Prose: Jake Sittler (@jtsittler)
Pics: Finch (@Sir_Stymie)
With Finch hooking us up with a couple of quick in-store looks at the Nike Elite 2.0 series, we thought we’d pass along the images and some brief thoughts on the performance aspects of each.
With some of the tech-packed Elite models officially hitting retail already and others coming at various dates within the next few weeks, we were interested to get our hands on the three models (at least from a first-look standpoint; we ball on a budget right now and will try to cop and review the Elites at a later date if possible) and take a closer look at the performance aspects.
We have a nice look at the KD V Elite and the LeBron X Elite in the above picture, but we’ll focus on the LeBron X Elite model first. Much like the IX Elite, the LeBron X uses carbon fiber wings for lateral support. The IX featured a one-piece carbon fiber wrap around the lateral side and from my experience with the “Taxi” colorway of the IX Elite, the fit and support were excellent. Though the LeBron X Elite uses two separate carbon fiber “wings,” expect top-notch support. The 360 Zoom Air Bag remains intact for great, responsive cushioning. A Fuse upper with Kevlar-infused Flywire should provide great lockdown provided you don’t have a super narrow foot.
Next up is the Kobe 8 System Elite in a Poison Green colorway. One of the things I’ve always loved about the Kobe line (we’re talking Kobe V-present) is the external heel counter that provides the best heel lockdown and fit on the market today. The Kobe 8 Elite keeps the external counter and upgrades it with a carbon fiber build, locking the heel on to the footbed. I’ll mention it later in the KD V Elite blurb, but I feel that the fact that the Kobe heel counter is attached to the midsole is what gives it an advantage over the floating heel counter of the KD V Elite. I believe the KD V Elite will give you an awesome fit, but carbon fiber counter locked into the midsole is at the top of the lockdown chart. I also love the Dynamic Flywire – which I found to provide great fit as a key element of the Hyperdunk Low – and its placement on the bottom two eyelets in order to provide extra lockdown in the area where lateral forces are most extreme.
Aesthetically, I prefer the KD V Elite over the other two models and I hope to purchase a pair as soon as the price lets up slightly. The caged heel Zoom bag is HUGE and it works in conjunction with the carbon fiber shank to provide great support and cushioning underfoot. As I mentioned previously, I’m a fan of the carbon fiber counter but I do feel like it would be most effective if attached to the midsole. I expect the fit and lockdown to still be top of the line, but it remains to be seen how well I like the floating counter on-court. From a design standpoint, the shoe still reminds me a lot of the Nike Zoom Vapor tennis shoe series and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the KD V Elite has some inspirational roots in that line of shoes. Elite tennis shoes are light, low to the ground and stable laterally, which is exactly what a basketball player needs as well.