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Q4 Sports 495 Lo SP Performance Review

The Q4 Sports 495 Lo gets an update and a performance review.

Traction on the Q4 Sports 495 Lo SP is just as it was on the Q4 Sports NForcer: herringbone, a pivot point and an outrigger. No frills, no gimmicks; just a simple pattern that works on an outsole that will last both indoor and outdoor.

Just like the Q4 Sports Nforcer, the 495 Lo SP was tested indoors and outdoors. Indoors, the traction worked well as long as there wasn’t too much dust. When dust became an issue, a quick wipe was in order and I was ready to keep playing. Outdoors, on the other hand, bites and it bites hard. Unlike outsoles from plenty of other brands that we test, there are no signs of rubber fraying or wear. For a shoe that retails for just $100, your dollar will go a long way.

Cushion, much like the traction, is the same found on air jordan 33 . However, unlike the NForcer, it wasn’t as plush or bouncy. I’m not sure what the reason for this is. Maybe I bought a bad pair or maybe there are inconsistencies in the foam compound. I honestly couldn’t tell you as it could be anything. All I know is that when I’ve played in this same exact tooling on multiple other Q4 models, including some wear-test samples, it has always been a great mixture of plush, bouncy cushion with enough court feel to keep you feeling fast. This time around, it was just firm. I’m pretty disappointed because I love the colorway, but they’re just not like the other models I’ve tried.

Just for those wanting additional information, Q4 Sports uses a foam that it calls KOMpress for the midsole. It’s an open-celled foam in certain areas for rebound and tightly-celled foam in others for court feel. The bounce I’ve received from this setup in past models has been awesome. I’d say it’s the brand’s most comfortable tooling setup other than what’s featured on the Millennium Hi model, though just not this time around.

Q4’s models don’t all fit the same and for the 495 Lo SP, I’d recommend going down 1/2 size. Wide footers will likely be able to get away with going true to size.

Lockdown in the shoe is pretty standard. They fit nicely from the midfoot to the collar and when laced up tight, you don’t feel any slippage or dead space. Much like the outsole, there’s nothing fancy to see here — nothing special or extraordinary, just something that works and works well.

I felt support on the Q4 Sports NForcer was a bit lackluster. The 495 Lo SP, however, feels more in line with other Basketball shoes I’ve played in.

The heel counter was much stronger than the NForcer thus I never had an issue in the rear section of the shoe. I never felt like I was going to roll over the footbed at any time. The torsional plate could have been a bit more rigid. However, Q4’s product description reads “T.S.S./26 midfoot shank technology that ‘moves when you move’ for optimal motion and fit” — which it does. When you’re locked into the shoe and onto the footbed, you never feel like the midfoot torsion is lacking. It’s noticeable in-hand but not on-foot.

The 495 Lo SP is my favorite model from Q4 Sports. This just wasn’t my favorite experience in the model.

Everything was on point except for the cushion. I don’t mind it when cushion is a bit firm, especially when it’s been advertised that way, but I’ve used too many Q4 Sports models with this same exact tooling to know what I was supposed to get versus what I felt. I’m hoping that anyone else with this colorway received the plush and bouncy cushion that I’m used to with this tooling setup, but I will never know unless someone that owns a pair happens to read thesoleline.com — which is possible but unlikely.

I still recommend trying out Q4 Sports if you’re into trying something new. If you aren’t the adventurous type then just stick with what you’re comfortable with.

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Stanley T. With Under Armour Curry 6 Performance Review

After having trouble through the years to find a Curry shoe that fits my wide feet, the Under Armour gods have finally answered. Here is my performance review on the UA Curry 6.

Of the Under Armour shoes that I’ve tested out, Under Armour has always had (at least for me) kick a** traction. What I find funny is the Curry 6 is one of the few that does not use traditional herringbone. Hell, the pattern implemented doesn’t even look like it would work. Luckily, looks can be deceiving as the Curry 6 traction held its own and then some. The rounded traction played well on clean courts and, of course, the necessary habit of the occasional wipe helps when dust is present. With the traction pattern being as tightly spaced as it is, you’ll be wiping a lot more when playing on dirtier floors. If you were curious on if I’d recommend playing with these outdoors, the answer is… don’t. The soft rubber will be eaten up rather quickly.

For anyone curious, I have not had any outsole issues in terms of ripping or peeling — luckily. Overall, the traction has been pretty consistent for me and a pleasant surprise on the court.

Full-length HOVR cushioning. Say what? We finally have a Curry shoe that has cushion again!

While the HOVR foam isn’t overly soft or overly firm, it felt just right for me — even for being on the bigger side. If you’ve tried the HOVR Phantom (a personal favorite of mine) and Sonic (2nd only to the Phantom), it’s definitely not the same feeling under-foot as the foam on the Curry 6 is dense in comparison. However, it does warm up once you begin to break them in. Being a big man, I do prefer something that compresses a little bit more upon impact. On the bright side, the HOVR used here was able to provide me with moderate protection with a lot of responsiveness — something that tends to not interact well when it comes to plusher cushion setups.

Despite having HOVR, the Curry 6 is still made for those who play fast and low to the ground but UA has come a long way in terms of cushion and the Curry line.

A full knit upper is used on the Curry 6. Elastic areas on the top of the foot and fused placed on high-wear areas — pretty standard for basketball shoes in this era.

There were some areas of minor discomfort upon the first try on; the eyelet area did cause some unwanted lace pressure. Luckily, after numerous hours, I was able to adjust and find a fit that worked well for me.

I have a slightly wider foot than most but I was able to go true to size. I’ve heard that some people had been experiencing some minor heel slippage, which I did initially, but it was nothing a double-sock didn’t fix.

Lockdown started out a bit strange due to the lace pressure, but again, once I found my groove I was ready to go, locked-in if you will, every time I stepped back onto the hardwood. I will say that a separate tongue would be my preferred option as I’d be able to lace the shoe, hopefully without additional pressure on top of my foot, while being able to customize the fit a bit more than I was able to here.

Stability of the shoe is one of its best support features, and has been in a Curry since its inception. The slightly wider base of the shoe kept me grounded when I needed while the TPU speed plate helps reinforce the HOVR when I was a bit more mobile.

Overall, Under Armour really surprised me. The Curry line has had its fair share of highs and lows (I couldn’t wear the 5 at all meanwhile the 1 is still my personal favorite). However, this is easily the most well-rounded Curry we’ve had since the 1.

If you’ve been playing in the Under Armour Curry 6, let me know your thoughts and if you have your own review, I’d love to hear it.

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adidas Pro Vision Performance Review

The most affordable model in the recent trio of basketball shoes, the adidas Pro Vision performance review is here.

Once again, we have herringbone but this time around, a slightly different implementation gave different results. As expected, these played well on clean courts, but the difference came around dust. Though it wasn’t great on bad floors, the shoe was able to maintain adequate bite for quite a few plays between wipes.

Improvements over the last shoe I tested, the adidas Nmd Boost, resulted from wider spacing between treads throughout, further coverage up the outsole edges and solid rubber – which has been on most, if not all, Pro Vision colorways if I can recollect.

A couple hours outdoors and traction still performed well. I’m still not sold on its durability, however, despite this being marketed as a shoe that transitions seamlessly from hardwood to blacktop.

Bounce cushion is used in the adidas Pro Vision and it rides low to the ground in the forefoot. The heel is a little heftier and has enough plush, comfort and protection.

Something about the court feel in the Pro Vision gave me a different kind of confidence. I’m knocking on an already cracked door of 30 years old so I haven’t feltthis quick in a while. I found myself cutting and driving to the basket the way I used to – all thanks to the response and flexibility of the tooling.

Although I said there was enough impact protection in the Pro Vision, but I still prefer a little more underfoot. However, the Pro Vision was enjoyable for a setup that typically isn’t my cup of tea.

There’s mesh on ¾ of the upper, a tailed collar, felt-like material over the toes and rubberized-ripstop overlays that integrate into the lacing system. It’s not much to expect at the Pro Vision’s price point but functional nonetheless.

The mesh has a crinkly sound and feeling that screams “cheap”, but it is reinforced with an internal heel counter and lacing wings to get the job done. The felt-like material in the toe had me worried at first, but honestly, it felt good and conformed to my foot very well. Initially, I had a slight pinch in the left shoe where the material meets the tongue but after a couple of wears, it was a non-factor.

The collar cut is odd but was never uncomfortable for me – just keep in mind I only ball in crew socks so rubbing might be an issue for some. The felt material sure gets dusty as hell but that’s from getting stepped all over. Otherwise, everything looks intact so durability shouldn’t be bad in that area.

Overall, the materials aren’t great, but there aren’t bad either. They are just kind of…there.

Fit was almost perfect for me, but I can easily tell it wouldn’t be the best for a lot of wearers. The shoe simply runs narrow all the way through — something I could tolerate, but wide and even average width-footers may be bothered by it. If you are a part of the latter, prepare to start out trying at least a half-size up or just them skip entirely.

Lockdown was okay, but kind of a nuisance. The ripstop overlays hold all the eyelets, so it was nearly impossible to keep the laces tight throughout. The overlays split into three sets of panels and the more adjustments I made going up, the more the laces just loosened up between the first and second panels. Ultimately, I just had to accept it and keep it moving.

This is kind of veering away from fit, but watch out for the Pro Vision tongue. It sits over the upper and under the overlays, so if you aren’t careful making adjustments, it can create gaps or fold underneath itself, which can cause discomfort. It’s not a good look to have those type of concerns lacing.

One of the highlights of the Pro Vision is support, and it has an abundance of it while maintaining a lightweight feel. As I mentioned, the fit was good for me personally, so the other support features put it over the top. A huge outrigger, a midsole that cups your foot and strong overlays placed for lateral containment. If the fit works for you, everything else will fall in line perfectly.

The adidas Pro Vision has some good spots at a good price, but I can understand why it doesn’t seem to garner as much interest. If you are looking for a cost-efficient sneaker that plays light enough for guards but has enough support to satisfy a big man, these will work. However, I do think there are other decently-priced sneakers out that give you more without sacrificing too much of the benefits.

Price may come first for some — and there is nothing wrong with that — so if we are talking $100 and under for retail, I can’t think of anything that has this type of versatility.

It goes without saying, but thank you for taking the time to read. I appreciated the support from my first performance review for a hoop shoe and I hope you find this helpful if the adidas Pro Vision is on your radar. Until next time folks, Leak out!

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adidas Dame 5 Performance Review

An thesoleline frontrunner for best basketball shoe of 2019.

Much like the rest of adidas’ current lineup of basketball shoes, the Dame 5 utilizes herringbone traction from heel to toe. However, the implementation of the pattern is the best they’ve done thus far.

Each line of the pattern is thick and widely spaced apart, making it harder for dust to clog up the outsole when you’re playing on less than desirable courts. Based on my experience in both the YKWTII and CNY editions, the traction and rubber compound, despite being translucent, worked really well on every court.

However, the very first time I played in them they were very slick, similar to my experience in the Harden Vol 3 and N3XT L3V3L. I’m not sure if there is some sort of residue on the outsoles of these adidas models or not, but the first time I’ve played in them they always start out the same. Just something to note in case your first experience has been the same as mine — I’m sure I’m not alone.

When on one of those less than desirable courts, the bite of the grip lessened a bit yet remained reliable. A quick wipe here or there and all was good again.

Outdoors, the traction was just as reliable. Because it’s as thick as it is, they’d make for a very solid outdoor option for anyone that plays primarily outside.

Bounce is back but thicker than it was on the Dame 4. This may make many hoopers happy as the thin forefoot of the Dame 4 was a major complaint for some.

For those that preferred the lower profile setup of the Dame 4, they might miss the court feel, but even with the thicker midsole, court feel is still readily available. It’s one of the bright sides to using something like Bounce over Boost.

While I didn’t dislike the ride the Dame 4 offered, I absolutely love the ride that the Dame 5 provides. This iteration of Bounce was felt from the moment I tried the shoe on to the moment I took them off after a three hour pickup session. Its full length setup is more than welcomed on a shoe that has remained affordable since its inception. There’s plenty of impact protection without causing any instability or loss of court feel. Did I mention it’s full length? Yeah, this might be the best Bounce setup since the Dame 2.

The Dame 5 currently has two material options: mesh and leather. Luckily, I was able to test both.

The mesh versions are slightly lighter in weight, but not significantly. They also feature a synthetic nubuck/suede rear panel that is more felt-like than anything. This section I didn’t like, not from a performance aspect as it played just fine, but it’s just noticeably cheap. I don’t like it when it was used on the Kobe line and I don’t like it here. Granted, there is a decent price difference between the two, but I’d still prefer something nicer no matter the price point.

Meanwhile, the leather (synthetic leather) does a great job of being consistent throughout. However, like the felt material, the “leather” is noticeably cheap. Nothing wrong with it from a performance aspect; it felt and played like leather on-foot which is the whole point of using it. It just won’t give you the look of premium leather but that might not be an issue if you’re just using these on-court. I know I wouldn’t care unless I was stuck wearing these on and off the court.

Were there any glaring differences between the two on-court? Surprisingly enough, not a single thing. Each shoe felt exactly the same and once I started playing, I never even noticed the shoes at all other than the fact that they were working really well.

Inconsistent per usual. While I’ve felt going true to size with the Harden Vol 3, N3XT L3V3L and BYW X was the right option, going down 1/2 will be best for the Dame 5.

The Dame 5’s fit is slightly long at the toe and there is volume above the toe as well. Wide footers, this means these were made for you. Regular/narrow footers will likely want to go down 1/2 size for the best one-to-one fit.

The reason why the score for the fit section is a high as it is was due to the lockdown. Despite fitting a little long in my true size, the lockdown saved the shoe from a fit standpoint.

There is absolutely nothing special with the way the lacing system is structured. However, it works. It works so well that I never was distracted by the fact that there was more length and volume above my foot than I’d prefer. Usually when this happens, I end up getting a sloppy fit and with the Dame 5, I never had anything but great lockdown.

This might have been due to the fact that the interior is lined with more pillows that my bed, really allowing you to tie these bad boys up as tight as you’d like without any kind of discomfort.

The support on the Dame 5’s has been amazing. Lockdown, as described above, was great. You also sit inside the midsole a bit. There is that ugly TPU panel on the lateral side for additional lateral coverage — which didn’t cause any discomfort for me for anyone wondering and torsional support was solid. But the best part was the midsole and outsole.

Not only is the tooling flat as hell but the forefoot is wide at the forefoot in both the medial and lateral side. This will cause you to give yourself the illusion that you have some extremely fat feet while you’re wearing the shoe, but the stability you receive from the width is incredible. I always see a spike in my shooting percentage when I wear shoes with greater forefoot stability and these may have taken the second place spot — number one still goes to Ektio. Yeah, that’s a deep cut for anyone that’s been rocking with me for that long.

As I mentioned from the start, the adidas Dame 5 is easily an early frontrunner for best basketball shoe of 2019. Yes, it’s very early on in the year, but the shoe just plays well.

Pushing aside my dislike for the materials and the overall design, the Dame 5 is solid all the way around: great traction, great cushion, superior lockdown, wonderful support and stability. The materials might scream budget model, but the performance is what you’d expect out of a premium signature basketball shoe.

Whether you’re buying the Dame 5 for full retail price or grabbing a pair for a discount, you should end up liking the hell out of these things.

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Ua Anatomix Spawn Low Performance Review

Five years after the debut of the original Under Armour Anatomix Spawn, the 2019 edition is here and we have the performance review.

Traction was beastly. Straight up beastly. Not quite Kobe 9 level, but just barely below it due to the softer rubber compound used. My one day’s worth of outdoor hoops caused quite a bit of rubber fraying versus just playing with them indoors.

Despite using translucent rubber, which was a dust magnet, the traction was rarely affected negatively. A quick wipe here or there was needed, but nothing out of the ordinary. Out of everything I’ve tested this year (2019) and most of last year, this is the best traction setup I’ve personally experienced.

Micro G is back! Is it on the same level as OG Micro G? Not exactly, but it’s so close you almost wouldn’t notice. This rendition is lighter and less dense, so maybe we should call it Micro G light. Just like the OG Shoes Micro G, the cushion is well-balanced. Offering court feel and impact protection, it’s not as rubbery feeling under-foot but still a very nice setup.

Materials are reminiscent of the original as far as the skin-like sections; they’re applied in layers that offer support right where you need it and flex where you’d want it. Lightweight mesh is the main build with the skin-like overlays atop which keeps things very light while retaining some support within the build. Something to note, for those that care, is that the toe area is very well ventilated as the lightweight mesh lets cool air in and hot air out.

The only thing I didn’t like about the materials were how they fit my foot at the toe.

True to size is what I would recommend, however, the toe area left me with some unwanted dead space. I prefer my shoes to sit right on top of my foot and with the Spawn Low 2019, I’ve had to really yank the laces up in the forefoot to achieve that feeling. Doing so ended up leaving the toe area bunched up and bubbled, something I could feel with every step.

The rest of the shoe fit very well, but I would’ve liked the ankle collar area to have had an extra eyelet so it would draw my heel into the rear of the shoe a bit better.

This may not be an issue for those with feet that will fill out all the additional space within the shoe. However for me, there was just not as much of a one-to-one fit that I received with the original version of the Spawn.

Support is pretty standard. There are Internal heel counters are in place but the midsole is the real star here. You sit within the midsole quite a bit — something I love — so you can feel the tooling really taking care of you, ensuring you don’t slide over the footbed. While there is no traditional outrigger, the forefoot section is caged with the rubber outsole wrapping its way up acting as a barrier — without biting into my foot — which I enjoyed. I’m not sure if there is a torsion plate within the shoe, though I assume there is, but I never experienced any torsion issues. I just had some foot fatigue from lace pressure.

While I personally liked the way the original Anatomix Spawn fit my feet more than the 2019 edition, the traction on this shoe is simply awesome. Micro G that feels good is a huge plus as well. Again, my only gripe was the dead space in the toe; had that not been a problem for me then these would have worked out perfectly for me. If the Under Armour Anatomix Spawn Low 2019 fits your needs and your foot, then this might end up being one of the steals of the year at just $110.

If you’ve been playing in the new Anatomix Spawn Low 2019, I’d love to hear your thoughts below in the comment section. Did you experience any issues with the fit or have they been working out perfectly for you? Was the traction as good for you as it was for me? Sound off below and let me know.

As always, thanks for stopping by, and I’ll catch you on the next one.

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Asics Gel-Quantum Infinity Performance Review

Asics broke out of its usual mold and tried something different with its new GEL-Quantum Infinity.

This past December, Asics unleashed its newest runner and were kind enough to send us out a pair to test. I put in just over 60 miles in the Asics Gel-Quantum Infinity and here are my personal findings.

Let’s start out with the cushion system because that was its biggest selling point: the midsole is full-length Gel. If you’ve seen the marketing video for it, you can’t help but be fascinated by what looks like a giant gummy worm twisting and rippling. It just screams squish me! And to be honest, that’s exactly how it felt underfoot.

From the immediate try-on, you have step in comfort like no other. You can feel the Gel breaking apart and snapping back together as you walk around. Then when you start running, you pretty much feel nothing underfoot at all which, to be honest, is exactly what I want. Rogue rocks or random nuts from trees in your path? You don’t even notice them. The GEL sucks them up and spits them back out.

My only complaint in this department is the GEL didn’t seem to give you any added “oomph”. I looked back on my running data, because I’m a running nerd and I keep track of that sort of thing, and I found my average running mile time increased. It’s like the GEL was also sucking up my running energy but not returning any of it to me. Then again, that could have just been caused by my experience with the fit.

Speaking of the fit, it simply was not made for me and my foot. If you’ve seen any of the videos I’ve been in with Nightwing2303, you already know I have a wide foot. This makes buying shoes of any kind a struggle. Asics sent out a size 6, which is typically my regular day-to-day size for shoes. When it comes to running, I normally go up half a size to allow some extra room for swelling and toe splay. The size 6 actually did fit me well length wise, surprisingly enough. If anything, a 6.5 might have been more frustrating to run in because the back of this shoe was constantly pulling my socks down. I can only imagine how much worse the heel slip would have been.

As for width, this shoe is narrow. Narrow to the point where after that first mile, right under the ball of my foot starts pinching. By mile two, I was counting down the minutes until I could get my butt back home and take the shoes off. I averaged four to five miles each time out for those who are wondering. That’s a lot of time spent fantasizing on being done with something I normally love doing.

Lockdown, like I eluded to in the fit, was a bit of an annoyance. I never felt like I was popping out of the shoe, but the back heel would pull at my socks. The only thing I could do to remedy this was to make sure I wore socks with heel tabs and then once I had worked up enough sweat to then stop and really wrench my socks up, they’d stick a bit better. Only then did everything seem to stay in place, but stopping to deal with sock issues is not something a runner wants to do.

Where the GEL midsole ends and attaches to the rest of your shoe is a plastic cup that runs around 95 percent of the shoe. It’s thickest in the back where your heel is and gradually gets slimmer as it heads to your toes. It’s not super stiff as there is some twist to the shoe which you can see in the performance video. At first, I thought maybe it helped cup your foot for stability, but upon further investigation, I found that it really just cupped the plush insole. I’m pretty sure the stability in the shoe is thanks to the very flat outsole.

Traction was never an issue for me. Along the outer edge of the GEL midsole is a good chunk of rubber that runs along the border. There are also small dots of rubber dispersed at key points of impact. I never had any slipping and I’ve been quite impressed with how durable its been. I typically grind right through the front outer edge (supinator problems) and this was not the case here. I thought for sure debris from the trails were going to shred the GEL but it has held up very well.

As far as materials go, the upper is a very thick, one-piece textile material. I feel this added to my issues with the fit. Between the width not being wide enough to the stiffness and low stretch of the materials, there wasn’t really any give in the upper for foot expansion. I will say that the heel is definitely padded, like a sponge, and it feels like it had been put through the ringer once I was done.

Side note: There are no reflective pieces on the shoe. Not even along the back heel. I’ve always thought of that as a running staple. Instead, they swapped it out with some gold stithing up the rear to bling this up a bit. The brightest thing on my particular pair is the Asics logo along the side, but it doesn’t reflect. As a runner who does a major chunk of her running where there are cars, I’d like more reflective material just in case.

Overall, it was a fun experience, this being my first official wear-test. I just wish my findings had been amazing. The shoe is priced at $180 and I think that’s very high. You can pick up two or three great running shoes from last year’s line for that price and consider yourself set for the rest of the year. I normally keep my running shoes completely separate from my every day shoes, and once I’m done with them, I can’t even donate them because they’re so gross.

Now that I’ve painted that graphic picture, when we were done filming for the performance review, I actually wore these while we worked on other projects for a good couple hours. These shoes were perfectly comfortable for that. So, if you like the look and you’re using them for casual purposes or a gym workout and you don’t mind the price point, then go for it. The cushion alone is really neat. I just feel like the rest of the shoe needs to be tweaked a bit to accommodate a wider variety of foot shapes.

While the cushion was a fun aspect of the shoe, something I haven’t felt before, I wouldn’t want to run in them again. Well, maybe I would, if they were wider.

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UA Curry 6 Performance Review

The Under Armour Curry 6 is put through its paces with this performance review by Duke4005.

After waiting over a year for promise of HOVR cushioning to appear in the Curry line, we finally get it in the Curry 6. We all know by now about Curry’s love of court feel – does the Curry 6 keep that low, fast feel or turn into a cushy, mushy mess? Let’s go…

One of the best traction patterns I have tried in the last year. The pattern shouldn’t work – it’s flat, it’s tight, and it’s shallow. There is no herringbone, which ALMOST ALWAYS WORKS!!! So why does the Curry 6 rate so high? I have no idea, but on clean and semi-clean courts, these things stick like Gorilla. Cuts, lateral movements, starts-and-stops, coming off those “Draymond” down screens, my foot went only where I wanted it to. If dust did appear, one extremely quick wipe and I was good-to-go. That was a good thing, because dust will grab onto the outsole, especially the translucent colorway like the Christmas and Fox Theater.

Outdoors? Not. A. Chance. The soft, shallow pattern will get eaten up immediately. Indoors is doing a number on my pair, as some of the pattern is fraying off from hardwood. However, after 7 wears for game nights (roughly 28-35 full-court games), I haven’t experienced any of the peeling issues that some have had — thankfully. The cutouts in the forefoot allow for flexibility and help with transition while running (although it would be better if the foam was segmented for flexibility) but those cutouts could catch on the floor and peel. Again, mine haven’t, and I know a lot of people who haven’t experienced this yet, but it can’t be ignored.

Cushioning in a Curry? Yeah, but it’s not fluffy and puffy – its tuned for optimal impact protection while still keeping you close to the court for those crossover/step-back combo move three’s that you see Steph do and then want to try yourself. Seriously, those of you wanting the HOVR found in the Phantom or even the Sonic runner, keep looking. This foam is dense and tight but warms up the more you play, providing a solid, stable base under foot that never compresses on the edges on cuts and lateral moves. However, there was no impact issues with force coming back up the ankles and knees. The response was NOW – when you decide to move, there is no delay from the foam rebounding. For me, a bigger guard with broken knees and ankles, the Curry 6 never caused me any pain or discomfort. I wouldn’t call this HOVR magical like some of the best cushioning systems, but for quick guards that play fast and tight, it doesn’t get much better.

There’s a full knit upper with elastic areas over the top of the foot and some fuse around the high-wear areas — pretty typical for a basketball shoes today, but it works. The knit is super comfortable and not restrictive or rough at all, which truly feels like a sock on your foot. The toe area is a tighter knit with some additional backing for structure and containment but still — it’s comfy. The lacing system could have been serious — the loops are all connected until it gets to the last hole and the heel counter. If the Curry 6 would have pulled all of the cords, even around the heel with the lacing, the fit would have been killer — but more on that next. The heel interior is deeply padded and again, super-comfy. Notice a trend here? After the minimal uppers and thin padding of the Curry 4 and 5, the 6 brings the comfort strong.

The fit on the Curry 6 confused me. I saw a ton of wearers on Instagram and other sites saying the fit was perfect, but honestly, I had to double-sock to keep from having heel slip and forefoot movement. It wasn’t bad or a deal-breaker, but I don’t like to feel my foot moving inside my shoe at all, and no matter how hard I pulled, the 6 had some empty space around my foot. Again, as simple as double-socking and I was good (I did get some serious lace pressure at the top loop if I pulled way tight like I like). It was really kind of frustrating, because I had the same heel issue in the Curry 5 and the 6 had, it HAD, to be better. I gave it some break-in time for the midsole to begin softening and flexing a little smoother, and I still get slip. I think it’s because the laces pull down and not into the heel, just like the 5.

I would NOT tell anyone to stay away from the Curry 6 based on fit though. The movement was so slight it probably won’t bother a normal person, but I’m far from normal. Again, an extra sock fixed the issue for me. As for length, I had my standard thumb’s-width from the end of my big toe to the end of the toebox but if you like that real 1:1 fit, you could go down a half-size and the materials should stretch enough to stop any pain.

If anyone knows basketball, especially the NBA, then they know Steph Curry NEEDS support. The Curry 6 has sneaky support: it’s a knitted low top, but the sole is wide and the midsole is solid, meaning there is no edge compression that can lead to instability on off-balance landings (and sometimes on normal landings). The flat, wide base makes take-offs on jumpers solid and stable, which leads to better shooting. The midsole is already supportive under the arch from the HOVR but Under Armour went ahead and gave us a midfoot plate called Speedplate for additional torsional support (and I think it works with the HOVR like the FlightPlate/unlocked Zoom Combo in recent nike pg 3).

The other main factor in support and stability is side-to-side containment and the Curry 6 locks it in with a raised midsole. Your foot will sit down in the midsole so any harsh cuts and lateral movements will be stopped on the spot with the raised sidewalls.

Best Curry model ever? I can’t say that; for me, the Curry 2 is still tops (that TRACTION!!!). However, in the last 4 models, the Curry 6 is the best. A great combo of traction, cushioning and support, keeping fast players happy and non-fast players, well, still not fast, but at least they will look good. Again, the cushioning is stiff and fast but absorbs all that bad energy. If you enjoyed the Curry 2 then you need to check out the 6. If you liked the Curry 5 you should check out the Curry 6. If you liked the Curry 3, well…

Another thing — this shoe is plain fun to play in. It’s been a while since a shoe made me feel young, but the Curry 6 did. It takes a special athlete to make the public feel like them just by wearing their shoes, and at my age, I should be past all of that propaganda, but I did. It helps that I have range like Curry (Ayesha), but the fun factor always raises the score a little (new category?).

The Curry 6 is a great indicator of the future and what Under Armour can do — make a good/great performer for a nice price and it actually LOOKS good too (I liked the 4 and 5 as well, but all the internets say the 6 looks great). Much like Curry, Under Armour started out as a long shot, but the Curry 6 shows they are serious about staying around.

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adidas Marquee Boost Performance Review

Is the adidas Marquee Boost the most comfortable basketball shoe currently available?

The traction pattern featured on the Marquee Boost is good ol’ herringbone. Offering multidirectional coverage from heel to toe, the outrigger section features a thicker version of the pattern — something they should have used full length.

While I love herringbone because it provides you with great consistent coverage when the rubber compound may fail, adidas made this version thin and tightly spaced. When there is a lot of dust present, you notice it as it quickly gets stuck in each and every groove. This is where the thicker, more widely spaced version used on the lateral end could have held up better than the rest.

Not only would the thicker grooves held its own against dust better, but it would been a bit more durable for those players that primarily play outdoor basketball. The rubber itself is very durable but when cut into thinly sliced lines, it becomes soft and can quickly wear away on the blacktop or concrete.
Overall, the traction was solid when the courts were clean. It needed a lot of wiping when courts were dirty and it was not as durable as it could have been outside. It’s not bad, but it’s not great either. It gets the job done — which is good overall.

Full length Boost and yes, Boost is still life.

adidas’ premium cushion is used full length, however, the boost-y feeling you normally receive from the cushion is subdued quite a bit in the forefoot. Impact protection is still there, but you won’t get that bouncy feeling that you may (or may not) be looking for. The ETPU is contained on both the medial and lateral forefoot which restricts the material from moving the way it normally would — and does in the rear of the shoe.
Speaking of the rear or heel section, everything about Boost you may love (or may loath) is featured in the rear. It’s very bouncy and offers that under-foot feedback a lot of players look for in their basketball shoes. However, this was a bit too much cushion for me — at least at the moment.

I’ve been suffering from tendonitis inflammation in my heel and Achilles tendon for the past few months and very soft cushion aggravates it quite a bit. This goes for lifestyle and performance versions of Boost as well as other brands that have shoes using soft midsole cushion. It has been a big pain to deal with — literally. It’s been a process figuring out what has been causing the flare-ups and it has come down to cushion. The softer it is, the more pain I’m in.

This is obviously a personal issue, but it may be useful for some people. If you’ve been experiencing the same thing, firmer setups help. Not too firm though as you’ll need to find a balanced ride, but that’s what I’ve been trying to convey within my reviews over the past few months. When I talk about cushions that offer that balance or blend, those setups are the ones that I can play in for hours without having too much pain, whereas the softer stuff like curry 6 end up causing me a lot of pain on and off the court.

I love the materials used as it’s a nice mixture of knits, canvas and micro-molded mesh.

Everything has done well containing the foot, allowing for flexibility while remaining supportive and to top it off — durable. Showing signs of wear on a basketball shoe is not something I normally care about. I know that when I play in a shoe they’re going to look like I’ve played in them. However, there are some people that want their shoes to look as nice as possible for as long as possible. This is where the Marquee Boost has done well.

An example, which you’ll see once that review is complete, is the adidas Ultra Boost 2019. Really fun shoe to play in, very good performance as well, but they look like they’ve been run over by a truck. The Marquee Boost… not so much. They look like I can wear them to the store and it looks like I just bought them yesterday.

True to size is what I went with and length wise, it’s what I’d recommend. But the fit isn’t the best all-around.

The toe area flexes weird and while it didn’t cause any issues while playing, it was a distraction. Distractions from your gear, while playing any sport, is never ideal. You typically want to feel like you’re not wearing anything at all. You can definitely tell you’re wearing a shoe when you’ve got the Marquee Boost on.

At the rear, I did experience the dreaded “heel slip” upon my first wear. I wound up having to mess with the laces and my choice of socks quite a bit before finding a good way to lace them up. Brand new socks were not my favorite in the shoe by the way — even ones that were washed a few times. I found wearing older socks worked best. For some reason, the newer socks just weren’t very compatible with the silky-feeling liner used inside the shoe.

Once I was able to work through the sock and lacing issues, things were pretty good. But again, you can definitely tell you’re wearing a shoe while playing. Some people may like that and some may not.

Support is standard for the Marquee Boost. Everything you need is there: torsional support — check. Outrigger — check. Wide platform for stability — check. Heel counter — check.

Everything is good to go. Just make sure you try them on in-store if possible as the potential sloppiness of the fit may cause problems for some.

The adidas Marquee Boost is definitely one of the more comfortable basketball shoes currently available, especially at its price point — ranging between $120-140 depending on the colorway. However, I did not love the shoe as a whole. I still find them to be a beautiful looking shoe but not one I’d keep in my gym bag.

Traction consistency, I feel, could have been a non-issue had the herringbone been of the thicker variety. Fit needs a bit of work as well. The whole “too much cushion” thing is my personal issue, so I can’t really fault the shoe for that — it’s just not what I need right now. What I really need is a lot of rest, but if I do that then I can’t earn a living, so that isn’t going to happen anytime soon.

If you’ve been playing in the adidas Marquee Boost, feel free to let me know how your experience was below in the comment section. How was the fit/lockdown for you? Was the Boost boost-y enough for you or did it leave you wanting more… maybe less?

Sound off below and let me know. As usual, thank you for reading/watching and I hope this helped someone out. Until the next one…

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Under Armour Curry 6 Performance Review

Feels like it was yesterday that I reviewed the Curry 1 and now we’re on the Curry 6. Time sure does fly.

Since people can’t help but prefer to have things ranked, I’d still pick the Under Armour Curry 2 as the model with the best traction out of the main signature line. That’s followed by the Curry 4 and closely following would be the Curry 6.

Sporting a circular traction pattern on the lateral side offers superb multi-directional grip — dust or no dust. I love the use of spirals for traction and prefer it if herringbone isn’t in the plans. Along the medial side, we have a cross-hatched pattern that was inspired by the stucco on Curry’s house he grew up in in Charlotte. No, that’s not a joke; it’s definitely a reach when it comes to storytelling and it would have been best to have used herringbone in that section or continue the circular pattern all the way around. However, this cross-hatched section didn’t perform poorly, so looking at it strictly from a performance perspective — it wasn’t a disappointment. I just feel it would have been safer to have used what is known to work.

If dust is present, you’ll need to wipe due to the cross-hatched portion of the outsole. That’s the area that will collect dust quickly. Once you wipe the debris away, you’re back to your regular scheduled stop-on-a-dime coverage that most hoopers love.

Outdoors, the traction worked better than I thought. There was no slipping or sliding out, something I was actually expecting from the cross-hatched side. But, and there is always a but, I wouldn’t expect the traction to last a long period of time outdoors. It’s soft and shallow and it’s good for indoors, but not so much outdoors.

Full-length HOVR cushioning is used and it’s the entire midsole. Also, it’s a bit different from the HOVR Havoc, which housed the HOVR foam within an EVA carrier.

The HOVR has been tweaked so it’s a bit more subdued than the running version, which is super bouncy, yet the design team at UA was still able to keep the HOVR under control enough to where you don’t feel like you’ve stepped in Flubber. However, you still feel like you’ve got some cushion underfoot. On a personal level, having played in every Curry shoe made thus far, this is the best they’ve done at giving a little bit of something for everyone.

If you prefer the low profile feel of the Curry models of the past, then you won’t be disappointed with the Curry 6. However, if cushion has been the one thing stopping you from trying a Curry model then the Curry 6 will change that.

With the Curry 6 you get it all: Cushion. Court feel. Full length implementation. All for $130. Not bad.

Knit is used full-length, from heel to toe. There are some fuse overlays in the standard high-wear areas such as the toe along with the reinforced sections along the eyestay so the laces don’t rip through the knit.

Once broken-in, which is a very short break-in process by the way, then you’ll likely enjoy the build, especially if you’re already accustomed to knit basketball shoes. It’s not overly stretching (KD 11) or overly stiff (Kobe 9) but it’s a good balance of strength where you need it and flex where you’d want it.

When I first tried on the Curry 6, they felt like they ran a tad bit short with some volume above the toe area. After wearing them for the past few weeks, they feel perfect and I’d recommend going true to size for most — wide footers will want to try them on just in case the shorter length bothers them.

The volume in the toe goes away after you break the toe section of the knit in. It’s got a little bit of additional material backing it in some sections which caused them to feel like the forefoot is moving away from your foot, but once you heat the materials up, they start to mold and move to your foot which is an awesome feeling. This is similar to the knit used in the Harden Vol. 3 and LeBron 16. Once the Curry 6 is broken-in, it’s as close to mimicking leather as you can get.

Lockdown is great once everything has broken-in as well. Your initial try-on will leave a bit to be desired, but you can’t rely on a try-on to determine how a shoe will feel once they’ve been properly worn on-court for a handful of hours. The lace area does a good job at keeping you locked down onto the footbed while the flat laces help alleviate potential lace pressure issues. I would have preferred a separate tongue, but as one-piece constructions go, this is one of the better ones.

Traction and support/stability are what Curry models are most known for and the Curry 6 is no exception.

The base of the shoe is fairly wide and flat for stability, while flex grooves are carved into the outsole to promote natural motion. You sit within the majority of the midsole while the lateral section has been extended to act as an outrigger. UA also implemented a TPU support plate which they call it a speed plate, that helps reinforce the HOVR and also acts as a full-length outrigger without restricting mobility — something spring plates are known for as they’re implemented directionally underfoot.

I liked playing in the Curry 1. I loved playing in the Curry 2. Curry 3 was meh. Curry 4 was amazing. Curry 5 was… painful. The Curry 6 is easily the best they’ve done and it has been a blast to play in. It’s always a good sign when I don’t want to stop wearing a shoe once testing is complete because I like playing in them so much — that’s what it’s like for me and the Curry 6. I love everything about them — although I’d have done something slightly different with the traction.

Is it the best Curry to date? Yes. It’s the most well-rounded of the bunch that will cater to more than just the player that wants court feel. It has something for everyone, which is what a good performance shoe will offer. While it may be made for the player they’re named after, you’re trying to sell the shoe to everyone but him (her). You can only do that successfully if you make a shoe “everyone” will want to play in rather than just focusing on one athlete.

Solid job by Under Armour. I can’t wait to grab a few more colorways once they’re available.

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Big Baller Brand Zo2.19 Performance Review

The new kid on the block, Big Baller Brand, impresses with the Zo2.19.

The traction on the Zo2.19 is outstanding. The original Zo2 Prime Remix featured the same exact tooling and traction as the Brandblack Rare Metal — which had some good traction but the outsole featured here takes things up more than a few notches.

There is nowhere for dust to get clogged. While you’ll need to wipe the soles at times, when dust is heavy, you’re only quickly removing it from the surface rather than trying to clear grooves of the debris. Each little ‘X’ within the pattern serves as a multi-directional type of coverage and it’s noticeable on every court I had tested them on — including outdoor courts.

Out of every shoe I tested and reviewed in 2018, these outperformed all of them in the traction department. Yes, that includes my beloved Kobe 1 Protro.

The cushion is simply called ‘next generation foam’, but if you’ve been reading/watching WearTesters for a number of years, then the names ‘Jetlon’ or ‘BlackFoam’ will likely ring a bell.

The cushion used on the Zo2.19 is the same stuff; they just can’t call it that since it’s Brandblack tech and this is a Big Baller Brand shoe. However, its performance on the other hand … it’s very similar in feel to the Under Armour Curry 6 HOVR setup, which means I love it.

There is just enough plushness, mixed with just enough firmness, to give you a slight bounce in your step — without making you feel like you’re running around on springs or sinking into the tooling. Some people like springs, some people like that sinking in type of plush feel. I happen to prefer a more fluid ride underfoot and that is how these feel.

The best word I can think of when speaking about the shoe’s cushion is “smooth”. They just feel smooth. If you end up trying a pair out, then you’ll know what I mean. If you’ve played in the Brandblack Future Legend or Curry 6 and enjoyed it, then you’ll likely enjoy these as well.

There is a little bit of old school mixed with a little bit of new school as mesh makes up the majority of the build while premium leather and suede overlay the mesh in strategically placed areas to enhance support and lockdown. It’s very much like an old school pair of sneakers.

The mesh keeps things lightweight and breathable and its premium overlays take care of all the heavy lifting when it comes to lockdown and support.

They feel good like a second skin, which is what premium raw materials are. This is especially evident the more you wear them.

I wound up with my true size and they work well for the most part. There is a slight bit of extra length in the toe that I feel going down 1/2 size would relieve — so if you prefer a snug fit go down 1/2 size. If you like a little bit of wiggle room, then true-to-size is the way to go. Wide footers will be fine going true-to-size as well — the materials should conform around your foot shape nicely.

Lockdown is so nice that it might be my second favorite aspect next to the shoe’s traction. I’m able to lace up the forefoot section super tight and then the strap takes care of lateral containment. The midfoot lacing system is very traditional, nothing crazy, but works really well. Meanwhile, the rear section is fantastic. The leather molds and wraps itself around my ankle so nicely that they feel like they were made on a last of my own foot. Premium leathers are something I genuinely miss in modern performance footwear as nothing beats the feeling of a nicely broken-in pair of leather shoes.

Everything you’ve come to expect in your basketball shoes are featured here. Flat stable platform — check. Midfoot torsion support/shank — check. Foot resting within the midsole for added containment — check. Combine these aspects with the way the upper fits and locks the foot in and you have one hell of a sneaker.

The smartest thing Lavar Ball has done for the Big Baller Brand was team up with the folks over at Brandblack. Footwear designer, David Raysse, has been in the footwear industry for a very long time. Previously known for his work on signature performance sneakers for NBA superstars like Grant Hill and Kobe Bryant, as well as being a former College-level ball player himself — the guy knows what players need out of their basketball shoes.

If I were to compare them to anything, the Nike Air Jet Flight is the first thing that comes to mind. They have very similar builds between the two as both utilized mesh and overlays perfectly. The Air Jet Flight is known as being one of the greatest shoes in Nike Basketball history.

With the help of Raysse, the Big Baller Brand has a very good shoe on its hands. Whether or not people will be open-minded enough to actually accept that is something, remains to be seen. If you play basketball on the regular and take a chance of these things… let me know. I’d love to know if they were as good for you as they’ve been for me.

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