Prose: Jake Sittler (@jtsittler)
Along with many other reviewers and sneaker aficionados, I anticipated the release of the Rose 5 as much or more than any other this year – mostly due to the implementation of full length Boost for the first time ever in a hoops shoe. The Crazy Light Boost experimented with heel Boost only, and in my only try on in-store the forefoot felt so terrible I couldn’t justify spending my own cash on it (we pay for all reviews out of pocket).
But I was going all in on the Rose 5, and a little unsure of what to expect. Running shoes featuring Boost foam were pillowy soft and bouncy – great for linear activities but not so much for the dynamic movements and change of direction that come with the game of basketball. The Boost setup in the Rose 5 though, is fine-tuned for the hardwood and is actually only a small part of what makes the 5 one of my favorite shoes I’ve put on my foot this year.
I went a half-size down to an 11 and found the fit perfect for my foot, with just the right amount of length and a very sung lateral fit.
I’ll throw Boost aside for a second, because the tremendous fit and lockdown is the best aspect of the Rose 5. The shoe features a SprintWeb upper with a Fitcage structure along the medial and lateral sides. Fitcage is a frame of sorts, holding the sides of the foot in place, wrapping around the heel with a substantial external heel counter, and extending up to the collar around the ankle bone. It’s stiff yet still molds with the foot and locks the foot in place. There’s not even a hint of slippage, even with my narrower foot. It’s every bit as secure as the best fitting shoes I’ve tested – the Clutchfit and Crazyquick 1 – and provides extra security against ankle inversion.
I’ve seen some criticisms of the synthetic upper material for its excessive creasing in the toebox. And it definitely does crease immediately, but I didn’t find it affecting the performance in any way. It may affect wide footers that take up more of the toebox volume, but I doubt that it’s a significant thing. I found it creasing in the normal areas that any Fuse or Frame type of upper would, and the shoes laced up with vise-like lockdown from toe to ankle. I didn’t notice any hotspots, and while it’s not a natural feeling upper like the Crazyquick 1, XX9, or Clutchfit, it’s as secure as anything out there. Much like the Rose 4.5 achieved great lockdown despite having a more stiff upper, the Rose 5 is near-perfect for all intents and purposes.
For what it’s worth, other colorways appear to have a SprintWeb mesh upper rather than the thicker SprintWeb synthetic found on this “Brenda” colorway. These may crease and fit a little more naturally than the colorway I picked up.
The full length Boost midsole is spongy and smooth, and transition is aided by a large stability plate underneath the arch with four fingers extending to the forefoot and heel portions of the shoe. With the translucent outsole, you can easily see this plate sandwiched between the outsole rubber and Boost midsole. Transition was perfect, especially after a couple of wearings.
Boost is one of the hottest technologies in the industry, and has to be one of the most unique cushioning platforms on the market. In running shoe form, it’s super soft and flexible, providing spongy responsiveness and one of the plushest rides you’ll find. The basketball shoe version doesn’t feel quite the same, although it’s still softer and bouncier than anything else you’ll try on today. Zoom Air, Lunarlon, and Micro G are all more firm and structured, and I still think I might prefer a heel-toe Zoom setup or Micro G midsole. But Boost is damn close to those two and I can’t really find anything bad to say about it.
The midsole foam in the forefoot feels a little thin and less responsive than in the heel, but still provides good impact protection and responsiveness. Stability is taken care of by the Fitcage and low to the ground ride, and overall responsiveness is very, very good. I mentioned the support plate before, and it provides plenty of arch stability and lateral stability as it slightly wraps up and around the side of the Boost foam.
Boost is revered for its energy return, and it doesn’t disappoint. I’m not sure if I’m ready to put it ahead of Zoom Air, but adidas finally has a hoops cushioning platform (although they HAD a great thing going with Supernatural Creator-era FYW) that can compete with Zoom and Micro G.
The toe half of the forefoot is pretty traditional solid rubber, wavy herringbone and provides good stopping ability on most floors. The middle half of the forefoot and heel portions are a translucent rubber with a nubby pattern. On semi-dusty floors, I found myself needing to swipe to get great traction, but on most good floors you’ll be fine. Very good, not quite great, overall.
If you’re someone that cares about creasing, you won’t like these. The speed at which they crease hurts the Rose 5’s appeal as an off-court option – although that’s not what it’s built for anyway. I see the upper holding up extremely well, as it’s sturdy and tough from any angle. I did get mine stepped on in a Saturday morning league and got a pretty nasty scuff on the side, but again it’s not affecting the performance in any way.
I’ll be interested to see how Boost holds up over the long term, and whether it will lose some of that bounce and plush feel as it wears down. All cushioning eventually will get beaten down, but longevity is what I’m interested in. Given how soft it is, I imagine it will wear down some but so far, so good.
Overall, I loved this shoe to be honest. It fit fantastic and checked all of the cushioning boxes: soft impact protection, good responsiveness and an extremely low to the ground feel – even if it was a little thin under the forefoot. The Fitcage frame is still probably my favorite aspect, as the lockdown it provided made it feel as secure as any shoe I’ve worn. Do I wish the upper was more natural and less stiff? Yes, but then it probably wouldn’t have worked as well with the Fitcage and may not have provided the containment needed on this platform.
I think Boost lived up to and exceeded my expectations in basketball form. The Rose 5 should be one of the first shoes you try on this season, and is a shoe of the year contender alongside Nike’s KD7 and Under Armour’s Clutchfit.