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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.
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 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.
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.
Just before the year ends, a performance review on the Nike Kyrie 5 comes in from a bag man’s perspective.
Nike’s Kyrie 5 uses a completely different pattern than last years herringbone with some intricate designs to it. Though it’s not your typical herringbone, the multi-directional grooves gave the shoe not only a cool look, but most importantly, a functional one. No matter the change of direction or how hard I pushed the shoe, the traction was exceptional. Occasionally, you’ll need a quick wipe on those super dirty courts but on clean courts wiping the bottom of the shoe, although a habit of mine despite having good traction or not, was almost an afterthought.
The multi-directional patterns allow you to play quickly without hesitation and that’s what I prefer. While I’m not the quickest of the bunch, I do change directions often, forcing my defender off balance and by doing so, allowing myself to manipulate my stance and trust my footwork. I think quick, smaller guards or even guys who are primary ball handlers, will easily take advantage of traction this reliable. I would suggest playing with these indoor mainly. However, for those who don’t have the option or have the overseas release with the XDR rubber traction outsole, it might not last long but it’ll do the job and then some, while it lasts.
Nike utilizes the new Nike Air Zoom Turbo in the Kyrie 5. While this setup definitely gives a small nod to articulated Zoom Air of the past, it feels quite different however. For a heavy-footed person like myself, the Zoom definitely felt noticeable upon foot placement, especially heavy directional changes and planting. While the Nike Zoom Turbo isn’t overly bouncy, it does its job, especially with how the Zoom Turbo is cored into the Phylon midsole to compliment outsole design. I was really hoping for the implementation of Cushlon and Zoom Air again but this setup works. I also wouldn’t mind paying an extra $5-$10 for an additional heel Zoom Air unit.
For those anticipating major bounce-back from the ride, this isn’t it. The shoe is designed for maximum court-feel; it wasn’t a definite deal-breaker for me. However, I’d like to see Zoom Air Turbo eventually utilized in either full-length fashion or maybe in a slightly larger volume.
Engineered mesh was utilized just as it was on the Kyrie 4: the material is nice, lightweight and breaks-in rather quickly. An added nylon interior combined with the exterior mesh compliment each other so that the materials can hold well together without restriction. It would have been nice to seen some additional premium materials with the small price increase but this setup works with or without it.
SNUGGGGGGGGG! While the Kyrie 5’s predecessor, the Kyrie 4, was a little snug, the 5 really took it up a notch due to the Flytrap overlay design, which does exactly what it’s supposed to (keep you locked down). It’s definitely a shoe that everyone should try on in-store. If you can’t and have a slightly wide-foot like myself, I say go 1/2 size up to save yourself from a lack of blood flow.
This is probably one of the best locked down shoes to date. The combination of the Flytrap overlay and the structural design of the shoe, while a struggle to put on and pull off, made the foot feel extremely secure. I do love the security and lockdown provided, as long as you get the right fit.
Solid. Simple as that. It’s one of the more stable shoes released this year. While it does have a rounded outsole, the shoe was very fluid from heel-to-toe transitions but more refined. The shoe keeps you secure on the footbed, fully locked-in and has killer traction. What more can you ask for? Oh…right, more cushioning, especially what’s missing in the heel.
Hands down, one of the more fun shoes I’ve played in this year. It’s a solid overall shoe that caters to the needs of those that play a more grounded game and require unrestricted mobility. It’s the type of shoe that when someone asks you what you’re carrying around in your gym back, you tell them “THIS IS IT CHIEF!”
Again, I’ve said this repeatedly, but with the minor price increase, it’d be nice to see Nike implement a heel Zoom unit to compliment the Zoom Turbo in the forefoot. I mean, if they can do this for shoes overseas and charge the same amount, then I don’t see why not. This shoe is definitely a fun shoe that provides a smooth ride and is ready to go to war with on-court when you are ready.
Now, about that Cushlon layer into the Phylon midsole and extra Zoom in the Heel… I would love to see that on the next shoe down the line..here’s to wishful thinking.
Duke4005’s performance review on the Air Jordan 33 is here. Grab some popcorn, it’s another great review.
If anything in this industry makes me feel old, it is the annual release of the Air Jordan signature shoe. Seriously – Jordan 33? My first Jordans were, well, the first Jordans. That’s a long time. But like the Air Jordan itself, age ain’t nothing but a number and 33 years is a long time to learn. Did Jordan Brand make the best AJ yet? Let’s get it…
Nub, nubs, nubs. No real pattern, no story-telling (that I have seen) – it’s just some rubber nubs covering from heel to toe. The pattern isn’t deep and the rubber isn’t exactly hard, so outdoors will probably not be a good idea, especially the translucent colorway. So, now that that question is out of the way, let’s get back inside.
On the regular floor I play at on Mondays and Wednesdays, traction was lacking – seriously. On curls and cuts, my feet would slide out on first steps and trying to plant. On defense though, I was getting good grip and was able to stay in front of my man on lateral moves, so no issues there. In defense of the shoe, I also had this issue in every shoe except the Kobe Protro and LeBron 16 – this floor has no finish and is only swept twice a week, so it ain’t the shoes. Again, only the absolute best shoes stick on this floor, so don’t blame the 33.
On the league floor I play on, which was recently refinished (October), the traction was almost too good. There was no issues anywhere, anytime and my feet were Spider-Verse stuck. On one last floor, another 24 Hour Fitness gym, (that is a little better kept but still has no finish) the traction was solid and screeching. I didn’t have any slips or slides but the motion of stopping just screamed “STOOOPPPPP!!!!” – once I got used to the forefoot. More on the reasons for that next in…
A great big slab of Zoom Air in that forefoot. It’s so big that the outsole had to bubble out (that’s not really the reason for the bubble, I don’t think). The heel is a hex unit and coupled with the forefoot gives a great rebound and response – once the Phylon softens up a little. Yeah, they used a hard, stiff Phylon carrier that would make Kyrie 5 proud but luckily, it does break in after a couple of weeks of consistent wear and begins to operate as ordered. There still isn’t a rebound and respond-feel like we felt in the Jordan XXXI and XXXII, but impact protection is covered almost perfectly and stability in the heel and laterally is near perfect.
Going back to the traction and how the cushioning affected it (told you I would come back), the forefoot Zoom unit protrudes from the outsole like the XXXI, but the curve of the forefoot from the Zoom to the toes is drastic, almost ski-slope steep. This means if you aren’t heavy enough to compress the Zoom, your toes will have a difficult time grabbing the floor – mostly because they won’t touch the floor. Luckily, I am that heavy (weight room baby!!!!) but I still did have some instances where I slipped out. Not all the time, but footwork is key to staying on top of the issue.
Well, no shoe is perfect. The main body of the shoe is a mesh/fuse construction with foam backing against the foot with some synthetic leather at the medial forefoot and around the heel cup. The ankle is heavily padded and solid with a thick padded double tongue. All of this thick padding is completely necessary – without it, the wires and straps would feel like a medieval torture device. As it is, there is a slight pressure from the ankle/heel strap but nothing that will make your feet scream. Actually, for all the complaints about not being “premium” materials and “feeling cheap”, the mesh and synthetics do what they are supposed to do – feel good on-foot and are flexible and form-fitting under the new lacing system.
Ok, let’s talk about the new lacing system. By now, surely you have seen or heard, but in case you haven’t, the laces are gone. They’ve been replaced by a pully-cable-gear system that runs from the midsole, around the ankle and across the forefoot. The concern of the cables was durability – if they break, you are theoretically done (I say theoretically because if you have even a slightly wide foot you don’t need to tighten much to get a great fit). The cord over the top of the foot is pulled up, clicking the system into place. The yellow pull cord loosens the system – but not by much. The thought when we all saw this device was “pull the cord and the panels open up”.. They don’t. You have to loosen the cord, pull the panels open manually and pull the strap under the tongue to get the shoe completely loose and even then, it is still a tight fit.
The ankle strap pulls the ankle completely into the heel and the lockdown in that area is complete and total – you will have NO heel slip or movement if you strap in tight. The midfoot fit is really tight in the arch area and if you have wide feet, you are in trouble – even going up half didn’t help much. It is just a seriously tight, snug fit. Because of that, I would say go true-to-size and try to break them in as quickly as possible.
The Jordan XXXIII is easily the most supportive, structured shoe on the market today from a major brand (there may be some shoe somewhere that is better, but I haven’t seen it, so it doesn’t count). The overlays and panels work with the cables and straps and make the whole body of the shoe wrap around the foot like a brace. The stability in the midsole with the harder Phylon makes landings solid and controlled, but even if you end up slightly off-center, the upper should hold you tight – unless you land on a foot, of course.
On lateral movements, the shoe is completely locked and controlled. The only real issue with stability is the sloping forefoot sole and as soon as you get used to the feeling, you will enjoy the added feel in transition. The midsole feels a little blocky until the Phylon softens up so any added help in transition is welcome. If you miss the days of big man shoe, ankle straps or Ektio, the Jordan XXXIII will quench that craving.
Overall, while I really enjoyed the idea and execution of the cable lacing, the Jordan XXXIII was a little more shoe than I usually like. The cushioning and build scream “POST PLAY” and the shoe does play big. The Jordan XXXII had similar cushioning and traction but played faster and quicker. The cables do work and the fit is great, but the same lockdown and fit could be achieved with regular laces. If you are a fan of the Jordan line, as I am, you should definitely look into a pair, as the cushioning and traction are extremely playable. If you are a big man or don’t like a minimal, quick-feeling shoe, the Jordan XXXIII is perfect. If you like freedom of movement in your ankle and a low-top, running feel, run away.
There are some saying this doesn’t feel like a Jordan shoe – and they are wrong: Jordan signatures were about pushing the envelope, trying new things and trying to make the public take notice. The Jordan XXXIII definitely makes you take notice and whether your opinion if like it or leave it, at least it’s drawing looks. Keep pushing Jordan designers (you know who you are) – we like to try to fly.
Hey guys I just wanted to say that sometimes I have weird dreams. Sometimes I dream. That he is me. You’ve got to see that’s how I dream to be. I dream I move, I dream I groove
Like Mike, if could be like Mike. Weird dream huh?
With the Concord XI coming out (again) I figured I might as well dust off my 2001 retros. They question is if you want to ball in $220 sneakers.
Pros: SEXY, traction when clean, cushioning, fit, stability, containment
Cons: traction gets iffy when rubber gets harder/older and can get slick on dusty floors, cushioning could be updated but not needed, carbon fiber makes shoe stiffer than newer shoes
Best for: any position
Buying advice: buy the colorways you like, don’t buy the XI just bc it’s a discounted colorway . Expect to pay retail for OG colorways
16.5 ounces which is half an ounce more than the X which I wrote about last week. I can almost guarantee people will say it doesn’t feel heavy while they say the X does. Numbers don’t lie, people do.
I’ve always found this traction to be good on clean floors, ok to awful on dusty floors depending on age of the shoe. Over time the rubber forms a shell and gets ultra slippery. You can remedy this by using sandpaper or wearing them outdoors to take off the old layer.
Most of the traction in the important areas is herringbone so it works but the little flat spots can pick up dust (dirt plus oxidation =yellowing) which can cause some slipping. However the herringbone is there to slow down the slide so it’s a bit of a mixed bag.
Overall, great when clean, ok on dusty floors, but can get worse with age.
Geez it sounds like such an old and antiquated term because in reality it is. But don’t worry it still shows up in shoes like the Lebron Witness 3 …you know 23 years after the Air Jordan 11 (yes I said this in my X review)
Cushioning feels good enough but it’s really the action on the foam you feel with a thin layer of air you feel. I actually like how the X feels a little better but that’s just preference.
Fit and Matierals
I decided to combine these two for the XI because the patent leather affects the fit.
Half a size down is the way to go for everyone except maybe the widest footers. Even today it’s hard to get a good fit with patent leather due to the nature of patent leather.
PL is NOT soft and flexible and is stiff in design. JB added the Pl for looks and strength around the shoe.
The rest of the shoe ballistic mesh similar to what you find on the LBJ II and would be considered premium nowadays. It’s flexible yet strong and not paper thin like a lot of mesh materials we see today.
Overall the fit is good with no heel slip and some a little space in the toe box (double sock to fill that space). That’s why I go down half a size.
Some might say the nylon webbing straps are predecessors to Flywire. I guess it kind of is but the straps cover more surface area to give a little more coverage (newer isn’t better). They also really help give the XI a sock like feel as it hugs the foot and ankle.
Overall, materials are nice although JB has skimped in the past but usually not too badly on the XI. Fit is also very good heel to toe although there can be some space in the toe box depending on your foot shape and preference.
Support and Stability
Support is extremely minimal on the AJ XI and is really one of the first shoes I remember being a sock with a sole. It’s no wonder we see so many low top iterations now since this upper adds nothing support wise
Hey look I made XI lows!
Midfoot support is great thanks to MJ wanting and needing a full length carbon fiber for plantar fasciitis although this says its for propulsion 😆
PF, at least I have that in common with MJ.
The CF does make the shoe stiffer than today’s modern shoes but once you’re playing you don’t notice it at all. And if you do, go work out.
Stability is fine with a kinda sorta outrigger and wide outsole.
Overall not issues as the shoe plays safely and naturally.
Very good no issues here . My foot actually sits below the raised midsole a few millimeters from heel to toe. Plus the patent leather doesn’t stretch (think of it is the antithesis of mesh). Aside from setting a new trend, patent actually had a job to do.
Twenty three years later and a pretty much the GOAT shoe of all time, the AJ XI prints money for Jordan Brand whenever they release classic colors and even some not so classic colors. (RETRO PLUS colors for old timer collectors that remember that term ).
After 23 years shouldn’t all sneakers these days put these to shame on court? The XI has been drinking legally for a a few years now. However, year after year after year after year you see NBA players rocking the XI which tells me either
1) wear what you feel confident wearing
2) technology hasn’t improved much in over two decades or make a difference at all for professional players playing for millions of dollars per game
3) look good play good is a real thing
I choose to believe all three. What if Zoom or Boost were put into the XI? Would it make it any better ? It might feel a little better and more fun but you would’t see any improved performance. Those who think that newer and improved cushioning adds any serious “performance” benefit might want to check their jumper in the mirror. Just getting the basics of a sneaker down is good enough on any court for any skill level.
Pic taken sometime in the early 2000’s with a Canon Elf then uploaded to Photobucket.
I’ve always loved looking at the air jordan 11 bred especially the concords and my closet has been filled with probably twenty plus at one point in my life. But it isn’t a shoe I absolutely love playing with on court but it’s more than serviceable after two decades and can hold more than its own against any modern shoe. Is it the shoes ? Nope but it feels good to look good so why the hell not. I can give you 220 reasons why not but rational thinking isn’t any sneaker head’s forte.
Buy it if you love them, rock it if you want to, your skills are your skills, just know you can’t buy them off a shelf.
Overall, I love how these look and they perform well on the court even against modern shoes with the latest and greatest but they’ve never been in my rotation due to some traction issues and some slight space in the forefoot. So ironically these get a second team rating. But don’t worry I’m still going to try to cop this weekend.
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