Performance Review: Nike Zoom HyperRev

Prose: Jake Sittler (@jtsittler)

The Nike Zoom HyperRev is likely the most unique silhouette you’ll see this season. Featuring a proprioceptive (it allows you to move naturally) collar, foam-based upper, Dynamic Flywire, full-length Zoom and a Phylite midsole, the shoe is loaded with tech and geared to allow your foot to move naturally.

I initially was drawn to the shoe because of the aesthetic and the functions that followed that form. It’s a unique cut with a unique upper and lacing system, and a welcome artistic departure from (in my opinion) bland, angular designs like the Hyperdunk and Hyperfuse. I simply like my shoes to flow more and be different while achieving a high level of performance, and the HyperRev satisfied that desire.

Fit
hyperrev_Lockdown
This is the make-or-break aspect of this shoe. You will either love the fit or hate it; love the freedom of movement or fear for your ankles.

From a lockdown standpoint, it’s Jekyll and Hyde. From the toes to the midfoot, the lockdown is excellent. Dynamic Flywire cables are really, really functional (gasp!) because they’re not embedded in an upper that limits their ability to pull tight to the foot. The only thing between the cables and your foot is a very thin layer of foam sandwiched between two ultra-thin layers of mesh, and when laced tightly the cables do a fantastic job of locking your forefoot over the footbed. The laces go directly through the Dynamic Flywire cables – no fixed eyelets – and that really forces the cables to pull tightly to the foot.

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The other side of this coin is the heel fit. There may possibly be a heel counter in there, but it is the most flimsy of any shoe I’ve ever worn on court. The collar wraps high around the ankle and connects to the footbed to provide some support, but there’s nothing locking your heel in. I understand this is a result of the natural motion movement (natural motion is all give-and-take), but I really would have liked to see a small heel cup for some added security.

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You’ll feel some heel slippage and there’s very little ankle support because the lack of a heel counter and inability to provide a snug heel fit. For me, it’s not as much of an issue because I’ve never even slightly rolled an ankle, but my ankles were noticeably sore the day after a wearing because of the lack of support. If you have any ankle concerns though, I can’t recommend this shoe.

Heel-Toe Transition
hyperrev_Transition
Heel-toe transition is fantastic, hands down. The HyperRev has the smoothest and most natural ride you’ll find on the market (along with the equally perfect Crazyquick). The mobility this offers is simply amazing.

Cushioning
hyperrev_Cushion

hyperrev_Court Feel

hyperrev_Responsiveness

The full-length Zoom bag is glorious, providing great responsiveness and court feel. Paired with a Phylite midsole (a softer, more flexible Phylon) the ride is downright pillowy. If you’re looking for step-in comfort, look no further.

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The drawback to this plush comfort is that there is very little structure or support to the midsole – something that was an immediate concern when I saw Phylite was the midsole compound. My arches were very sore after the first few wearings, although I have gotten used to it more now.

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The gigantic, 3/4 length Zoom Air window underneath the shoe doesn’t help this either, because it prevents the outsole from connecting underneath the midfoot. This robs the shoe of some torsional stability and leaves a gap directly under the arch where the only support comes from the Phylite and Zoom bag. I’d gladly sacrifice the cool factor of the exposed Zoom bag for some solid rubber underneath my arch to give me more support.

Traction
hyperrev_Traction
It’s a modified herringbone pattern underfoot, and does an average job of providing stoppage at full speed. It’s not nearly as good as I’d like though, and the combination of shaky traction and a loose fit in the heel initially made me very concerned.

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The grooves aren’t deep enough in my opinion – though they work well on a pristine floor, any dust collects quickly and I find myself swiping the soles literally dozens of times during a game.

Materials/Durability
hyperrev_Materials-Durability
The jury is still out on this one. It’ll take a good month or two before I really see how the Phylite holds up, how the foam upper retains its little bit of support, if the tissue-paper-thin mesh stays connected to the midsole and how the Flywire holds up under increased stress. Fused overlay graphics give the shoe some structure and protection near the toes, but the rest is foam and airy mesh. Nothing bad to report at this time, but I’m honestly a little concerned with its longevity.

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It’s helpful to compare the HyperRev to another natural motion shoe, the adidas Crazyquick. As you know, the Crazyquick was my favorite shoe of 2013 because it offered superior fit and mobility, traction, responsiveness and stability. The only drawback was its very firm cushioning (I honestly didn’t mind it but I know a lot of you did) – but that was inherent given the fact that it was designed to ride low to the ground and provide unrivaled quickness and change of direction ability.

The HyperRev aspires to do the same thing, and it does excel similarly in terms of flexibility and freedom of movement. But Nike’s press release even mentioned the “stability and support” of the proprioceptive heel and collar. That part is simply false. The soft midsole and lack of a solid heel counter compromises the support and stability, and less than stellar traction makes the shoe significantly less secure than the Crazyquick.

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Whereas the Crazyquick had a rock solid Sprintframe to lock in the heel to a sculpted midsole and glove-like Techfit upper, the HyperRev has no such heel counter, a flat midsole, and an upper that laces up only to the middle of the foot. There’s simply no way to get the overall lockdown you need.

With that said…I actually enjoyed playing in them. The freedom of movement felt great at times and the cushioning is incredibly soft, responsive and generally comfortable. It’s a fun shoe for me to play in despite the concerns I have, and I have gotten used to the fit more and more.

It’s a shoe you absolutely need to try on first, but it’s worth a look for quick, low-to-the ground guards.