Court-Critic is dedicated to bringing you detailed reviews, information, and pictures of basketball sneakers of the past and prestent. Court-Critic will also update readers on sales and deals on the latest and greatest basketball footwear and apparel.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

November Poll

For our November poll we decided to do things a little different, and give our readers the opportunity to see an older shoe get reviewed.

And the contestants are:

Nike Zoom Huarache 2k4Adidas Crazy 8

Reebok Answer IXNike Air Zoom Turbine

Jordan XIX SE Don't forget to get your vote in!!!

October Poll Winner - Nike Air Zoom BB

The winner of our October poll for which shoe our readers would like to see reviewed next is The Nike Air Zoom BB. We will be adding the review for these shoe by the end of this month. We have still not had the chance to review our September winner (Nike Air Force 25), but we assure you that review is coming within the next few weeks. Thanks for voting!!!

Adidas KG Bounce

The Adidas KG Bounce is Kevin Garnett’s 4th signature shoe from Adidas. It is one of the first Adidas basketball shoes to feature their new Bounce technology. I definitely think the KG Bounce took a huge leap in terms of style and design from the last two Garnett signatures. The KG II and III (in my opinion) were designed solely for the court and looked funky with jeans or when worn casually. “The Big Ticket” averaged 22 points, 10 boards & 4 dimes per game during the 06-07 season, and he did it all in these shoes. I was curious to see how these would perform for a player with different basketball attributes and stature than KG’s.

At first wearing the KG Bounce is a little stiff in the forefoot area. I thought the stiffness would gradually fade through more breaking in time, but it didn’t. After 7 test wearings, the shoe is not as stiff, but it still is enough to bother an active player. I don’t think the stiffness would bother a bigger position player that generally posts up and does not do as much running as cutting as guards and smaller forwards do. There is not much inner padding in the forefoot area. There are parts of the shoes that actually hurt the sides of my toes. I had to wear thicker socks than usual to get around this problem. The area around the ankle is well padded and feels great. The KG Bounce combines Adidas new Bounce technology with it’s patented a3 cushioning system. In theory the Adidas Bounce technology is supposed to absorb impact and propel the foot back forward, but to be honest, I did not feel any difference between this cushioning system and the normal a3 cushioning that is in the KG III. Also, the heel area of the foot is very hard and doesn’t provide much cushion to the heel. The shoe could use a huge makeover in the cushioning department.

I was and still am amazed at how low cut the KG Bounce is. Big men shoes are usually cut slightly higher than the traditional mid to offer more support. The bounce almost feels like a low top basketball shoe. The shoe still provides sufficient ankle support, but because the shoe sits so high off the ground I still had the fear of rolling my ankle the whole time I played in these shoes. The lacing system is nothing fancy, but provides great lock down feel. The tongue has large circular holes cut into which provide excellent ventilation. The tongue is a bit uncomfortable and takes some getting used to. It is a lot harder and stiffer than the traditional tongue you see on most shoes these days. I am puzzled about why Adidas used such a stiff material for this part of the shoe.

One of the coolest things about the KG Bounce is the short narratives written about Kevin Garnett on the sole. One shoe represents South Carolina and the other represents Chicago. I thought this was a cool idea and looked really nice, but I was a bit skeptical about weather or not the letters would provide good traction. The unusual letter tread pattern is amazing. The KG’s deliver unbelievable traction indoors and outdoors on dusty, dirty courts. The tread does not run very deep into the sole so the shoes would probably need to be replaced sooner if you use them primarily outdoors.

My final thought of the Adidas KG Bounce is that it is a well designed shoe that could use some fine tuning from a comfort standpoint. The comfort and fit issues may not be too big of an issue for players that are not as active on the court. For that reason, I would recommend this shoe for a post player rather than a point guard. The shoe was designed and built for a 6’ 11” monster so you can’t really expect it to be well suited for a smaller player. The shoe has a lot of small cool details on it like Garnett's signature on the midsoles and his face on the back of the shoe. The KG Bounce was released in two general release colorways, as well as two All-Star weekend colorways, and the special Adidas vs. UndrCrwn edition. In addition to these there were also special NCAA team colors available exclusively on Eastbay. The KG Bounce has been out for a while now so you can find them fairly cheap. They retailed for $120, but they are currently on sale at Eastbay for $70 and at Finishline stores for $50. Here’s a list of available colorways:

*White/Blue/Cardinal Red (All-Star)
*Black/Black/Metallic Gold (Vegas)
*White/Black/Camel (UndrCrwn)
*White/Black/University Red
*White/Black/Victory Red
*Black/Ice Gray
*White/Indigo Blue

Colorway Tested: Black/White/Blue
Tested on: Hardwood & Asphalt

Final Analysis:
Comfort & Cushioning: C
Support: C+
Traction: A+
Breathability: A+
Overall: B-

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Converse Wade 1.3

The Wade 1.3 was Dwayne Wade’s second signature shoe from Converse. The shoe was built on the same platform as the first Wade signature shoe, but has a totally redesigned upper. The overall design of the 1.3 is more simple and sleek than its predecessor. You can see the shoe is built tough and features double and triple stitching on the uppers for extra reinforcement. D-Wade wore this shoe for the first half of the 06-07 NBA season before debuting the Wade 2.0 at the All-Star break.

In my opinion Converse took a step back in the comfort and fit department when they made the Wade 2.0. The wade 1.3 is far more comfortable and cushy than the wade 2.0. The Wade 1.3 incorporates a full length inner bootie with some beefy padding to it giving a great pillow type feel along the lateral and medial sides of the foot. The shoe features a thick EVA sockliner with PORON inserts at the forefoot and heel for extra cushioning. PORON is cellular urethane foam that is used for energy absorption. The cushioning system on the Wade 1.3 is excellent and knocks out some of its competitors which are at a higher price point.

In addition to great cushioning, the Wade 1.3 also provides great support and stability. It has a two part mid foot shank plate for the stability. The area around the ankle is probably one of this shoe’s best qualities. Your foot is surrounded by plush padding all the way around including the tongue. This provides great support to the ankle and feels great! The tongue is cut a bit higher than most other shoes on the market these days, but it is not bothersome. The Wade 1.3 has a basic lacing system that is sufficient and provides a good fit. Many had a problem with the sizing of the first Wade signature shoe having to go down by half to even a full size. For me, the 1.3 fit true to size even though it is built on the same platform as the first Wade. I think the reason for this is all the extra padding within the shoe which the last one lacked.

The Wade 1.3 has a pretty basic tread pattern. I did find that the shoe provides more traction in the forefoot than it does at the heel. If you look at the tread on the soles of the shoes there is only a bar like pattern at the heel while the rest of the sole has a wavy design. The shoe provides far better traction on indoor courts rather than outdoor. Also, the tread pattern is not cut very deep into the sole so the tread will wear down quicker if you use them as an outdoor hoops shoe. There is minimal heel to toe sliding within the shoe, but I found that this only occurs during quick start/stop situations. If the shoes are tied tight enough this is not a huge problem. One other problem with the shoe was breathability. I tested both, the red Christmas days edition and the White/Black/Red colorway, and neither one of them offers much ventilation through the shoe. The only source for any air to get into the shoe is through the tongue, but because of the beefed up padded tongue not much air gets through.

Overall, I think that the Wade 1.3’s are the ideal shoes for an active point guard. They provide excellent stability and support for quick players and the shoe’s cut is just right to where it does not feel restrictive. The comfort level of this shoe is off the charts! For the price, these shoes are an excellent value!!! They retailed for $100, but can be found at a number of mall based retailers in the $40-$70 range. Also, try your luck at your local Marshall’s store because I’ve spotted the Wade 1.3 at select stores for $29.99 in a variety of different colorways. The Wade 1.3 was released in five different colorways. Here’s a list of them:

*Navy/White/Yellow (Marquette)
*Red/White (Christmas Day)

Colorways Tested: Black/White/Red and Red/White
Tested on: Hardwood & Asphalt

Final Analysis:
Comfort & Cushioning: A+
Support: A
Traction: A-
Breathability: B-
Overall: A+

Friday, October 19, 2007

Starbury Team Review

Stephon Marbury debuted the Starbury Team last season after the NBA All-Star game. He wore the Team and the Starbury II for the second half of the 07 NBA season. The Starbury team has a very plain yet sleek design to it. It reminds me of a lot of some previous And 1 designs. My first reaction to the shoe was that it looked like a shoe that would perform well on the court. I initially had no intention of doing a write up on these, but on a recent trip to Steve & Barry’s I decided to pick up a pair of these just to see how they perform in comparison to the Starbury 1 or 2.

When you first look and feel the materials on the Starbury Team, you can tell it is definitely built better than the Starbury 1 and 2. It feels like it has added padding and uses better leathers than other shoes in the line. I would advise that you go down a half size on these. I tried on my usual 9.5 and I found them to be a bit roomy and too wide in the forefoot area. I ended up going with a size 9 and it worked out a lot better. The Team features added foam padding around the forefoot area that feels great. The shoe has a traditional lacing system. Nothing fancy, but it gets the job done. You get a pretty good lock down fit which keeps side to side movement within the shoe to a minimal. I did find that there was a lot of heel to toe sliding movement within the shoe on quick starts and stops. Other than that, the overall fit is great for a shoe that costs the same price as a CD.

The cut of the Starbury Team is almost perfect. I have heard complaints about the Starbury 1 being too high and giving a restrictive feeling. Others complain that the Starbury 2 is cut far too low to truly deliver any kind of ankle support. It seems to me like they got it just right with the Team. Also, the Team does an excellent job of keeping your feet dry. The tongue is made up of perforated leather which does a pretty good job of providing good breathability. As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, the Starbury shoes can have as much cushioning as you desire. You just have to shell out the extra cash for a better insole. The stock insole that comes with the Starbury Team is sufficient, but the cushioning could be better.

The Starbury Team’s greatest strength is the traction it delivers on the court. Weather outdoors on dusty courts or indoors on clean hardwood, I felt like I had glue or tape on the bottom of my shoes. The shoe has a basic tread pattern which provides outstanding traction!! One complaint I had with these shoes and all the shoes in the Starbury line is that the soles wear down very easily and quickly. I try not to complain about it too much seeing as how they only cost $15, but I can definitely see this as being a problem for the brand down the road. The Team also offers great arch support. The shoe has the same full-width shank as the Starbury 2, but is far more supportive.

My final thought is that the Starbury Team is definitely worth the $15 price tag, maybe even a little more. Without a doubt it performs better than the Starbury 1 and 2. From a design standpoint the shoe is plain and to some it might be a little boring, but it functions well on the court and does what it was made to do. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw Mr. Marbury rocking these more than the 2’s this year. I know I definitely would. The Starbury Team is available in a total of 5 colorways and like all other Starbury merchandise; it is exclusive to Steve & Barry’s. Here’s is a list of all the colorways that are currently available:

*White/Baby Blue
*White/Navy Blue
*Navy Blue/Orange

Colorway Tested: White/Navy Blue
Tested on: Hardwood & Asphalt

Final Analysis:
Comfort & Cushioning: B
Support: B+
Traction: A+
Breathability: B-
Overall: B+