Brandblack hasn’t released a basketball shoe since 2017. The Brandblack Rare Metal 2 was a nice way to re-introduce itself back into the basketball category. It is featured in our Best for Ankle Support list.
Traction is grippy as all hell.
The Vibram rubber brings a bit of prestige to the shoe while also providing wearers with something familiar. Meanwhile, the X pattern is consistent throughout the entire outsole which does two things.
1. It grips really well.
2. It provides consistent coverage all the way around.
I was only able to test this shoe outdoors due to the pandemic, but they held up really well. Not much wear is visible — if any at all — and the grip is just great. I’ve seen some other reviews that focused on indoor testing and they all seem to agree that the traction is great.
The cushion is what Brandblack is calling Supercritical Jetlon. It was first featured in the Tarantula running shoe, which was a bit lackluster, but the way it’s done in the Rare Metal 2 feels much better.
This version of the Supercritical Jetlon feels much more in line with models that also use a similar foam midsole like the 361 AG1. With that, the midsole offers court feel and impact protect — all housed within the thin Vibram wrap-tech rubber outsole. The wrapped rubber does ensure stability while still allowing the foam to move a bit, but it would be interesting to see how this type of foam would do without being caged up so much. Every implementation of this style of foam I’ve personally used (for basketball) has been caged in some way so I do wonder what would happen if you let it loose.
Court feel and impact protection are a rare blend nowadays so getting them both in one shoe is definitely applauded.
Materials are a 4-layers system that blends a bit of TPU with a bit of textile. This allows the upper to remain extremely lightweight but also strong as hell. There is a break-in period so keep that in mind. It’s not horrible or painful, but the forefoot section of the upper does start out stiff.
I still prefer leathers over setups like this, but this works really well for what it was intended for so I can’t really complain. The new generation really enjoys their plastics and textiles so it looks like its here to stay. However, for those of you that are like me and still prefer raw materials on your performance shoes, there is a leather version coming so you may want to wait for those if the Rare Metal 2 is on your radar.
The Rare Metal 2 fits true to size. Lockdown was a bit inconsistent in the heel between my left and right foot. I tested two pairs in two colorways and I had the same left heel issue to start until the materials broke-in. I believe my feet are slightly different sizes, which is part of the problem, but the rear is also quite low so that probably made it so I noticed my sizing discrepancy more than I would in other shoes.
The midfoot and forefoot, on the other hand, were great. No issues at all.
Support is deceptively good on the Rare Metal 2. The wrap-tech outsole cups the foot well while the way its wrapped around the entire shoe provides more rigidity to the shoe in the way a shank plate would. Couple that with the 4-layered upper and the wide tooling base and you have something that is similar in feel to a Kyrie model but weighs in at only 11 ounces.
Overall, the Brandblack Rare Metal 2 is a beast on-court once, and one of the years best low top, you get past its break-in period. The traction is incredible. The shoe has no business being as supportive as it is at its weight. Cushion is way more comfortable than you’d expect. And they don’t look like anything else on the market in the basketball category — if that matters to you at all.
If you were looking for something different then this might be the change you’ve been looking for.
The Brandblack Rare Metal 2 is the long awaited follow up to the Brandblack Rare Metal. The original Rare Metal was a well-rounded on court performer designed by David Raysse. Raysse is a footwear industry veteran who previously worked at Fila, adidas, and Skechers before going independent and founding Brandblack.
For our longtime audience members, you’ll remember that we liked the Rare Metal enough to do a Brandblack x WearTesters collab with it. Needless to say, our expectations are high for this second model. Click play above to see Chris’ initial thoughts, on foot video, and performance predictions.
What’s in the video?
In the video, Chris provides detailed information from all the usual categories, providing the in depth information you need. He supplies expert level opinions on the materials, cushioning, traction, support, and fit. Here’s some of what he discusses:
- Supercritical Jetlon cushioning
- A traction pattern you’ve seen before
- Wraptech Vibram outsole
- Rare Metal versus Rare Metal 2
- Lacing options and lace lock
- Sizing recommendations
As an added bonus, Mrs. Wing tells us why she doesn’t like the Supercritical name for the cushioning and comments on how the Rare Metal 2 doesn’t look like a basketball shoe.
Watch the full video by clicking here to watch on YouTube.
How to Buy the Brandblack Rare Metal 2
The Brandblack Rare Metal 2 will be available for $250 on March 15, 2021 at Brandblack.