Performance Review: Jordan CP3.VII

Prose: Jake Sittler (@jtsittler)


Back when I reviewed the Jordan CP3.VI, I lamented that most of the shoes in Chris Paul’s signature line were pretty good on court, just not great in any one aspect. Something always held the shoes back from being elite performance models – in the case of the CP3.VI it was its inability to provide sufficient lockdown from heel to toe. Unfortunately, even though I really like a lot of aspects of the shoe, the CP3.VII falls victim to a similar problem.

I struggled worse with this review than any other because there was so much that was great about the shoe, but it didn’t exactly work for me. Even though it personally didn’t suit my playing needs I will wholeheartedly recommend the CP3.VII as a performance model.

For me, the fit of the shoe is weighed more heavily than any other aspects and that’s the reason I didn’t really enjoy playing in the shoe as much as I have others this year (including the Crazyquick and Anatomix Spawn). Again, I will stress that this is a personal opinion, but the last (shape of the outsole) just didn’t fit my foot right and I wasn’t able to get the type of lockdown I look for. To me, lockdown = confidence when I’m playing. If a shoe fits me right, I won’t even notice that it’s there and I have complete confidence making cuts, changing direction or stopping on a dime.


In the CP3.VII, I always felt that my foot wasn’t fully secure. My toes were kind of cramped in the toebox (laterally, that is), I felt a bit of an unnatural flex in the toebox as well, and the Achilles notch continued to hamper the heel fit. While the lacing system and Dynamic Flywire integration was adequate, I never felt fully locked in through the midfoot either. This was all probably due to the shape of my foot and for you, the fit may be just fine; it just didn’t suit me.

Other than that, I felt like the shoe was built slightly wider than some others I’d tested (I have a pretty narrow foot) so it might fit a broader variety of players. The upper was comfortable and inner bootie was extremely plush – one of the best interiors I’ve tested. While I probably won’t add the CP3.VII into my hooping rotation, it’s definitely sticking around as an off the court go-to shoe.

Heel-Toe Transition
Transition was smooth from heel to toe, aided by a multilevel outsole and large midfoot shank. The implementation of Podulite in the midsole gave the shoe a nice, natural ride through the footstrike. No complaints in this department.


Jordancp3vii_Court Feel
The CP3 line has long used a Podulon cushioning setup, which is basically a dual density cushioning system that places responsive foam pillars at strategic points throughout the footstrike. It’s a responsive and bouncy cushioning platform that’s relatively stable, although you won’t feel quite as low to the ground as a Lunarlon or Zoom Air systems. The CP3.VII debuted Podulite, which uses a forefoot Zoom Air unit under the ball of the foot which added even more responsiveness.


Bottom line, this shoe is ridiculously comfortable. The Podulite is bouncy and plush, and simply feels great on court. A Phylon midsole houses the aforementioned external TPU shank provides plenty of midfoot support. I didn’t give it a 10/10 simply because I personally like a little more court feel, but this cushioning platform is excellent.


Traction is also top notch, as it was on last year’s CP3.VI. Deep herringbone is used throughout and you’ll get that reassuring squeak on quick stops. It is a multilevel outsole with raised portions along the lateral side of the outsole that do an excellent job providing traction laterally.

In the black/red colorway I tested out, synthetics were used throughout the upper. The midfoot portion reminds me a lot of the makeup of the Air Jordan 2010 Outdoor – which was quietly one of the better shoes I’ve ever played in. It’s a relatively tough and durable upper, and should hold up well. TecTuff is used on the toe wrap on the medial side, as CP3 tends to drag his toe when he changes direction – it’s an intelligent addition to the shoe and beefs up the durability on that end. All in all, the CP3.VII feels and plays like one of the more well-made shoes I’ve tested this year.


Once again, I want to reiterate that I think the CP3.VII is a great performance shoe and it’s certainly one of the most comfortable I’ve played in in a long time. It featured the best balance of court feel and impact protection that I’ve tested in a long time – I loved the cushioning.

It doesn’t suit me on-court because I value fit so much and I simply couldn’t get the right lockdown out of the shoe – but I still recommend it to most players. Definitely try it on in store before you buy if you go the online route, but for a guard/swingman type that likes the feel of a lowtop I think the CP3.VII is one of the best options out there.

Performance Review: Nike Hyperdunk 2013

Prose: Jake Sittler (@jtsittler)

First of all, it’s been too long since we’ve put a review up. With Finch and I both now graduated and toiling away for 40+ hours per week (and not getting paid enough) it took a temporary toll on our content production. We’re back though, with three reviews coming your way in the near future (Hyperdunk 2013, Hyperquickness, and Flyknit Free review from Kim) and a possible collaboration with @Tonguetiedco.

Now for the review…

Nike Hyperdunk 2013
Colorway tested: University Red/Wolf Grey/Black
Size Tested: 11.5


When the original Hyperdunk dropped in 2008, it was a groundbreaker. Featuring Lunar foam, a Flywire-based upper, a truly futuristic silhouette (and a slick marketing campaign thanks to its Olympic debut), the 2008 version set a new performance bar and became a flagship shoe for the brand. It wasn’t perfect yet – the Lunar foam wasn’t as refined as it is currently and some had issues with durability – but the “Hyper” series was launched on the foundation of lightweight performance and innovation.

The next iteration, in 2010, ditched Luanr foam for Zoom cushioning and a Kobe V-like Skinwire upper, but also fell short in the performance (specifically, durability, based on what I heard from other players as I played small-college basketball).

In 2011, Nike struck gold in the performance department with a nice Zoom/midsole combination while employing the Flywire upper in a more breathable and better fitting manner. 2011 also saw an “Elite” version that proved to be a performance monster (and one that I got a few runs myself in).

2012 saw the line return back to Lunarlon cushioning, while introducing us to Dynamic Flywire on a hoops shoe.  It also featured Nike+ options on some models, incorporating an improved data collection system for the court. While I think Dynamic Flywire is a much more useful technology than the prior versions, I wasn’t a fan of the cushioning setup nor the traction. The Nike+ models were priced at $250, which was a little steep for most of us.

The evolution then, to this point, saw the Hyperdunk start as a groundbreaker, then remain at or near the top of Nike hoops hierarchy as it changed technologies and platforms. It’s virtually impossible to create a groundbreaking performance sneaker every year, but it seems as if the Hyperdunk line is falling behind some of Nike’s other offerings (the Kobe/LeBron lines, the durable Hyperfuse) in terms of performance chops.

So where does it leave us with the 2013 then? As I found out, the 2013 deliberately improved on the 2012’s weaknesses and turned out to be a high-level performance option.

I was coming off hooping in the adidas Crazyquick (and briefly, the KD V Elite) so I was used to playing in shoes the fit like a glove. Frankly, the Hyperdunk 2013 is right up there with the Crazyquick in terms of fit. It’s different – while the Crazyquick was also bootie or sock-like with its Techfit upper, the Hyperdunk utilizes a more flexible Hyperfuse upper and Dynamic Flywire for additional lockdown. The Flywire really gives additional, targeted lockdown, but the upper hugs the foot nicely and the eight eyelets provide the wearer with great fit and flexibility from toe to ankle. When laced up tight, the foot is locked onto the footbed – no slippage here.


Perhaps the most striking visual detail is the way the midsole wraps up around the heel – rather than having an external counter like previous models. While I’d prefer the external counter just for the rigidity, this setup still gave me no issues. I do wonder how well it will hold up over longer periods of time – whether or not the foam will break down is just a passing concern and I don’t have evidence to back it up yet.


Heel-Toe Transition
Transition was smooth thanks to the Lunarlon midsole, which molds well to the foot like usual. There’s no slap, which I can’t stand, and the transition allows the wearer to move on his/her toes easily without clunkiness (this is an area where the KD V Elite failed miserably and really made me dislike the shoe). It wasn’t Crazyquick-level, where you just rolled smoothly thanks to all the segmentation, but it still was very good. No complaints.

If you’ve read any prior reviews, you know that I’m not a huge fan of the Lunarlon setup. Yes, it’s comfortable (initially), it forms to the foot nicely, provides good impact protection (initially), and is lightweight. It’s just that the impact protection and comfort don’t last long enough for me. The Hyperdunk 2012 Low that I reviewed was just fine in terms of all aspects of cushioning…until I got a month into it. Then the Lunarlon, to me, begins to break down and become compacted. I noticed it in my knees immediately when it got to that point. In short, the cushioning is more than adequate now, but Lunarlon typically lets me down after I get 3-5 weeks into it.

Another note, I would have loved to see a carbon fiber shank in the midsole. Carbon fiber is simply lighter and stronger than other shanks and provides top of the line support and strength. The TPU shank is fine but in a flagship shoe, give us the carbon fiber!

This is one area where the 2013 model is leaps and bounds above the 2012 version. Whereas the 2012 went with a multi-directional pattern that highlighted the Nike+ capabilities throughout the midsole, it was pretty average in terms of traction. The 2013 is full-on herringbone, and it’s gorgeous. Simply tried and true, and it can be found from heel to toe on this shoe.


I have no real concerns with the durability unless the midsole wall that wraps around the heel was to weaken or break in, but I doubt that becomes an issue. I’m a fan of this version of the upper textiles (feels a lot like the excellent 2011 version) and I haven’t had any issues with Dynamic Flywire on several different types of shoes.


To wrap up, I really enjoyed playing in this shoe. As far as a mid or higher cut shoe, it’s extremely flexible and the fit is excellent. Traction is impeccable, and the shoe played quick, smooth and low to the ground. If you like the Lunarlon cushioning system, by all means purchase this shoe. I think it’s a great one for multiple positions and as a team shoe especially.

In my personal opinion, the quick wearing down of Lunarlon (or at least my body’s sensitivity to it) factors into this as well. To me, that limits the long-term wearability of the shoe. That’s simply my opinion though, and this review is about the shoe – not my needs as a player. I wholeheartedly recommend the Hyperdunk 2013 as a reliable, everyday, go-to shoe.

TGRR Blog: First Impressions of the Nike Hyperdunk 2013

Prose: Jake Sittler (@jtsittler)


Since 2008, the Hyperdunk has been a flagship model for the Nike Basketball line. The shoes have debuted the first basketball iterations of Flywire and Lunar foam, and have updated those key technologies through the years. We’ve seen several different applications of Flywire alone in the Hyperdunk line.

The 2012 model showed off Hyperfuse construction, a Dynamic Flywire system and a Lunarlon/Phylon combination midsole, and the Hyperdunk 2013 is set to continue all three of those technologies.



You’ll notice strategically-placed Hyperfuse welding throughout the upper, underneath the Dynamic Flywire system. The 2013 Dynamic Flywire seems to be more customizable than the 2012 setup, with each section of the strands directly tied in to the laces. I believe that Dynamic Flywire is a much more legitimate technology than Flywire embedded in the upper from a performance standpoint, and I was pleased with the lockdown I got out of the Hyperdunk 2012 Low with the less-customizable utilization.


While I’m looking forward to spending more time in the 2013, the fit as I laced them up for the first time was excellent. It was snug and the lockdown over the footbed was ideal, while still allowing the foot to move and flex naturally.

The biggest aesthetic attraction in the 2013 is the large heel counter, which extends up from the midsole to wrap the heel itself. Heel fit seems excellent and even with my narrow foot I felt good heel lockdown. The internal heel counter does extend up beyond the midsole wrap, which also aids in the lockdown.


Herringbone is a welcome addition to the outsole, and is a departure from the 2012’s multidirectional pattern that I met with mixed results.

The transition seemed smooth upon first wearings and I have no qualms with that aspect. I’m not the biggest fan of Lunar foam simply because I feel like the responsiveness disappears quickly and the footbed – though it molds to the wearer’s foot well – becomes too firm. In the Hyperdunk 2013, the forefoot cushioning seemed a little lacking and that’s coming from a guy who’s currently playing in the Crazyquick and last reviewed the overly-firm KD V Elite. I also am not sure that the plastic TPU shank will give enough support at the midfoot and it seemed a little lacking at least for my foot anatomy.


After the first wearing, I anticipate the Hyperdunk 2013 to come out a solid performer (we’ll examine the real value of this shoe in the full review). I really liked the way the shoe plays on foot right out of the box. I enjoyed the fit, transition, traction and general freedom of movement, but it remains to be seen how the midfoot shank and forefoot cushioning perform through further testing.

TGRR Blog: What It Means to be Elite

Prose: Jake Sittler (@jtsittler)

In 2012 Nike introduced the Elite series, which consisted of upgraded versions of the LeBron IX, Kobe VII and Hyperdunk for the athletes’ playoff runs. Upgraded construction like carbon fiber heel clips and midfoot panels, a reduction in layers of the Flywire-based uppers and beefed up midfoot shanks worked to provide wearers with a better fit, more durability and lighter weight.

On March 20, Nike officially unveiled the Elite 2.0 series. The LeBron X, Kobe VIII and the KD V all received the Elite treatment and were upgraded in different ways. We don’t normally do breaking sneaker news here because we try to keep TGRR as performance-based as possible – we’re not just another sneaker news blog. But this news was especially pertinent to us at TGRR, as these shoes are supposed to represent the best in Nike basketball technology and performance.

At the end of the post, add your vote to the poll at the bottom and let us know which of the three Elite 2.0 shoes you like best.

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The first model we’ll take a look at is the LeBron X PS Elite. “Unstoppable Power” is the tagline along with the shoe, and there are a few noticeable differences between the Elite version and the standard model. The midsole is slightly more chunky, but the real difference comes in the form of the large carbon fiber panels on the midfoot and heel. The heel piece, with three “wings” wrapping around the lateral side and two more wrapping around the back to the medial side, should provide a lockdown fit.

There’s also another smaller wing along the midfoot to provide some lateral stability. With Kevlar-reinforced Flywire and laces, this shoe is designed to lock you in and withstand any pounding a player could put it through.

LEBRON X PS ELITE: Unstoppable Power

Forged by time, heat and pressure, the diamond inspires LeBron James’s tenth Nike signature shoe. His elite version drafts off the rare Carbonado diamond, a virtually indestructible stone said to derive from an ancient supernova, the most explosive force in the universe. The shoe’s bright citrus colorway and graphic collar lining capture James’s unstoppable power.

The LEBRON X PS ELITE is designed to be stronger, offering the highest level of performance for James in the post season. The shoe builds on the innovative advances of the LEBRON X and takes it to a new level with:

  • Carbon fiber-reinforced mid-foot wings for excellent lateral stability
  • Kevlar® aramid-reinforced Nike Flywire technology for consistent lock-down through the midfoot
  • Kevlar® aramid laces resist stretching for a more consistent fit
  • Articulated foam tongue provides impact protection and minimizes lace pressure

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Next up in the Elite 2.0 series is the Kobe 8 System Elite “Deceptive Speed.” The Kobe 8 doesn’t get quite as many external upgrades as the other two – though it does feature a carbon fiber heel counter and midfoot shank – and some Dynamic Flywire shows up on the forefoot and reinforced with Kevlar. Under the hood though, the Kobe 8 gets Zoom Air cushioning (finally) and improved padding in the once paper-thin tongue. A better fit and more responsive cushioning should lead to a quicker shoe on-foot.

KOBE 8 SYSTEM ELITE: Deceptive Speed

Kobe Bryant often showcases the adept speed and precision of his on-court alter ego, the Black Mamba. The KOBE 8 SYSTEM ELITE is inspired by the lethal green pit viper snake and the x-ray vision emitted by its heat-sensing eyes. Bryant stays three steps ahead of his opponent with his keen vision. The KOBE 8 SYSTEM ELITE highlights Bryant’s power of deceptive speed with a poison green colorway and x-ray vision graphic on the collar lining.

The KOBE 8 SYSTEM ELITE is designed for precision footwork while offering:  

  • Carbon fiber heel clip and shank for lightweight stability, quick cuts and jumps
  • Dynamic Flywire technology reinforced with Kevlar® aramid to provide more consistent stability and lockdown
  • Articulated foam tongue provides impact protection and minimizes lace pressure
  • Kevlar® aramid laces resist stretching for a more consistent fit
  • Phylon midsole and Nike Zoom technology providing consistent, responsive cushioning

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Without question, the shoe with the most drastic changes from the base model is the KD V Elite. And I am instantly infatuated. The shoe goes from a mid-top in the regular version to a low in the Elite, a plus as far as I’m concerned. The next thing you’ll notice is the prominent, dare I say late 90s/early 00s-esque, caged Zoom Air bag in the heel. The large volume, visible bag transitions to the midfoot via a carbon fiber shank and noticeable arch. The arch and Zoom bag combination reminded me of the Zoom Drive or Zoom Vapor 8; I expect great cushioning and stability through the midsole but I’m interested to see if the heel-toe transition is smooth thanks to the high arch. Kevlar boots the Dynamic Flywire strands that are found throughout the upper, another new feature from the Fuse-based standard KD V. Carbon fiber shows up on the V as well, in the form of a large floating heel clip. If there’s a shoe of the three that I’d most like to review, it’s the KD V Elite.

KD V ELITE: Ultimate Control

Capturing Kevin Durant’s thunderous power of ultimate control, the new low KD V ELITE debuts in a volt colorway, illuminated by the sharp glow of lightning bolts. The design speaks to Durant’s versatility, shooting accuracy and finely-tuned court vision. 

The re-engineered low-top silhouette offers a full range of motion for Durant’s playoff push. Additional enhanced technical highlights include:

  • Carbon fiber heel counter and shank provide lightweight stability for quick cuts
  • Dynamic Flywire technology reinforced with Kevlar® aramid to provide more consistent stability and lockdown
  • Articulated foam tongue provides impact protection and minimizes lace pressure
  • Caged Nike Zoom unit in the heel for responsive cushioning and stability

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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!

TGRR Blog: The Nike Zoom Revis and the Return of the Performance Trainer

Prose: Jake Sittler (@jtsittler)

Even though the Nike Zoom Revis not strictly a basketball performance shoe, hoopers still need to train right?

During a trip to my nearest Nike Factory Store last weekend (side note: for the uninitiated, factory stores are awesome for finding performance shoes for a bunch of different sports), I was surprised to find a pair of Zoom Revis’ in the Fir/White colorway sitting on the clearance rack in my size and $30 cheaper than retail. The reason for their presence at the store is still beyond me – normally shoes don’t hit the outlets until months after their release date – but I’m guessing they’d been bought and returned at a retail store. (The shoe is probably going to be slept-on given Revis’ injury and the timing of the release, and will hit the outlets en masse within a couple months – but that’s a great thing for those of us on a budget.)  Regardless this pair showed no signs of wear and after deliberating with Finch, I went ahead and copped.

The purchase excited me for a couple of reasons. First, I appreciated the design from an aesthetic and functional standpoint. The midsole is equipped with real, full-length Zoom Air, something I had dearly missed in my shoes since I was hooping in Zoom BB IIs a few years ago. The shoe is the first in my collection featuring Dynamic Flywire and while I’m on the fence about the usefulness of Flywire in general, this iteration seems to harness the foot better given that it’s directly attached to the eyelets and is used over a pliable mesh upper. The midfoot strap – I like straps, FYI – is the boldest design element in the package, and it’s passable in terms of holding the foot over the footbed though the bootie/innersleeve and lacing system do a good job of locking the foot in place. From a practical standpoint, I usually prefer a solid rubber outsole, but the clear bottom is a nice look, exposes the Zoom bag and makes the traction on demand pods really pop. For what it’s worth, the traction on demand idea seems best suited for training on grass or another soft surface and I haven’t noticed any real difference when just wearing the Zoom Revis in the gym.

Secondly, I felt that the Zoom Revis was a welcome return for Nike signature trainers. I still own a White/Black/Red pair of the Zoom Vick I (purchased the summer before my freshman year of high school; I’m 23 now) and I used them for everything from open gym runs in the summer to weightlifting and plyometrics. The Zoom Vick I is one of the most versatile, durable and comfortable shoes I own and I have hopes that the Zoom Revis is a sign that Nike is getting back to packing their training shoes with technology and durable materials. Nike Free trainers aren’t for everybody, and I found the Air Max trainer series to be solid but slightly too lifestyle-driven for me. The Vick and Revis shoes are similar in that both feature low-profile, responsive Zoom bags, a prominent strap, an inner bootie that provides a great fit, and materials built to withstand some punishment. I haven’t decided if I’ll try the Revis on court yet, but it’s already my go-to for the weight room, the heavy bag and jump rope. Here’s to the swoosh cranking out some more solid performers – perhaps Calvin Johnson or Adrian Peterson are next in line for a signature shoe.