2018年04月28日

Nike LeBron Soldier 12 Deconstructed Reprot

The latest deconstruction by the good people over at FastPass comes right in time for the Stateside release of the Nike LeBron Soldier 12.

How much has changed as far as tech from the Soldier 11 over to the Soldier 12? Truthfully, not a lot, but enough for us to examine now, then have our WearTesters take the opportunity to see how those changes translate to performance.

Starting with a butterfly cut of the newest Soldier model, we see the expected one-piece bootie construction backed with a neoprene lining to provide comfort on contact around the foot. Bottom-loaded heel and forefoot Zoom Air units are back and inside a foam carrier that is slightly curved at the midfoot, providing less foam near the arch. There is also some subtle padding around the Achilles area and what looks to be an internal heel counter.

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Going over to the cross-cut of the Nike LeBron Soldier 12, we get a different look at the inner-bootie construction, similar to that of last year’s LeBron Soldier 11. From what we can tell, the strap loop is connected directly to the footbed on the lateral side of the sneaker, while medial side only seems to be connected to the upper. It is hard to tell on the medial side given the angles presented, but if that is the case it still makes sense as that side will not require as much support as the lateral side will.

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The midsole features foam underneath a TPU plate that covers more space than last year’s model. Nike likely went with the larger volume to balance out support where the foam was slightly reduced in the arch.

The forefoot and heel Zoom units come in at a thickness of around 10mm and 13mm, respectively, which is to be expected for a model of this type.

Not pictured is the outsole traction, which is listed as XDR (Extra Durable Rubber). The XDR tag has shown up on the Soldier 12 in a lot of leaks and overseas releases, yet it is unclear if all colorways of the Soldier 12 will be outdoor-ready or just a few.

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Last up is a comparison of the Nike LeBron Soldier 11 alongside the Nike Lebron Soldier 12, both of which retail for $130 in standard builds.

The Nike LeBron Soldier 12 is now available in the above Black/Hazel Rush colorway at hoopjordan.net for $130. Stay tuned for an upcoming performance review from our website.  


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2018年04月26日

Nike Kobe 1 Protro Performance Review

The Nike Kobe 1 Protro is a retro done right.

Traction was good to start, but it did have a few hiccups here and there. However, the outsole broke in with each wear and by the end of testing I really don’t want to play in anything else.

Sounds weird, I know. But I’m just telling you how I feel. It’s the tackiest of tractions, like the Air Jordan XX8 or Nike Kobe 9, and it grips the court — any court — like nobody’s business.

Reliable would be the one word I’d use to describe the traction on the Kobe 1 Protro. It’s also been very durable. Every once in a while I see someone at a gym or park wearing a pair of the original Kobe 1s and I’m always surprised that they’ve held up. Well, not anymore. I can see why people love this shoe. It’s simple and it works.

The cushion used on the original Kobe 1 was a large volume heel Zoom Air unit along with a large volume met bag in the forefoot (Zoom Air). While I never experienced the original myself, I don’t feel like I’m missing much.

The full-length Zoom Air here is incredible. This is the type of Zoom Air experience I fell in love with some 25 odd years ago.

It’s low to the ground, even lower than the original (the designers shaved the midsole thickness down a bit), ultra responsive, and has some feedback. It rests directly under your foot so what you feel is nothing but full length springy goodness.

I’ve compared the setup used in the Kobe 1 Protro to that of the Air Jordan 12 once it has been broken in. I’ll say this: the Kobe 1 Protro feels better than the Air Jordan 12 after it’s been broken in. This is a shoe that makes you smile a little after you’re done lacing it up and you walk onto the court — it feels that good.

If you’re comparing this full-length Zoom Air setup to something more current, like the Jordan Why Not Zer0.1, then I’d say these win by a very slim margin — only because the Why Not is a bottom-loaded setup, even though it doesn’t really feel like it. Honestly, it’s hard to pick between the two based on cushion alone because they’re so similar in feel. However, overall, I have to with the Kobe 1 Protro.

I have been so used to wearing textiles and knits that I had forgotten just how nice leather is to play in.

Yes, it’s a little heavier than newer age materials, but it’s nothing drastic. I mean, we’re talking ounces here, not pounds. If a basketball shoe is too heavy for you then stop skipping leg day. All jokes aside, it’s less about weight and more about construction. The Kobe 1 Protro was not constructed in a way that makes the shoe feel heavy or clunky. Can it for some? Of course. Not everyone has the same tastes and preferences. For me, this shoe just felt solid.

After a quick break-in period, the leather build felt like it was hand-made around a last of my foot — like that old mitt you had as a kid that you hated at first and then loved once you put enough time in it. The Kobe 1 Protro just feels right.

True to size is what I’d recommend. Some wide footers might be able to go either way. If you don’t have a drastically wide foot then the leather should break in around your foot as it would anyone else’s (it just might take a few extra wears). Those with a very wide foot might want to go up a 1/2 size.

Lacing is basic but the lockdown felt great. I never even felt the need to lace them to the top plastic clip at the foam/mesh collar. For whatever reason, the rear section of the shoe just wrapped around my heel and ankle perfectly. I did want to try lacing up at least one shoe all the way but when I play basketball I usually just go with feels comfortable to me, so I never ended up giving it a go.

The collar area that originally bothered me upon try-on felt wonderful after a few hours of play. You almost receive the mobility of a low top with the fit and security of a high top. This must’ve been the beginning stages of introducing proprioception into the mix. We all know where Kobe’s ended up in terms of collar height, but it almost feels like the designers were aiming for that low cut feel right from the start. The Nike Kobe 2 may not be in line with that theory, but the Kobe 3 sure is. Which then led into the 4 — and the rest is history.

You start off on a wide stable platform and then move into a midsole that hugs the hell out of your forefoot on the lateral side. Couple those aspects with the outrigger and the forefoot stability is some of the best around — maybe even of all-time.

You have the standard internal heel counter while the midfoot features a carbon fiber shank. This was another area that was slimmed down a bit from the original version of the shoe. Removing much of the forefoot’s carbon shank resulted in a much more flexible forefoot. Again, I don’t own a pair of the originals, but I’d assume that this change is a noticeable once on-foot. I know the Wade Brand used to use a carbon shank that rode into the forefoot of the shoe and that resulted in a stiffer ride. Since the brand removed it on the later models the line feels much more fluid while in motion.

I’m still not sure what the heel carbon fiber wrap is for. I didn’t really notice it at all while playing. It may be due to the fact that I rarely use my heels, but for what it’s worth it never bothered me.
I love the Kobe 1 Protro, and there’s really no other way to put it. While I was pretty excited to play in the shoe to start, I didn’t realize I’d never want to take it off.

I miss shoes that are built like this. And the fact that Nike did what it could to reduce a bit of bulk and weight here and there only made the experience that much more enjoyable. The brand trimmed the fat and left the meat of the product. The aspects that work work really well. Removing the waste only makes those areas shine that much brighter.

I can tell I love this shoe because I feel like I can keep writing — some reviews force me to finish a sentence. My point is that this is a shoe. A really well built basketball shoe. Man, I miss this s**t.

I’ve been getting “heckled” on socials when I talk about the Kobe 1 Protro — “the shoe sucks” or “it’s crap” — but I’ve got nothing to say in response. If people feel the shoe sucks, or that it’s heavy, clunky, etc., then that’s just how they feel. It’s unfortunate, as that’s clearly not how I feel, because the shoe is great.

My real complaint is that the Kobe 1 Protro is not readily available. Everyone should be able to try this shoe out on-court if they wish because it’s so much fun to play in.  


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2018年04月25日

Reebok Fusion FlexWeave Performance Review

Reebok has been making a steady comeback in performance over the last two years, and the brand has even introduced new tech like Floatride foam and Flexweave for uppers. Now, for the first time, we see both in a new performance shoe: the Reebok Fusion Flexweave. Question is, does it perform?

There are several patterns on the outsole of the Fusion Flexweave that are mapped for specific ground-contact at each point of the foot. Under the ball of the foot we see an open grid pattern, allowing the Floatride foam to peak out, much like Boost on the adidas Ultraboost. Along the heel and back half of the lateral side we see recessed squares in a flat rubber that act like suction cups to keep you from slipping out.

Also on the lateral side we see square nubs separated by a groove that Reebok calls the “Plantar Sensor.” This groove breaks up the rubber to eliminate a stiff, slappy outsole. This also allows the outsole to stay in contact on any lateral movements. Wait, lateral movements in running? Oh, but this isn’t just billed as a running shoes.

Using its background in Crossfit, Reebok has designed the Fusion Flexweave to support all fitness activities, from running to light cardio to weight room. Thus, the grooves and splits (called the Meta Split under the forefoot) all work to keep you on the floor and slip-free.

The durability is serious; I have worn my pair for at least four days of the week (for several weeks) for all kinds of activity and the outsole shows absolutely no signs of wear. It also works in almost any weather, at least in Texas. Wet or dry, the outsole did it’s job and never failed.

This is where the magic begins. Floatride foam is responsive, soft (to a point), responsive, impact-absorbing, and, best of all, does all of this while being extremely light. Think of Boost, but half the weight. The Floatride Run (reviewed here) was a revelation in performance — lightweight, bouncy, and durable.

Now, the Fusion Flexweave is more of the same; it’s lightweight, durable, and…not as bouncy. Why? Well, the Floatride foam is encased in EVA through the midfoot (the areas between the black lines on the midsole) but exposed at the heel and forefoot areas. This EVA carrier acts as a stabilizer — it helps the “do everything” shoe “do everything” — and keeps the foam from compressing too much during heavy activity.

However, the Floatride foam used in the Fusion Flexweave is still responsive, and perhaps even more so than in the Floatride Run. The foam also has a definite bounce-back property when on-foot. Floatride Foam is fun, and because it’s lighter than most other foams, it makes it easy to consider for performance purposes.

Ah, the rest of the magic. Reebok’s Flexweave was first introduced on the Nano 8 and later seen in the Fast Flexweave runner. It is based on an open figure-8 pattern that promotes stability, flexibility, and comfort, and it doesn’t lie.

The colored threads within the weave are just that — fabric threads running through TPU strands. While it does feel rougher to the touch than most other woven textiles, the interior is lined with a 3/4 length sleeve to completely eliminate chafing. The fabric threads are soft and comfortable while the TPU strands give the upper structure and stability.

TPU is usually a stiffer material, but the spacing and the open weave make the Fusion Flexweave flex and form perfectly with the foot. The inner sleeve isn’t stretchy at all so getting into the shoe may seem like a chore, but the open mesh of the liner keeps the foot soft and cozy inside while working with the Flexweave outer shell to increase breathability.

Here is where TPU can be a problem. While the durable strands add structure, that structure comes with dead space. Most of the time that space can be filled with padding on the interior. The Fusion Flexweave has a little case of bubble toe; when the shoe is laced tightly, the extra space above the toe bubbles out. It isn’t bad, and probably won’t be noticed by anyone except picky WearTesters, but it is there. Again, it is not a deal breaker by any means because the extra space can be appreciated for comfort.

The heel is completely locked in by a semi-rigid heel counter. It isn’t completely stiff like a solid basketball shoe (or an Asics runner), but the Delta logo’ed external counter just provides enough lockdown to let you know it is there. The inner bootie having no stretch comes in perfectly to keep your foot from moving around inside the Flexweave shell.

Finally, the lacing system is almost perfect; five holes (or six, if you use the last one for more heel lockdown) run through lace straps connected to the Flexweave for total lockdown with almost no lace pressure.

Lengthwise, I would say go down a half size in the Fusion Flexweave. I have done that with Reebok since the late ’90s and they have all been perfect. Width-wise, if you are a wide-footer, you may want to try these on. The forefoot and heel are good to go, but the midfoot has a narrow area at the arch that could cause some issues. I am a little wider than normal and was fine, but just to make sure, try them on.

As discussed earlier, the Flexweave upper used on the Fusion Flexweave is solid in lateral support thanks to the TPU strands running over, above, and around the foot. The foot is held over the footbed for the most part, except on extremely violent movements (trying to play a quick game of 25 in these was wrong on many levels). For any running movements and lighter cardio or gym activity, you will be good.

The heel cup works with the laces to keep your foot locked in with no heel slip or slide. There is some slight sculpting and padding around the heel but most of the good stuff is because of the lace design. There is no midfoot shank, but the stiffer EVA carrier keeps the Fusion Flexweave from bending the wrong way under normal pressure. The midsole does have a slight flare outward on the medial and lateral forefoot, giving a wider base for better landings and uneven surfaces.

hoop jordan has a hit with the Fusion Flexweave. Light, fast, durable, and well-cushioned, the Reebok Fusion Flexweave is a shoe that can do anything — and do it well.

Floatride foam is a winner and feels as good or better than most of the foams on the market (yeah, even that one and that one). If you need a jordan 1 that can go anywhere and do anything, look no further. As I said above, this shoe has been on my feet over half of the days since I have received it, and it handles anything thrown its way.

On top of the versatility and performance, the Fusion Flexweave looks good. Reebok has figured out how to change the colors and patterns of the fabric inlays, and while nothing outlandish has been released, the subtle colorways are perfect for going from the gym to the street. The minimal branding gives the shoe an organic, every day look and feel while bouncy Floatride keeps it moving fast.  


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2018年04月24日

Air Jordan 11 ‘Cool Grey’ and 'Rose Gold' 2018 is back

The ‘Cool Grey’ Air Jordan 11 is back, but this time around it’s in low top form with the Air Jordan 11 Low ‘Cool Grey’.

Once just a sample, the Air Jordan 11 Low ‘Cool Grey’ is now scheduled for an April 28 release. The shoe will drop in all sizes, ranging from Men’s all the way down to infant. We were able to get our hands on the men’s and kids version to review.

Material quality will please most as it’s slightly nicer than what was featured on the 2010 edition of the Air Jordan 11 ‘Cool Grey’. Comfort is on-point as the shoe comes equipped with a Phylon midsole, full-length Air cushioning, and step-in comfort additions like a Poron strobel board and padded insole.

The kids version of the shoe isn’t quite as nice because the materials and tech have been dumbed down, but those sizes receive the same overall look.

and the Air Jordan 11 Low 'Rose Gold' While Jordan Brand once heavily focused on women’s footwear back in its early days (remember the 2005-2006 era?), the brand shifted its focus for years and cut the women’s footwear and apparel releases altogether.

This left women with GS (grade school) releases as their only options to grab a pair of Air Jordans. That typically means that the shoe’s shape, quality, and tech are unlike the men’s edition. Fast forward to 2018, Jordan Brand now has a reenergized focus on women’s footwear and apparel; that means that the ladies will get more footwear options without dumbed down tech and materials.

The Air Jordan 12 in Vachetta Tan was the first women’s release and was quickly followed up with the release of the Air Jordan 11 ‘Rose Gold’ . Everything from the shape, materials, and tech are different between the women’s and youth versions of these Retro models so if you wanted a detailed look — along with everything else you’d need to know — then hoop jordan has got you covered.  


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2018年04月23日

Nike Kyrie Flytrap Performance Reviews

In 2018, Nike and Kyrie Irving introduced an even more affordable basketball shoe than the Kyrie 4. I wear-tested the Nike Kyrie Flytrap — here’s my performance review.

Traction on the Nike Kyrie Flytrap is similar looking to that of the Nike Kyrie 4 . The main difference is the way the pattern is implemented in each model, and it was done more aggressively in the Kyrie 4 than in the Flytrap.

While the pattern on the Flytrap is flat, it wasn’t half bad depending on the court you played on. I noticed that dust wasn’t much of an issue as long as you kept the surface of the outsole clean on most courts. However, there is this one court I play on that hasn’t been refinished in 30+ years (I’m not exaggerating) and that was the one surface that the Flytrap showed its faults.

The aggressive implementation of the Nike Kyrie 4’s traction was able to hold on this same court without much issue, other than needing a wipe here or there, but I found that the Kyrie Flytrap needed constant wiping just to maintain decent grip.

If you happen to know the condition of the courts you usually play on are then that is how I’d determine if the Flytrap will bite the court in the way that you may like. If your court is maintained on regularly then you will likely be fine, but if you play on a court that needs a little bit of TLC then you may want to look at something like the Nike Kyrie 4 instead.

The cushion in the Nike Kyrie Flytrap is about as minimal as it gets. Well, not quite Curry level minimal, but for a Nike budget model, the Phylon and small Hex Zoom Air are about all you can expect nowadays.

Despite being on the minimal side, I never found the shoe to be uncomfortable. Yes, impact protection is lacking, but the here Phylon is much more forgiving than what was used on the Nike Kyrie 2 and 3.

If I were to put the Flytrap head to head with the Kyrie 4 then I’d personally go with the Kyrie 4. I loved the Cushlon midsole and heel Zoom Air setup on the shoe much more than the basic setup found here. However, if you really enjoyed the minimal setup that was on the Nike Kyrie 3 but wanted something slightly more forgiving then the Kyrie Flytrap will do you just fine.

Transition in the shoe was something I found to be very smooth and fluid.

I initially thought the Kyrie Flytrap used a cheap thin mesh build but I was quickly corrected by a member of the design team that it was actually a woven. It wasn’t until I took my camera to the upper that I was able to actually see that it was in fact a woven material — which I found to be fascinating because it’s super thin.

Being as thin as it is keeps the shoe pretty lightweight at just 11.6 oz, but the strength of the material isn’t compromised too much being that a woven tends to tighten up when more force is applied. It will allow for some stretch until the fibers are taught, but once taught it’s actually pretty strong overall.

I haven’t run into any real durability issues yet, but if you hoop outdoors regularly and toe drag then they might rip in no time.

The fit is my one major complaint about the Kyrie Flytrap. It feels like the shoe was made for wide footers, and seeing as how this shoe is priced at $80 it might be geared towards overseas players that primarily play outdoors — and usually have a wider foot than American players.

Most Nike basketball  shoes released in the Asia market have two things that American shoes don’t — XDR rubber outsoles, and the shoe is typically built on a wider last (foot shape). That’s exactly what the Kyrie Flytrap is like after I broke it in after a few days.

This is great news for wide footers as you’ll be able to go true to size without any issues in the forefoot section. For the rest of us, there is the Kyrie 4 — which was much more form fitting for me in the forefoot section of the shoe.

Lockdown was solid from the midfoot back, and the collar section was really nice as well, but the forefoot left a bit to be desired from a personal standpoint. I just felt like my forefoot was swimming inside the shoe during certain movements and it wasn’t my ideal fit.

Support is basic, but Nike didn’t leave anything necessary out. There is a small internal torsional shank and an internal heel counter.

The outrigger was kind of built into the midsole a bit as the rubber outsole wraps that section of the midsole — which does extend out just enough to be considered a wide base. To me, the support in the shoe is adequate overall.

Overall, the Nike Kyrie Flytrap was a solid performance model on-court. It doesn’t quite offer the fit that I prefer in the forefoot so for that reason I’d rather lace up the Kyrie 4 (which is a top performance model as it is), but I feel that the Kyrie Flytrap, while not made for me, was made for someone with a wide foot.

If you happen to have a wide foot and don’t want to forefoot support at all then opting for the Kyrie Flytrap over another shoe where you’d have to go up 1/2 would be a smart decision on hoop jordan.

Traction could have also been a bit more up to par with the other Kyrie models, but that was mostly dependent on the court surface. I should note that taking the Kyrie Flytrap outdoors was awesome as it gripped the blacktop nicely.

Not a bad shoe for $80, but I would opt for discounted Kyrie 4s — unless you happen to have a wide foot.  


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2018年04月14日

Jordan Brand CP3.XI Performance Review

Sometimes a shoe comes out of nowhere to completely change your opinion of a model or line. The Jordan CP3.XI, Chris Paul’s latest signature model, is that shoe.

When we at WearTesters heard the news that Jordan Brand was killing the Melo line our first question was “What about the CP line?” It was never a great seller, and it had become an afterthought in performance rankings. Surely, it had to go too, right? Well, if this is the death stroke, it’s a killer.

Herringbone forefoot is almost always a good idea, and the Jordan CP3.XI has that in spades. The tread is multidirectional across the main part of the pattern and broken up at the toe-off area. The pattern is wide but the grooves are fairly shallow, so dust collection did become an issue after a few trips down the court. However, it was nothing a quick wipe couldn’t handle.

The heel area is a different pattern altogether. It looks like a feather, and grabbed more dust than the forefoot, but I don’t play a ton on my heels so it didn’t really affect playability for me.

As for durability, this is a translucent rubber and it’s fairly soft. Also, the pattern is shallow, so outdoors is a no-no. That is the only thing holding the CP3.XI back from a Hall of Fame badge — this stuff could climb walls, at least to the second story, before the tread would wear down.

Heel and forefoot Zoom Air encased in a soft Phylon midsole? Yes, please. The forefoot of the Jordan CP3.XI is shaped like the PG 1 and 2, almost oval but also rectangle Zoom, and to be honest you can’t really feel it. The heel is a large hex Zoom bag, and, again, to be honest, you can’t really feel it.

This isn’t bad. The Phylon midsole encases the units, and while this is normally a bad thing, the midsole seems softer than previous models and similar to the Cushlon used in the Kyrie 4. The foam does depress and bounce back, and when it depresses too far, the Zoom units are there for some additional bounce. Honestly, it is almost like the Why Not Zer0.1 — you know the Zoom is there, and it works when you need it, you just can’t really feel it.

The Jordan CP3.XI feels fast and low in the forefoot with no impact issues at all, and the Phylon keeps everything from wobbling and being unstable while playing.

Well, almost all was good. Actually, I shouldn’t be too harsh on the upper of the Jordan CP3.XI — it worked and worked well. If you enjoyed the Nike Kobe AD Mid this colorway is for you (I say this because unlike this colorway, the white/red build uses a mesh upper with a synthetic toebox).

What was supposed to feel like suede or nubuck ends up feeling like felt with a stiff backing, which sucks for breathability but is great for containment. The heel is a nice synthetic leather and adds a little touch of class in the back (it also has the killer CP3 logo). The materials do break in fairly quickly; flex points are learned and the shoe begins fitting and feeling better within a couple of trips down the floor.

Now, the strap: it is rubberized (again, on this colorway) and fairly stiff, but sits behind the forefoot flex point so even the stiffness doesn’t hurt while playing. The ankle is lined with a thick padding that isn’t quite memory foam but dense nonetheless. The mesh tongue tries to dissipate heat and moisture but it’s fighting a losing, soggy battle.

The fit of the Jordan CP3.XI is freaking awesome, but only after the break-in stage. Before that, there are empty spaces around the toebox and midfoot. The lacing system does a great job of pulling those around the foot, but until the upper materials soften up and begin creasing, be ready for a little clunkiness. Afterwards, the CP3.XI turns into a form-fitting foot rocket that feels great in transition and jumps.

The heel is locked in by that foam lining I mentioned above, and the opening of the shoe is a little more narrow than normal (but not difficult to enter). The lacing system works. Unlike the last shoe I reviewed, the CP3.XI fit-straps run back into the foot and the top hole pulls the foot into the heel of the shoe, locking everything in for no movement at all — until the thin, round laces come untied, which they will.

Go true to size for length. Wide-footers may even get away with true as well, but going up a half may be best if you are extremely wide. The strap does loosen and should accommodate the wide-footedness.

For a low-riding, low-cut “guard” shoe the CP3.XI holds it down in the support/stability category. Much like Westbrook, Chris Paul needs containment and stability to cover his shifty game. Granted, he is fairly ground-bound, but like Kyrie, he changes speeds and directions in a heartbeat.

Starting at the bottom, the Phylon is stable and solid while not being overly dense; it’s just enough to keep the midsole from crushing when changing directions and slowing you down. The strap ties under the ball of the foot, and uses a three-point anchor to pull the midsole into the foot and lock in for lateral movements. Yes, it is a strap that actually works.

Again, like the Why Not Zer0.1, there is no real outrigger. Instead, the shape of the midsole flares out and then wraps up the sidewall to contain the foot. From what can be seen and felt, there is no midfoot shank, although it could be small and not obvious (tech specs are not out yet for the shoe). Even so, the Phylon is thick enough in that area to stop any unwanted bending. The CP3.XI is solid but not restrictive, and while playing, that is exactly what’s needed.

If any of you doubted the ability of Jordan Brand to bring a true performer back on the scene, look no more. The Jordan CP3.XI does everything and does it well.

If you need traction for days, cushioning that is stable but provides great impact protection, and a supportive, stable base look no further — the CP3.XI should be a shoe for you, no matter the position. If you just don’t like CP3 the man (we see you Austin) or the Rockets in general, get over it because the shoe works.

Jordan Brand is more than retros people, and the CP3.XI takes it back to what we all used to believe in: performance engineered for the greatest athletes. Some shoes are just fun to wear, you can lace them up and just play ball. The Jordan CP3.XI is a ballplayer’s shoe, through and through.  


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2018年04月11日

2001 vs. 2013 vs. 2017 Air Jordan 1 Retro 'Royal' Comparison

It's only been four years since the last go-round, but the 'Royal' Air Jordan 1 Retro is one of the year's most anticipated sneaker releases. Originally released in 1985, the black and blue colorway first returned in 2001, before a 12-year hiatus until the next retro. This time, Jordan Brand is promising remastered quality, which means they tried to construct it as close to the original as possible.To determine how well they did with the 2017 version, we compared every 'Royal' Air Jordan 1 Retro to date, breaking them down by each detail. Read on to see how this year's release stacks up against its predecessors.


QUARTER





The leather is different on each pair and the shade of blue gradually got brighter. Unlike the 2013 and 2017 releases, nubuck fills the Swoosh of the 2001 retro.


TONGUE





The font used for Nike Air embroidery is different on each tongue, as is the material used to construct them.


LINING





There's less padding on the 2013 retro compared to the 2001 and 2017 pairs, along with a different lining pattern. The backside of the tongue on the 2001 pair features the Jumpman logo and production number. Logo on the back of the tongue and lining color is white on the 2017 retro and black on the other two.


HEEL





Sizing of heel tabs varies each year. There's no black stitching on the heel tab on the 2013 pair and the tab is a bit higher on this year's retro. The 2013 pair appears to be more narrow when looking at it from behind when compared to the 2001 and 2017 pairs.


COLLAR





Note the size, shape and positioning of the Wings logo on each pair.


INSOLE





After the Jumpman graced the insoles of the 2001 Jordan retro, Nike Air returned in 2013 and again this year, but this time on OG-style white insoles.


TOEBOX





The size and arrangement of the perforations differ on each pair, as does the general narrowness of the toeboxes.


SHOE BOX





The 2001 release came with the 'Jordan Face' box, while the OG-style box returned for the 2013 and 2017 releases.
  


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2018年04月10日

Air Jordan 11 Vs. Jordan Future “bred” Comparison

Jordan Brand dresses their newest futuristic silhouette, the Air Jordan Future in the classic “Bred” color scheme. Having a similar built as the iconic Air Jordan 11 “Bred” both having a Black based-upper with Red accents, a White midsole and Red translucent outsole.

The Air Jordan Future has slowly made its way into the hearts of many. Becoming a regular sneaker in people’s rotation, the Air Jordan Future is one sneaker everyone can love. Coming in a plethora of colorways, the newest design to hit retailers is the Air Jordan Future “Bred.” This iteration of the sneaker is dressed in a black woven upper with red on the upper lining and outsole. A white midsole contrasts the look as 3M is worked into the upper. This flashy look is inspired by the classic Air Jordan 11 “Bred,”

Air Jordan 11 Bred backpack sample, an apparel item that combined the outsole of the famed patent leather gem as the base of the backpack. We never thought that the brand would release something as outlandish as a backpack turned shoe, and yet here we are. The Air Jordan 11 Bred backpack is available today. Complete with a cordura fabric to mimic the shoe’s upper with alternating black panels, accents of red arrive on the zipper.

The only differences between the two silhouettes besides the model itself is the built. The Jordan Future sports a 3M reflective Black woven upper inside of the traditional mesh from the Air Jordan 11. The tongue, laces, heel tab and inner lining on the Jordan Future are dressed in Red. To complete the comparison both pairs sit atop the same White midsole, but the Jordan Future is finished with a more milky Red translucent outsole.

Check out the additional comparison photos below as well as a few extra of the Air Jordan Future “Bred” colorway  


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2018年04月05日

Air Jordan 31 Black Cat Performance Reviews

While the reviews have admittedly gone away, I still keep hooping, but my beloved Kobe VIs aren’t getting any younger. My go-to shoes for the last two years are shot. With the heel foam permanently broken down and traction wearing smooth, I had tried hooping in other shoes. The Harden Vol 1s were ok (I actually really liked them through the first couple months of wearing, and gave them a positive review here) but multiple rolled ankles in them eventually forced me to retire them for something that fit more snug.

I grabbed the Zoom Run the One at the outlets for a cool $35, but the traction and cushioning left something to be desired. Cheap Zoom relegated these to workout status. Next came the Flyknit Hyperdunk 2016s from the outlets, which are still partially in the rotation. They offer fantastic cushioning (like, XX8-level cushioning) and fit, yet heel lockdown wasn’t quite perfect and I was left wanting something more traditional.

I had eyes on the Air Jordan 32 thanks to its gorgeous materials and carbon fiber support, but the $185 price tag is pretty steep. I had tried on the Air Jordan 31 in store and at the outlets a couple different times, and when Eastbay’s Final Score closeouts featured the 31 on sale plus 40% off, I pulled the trigger on the Black Cat colorway.

Schwollo, my go-to source for reviews right now, likened them to TGRR-favorite Zoom BB. After having tried them for myself for over a month now, it is uncanny how similar the 31 feels to the original Zoom BB, especially from a Zoom feel standpoint.

The 31 does have some minor drawbacks, but it’s a consistent and solid performer. It’s not the newest shoe on the market but if you’re looking for a performance shoe on a budget, these can now be had at serious discounts all over the web (I believe Weartesters’ duke4005 found them as low as $79.99 in some stores, too).

Fit
I went true to size with an 11.5. I typically like to go a half-size down in my hoop shoes in order to get a better fit thanks to a narrow foot, but having tried these on a couple times I knew the toebox ran a little short for that. I can’t imagine anyone going down a size in these so TTS is the move if you don’t get to try them on first.

There are a couple different aspects with the fit to touch on, and some of it is going to overlap into materials. The tightly woven Flyweave forefoot portion makes the shoe flexible, comfortable, and allows it to conform to the foot within a wearing or two. It felt more robust and structurally strong than the weave used on the 29 or 30.

As it transitions to leather in the heel portion, you also get a thick neoprene inner collar. The neoprene inner collar is exceptionally well padded in the Achilles area and gives the shoe a plush feel on the interior. I did not experience any Achilles pain, as some have noted in their testing.

I had zero issues with lockdown – even forefoot containment was acceptable by standards although I’d have preferred a raised midsole or bigger outrigger. I didn’t care for the traditional detached tongue as it created some pressure points on the medial sideon the ankle bone. Because of the detached tongue, leather heel portion, woven upper and neoprene inner collar, I didn’t necessarily get a second-skin type of fit. There are a lot of moving pieces there and I felt that when fully laced there was a bit of excess material or volume.

I happen to prefer the 1:1 kind of fit but it was certainly not a deal-breaker for me considering the lockdown itself was really good. With a narrow foot plus being used to the Kobe VI and Anta’s KT2 Outdoor (review to come), this may have been an issue more unique to me than most wearers.

Transition
Transition is butter-smooth right out of the box. No slap at all as the outsole is not decoupled. Initial impressions of the shoe raised concerns about the fact that the outsole in the heel and forefoot protrude slightly, giving the illusion that the shoe might be tippy or unstable.

I didn’t notice any instability – not even when standing still – and I feel like the weight of most wearers will compress the bags enough that it won’t be noticeable. This is one area where the shoe especially reminded me of the Zoom BB that I played much of my freshman year of college practice in. I loved that shoe for its consistent traction, court feel and cushioning, and the 31 ticks the latter two of those boxes.

The Flightspeed platform does not provide as much support as the Flightplate of a few years back, but does allow for a more natural feel.

Cushioning
The full length Zoom bag is how Zoom is supposed to feel – thick, allowing good court feel, and super responsive. There’s a noticeable bounce with these Zoom bags that’s not like budget Zoom-based models. I know the 31 came at a premium retail, but the Zoom setup is worthy of that price.

Responsiveness is important to me but so is ride height and court feel, and the 31 presents a fantastic combination. You don’t get the big volume, bouncy, effect that you do with the Flyknit HD 2016, but court feel is better and I felt like the ride was lower and more stable.

Again, it really is like the Zoom BB or some early 2000s Zoom model reborn. If I could design a cushioning platform from scratch, the first two criteria would be court feel and responsiveness – and the Air Jordan 31 nails both.

Speaking of 2000s Zoom cushioning platforms, if anyone reading has a pair or knows someone that has a pair of deadstock/good condition Zoom Drives, in an 11/11.5, with the caged heel Zoom and forefoot strap PLEASE HIT ME UP.

Traction
This has been and continues to be the biggest point of contention with the Jordan 31. The translucent outsole models were panned for below average traction, so I went with the Black Cat colorway mostly because of that solid outsole.

Traction, to be honest, is not fantastic. I have one league at local elementary school gym, with a floor that’s exceptionally well kept. Zero complaints with the traction in there. At the two YMCA courts I play on, the floors are not nearly as nice and traction suffers. Some shoes shed dust from the outsole, but the 31 seems to collect it. I don’t feel like the pattern is deep enough to bite the floor and isn’t spaced wide enough to flex and grab either.

I don’t feel unsafe in the shoe, but I certainly wish it was better on average floors. The top of the traction class is the Rose 7/Rose 8, and I feel the air jordan 32 why not probably falls somewhere below average compared to most high-end shoes on the market. This is also the one area that the Zoom BB is far and away better than the 31. I gave it an average rating on the scale because it still plays well on good surfaces.

Materials
Simply put, the 31 uses fantastic materials across the board. Flyweave > Flyknit, and actually has good performance properties besides being a fancy marketing piece. Full length Zoom feels like vintage Nike cushioning, and you get real leather on a performance hoop shoe in the heel portion – supple, quality leather at that. The neoprene inner collar is a great touch (although it’s apparently the source of Achilles pressure for some) and I enjoyed the excessive heel/Achilles padding.

The materials used and application of each component are extremely well-executed in the Jordan 31.

Conclusion
It’s been awhile since I’ve written up a review and this one feels clunky to me but in conclusion, I like the Jordan 31 a lot. It’s got the familiar feeling of a favorite hoodie right out of the box. It’s comfy, fits well, and plays consistently underfoot. The full Zoom setup is fantastic in all aspects. Transition is smooth. I know what I’m getting every time I slip on the 31.

That said, do I love the shoe? Sometimes. The traction is iffy on some courts and the shoe doesn’t fit like a super snug extension of the foot, two things that I typically don’t care for in my go-to shoes. Stumbling into the KT2 Outdoor, which fits and plays like my favorite Kobe VIs, makes it harder for me to choose the 31 every time too.

I do know that I’ll play in the 31 for a long time, and that’s probably the best indication of my overall feeling towards the shoe. With one of the best cushioning setups I’ve ever played in and great materials across the board, put the 31 on your short list this holiday season if you’re looking for a high-performance shoe on a budget.  


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