Performance Review: adidas Crazyquick

Prose: Jake Sittler (@jtsittler)

After wearing the adidas Adipure Crazyquick for the first time, I struggled to find the right adjectives to describe the shoe.

Stealthy. Predatory. Aggressive.

I struggled with a description because the Crazyquick doesn’t feel like any shoe I’ve ever played in. I told Finch after the first hoop session that I forgot they were on my feet by the end of the run – and that is a very good thing. One thing is clear though: this is a finely-tuned, precision engineered piece of footwear and is a performance beast.

As I’ve noted in each of my previous reviews, I value fit more than anything else when it comes to performance sneakers. The Kobe VI is my standard in terms of fit, as it brought the upper to the foot, locked me onto the footbed and moved with me. Yeah, well, the Crazyquick is now the new standard.


When you’re talking fit with the Crazyquick and putting the shoe on for the first time, you’ll immediately notice two things: the Techfit upper enveloping your foot and the Sprintframe chassis locking the midfoot and heel in place. Techfit is not a new technology to the adidas brand – it’s been used in compression tops and bottoms, as well as a couple of running models, for a couple of years now – but this is the first version we’ve seen on a basketball shoe. The upper basically feels like a neoprene bootie base with strategic overlays – the three stripes enveloping the midfoot give the upper added lateral stability. The graphic pattern of the upper reminds me of the way that the Kobe VI used “scales” to give the shoe texture as well as added strength.

Sprintframe has been criticized in the past (notably on the Crazy Light models) for being too small, but the chassis on Crazyquick fully wraps the heel and extends through the midfoot. The heel and midfoot are completely locked in place. I experienced absolutely no slippage and the fit is glove-like from heel to toe. Dual ankle notches aid comfort around the ankle bone and range of motion, and the mid cut does a great job of giving you a supportive feel while not restricting movement whatsoever. I’m not sure what else to say regarding the fit, other than that the Crazyquick is the single best fitting shoe I’ve ever played in thanks to the TechFit/Sprintframe combination and bootie-like upper. This shoe becomes part of you and moves with you as an extension of your foot, and that’s exactly what I want.


One final note: the lacing setup is slightly asymmetrical, which allows the three stripes on the forefoot to wrap around to the top of the foot to provide extra lockdown and support. It’s the little things, folks.

Heel-Toe Transition
The Crazyquick was absolutely perfect in this aspect as well, providing the best court feel I’ve ever experienced. The 17-pod outsole moves naturally through the footstrike and moves with you through any type of cut, defensive slide or sprint. The Crazyquick is reportedly the most weartested shoe ever produced by adidas, and that level of testing and refinement shows up in the transition. Getting all the pods to work in harmony is something that must have been fine-tuned hundreds of time. Crazyquick designer Robbie Fuller said he wanted the transition to be like a centipede, with each pod gripping the floor precisely when it should. The shoe does just that. I’d liken the sensation to wearing a minimalist running shoe or a well-cushioned Nike Free from a flexibility standpoint (the shoe still provides support – I’ll get to that later). The transition is smooth and rolls through the footstrike with stability and unparalleled court feel.


There were a couple aspects of the cushioning setup I found interesting. Obviously, you’re going to give up a little bit of impact protection in order to get that great court feel so the Crazyquick is not necessarily plush and padded in the cushioning department. Impact protection is adequate though, and responsiveness is excellent – aided by the perfectly tuned outsole which allows you to push off and go whenever you demand it.


When Finch and I first discussed the shoe, he was initially (and rightly) skeptical of the lateral stability/rigidity of the shoe given its deep flex grooves and carved-away outsole. Again, the shoe’s engineering came through. If you remove the insole, you’ll notice a rigid plate (part of the Sprintframe chassis, I’d assume) running from the heel to the midfoot that gives it good, lightweight stability while allowing the outsole pods to do their job. Again, I can’t understate the level of engineering and testing that this takes. (If you don’t understand how midsole construction affects the cushioning unit, check Finch’s review of the flawed Hyperdisruptor.) In the center of the plate directly underneath the heel you’ll find a small foam circle, indicating the adiprene-cushioned midsole that makes up the cushioning platform. I enjoyed being able to physically see the construction and it helps you understand how they designed such a great setup.

It’s herringbone all around and in various angles, and the traction is superb. Deep grooves on each of the outsole pods allow the pods to grip the floor securely and provide reassuring stop and go ability no matter how sharp the cut. Four zones and 17 individual pods work in concert to provide elite level traction. Not much else to say, but I’m happy that they went with the tried and true pattern underfoot, and it certainly pays off from a performance standpoint.


Materials/DurabilityTime will tell for the upper of the Crazyquick when it comes to durability. The Techfit upper feels and fits amazing, but it is almost like a neoprene bootie with supports fused on strategically so it remains to be seen how long that lasts. I’m not doubting the durability, but since it’s a new materials setup we’re required to withhold judgement. I believe the outsole and midsole will hold up just fine, as thick, durable rubber was employed for the outsole and the midsole has remained firm.


In conclusion, the adidas adipure Crazyquick is one of my all-time favorite performance shoes at this point. A ton of engineering, fine-tuning and development was put into this shoe and it shows. In a performance market where it seems like corners are cut on plenty of models, it’s refreshing to play in a shoe that bills itself as a performance beast…and actually backs that up. adidas introduced a new thought process with the Crazyquick line, employed new technology and updated some existing tech, and came away with one of the best performance shoes on the market.

Fit: 10
Heel-Toe Transition: 10
Cushioning: 9.5
Traction: 9.5
Materials/Durability: 8.5
Overall: 47.5/50 = 95/100

Performance Review: Nike Air Way Up

Prose: Finch (@Sir_Stymie)

Weight: 18 oz (in size 11)
Size Tested: 13
Colorway: White/Black/Red
After several weeks of waiting with little to no information about the release, I was able to get my hands on a pair of the Nike Air Way Up retro. Now this shoe either has a very celebrated or very murky past depending on your kicks history knowledge and many of today’s generation are unaware of how great a retro of this kind is when it comes to performance kicks. The Way Up, much like the Air Force 2 Strong (which I have have written about in previous posts), was one of the most popular shoes of the late 90s among many prominent NBA players. Although Penny Hardaway had a PE of the Way Up and the Way Up shares some striking similarities with the Penny I (thanks to the large lateral wing) the colorway that released on 4/13 was a predecessor of both models.


The Way Up was worn most notably by Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman in the 1995-1996 season when the Bulls went 72-10 and became known as the greatest team in NBA history. This is also the same season that MJ debuted the Concord XIs, perhaps in a way lending to the lack of attention given to the Way Up. This shoe was also the flagship for Nike’s youth movement of the early 90’s which included Jason Kidd, Eddie Jones (who got some damn good team Jordan PEs down the road) and Kevin Garnett.

The Way Up retroed in three colorways: black/white, grey/white and white/black/red. I was able to cop from my place of employment and I had to get the “Chicago” white/black/red colorway. I love the color blocking and felt it only natural to give a nod to the 96 Bulls. Although I am not a Bulls fan, I’m not one to spit in the face of history.

Fit: 8
In my lifetime of trying on shoes, I have come to the realization that shoes from the late 80’s and early 90’s have lots of cushion in the ankle, tongue and inner bootie that aids in overall fit. Because of this, I have become a fan of the shoes from this era from a comfort standpoint and was intrigued on how the Way Up would perform in this regard. In short, it did not disappoint. I was impressed with the overall fit, and although it differs greatly from my ultimate in fit, the Adidas Commander TS, that doesn’t make the design flawed. The Commander TS fits best in the heel and in the toe box; the Way Up fits more comfortably at the ankle and forefoot. In a perfect world, I’d like the Way Up to fit a little more snug in the toes. This is due to the shape of the last (basically, the shape of the footbed) in the Way Up probably not being engineered narrower like most modern shoes. The padding of the tongue and the heel makes for a very secure and locked-in feel though, and with the adequate space in the toe box there is little chance of stubbed toes or broken toe nails.


One aspect of the shoe that I thought was a cause for concern was the placement of the laces and eyelets. I have had instances when while walking or running the heel of my foot would slip slightly off the midsole. The lace holes are spaced rather far apart and you have to pull the laces pretty hard in order for you foot to stay firmly planted. The shoe has to be laced to the top eyelet in order to get close to the desired ankle fit and support, but there are only five eyelets total. While these weaknesses are more of an inconvenience than an actual problem and I am able to over look them when I play, in the same voice I feel I would be doing you a disservice if I did not at least mention them as a deficiency. Once the shoelaces are tightened and tied firmly, I had little to no issue with the lockdown and/or fit.

Heel-Toe Transition: 6.5
I was very excited to test out the heel-toe transition when looking at the profile of the shoe. There’s a noticeable drop from the heel to the toe and it looked similar to my best example of heel to transition the, Nike Force Max. Thus, I thought that I would have a similar experience with this shoe…and I was wrong. The Way Up was not great in terms of heel-toe transition because the Phylon midsole is relatively flat on the interior, almost Air Force 1-like. (The Force Max, on the other hand, had a rounded toe for a nice toe-off and roll through the footstrike.) It did have a slight flex or transition point in the toe, but no more than something like an Air Max 1. I generally like my transition point to start in the forward third of the shoe near the ball of the foot and almost where the big toe flexes.


The shoe also has a rather firm midsole. It does give some under the forefoot but it has a hard rubber outsole (and firm Air Max bag) on the heel which hinders the natural bending a bit, but I wonder with further break-in time if the transition will improve. The jury is still out, but for now I’m giving it an average score.

Cushioning: 9
Though the Way Up is a retro design, it features technology that makes it timeless as far as cushioning goes. The main example is obviously the visible Air bag in the heel and also an encapsulated Air bag in the forefoot. This Air to Air combination makes the shoe very comfortable and absorbs impact very nicely; although I was not a fan of the midsole firmness in terms of heel to toe transition, I believe that it actually helps the shoe in terms of cushioning.

In my review of the Nike Zoom Hyperdisruptor, I explained how the softness of its midsole took away from the effectiveness of the the Zoom bags. In the case of the Way Up, I feel that its firmness makes the Air bags more effective thus making the shoes more comfortable. Though I am married, it seems to the Zoom/Max Air Combination, I feel that Air/Air is an effective and long-lasting cushioning system on-court and in everyday wear.

Traction: 7
If you’re a hooper, you know what good traction feels like and the security it brings. To me it can make or break a shoe, and personally its herringbone or bust. The Way Up features a wavy pattern that is more segmented in the toe section. It has some stippling but it’s not very grippy. For the most part, it doesn’t seem functional compared to most of today’s top performance models (but it does look nice, and most of you will probably be rocking these off-court anyway). When it is on hardwood it grips the floor respectably since it is a new shoe, but I am concerned that it will wear down quickly. This may simply be a case of outdated technology, but I will not know for sure until I wear them in a few more games.


Materials and Durability: 7.5
When it come to durability, to me, you can’t go wrong with a leather upper. Call me old fashioned, but it’s what I like. The Way Up does have an all-leather upper which would usually make for a solid score from me, but I’ve learned over the years that not all leather is created equal. I generally prefer tumbled leather, since the quality of most of today’s synthetic “leather” is poor. That being said, the quality of the leather on the Way Up reminds me of the Air Force 1 – which means it’s average but at least not as bad as a Reebok Classic. Whereas tumbled leather moves with you, this leather is stiff and I’m concerned with deep creasing from an aesthetic standpoint, though that shouldn’t be a worry for a shoe you are gonna hoop in and beat up anyway.


With that being said, the cushioning in the tongue and inner bootie are quite nice – no paper-thin tongue here. The seams appear solidly glued together and the the paint seems to be good quality and hopefully will not crack and flake off like other retros.

Overall, I’m glad that Nike was able to put out a retro team shoe that is not only a classic, but will also stand up performance-wise with today’s athletes. Performance-wise, this shoe does have its downsides (like most retro models) in terms of transitioning and traction, but I believe that what it provides make up for its faults. If you’re looking for a good hooping shoe for your rotation or for some retro flair in your wardrobe, I’d pick them up. At $120, they don’t necessarily break the bank either for such a versatile shoe. They’re available at in all three colorways and at in the gray/white and black/white colorway.

Overall Score: 38/50 x 2 = 76/100
Fit: 8
Heel-Toe Transition: 6.5
Cushioning: 9
Traction: 7
Materials/Durability: 7.5

Performance Review: Nike Flyknit Lunar1+

Prose: Kim Nguyen (@317Kim)


Weight: 5.5 oz
Test Size: Wmns 6
Colorway: Black/White/Light Charcoal

After accumulating over 600 miles on my Nike Lunarglide4+, I knew it would soon be time to pick up some new running shoes that incorporated the Lunarlon midsole (my favorite!). This was perfect timing because Nike had just launched the coveted Nike Flyknit Lunar1+ which is one beautiful sneaker. The clean silhouette is due to the combination of the precision-engineered and virtually seamless upper and an updated cushioning system to deliver the ideal blend of targeted support, breathability, and response. After two weeks of wear, I completely understand why Runner’s World® voted it “Editor’s Choice” in February 2013.

Whether I’m running, lifting or going to class, I need my shoes to fit like a second skin. This is exactly what the Nike Flyknit Lunar1+ felt like when I first put them on. Nike chose to use the ultra-lightweight knit upper to integrate areas of stretch, high breatheability, and support. I believe that this was done seamlessly and really gives the shoe a precise fit. After my first week of running, it even felt like a custom fit!


The overall fit is just like Nike wanted it to be when the advertised it as having a sock-like fit. After lacing up my sneakers, I did some jumping around to test the lockdown abilities. It didn’t take long for me to notice that my heel stayed in place. The Flywire cables also ensure no slippage or sliding of the heel which would cause a runner’s nightmare: blisters.

Heel – Toe Transition
When running, the dorsiflexion motion (planting your heel down so that your toes point towards your body) feels great due to the comfort of the BRS 1000 carbon rubber and the flex grooves which slightly enhance articulation. The Flyknit Lunars stay completely in place and creates a smooth heel-to-toe transition from stride to stride. As mentioned in my primer, the cushioning is thicker in the middle and gets thinner on both sides that lead to the toe and the heel. This creates a footbed that enables every foot motion and foot strike to feel extremely natural.


I’m a runner that requires extreme responsiveness and support from the cushioning of my running shoes due to being an overpronator. Therefore, when I first experienced Lunarlon two years ago in the Nike Lunarglide3+ (thanks Finch!), I knew that I had graduated from Frees. Lunarlon is a very resilient foam carrier that provides plenty of support and plush cushioning. In addition to Lunarlon, there are blown rubber forefoot lugs for more cushioning and assist in creating a more efficient stride.

In my experience with Lunarlon (Nike Lunarglide3+. Nike Lunarglide4+), I have been able to run for several months accumulating well over 500 miles on each shoe and have the cushion still present. These have definitely proved to be durable runners which is why I have been a loyal consumer of shoes that incorporate Nike Lunarlon cushioning.

I mentioned the BRS 1000 Nike brand carbon rubber outsole earlier in the Heel – Toe Transition. I wanted to talk a little more about it though since it is such a crucial part of the performance. This durable outsole not only creates extra cushioning, but also provides excellent traction due its high carbon content. When walking or running in the Flyknit Lunar1+, it feels like the lugs on the outsole are working as fingers to grip the ground. The rubber is very effective for everyday runners because it provides more than sufficient traction and shouldn’t wear down very much over the coming months.

The Flyknit Lunar1+ utilizes a meticulous knitted construction process that minimizes weight and waste by using only what’s needed. The upper is entirely made of polyester yarn that’s fed into proprietary knitting machinery. This creates little to no waste, so the shoe is incredibly efficient to produce. I am all about being fit and going green so this was a bonus when purchasing the shoe.


The laces were something that I had not experienced yet. They are flat, but not like the ordinary flat laces. They resemble the ribbons from the Nike Free Powerlines+, another great shoe in my collection. My run has only been interrupted by the laces once since I have had them, and that was probably a manual error. Swoop, loop, pull, and repeat! I really do like that they stay secure and add to the stability of the shoe while also being lightweight.

Although I do run every day, I have not questioned the durability of the shoe. I know that time and mileage will do some damage to the aesthetics of the shoe, but I don’t plan on investing in another shoe until the end of fall or the beginning of winter. I will say though, my worst fear is the upper ripping or getting snagged on equipment in the weight room. Since the upper is composed solely of yarn, I can’t help but to be cautious when I’m down there. Aside from that, I am not too concerned about having to replace these babies early.

Other minuscule details such as 3M stripes on the pull tab, the durable paint which makes up the Swoosh, and the speckle/glitter combination on the midsole gives you aesthetics and attention to detail to appreciate.

Overall, the Nike Flyknit Lunar1+ is a great addition to my collection. It performs great and looks great too! I love that Nike has lived up to their innovative reputation and created a “green” shoe. Unfortunately, efficient production doesn’t always mean cost effectiveness. Priced at $160, I would never have bought these if I were not a Nike running shoe connoisseur and collector. Regardless, I am a strong believer of getting what you pay for. The Nike Flyknit Lunar1+ doesn’t just keep you cool (literally and figuratively) it also keeps you in front of you competition.

Fit: 10
Cushioning: 10
Transition: 9
Traction: 9
Materials: 8

Overall Score: 46/50 x 100 = 92

TGRR BLOG: Kim’s Performance Review Primer

Prose: Kim Nguyen (@317Kim)

Hey everyone! My name is Kim Nguyen and I am currently in my last year studying Exercise Science at Ball State University. As an Exercise Science major, I work with a lot athletes as well as people aspiring to become more physically fit. Because of my love for fitness, exercise prescription and shoes, my collection of runners and trainers has expanded greatly. Recently I was given the opportunity to write a guest post for TGRR, so to precede my in-depth review of my newest pair of shoes I wanted to let you all know what qualities I look for in a shoe to fit my active lifestyle.

As a runner, weightlifter and personal trainer I like to have shoes that fit each activities’ physical demands. One quality that is similar in all these types of shoes is fit. I’m a firm believer of TGRR’s statement that, “A performance shoe should be an extension of the foot.” I like it when it feels like a shoe is hugging my feet because it gives me support and stability during my high impact workouts.

In my collection, I would have to say my best fitting shoe would be the Nike Free Kukini. When I first tried on the Kukinis, it was love at first step. I honestly felt like there were heart-shaped fireworks going off in my room when I first experienced the comfort of the 5.0 Free bottoms and laceless neoprene/mesh upper. The stretchy and breathable upper instantly gave me a custom fit.

Heel – Toe Transition
I am a huge fan of Free bottoms, but I prefer to run in the Nike Lunarglide 4+ because of its smooth heel to toe transition. The Lunarlon midsole/sole combination wears evenly and utilizes a curved toe-off to give you a smooth rocking motion when walking and running. The cushioning is thicker in the middle and gets thinner on both sides leading to the toe and the heel which contributes to the smooth heel to toe transition.

Cushioning is essential to my collection since I am always on the go. I need cushioning that can absorb and withstand high impact. One of the newer shoes in my collection takes the cake in this category. The Nike Roshe Run is known for its superior cushioning and creates a sensation of walking on marshmallows (a sentiment echoed by lots of Roshe wearers) because of the thick Lunarlon midsole and Kobe 8-esque sock liner. This is a winning combination which is why this is my go-to shoe when walking to class or after a workout. Even though I have heard of people running in them, I wouldn’t recommend them for anything more than a jog because of the questionable durability of the upper.

When it comes to traction, all of my Frees come to mind because of their flexible grooves. When I walk in them, I feel like the grooves are gripping the sidewalk as I go. One of my favorite pairs of Frees is the rare Nike N7 Free Forward Moc+. This sneaker provides a natural ride through its deep outsole flex grooves and gives you a barefoot feel that I have always enjoyed because it cooperates with the natural movements of the feet.

In my opinion, the most durable shoe in my collection would be the Nike Free Powerlines+. The synthetic overlay was made specifically to provide extra support and durability. The Powerlines also feature carbon rubber in high-wear areas such as the toe and the heel for enhanced durability. With all of these durable features, Nike was still able to make this a comfortable by incorporating a breathable mesh upper and sockliner that conforms to the shape of the foot.


My all-time favorite shoe is the newly-acquired Nike Lunar Flyknit +1. After two weeks with this shoe, it is safe to say that it clearly has become my favorite. Its versatility and ability to perform during all of my various workout routines makes it worth every single penny. This incredible shoe incorporates all of my favorite qualities and just so happens to be the shoe that I will be reviewing here at TGRR later this week.

(Ed. note: Besides being the better half of our own Jerred Finch, Kim is an incredibly knowledgeable sneaker collector and Swoosh lover with a unique taste in kicks. She provides us with expertise in the fitness/biomechanical department thanks to her exercise science background – she’s also probably stronger and in better shape than Finch and I combined. Check her kicks out on Twitter and Instagram at @317kim and look for periodical contributions from Kim in the future here at TGRR.)

Performance Review: Jordan CP3.VI

Prose: Jake Sittler (@jtsittler)


Weight: 12.3 oz
Size Tested: 11
Colorway: Metallic Silver/Black/Challenge Red/Tour Yellow

If there’s an overarching theme with Chris Paul’s signature Jordan line, it’s that the shoes are typically solid but leave something to be desired. You’ll always get reliable traction, Podulon cushioning (starting with the CP3.III) and a reinforced toe to protect against toe drag, but something about each of his past signatures has been missing from a performance standpoint.

The original CP3 featured a visible Air unit and details that became a staple of the line – “61xty” was printed on the heel and paying homage to Paul’s late grandfather has been a design element on each successive shoe. It came in at a $115 price point and the nubuck upper was a nice touch, but the shoe wasn’t ready to compete with the top performance models.

The CP3.II was a gorgeous, sleek silhouette but the rigid midsole piece, high arch and oddly placed flex point under the forefoot really hindered heel-toe transition and overall comfort. The CP3.III introduced Podulon cushioning but had a stiff upper that compromised the fit and flexibility.

The IV featured Zoom Air in the heel, Podulon in the forefoot and a Fuse-like midfoot panel, but the performance reviews revealed a bottom-heavy feel thanks to a thick midsole. The CP3.V, to me, was way too stiff through the upper. The Fuse material and synthetics used were durable but just weren’t conducive to the great fit and flexibility that I prefer.

With the CP3.VI, Jordan Brand got it right, and the shoe is an absolute joy to play in.

I again went a half-size down in order to get a more snug fit from the start (I actually played a couple hours of pickup ball in an 11.5 but returned them for an 11 the next day). The last used for the midsole and outsole isn’t overly narrow and should accommodate a most players. The Fuse-based upper fits snug and the inner bootie also aids in the overall fit. The lockdown is very good, perhaps not quite as snug as the Hyperdunk Lows I was playing in, but the overall package of the last, midsole, Fuse upper and inner bootie is solid. The shoe is very stable through the heel and I have no security issues planting or cutting at full-speed, even on dirty courts.

The Achilles pad is a nice touch in terms of comfort, but compromises the fit.
The Achilles pad is a nice touch in terms of comfort, but compromises the fit.

I do have a slight issue with how the shoes lace up, though. For whatever reason – I believe because of the stiff nature of the Fuse upper – I can’t get the fit to stay super snug when I tighten the laces of the bottom eyelets. I’ll tighten through the first couple of eyelets, but when I release to move to the next set the bottom laces loosen up noticeably. Most probably won’t be as picky as I am, because the shoes do lace up tightly. It’s just not quite next-level lockdown like the Kobe VI or Hyperdunk Lows. A staple of the CP3 line is the Achilles pad, which improves comfort but also (in my opinion) leaves a little bit to be desired in terms of fit because it prevents the heel and Achilles from being completely flush with the heel of the shoe. It’s a personal thing, but also something to pay attention to when you try them on.

In short, the fit is very good overall but does leave a little bit to be desired in a couple of small areas.

Heel-Toe Transition
The transition is, to put it simply, perfect. The shoe glides smoothly through the footstrike, thanks to a low-profile Phylon midsole, but is not as stiff as prior models. The visible TPU shank provides plenty of stability too, and sets it apart from a slightly more stripped down shoe like the Hyperdunk. The Fuse upper also has notches along the eyestay and isn’t as thick as last year’s CP3.V. I’d compare the Fuse upper to that of the Melo M8, just in a lower profile. It also became more and more flexible (without sharp creasing) through the first few wearings – something that prior CP3 models haven’t done.

Notice the recessed groove down the center of the shoe, giving it a split-toe feel and aiding in transition and flexibility.
Notice the recessed groove down the center of the shoe, giving it a split-toe feel and aiding in transition and flexibility.

The outsole also features several lateral flex grooves – two on the forefoot and four modified grooves on the heel. These combine with a recessed section running down the middle of the shoe, almost giving it a very subtle split-toe feel and really accentuating the push off of the medial toe.

The Podulon system is used extremely well in the CP3.VI. The outsole gives a visual representation of where Podulon is used – underneath the ball of the foot and along the big toe – and there’s a noticeable but pleasant difference in the cushioning across the footbed. I feel like the Podulon unit is more firm/responsive and it definitely aids when pushing off to change direction and get to top speed (it would be extremely helpful if you, ya know, have a semblance of a first step but I’m more of the crafty type…). The heel cushioning seems slightly concave and your foot will probably feel like it sits low in the shoe – I loved the way I felt in it but others may find it slightly strange.

A nice shot of the Podulon section and flex grooves.
A nice shot of the Podulon section and flex grooves.

The court feel is also excellent, but so far hasn’t seemed to sacrifice cushioning in order to maintain that feel. While the Hyperdunk Lows bottomed out slightly after a solid month of playing, the Cp3.VI cushioning setup seems to strike a balance between compression/deflection and keeping me a low to the ground. Being a Zoom lover, I had been skeptical of Podulon in the past but the CP3.VI gets it right.

The traction on the CP3.VI ranks among the all-time greats for me (the Zoom BBII and this shoe are 1 and 1A in my opinion). There are a couple of reasons for this. First, herringbone. Herringbone on herringbone on herringbone. The entire outsole is covered with it and the grooves are especially deep on this traction pattern. I’ve hooped in the shoes for two weeks and both courts that I’ve played on have been below average in terms of cleanliness, but the traction has still been impeccable.

The deep herringbone pattern and flex grooves make for excellent court grip.
The deep herringbone pattern and flex grooves make for excellent court grip.

The second reason for the excellent traction are those flex grooves I mentioned in the transition section. The flexibility and resulting floor contact are awesome and that really aids in traction. With the lateral and vertical flex grooves, it creates an outsole with a bunch of uniquely shaped pods that are tuned (via those recessed grooves and the deep herringbone pattern) to provide great traction. Having the right points of the shoe on the floor and engaging traction whenever you demand it is a huge asset in terms of performance.

Like most Fuse-based shoes, you’re going to get great durability out of the upper. It may be a little stiff at first and lack slightly in the fit department, but it will not break down on you. The inner bootie is plush – no tissue paper tongue here – and the shoe comes with three pairs of laces should you tear through a pair (or if you’re just a fashionista). I also mentioned the toe wrap in the opening section of this review and it’s back in its familiar place, extending the rubber outsole on to the toe of the shoe for enhanced durability and protection against toe drag.

You can see the extra rubber wrapping around the medial side - a design element straight from CP3 himself.
You can see the extra rubber wrapping around the medial side – a design element straight from CP3 himself.

To conclude, I am a huge fan of the CP3.VI. The traction, cushioning and heel-toe transition are all very good. The outsole is one of the most finely tuned and engineered setups that I’ve played in. The flexibility through the upper is solid and the fit – especially going a half-size down which I would wholeheartedly recommend – is good. The Podulon system has been employed perfectly, and is one of the best non-Zoom cushioning setups I’ve used along with the adidas TS Supernatural Creator.

Were there a couple of issues? Yes. The fit in the heel thanks to that Achilles pad could be a little tighter (but again, with a half-size down and two pairs of socks I personally didn’t have an issue with it) and I can’t quite get the full lockdown I love when lacing the shoes up.

Bottom line, if you’re a guard or a wing that likes the feel of the low, the CP3.VI should be one of the first shoes you try on. I recommend going a half-size down to get the best possible fit, but you’ll love the traction, smooth transition and cushioning setup. Some colorways are also starting to go on sale, making the CP3.VI a perfect cop if you’re on a budget and looking for a shoe that will carry you through your offseason workouts and open gym runs.

Overall Score: 46/50 x 2 = 92/100


Performance Review: Nike Zoom Hyperdisruptor

Prose: Finch (@Sir_Stymie)


Weight: 10.2 ounces
Test size: 13
Colorway: University Red/Street Grey-Black

So I picked up the Nike Hyperdisruptor kind of on a whim (I have been playing in the Air Jordan 2012’s and was really enjoying how they performed thus far) but it was time for the intramural basketball season, a last hurrah of sorts for my team Terminator X since a lot of us will be graduating at the conclusion of the year. I found it only fitting that I purchased some new shoes to prepare myself for what hopefully will be another deep playoff run that concludes with us defending our championship and cementing basketball supremacy at Ball State University.

During a routine mall run with my boy Jake (which is something that we do quite often) we stopped by the local Finish Line and Foot Locker to see some of the latest in footwear. While in Finish Line, I saw that they had released the Nike Hyperdisruptor, a shoe that I had seen online but was excited to see in person. When I tried it on foot I knew it was a shoe that I wanted to have in my life. Needless to say, I had the support of Jake. After several moments of self conflict, reconsideration and checking my funds (which has been a constant stumbling block in the past) I knew what had to be done.  Once everything checked out, I was in the car with the large orange shoe box in my lap. After several weeks of playing in the shoes I am happy to report to you fine people with my in-depth review.

Without question fit is very important – it can make or break a performance shoe in my opinion. I must admit the overall fit in the Hyperdistruptor differs greatly from the AJ 2012 that I was playing in before. I’m not sure if it’s due to the difference in materials or not but I will discuss that further in the Durability section.

The Hyperdisruptor  is a shoe that runs very narrow through the midfoot a la Huarache 2k4, but in this instance its almost to a fault. The toe box is also pretty small. I have a narrow foot so it fits me quite well, but due to the fact the shoe is so narrow it may not be a good fit for some hoopers. The tongue of the shoe is connected to the upper making it kind of like a sock liner (very much like the KD V) so the fit in the midfoot is kind of strange at first. Since the tongue isn’t free to move, I don’t always feel as locked in to the forefoot as much as I want. Fortunately, this problem can be remedied by tightening the laces further than normal but it does mean some extra lace pressure if you’re sensitive to that.

On the other hand, the heel lockdown is quite nice. There is an external heel counter much like the Kobe 8. This aspect of the shoe is very, very solid. While playing and shooting in them, at no point did I feel unstable or uncomfortable with fit in terms of heel lockdown. Although I do have some small problems with the fit in the forefoot and the overall narrow last of the silhouette, the overall fit of the shoe is very solid.


Heel-Toe Transition
I was not sure what to expect when I first picked up the Hyperdisruptor in terms of heel to toe transition. But after playing several weeks in the shoe, I have found the midsole is very flexible. Foot movement and placement in the footstrike is smooth and natural, which is a plus. Another plus is the the curvature of the sole on the toe-off. This small addition to basketball shoes in particular allows for almost a rocking motion, which makes the transition from heel to toe to be amazingly smooth. My favorite example of this (you would know if you have read my primer) is the Nike Force Max made famous by the Round Mound of Rebound Sir Charles Barkley and the team that defined a generation, the Fab Five of Michigan (ed. note The KD III also used this design very well.) If you look at the silhouette of the Hyperdisruptor you will clearly see that the toe area is curved slightly allowing for the smooth transition.

I like the heel to toe transition of the Hyperdisruptor, but my only complaint would be that there is no carbon fiber plate in the sole. The plate which would give the shoe structure and rigidity. It is the base on which the shoe is build around similar to the frame or chassis of a car. I feel that is a plate would have been added to the shoe it would have been a major upgrade and would have put the shoe in elite company in turns of heel to toe transition.

It is well-known that I am a strong believer in the marriage of Zoom Air in the forefoot and Max Air in the heel. Sadly the Hyperdisruptor does not come with that particular setup, but that is not to say that the cushion that is provided for this shoe is inadequate. The Hyperdisruptor has what we call a Zoom-Zoom cushioning system which means there is a Zoom Air bag integrated into the forefoot and in the heel. This setup doesn’t provide as good of impact protection in the heel as a Max Air unit, but that is merely a matter of my preference.

If I would compare this shoe to my personal favorite, the Huarache 2k4, (which just has Zoom Air in the heel) I would have to say that it is a upgrade. Two air bags are always better than one. The one thing that I can’t ignore – and I don’t want to sound like I’m repeating myself – but the midsole is very soft in the Hyperdisruptor. It make for a comfortable fit and ride, but sometimes I feel that the softness of the midsole is compromising the Zoom bags (ed. note: in Nike terms, the soft midsole hurts the compression/deflection of the Zoom bags). It feels as if you are walking in very thin, almost flip flop-like, foam. The 2k4 has a much more dense midsole and it makes the shoe more stable and comfortable.


You have heard us say it once, and you’ll probably hear it a million more times: we here at The Gym Rat Review LOVE herringbone traction patterns. We are not saying that other patterns don’t work or that its a deal breaker if a shoe doesn’t have herringbone, it’s just one of those things that will stand the test of time. It started out in the 70s with shoes like the Nike Blazers and Adidas Pro Models, and is still used today in high-performance kicks like the Kobe 8 and adidas Rose 3.

The Nike Hyperdisruptor, I am sad to report, does not have this traction pattern. The pattern for this shoe is several elevated lines that run parallel and go diagonally across the shoe. These lines come from both sides of the shoe and criss cross in the center of the shoe. The lines get more dense in some parts of the shoe for added grip in high-impact areas. This system was new for me at least ( I admit I had my doubts) but all in all I was impressed with the overall traction. It seemed to grip the court very well right out of the box and has reacted well through constant beating that comes with my style of play. Other than the occasional use of Mission Court Grip and swiping, it’s been a pleasant traction experience.


As you can tell by the name, this shoe has a complete Hyperfuse and mesh upper. Of course the Hyperfuse is reinforced in certain target areas for durability, in my opinion it will never be as strong as quality leather. It has held up so far but the jury is still out. The midsole, once again, is where the problems really lie. This shoe is stupid light – I literally forget I have them in my bag sometimes – but the foam in the midsole is simply too thin and squishy for lack of a better term.

I am not fan of this midsole, to say the least, and the construction was proven bad on the flimsy midsole. I have had to take a pair back because the outsole was detaching from the midsole; this is after less than 10 wears and that is unacceptable. Whatever positives I felt about the upper have been tainted by this poor quality midsole. I admit the second pair that I got in exchange are doing fine, but this is due to the fact that I have switched back to my Jordan 2012 for open rec and have relegated my Hyperdisruptors for intramural game days only.

All in all, I have become a fan of the Hyperdisruptor and I feel it has a lot to offer as a performance shoe. The fit is narrow but is comfortable; if you are looking for a shoe that will hug your foot and give you good ankle support, this is it. The heel-toe transition is very smooth and promotes an effortless gate. The cushioning meets the standards set by today’s modern athlete (although I believe Zoom/Max would have worked better) and the traction was a very pleasant surprise.

The thing that is really hurting this shoe is the overall durability. Any time a consumer has to take a pair of shoes back because they have fallen apart within two weeks, something is wrong. By no means am I saying that it is a horrible shoe, I just believe the focus was too much on making the shoe light and in turn, Nike sacrificed durability in the process. Another glaring problem for me at least was the overall softness of the midsole – again, a direct result of Nike trying to make the shoe as light a possible.

You can’t have quality control problems on a shoe that costs $130 and is a flagship model for so many Nike schools; you just can’t. This problem could be fixed by adding a carbon fiber plate to the bottom of the shoe for structure. Making the midsole a bit more rigid you would make the shoe a bit heavier, but it would make for a more sturdy, stable and comfortable ride. The problem with the addition of carbon fiber is we’d probably be talking about a shoe that costs $160 to $175, and that’s a little too steep even for me.

In closing, the Nike Zoom Hyperdisruptor is a nice change of pace shoe for players at multiple positions. Just like everything else in this world, it’s not perfect. It’s easy for me to sit here and say how I feel about the shoe, but many college and NBA players are wearing the Hyperdisruptor and loving it – from Ohio State Point guard Aaron Craft to NBA veteran Grant Hill – so make sure you guys get to your local Foot Locker or Finishline and try them on for yourself.

Overall Score: 39.5/50 x 2 = 79


TGRR Blog: Finch’s Performance Review Primer


Prose: Finch (@Sir_Stymie)

As a forerunner to my in-depth performance review – which will be launched in the upcoming days – I wanted to share the key aspects of performance shoes that I find important. These topics are the areas that my review will be centered around. Also, I want to share with you some of my favorite past performance sneakers so you can see examples of the shoes I have worn and draw parallels to you own experiences. If you have read the review primer from my colleague Jake Sittler you will see that we share many of the same points. Even though our playing styles differ, some aspects of performance shoes transcend any stylistic differences.

I like to think of myself as a point/forward, switching between wing and post throughout the game a la Royce White (when he played for Iowa State) so the overall fit of a shoe is very important to me. I need a shoe that keeps me locked into the midsole while banging in the post with bigs, but also allows me to keep my footing when making a crossover, making cuts and playing defense. Jake made a statement in his primer that I thought echoes true for me as well: “A performance shoe should be an extension of the foot.” This should ring true whether you play basketball or table tennis – fit matters.

When I try on a shoe for the first time the first thing that I pay close attention to is the fit overall. Do I have room in the toebox? How does the shoes lock my foot in when its laced and tied? The overall cushion on the inside of the tongue and inner bootie also plays a major factor on how I determine the quality of fit. If you knew me, you would know that I am a sucker for shoes that come equipped with straps. Straps for me put the icing on the cake. I feel more secure and locked in to the shoe, making the shoe more a part of me.

The best shoe in terms of fit for me would have to be the Adidas TS Commander LT. The inner bootie was completely memory foam and the shoe ran a bit small at first so it felt like you were wearing a shoe that was custom made for your foot. You were completely locked in and even though it was a shoe made popular by a power forward (Tim Duncan) I didn’t feel as if you were restricted in movement nor did I feel like I was wearing a lumbering space boot i.e. the Total Foamposite Max. The TS Commander offered amazing near customized fit while also offering a clean, streamlined silhouette.

Heel – toe transition
Due to the fact the I am a multiple-position player, heel to toe transition is an aspect of a shoe that I like to pay attention to. The key is to get a natural gait so I can run smooth without hitches or hangups. I’m a big fan of the new Nike Hyperdistuptor (in-depth review coming soon) but I found the shoe to be a bit too flexible for my liking.

The shoe that has given me what I look for in heel to toe transition would have to be the Nike Force Max (yes another shoe worn by a big.) The shoe has a sole that is slightly curved in the front directly under the toe box and this exaggerated angle allows the foot to move naturally, making the wearer’s gait smooth and almost effortless. This actually differs from many of the other shoes from the Nike Force collection, and it’s a good example why this shoe was worn by players that play many different positions.

Cushion is one of those things that can go under the radar or be taken for granted but in todays sneaker world, especially in long-term performance, cushion is huge. It the difference between playing in a Converse Chuck Taylor or a Lebron X (ok maybe not that dramatic but you get the point.) As I look back on the types of shoes that I have worn, I have realized that I am an Air Max guy in my casual shoes – for example the Jordan IV or Air Max 1. But when it comes to hoops, in a perfect world I would prefer to play in a Zoom Air forefoot, Max Air heel combination. The best example for me is the Nike Kevin Garnett III (ok maybe I did that one on purpose). To me, a Nike Zoom forefoot unit and Air Max heel are two products that hold hands in sweet, sweet union. If you want an example of this cushioning system in today’s market, the KD V is a shining example – a three-time scoring champion can’t be wrong, right?

I am a big supporter of herringbone. To me it just works and it’s a classic, though I must admit the shoe that I am currently using for ball contradicts my affinity herringbone. I am currently hooping in the Jordan 2012, which showcases a very peculiar multi-directional, almost square like patterns on the bottoms. Although I am not completely sold on this type of traction, it has been more than pleasantly surprising. Since the shoes are still fairly new, I’ll ride with ’em but I still think I would rather prefer herringbone.

In the modern era of performance, many of the new basketball shoes are being produced using synthetic materials in order to make the shoes lighter and more flexible. On the other hand, using synthetic materials in my opinion has had an impact on the overall quality of the shoes of today. I am big fan of leather and/or suede upper in my shoes, there is something to be said about using high-grain leather on a performance shoe – they break in so nicely and wear so gracefully. With that said, my flagship for durability would have the be the Nike Air Max Sweep Thru (Amare Stoudemire’s quasi-signature shoe.) My colorway has a grey suede upper and a bright orange strap, and this shoe and I have gone thru the ringer. From everyday hoop wear at the rec center to outdoor and indoor tournaments – that we came out on top of for the most part – it’s just been a solid shoe that wears and weathers beautifully over time.

The shoe that has to be my favorite performance model of all-time has to be the Nike Zoom Huarache 2k4. I hooped in that shoe as a child and as an adult in both the mids (that came with a wonderful strap) and the low-cut version. Its just a shoe that fits what I want to do on the court. Although its not a perfect shoe – it has its shortcomings in cushion and fit – the 2K4 is that rare shoe that can be called jack of all trades but a master of none…and that’s kind of like me.

Performance Review: Nike Hyperdunk 2012 Low

Prose: Jake Sittler (@jtsittler)


Weight: 10.6 oz
Size tested: 11
Colorway: Strata Grey/Midnight Fog

I was extremely excited to pick up the Hyperdunk Low for a couple of reasons. First of all, I had trashed my Zoom Soldier VIs during a semester of hooping damn near everyday and winning an intramural championship with Finch and Team Terminator X. I could bend the shoes completely in half and twist them violently side to side, so it was time to move on to something else. This meant going from a mid-cut shoe with double-stacked Zoom air in the heel, a Fuse upper and midfoot strap, to a low top with full-length Lunarlon and Dynamic Flywire.

The latter part of that sentence is the second reason why I was pumped to try out the Hyperdunks. I had never hooped in a Lunar foam-based shoe and hadn’t tried out Dynamic Flywire on court. I’d played in Flywire-based shoes, like the Kobe V and VI, but never with the new iteration of that technology.

Like I mentioned in my performance review primer, the first thing I look for in a performance shoe is the fit. For full disclosure, I went down a half-size and I always wear two pairs of socks to play in, so I expected the fit to be snug – for me I’d rather have my hoop shoes tighter than too roomy.

I immediately liked the fit of the Hyperdunk Low through the midfoot and toebox. The toebox is slim and the shoe is built on a narrow last, both of which I appreciate. The inner workings of the shoe feature a thin, mesh bootie, over which the Dynamic Flywire is laid. I was pleased with the lockdown I felt from the Dynamic Flywire, and I thought it did a good job of anchoring my foot over the footbed. It didn’t provide the completely locked-in feel of the Kobe V or VI, but it was very, very close. I loved the two notches at the forefoot around the lowest eyelet; I thought they were expertly placed and gave the forefoot plenty of flexibility.


The heel fit is relatively solid too. There’s no external heel counter – the ultimate in heel lockdown – but the molded inner collar held my heel in place admirably after the first couple wearings. There is a bit of slippage on the most violent of movements, but not to the point where I felt unstable. One thing to note: there are six eyelets and I typically lace my shoes all the way to the top eyelet in an effort to lock in my ankle and heel. On the Hyperdunk Low, I felt some uncomfortable lace pressure across my lower ankle area right where my ankle bends when laced to the top. I laced only to the fifth eyelet on my third wearing, and was much more comfortable. I did not notice any difference in lockdown.

Heel-Toe Transition
With a full Lunarlon midsole inside a Phylon carrier, I expected the transition to be very good and it certainly was. There was no slap at all through my footstrike and running and cutting was smooth. Coming from the Soldier VI, which I felt had top-notch transition, I didn’t experience too much of a difference in that aspect. I would say that I felt like my foot sat down lower in the midsole carrier of the Soldier VI, though some of that can be attributed to the Soldier being a mid.


The picture above shows a key bevel on the heel of the shoe. The outsole is slightly thicker in the heel medial side (arch side) of the shoe, so that when the shoe sits flat the inner half of the heel is what is touching the surface. If you overpronate, even slightly, during your footstrike, having that extra bit of rubber making contact with ground aids in a smooth transition. Even if you have a typical neutral gait, the extra millimeters of thickness are going to help when you plant on your foot and push off on the inside of it.

Yes, I’m a Zoom lover, but the Lunarlon/Phylon carrier setup is acceptable to me. I had read horrific tales of Lunar foam bottoming out within a week, but I haven’t necessarily found that to be true with the Hyperdunk Low. It’s certainly not as bouncy and responsive as Zoom (nothing is, in my opinon) but it provided excellent protection through the footstrike. It took a couple of wearings before I really felt my foot carve out a mold in the foam, but it feels natural at this point after eight wearings.


I love being as low to the ground as possible, and Lunarlon doesn’t quite give you the court feel of a Zoom-Zoom or full-length Zoom setup. No major complaints from me, but I wouldn’t put the Hyperdunk Low’s Lunarlon ahead of the Kobe VI or any Zoom setup I’ve played in (or ahead of the Supernatural Creators Formotion setup). If I’m comparing these to other flagship Nike products, I simply can’t put the Lunar foam cushioning setup on par with a Zoom-based shoe.

Everyone knows and loves the classic herringbone pattern, and unfortunately designer Oliver Henrichot and the guys at Nike went with a more creative traction setup. It’s a multi-directional design that’s the same as the regular Lunar Hyperdunk version. The grooves and edges are well-placed alongside the forefoot flex zones and it features a solid lateral outrigger – always a plus for stability and traction. As Sole Collector detailed in their review of the original Lunar Hyperdunk Mid, the sublimated graphics under the main traction grooves detail where the Nike+ sensors are located in the versions equipped with that technology (the Lows are not).


Overall the traction is very good, with durable rubber and thick edges gripping most court surfaces. On a dusty or dirty floor I found myself swiping a bit, but after a couple of wearings the rubber really started to break in nicely.

A full synthetic upper makes up the shoe’s outer shell and three eyelets feature Dynamic Flywire. There’s a large cutout along the midfoot where the thick Dynamic Flywire strands are exposed, and another triangular cutout near the heel where the collar is thickened.

The first two eyelets appear to have Flywire built into the upper, though the strands appear to be so thin that I wonder if there’s actually anything in there (though it honestly doesn’t make a huge difference.) I do have concerns as to whether the Dynamic Flywire will hold strong along the edges of that cutout in the long term, but by all accounts it’s solid so far.


Many wearers hated the bottoming out of early forms of Lunarlon in hoop shoes, but this version seems fairly firm after eight wearings. It’s never going to be Zoom Air, but we’ll see how long it holds out.

Overall, I liked the Hyperdunk Low. The fit and heel-toe transition are excellent, and the cushioning, traction and materials used are all perfectly fine. I especially enjoyed the fit through the midfoot and the flexibility at the forefoot and toebox. I also like the way the Lunarlon midsole molds and forms to my foot.

But I hold my basketball shoes to an extremely high standard because I spend so much time in them, and I believe the Hyperdunk Low could be better. I can’t say it’s an elite performer. A forefoot Zoom bag would be a wonderful addition. Any top of the line Nike shoe, built for guards like the Hyperdunk Low obviously is, should have a forefoot Zoom unit. More sculpted collar foam or notches around the Achilles inside the heel would be an upgrade as well. At $130, the price is pretty steep, but they’d be a worthy pickup once the price drops. If you’re a guard and like the feel of a low, or you like to have a couple different shoes in your rotation, they’re a solid performer…once they fall into an acceptable price range.

Overall: 43.5/50 x 2 = 87/100


Performance Review First Look: Nike Hyperdunk 2012 Low

Prose: Sittler (@jtsittler)

I picked up the Hyperdunk 2012 Low today (s/o Caselton Finishline) and got a short shooting workout in at the local YMCA with them on foot. Very, very early impression: the fit is tight and narrow; Lunarlon makes for a smooth heel-toe strike; heel lockdown initially leaves something to be desired and the jury is out on the traction (and all these aspects) until I get some more runs in on good courts.

The full review will be ready in the next 7-10 days; I’ll get three or four competitive runs and several individual workouts in by then. In the meantime, enjoy the first look!