Nike Zoom Huarache 2k4Adidas Crazy 8
Reebok Answer IXNike Air Zoom Turbine
Jordan XIX SE Don't forget to get your vote in!!!
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.
Nike Zoom Huarache 2k4Adidas Crazy 8
Reebok Answer IXNike Air Zoom Turbine
Jordan XIX SE Don't forget to get your vote in!!!
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)
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:
*Red/White (Christmas Day)
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:
On my first test wearing the XX2 felt a bit stiff especially in the ankle area. After a few test drives, the shoe started to feel better as I broke it in more. The inner lining is very soft and feels great against the ankle unlike some other shoes that can give you a scratchy rough feeling against the ankle. No problem wearing no show socks with these! The Jordan XX2 continues to use an IPS (Independent Pod System) cushioning system as did the last two shoes in the Air Jordan line. Unlike the last two shoes, the XX2 doesn’t use round pods, but rather diamond like shapes. Personally I think it feels better this way because the diamonds cover more area than the circular pods did. The XX2 also has a removable pod at the heel which can be changed to allow the wearer to choose if they want to use Air cushioning or double stacked Zoom. I went with the Zoom as I feel Zoom provides far better cushioning than just regular encapsulated Air. I would prefer if Jordan moved away from the changeable pod. The pod only provides cushioning to the dead center of the heel. You really don’t feel any kind of cushioning around the outer parts of your heel. The overall cushioning feels great, but the changeable pods stick up a slight bit giving the feeling that your foot is sitting in the shoe at a slant which after a while can start to feel quite bothersome. One of the key technical features of the XX2 is the incorporation of a titanium coated shank plate rather than a carbon fiber shank plate. I did not feel a difference between the two. I cannot honestly say that one is better than the other.
The XX2’s lacing system provides an excellent lock down comfortable fit. I was a bit skeptical about the never before seen lace lock. Although the lace lock is a bit difficult to use and get used to, it functions great. If you chose to tighten the laces and then put the lace lock at the very top of the shoe instead of tying them, it would hold the laces in place and keep the laces tight. I did feel very minimal sliding of my foot within the shoe from front to back, but none from side to side. I think slant of the interchangeable pods has something to do with this. The perforated tongue and side gills provide excellent ventilation through out the shoe keeping your feet dry.
The tread pattern of the XX2 is very unique and different from previous shoes in the Air Jordan line. The pattern was inspired by military sergeant stripes which are used on the IPS pods. This pattern should be utilized on basketball shoes more often because it provides excellent traction outdoors and indoors. The groves in the outsole are cut deep and would last for a good while even if they were primarily used on outdoor courts. The shoe is very responsive in quick start/stop situations and is also very stable on quick cuts to the hoop.
There is no doubt that the Air Jordan XX2 is delivers well on the court, but is it worth the $175 price tag? There are many shoes on the market today that deliver the kind of performance that is almost equivalent to the XX2 for a fraction of the price. Off the top of my head I can probably name off 5 shoes that could compete at this level of performance for under $110. The regular mid top version of the Jordan XX2 is available in a total of 4 colorways. In addition to these there is also be a lower cut version called the Jordan XX2 5/8 which is available in a predominantly white and a predominantly black colorway. Also, the XX2 has also been released in 6 special PE versions. The PE versions have a modified upper with two velcro straps. I have not personally tested the shoe, so I am not sure if the straps add any additional support or better the overall fit of the shoe. Since the PE versions just came out they are still being sold for retail ($150) in most stores. You will be happy to know that you can pick up a pair of the original Jordan XX2’s for a price range of $100-$130 at various Champs Sports, Foot Lockers, and Foot Action stores. Here’s a list of all the available colorways:
Jordan XX2 5/8
Jordan XX2 PE
*White/University Blue/Yellow (Carmelo Anthony Denver)
*White/Navy/Silver (Josh Howard Dallas)
*White/Red/Silver (Joe Johnson Atlanta)
*White/Royal Blue/Red (Richard Hamilton Detroit)
*White/Green/Yellow (Ray Allen Seattle)
Colorway Tested: White/Black/Red
Tested on: Hardwood & Asphalt
Comfort & Cushioning: A-
The Question is cut higher than most of shoes we have seen in recent times, but the high cut provides a great feel of support. One of the biggest problems with the shoe is the oversized tongue. The extra padded tongue provides a good feel against your ankle, but the size and bulkiness of it makes it hard to tie the shoe up tightly. If the shoe is not tied tight enough it leaves a big open area around the ankle which could make you more susceptible to ankle injuries. Once you get past the battle with the tongue and get the shoe tied, it fits well and provides a good fit. After playing a few games, the laces start to loosen up a bit which affects the stability and fit of the shoe. Also, when the shoe gets looser the tongue shifts from side to side. I found myself untying and retying them after each game just to be safe.
The tread pattern of the Question doesn’t provide much traction. The pattern consists of large curved grooves cut into a completely smooth translucent outsole. The shoe performed well indoors, but not so well in outdoor conditions or dusty courts. It definitely would have helped if Reebok incorporated some more ridged grooves into the midsole rather than leaving it completely smooth. I did not feel a problem with movement within the shoe, but as I stated previously; it all depends upon tying the shoe snug and tight. I have heard people complain about that the Question gives a rather “bulky” feel due to the wide midsole, but I actually felt that it provided more stability and support.
There is no denying that the Question is easily one of the sleekest and most well designed basketball shoes of our generation, but the shoe does lack the performance elements of other shoes on the market today. Keep in mind this shoe was created over 10 years ago so it did not utilize some of the great technological advances that we presently see in basketball footwear. It’s fair to say that even though the shoe could be better from a performance standpoint, it is still sufficient for players of all levels to still be able to wear them today. I previously mentioned that the Question has been re-released countless times so there are far too many colorways to list. The shoe is currently available in a variety of colorways on Eastbay.com as well as Finishline. Each of these retailers carries their own exclusive colorways so be sure to check out all your options before purchasing a pair. If you plan on getting some, now is a better time than ever because most colorways have been marked down to prices as low as $49.99! Not bad for a timeless design!!!
Colorway Tested: White/Baby Blue
Tested on: Hardwood & Asphalt
The Starbury 1 and 2 are both pretty comfortable to wear right out of the box. The Starbury 1 definitely lacks the cushioning of the Starbury 2. To my knowledge neither of these sneakers uses any kind of cushioning technology. All the cushioning comes solely from the insole. The Starbury 1’s insole is very thin with an extra foam pad at the heel while the Starbury 2’s insole is much thicker and provides a much better feel. Right off the bat, I knew that the cushioning of the Starbury 1 was not going to cut it so I did replace the insole with a $10 performance insole that I purchased at Foot Action. I did this to make it a fair fight. In my honest opinion both of these shoes can have about as much cushioning as you want. As I mentioned before, there is no cushioning technology incorporated into the midsole so you can buy a $10 insole or a $40 insole and put as much cushioning into the shoe as you want. I definitely do not recommend playing in the stock insole of the Starbury 1. The Starbury 2’s cushioning, however, could be compared to almost any lower tier Nike, Adidas or Reebok basketball shoe.
The Starbury 1 definitely offers far better support than the Starbury 2. The 1 is obviously cut higher than the 2. The Starbury 2 almost feels like you are playing in a low top basketball shoe. It offers very little ankle support and the shoe does not offer a very good overall fit. It seems like you can tie the shoe as tight as you want, but you cannot lock down the forefoot area and keep your foot from sliding from side to side in the front of the shoe. During play, my heel was locked down and didn’t move, but there was a lot side to side movement in the forefoot area of the shoe. This got to be very bothersome during long periods of play. I guess this wouldn’t bother players with wider feet; as a matter of fact it might even be more reason for a player with wide feet to try out the Starbury 2. I found the Starbury 1 to be the total opposite of the Starbury 2. It offers great ankle support because of the higher cut and although the fit can’t be compared to those of other higher end shoes, it’s not bad for $14.98. It provides a great fit and there is very little sliding within the shoe. One complaint I had about the Starbury 1 in comparison to the 2 is that the material used for the inside lining around the ankle is very rough and caused my ankles to itch a lot which got to be very irritating. I recommend higher cut socks for the Starbury 1 just for that reason. Neither the Starbury 1 nor 2 offer any kind of arch support. To many players this isn’t a very big issue, but for me it is. There’s not much you can do about this except maybe buy a new insole that does offer a reasonable amount of arch support.
Both, the Starbury 1 and 2, held up great outdoors and indoors. They both have excellent tread patterns that provide great traction on hardwood and on asphalt. The Starbury 1 has a very generic, basic tread pattern while the Starbury 2’s is a bit more complex. Neither one outperforms the other in terms of traction. I guess it was just a design effect on the Starbury 2. I did find that the tread on the Starbury 1 does wear down a lot faster than any other shoe I have ever played in before. After my first wear, I could already see a substantial amount of the tread had already started to wear down. If you are playing indoors, this shouldn’t be too big of an issue.
In conclusion, I think both of these shoes are worth the $14.98 price tag. Even if you have to go out and buy an insole for the shoe, you are looking at spending a total of $25-$35 for a well put together shoe that will last you a reasonable amount of time. I am a big supporter of the Starbury line and what Marbury set out to accomplish when he started it. I feel that a lot of people have shunned away from the shoe and laughed it off simply because of the price tag. I would definitely recommend the shoe to people who don’t want to or can’t afford to pay the big bucks to get a decent pair of shoes to play ball in. It’s not a bad shoe for the price. One thing I do feel that Marbury needs to stop doing is claiming that the shoe uses “state of the art technology” and is the equivalent of other higher end shoes because it is not. The Starbury sneakers are available at any Steve and Barry’s location. Most of the time stock is plentiful, but there have been times when I walked into a store and had a hard time finding my size in a particular style or color. Unfortunately, Steve and Barry’s does not have an online shop, but you can find almost all the styles on ebay for a few bucks over retail. The Starbury 2 is still being released in new colorways, but here is a compiled list of the Starbury 1 and 2 that are available now:
*White/Red/Black (Big Ben Colorway)
Let me start by saying that if you are planning to purchase a pair of these shoes, try them on first. I have heard several complaints from owners about how big they run. Others have felt like it fits true to size. I made the mistake of walking into my local Foot Locker store and purchasing my regular size 9.5 without even trying it on. “The lazy work twice as hard” – I ended up making a second trip to the mall to exchange the shoe for a size 9. For me (and many others), the shoe definitely runs a half size or maybe even a whole size bigger than past shoes in the Lebron line. Once you get your correct size, you are ready to go. No breaking in required! This shoe feels absolutely great from the get go. It really feels like you are walking with two pillows tied to the bottom of your feet. The shoe is equipped with a thick full length Zoom insole which sits atop a full length glass fiber plate. The cushioning system on the Lebron IV is like no other that I have ever felt before.
Nike’s Foamposite technology provides excellent support and stability on the court. Most will tell you that Foamposite technology’s only flaw is that it does not breathe very well. The mesh lined vents cut into the medial and lateral sides of the shoe and mesh tongue do a great job of eliminating this problem. The ankle strap of Zoom Lebron IV provides additional ankle support making the shoe one of the most stable shoes I have ever played in. There is one con that may not affect all players; the metal "LBJ 23" emblem on the front of the strap could start to bother the front part of you ankle after wearing the shoe for a long period of time. This just depends on the movement and style of play of the person wearing them. I was not able to test the shoe on an outdoor court, but the traction was great indoors. The shoe delivers great traction on the cuts to the basketball and in quick start/stop situations. The lacing system is great. The straps on top of the laces are more of a style element rather than a functional part of the shoe. Also, the straps do make it difficult for some to lace the shoe as tightly as they would like. But it’s a small stepping stone to cross to get a great fit!
The number one complaint everyone has with the Zoom Lebron IV, including the man himself, is that it is too heavy. I do agree with this to an extent. The shoe weighs in at 20.7 ounces. This might not sound like a lot of weight, but keep in mind that most hoops shoes these days weigh in at the range of 15 to 18 ounces. To me, the weight did not make a difference unless I was playing for an extremely long period of time (more than 2 hours straight). I am not the “speed” player I once was, but I can definitely see how the weight of this shoe could affect a player that relies on speed and quickness to make himself effective on the court. The shoe might even be a bit on the “clunky” side for a quick point guard type of player. I honestly don’t see the weight being a problem for a bigger forward or post player. I don’t even think the weight was too much of a problem for Lebron. Let’s keep in mind that he didn’t really comment on the weight issue until it was playoff time when he debuted the Zoom Soldier. I think it was just good marketing on his behalf.
To sum things up, the Zoom Lebron IV is by far the most comfortable and offers the most support of all the shoes in the numbered Lebron line. Ken Link really created a masterpiece with this one!!! Personally, I would like to see Nike incorporate Foamposite technology into more of their future releases. It provides an extremely stable and supportive fit when compared to most other shoes on the market these days. The Zoom Lebron IV was released in 7 colorways that were available to the public. Two of these colorways, the gold All-Star and Nikebasketball.com birthday exclusive, were a little bit harder to obtain than the other 5 colorways. The Birthday edition released as a nikebasketball.com exclusive and was sold with a special bag. The gold All-Stars only released in Las Vegas and a few areas surrounding sin city. They also later became available in the Nike “Members Only” section on nikebasketball.com. In addition to these, there were a number of limited editions released such as the China colorway and NYC graffiti colorway. Also, there are a number of player exclusives including the famous All-Star graffiti colorway, Fruity Pebbles, and Hardwood classics version. Player exclusives were also made for the Ohio State Buckeyes squad and Lebron sponsored high schools such as Christ the King, Fairfax, and St. Vincent St. Mary. Those “in the know” were able to obtain a pair of all these exclusive colorways for a pretty penny. Although the Zoom Lebron IV retailed for $150, it can now be purchased at a reduced price at almost any retailer that carries the shoes. I suggest going and grabbing a pair now before they are all gone! Here’s a list of the general released colorways:
*Neon Royal/White/Orange (B-Day)
*Metallic Gold/White/Red (All-Star)