Converse Basketball is back, again, with the Converse All Star Pro BB and here is our performance review.
The traction on the Converse All Star Pro BB is the one area that I wish was better. I can’t say the traction was downright bad because at times, it was nothing short of awesome. Then, randomly and without warning, I’d lose all of that wonderful grip and wipe out. I can’t tell you why it happened, all I know is that it did and it would do it when I’d apply pressure heavily on the entire surface of the sole. If I was just staying on my toes, which is how I end up moving around screens and such anyway, then everything was perfectly fine.
Just like most of the current Nike Basketball shoes I’ve been testing as of late, the outsole has a film on it that needs to be worn away. If you take these for a spin, chances are that you may feel like the outsole is a little slick to start. Stick with it and it’ll get better over time.
The rubber is soft and will fray, especially outdoors, but it’s also squared so they should last longer than something like the Nike Kobe AD NXT 360.
Full-length React cushioning is used in the form of a drop-in midsole, much like the Nike Kobe AD NXT 360 — a shoe I feel is most comparable to the Converse All Star Pro BB.
While I did enjoy the ride of the Kobe AD NXT 360 a little more, it wasn’t drastic enough to blatantly say I prefer one over the other, unless we’re talking about the lining used on the footbed. That’s where I really had a problem with these guys.
The lining used is a canvas-like material, a nod to the classic Converse Chuck Taylor. However, it’s something the pads of my toes hated. The bottoms of my feet were getting chewed up like crazy, to the point where they looked like they were being rubbed raw. I tried every style of sock I own and nothing really helped — it’s just a bit too coarse for my feet, I suppose.
The cushion itself was smooth and offered a slight bounce when brand new. The bounciness of the React went away rather quickly, but my legs felt just fine after three hour hoop sessions. Great court feel with moderate impact protection for a low-profile style of play. If you enjoy feeling fast on your feet, then these will make you feel as if you’re as nimble as a deer. Almost to the point of feeling as if you’re barefoot on the hardwood. It’s an interesting feeling, but if you’ve played in Kobe’s with drop-in midsoles, then you likely already know what to expect.
The materials are a mix of mesh and canvas — with a a bit of Fuse keeping things together. While the shoe doesn’t feel premium, they didn’t feel as if they were made of nothing — which is how I felt with the Nike Kobe AD NXT 360. When fully laced, the shoe’s build wraps up and around your foot like a sock. It’s similar to the Chuck Taylor and its canvas build but it barely provides enough support for gameplay.
The entire shoe is very minimal and reminds me a lot of a Nike Free. If that is what runners consider to be a minimalist running shoe, then this is a minimalist basketball shoe.
The Converse All Star Pro BB fits true to size. However, they’re very snug. Like, really snug, especially at the toe. Something most of you already know I love — and I sure as hell did love it. I had a great one-to-one fit and feel while wearing these guys on-court. It’s exactly how I wish the Nike Kobe AD NXT 360 fit me.
While tight, everything moves really nicely with your feet, which are the pros to using textiles, canvas and super thin TPU overlays. The cons? (no pun intended) is that they’re not very durable. My pair looks like I’ve been using them for much longer than I actually have been. I will say that I did wear the hell out of them though. I really liked how everything fit and felt overall — minus the insole lining and inconsistent traction.
Support doesn’t look like much; they’re missing almost everything the Nike Kobe AD NXT 360 had from the TPU shank to the external heel counter. However, they do feature a smaller internal heel counter along with a fit that really promotes a natural feel. Again, very minimalist overall. It’s as if you’re not even wearing shoes. Some may love it, while others may hate it. As long as you know what type of shoe you like to play in, then you may end up really enjoying something like this, especially if the Nike Kobe AD NXT 360 was your thing.
Eric Avar did what Eric Avar does: he made a really good basketball shoe. It’s not perfect and I didn’t expect it to be. I would’ve liked to have had slightly better traction and an insole lining that didn’t want to chew my feet up when running around. Everything else in the shoe I really enjoyed, from the lightweight feel to the one-to-one fit.
The Converse All Star Pro BB is a far cry from anything Avar created with the late 90s/early 00s Nike Alpha Project Series, but they were much better than I had anticipated. Enough to say I actually liked them. Had the traction been better I’d probably keep these in my gym bag as a backup pair. For now, that’s still what my Air Jordan Alpha 1‘s are for.