Traction – Full length herringbone is featured along the outsole. The pattern itself is reminiscent of the Nike Zoom Hyperenforcer as the grooves vary in thickness throughout the sole. While the forefoot looks decent – some of the grooves are flat instead of being shaped at a peak – it’s the heel that I’m fond of… only wish they used that aggressive style full length. It would have reduced weight if they had seeing as how it would remove quite a bit of rubber at the toe.
Cushion – A lightweight Phylon midsole is used along with an Air Max unit at the heel. Everything feels good from a try-on but who knows how it will feel during gameplay. Retailing at $100, one can’t complain too much but you have to wonder why big men are given heel only cushioning… I swear I’ve seen plenty of 3-5’s on their toes during games.
Material – Nike’s most recent Fuse is the best they’ve had since it was first introduced. It’s lighter, thinner and more flexible. There is less TPU rigidness and its beginning to feel a lot like leather – as far as an on-foot feeling goes – after being broken in… of course it’s much more durable than leather & retains its shape better as well. Using this type of ‘plastic’ upper is something I could get used to.
Fit – They fit true to size… this is the first Fuse model that I didn’t have to go up ½ size. Once laces the overall feeling the fit brings is similar to the Hyperfuse but you notice the ease & flex the upper brings versus the older style Fuse. There is still a flex point at the forefoot that you can feel but I’m hoping that feeling will go away after I begin to play in them.
Ventilation – While these feature less ventilation than the Guard oriented Hyperfuse, they offer enough to keep a player comfortable while still maintaining strength & support. I don’t foresee the ventilation being an issue in this model.
Support – The fit and materials will bring you most of the support. There isn’t a visible shank located at the midfoot; however, I believe there is some sort of torsional support bar in place since I can’t flex the shoe where the arch is located. It’s definitely minimal but that’s the new craze nowadays…
Overall, they feel good and look good… hopefully it’ll all translate to on-court function and performance. As a Guard, I’m not thrilled about the forefoot M.I.A. – Missing in Action – forefoot cushioning but I will have to remain focused on the fact that this shoe was clearly not built for me.