Li-Ning Sonic Team Low
The Li-Ning Sonic Team Low is one of the best outdoor basketball shoes, especially for quick and agile guards.
Release Date: 2022
The Li-Ning Sonic Team Low does not have Dwyane Wade’s name attached to it, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad performer. I enjoyed all my time wearing this shoe, especially after the break-in period. Whether you’re a guard who always plays outdoors or a player who prefers minimal cushioning and wants to try something different, you will love what these shoes offer.
The traction pattern is radial throughout the shoe, with one center on the forefoot and the other on the heel. The rubber compound is what Li-Ning calls “Tuff RB,” or tough rubber. It’s even engraved on the outsole with the words “for outdoor use” beside it. And I have to say: it stayed true to its name. I had no issues with grip on outdoor courts. Durability was its best feature. Even after hours upon hours on rough concrete surfaces, it just looked dirty. No heel drags. No bald spots. No fraying.
It also works well on indoor courts, though not as good as in outdoor settings. I was worried that it might damage the wooden floors because of its tough nature (like when signs tell you not to wear dress shoes on indoor courts), but that didn’t happen. The only con I see for the traction is it makes the shoe bottom heavy.
The Li-Ning Sonic Team Low midsole is full-length Light Foam, Li-Ning’s most basic foam compound. There are cored-out sections at the bottom for better compression at the ball of your foot and in the heel. To the touch, it feels like it has some rebound but is firm for the most part. That’s how it felt underfoot, too. Although I didn’t feel like my legs were dead after a two-hour hoop session outdoors, I couldn’t feel much feedback or plushness either. It’s neutral and best for quick guards.
Li-Ning uses what they call Cool Shell which apparently “eases foot temperature during sports.” Did it do that? Yes, but not noticeably any better than other shoes with textiles and rip stops. Speaking of, the materials on the shoe are divided into two. The front half is a two-layered ripstop, and the back half is a mesh with a medial overlay reminiscent of the one on the Nike Fly.By Mid 3. The tongue is soft and well-padded.
Fit is true-to-size for everyone except wide-footers. The Li-Ning Sonic Team Low is narrow in the forefoot, so wide footers should go up half a size. The break-in takes a while: about three hours of play. After that, though, they feel one-to-one, and no part of the shoe feels loose.
The fit aids support, so ensure you get the right size. My favorite feature in this aspect is the heel support. The internal heel counter is beefy and rigid and feels just as durable as the outsole. The external one is an overlay of synthetic leather that adds more support and design. My heels never slipped, and I felt like the Li-Ning Sonic Team Low and my feet were always one.
The broad base takes care of lateral support, even without a traditional outrigger. The ripstop makes sure the foot is contained during all movements, even on aggressive lateral cuts. You also sit within the midsole, which further craters your feet. Safe to say that you’re protected in the Sonic Team Low.
Li-Ning Sonic Team Low Overall
The Li-Ning Sonic Team Low is one of those shoes that not many people will be interested in, either because it comes from an overseas brand or its price and tech specs, but one that I can easily recommend to all outdoor basketball players. Shifty and agile guards will especially love these.
I feel like they’re the equivalent of the Nike Kyrie Low 5 but with a much more durable outsole for the blacktop and concrete. These easily belong on our Best Outdoor Basketball Shoes and Best Budget Basketball Shoes lists.
How to Buy the Li-Ning Sonic Team Low
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