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First Impression: Li-Ning The Villain


While the Li-Ning Turningpoint looks to be a solid performer, it’s The Villain model that may cater towards Guards a bit more.

Hit the jump for more…


Traction – The traction looks and feels amazing. Herringbone is in place along with a bolt pattern. It’s pliable just as it is with the Turningpoint but with one huge difference…


The pattern used encompasses the entire outsole. Instead of the grooves being set into the rubber they have actually removed rubber around the pattern so that there is no point in which traction isn’t hitting the floors surface allowing for greater court coverage.

These are much more flexible in the forefoot than the Turningpoint so Guards may enjoy this aspect quite a bit… I know I will.


Cushion – Much like the latter model, The Villain utilizes the same foam based cushion setup.


CushioN & BounSe are in place as the midsole foam and strategically placed high impact areas which should make for a smooth and comfortable ride while remaining protective.


Again, a removable PU insole is added with an additional layer of EVA foam at the heel. This is great on its own but it’s also nice that you have the option to use your own orthotics if necessary.


Materials – Synthetics are used along the entire upper just as they were in the Turningpoint. They’ll require minimal – if any – break-in time which is something I enjoy greatly in any basketball shoe.


The inner lining isn’t as plush as what is used in the Turningpoint but they are padded adequately to where it’s comfortable. There is also an inner sleeve for a slightly more snug fit.


Fit – These fit true to size and just as I had stated with the Turningpoint, these fit & feel like a 90’s era basketball shoe. Lighter in weight, yes, but overall they bring me back to a time when purchasing a pair of hoop shoes was a bit easier as nearly every model available was readily equipped for on-court performance.


Ventilation – These are a little less ventilated than the Turningpoint but they fit securely so far so as long as the materials can retain their shape is shouldn’t be an issues. Luckily there are some ventilated areas at the midfoot and tongue so heat will be able to escape which is better than nothing.


Support – A TPU midfoot shank plate is used along the surface made to look like Carbon Fiber. This will offer enough support along the midfoot/ arch and keep retail prices affordable.


The silver lining along the midsole should act as a support bar upon impact. Since the heel is contoured a bit, the use of the bar should minimize unbalanced compression so you don’t topple over upon landings or sharp turns. At the heel an external TPU heel counter is in place as well to provide you with a good lock-down fit and additional support.


Again, I can’t wait to play in these. They are well crafted and have some new tech in place that I have never used before so I’m extremely eager to see how these feel. Stay tuned for more as I will post some Performance Teasers once I take these out for a spin on-court prior to the full review.

  1. This is great! I’ve always had interest in the Li-Ning model since I saw the BD Dooms. For some reason I started looking back into them today thought I’d ask if you were going to review any of them, then boom this happens! lol

  2. Do these fit like Nikes? or Adidas? I know you say True to Size but my foot shape is really weird. Haha. Thanks. And looking forward to the review. The “Villain” model looks to be amazing!

  3. This looks more promising than the turningpoint’s. Can’t wait for the teasers and the full review on this.

  4. I own a pair of Li Ning, even though they are not Basketball shoes but their materials and durability is great.
    My Chinese colleague told me, Li Ning is the premium product in China selling as expensive as Nike sometimes more. In China, they even perceive Li Ning has better quality than other brands including Nike, Adidas, etc.
    Given the chance, I love to get a pair of these Villains.

  5. I can see that is evident with these shoes the herringbone jets out on the outsole like mention in some of your performance reviews.
    Since most of basketball shoes are made in China, its good Li-Ning as domestic retailer holding its own over there if look at in competitive sneaker market view at it.

  6. i was wondering what these were when i thought i saw Kevin Garnett and Mario Chalmers. But have you thought about doing something on the retro 10’s or are you waiting till thats next in line for the air jordan project.

    1. I think Garnett is with Anta… I could be wrong though. Usually dont follow many athletes signature lines.

      Ill get to the Xs, im going in order from 1-23.

  7. About how heavy would you say these weigh in at? You had stated that the “Turning Point” were around a pound. Was wondering about this model.

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