Surprise, New Year, new me!

C J

C J Run, C J dribble, C J shoot

C J is good

C J made me buy these.

I had my eye on the Yu Shuai 11 since the start of the season since I saw CJ sporting these. CJ’a one of my favorite under the radar not yet ultra famous players that will definitely have a great post NBA career as a commentator. He’s since moved on to the Power 4 presumably for containment reasons (more in the review)

Photo courtesy of Pelsports

I ended up pulling the trigger on these during Thanksgiving but I ordered the wrong size so I didn’t want to rush a review with the wrong size. This is my second go round with Li Ning (first being the ultra overpriced WOW 4) and I will say it went better than the first.

Pros: great traction especially on clean or lightly dusty floors, minimal wiping on dusty floors, fit, materials, support and stability, price

Cons: some deadspace in toe box, cushioning is unremarkable, transition is a little slappy, containment could be better

Sizing Advice: half a size down for everyone, wide footers can go true to size if needed

Best For: any position

Buying Advice: I can’t tell if demand is high or if Li Ning is just doing the fake sellout. Buy at retail if you must, it’s a solid all around shoe. Hi Basketball has them for $99. $75 or less would be nice.

Weight:

16.5 ounces in a size 11. Pretty much DRose, CLB, Harden weight.

Traction

The YS11 uses a multi directional pattern on that outsole that has stopping power patterns placed in the right areas. Traction actually worked really well with this rubber because it isn’t ultra sticky like Jordan and Nike’s translucent rubber. On clean and lightly dusty floors, traction was fantastic with pretty much no wiping. Dusty floors did require some wiping but a lot less than most others. On a few nights I played on a horrible unwaxed floor and the YS was almost as good as the CLB16…almost. (I compare same day same court if you didn’t know already).

Some dirt gets stuck in the grooves but the grooves are deep enough that it doesn’t affect traction.

Far better than the Clutchfit Drives but a few cents shy of top tier level. But overall these were surprisingly good.

Great job Li Ning!

Cushioning

The white foam below line is the Cloud Foam underfoot

Li Ning states the Yu Shuai 11 features their Cloud Foam for a softer ride.

The mid-sole is made by a special high polymer material. Slows down impact. Gives full feet cushioning and amazingly high rebound. Transforms resilience power into high efficient cycle system. Soft and light-weight

Cool story Li Ning.

Like the Wade 4, I’m putting this in the whatever foam category. It doesn’t feel bad, it doesn’t feel great it just feels like foam. I’d liken the feel to Phylon but slightly less dense but just as boring. Just because a foam has a fancy name doesn’t mean squat. Proprietary foam anyone ?

Although it looks like is a lot of Cloud foam underfoot, it’s actually just a layer that sits on top of a lot of blue EVA foam. That blue line seen above is the amount of Cloud you get under your feet while the rest acts as a raised midsole barrier. The majority of your impact protection comes from the blue EVA foam below it. **Granted I could be wrong about all of this but based on the Cloud logo placement, the literature on the tag and online, the difference in feel, and prior experiences, I’m pretty sure I’m right, sorry I have no contacts at Li Ning so I can’t confirm but I can tell you how they feel**Li Ning did provide a really nice insole that I plan to use in other shoes that need a little more cushioning. It reminds me of a hybrid of a normal Ortholite insoles and the nice PU Adidas used to use. Transition

I usually don’t notice slappy transition but I could feel it in the Yu Shuai. On top of the slapping as, they make a hoof beat/ suction sound as your run because of the hollowed out foam cupping the ground (pic way down below) . It’s kind of funny but not really a distraction. Maybe that’s why they named it Yu Shuai ….I think it means War Horse or riding a Horse or something Horse, anyways Yu get the irony.

Overall, cushioning was decent but nothing to write home about. It probably would have felt better if they swapped the Cloud and EVA around.

Fit

I initially bought an 11.5 since I thought these might run small like the Adidss 365 but I was wrong, they fit true to size just slightly long. These are very similar in length to the Crazylight Boost 2016 so I recommend going half a size down for everyone, wide footers can go true to size if they need some more width and toe space.

The funny thing with the Yu Shuai fit is that I had no heel slip or side to side movement with even in an 11.5 Here is where my foot sits with my true size 11. I had a thumbs width with the 11.5.

These do look really big based on the exterior. Here is my 11.5 Curry 4 compared to the Dame 4 and YS in a size 11.

Heel fit was excellent since the lace set up pulls the ankle back and keeps it locked it. It even features some heel cushions but really not necessary thanks to the lace set up. Overall I really liked the fit of the Yu Shuai, but it needs some refinement. Quite a bit of deadspace when laced up. A smaller size would definitely tighten things up.

I’d say the fit was one of the best features of the Yu Shuai XI but it could be a lot better.

Materials

Depending on the colorway you may get a synthetic or or in this case a knit. This knit is pretty good but it isn’t super soft or stretchy and feels most like the Kobe X Elite materials but with no glue. Instead Li Ning used nylon to back the upper for strength.

It’s a nice balance of strength and flexibility with no break in. In case you were wondering knits don’t cost way more, shoe companies just make it seem that way. Here is an interesting article I found on Flyknit even though it’s from 2012

We do see this as a way not only to create a higher performance, more sustainable product but one that actually will gives us significantly better margins as we scale this.”

A five year old article hmmm, pretty sure Nike scaled it just fine. Now you can understand why everyone can/does knits or wovens now; It’s cheap, it’s automated and most importantly it helps the bottom line.

Aside from the knit, the rest of the shoe is plastic which works fine. Carbon fiber would have looked better though.

Support and Stability

Not bad at all. There is just enough firmness in the ankle collar to notice there is some stiffness. These sit in the middle of the HD16 and Curry 4 in terms of flexibility. If you like full range of motion, you’ll probably want to stay away from there because of the stiffness of the ankle collar. You can feel some resistance when you dorsiflex or bend your knees deeply.

Also included is a plastic shank for midfoot support.

Can you hear the clip clop of my hoofs?

Stability was very good with a forefoot outrigger as well as a stable heel.

Overall, I liked the balance of flexibility and support with the YS11. Very 2012-2014 Hyperdunkish feel stability wise. No issues here at all.

Containment

Containment could have been terrible but thanks to a slightly raise midsole it wasn’t bad. On hard cuts around the forefoot, I felt some flexing of the raised midsole since it’s made of thin plastic anchored by soft thin Cloud foam. Definitely not a deal breaker and better than average since it didn’t happen on every single cut. It helps that the plastic heel counter extends and runs almost the entire length of the shoe. Swapping the firmer blue foam with the Cloud foam would have helped here as well.

Would I buy a Chinese brand again?

Maybe? I really can’t say I loved this pair and I could have used that $115 to buy something else.. At retail I could buy a pair of Curry 4’s or two Curry 2’s, a pair of Kobe ADM’s, some Rose 8’s with a coupon code, Hardens, Hyperdunks etc… there are a lot of options at this price here in the US. At least they are only $99 now on Hi basketball. Damnit I should have waited.

If you haven’t guessed it, pricing is one of the problems I have with Li Ning and Chinese shoe companies; while they are affordable they aren’t that much more affordable. I can buy a Big 3 model that’s six months old and it will be priced below the YS XI. I hate categorizing shoes based on retail prices because that’s not what consumers have to pay unless they want it on release day.

In other countries I know that buying any of the Big 3 costs a ton more (double triple sometimes) due to tariffs and taxes so given the prices disparity, the Yu Shuai is a good solid shoe especially for the money. Li Ning took the Kia business model and made a great looking shoe that’s almost as good as the big boys. I’ll admit, the looks of the shoe got me with its similarities to the Hyperdunk, Curry 4 and AJ XI.

The whole process of buying and waiting three weeks and then having to get another pair really really sucked considering we can get anything delivered to our door in a matter of minutes. I am tempted to try the KT3 but I don’t really like how it looks like a bizarro Soldier 8 and reviews sound good but I’ve fallen for the YouTube hype before. If I knew it did something absolutely better than what I currently use I might give it a go but I’ll just wait for more discounts.

Conclusion

As my second review of the year, I’ll give this a third team rating. Pic courtesy of SI

The cushioning doesn’t feel premium but it does it a good enough job while the knit upper feels like the material used on more expensive shoes. There are few precision problems but nothing that really affected play. Thankfully the fit was very good and the traction worked great a lot better than several shoes that cost much more. Getting the basics down goes a long way in my book and it’s good to see Li Ning get it right.

40 Comment on “Li Ning Yu Shuai 11 XI Performance Review and Analysis

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