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BrandBlack J. Crossover / Raptor Performance Review

BrandBlack is new to the scene but the people behind the brand aren’t. The owner of the company has worked for some of the largest sneaker companies in the U.S. – during the height of those brands’ existence no less. Responsible for the FILA Grant Hill – now known as the FILA ’96 – and with an extensive stay at adidas Basketball; the brand may be new to you, but building high performing sneakers is in their blood.

The brand itself focuses on putting out the best performance product they possibly can while maintaining a high fashion sense of style. Not a new idea but it’s probably never been executed this smoothly.

BrandBlack J. Crossover  Raptor Performance Review 1Traction – Despite initial reservations, their traction was really pleasing. Definitely not a traditional pattern but it was effective and didn’t disappoint. Only time I ever had below average traction was when I played on a really dirty court – which was to be expected – and when I played outside. As an indoor shoe, they’re very solid but I wouldn’t recommend them for outdoor usage. If I could describe the traction in one word… consistent.



BrandBlack J. Crossover  Raptor Performance Review 2Cushion – BrandBlack uses what they call Jetlon. Their description of the foam cushion is as follows; Ultra-light energy recovery polymer. Engineered & tested for the extreme forces generated by elite basketball players.

It’s definitely light and has a higher rebound rate than standard foam such as Phylon and EVA. It’ll also last longer without bottoming out. I think it has a higher rubber content as there is a slight bounce you receive once the foam is broken-in. You’ll receive adequate impact protection without sacrificing court feel or stability, perfect for any player that wishes to be light on their feet but still protected. I won’t go so far as to say I prefer it over Micro G or Lunarlon but I did enjoy it quite a bit… especially after going from Air based cushions back to the Raptor Low. That was the night I thought, “damn, these are legit”.

BrandBlack J. Crossover  Raptor Performance Review 3Materials – I loved the materials. Reminded me of the Rose 3, with the premium synthetic leather uppers. If you want a shoe that plays and breaks in like leather but retains is shape the way a Fuse or TPU based upper would then you’ll want to try these out. If you prefer leathers over premium synthetics then you can get that as well with the Phantom. One drawback from using premium materials – even if they are synthetics – is that they will show wear and tear. However, these still look good thanks to the little rubber nodules placed along the side panels. The rubber is scuffed but its not super noticeable and its protected the upper from abrasion nicely. Its not something I’d say ‘needs’ to be there but they’ve opted for the high fashion with function approach and it worked. The rubber side panels are only featured on the Raptor and not the J. Crossover version so keep that in mind if you’re trying to decide between the two.


BrandBlack J. Crossover  Raptor Performance Review 4Fit – They fit true to size, slightly snug but a comfortable and contained type of snug. The best way I can describe the fit is by comparing it to the Nike Zoom Kobe 5. For those that don’t know, the Kobe 5, in my opinion, is one of the best fitting sneakers of all time. Yes, the Air Jordan 19 is one as well but that’s because of all the straps, these and Kobe’s just utilize a great last that allows the shoe to wrap around your foot so nicely that its like wearing a second skin. Lockdown was also great, zero complaints and I was rocking with the lows. If you want something higher for whatever reason then the higher cut models will take care of you for sure.


BrandBlack J. Crossover  Raptor Performance Review 5Ventilation – There isn’t any… at all. I would’ve removed the little rubber nodules from the toe box and used perforations instead. Even though they use a moisture wicking liner, the amount of moisture buildup you’ll have makes it nearly pointless. But, the liner and footbed are no-slip liners so luckily the great fit in addition to this feature allowed me to play for hours comfortably… without blisters.



BrandBlack J. Crossover  Raptor Performance Review 6Support – Their support is definitely adequate. Basic features are used, TPU shank being one of them, which works well. I love when shoes are flat on the bottom so you don’t feel unstable at all. That’s probably my one complaint whenever I wear something with pods on the base of the shoe… since you have to get used to the feeling before being 100% comfortable with the setup. With these, you’ll being able to lace them up and get to work.


BrandBlack J. Crossover  Raptor Performance Review 7Overall – I listed them as my #3 shoe of the year – so far – which should show you how much I enjoy playing in them. I’ve been dying to play in the silver J. Crossover pair that I have sitting in their box but I’ve been determined to leave my other two pairs in DS (brand new) condition as I plan on giving them away to local players so they can experience the same awesomeness that I was able to.

If you wanted to try them out for yourself and see what BrandBlack has to offer the basketball world then I do recommend trying them out – you can grab a pair at BrandBlack.com. I do wish the Raptor was priced slightly lower than the J. Crossover PE branded pairs but that’s not a knock on the shoe’s performance… just a random thought that pops into my head when I begin to over analyze things. If you end up trying them out yourself, be sure to come back and leave your thoughts on the shoe in the comment section; things you liked or maybe disliked.

Thanks for watching and reading… until next time…

BrandBlack J. Crossover  Raptor Performance Review 8

    1. Score suffers from any negative mark on any of the 6 attributes. If another shoe scores negatively in cushion… is that score throwing the entire thing off? Of course. Is it wrong… of course not.

      1. Dean,

        Just for interest sake, and if ventilation doesn’t bother you. You can simply add the scores up and divide it by 5 (Removing the ventilation score) which means the shoe now has a rating of 8.7

        That is if the overall really effects your judgement of a sneaker.

        1. This is what I did. I take out the least concerning aspect (score) and score it from there. Nw is making me spend money.. Lol his performance reviews sheds some light on slept on quality brands so props to Chris on that. Thanks for the introduction to the otherwise unknown brand of brand black. I think they are legit. Just don’t know which one I’ll get

    2. Any shoe is gonna suffer from something it lacks, ventilation is normally the thing that causes the shoes overall performance score to be low but that’s not true for all shoes, some people don’t want a shoe with no ventilation while others could care less same thing goes with cushion an other performance aspects, nightwings scale is made to help out every type of basketball player possible so if you don’t feel that a certain category matters just do the math up yourself based on your needs, lol I know nightwing has said this a billion times ha

  1. Thanks for the review Nightwing, i know i asked you about if you were doing a review for these earlier in the week, but i couldn’t wait until your review and purchased them yesterday.

    Glad you thought they were great and can’t wait for mine to come!

  2. I just received my pair of Raptor lows four days ago, and it is really, really good shoe, like you said the fit really is similar to the Kobe Fives. I got my friends at the gym asking what my shoes were when I was playing at the gym, lol. I tell em, it’s Brandblack, but my one of em was like “That’s a thing?”. I can hear them gearing a squeak at my gym’s floor, which isn’t that well-maintained. I really hope a lot more NBA players endorse this brand, it’s going have even nicer shoes if more people buy their products. Great review as always, Nightwing, and. i think i might buy the Phantom lows too

  3. I think i’m going to buy them, they look good, thanks for the review Nightwing! And another thing, when is the Li-Ning Devil Med performance review coming? The Hardshell and Cloud technology look interesting.

  4. Chris thanks for the review. I had a question, I went to the brandblack website to make a purchase and it seems like the cushioning set up and traction so basically the lower part of the shoe is pretty much the same for all these shoes with the exception of the material used in the upper. In this case would you they would perform pretty much identically? Plus or minus the fit that comes from the material used.

  5. Thanks for the review. One question that would be very helpful – is the “jetlon” cushioning only in the midsole, or is it embedded in the insole similar to the LeBron XI or Kobe IX? I use orthotics and want to give these a try if I can take out the insoles without losing any cushioning. Thx

  6. how u compare this of the fit / shoes inner length with the wayofwade 1 & 2
    jus want some ref of buying this

  7. I finally got my pair and i thought to myself. Another spot on performance review! I agree with the fit being the most awesome part of the shoe. One thing i do disagree with nw is that i love the hyperdunk 2014 so much. For me, jetlon cushioning was too firm so i kinda hurt my knees. These are definitely very solid basketball shoes. Plus it will last you a long time. Thanks for introducing a great brand to the public!

  8. I’ve been saving up my money for one real solid hoop shoe and I’m interested in the all white JCrossover 1 because are team shoes have to be mainly white. I’ve got a closet full of nike and have a hard time straying from that. I was just hoping for a personal view on these and weather or not I should go ahead and give Brand Black a try. Favorite hoop shoe of all time is the kobe 5. How might these compare to those.? Thank you and appreciate your time

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