It’s hard to believe the Hyperdunk line is nine years old this year after Kobe famously debuted them at the 2008 Olympic Games. We are welll past the “ultralight” era of marketing, err, I mean shoe technology and back to a heftier 14-16 ounce shoe that doesn’t sacrifice performance for weight. Of course the main story of the HD17 isn’t the weight or the upper, it’s Nike’s new React cushioning. How does the HD17 and React foam compare to Hyperdunks of the past? Well read on you lazy bum..or just read the pros or cons. Ok Ok I’ll save you the time, this is the best Hyperdunk to date and will somewhere in my top ten rotation now.
Pros: fantastic traction, smooth cushioning, fit, stability, containment
Cons: Although slightly better, React foam isn’t much different from Lunarlon
Best for: any position (see Draymond Green)
Sizing: slightly short length wise but most will fit true to size. Wide footers will want to go up half a size.
Buying Advice: wait to buy. Fair price is $100 or less, bottom is around $70 for FK version
As stated in my first look, these run about average in terms of weight. Gone are the days of sub 10 ounce shoes and if you can’t handle another few ounces go hit the gym.
Almost Kobe IX level.. almost. Almost is more than acceptable in this case though. Very minimal wiping if at all so there really isn’t a point in splitting hairs over it. Definitely better than the HD16 traction which wasn’t a push over either. For those people comparing the traction across brands, these are easily better than the Hardens, Crazy Explosives, Curry 3 and on par the Crazylight Boosts. Well done Nike!
React Foam does not feel a lot different than standard Lunarlon but it feels better tuned to basketball. As I said in my first look, React feels liked my Lunarglides or Blackfoam but lower to the ground. It has a little more bounce to it than Lunarlon but if you’re expecting Boost, Bounce, or Micro G feel, you’ll be disappointed. As odd as this might sound, I think React feels like a better a Charged foam; it is soft when moving slowly but seems to firm up when moving quickly. Plus it doesn’t have that overall mushy feel to it like Lunarlon. I’d prefer Zoom but this feels good as well but in a different way.
I should also note that the insole is thin and cheap feeling even though the angle of this picture makes it look thicker than it really is.
Overall I really liked the full length React foam set up even if it isn’t the most fun feeling or bounciest set up. I didn’t suffer any bottoming out and it felt a lot better than previous Hyperdunk targeted (ie forefoot heel) Lunarlon set ups. I’m hoping long term durability is better than Lunarlon since that was one of its main issues.
A little short length wise but true to size overall. I have about a pinky finger worth of length when I go true to size and a forefinger width half a size up. Wide footers will want to go up half a size.
I had no movement side to side or any heel slip on hard cuts or stops from day one so I was very pleased with the fit of the HD17. It’s amazing how a shoe can look totally different year to year but still perform well and feel familiar.. except the HD2015 of course.
Maybe I shouldn’t write First Looks anymore because a lot of this feels like I’m repeating myself.
The HD17 features Flyknit with TPU strands similar to what we saw on the Kobe XI Elite. It is backed by nylon so it is a nice balance of strength and flexibility. I had no issues at all with the materials. It is not as stretchy or soft as pure Primeknit but it feels softer than the Kobe XI Elite. They must have gone down to 4 lbs test line for the TPU . (Fishing joke, if you don’t get it that’s ok)
Support and Stability
Although the HD17 is a mid, the ankle collar does nothing in terms of support is is simply there for proprioception and fit purposes.
It is extremely thin and flexible and almost independent of the entire shoe. You can see the mesh cut out in the pics above that adds even more flexibility. The heel counter is standard HD fair and isn’t extremely stiff or flexible. Midfoot support was very good and as the HD17 didn’t contort and bend like the Kobe Instinct.
With the lack of a true support system around the ankle, the HD does a great job with stability thanks to the pods along the lateral side of the shoe. Kind of hard to see from the top so here is a reused shot from the bottom.
No tippiness at the heel and stable at the forefoot makes me feel safe during play. Even playing with my bad ankle, I didn’t really worry about tweaking it after I stopped using the Zamst this past week. Full range of motion without fear is the best of both worlds.
Zero issues at all with containment. Raised midsole from heel to toe really creates a nice foot bucket that prevents any side to side movement on hard cuts I knew one day I’d make a difference in the world …
I’m always looking for a shoe that does everything well and it’s surprisingly hard to come by given the abundance of shoes that come out year over year. Some shoes are technology showcases while others just can’t even get the basics right. The Hyperdunk line has been an excellent team shoe that works well year over year with 2015 being an exception to that rule… check that, 2008 wasn’t that great either but got to start somewhere I guess.
I think changing the name and marketing React as a new and improved springy foam, Nike raised expectation so don’t be surprised when people poo poo over the similar Lunarlon feel. But if I rated shoes on advertisement claims to actual truth, almost every shoe would fail. Lunarlon isn’t Nike’s top of the line cushioning so I’m not disappointed by the feel of React since I think it is improved albeit slightly. And if the durability is better with React, then Nike addressed one of its major flaws which is a plus in my book. If I had to pay $200 for the HD17 then I would have some issues for paying for this new and improved foam but at $160 it isn’t off in terms of retail pricing. Don’t forget that Hardens, Crazy Explosives, and Curry 3’s retails $160, $150, $140 respectively.
Speaking of price, as with all Hyperdunks and team shoes, expect big price drops as the weeks and months pass. A fair price for the FK version would be $100 while I expect the bottom be around $70. The mesh version will go for under $60.
So where does the HD17 rank in the Hyperdunk Hierarchy? Well since I’ve never officially written a review for 2008-2014 I’ll just rank them quickly. I loved the 2012 even though traction wasn’t the best and the Lunarlon died so here goes.
I can’t remember the 2009 I skipped it.
And with that being said the, HD2017 has taken the top Hyperdunk spot. Better traction than previous Hyperdunks, better cushioning than the 2012-14 version, great fit, good stability and excellent containment… what more do you want? And with that excellent overall performance, the HD17 earned a spot into my top 10. Not really sure where it yet or who gets kicked out but it I’m putting it into play this coming weekend at a tournament without any reservation. And when we win, the HD17 will get a boost up the rankings because nothing can top positive memories and results.