Li-Ning has made their way to the U.S. and while they often go unnoticed, I’d still like to find out if they are a worthy performance model for on-court purposes.
Hit the jump for more…
Traction – The full length herringbone is great but it’s in small sections making the court coverage minimal. One thing that I think will save the traction is how soft and pliable the rubber is. This is something you can’t visually see but you if you were able to feel it you would know exactly what I’m talking about.
Cushion – Li-Ning uses what they call BounSe & CushioN.
Here you can see their descriptions on each of the two foams.
In addition to the cushion tech, they have a removable PU insole with an additional layer of EVA at the heel. The step in feel is much like any other EVA/ foam based setup but once these are used in game I think they will have a different feeling all together. Different as in good… the midsole is soft and the design along the midsole (there are grooves in place) should help distribute weight and allow for some compression which would relieve stress on your knees & joints.
Materials – Full on synthetics are used along the upper. Each colorway may feature a slightly different overlay of materials but they will most likely be synthetic. One good thing about synthetics is that they are lightweight and require almost no break-in time. Durability may pose a problem in the long run but I should be able to get a good feel for that once I play in them.
The interior is nicely padded and the lining used is soft so these shouldn’t create much friction. You will want to wear longer socks seeing as how these are a higher cut shoe.
Fit – They fit true to size and feel amazing. There are no noticeable hot spots or folds inside of the shoe. Once I put these on it reminded me of the 90’s… I miss the 90’s quite a bit and we were given some of the best performance models within that timeframe so I really can’t wait to see how these feel in action.
Ventilation – There are large perforations on the medial and lateral side panels. The tongue is mesh which allows for some heat to escape as well. While these aren’t exactly the best ventilated shoe available, they still seem as if they will be a solid overall performer. Ventilation can be overrated at times – in my personal opinion – and while it’s nice to have a well-ventilated shoe, so long as the fit is secure then low ventilation shouldn’t pose a problem.
Support – There is an external TPU midfoot shank plate made to look like Carbon Fiber. Both styles of shank plate work nearly the same so in my eyes this isn’t a big deal at all and it allows for the price point to be affordable unlike other brands that place Carbon Fiber and instantly increase the retail price $10-20 dollars.
I’m not only impressed with the craftsmanship but also the fit and comfort just from a simple try-on. I easily get excited to wear a new pair on-court in order to see how they play but when I get a new brand to play in then my excitement quickly turns into anticipation… if I could hit the court right now I would but unfortunately I’m stuck in the Office until 5pm.