Traction – Much better than what is offered than any of the previous Hyperdunk models, this traction pattern works better than it may look. Facing multiple directions aids the rubber giving it some additional friction on the courts surface no matter what direction you plan to move.
The one downside is the use of translucent rubber. Clean floors are perfectly fine as are fair court conditions but those of us who end up on some dirty floors will soon realize that the clear sections eventually adhere to the dust and debris causing some slipping unless consistent wipes are implemented. I typically don’t ever clean the bottom of my hoop shoes but I ended up having to keep these soles as clean as possible in order to maintain above average grip.
I recommend using a solid rubber if you plan on purchasing as those should allow the traction pattern to do its job much better than the translucent rubber.
Cushion – Lunarlon is one of my favorite cushions, possibly my favorite foam cushion, but here is shows that foams aren’t perfect. Don’t get me wrong, the Lunarlon does its job of distributing weight from impact perfectly, however, it would have been better if implemented into a full length portion rather than the heel and forefoot targeted zones. Once the foam starts to break down – what some call bottoming out – you will have a slight uneven feeling as the arch of the shoe is made of a more dense Phylon. Its something that will take time so don’t let it stop you from trying them out but I will say that Nike may want to stick with what works for performance series such as the Hyperdunk by just sticking with Zoom Air.
All-in-all, some will complain that the Zoom is missing while others will finally understand my love and appreciation for foam.
Material – The upper is comprised of mesh and next generation Flywire. This style of Flywire seems to utilize Fuse material with thicker Nylon strands of exposed Flywire cables… it works wonderfully. Having this rubbery type of Fuse is great as it offers durability without adding stiffness. Break-in time is minimal so that is a huge plus.
I know that some are questioning the longevity of the exposed cables but in all honesty… I don’t see them getting torn or cut during game play. I’m sure its possible but its highly unlikely.
Fit – The latest Hyperdunk uses the same last as the Hyperdunk 2011 so they run a bit narrow at the forefoot. Wide footers may want to either try them on prior to purchase or go with ½ size larger. Length wise they are true to size.
The snug fit at the forefoot is welcomed as it leaves you with little to no room or dead space. At the midfoot is where you will feel the Flywire cables hug your foot and stay with it during changes in direction and other harsh movements… almost giving a custom fit for each wearer.
The heel is great. Slightly molded padding keeps the Achilles and heel in place while the rest of the collar hugs the ankle without restricting its natural movements whatsoever. They fit so nice at the heel and collar that I didn’t even need to lace them up to the top eyelet as I typically do.
Ventilation – Every Hyperdunk has greatly lacked in ventilation… until now. With the next generation of Flywire in place, exposed medial and lateral side panels are in place featuring mesh along with the rest if the inner boot/ sleeve (attached to the tongue).
There is very little air flow restriction so these have a ton of ventilation throughout the shoe… possibly better than a lot of sneakers available on the market currently; including most Fuse based sneakers.
Support – The overall fit provides a decent amount of support that work in tandem with the external glass based Carbon Fiber shank plate. One of the most notable features on this latest rendition of the Hyperdunk is the wider base which sits a bit lower to the ground when compared to Hyperdunk’s of the past. This created a much more stable platform along with better court feel, allowing you do do what you do without hesitation or awkwardness.
Overall – They may not be my personal top performance model of the year (at this time) but they are definitely in my top 3. Overall scores will push these to the top of the list for 2012 but again, this is based on their total average.
They are, however, the best Hyperdunk to date. If you have enjoyed Hyperdunk models in the past then you’re in for a ride as these are nothing like the past versions… in a good way. Do you NEED the Nike+ version? Not at all… in fact I recommend getting the basic $140 version unless you are neurotic about training or plan on being an NCAA/ NBA prospect in the near future. Sure, its fun to see your stats but its not something that requires an additional $100 or so dollars.
I will be reviewing the Nike+ Basketball system separately so stay tuned for that. Until then… enjoy your time on-court!