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.

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

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!