Straight out the box, ready to go to war. The Brandblack Rare Metal is a definite gem.
Traction – Good, not great. The blade traction does its job well. This is one area where I felt the traction took a minor step back from its predecessors. It isn’t to say the the traction didn’t work — on clean floors it’s nothing but awesome — but on dusty floors, you’re going to find yourself wiping a lot more than you should. I definitely preferred the blade traction setup the JC2 had to offer (if they implemented that traction and included the nodules from the Rare Metal, this would be close to Hall of Fame score for sure). Hopefully Brandblack will consider that for the next one.
Cushion – Different. Brandblack’s cushioning now is called Jetlon EVL, or an evolution of the brand’s Jetlon foam. The Jetlon EVL felt more responsive and slightly bouncier without the instability, which in this case, is super comfy. Although the shoe rides lower to the ground, you don’t find yourself having to worry about impact on landings because the impact protection is high. Compressing the already comfy Blackfoam down by 30-40% while not losing any comfort is still a shock to me. The bounce back on transitions from stop to go doesn’t miss a beat and Brandblack has done it right from the start.
Materials – Brandblack is a company that doesn’t skimp on its materials. The Jacquard upper on the Rare Metal feels great on foot. The upper is thin but supportive. The toe area is reinforced with TPU overlays for added protection on high-wear areas of the shoe. The ankle collar is done well and gives your ankle a nicely pillowed feeling. The insole uses a suede material, which will eventually break-down, but while it lasts it feels slick on foot without any slippage.
Fit – Almost to the T. The shoe fits perfectly true to size, however, those who want a snug fit can consider half-size down. Even with a wide-foot base like myself, going true to size fit well without any restriction. Lockdown is solid, to go along with a traditional lace setup that gets the job down. There is no slippage whatsoever. However, I did experience some minor deadspace along the area where the front reinforced forefoot meets the lacing. This could have been much worse but the way Brandblack has set up the shoe it’s a minor concern — the shoe sculpts around your foot very well.
Support – Everything you need, and nothing that you don’t. The shoe is simple and ready to go right out of the box. From the traditional lacing setup to the high tongue (that wraps around your foot nicely) and the super responsive cushion setup — plus a perfectly proportioned wide bade outrigger — the Brandblack Rare Metal is a good fit regardless of position. You’ll be locked into place without having to second guess yourself.
Overall – If your looking for a shoe that gives you pretty much everything that you do need, then this is the shoe for you. Some shoes take time to break-in but this isn’t the case for Brandblack shoes. The Rare Metal goes for $110, all while giving you premium materials, great cushioning, and damn near great traction.
Brandblack continues to innovate by perfectly executing fashion and function. What more can you ask for except when’s the next model coming out?! Because we can’t wait!
Brandblack Rare Metal