“Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose”
The more things change the more they remain the same. – Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr
It’s been awhile since I updated my post on my current rotation so here’s what I’ve been playing in lately when things matter most. If it’s just pickup or a scrubby team I’ll go outside of this which is where I do my of my reviewing.
I’ve learned over the past few years after reviewing tons of shoes, technically a shoe can be all tops on all categories but if you have a sorry game or two or three in them, it all goes out the window. If you love a shoe and have had success in them in the past, you’re more likely to have confidence in them versus something new. That’s how little actual “performance” does with true confidence and your ability to put the ball in the bucket . Yea yea I do review shoes but I review it for fun. Some atttbutes are very important (traction and stability..you can’t play if you’re injured, while others aren’t at all *cough materials*
Here is my currebt rotation and what I’ve been reaching for. Missed out on shoes from the past dozen years? Fear not, I added some alternates below
My review on the VI wasn’t an ode to greatness like Jakes but lately something about it just makes me pick it up. Fits great, it’s cushioned well in the heel with just enough cushioning In the forefoot. Weight doesn’t matter to me but at sub 10 ounces you aren’t getting any lighter. Stable underfoot and very good traction esp after break in make this one of those shoes you should stock up on. eBay GOAT Stock X. Buy then slightly used and you can still get a great pair around $130.
I flip flop between the VI and IV now. Slightly better traction and even wth Lunar foam, these still beat out the latest and greatest. Doesn’t hurt I’ve had a lot of great games and memories in these.
I don’t think you all need to see my Curry collection so here’s one of my favorite 2’s
Can’t say enough about this shoe. I love how it looks still, love the traction, stability and the firmer yet blended cushioning on these. Doesn’t hurt that it’s my favorite player’s show even though it was the 3-1 lead year. $60 bucks on clearance, yes please. Yep you can still get these on eBay Stock X GOAT for about the same ultra low price
Lebron Soldier VI
This is my “plusher” ride shoe. Does everything well, Zoom is perfect for me in the heel and forefoot. Traction is excellent, supportive and stable with a great fit heel to toe. This was another shoe I stocked up for about $55 bucks on average
Kobe I OG or Protro
All a sudden everyone jumped on the Protro train and lauded the Kobe I…twelve years later.
I still love mine and Nike did a great job with the Protro even if it’s $175. Great fit, A1 traction and very stable underfoot make these a great performer. Not surprisingly you can get these under retail on eBay Stock X and GOAT. $140-$125seems to be the going price. I’ve probably gone through half a dozen pairs or more of these and these old guys shoe some battle scars and glue but still play great.
Nike Zoom BB1
Ok so I couldn’t keep the rotation down to 5. The Aj XXXI solid outsole is a good alternative (do not buy the translucent outsole, it did not improve on the low top version)
Air Jordan XIV
Sorry this is the shoe that got me thinking about shoes I love to play in. The retro is good but it ain’t the OG. Still perfect if only they’d hold up.
What? Yep simple designs just work. Review will be written eventually.
This and that
If you look at my rotation you’ll notice a few things.
1) Where’s Adidas?
Harden V2, Rose V-VII, Explosive Bounce are the only ones I’d consider player in. I think Adidas has improved their cushioning a ton thanks to Boost and Bounce but it takes more than cushioning to win me over. It is fun to mess with the CLB16 after I added extra eyelets and I can’t complain with Adidas’s crazy cheap sales lately.
2) Where’s UA?
The Curry 2 is just that good for me. I still enjoy the CFD1 but I like the less squishy feeling and better traction of the Curry 2. Curry 3-5 have been very unremarkable for me (curry 4 is ok but I was very put off by UA’s coyness with EVA. Yep I have principles people)
3) Shoes excel in all aspects
Every shoe excels at traction, stability with a lower profile cushioning while maintaining a good to excellent fit and containment. Some guys and girls like blondes some like brunettes no wrong answer here.
4) Materials are immaterial
Materials are pretty plasticky or synthetic in my rotation..most flexible is the Kobe VI while the stiffest is the Lebron VI. Once you start playing, 1-2 mm of material is not going to affect your play. Sure knits are more comfortable if you’re just walking around and it’s why socks aren’t made of fuse but when you’re playing your mind doesn’t notice the difference..at least mine doesn’t.
5) Newer does not equal better
My rotation consists mostly shoes from the 2008- 2012. Newer is almost never better. Old shoes just get worn out so you stock up when you find the One. Marketers need to keep product moving if they want to get paid.
I know not everyone has the same methodology as I do about stocking up but I’ve been searching and searching and searching for years and look at what I end up with? A bunch of shoes that are older than some kids who watch YouTube for reviews. The best part about my top 5 is that I paid less than retail on every pair. Kobe IV’s cost me about $80-100 back then same with the VI. While the Kobe I cost me $35 (Kobe wasn’t popular back). Lebron Soldier VI and Curry 2’s averaged about $60-80. So when you hear that’s a pretty good retail price from reviewers, you can always do better by about 40%.. and don’t worry I’m making a list of the top shoes you can still cop for way under retail.
I can’t get any of your Top 5
Yes you can, you just have to search on EBay, Stock X or GOAT or a sneaker convention or Facebook group. Just because it isn’t available in stores doesn’t mean it’s unattainable. Buy them slightly used if you want to save money because just like a car, they are worth a lot less after they hit the pavement..who’s foot took that first step is the one that pays the brunt of the depreciation. That being said, I’m not responsible for foot fungi.
So if you want to buy something newer, here are some pretty good alternatives.
Kobe AD Mid:
I think this shoe is great in all aspects except the white uppers pick up dirt like a swiffer. Upper starts out a little stiff but breaks in. Feels great underfoot, has excellent traction and fits great as well. At outlets and secondary markets for under $75 dollars.
Kobe AD Exodus: not done with the review but check out Luvmykicks review.
I cosign everything so far from my experience although I wish the medial arch (midfoot) was wider. A little more socklike and flexible upper than the AD Mid.
Technically not that impressive but nothing wrong with this shoe at all. Forefoot Zoom is good, heel cushioning is decent and traction is excellent. One of those shoes you kind of forget about (I need to give this a first rating in my review). Did I mention they are cheap right now? $65 or less. Slap a bigger marquee name on the shoe and these would cost about $125-130 retail.
I didn’t review the low but I’ve tried them on and they fit great out of the box. Probably a littler firmer than most people like but I had zero issues with the cushioning and they are $80 or less for all models. Just the right amount of compression and springback with excellent traction.
AJ 32, Lebron Soldier IX, XI and XII
Soldiers aren’t worth squat in the collecting world so you can easily get theses for under $80. I personally like the XII the most but the strap might sit too tight for some. The XI has excellent traction as well.
Jordan 32 isn’t exactly a favorite of mine but the big Zoom reminds me of the Soldier VI. Good shoe overall just missing a little something for me. Outlet prices are under $100
Fuglier than Lebrons feet. I think UA had an in house contest to come up with a design they felt was so polarizing that people would think it had to be a good shoe if it were that ugly. Luckily for us it does play well. Very light and flexible yet ultra stable underfoot. Or just buy the Curry 2 it’s very easy to come by for cheap. Wait for MyFitnessPal coupons or when they get to Marshall’s. Ain’t nobody wearing these not even Seth.