One of the best brands in the game has a certified hit on its hands: the BrandBlack Rare Metal.
Traction – Beastly! BrandBlack updated the blade traction pattern previously featured on the JC2, JC3, Force Vector, and Ether by adding integrated grooves throughout to channel dust through the blades if debris get excessive during gameplay — I’m looking at you 24 Hr Fitness. While the compound isn’t ideal for outdoor use in terms of longevity, indoor hoopers will likely enjoy the traction immensely.
Cushion – Like the blade traction, cushion has been updated as well. No BlackFoam this year. Instead, it’s what BrandBlack calls Jetlon EVL — aka Jetlon Evolution. It’s more absorbent than the original Jetlon but lower to the ground. You end up with a shoe that’s not only wickedly comfortable but one that offers great court feel in addition to protection upon impact. An added bonus is just how smooth the ride is on-court. Your stride will feel effortless while laced up in the BrandBlack Rare Metal and that’s something every player should enjoy.
Materials – Jacquard is becoming increasingly popular amongst brands and that’s what we have here. The knit is tight and supportive while feeling light and free around the foot. If you haven’t experienced a woven or knitted hoop shoe yet, then start with a model made of this stuff. If you like it then you’ll be addicted to the fit and feel.
There are also some strategically placed TPU overlays for added protection of the materials in high-wear areas. This addition ensures that this shoe will last as long as possible throughout the beating you’re about to give them on-court.
Fit – The BrandBlack Rare Metal fits true to size and will accommodate wide footers nicely due to the materials used. If you wanted the most snug fit possible then going down 1/2 size should work out for those with narrow feet. My regular size was perfect for me, and even when I tweaked my ankle I was able to wear my brace without issue.
Lockdown is solid. The midfoot offers a traditional lace setup that gets the job done. Meanwhile, the collar is high in the front and low in the back. This draws your ankle into the heel counter ensure for epic lockdown at all times. There is also a nicely sculpted heel that ensures a secure fit as well.
Support – Everything you need, and nothing you don’t. From the lateral outrigger, to the wide base, internal torsion plate and heel counter, the BrandBlack Rare Metal has got it all. It’s a shoe that was made for a guard but can take care of a big man. Yeah, we have a feeling you’re going to like these, a lot.
Overall – Yet another brand that offers you the best there is for as little as possible. For $110 you get the most modern materials, the brand’s most advanced cushion to date, and exceptional traction. No, it isn’t suited for outdoors, sorry. Indoor players, however, the BrandBlack Rare Metal might end up being one of your go-to hoop shoes.