ANTA has come correct with the KT Outdoor 2 Low.
Traction – This is an outdoor specific outsole that works wonders indoors and outdoors. The pattern looks a bit sketchy but it works really well both laterally and longitudinally. Each piece of the tread pattern is like a wiper blade; it creates a ton of friction on the court’s surface which helps it grip — dust or not. This wiper blade pattern also helps make these squeak like no other shoe I’ve worn for quite some time.
(We all know that the sound coming from your traction doesn’t mean a damn thing in terms of performance, but some feel that the sound is reassuring.)
There is a small break-in period for the rubber. I think there was some residue from production that made the traction start off on the slick side. After a couple of hours things were sticking really nicely without issue.
ANTA used what it’s calling hardcourt rubber — because it’s an outdoor specific shoe — which provides you with an outsole that is tacky and durable.
Cushion – A-Shock cushioning is used in the KT Outdoor 2 Low and I won’t pretend to know what it is. If I had to guess it’s either the entire midsole’s foam or the midsole is housing a softer foam within.
What I do know is that this sh*t is comfortable. Like, mad comfortable — OG Micro G level comfortable. Not only is the cushion comfortable but it does a good job of absorbing impact. Those that love firm court feel might find these to be slightly on the soft side, but only slightly. If you like a little feeling under your feet from your cushion then that’s what these will bring. It’s a semi-plush ride that protects upon impact while not feeling unstable.
I had mentioned this with the KT2 performance review, but it’s something that crosses my mind once again while playing in this shoe. For a brand like ANTA, an affordable/budget friendly company in China, I’m still impressed with the level of comfort the brand has been able to bring to the table from its cushion. It just goes to show that, depending on the brand, budget friendly models don’t always have to sacrifice comfort. Awesomesauce.
Materials – Mesh and synthetics are used on the ANTA KT Outdoor 2 Low. It’s a much different setup than what was found on the original KT Outdoor model — a shoe I did not like at all. While the build here is nothing too special, it’s much better than the aforementioned original outdoor model which used a entirely fuse-based upper.
It has actually taken ANTA a while to catch up to modern materials such as this; the brand was stuck in 2009 for a bit by using a lot of TPU materials. Luckily, woven, knitted, and textile uppers are becoming increasingly popular. That, in turn, is driving the manufacturing costs way down, allowing a brand that prefers to stay in the affordable price range for its consumers the ability to bring in something modern while still keeping things manageable at the register.
If you’re familiar with textiles and synthetic leathers then you’ll receive the same feel here. I try to stay away from comparing brands to each other within reviews but there is a large consumer base in the U.S. that has not experienced anything outside of their normal comfort zone, so for this shoe I’ll make an exception. You can compare the upper on the KT Outdoor 2 Low to a lot of the budget models that come from Nike Basketball. Especially the more recent offerings like the HyperLive or Zoom Live, but these don’t have as much plastic within the textile portion of the upper. There’s just enough plastic in high wear areas and stress zones to keep things functional and durable.
Fit – The KT Outdoor 2 Low fits true to size, but there is a slight issue in the heel’s lockdown. It goes away the longer you’re on-court. I assume the more damp your socks get the stickier they become for the interior lining, but there is a small amount of heel slip at times. You can go down 1/2 size if you have narrow feet since the forefoot material is forgiving, but that is your call. Wide footers will be good going true to size once they break-in the upper a bit — something that shouldn’t take long since it’s mesh.
Lockdown is slightly tricky because the forefoot lacing system feels like it has a lot of give. Pulling that area as tight as possible from the jump is something I’ve learned is important because it’ll allow you to play without having to readjust things once you’ve moved the material around on-court. However, the heel section laces up nicely.
Support – Overall support in the KT Outdoor 2 Low is solid. Despite the minor heel slip during the first bit of on-court time, the support features are more than adequate. The heel counter does a great job of keeping your foot on the footbed while an exaggerated lateral midsole acts as a nice hefty outrigger. There doesn’t seem to be much torsional support, but the tooling is fairly anatomical so you don’t notice it much.
The entire tooling setup moves rather naturally with your foot and it’s something that I enjoyed. If you’re a larger player or are a bit heavy footed then I can see this possibly becoming an issue. At the forefoot, the fuse overlay on the lateral end does a good job keeping the upper from over-stretching while the midsole in that section cups your foot nicely to ensure you’re not going to roll over the footbed.
Overall – The ANTA KT Outdoor 2 Low is a very good hoop shoe that offers a little bit of everything — court feel, semi-plush cushioning, durable traction that works on a variety of surfaces, and materials that are very much in line with what other brands are offeeing. To top it off, the price is pretty nice as well. (I apologize that there is no weight listed on the score card below — my scale decided to end its tenure here at WearTesters. I’ll grab another one before my next performance review.)
Adding Klay Thompson to ANTA’s roster seems to have done the brand wonders. It has forced the brand to improve it products in a way that befits a champion.