like. KT2 doesn’t fit my eye either haha. I’ve noticed most NBA players don’t really have wide feet or companies just don’t make them wide since they have to appease the customers .
Excellent post as always schwollo. Too bad the clb’s didn’t make it. Any plans on reviewing the nike air max infuriate? The traction looks like it could be good for outdoor play. Fit is great according to one reviewer and the cushioning is decent and at $65 bucks, it’s like the basketball version of the nike air monarch 🙂
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Haha I saw dukes love for them. No plans though bc. budget shoes always get more budgety and go on sale or hit clearance outlets
Watch those FNL winners circle rewards – got mine for 40 with a reward. Super budget.
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I always really consider your reviews when buying shoes because we have similar taste (and foot size hehe). Despite this, I was very surprised about the Hyper Rev 2016- I mean, it is a great shoe, but after a while I got bored with it. Every thing is above average but I am bored. I also ended up selling my Rose 6 because it ws a little bit to heavy for my playing style but I kinda miss how boost was easier on my ankles and back. Anyway, I waslooking at the flyknit hyper dunk but on your list it is mostly always behind the hyper Rev – the cushioning specially caught my eye. Is it really worse-ish than the hyper Rev ? I am also considering the KD9 (affraid of ir because of my duck feet) and the clb16.
I could have flip flopped those two in terms of cushioning. Full length zoom feels like it should on the hd fk . Good thing I keep comments on to clear up any confusion. Agreed about the Rose 6. Somedays that plushness is needed some days it isn’t. I actually cut the straps off and it changed the shoes dynamic a little making it feel more free flowing (if it actually did I doubt it but it’s all mental).
Jangoux, you’re the dj right ?
dj? not dj, music producer.
I dunno but this comment didnt appear when I came to read your post again no my computer (after writing this on my cellphone). I ended up writing again. Sorry for that.
Oh that’s right. About to post my headphone review. Went with senheiser momentum 2.0 but liked all three (v moda crossfade, m50x )
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I have the m50x and the studio I work on has some fancy AKG whose model I can’t remember, and honestly I prefer the m50x (very even freq response, bass somewhat not hyped and mids very close to the monitors I work on). How did you like it ? Or shall I wait for the reviews ?
Haha I liked them a lot but liked the momentum more. I can see why studios like the m50x though very clean sound. Puts beats to shame . I actually like the cleaner simple look of the m50x
Hi, I just want to introduce you this channel, I hope you can enjoy it. Bye.
Great write up as usual. Really enjoy reading your honest opinions.
Up and down year for me for shoes. I purchased a lot but I also sold a lot as well as I couldn’t find the right one. I was one of the few who were quite disappointed with Adidas Boost models. I had the Rose 6 (3 pairs!) and the CLB 16 and eventually gave up on them because I found the cushioning too hard and inconsistent for my liking. Might give the Crazy Explosives a try if I ever find them for dirt cheap (which is tough where I live in Canada) but ultimately I know these won’t be the answer.
Was surprised how much I liked the JC3 – really loved Blackfoam (enough to sacrifice court feel) and was really concerned about containment but I had no issues with my style of play. What’s weird was that I have major issues with the traction. I play on less than stellar courts so I wasn’t expecting to stop on a dime but I found it to be quite poor compared to some of the other shoes I’ve worn this year.
Excited to see what’s coming down the pipeline for 2017 for shoes and from this site.
Keep up the great work!
Must be that cold Canadian air giving the traction fits lol. I’ve only been to Vancouver and Montreal both awesome cities. I bought the black white CE with solid outsole and went through a few pair to find a good Boost pair so it’s def no uncommon to find varying degrees of Boost. Actually went through a few CLB recently to find a Boosty pair too (ghost pepper colorway). It’s a problem imo but not glaring since Boost at its worst still feels ok. Thanks for reading and always commenting Donwong! Have a great 2017
Great choises Schwollo! I think 2016 was a great year for basketball shoes and maybe it’s the best one at least the last decade. Personally, if i had to buy only three models from this year i would pick D Rose 7, Explosive and D Lillard 2. Adidas has released probably the best group of basketball shoes in its history and i wonder what they are up to for the next season.
On average everything was pretty good only a few standouts to me. I expect more of the same from adidas with a few tweaks. But maybe they’ll surprise everyone ?!
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One thing that surprised me is how high the Hyper-rev was – but I found one of those pic’s with it deconstructed and damn the heel zoom looked big!
Anyways great blog Schwollo – I always look forward to the next review and really appreciate the effort that you put into these!!
Over this year the main points I would make is:
– Adidas killed it this year but honestly Boost is over-rated when it comes basketball. The forefoot of the shoes are firm and although they provide some compression and impact protection it is only the heel that is fun (and in some cases the heel is too soft and sloppy). To further nitpick Adidas I don’t get the use of the thin insole when a really flat and stiff piece of strobel board is placed over the boost.
– Nike bounced back with zoom which is a great thing – when done right I think it is the best cushion on the market and hopefully we see this trend continued. Nike almost had some big really hits with the Hyperdunks (too ugly, sloppy fit in the FK), KD9 (too soft for some and lacking traction for me) and the Jordan 31 (bad traction). Still, they had some big misses (Lebron 13 and to most the Kobe AD) so there is room for improvement.
– I lost interest in Underarmour – I guess I am just a bandwagon jumper but their Charged cushioning is just not for me so without the Curry hype I don’t have much interest in the brand. The look of most of their shoes is also outdated and in general they look awkward off the court.
– I can’t comment much on the other Brands like the Chinese ones or Brandblack since they are so hard to get in Canada.
– The last comment I had was that 2016 was a really good year overall – despite my criticisms above the brands made strides forward and their are a lot of great shoes to choose from these days. At this point I almost need a shoe to be customized specifically for me to improve it – with those ID options we need the ability to change cushion and traction setups as well some day (as opposed to now where mainly all you can change is the colours).
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I think adidas did a good job overall. Still need a few tweaks here and there. Tech is nice but only if everything works together. Fun Cushioning seems to hide a lot of flaws. Hyperrev was great esp cushioning and traction but I should have known that heel counter wouldn’t last like the KD 9. Way too flimsy to start (I put a lot of torque on my shoes). I’m still collecting curry’s so I bought a few 3’s but yep everyone jumped off that bandwagon. Sneakerheads always want something new fresh and different and the Curry 3 design plus losing the finals sunk that ship fast. One or two more legit stars will help (and better design). But yea they need a new designer and new cushioning tech to get people excited. Or they need dubs to win again which is never a good thing to hinge your business on.. or is it ? Lol
Beautiful list. All I need to say…Can’t wait for what’s in store for 2017
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Awesome work on the recap man!
Bar-none the most comprehensive, unbiased and insightful reviews on the interwebz – you to me are the contemporary version of Professor K/Kicksology(remember that site?) with a performance angle – geared towards the baller crowd.
Kudos on the work you put in in creating content for fellow performance geeks like us in the world – it truly is a labor of love and I personally am thankful to be a part of the community that you have fostered in this blog.
I hope you don’t mind but I wanted to share my top performers in 2016…..they are in no particular order because I use different shoes for different reasons – some days I want to feel quick, some days I want something plush and some days I just want something to keep my foot locked in and secure . I’m blessed to have a rotation to choose from and these below were my go-tos
For context – I’m 6 ft/200+lbs – 4/5 Low Post player – so my shoes are subjected to a lot of spin moves, drop steps, pick and rolls, pick and pops box-outs, offensive/defensive rebounds and low post wrestling.
1. Under Armour Curry 2 – despite being touted as a guard shoe – I found the Curry 2 to be my go-to gameday pair in 2016. The fit is unparalleled – UA did a wonderful job with the Speedform upper on this model and it worked seamlessly with my ankle protection (Adidas Speedwraps) – this upper wrapped around my foot like spandex with no hotspots. The combination of the top-flite traction on the solid rubber outsole models combined with the low-profile feel of the Charged cushioning made this my go-to shoe if I wanted to feel quick and explosive. The cushioning didn’t really stand out to me – I didn’t feel bouncy nor did I feel like my feet were pounding the hardwood – but I wasn’t thinking about the lack of it’s presence – which is a good thing. If I felt like I needed more impact protection – as a result of going ham at the buffet at Ceasars Palace or playing my 3rd game in 4 nights – I probably would steer away from Charged cushioning – but thankfully that’s the exception rathe than the rule. Overall, I just felt “frisky” playing in the Curry 2s – as a big man – I found myself wanting to move around more – sometimes even going off curls to shoot Klay Thompson-esque mid-range shots – lol – I just felt confident playing in these – I wasn’t thinking about the shoe – I was focused on the game – that to me defines what a “game-day shoe” is.
Pros: Traction, Court Feel, Fit ; Cons: Cushioning
Point is – the Curry 2s featured a great balance of traction and court feel that made a big like myself feel light on my feet (emphasize keyword FEEL).
2. Adidas Rose Boost 7 – I was really excited for the Rose 7 provided my experience with the Rose 6 – and overall – I’m glad to say that the shoe has become a solid cog in my rotation and motivated me enough to spring for a miAdidas pair (with gum outsoles – who thought the traction could even get better on this model?!!?). The Rose 7 was the shoe I went for when I was looking for support and heel impact protection. Banging in the post with the trees really puts a lot of stress on your knees/ankles/back and it’s key to have a shoe that helps mitigate the amount of stress that you can put in your lower extremities – and this is where the Rose 7 shined for me. I just felt secure in my pair as I coupled my Speedwraps with the thick collar/achilles pillows and high cut that the shoe offers. No heel slippage as the big boys were pushing back on box outs – my foot was locked in place in the back of the shoe. And of course – the best feature of the shoe is the traction – out of the box this was pancake syrup sticky – Aunt Jemimah style – and that gave me enough confidence to push back on the other big boys as we wrestled for boards. Many people may think that traction is just utilized by guards crossing people over in the open court – but we bigs need just as much traction whenever we’re pushing other behemoths to grab that offensive board. If I don’t have that traction – I won’t be able to explode towards the rim to grab that rebound. My only beef with the Rose 7 is the forefoot fit, sizing and cushioning was meh. Provided I went 1/2 size down on the rose 6 – I tried that with the 7 and found myself with a banged up big-toe from all the plants that I’d stick. The forefoot impact protection was also underwhelming at first as it felt flat and “dead”. Schwollo’s suggestion of a insole swap did wonders for me – I threw in a Micro G insole- and it rejuvenated the model – the forefoot now had a little bounce to it and also helped secure the forefoot better if you get TTS.
Pros: Traction, Support, Heel Impact Protection ; Cons: Forefoot Underwhelming, Insole Switch needed to fully unleash potential.
Bottom line, the Rose 7 provides top-notch support with best-in-class traction coupled with solid heel impact protection to help absorb the shockwaves sent to your back by opposing bigs. Do an insole swap and you’ll be good to go.
3. Brandblack JC3 – I tried BB for the first time in 2016 – and boy-o-boy – am I glad I did. The JC3 was a very pleasant surprise for me – I didn’t know what to expect from BB in terms of tech and materials – but they really impressed me with the out of the box comfort and plus feel of the Black Foam cushioning. The biggest appeal of the shoe for me was that it required ZERO break-in time – when I laced it up – it was game-ready. The cut of the JC3 fit like a glove with my Speedwraps and I know schwollo experienced some containment issues – but maybe I don’t put as much stress on my lateral movements – and the JC3 was more than sufficient in keeping me locked in and feeling secure. The traction was mighty sticky for me – I play in semi-clean courts – but I do notice that traction is also a result of the humidity in the gym – even the stickiest of outsoles showed some traction degradation in really dry cold gyms I’ve played at – but I digress – the traction pattern and compound for the JC3 was plenty solid for me and I rarely felt the “on skates” feeling on a regular indoor court. Maybe it’s my weight – but I really enjoyed playing with Black Foam – in my experience it’s more plush than Boost – a little mushier – but not enough to feel sluggish and slow. Boost had more rebound – but Black Foam felt more “comfortable” – I guess I didn’t feel particularly quick in the BF – but I didn’t feel hindered. There’s a lot to be said with feeling “comfy” in a shoe – where you just don’t think about it while you’re wearing it – always a plus in my mind.
Pros: Step-in Comfort, Fit Cons: This is a stretch but “mushy” cushioning…
Summed up – the JC3 fit my feet like a glove – it was comfy and it provided a well-balanced experience for me – solid performance for traction, support, fit and cushioning – I didn’t “think” about it while I was hooping – which means its doing what it’s supposed to do – be an extension of my foot so I can focus on the game.
Honorable Mention (since I got these in 2017 and need to play in them more)
BrandBlack Rare Metal – I haven’t put in too many hours in my Rare Metals and I was extremely skeptical of the hybrid fit but MAN – the combination of step-in comfort, bouncy/soft cushioning, seamless upper and solid lockdown of this model really caught my attention. I just had fun playing in this shoe – despite being a low post player. The Jetlon EVL provided a perfect combination of responsiveness and impact protection for me – I felt it more than Charged but it was bouncier than Black Foam – it truly did evolve from the last iteration of Jetlon. The fit was just perfect – even with the speedwrap – it felt like it was developed with the speedwrap in mind. No movement inside the shoe when I was strapped in tight after lacing and no heel slippage. Traction was quite solid for me – maybe I’m not cutting as hard as guards – but it was more than adequate on a normal indoor court – whenever I’d plant – it .would bite and I barely experienced unexpected slippage
Pros: Step-In Comfort, Fit, Cushioing . Cons: Support (still TBD with the hybrid cut).
Quick wrap-up – the RM builds on the strengths of the JC3 for me – great step-in comfort – even better cushioning and no-nonsense performance. Traction remains to be evaluated over time – but for the hours I put in thus far – it’s been more than sufficient. Hybrid cut was weird at first – but surprisingly comfortable and works well with ankle protection.
WHEW….I kinda got carried away with my top performers – just geeked out there as I was reflecting back on the past year – I’ll keep this next portion short 🙂
Disappointments (again unique to my experience)
1. Nike Hyperrev 2016 – Now I know Schwollo really liked the Revs – all of his reasons are the reasons that I liked them as well – responsive Zoom Air setup – solid traction – but my biggest beef with this model was the fit with my ankle protection – when I was wearing it with my speedwraps – it would render the upper bulky enough to push the “strap” (which was secured only by velcro) loose – which then would bug me during gameplay as I needed to strap up again. I know this is a function of my ankle protection – but given the lack of ankle support on this model (it only features a neoprene sleeve around the ankle) – I felt more secure playing with my speedwraps. Heel lockdown was also iffy for me – again possibly because of the speedwraps. I also experienced bruising in my big-toe with this model – the medial toe hyperfuse reinforcement was really hard and whenever I made hard cuts my foot would shift inside the shoe and my toe would bang on that layer. Needless to say – I had to bench my Revs :(.
2. Under Armour Curry 2.5 – Another Schwollo favorite – and given how much I loved the Curry 2 – I expected the 2.5 to be beastly for me given the same tooling. The issue here for me was the upper – provided that I had the speedwraps, for some reason it didn’t work seamlessly with the burrito tongue on this model. I had to go 1/2 size up on this given how supportive and rigid the upper was – and when I wear the ankle protection – the upper just felt awkward. With break-in time the shoe performed better – but overall – I just felt more comfortable with the 2s rather than the 2.5 given my setup. I still use these when I want to have a better balance – but I will have to admit I was more aware of these on my feet compared to the 2 – the burrito just didn’t work as well for me.
3. Adidas Crazy Explosive – this is my recovery shoe – I love the plushness of the Boost and the upper is flexible enough that the step-in comfort is amazing for me. The forefoot boost concerns that others have pointed out is something I’ve felt – but comparing the forefoot experience here with the Rose 7 unmodded – I still like the CE. My biggest beef with this model is the support and lockdown. I don’t feel particularly fast in this model and it’s mostly reserved for recreational and not competitive play. The number of lace loops didn’t really secure my foot and if you combine this with the spandex like upper or primeknit – sometimes I felt like I would slide out of these. Now don’t get me wrong, the base is wide and it’s quite comfortable – but I think adding a couple more lace loops with to have expanded foot lockdown coverage would help a lot. The upper is super soft and comfy – but for a big man like me that puts a lot of torque and force on shoes – I feel like I need a more supportive upper to ensure that I don’t pop out of these as I try a spin move. Basketball Ultra Boosts they call these – and generally that’s a good thing – but I don’t think I’d want to be wearing ultraboosts when I’m trying to dislodge a 240 lb dude out of the post.
Apologies for the lengthy “comment” – I really just wanted to share my views with everybody – keep hoopin’
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That’s a nice list. Agree with the Curry 2 you just forget about wearing them. 2.5 that burrito tongue will get messed up with any ankle brace. Curry has pencil ankles so makes sense it works for him. Good call on Crazy Explosives it is comfortable but comfortable doesn’t always equal performance imo. JC3 for me was very comfy but just not what I need. Great list and great review JC! and yes humid helps with traction usually, moist dust is better than dry dust..it’s like constant spit on your shoes. Keep those corp league trophies coming Jc!
Thx for the list! I’m torn on my next purchase. I actually prefer lows but the Kobe AD felt a bit stiff and clunky in the store, the CLB 16 wanted to overpronate my foot along with heel slip, the Harden vol 1 seemed big although comfortable, the CLB 2.5 was comfortable but no forefoot cushion. I bought D Lillard 2’s but my toe hits the front on stepbacks after having to size down to avoid heel slip. I also bought Jordan XxX’s and though I love them on cuts, they jog down the floor like cowboy boots. My favorite shoe has actually become the Hyperlive believe it or not. I’m tempted to try Curry 2.5’s but I like a little cushion. The Rose 7 forefoot fit sounds like I may have the same toe bang problem of the D Lillard 2’s. I’m kind of leaning toward either the CLB 2.5 or Harden (I like a little arch vs overpronating outriggers, but neutral is ideal) It’s tough because I never know if true to size or half down will be better, and the stores around here dont keep 11.5’s and 12’s in stock very well. Just gonna have to drop $ and hope to sell what doesn’t work I guess, lol.
You might try the Mamba Instinct. Got a pair to try out and although it has almost no torsional or midfoot support you might like them. Very Kobe 8 ish. I still get the toe jam on the Lillard 2 after I bought true to size as well for casual use. Rose 7 does a better job because the laces around the ankle hold your foot back. Harden just takes some time to get used to it imo even if it is big. Curry 2.5 is firmer than all others mentioned but not bad
Thx I’ll check them out. I gotta let you know that I pulled the the D Lillard 2’/ back out today for a couple hours of pickup ball … but I took a page out of your insole swap book to tighten the toe box. I didn’t actually swap but I simply added a Spenco soft arch insole (to eliminate the dead space) and round laces (to pull tighter without discomfort) and bam … they are now my favorite shoe. The heel lockdown could still be better but toe jamming went away after eliminating the dead space with the insole. I was going to sell them but now I’m keeping. So when you don’t like an adidas shoe … just add a thicker insole and see what happens, lol.
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It’s a great shoe overall. I had heel lockdown improve over time so maybe the same will
Happen for you. The Primeknit Rip City version comes with round laces so maybe you’re onto something lol
Hi Schwollo. Have another question here. You know how good is the traction, containment and lockdown of the curry 2.5, will listening to senheiser momentum 2.0 while playing gonna improve its cushioning? If yes, what music should I be listening to?lol. Kidding aside, more power to you and keep doing what you do best. BTW, where do you post your headphone review?
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Lol they do actually 🙂 I took it down because I didn’t like the flow so I’m redoing it.
Great list! 2016 gave us a lot of great basketball shoes and here are some of my favorites
1. Under Armour Curry 2.5 – An unexpected favorite. Decided to try them out while I was looking at buying the Jordan XXXI, ended up getting these instead because of how nice they felt on foot. After just 1 session, I knew I struck gold with these. Great fit, awesome traction. Only downside is that the cushion is less than ideal for longer hoop sessions (these are my go-to for any regulated games though)
2. Adidas DRose 7 – Best traction of 2016, along with awesome Boost cushioning. Probably my most-worn shoe in the latter half of the year. Great support too although they do kinda feel bulky on the feet.
3. Nike KD9 – A lot better than the KD8, imo, which was a bit of a disappointment for me personally last year. The KD9 is one of my most worn shoes for pick-up, and I didn’t get any issues with the Zoom bag. Possibly the most fun cushion setup to play in. And having real flyknit on a basketball shoe (without that glue backing) without being flimsy and unsupportive is also nice.
4. Nike LeBron 13 Elite – Not worth the retail price but I picked these up on sale and they are great. Much more flexible upper than the regular 13s while having the same tooling. These don’t get much love but they do look sick imo, and are a solid on-court model.
5. Adidas Harden Vol 1 – Took a while for me to really love this shoe, but after break-in they turned into my favorite low-top to play in. Ranking them lower than the KD9 because of the break-in time, but nowadays I do play in these a lot more than the KD9.
Adidas DLillard 2 – Great shoe. Got the PK version with bounce tooling and it ended up being my outdoor go-to as Bounce is just a great cushion setup. Have yet to play in the Dame 3s but they look to be even better than the 2s.
Nike Hyperdunk 2016 FK – Great all-around shoe. Doesn’t really do anything amazing but it’s really the first time I ever liked a Hyperdunk shoe.
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Nice list! Lots of ppl didn’t like the KD 8 but to each their own. KD 8 works better for me overall even if the cushioning isn’t as good. “Safer” feeling and better containment. Agree with everything else! Dame 3 got here yesterday so we will see
I wanted to like the KD8 but just had a lot of issues. Didn’t like how dead the zoom felt and I did have several issues where the arch of my left foot would hurt a lot while playing in that shoe. I ended up selling them when I got my hands on the KD9.
I’ve tried on the Dame 3 and the customizable lacing might be the best thing ever. The upper also felt like a softer version of the Lebron 12 mega fuse. It felt like an in between of that and the Kobe 11 Elite upper when it came to softness. I only tried them on in store though and didn’t pull the trigger on the purchase.
I can’t decide if I want the CNY one or the Rip City one better. The BHM one doesn’t look too bad either. I actually like the whole adidas BHM line this year. I might get one of each eventually.
Ha nice played in Dame 3 last night in my league. It’s a nice shoe, feels similar but different than the 2. Had some heel slip even laced all the way to the back but we will see if that goes away or not. Cushioning is lower in the forefoot and a little firmer too. Traction was nice !
And yes the BHM this year looks great. Cny is nice so is Rip City but all kind of similar. I have the Harden BHM coming today 🙂
Yo Schwollo, I think I’m going to have to stop visiting your blog because the way you describe some of these shoes in your reviews make me want to go out and purchase them the next day…my wallet can’t keep up! Haha
I saw you listed the D Rose 7 mesh version as your performer of the year, but when I went back and looked at the full review you posted I believe you had the PK version rated higher. Have you changed your opinion about the performance between different material types of this shoe? Can’t seem to find them anywhere in stores to try them on and compare for myself and I’m starting to see the mesh version at some decent sale prices online.
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I had the pK rated higher initially until I played on a dusty floor with the Pk. Ideal is Pk with a solid outsole which is out now but I’m not in a rush. Pk is more comfy but it doesn’t matter when I’m playing so just waiting for the usual big discount on the Rose Pk solid outsole . Sorry for the confusion! Good Rose mesh deals should be around 85 or under . Check Amazon fulfilled by Amazon only .
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does the pk or mesh materiel stretch out as it breaks in? I went down .5 for the length and the width is a little tight. Rose 7 traction > Curry 2?
Mesh doesn’t really stretch bc it has that synthetic underlay . Pk stretches very little bc it has nylon on those ribbed areas. You might get used to the tightness, but if it runs short for you you might want to size up if you can. Rose 7 traction is better I guess ? Can’t say for certain unless I’m swapping them out on the exact same court the same day but they are both excellent.