TRACTION – Look at it — how can it NOT be great. THAT is full length herringbone, and that is some of the best traction to date. We seriously dared dust to creep into the pattern, then kicked it out and laughed. No matter how bad, or dirty, or hairy the floor was (yeah, hair), I was locked and loaded for any move.
The only complaint, and this is severely reaching for anything, was the pattern is flat. What I mean is, the herringbone isn’t pointed on the part that reaches the floor, it is flat across the sole. Would have made the pattern even more traction-y, but as is, still great.
CUSHION – Big men need big cushioning. When Dwight was a rebounding, shot-blocking, dunking monster in Orlando, he didn’t need as much protection because he was on his toes, nimble, and well, YOUNG. As he’s gotten older, like we all do, his needs moved to a more plush, cushioned ride.
The PEAK DH1 uses Cushion-3 in the heel which was also used in the Battier series. If you don’t feel like watching this video, here is the set-up: clear window with air inside for initial impact, foam insert to disperse force, and a denser foam around the soft red foam for stability. It works, but it isn’t dynamic — there’s no feedback at all. If a post player needs stability in the heel for drop-steps and power moves, the Cushion-3 is heaven. If you are a guard looking for a fast, low ride for speed and reaction, nah, wait on the PEAK Lightning review. That said, the impact protection is great, and older players needing cushion will be good.
MATERIALS – Oooooohhh, here is what we were waiting on. If you notice, there is small writing on the midfoot below the laces that says ‘PEAK SURFACE’. PEAK Surface is a fuse/fabric/mesh along the lines of the first Nike Hyperfuse or even the Kobe X “shark” mesh. Simply: there should be more of it on this shoe. It isn’t really giving like a knit material but provides areas of flexibility where you need it, generally where the forefoot bends and pulls. It isn’t breathable (the tongue takes care of that), but it is comfy.
The rest of the upper is synthetic and rubberized fuse, especially on the toe area. The vamp and the ankle collar are stiff for support, and although the material did eventually flex and break in on the midfoot, the ankle area is still brand-new stiff. The ankle is also padded like a Whataburger #2 — fat and thick, but hot. Your ankles will be drenched in that area after every wear. One note on the pattern on the heel counter — Phoenix feathers, symbolizing Dwight’s rise from the ashes of L.A. Meh.
FIT – Tricky, to say the least. WearTesters was blessed by the people of PEAK China with…15 pairs of shoes; the Lightning 4, TP9-III, and the DH1 with multiple colors of each. My pair was a size 12, and I wear a 10.5 in almost everything. The 12 fit like an 11.25 – just a little too long and roomy in the forefoot, so fit is a category I am not strong on. I can say, laced tight, even the large size kept me side-to-side secure. The extra length didn’t affect playing but was way too long. The heel locked in perfectly and I love that thick padding. If you can get a US pair, go a half size up. If you go China, good luck. (The heel tab is the giveaway; if letters are Chinese, you are getting a pair from China).
Support – Freaking solid. With the way the heel locks in, plus padding and stiff materials on the shell, there is ZERO chance of heel slip or side-to-side movement leading to ankle rolls. The midsole is wider than the upper, dropping the chances even more. There is a LARGE outrigger on the lateral forefoot, and paired with the stiff vamp, hold your foot in the lines of the footbed. And then this Tenacity Unit; it’s beautiful, stiff, hard, black… carbon fiber. Right there under the midfoot, we have carbon fiber for a shank. And guess what? It works. One of the most supportive shoes I have worn, ever. After the Ektio line, the PEAK DH1 is right there.
OVERALL – Besides the sizing problem, everything else about the PEAK DH1 was…nice. Not overwhelming in any category (except support), but the whole is definitely greater than the parts. If you are a post/big man or older player needing cushioned support, the DH1 is right up your alley. If you are a fast guard who needs bounce and speed, well, Dwight doesn’t play like you, so his shoes probably won’t fit your needs (the shoe is also heavy — 19 ounces in my size 11/12).
Looks don’t matter in performance reviews, but the DH1 also looks freaking cool; the layers, detailing on the heel counter, and colors all come together like Voltron (maybe Constructicons). If this is the beginning, maybe the PEAK DH1 is the first step to a rebirth.