Li-Ning is back with the Way of Wade 5. How did it perform on-court? Read more to find out…
Traction – Despite how it looks, the Way of Wade 5 actually has some solid traction. For a pattern flatter than a bad joke, it somehow grabbed the floor nicely as long as there wasn’t a ton of dust. It offers some bite to the floor which is something you’ll appreciate if you move around often.
I wouldn’t recommend this particular setup outdoors, mostly due to the price of the sneaker and implementation of the pattern. The Wade line has a number of more affordable options available that have outsoles better suited for the blacktop.
Cushion – Li-Ning’s Bounce and CushioN foam system is used once again — it’s used on every Wade signature model — and this is my second least favorite version of it. (The Wade 3 holds the crown for offering the worst cushion of the line thus far.) You’ll receive plenty of court feel with these guys, but if you’re expecting cushion that feels the way it’s named then you’ll be sorely disappointed — emphasis on sore.
Charged cushion from Under Armour at least feels different depending on how you play, but the Way of Wade 5 is just a little too firm all the time. Court feel is great, but sometimes you need a little plushness underfoot.
Materials – Mesh and thin fuse underlays are in place along with synthetic overlay wings at the midfoot. Li-Ning has taken what worked well from the WoW4 and brought it over to the Way of Wade 5, but beefed the support structure up a bit. This rendition of the WoW line will offer anyone enough support from positions 1-5.
Fit – I feel the Way of Wade 5 fits true to size, but wide footers may want to go up 1/2 size. Lockdown on the shoe is incredible due to the added wings on the medial and lateral sections of the upper, along with the lacing structure because it goes all the way down to the forefoot. This type of lacing system ensures secure lockdown from every point of the shoe. From the collar to the midfoot to the forefoot, your foot will remain in place for a secure and fun ride.
Support – The platform, or base, that the shoe is constructed on is awesome. It’s nice and wide which promotes stability. This area cups the forefoot because that section of the tooling is slightly embellished and acts as a nice outrigger. A carbon fiber shank is in place at the midfoot and it’s the perfect size this time. Remember the WoW 2 & 3? Yeah, those carbon shanks ran all the way up to the toe which caused the shoe to be extremely stiff until broken in. The rest of the support comes from the upper construction and the way the shoe fits around the foot. This might be the best WoW model to date in terms of overall fit and support because it doesn’t limit mobility.
Overall – Li-Ning and the Wade Brand got almost everything right with the Way of wade 5. All it’s lacking is a good cushioning system. Like adidas’ adiPrene and adiPrene+, BounSe and CushioN are quickly becoming outdated with technology like Boost, Micro G, and full-length Max Zoom Air. No, Cloud Foam is not the answer…not even close.
Hopefully Li-Ning can get something going with the momentum it’s had since Wade signed with Chicago. If it’s able to bring a more consistent and comfortable cushion system to the market then the brand will have a much easier time selling units Stateside.