Brandblack Rare Metal EVO really means upgrade with all the little changes adding up to big time results. The EVO version is incrementally better than the Brandblack Rare Metal 2 in every aspect that counts.
David Raysse, the designer of the Brandblack Rare Metal EVO and Brandblack’s founder, brought back the same traction pattern from the Rare Metal 2. A move I appreciated. This is the first area that saw a small evolution change, adding more rubber not only to the Xs along the bottom but adding horizontal lines on the forefoot and heel to help aid you in stopping during linear movements. Brandblack also wrapped the pattern up along the sidewall of the forefoot to provide extra bit just in case your movements are shifter than most.
I played in the Rare Metal 2 for over seven months both indoors and outdoors easily logging over 200 hours of basketball and the outsole still had plenty of bite and plenty of rubber. Adding more rubber just means you’ll enjoy the Brandblack Rare Metal EVO even longer.
But the main reason I enjoy it is the increased stopping power on these bad boys. They are ranked just underneath the likes of the Nike Kobe 9 and Air Jordan 1 in my personal traction ratings. This shoe barely squeaks no matter which floor I played on. That may be jarring to some people who are used to hearing it, but don’t let that throw you off because less squeak doesn’t mean less traction no matter how hard you push the rubber. For me, it’s easily a top-three traction pattern of all time.
The cushion on the Brandblack Rare Metal EVO got upgraded as well. Gone is the Supercritical Jetlon. It was replaced with Zerolon (also found in the Brandblack Pro Am). The Rare Metal EVO has 15% more foam than the Rare Metal 2, which will give you a slight boost in impact protection and responsiveness. You’ll also sit a few millimeters higher than the previous model but you’ll feel almost no difference height-wise.
How that extra cushion feels compared to the previous model is similar to Ironman going from MK 1 to MK 2. It still has great impact protection and responsiveness, but it feels more refined like your joints can go a little longer, you can explode quicker, and in a game where those little advantages matter, that’s a good thing. This is ultimately what I pick and play with if I want cushion and responsiveness for a long basketball session.
The materials on the Brandblack Rare Metal EVO, visually at least, may not look that much different from the Rare Metal 2, but if you check under the hood and look a little closer then you’ll see the ripstop upper has some very noticeable tweaks that make this feel and perform better than the previous model.
First, Brandblack added more raw material to the eye stay areas (a nice bonus). Next is the ripstop material itself. It got some structural tweaks for more reinforcement in certain areas but still ventilates to let some heat escape.
As for new additions, there’s now a TPU layer that wraps around the shoe to help reinforce the upper on aggressive movements. What I personally appreciated is the new lining inside. Not only does it feel even more “day one” broken in, but it feels like it conforms to your foot better than the last one. I felt all the little addition and tweaks to the materials and upper were great.
With the fit of the Brandblack Rare Metal EVO, I’d recommend true to size for normal foot shapes and maybe narrow foot shapes. Wide footers may want to go up half a size.
For regular foot shapes, I can say going true to size you’ll be good length-wise, and have just enough room to splay your toes out so they won’t feel cramped in the shoe. What you also have is a semi-traditional lacing system that goes just past the flex point of the toes all the up to the traditional high-top level. So you can customize the fit, especially for the ankle area with three different levels and two options front to back. What worked best for me is 2 levels up and two levels back. That arrangement locked me in.
The support in the Brandblack Rare Metal EVO, just like the Rare Metal 2, is unorthodox. It works and makes you feel like you’re playing barefoot. The weight helps you feel like there’s not really anything on your feet. The slightly rounded curved base doesn’t have a runner’s wedge in the forefoot so you feel more stable no matter how hard you change speeds. You also sit within the sidewalls of the shoe so you stay on top of the midsole better. When you lace everything up to your preferred placements, that draws your ankle into the TPU-wrapped heel counter. This helps prevent your ankle from rolling over by sucking your heel into the back of the shoe.
All of this is hard to feel on the court because the Brandblack Rare Metal EVO is a lace-it-up and-forget-it type of shoe. You won’t be worried about stability and can just put in work on the court.
Brandblack Rare Metal EVO Summary
The Brandblack Rare Metal EVO is truly a great evolution of the line. The traction worked on the Rare Metal 2, but in the Rare Metal EVO, you get a better bite and more rubber. There’s slightly more cushion and it doesn’t hurt stability. The fit stays relatively the same but feels better because of the material change-ups. The support works a little better and overall is a great next step.
Once again the team at Brandblack has surprised me. I’m left wondering how they can possibly make this model better, but I’ll be here playing in Rare Metal EVO and waiting to find out.