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After thirty three years of flight the Air Jordan 33 performance review is here.
The traction on the Air Jordan 33 reminded me a lot of the Nike Kobe AD NXT 360, and both patterns performed similarly. Despite being translucent rubber, the outsole of the Air Jordan 33 bit the floor nicely and, for those that care about the sound traction makes, they were loud as hell ó screeching compared to everyone else in the gym. However, as we all know, sound/squeak does not equal traction.
Those that wait for a solid rubber colorway should receive slightly better grip solely based on the rubber compound, but as it stands, the Air Jordan 33 was solid. When compared to the Air Jordan 31 and 32 the 33 is the best of the bunch.
There is one area on the outsole where Iíd slip semi often. Itís located at the ball of the foot and initially I thought it was just from the floor being dirty. It turns out I had the slip no matter which floor I played on so I think itís due to the outsoleís shape in that specific spot. Itís right where the Zoom Air unit protrudes so its semi-rounded and then arches up a little.
To avoid slipping I had to change my footwork a little. Instead of putting pressure on the ball of my foot I had to make sure I was planting with most of my forefoot instead. This solved the problem and if you happen to run into the same issue it could help you out.
I would not recommend the AJ33 for anyone that plays primarily outdoors.
Cushion:Unlocked Zoom Air is back in the forefoot while the heel features a small Hex-Zoom unit, something we havenít seen in an Air Jordan signature since the 22.
If you played in the Air Jordan 32 then youíll receive much of the same in terms of mobility, court feel, and impact protection. The midsole is a bit stiff with the FlightSpeed plate so some breaking in is required. Once broken-in youíll be able to maneuver across the court as you would normally with that added spring to your step. Until then, the Air Jordan 33 does feel a bit restrictive and bulky. If you can get past the initial break-in period then I think Zoom Air lovers will enjoy this shoe.
The Hex-Zoom unit at the heel went unnoticed for me. I rarely ride on my heel unless Iím trying to break/slow down. Itís there if you need it, but the primary cushion source is located up front ó where I prefer it to be.
Materials: Mesh and synthetic overlays make up the upper of the Air Jordan 33 and they feel nice and light compared to the rest of the shoe. No, it isnít premium, but itís a very similar setup to the Jordan 32 and nobody seemed to complain about those being comprised of textile and synthetics. Why start now?
Unlike the 32, the textile here is much lighter, thinner, and more breathable. The synthetic overlays located in the forefoot gave me the feeling of wearing a regular shoe ó one made the old fashioned way versus the knits and textile builds we see today. Again, itís nothing premium but in terms of performance it all worked and worked well.
Lateral containment/support was taken care of with the panels in place as was rear coverage. Those that actually try the shoe on and wear them on-court should enjoy them the way they are.
Fit: The Air Jordan 33 fits true to size, but itís snug width wise ó something I enjoy but wide footers may not.
Lockdown is interesting. The shoe does not have laces, the standout feature on this years model, and itís strange. I have found that I prefer laces overall; itís easier for me to adjust each row to fit my foot the way I need rather than mess around with the pull system currently in place. However, on the flip side, untying the Air Jordan33 ó if we can even call it that ó is a breeze and I definitely enjoy that aspect of the new FastFit lacing system.
Does it work? Yes. It actually does. Is it perfect? No. You need to mess with things quite a bit before you find the fit that works for you. You can easily pull the shoe too tight as well ó I went into detail about that in my performance teaser so check tható but I havenít had a problem since figuring it out. Is it cool? Hell yes. Itís one of the coolest features weíve had on an Air Jordan since being able to change the midsole cushion ó plus, I get a big kick out of seeing tech.
How durable is the thin cable that is the lace? I havenít had any issue with mine at all. I saw online that a Chinese wearer had his break on him and that may be inevitable (not every pair will be perfect). I just hope we donít have an Air Jordan XX8 situation where many consumers like the shoe but they end up not being durable enough to last. I think we can all admit that the Air Jordan 28 is amazing, but that Zoom Air popping issue really took a toll on people.
Overall, I think the new FastFit lacing system is really neat but not necessary. I like the eject part of the system more so than the tightening portion. Iím curious to see if this system will be a one and done thing or if weíll see it modified and enhanced next year. If the brand could improve on this current system then I think it will be onto something. If JB only uses this system on the Air Jordan 33 then I feel most will call it a gimmick that worked for some and not others.
Support: Despite being laceless, support in the Air Jordan 33 is quite nice. The overlays really help keep you on the footbed of the shoe and the FastFit system doesnít give once taught. At the rear there is a strap system that works well and Iíd love to see that on more shoes moving forward. It really emphasized how important heel lockdown is when we talk about support. It allows a closure system like this to work without being dangerous.
The midfoot torsion support is a bit too much, as mentioned earlier, because you really need to break in the FlightSpeed plate. Once itís good then youíll be fine, but the Air Jordan 33 is noticeably stiff compared to most other shoes currently on the market.
OverAll: The traction and cushion are both very solid in the Air Jordan 33. Materials work but the FastFit lacing system may throw some people off. There is room for improvement, but what we have is a very functional shoe that may go unappreciatedÖfor now. In a few years I think weíll look back and think ďMan, the Air Jordan 33 was ahead of its timeĒ ó much like we do with most of the previous Air Jordans that have come before it.
People are either going to love or hate the Air Jordan 33, and such is the way of the internet. Apparently you canít just like something anymore because if it isnít a 10 its a 0.
I liked the Air Jordan 33 quite a bit. Iím not sure if the shoe makes it into my Top 5 of 2018, but itíll be somewhere on my list come yearís end.
Almost one year ago, Under Armour unleashed HOVR cushioning on the world and for a company that was desperately in need of a top-flight signature cushioning system HOVR was magical. It only took nine months to get HOVR in basketball, and here it is: the HOVR Havoc Low. Does the Havoc live up to the promise of the Phantom and Sonic runners? Letís goÖ
One thing you can (almost) never say about Under Armour basketball shoes is that the traction sucks. The HOVR Havoc Low is no different.
Thereís herringbone from heel to toe, at least where the shoe touches the court, with horizontal lines breaking up the pattern for flexibility in the forefoot. This is basically the same pattern as what the Drive 4 used and it works on any surface, even outdoors.
Dust is no issue because the grooves are wide and deep and push away any debris you may pick up. It isnít the squeakiest, but we know that means nothing ó you are stopping when you want. Donít worry about the missing areas because if you need traction in those areas you are already lost.
It says HOVR, but it ainít the same. First of all, part of the magic of the HOVR system is it can be tuned differently for specific uses. The KD 11 is soft, really soft, and is a more cushioned, relaxed ride for long running days or when you need a little more protection. The HOVR Sonic was tuned tighter and stiffer for fast, racing-style training and runs. The HOVR Havoc is more to the Sonic, but even tighter.
Honestly, there isnít much HOVR feel at all ó no cushy step-in, no bounce-back response. The reason? The HOVR is supremely caged by both a stiff foam midsole on the perimeter and underneath by an almost-full-length TPU shank plate. Honestly, this is good; I couldnít imagine trying to play ball in a shoe as cushioned but unstable (for lateral movements) as the Phantom.
Itís not all bad though: there is a quickness to the midsole that only comes from a lack of compression. Your steps happen quickly, and your movements are not slowed down waiting for the midsole to respond. The HOVR is thin and doesnít beef up the midsole at all so court feel is fantastic.
And if you absolutely, positively need to feel some sort of bounce give it time. Once that foam midsole starts breaking in a little, you will notice a more HOVR-y feel. Best of all, while you are playing, impact protection is no issue ó which is especially surprising given the thin midsole. You may not be able to feel the bounce, but when you are done playing in the HOVR Havoc Low you wonít feel the pain either.
Mesh and fuse. Fuse and mesh. Weíve all heard the story before, so what else is new? Well, really, nothing ó but itís all about the usage of the fuse and mesh, and the HOVR Havoc Low uses the materials well.
With a full-mesh one-piece upper, fuse overlaid on the toebox and lateral forefoot, and backing by a super-comfortable foam liner, the curry 5 is a supremely comfy sneaker. While fuse does sometimes make a shoe stiff and inflexible, the toebox of the Havoc breaks in within minutes of wearing and flexes like a second, rubbery skin.
Soft padding is found along the heel, helping lock in and cut down on the heel slip, but honestly, that needed to be more like a memory foam or at least a little denser. The only other thing to mention is the TPU heel counter, and that is what it is. Simple, but effective.
Through the forefoot and midfoot, fit is really, really close to 1:1. Like, really close. There is a little bit of dead space over the top that you donít find until you pull the laces up and the one-piece upper pulls in a little, but around the toebox and midfoot you are completely blanketed. I almost went up half a size but I wanted to see how well the shoe felt after a couple of wearings and the HOVR Havoc Low didnít disappoint; it broke in perfectly and began flexing and moving right with me.
The forefoot laces run through the fuse/synthetic side panels and do a serious job of pulling the upper around your foot as well as pulling your foot down into the midsole. So many shoes just want no extra room instead of actually making the shoe a piece of the athlete, but not the HOVR Havoc Low.
The lacing system does sit back and high on the ankle area, which helps lock the heel into the heel counter, and it does a good job. However, for my desired level of cinch-down, I did get some lace pressure along the top set of laces. Nothing to cry about, but I did have to loosen them up every now and then to keep from chafing and blistering. When I did loosen up, there was a sensation of heel slip, but not real slip. What Iím saying is this: when the heel doesnít feel locked in I couldnít feel anything around my heel at all, but I didnít have any serious slipping.
This is where the denser foam in the heel area would have helped. If the foam was a little stronger, the heel would feel secure. It isnít a safety issue, but if you need that Aunt Mabel hug around your foot to feel safe and warm, you may want to look at the high version.
This HOVR Havoc is a low-lowtop, possibly the lowest Iíve worn since the Kobe 8, and it feels like it. That isnít to say the shoe isnít supportive or safe, because, as you loyal WearTesters readers and watchers know, it ainít the height of the collar that helps. The HOVR Havoc Low has a super-wide fat-booty heel that rides flat on the floor. All those heel-strikers and big-man post moves are stable and supported perfectly ó especially with the HOVR foam not being mushy.
The forefoot is more of the same, wide and balanced with a stable midsole. The foot doesnít sit inside the midsole ó no raised areas on either side ó but the synthetic lace system works the same and keeps the foot snug over the footbed on lateral movements.
The midfoot is solid thanks to the huge TPU plate under the HOVR and above the outsole rubber. The plate runs completely across and from heel to nearly the toes so there is no twisting or turning underfoot while playing. This should make the HOVR Havoc Low stiff but the shoe just flows.
When I first tried on HOVR in November of 2017 I was immediately hit with the thought, ďI wonder when this will hit basketball?Ē Since I was with Under Armour reps at the time, I was told not until August. Since that day, I have been anticipating this shoe like no other. HOVR in running is magical. In basketball, well, it needs a little tuning, but the concept and vision is there. No, it isnít bouncy like Boost, or responsive like Zoom, but it does absorb and rebound on impact and is stable on any and all movements.
If you need that cushy cushioning you will have to drop some dollars on another brand. If you are looking for a seriously quick, responsive, biting-traction shoe, the HOVR Havoc Low will more than satisfy. Coming in an abundance of team colorways (canít wait for all the Dallas Mavericks/Dennis Smith Jr. colors to pop), the† UA Curry is a shoe that works and works well in any environment. Now, letís make sure HOVR doesnít end up being Micro Gís new neighbor in Florida (#retired).
adidas†Hoops has been pretty quiet in 2018. The brand hopes that will change with the introduction of the†adidas†Pro Bounce.
This is one of the best outsoles weíve gotten from†adidas†since the†Harden Vol 1. Its rubber compound feels nearly identical to the kd 11 and it acts like it as well. Spiral patterns usually work well but the bite these offer is on another level. There were no issues no matter which court I played on. I just had solid traction from start to finish. Itís capable of handling outdoor use as well which is a big plus.
If consistent and reliable traction is your thing then the†adidas†Pro Bounce should be on your list of options when shopping for a new pair of†basketball†shoes.
Bounce cushion appears to be replacing Boost in most of†adidasí basketball models. Itís replaced Boost in†adidasí awful D Rose 9, and it looks like itís completely replaced the Crazy Explosive line altogether. Itís almost like†adidas†is trying a little harder to distinguish the two cushions ó which one is its premium offering and which one is its more affordable option.
Now, if youíve worn Bounce before then you wonít be disappointed. Bounce offers a slight bounce in terms of feedback underfoot while retaining a ton of court feel. Itís one of the most well-balanced rides from a foam currently available on the market.
It did leave a bit to be desired when I took the Pro Bounce outdoors, so for that Iíd rather grab my Harden Vol 2, but for indoor use I think itís perfect for players from the 1 to 5 spot.
adidas†applied ForgeFiber, a lightweight mesh with additional stitching for reinforcement and strength, on the upper of the Pro Bounce which is similar to the Harden Vol 2ís build. And like the Harden Vol 2, it feels a little cheap in-hand and on-foot.
However, ForgeFiber works just fine. Itís breathable. Itís lightweight. It moves with the foot rather than against it. It requires zero break-in time. But it still feels a little cheap ó itís something Iíd be okay seeing on a $90 shoe instead of a $120 shoe.
Is it a deal breaker? From a performance perspective, not at all. If you like to feel like you have something premium then it could be. Those preferring the lightest shoe available will enjoy the Pro Bounce more than those that prefer leathers.
Iíd suggest going true to size or down 1/2 size. My†adidas†Pro Bounce was my true size and I didnít experience any issues with the fit or support. However, there was a little bit of dead space above the toe. I personally prefer my shoes to fit closer to the foot and going down 1/2 size would have given me the fit I prefer.
However, it would haven also rammed my toes into the rubber outsole that wraps up the toe area so if you donít mind having a tiny bit of dead space then TTS is the way to go. If you donít mind your toes touching the tip of the shoe then going down 1/2 will suit you best. Wide footers, youíll likely be okay going TTS with this type of material setup.
Lockdown, despite my dead space issue, was solid. The lacing system is comprised of Flywire-like cables, something I donít like, but they worked well once you adjust everything to your liking.
Support was very good, even with the cheaper mesh build. Its lockdown and overall fit works well and keeps you on the footbed of the shoe. Torsional support comes in the form of two split TPU spring plates that run into the forefoot of the shoe, something I really enjoyed. The midsole is wide and flat while we have two large exaggerated outriggers ó awesome.
Support, despite how the overall package looks, is very much on-point.
Do I recommend the†adidas†harden vol 3 ? Yes.
Itís a very solid shoe ó everything it offers works and works well. The shoe can be used for all positions, on top of that. However, there are a lot of consumers that prefer to have a premium feeling shoe without the premium price tag ó and in that sense the Pro Bounce is not that. If you can find the shoe for under its $120 retail price then Iíd definitely give it a shot because youíll be pleasantly surprised. If the shoe happens to be your upcoming team shoe for school then you wonít be disappointed.
If you want something that translates easily from on-court to off-court then, as the young Internets would say, this ainít it chief.
Yes I know the Lebron XVI was released ten or eleven days ago but sometimes a shoe doesnít need three weeks of break in time to get everything working correctly. I do want to note that my pair had some broken Zoom fibers which I can honestly say Iíve never seen but it didnít affect the cushioning at all.
Maybe Iíve just been eating too much
Pros: much improved traction, same cushioning, maybe a touch lower and firmer, fit, improved stabilty and containment
Cons: still rides high, some heel slip to start
Sizing advice: true to size or whatever you got in the†XV
Best for: Players wanting maximum balanced cushioning, bigger guards-bigs
Buying advice:†hypebeasts will go nuts for these since Bron is in LA but players should still wait. $185 is the priciest bball shoe out there due to the Nike and Lebron name. $150 or less is fair (what I paid, thanks Dickís, Twss) $80-95 is around the bottom.
I could care less about the weight and at 18.5 ounces the XVI is a chunker even for a mid (this is not a low). Most mids weigh around 15 ounces while lows average about 13.5-14 ounces. Hit the gym kids if you canít handle a few extra ounces.
Easily the most improved area from the XV to the XVI. The XVI incorporates a pattern very very similar to the†KD 11†which coincidently I reviewed last month. It isnít quite as thin and pliable like the Soldier XII but it works well, far better than the XV.
Think swolled up Soldier Xii blades.
The rubber used on the XVI is softISH but the blades are thicker than what the Soldier XII used so it doesnít bite or brush quite as well. You also have to break in the traction a few hours especially in the forefoot to get better bite but it doesnít take long. Some occasional wiping is needed on dusty floors as well but not often. Easily the most improved part of the shoe from the†XV†and itís the best traction on a Lebron sig since the X.
Well done Nike!
These started out a stiffer than the XV but broke in within a few hours to give a very similar albeit still a little stiffer ride to the XV. If you loved the cushioning on the XV youíll love these.
Both the XV and XVI ride fairly high so if you prefer a lower ride donít buy these. Last yearís XV rode very high so at least these are back down to Lebron X range.
These still sit around 25-26 mm on the forefoot (down from 28-29) and 30-31 in the heel (down from 34-36) which is a good 3-4mm lower than last years (10-15% ish) so if you like Kobe or Curry low to the ground these are not for you. I personally like them lower but itís all preference and there is no right or wrong answer here. One of the best players I know who is an ultra shifty guard, Lifetime Fitness Ultimate Hoops MVP, semi pro MVP (who literally won the championship and MVP yesterday) and one man wrecking crew loves his XVís so just comes to show you it ainít the shoes.
Zoom done right is a perfect balance of impact protection and responsiveness and well, thatís what you get with the XV and now XVI.
Well done Nike!
I went true to size with the XV and I went tts with the XVI as well (finger width at the toe). I tried on half a size down as well but I just preferred true to size. Iíve said it many times before but you can fit more than one size so experiment with each shoe if you can.
Notice how the ďtongueĒ pulls up for easier access. Iíve never had issues putting one piece shoes on but this should help those who do.
No deadspace at all in the toe box for my fat feet (I think narrow footers can go down half a size) but I did have a little heel slip in my left shoe the first few nights in the XVI. I decided to use the lower eyelets to help and it really worked since it is lower and further back.†HOWEVER, it is a pain in the as*†to do it because there is glue inside and between the holes (kinky I know) so it took a solid ten minutes to relace just the top eyelets! Maybe arthritis is setting in but it was difficult and made the Harden V1 relacing seem easy. Letís just hope Nike doesnít call extra eyelets something like ďlace customization technologyĒ†#marketing
Here you can see how far back the eyelets are set up a standard Kobe VI
This is how you accelerate break in time
What was really affecting the heel fit was the stiffness of the midsole out of the box. It really wants to stay straight but if you bend them like I do with a lot of shoes, it helps soften up the foam so it conforms to your foot much faster. Once again this is a mid called a low so heel slip really shouldnít be an issue.
Overall the fit was very good but the heel took some time to break in. After break in, it felt a lot like the Hyperrev 2016 heel where itís locked in but just feels kind of ďfloatyĒ. Very similar design in terms of how the padding is set up around the Achilles.
If you donít like the feeling, go find a Kobe or another shoe but it just takes some time to get used to it.
Battleknit Part Deux
I think shoe companies and so called shoe experts are finally realizing that softer and stretchier doesnít equal better. Nikeís Lebron 16 was soft with more reinforcement than previous Flyknit applications.
Knit 2.0 feels like itís backed by a thicker backing but remains flexible but with less stretch. It wouldnít shock me if itís the same type of fuse used on the Lebron X but covered in knit. I really like how these were done and feel nice to the touch. Flyknit really allows a lot more texture and color blocking that mesh doesnít allow. Thatís the main benefit of FlyknitÖwell that and higher profit margins.
Support and Stability
The NBA has gone postionless and so have the shoes.
We now have mids called lows and lows called mids (See Kobe AD Mid). These are lower tops not low tops but are higher than my Soldier VI. The only difference is how the slope of the shoe is more gradual. Whatever
Regardless of nomenclature, support is minimal and comes from the heel counter and fit just like the XV.
Stability drastically improved just by adding a tiny outriggers along the entire lateral side.
I didnít worry about tippiness at all because those little millimeters added a lot of extra stability. Thanks Nike, no consulting fee this time around.
Battleknit 2.0 works!
Actually itís a combination of the large heel counter, thicker Battleknit and the raised portion of the toe. No issues here
Maybe Nike and Lebron visit my site after all haha. Iím not that egotistical nor do I care but everything I didnít like about the XV (aside from the ride height) was fixed. Better traction, better stability and containment. Hell, next thing you know, a leather hole puncher will be included with each shoe.
So should you buy the XVI now for $185? Ten dollars more than the upcoming AJ 33††btw. Nope, I walked into Dicks (that just sounds wrong) had a 20% off coupon and got these for $148 plus tax. Like all basketball shoes that arenít artificially limiting supply , these will be coupon eligible and then eventually discounted and then discounted again as the season progresses. Expected these to get down the $149 mark within a month or two then slap a 20% coupon to get you down to a solid $120. The longer you wait, the more you sav
Although I†prefer†a lower ride height, this is the best all around Lebron to come out in years. Great traction, cushioning, fit, stability and containment make this a great shoe for most players. Great performer all around with no major weaknesses which sounds a lot like the shoeís namesake. Finally a Nike sig shoe done right.
First team rating
Executive Summary: plays almost exactly the same as the Kyrie 2. Similar firm cushioning and very good traction. Shoe starts stiff but breaks in. No real reason to buy the 3 when the 2 does nearly everything the same or better though.
Kyrie 2 Review
Pros: traction, court feel, fit, support and stability, containment, very durable
Cons: traction pods protrude and cause a little bit of inconsistent traction in the heel, needs periodic wiping on dusty floors on Non pod portions, cushioning needs break in and is very stiff and firm like the†KD 11†, materials start stiff but break in, not the best value out there especially now that sale time is upon us.
Sizing: true to size, very wide footers will probably want to go up half a size
Best for: guards looking who value response and quickness; players who liked the Rose 4
Buying Advice: wait for sales, Nike made a lot. $90 is fair, $65 is near the bottom. Or just buy the†Kyrie 2
14.5 oz which is pretty average
Kyrie 2 is the exact same weight
If there is one thing you can say about the Kyrie line, itís that itís traction patterns look aggressive.
The main attraction of the†Kyrie 3†traction is the use of traction pods in the forefoot that ride up the sides.
The rubber is softer and raised a millimeter or two from the rest of the shoe.
The concept works and the pods do their job very well. The rest of the shoe is a blade pattern or modified herringbone and feels softer than the Clutchfit Drive herringbone but firmer than the Kyrie 2 rubber. I wish the entire outsole was made of the podsí rubber or Nike put some of these pods throughout the entire outsole like the AJ XX because on a few occasions Iíd spin out at the heel since the forefoot stuck better than the rest of the shoe. This occurred even on pristine floors. Nitpicky I know.
One concern with the traction pods is durability and efficiency once they wear down. I think they will still work fine once they wear evenly with the rest of the outsole but expect more wear in that area due to the softness of the rubber.
Overall traction is very good overall but I feel the Kyrie 2 provided better consistent traction overall especially on dirty floors since it is the same rubber, pattern, and depth throughout the outsole. Neither required too much wiping but the 3 needed a few more wipes per session. Not quite top tier stuff but still good overall.
Here is the tech highlight of the Kyrie 3. The rest of the shoe is Phylon just like last yearís.
If you did not like the cushioning on the Kyrie 2, you will not like the cushioning on the Kyrie 3. Say with me again, if you did not like the cushioning on the Kyrie 2, you will not like the cushioning on the Kyrie 3. One last time..
Cushioning is very firm on the Kyrie 3 just like the 2. It starts off very very stiff but softens a little with break in. I could feel the Zoom a tiny bit just like on the 2. It is serviceable and responsive as Randy noted but I just prefer a little more softness in the forefoot because I have Mortonís neuroma in each foot. The good news is that the neuromas didnít flare up badly but I could feel some buzzing after an hour just like the 2ís. I prefer a more balanced cushioning feel overall and these are just a little too hard for my tastes. The set up feels almost exactly the same as the Rose 4 except the Rose 4 has a thicker PU insole. Very low to the ground and quick feeling.
*interstingly enough if you check out Fastpass see the Kyrie actually sits at nearly 18 mm which is higher off the ground than the Harden V1 or CLB. Of course thatís not accounting for the insole thickness which probably evens it out. Thanks reader Pflite*
Although this didnít really affect cushioning much, these two changes make the cushioning on the 3 feel a smidge firmer:
The Kyrie 2 featured Poron in the forefoot while this yearís does not. Hard to really tell a difference but to the touch Poron is softer.
The Kyrie 2 had an ortholite insole while this yearís doesnít have the ortholite markings so in guessing itís not ortholite. Anyways, the name doesnít matter but the Kyrie 3 insole is very thin and flimsy like a limp noodle (it can barely hold its shape when I took the pic) plus it feels slightly thinner towards the middle than the Kyrie 2 insole. Itís as if someone wore down the insole of the Kyrie 2 and put it into the Kyrie 3. Thatís how thin it feels to me. On Adidas Boost models, the thin insole is fine since it has all that Boost below it but with this firm set up, Nike really should have given us a thicker insole.
If youíve ever played in basketball ball in tennis shoes like the Adidas Barricade or even the Nike Zoom Vapor 9, thatís what the cushioning feels like. Actually the Zoom Vapor 9 has the exact same size Zoom and a similar if not thicker Phylon set up from heel to toe including the foam strobel.
However, the Zoom Vapor feels better because the insole is thicker. If you want to improve the comfort level of the Kyrie 3, get a bigger size and put in a thicker insole to add a couple of millimeters more of cushioning. Keep in mind that it might feel better underfoot but one or two millemeters isnít going to fix any knee issues you might have.
I bought my true to size 11 and initially thought I should have gone up half a size. However, after playing in them a few weeks, true to size was the way to go. Even though Iím a wide footer, these stretched out enough for me. If youíre Fred Flintstone, you should at least try half a size up before deciding on the correct width though.
There is no movement in the forefoot, very little deadspace above the foot in the toe box and zero heel slip. Midfoot fit is still tight like the previous models but not deathly like the Kyrie 1.
After a few hours of break in time, you almost forget they are on your feet as the upper softens up. Almost
Even though the Kyrie 3 has a very good fit, the Kyrie 2 has an even better fit due to the strap that helped pull the ankle and heel back further.
In case youíre part of the Nightís Watch or need to defend WinterfellÖ.
The materials start off stiff but soften up quickly. They donít feel Flyknit soft or anything but they do soften up enough after a few hours of break in time. The spiked look doesnít really convey a soft warm comfy feel does it?
The lateral side of the upper is a similar fuse as last yearís model
Not cracker crispy like the Kyrie 1 but not definitely not Snuggles soft.
The medial side and toe box is mesh with a nylon backing and feels a lot softer than the lateral side. The front of the toe box does have a hard rand for durability as well.
Iíve noticed this is a trend these days as shoe companies have added strength and stiffness to the lateral side for containment and support while leaving the medial side soft for flexibility. Hmmm, maybe I did make a difference .(Iím kidding I donít have that kind of pull)
Of course we canít forget the featured marketing portion which is the forefoot flex area.
Across the top of the foot, a long stretchy band flexes with your foot for support during quick cuts and sprints.
Nike used a thinner mesh and Flywire to allow extra flexibility at the forefoot. I donít it feel stretches at all but that thinner mesh allows for a more natural flex area. Plus itís hard to quantify if it really works since the rest of the upper is so much stiffer than this little area.
If youíre big on materials and have to have that pure Flyknit or Primeknit or mesh feel, you probably will want to steer clear of the Kyrie 3. I think the materials are fine and donít affect playability but every person has different needs and wants.
Support and Stability
Support is good with the Kyrie 3 thanks to the fit, heel counter and stiffer fuse on the lateral side. Just plain and simple, solid support. As stiff as the upper starts off, it is plenty flexible like the Kyrie 2 and isnít going to save any ankles
Nike continued with the curved outsole but didnít choose to market it this time around.
It seems slightly less curved in the forefoot than the Kyrie 2. After not playing in the Kyrie 2 for a year you can feel a difference with the curved outsole but it doesnít make a difference for me in terms of performance.
Also helping with the stability was the firm, low to the ground cushioning.
Overall just a solid supportive and stable shoe. Same as the Kyrie 2.
No surprises here as containment was excellent thanks to that stiffer lateral fuse upper as well as the raised midsole. Softer materials might be all the rage but there are benefits to using stiffer and stronger materials like Fuse.
Not the best value out there but a good performer overall. The Kyrie 3 has great traction, a good fit with solid support and stability and very firm cushioning. I had no issues with aches or pains but then again donít have knee or back issues (knock on wood). The Kyrie 3 just feels like a quick high cut tennis shoe for players that value lateral quickness over everything else.
Cushioning will come down to personal preference and if you didnít like the 2 cushioning you will not like the 3. Iíll even qualify that statement with this; If you donít like UA Charged you will not like cushioning on the Kyrie 3. Charged foam is easily thicker bouncier and softer. If you want to improve the comfort of the Kyrie 3, size up and swap out the cheapo insole.
Is the Kyrie 3 an upgrade over the 2? No I donít feel it did anything better than the Kyrie 2.
Is it worth paying $120? No probably not. There are plenty of shoes out that at the $120-$130 range that do everything just as well or better than the Kyrie 3. Curry 2, 2.5, 3 all come to mind. Plus itís almost mid season so there are plenty of sales on earlier launches. Do not buy these if you want a softer cushioning set up or if you want a Charmin soft upper material.
Iím guessing Nike made a lot of these to capture the new Kyrie fans post championship. If Kyrie 2 sales are any indication, these should hit $90 under range soon and bottom out around $65. If you want a marginally better performing and cheaper shoe, stick to the Kyrie 2.
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