Lock This Thread. (another subject derailed)

Apr 6, 2005
Spending a lot of my recent free time reviewing a shoe has lead me to the real question about a shoe's performance.

When starting my session ths afternoon in a pair of Zoom BB Lows, i was really focusing on how the shoes felt during cuts, jumps, landings, and stops. What i found was that for the first time the forefoot seemed to be fairly lacking in the impact protection department.

However when the runs started up, i forgot all about the shoes i was wearing and just balled. I didnt notice any impact protection problems throughout the 3 1/2 hour session.

In fact my feet felt fantastic afterwards with not a sign of soreness. Maybe the best they've ever felt after such a lengthy session.

I guess what im getting at is that in shoe reviewing, with all the attention paid to material, technology, and performnce, the real question as to how good a shoe is should be:

Can you just play in it?

When focusing on every detail, you are bound to find flaws but does the shoe in quesion allow you play to the best of your abilities without being intrusive or a hinderance?

Also and just as importantly does it do all of these things without you constantly having to think about whether it is doing them?

While playing today i had no problems, and my feet felt great afterwards. After finishing today, i looked at the shoe in my hand and just said "Damn. "

Which is really the simple standard all shoes should be held to.


Nascar and Poker ARE NOT SPORTS!!!
You don't need all the tech for a shoes to be great. Any shoes with a decent cushion and support is good enough to ball in. It's all psychology . Nike embedded our mind with their technology marketing too much. They made us think that if we buy a state of the art basketball shoes : we will play better, etc ,but it's really just a mind game. I can ball in some cheap And1 or Reebok and i still perform the same, maybe jump a little higher with zoom air in Nike , but that's about it. SHoes don't make the player, skill does.
After doing all of the reviews I have done after a while it becomes the same thing over and over and over again..mostly because I buy shoes that fit my needs or i like a certain cushioning setup.I remember back in 1996 when the first and 1 marbury shoe dropped,I was hyped cause marbury was my guy and and1 was different,man was that thing felt like you were walking around barefoot.But all that aside,like ACBboyz said,ultimately how you play is up to you.There is a little bit of mental games we play on ourselves like jason kidd said-"When I played in Jordans, I shot fade-aways. When I played in Weapons, I made no look passes or dunked everything. When I played in the forums, I posted up. Whatever shoe I wear makes me want to play like that player".Most of the time I already know what I'm looking for and I have a baseline to compare with.Meaning this one shoe in this class is the standard other shoes in that class will be judged by and that is all strictly my own opinion and what drives me to buy one shoe from another.But if i cant get up and down the court that usually means im out of shape hahahaa not that im wearing a heavy lebron iv or total foamposite pro.I normally hate that question or comment that a shoe is too heavy.Not that I get up where maybe that extra 5-10 ounces is the difference between me dunking or getting hung.I wouldnt know but when I hear a 170 pound guard complain about a 20 oz lebron its like cmon is it really that serious?It wasnt really that long ago when the players we idolized were wearing converse weapons or air force one's or adidas point guards.I believe the way all companies put r&d into their shoes doesnt really make us better,I firmly believe that it makes it easier for us to perform to that certain standard that we or whoever holds us to.Will the zoom kobe 2 make you faster..probably not but it does put you lower to the ground and it's construction is flexible and allows the foot to act as naturally as possible making it easier for you to make that cut that much faster cutting down not seconds on your cut but milliseconds.In the end all that matters is what a person wears and what is comfortable.I always try to stress that when someone asks me something about a review.My #1 answer is make sure it fits properly and it's comfortable.If a pair of starbury's fit better than a pair of zoom lebrons or whatever pick the starbury's.Tech and all that other stuff make for great filler talk but ultimately what it comes down to is pick whatever is comfortable for you.Because if you feel good you'll play good.
check out my blog unds'ed/
word, man. i remember i was trying to dunk, and kept coming up just short in my shox stunners and t-mac 2s.. then i switched to some chucks and was dunking all afternoon. i was 6/6 from 3 in some jordan 1s. when i was younger, we'd just ball after school in whatever we had on - timbs, slippers, whatever. sure, it didn't feel as good as balling in bron 2s or ultraflights, but i still had some good games.

i think these days, the pendulum has kinda swung too far in terms of what people expect in "technology" - all these bells and whistles that you don't really need. traction is definitely needed to play ball - and some sort of cushioning, but i think a lot of the other stuff is just marketing and psychology. what's most important to me in a hoop shoe is being able to play my game without
..with so much personality,
what do you want from me?
i could be by myself and enjoy the company..
but i'd ratherher
the best shoes are an extension of your foot that you don't even really feel - that way you can just ball.
so wellsupposed to perform better, incorporated more up-to-date cushioning technologies, and were worn by some of the best players in the game. I thought to myself, why am I playing in the $65 Edges?

Certainly, Zoom Air and adiprene are generally more comfortable in a basketball application than CMEVA. Sometimes, it seems that shoes are overconstructed and are abounding with so much cushioning that they are too restrictive. The things that I really care about--my feet staying dry, not slipping on-court, appear to be ignored for much luxurious applications of technology at times.
I've done the same with a pair of Chucks during my rehab a few years ago. While messing around doing tapping drills, I was able to touch the rim five consecutive times with both hands. Befuddled, because I could NOT do this in my Nike Zoom Penny II's, I grabbed a ball, then jumped up from a standing position under the rim, then dunked with one hand.

From that point on, I began to question the necessity of, then all of the internet rantings about the benefits of playing in Zoom, and then any other Air, culminating with the ridiculous notion that the Zoom Ultraflight was the shoe to end all other shoes.

What a joke! This gave me the vaccination, to be immuned to all hype about Basketball shoes.


"but alot of the things Kobe does I would never have done."

MJ in GQ
From that point on, I began to question the necessity of, then all of the internet rantings about the benefits of playing in Zoom, and then any other Air, culminating with the ridiculous notion that the Zoom Ultraflight was the shoe to end all other shoes.
much less durability (as air bags have been known to deflate, pop, or degrade quickly over time).

Foam on the other hand, offers much more durability, promotes a more efficient footstrike, but the sensory element is decreased. For the undeducated mall buyer, the most comfortable shoe right-out-the-box is probably one of the most important elements in their buying decision. Nike reaps these benefits with the instantly comfortable Zoom Air--though a foam like adiprene+ or a Poron based shoe may be best for the wearer eventually.
^^^^ Agreed. However, we are in the minority on this site! This sort of logic doesn't necessarily mean anything, when most of the wearers here do not play in their shoes. It's a popularity contest, one based upon heresay. I had issues while playing in cushioning setups featuring Zoom Air, never knowing why, until freinds of mine told me that while playing at that 'top' level, they changed their shoes at least once every 3 to 5 games, if they wore anything with Nike Air.

That said, we need to have some serious discussion about shoes, discussions based upon honesty, not popularity. I'd think that the shoe companies would take notice.

Edit: The running community has this sort of respect, the Basketball community can attain this as well.

"but alot of the things Kobe does I would never have done."

MJ in GQ
When and how did this suddenly become the most intelligent thread on all of Niketalk?

But I couldnt agree more with anything said. The only time, ONLY time, I have ever dunked, was before I went for a run in my Asics Kayanos.... Is it cause they were light? Is it cause they didn't have air based cushioning? I'm not sure. Most likely it was cause I was just feeling good, and I could move and jump that day (5 knee surgeries means good days and baaaaad days, lots of variability in max height).

Usually I ball in my 180 BB's. They are heavy, and big, and clunky, but they protect my knee and have good impact cushioning. BUT! The best game I have ever played was in my BEAT Wade 1.0 ox's (the low cuts). I was just on that day, and the light shoes, no ankle restriction, and good feeling about it all lead to a sick game. Now I tried to wear them a week ago, but the traction is so worn from street use they slipped all over.

In my opinion though, the most important things for a good ball shoe is 1) Fit. If it doesnt fit well you notice it and it will hurt your feet, my AF25 are too tight on my toes, I notice it, and it bothers me. 2) Traction. Sliding on court makes you scared to move around for fear of injury. 3) Comfort. This doesnt mean double stacked Zoom, or 360 air unit, it just means comfort, you shouldnt notice the shoe.

And dont lie, we have all been owned by some dude rocking beat up, untied, low-top AF 1's and its cause hes good, not cause he got the right shoe. The skills make the ball player, not the shoes, they just make you comfortable to show off your skills.
"Not all who wander are lost"​
the whole jump higher in certain shoes detail is pretty interesting. It would be cool to see data on that, I guess it would be up to the shoe companies. But say you knew, nike studied it's hoops line and found that on average, testers jumped an inch higher in the new zoom bb, vs 360 bb.

though I suspect if a manufacturer could build a shoe that made everyone jump significantly higher, they'd have done it and told us about it by now.
"i will slap someone if i ever see anyone wear them and try to stunt wit them" -masterani3
it would make sense that one would jump higher on a firm surface rather than one that absorbs energy..It would be like jumping on an air mattress rather than a trampoline.
check out my blog unds'ed/
Cushioning consists of relatively soft materials that offer a large amount of intrinsic resilience. When shoe companies test PSI deflation rates, durability, or compression rates of their cushioning, its often done with machine testing, because it decreases the variables. Decreasing the amount of variables in experimentation is typically a good thing, but with athletics, the opposite is true. By using the same variable each time, or increasing/decreasing the variables at an even rate, you are effectively removing the subconscious behavioral responses that we as athletes makeyou know, subconsciously fading away to avoid a defender, or hanging in the air a second longer to get past a defenders outstretched arm. Its really tough to test with these results, and the best testing is done within the parameters of actual games, which is why product testing shoes is so important. With product testing, you cant really get specified results, but more importantly you can see how the cushioning interfaces hold up over time, and how durable your shoe is.

Secondly, testing shows that softer cushioning insoles/setups greatly affects the vertical stability of athletes. A beefier sockliner, or a softer cushioning implementation creates a higher amplitude of force towards the front of the foot. The aforementioned increased force creates an inaccurate postural adjustment from the athlete leading to decreased foot awareness. The force is increased because the cushioning unit is thicker, or the sockliner is much thicker than that of a cheaper shoe.

These thoughts led me to these questions-

1. Is our brain using the information we take from generated force on liftoff to judge how much force is needed to successfully land?
2. Our bodies have evolved for thousands of years, and they work pretty well when healthyIs the goal in training to maximize sensory input and output variables? If so, wouldnt training barefoot be the best way to train?

I think its fair to say people are more apt to play hard in a shoe that they think is very comfortable, or think is loaded with protection agents. What has been proven is that softer shoes create more postural inefficiencies with invariably lead to more injury. Its fair to say that an athlete is more apt to injure themselves in the T-Mac 5-loaded with adiprene+ based foam, or the Lebron V than the And1 Edge which is comprised of a firm EVA settingallowing our feet to naturally read the floor better.
^^^Who are you? :lol:

Since you can only jump as high as per your ability to land, a shoe that has too much cushioning will create a different response upon the muscles firing, in order to create explosion. The foot looks for leverage, more stability, so it can allow maximum output.

If you continuously try and run too fast, or jump too high and hard from a soft surface, you are indeed taking the skeletal system out of neutral upon loading, creating a deficiency in energy exchange. This will set the athlete up for injury, if he continues repeating the action, aka adding repetitions, lessing his or her ability to absorb impact, as the soft cushioning setup is taking over for the foots own response upon landing.

Example, when I was a kid, the old school coaches were against us running on soft surfaces such as sand, as a training method. They felt that this created the environment for "water on the knee", an aflliction that requires a long PAINFUL needle used to drain.

"You don't play on a soft court, why run on something that you won't be playing on?"

But actually using this sort of method can be used, if used intelligently. Understanding how to cycle the athlete on and off of such High intensity unstable training methods is helpful.

It's kind of like constantly Training in the 90% of your 1 Rep Max, without also conditioning the body in the range that would give it the maximum benefit for fitness.

However, many people don't know how, or that they are overloading their structures by running and playing in shoes that are too soft.

But it has created a huge biz for those who make orthotics....

"but alot of the things Kobe does I would never have done."

MJ in GQ
When and how did this suddenly become the most intelligent thread on all of Niketalk?

..with so much personality,
what do you want from me?
i could be by myself and enjoy the company..
but i'd ratherher
"or is that marketing again?"

Of course it's marketing. I had someone tell me here that a specific shoe featuring Zoom as the main 'tech', was meant for Guards, and this is why I must have had a bad experience in this shoe. Magic Johnson was a Point Guard, correct? He is bigger than me, so how can you specify a shoe by position?

I was told that heavy people should not wear Zoom Air. Yet Nike puts that cushioning even in what are supposedly 'Big Man' shoes.

It doesn't make any sense, none at all.

Then you have all of these so_called expert reviewers, who seem to just be happy to get free stuff and a little notoriety, misleading and steering people toward the company that is in their favor.

It's all marketing, especially coming from the company that has owned the marketing spectrum for the last 20 years, NIKE.


"but alot of the things Kobe does I would never have done."

MJ in GQ
Definitely the thinking man's thread here in Niketalk.

Regarding training, it's interesting how personal the physical experience of training is. Baseball is my main sport, and back in college before at-bats, I'd swing my bat with a donut, a weight attached to the bat to make it heavier. Right before I'd be up, I'd take off the donut, and the bat would feel lighter to me and I'd swing faster. A few players and a sports trainer or two made the point that if you're trying to prepare your body to swing faster, you should train the muscles to move faster - by swinging a light bat with your same motion, then your muscles would be used to moving at that advances speed. Both positions have merit, I think, but what we got out of it depended on our muscle and psychological make-up.

Some trainers for Olympic Swimmers and Runners will have their athletes wear a full body suit that's partially controlled by a machine, The machine will move incrementally faster than the human does, thus making their body used to swimming at a faster pace. At the same time, plenty of athletes (and fighters, for that matter) have trained with weighted vests and clothing, to make the body stronger and feel lighter when they were without the extra poundage.

My point here is that there is no universal answer. I know some of you dunked in Chucks, but the first time I threw down it was in college with my Reebok Questions after an hour long game. For me, it wasn't some convergence of intangibles, but simple cause and effect: I had been playing more than ever, I weighed less, my muscles were stronger from use, and I could jump higher. The Questions are heavier shoes with softer cushioning. Training is like life - everything in moderation. Running in sand over and over will sure as hell over-load your knees and hurt it, but so too will any repetitive exercise hurt that area of the body receiving the most stress. The best advice I got from a running shoe expert was regarding the "favorite shoe" mindset: People who fall in love with one shoe will buy up a half dozen pairs (runners go through shoes like toilet paper) to alternate with, making sure faults of other shoes remain away from them. But the expert's opinion was that all shoes have problems in some area, no matter how small. If it's cushioned well it might be too heavy, if it fits perfectly it might chafe, etc. The best approach, he said, was to buy as many completely different pairs as you could and alternate at random. That way, your body never settles into a rut and has to continually adapt to the shoe.

It's the same way here. Maybe part of the reason you felt so springy in the chucks or the running shoes was because you were used to the other for so long.
"My point here is that there is no universal answer."

There is an answer, might I direct you to read the 5:01 and 10:12 posts?

Not be rude, but there is a reason that the fields of Sports Medicine and Exercise Physiology exist. A little research on facts doesn't hurt.


"but alot of the things Kobe does I would never have done."

MJ in GQ
^^ No @#%$, buddy. Though I do admire the intellectual gumption of someone to quote themselves back to another, I'm well aware of the fields of sports medicine and the like, in fact, a very good friend of mine is getting his Doctorate in that very subject at UVa (and helped me when I severely rolled my ankle during ball), and ex GF of mine is also in the field, working with high schools. That sentence's point (since you have trouble deducing mine, I thought I'd help), is that I'm aware of research in those areas.

My sentence read: "...there is no universal answer"

What that means, if I may, is that with regards to the training methods and athletic apparel discussion above, no single answer, or "universal" (its application here meaning "pertaining to everyone," like a "universal donor" can donate to all recipients) approach will work with everyone. I meant it within the realms of which we were talking, about different shoes and exercises helping people achieve better results and such. I think that's pretty obvious and well within the points of the discussion - within my post I mentioned examples of bat-weights and referenced your own chuck-aided dunking as specific personal events to bear witness to that fact.

My overlying theme in the post was that variance - in exercises, equipment, training, healing, nutrition - is important in terms of helping performance and reducing injuries. It was not, as you seemed to have surmised, that "Nothing helps injuries." A little reading of my post doesn't hurt.

I wasn't saying there are no answers. I was saying that in practice, varying the routines - cycling, as you yourself said - helps. Turns out you and I are pretty much saying the same thing.

Also, your signature line isn't punctuated correctly. It should read: "...but a lot of the things Kobe does I would never have done." The ellipse is necessary because it's a part of a larger sentence. As you know in that interview the specific question you quote is about judging intangibles - heart and character, and his success in that area. After a while, he talks about himself as an executive and says that he realized their dedications wasn't his just because he was coaching them. Jordan says:

"That comes from a different generation. I learned it would be totally unfair to look at that kid and see myself and my motivations. No one's going to play the game the way you played it, and you just have to accept that. If I do see that dedication, I recognize it in an instant. I'd say Kobe Bryant would have some of those characteristics, but a lot of the things Kobe does I would never have done."

To cut off the last part of the line makes it seem like Jordan is slamming Kobe, when in fact he singles him out as the player most like him in the NBA.

EDIT: Spelling is not my friend
Nice try at changing the subject.

Back to physics,

There is a reason that NASA uses a launch pad that is upon Gibraltar. The rock can withstand the force generated by rockets firing, as a softer base substance would create structural damage in the ship upon lift off. Comparing fractures to what happens in the human body, the same can be said if there is not enough support during loading, and then explosion. Keep in mind that the body, when it lands, has twice as much force during descent. If the Body isn't prepared for that impact, injury will occur.

Since the body can recover from such trauma if it is in condition to do so, the injuries may not show up immediatly, but the warning signs will show up in the form of tendonitis. Such overuse injuries, masked if ignored by using over the counter and prescribed medications such as antiinflammatories, will lead to premature arthritic conditions, and then fractures.

All a shoe is supposed to do, is to protect the foot by allowing it to do what it is supposed to do. A shoe isn't supposed to be giving me energy back, all it is supposed to do is give me support, even when I am fatigued. However, a shoe is not supposed interfere during plantar flexion or dorsi flexion, nor during ankle rotation.

As was stated before by someone in this thread, there is too much "tech", and then just not enough organic thinking when it comes to kicks.

I am not talking about "considered" shoes either...

"but alot of the things Kobe does I would never have done."

MJ in GQ
Agreed, back to physics

I think the NASA landing pad analogy is a little simplistic for this conversation, though. As JDRone pointed out, the reason that shoe testing is limited in its application is because of the reduction of variables in a lab setting. The launching pad - which is just thrust applied to the surface - is quite limited in comparison to the range of activities that humans can perform. Humans are still the most complicated mechanism going, after all.

While I agree that at best shoes help the foot perform naturally, we're not in a natural environment. In evolutionary terms, barefoot running/walking on grass or dirt or sand is actually what our feet were designed to do. Modern "civilization" has meant for our bodies that we ingest and live in an environment that is no longer natural and thus no longer entirely what our bodies are designed for. I'm speaking of drinking polluted water, breathing dirty air, and walking on hard, hard concrete/asphalt/hardwood/etc. So, while our foot is working best when functioning naturally, it bears mentioning that since we're talking about playing basketball, our feet were not made to land over and over again on such a hard surface. Hence, the action itself is unnatural, because we're designed to land on grass or dirt. That's why Parkour runners slap the ground when they land on concrete or the like; to dissipate energy. We have no such release when rebounding, so we need shoes to help that impact.

What I think designers are realizing is that we need a marriage between the two styles - we don't need to be so off the ground that our posture and running become marred and starts hurting our bodies, but we have to recognize that our feet and bodies aren't meant to be slammed down on a hard, unforgiving surface.

It's important to note that the simplest shoes I've ever worn have been cleats, for soccer or football or baseball. Since all you really need is the cleat itself, the things like cushioning and tech in those shoes exist only to protect you from feeling the cleat protrude back into your foot. The best pair of baseball cleats I had were just simple shoes, no cush, just metal spikes in the bottom. I don't think it's coincidental that for all of those sports the playing is done on natural surfaces. When you start thinking about less natural surfaces, the ratio of tech to shoe becomes much larger as the surface becomes harder.

Personally, I always thought it funny that something like "court feel" was such a small factor in shoe review, because what's more important when you're upright that your feet being able to feel the ground?
It may be too simplistic, but the intention was to show what happens when the body and it's normal mechanisms are interfered with.

Also, there is something that you are forgetting when speaking of our bodies not being made to run on hard surfaces, and that is called ADAPTATION.

If you see people from impoverished countries playing sports where running and jumping is involved, you not only notice that their feet are calloused, but their bone mass is more dense. This is what happens to the Human Body when left to fend for itself, it will adapt. But when given outside assistance, it no longer produces the protection needed for such conditions. The spinal columns of retired football players under MRI, had shown a thickening of the cervical spine, and Skull, due the impact of their sport.

For instance, if one takes Steroids, the body slows its own production of the male hormone testosterone.

But if left alone, a healthy body will produce enough of the hormone to regulate the body, and assist in muscular and neurological recovery.

Well, it's been fun, but lets hope that these guy find that middle ground, then stop pandering to those who walk funny in their shoes, so that they don't crease.

So far, Adidas hasn't dissapointed me yet.

"but alot of the things Kobe does I would never have done."

MJ in GQ
please don't lock this thread.

there's actually intelligent discussion going on in here. some people are taking personal vendettas too far, ignoring good points that others make just because of who they are.

..with so much personality,
what do you want from me?
i could be by myself and enjoy the company..
but i'd ratherher
I guess the truth is too scary for some! I forgot to add, which was already stated, about those impoverished countries that where Zoom Air and other 'high tech' really doesn't matter, they often play the games on and with antiquated equipment, including footwear.

Edit: Niketalk has the potential to wield the same power that the Running shoe boards have in that community. They don't stand for hype, and when a true quality product comes along, it is widely acknowledged. What the Basketball sector needs is frank discussion about what actually works, versus the marketing of what people THINK is hip. Just because a star player wears an expensive shoe, does NOT make it a good shoe. He is paid to wear what the company puts on him.

Many people who actually play want to see the Asics Kayano and New Balance of hoops shoes. We need shoes that the old heads can rock at the Y with confidence, as the runners do with their top product, and for kids who are not about the hype, so they can buy and wear what is really a HIGH QUALITY product. Then it'll be worth the price tag if it still needs to be THAT expensive.

Nike has ruined the Hoops sector with hype, and then putting out low quality product in large quantities. This is why I and many others have looked elsewhere, then I rediscovered Adidas.

If a place like Nike Talk began to tout something other than a Nike product as being the best, I'd bet they'd take notice! They'd stop putting out the bullcrap with leaking Air Bags, faulty stitching, and inadequate protection.

But many here aren't about anything but being a part of the crowd, then reselling worthless junk.

"but alot of the things Kobe does I would never have done."

MJ in GQ
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