APL Concept 3 Performance Review

The APL Concept 3 and its predecessors have been banned from the NBA. Will they improve your game? Find out in our APL Concept 3 Performance Review…

APL Concept 3 Performance Review 1

Traction – Upon first impression… I wasn’t really enthused. Shallow herringbone was in place within a pretty dense rubber outsole that featured translucent sections in ever spot I wish they weren’t. To my surprise, the traction was excellent. Not a pure 10 out of 10 but pretty damn close. The only thing holding the overall traction score down is that it is pretty shallow so outdoor players may not want to use them unless they wish to replace their new $175 purchase sooner rather than later.

It’s stated that no-slip rubber is used and it actually works. Only on the dirtiest of courts did they have issues gripping the floor but even then, they did better than others have in the past. If I were to describe the traction in one word; reliable is the only one that comes to mind.

APL Concept 3 Performance Review 2

Cushion – The cushion was nice for a foam only setup – a foam only setup that isn’t a special blend of foam at least. The APL Concept 3 & the Ektio Breakaway both use basic foam midsole as their only cushion source and I’m happy to say that they both worked perfectly fine. It’s not dense but not too soft… basically, it’s just right. Just like the Ektio Breakaway – compression grooves are used throughout to help with compression and stride which lends a hand to the overall cushion.

The forefoot is minimal. Not as low to the ground as say the adidas Crazyquick but very close. On the other hand, the overall feeling is similar due to the Load ‘N Launch technology placed in the forefoot so less cushion is featured in this section. An Ortholite insole is provided which helps with step-in comfort but it’s not enough to provide you with actual cushion.

Was it uncomfortable at all with this setup? No, not really. It was noticeable but not uncomfortable.

APL Concept 3 Performance Review 3

Material – Fuse-like synthetics are used throughout the upper and they work just as expected. They’re durable, light, and pliable. No issues with hotspots or chaffing… just a smooth upper that fits like a glove. Let me just put it this way; for $175, I felt like I received a quality product.

APL Concept 3 Performance Review 4

Fit – They run ½ size small so it’s recommended that you go up ½ size. Wide footers? Not sure to be honest. I don’t have wide feet and I needed a ½ size larger than normal just because they run short, not tight.

Lockdown throughout the entire shoe is pretty much immaculate. From front to back, you are locked into place and dare I say… this is one of the best lockdown fitting shoes I’ve worn in quite some time. They remind me a little bit of the KD V’s fit – which I loved – but without the horrendous break-in period.

The collar lining is also really nice… and I mean REALLY nice. I know this is a little thing to note but trust me, it’s worth mentioning.

APL Concept 3 Performance Review 5

Ventilation – Best overall ventilation in a shoe since the original Crazy Light. That is all…

APL Concept 3 Performance Review 6

Support – Due to the great fit and lockdown, support is pretty much covered. There is also a shank plate in place for torsional support and I didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary with the arch… felt like a Hyperfuse.

APL Concept 3 Performance Review 7

Jump Test – I tried but I could not get any results. I’m not a leaper so that could have something to do with it but overall… I jumped exactly the same height in these as a regular shoe. This part of the shoe will not be applied to the score card.

APL Concept 3 Performance Review 8

Overall – Forget about the Load ‘N Launch technology, these are just really good hoop shoes. Very few mistakes were made while designing these and the only real mistake that I can say they have is with the sizing issue. In my personal opinion, the Load ‘N Launch technology is a placebo type of thing… you trick your brain into thinking you are doing something that you aren’t. Or you trick your brain into doing things you never thought you could… essentially unlocking a hidden talent. Unfortunately, I don’t have such hidden talents… I just can’t jump but I can accept that.

If you were interested in trying them out yourself, you can grab them now at Athleticpropulsionlabs.com.
APL Concept 3 Performance Review 9




  1. Can someone please answer my question that I asked 3 times already ? Not to be mean and I’m not angry at all, but I just wana know where the top ten list is. And I think APL should advertise these shoes as great hoop shoes instead of shoes that are banned in the NBA. In fact, they should make 2 different versions of the shoe, make one version with load n launch and one without. They could sell the one without it for a lower price.

    1. When the new layout went live, it removed some things from the site – one of those things being the top ten list. I have not put it back up yet bc I have not decided if I want to or not.

  2. From what I’ve heard, the higher that your vertical already is, the more the load’n’launch system will work.

    For Example, if you have a 30inch vert you’ll get a 2-3 inch increase. If you have a 36-40inch vert, you can get up to 6-8 inches in increase.

      1. Wow that is kind of unbelievable that you could get 6-8 inches more but hey if it works it works

    1. So a minimum of 30 inch vertical will only net you gains in these shoes is what you’re saying? That is intriguing because I know that I can sky; 53.4 recorded on Nike Basketball+.

      M pierce poses a good question, what did happen to the list after the reconstruction?

        1. Actually I short changed that stat. It’s a 54.3 inch vertical. In that game, I remember that I was jumping over everybody. I have it on Instagram, search #nikeplusbasketball. There is a guy who recorded even higher than mine on there. I’m 5’10 by the way.

          1. 2 cents on the nike+ sensor

            not that accurate.. its formula measures the force and time of your jump ’til you land ergo if you “hang” longer, it will give you a higher vert reading. and you can chear on hanging longer by
            – lifting your legs when you jump
            – if you dunk and managed to collide with the victim, you will get a couple of milliseconds in that jump

            still.. 50-ish is not bad 😎

      srsly he has a 49.5 inch vertical are u saying he could get a bonus of 8-12 inches?
      maybe he could have a 60 inch vert
      He can allrdy get his head 8 iches above the rim LOL

    3. … C’mon. These shoes don’t work, and they definitely won’t work better if you have a high leap. Jump, don’t come from nowhere. Definitely not from a gimmicky technology on a shoe. Y’all been watching Flubber recently, I see, lol.

  3. Again thank you for the review. Normally i read the whole article first before watching the video,and when I saw the photo of the jump test I looks like you were jumping so high, but when I saw the video hahaha.

    Anyways, great review NW2303, on to the next.

  4. Great review on these. I was really curious with the brand itself if they were just a gimmick or a real performer on the court. Nice to see that they do perform well on the court.

  5. LMAO at the start of the video! I’m same height as u and i already bought this shoe thanx to ur review so i guess i’ll do the same and go on dunking on some kids’ hoops lol

  6. hello nightwing, a late thanks to you for all your work, and specifically for this review, interesting stuff!I own a pair of Concept 2 and they seem quite similar to what you describe, minus the ventilation. Excellent hoop shoes! Good material, sturdy, comfy, very good overall and no, they did not increase my vertical. I am not a huge jumper but still, they really should advertise the quality of the shoe instead of this gimmick. And if they could offer some better colorways (simple stuff: all blue, all grey, all red) instead of this flashy green stuff and the other over bland CW…

    1. I appreciate it! From what I’m hearing, the vertically challenged (like you and I) end up with little results while using the APL but those that have some sort of leaping ability ended up seeing some improvement. No way to really tell if this is a placebo or 100% fact but either way I think its interesting. Def a great hoop shoe though and that is what people should be looking at them for.

  7. I don’t think you’ll improve your vertical with these right off the bat.. you have to keep using em and let em develop your muscles which are responsible for one’s ‘springiness’…. this is just what i think what the shoe was made for. As far as placebo effect, it could be possible. If one’s mind is conditioned to do a thing or to reach a goal then the end result becomes surprisingly possible.. it’s a mystery, the power of the mind…

  8. I’m 5’11 with a 47.8 vetical. If i use this shoes then imma be like 55 vert or something?

    1. Wow that is an insane vertical. Are you pulling our legs, or is that for real? If that is for real, what training are you doing to get that kind of vertical?

      So these shoes really are banned in the NBA? Would the NBA thoroughly test shoes before they ban them, or would they just do it if they feel like it without really testing out the shoes?

  9. actually, i got the first pair of apl concept 1. i swear i got about 3-4 inches. this is coming back from a major patella rupture tendon surgery on my left knee.i came back to the game, my 30s and was able to hang on the rim with two hands. i am 5 11 asian and before the injury can always get above the rim. the fit is a big tight in my size 11.5 but overall i think the shoe helps folks who are 2 legged jumpers. like a jason richardson type and wiill not help the one legged jumpers as much. these shoes will make you faster laterally and if you can jump two feet, will help you boost. i wish i had them back in college.

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