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Li-Ning Way of Wade Performance Review

You didn’t want a performance review on the Li-Ning Way of Wade, did you?


Traction – I know the DW pattern doesn’t look too impressive but believe me, you can’t judge traction by the way it looks anymore. The rubber itself is very sticky; this is great on clean courts and not so great on dusty ones. If you happen to play on well-maintained courts then prepare for some awesome coverage but if you play on a floor that gets cleaned once a week – sometimes I even question if that is being done – then you will have to wipe the soles continuously in order to receive moderate traction.

One of the outsole’s highlights is that there is pretty much traction no matter what you are doing and it’s all the same pattern so consistency is something you can expect with the Way of Wade. Combined solid traction offering plenty of court coverage along with multiple flex grooves and you have yourself one beastly performer right where it counts… at the shoes foundation.


Cushion – I love foam cushion and while Li-Ning’s BounSe & CushioN aren’t quite as awesome as Lunarlon & Micro G… it’s still pretty damn awesome. This is a much slimmer version of their foam cushion than what I had previously experienced in the Turningpoint and Villain and after playing in them for a while… I actually prefer it this way. It did lose a little of the bounce but the court feel was increased tremendously and when you have foam cushion that is as good as this… you don’t really need it to be too thick.

Just like other foam cushions, this setup absorbs and disperses impact better than anything else on the market. Yes, it lacks the responsiveness that low profile air setups bring to the table but this is solid cushion nonetheless & has long term benefits that air cushion can’t quite compete with. One thing that I feel is important is that while this type of foam doesn’t start off as ‘cushy’ as the foams I previously mentioned… it will last longer over time as it can take a beating without losing its attributes.


Material – Best materials we’ve had on a performance sneaker since the LeBron 8 V1. I know I said since the Air Jordan XX3 last time but someone corrected me and they were right… had totally forgotten about the LeBron 8 V1.

Real, buttery, wonderful smelling premium leather is used along the upper and it’s wonderful. It requires minimal break-in time since it’s so plush and it hugs the foot perfectly with the slender last that was used for the upper.

Bottom line… this shoe pretty much brought the old school way of thinking back into the way performance sneakers are made and I love it. No, it won’t last as long as a TPU based synthetic but that is why there are options available for consumers… if you want a performance model made with premium materials then you got it… if you want something to last you a bit longer then you can have that too. Not one style is necessarily “better” than the other… it’s all based on the consumer’s preference.


Fit – They fit true to size and as I stated previously… they do fit a little snug. I do feel that people should get their true size when it comes to this shoe though… leather is skin and will stretch over time, going up ½ size may please you now but in the long run… you may have wished you went with your true size.

Forefoot and heel lockdown are pretty much spot on. The forefoot fit will loosen up after you have broken them in but just readjust the laces and you will be good to go. One thing I love is the flex point placed at the ankle collar; it keeps the heel drawn into the shoe while allowing range of motion.


Ventilation – The ventilation is minimal so for those of you who absolutely feel they must have ventilation… look for something else. For the rest of you that won’t start crying about your feet “burning” or your body’s natural air conditioning system functioning properly… you will be just fine with the way things are.


Support – A small Carbon Fiber plate is in place for torsional support and it does its job perfectly fine. The eyelet panel’s TPU frame adds some additional support for the lacing structure and allows the snug fitting upper to provide the wearer with much more support than you would receive from a traditional setup. If you enjoy the fit and feel of raw materials but prefer the support of newer synthetic based shoes then these will provide you with a perfect blend of the two.


Overall – If I could continue to play in these then I would but unfortunately… there are more shoes to review. Whenever a company strives to provide us with quality, performance sometimes takes a hit… luckily this isn’t the case here as Li-Ning has been able to give us quality with performance.

Traction, cushion, material & fit are all well above average and the only so called “weak point” in the shoe is their ventilation… and that’s a personal issue that some consumers seem to have.

If you’re from my era, you’ll love how these play. If you’re from the current generation… you’ll get an eye opening experience as to what it was like growing up in the 90’s… for everyone else too jaded by brand names and logos… you can miss out on something great and leave it for rest of us who appreciate quality basketball products.


  1. Sounds like my kind of shoe(90’s kid)! Hopefully I get a chance to play in these.

    Kudos to another great review man!

  2. You convinced to wait on these shoes if they ever come out. Li-Ning is ridiculous by the way. I emailed them a couple weeks back and they responded telling me the shoes would be out by the end of the month, FAT CHANCE of that considering it is going to be the 28th tomorrow. Oh well I have a new box pair of my 2011 hyperdunks that will have to hold me over.

    1. yeah man, I wanna get some of these, and I jsut got me a pair of 2011 Hyperdunks a month or so ago…. got em for under $50

  3. I’m pretty sure this shoe is awesome like u stated, but I think that ur scores are affected by favoritism. Traction if its that bad in semi dusty courts should be lower, fit shouldn’t be so high if u have to readjust the laces, and I thought ventilation was minimal not 5 stars worthy. Still awesome review and shoe keep it up!

    1. I think not. I rated things fairly. Traction on clean and moderately clean floor is great. Heavy debris ridden courts, not so much. Knocked off a few points because of that. You break the shoe in and you readjust the laces one time, great fit… why lower the score because you have to readjust one time?

  4. Nice review man. Really hope they release in the states soon though. Really looking to purchase these if they come out.

  5. Why the change in review style? Sounds kind of like a, dare I say, advertisement? Very scripted. With all Nightwing’s new “endorsements” (Shock Doctor, Point3, unknown benefactor for the WoW, etc.), I’m starting to question these reviews 🙁 I’ve always loved your down to earth, fellow baller kind of standpoint reviews. Please go back to them!

  6. Keep doin u NW the new video style is dope.. And if u are getting endoresments u desive it.. Seriously .. Great review!

  7. Nightwing, this was another great review that you’ve become known for. I understand and appreciate you responding to critique of your video style; it did seem “professional” but also impersonal. You met your goal of making it more like a written review, but that is what the written review is for. Just for me, personally, I love your style and the personality you incorporate in your previous reviews. Regardless, thanks for another great video! Whatever you decide to do going forward, you will still have supporters.

  8. Thanks for the review, NightWing.
    The tag that is found in Air Jordan models that says “Quality Product By The Greatest Player Ever”.
    To sum your review,the W.O.W is Quality Product.
    Also, how is your wrist feeling by the way?
    My bad if you already responded to that question in the comments section before. Look forward to your other reviews.

  9. Great review Nightwing! I’ll be picking up a pair when these drop.
    Been a long time lurker on your site and enjoy a lot of your content. I just want to give you some constructive criticism. You use to do a lot of sniffing between every other sentence in your old vids and it was driving me crazy. I’m glad since you scripted this review that habit went away. Since you prep’d a script for this video, it unfortunately feels that way. The cadence and the way some of the words were emphasized were a dead giveaway. It felt more formal than genuine enthusiasm as you had in the previous videos. I think you just need to write down the major points in each category and just ad-lib those topic points from there. You know shoes well enough for information to pour out of you. Just more practice and repetition will make it feel natural. There were parts of the video you can tell were off the script and was more appealing to listen to.
    That’s my 2c. Great work on progressing yourself.

    1. I appreciate it. Grateful for your support and advice. I will do what you had advised and just hit the key topics and try to wing it from there. P.S. I have allergies… lol.

      1. I completely agree with you vinsasian. Chris, this is a shot in the dark but I think I may know why you wanted to have a ‘script’. I know you always say that you have little rants during reviews and you then start apologizeing to the viewers; you don’t kneed too. That is what makes the videos even more interesting. Your ‘rants’ show how you truly feel about the subject and also give us even more of your sneaker knowledge. For example when you had a ‘rant’ in one of the 23 days of Jays it truly experessed how you felt to haters saying you couldn’t play in retro jays. I know you may not read this but keep it up Chris!

    2. So he’s giving a performance review (literally) on your performance review. 🙂 Granted some level of good presentation has to be there but, shouldnt he be listening to the “Performance” review. NIGHTWING2303 (teal name omitted) does..by FAR the best videos, reviews, updates, photos, early releases and articles than ANYONE has ever done on the internet. His intelligence is unheralded and paramount to my interest in his opinion. It behooves everyone 10 first listen or read his detailed opinions before using or purchasing any shoe. His wit and knowledge of cultural/social fads and nuances (both old and new) are unsurpassed. So…let him sniff and brush off minor white specs oj that black display table as much as he wants!!!! 🙂

  10. Hey Nightwing good job and good work again! I have to say though that the style of the performance presentation is a little bit to impersonal. It’s like presenting the news of the day in 60 seconds! I’m not judging, it’s just constructive criticism. It’s your PERSONAL WORK and you decide what to do and i totally agree with that but it would be a good idea if you decide for example to make a poll about the new style of presentation vs the old one and you will find interesting results! Keep up with the good work!

  11. Nightwing I need serious help! I’m a 5 8″ freshman point guard and I need to choose between the Lebron 10, Kobe8, or the KD 5. I’m leaning towards the KD V because I can customize them for the same price as the Kobe 8’s but for a guard of my height which is better?

      1. Which I have and you say the Kobe 8 is ideal for a guard but what is your preference between the Kobe 8, Lebron 10, and KD V

        1. bro, you know your own playing style better than the rest of us, giving us your height aint enough for us to get mental picture of how to ball

          nightwing already did all the reviewing, just look at the scores and decide for urself!

  12. I would have to agree with the people above. I pretty much always read your review first because I am at work but then watch the video later at home. This video sort of felt like you read the review out loud to me. Still a great video and I appreicate all the hard work you do. Just my thoughts that seem to agree with the above posts. In the end its your site and your work you do. I just personally like the less scipted thoughts you have. Thanks!

  13. Surprised these are 5th considering both of our OG leather sneaker positive opinions. Fully detailed performance review as usual…Great Stuff! Completing my Jordan 1-XXVIII play starting tonight. …Playing in my DS allstar XX3s. I remember the craziness when these came out in 2008. Looking forward to balling in the Li-nings

  14. You should consider reviewing the Hyperdisruptor. Are those under the same category as the Hyperfuse 2011 and 2012’s or are you going to review them?

    1. Hey hey bro, I have 3 pairs of the Hyperdisruptors. Definitely the lightest, most breathable, and most comfortable out of the Hyper line. I have the Hyperdunks 2011, Hyperfuse 2011, HD 2012, HD Elites 2011, and Hyperenforcers. — I’d pick the Hyperdisruptors on top out of all of them. HD Elites would be number one if it had more breathability and better court feel. Hope this helps! — Nightwing, I’m going back in time and purchasing the Li-Ning Turning Point. I’m not one for heavy shoes…but if they perform well and don’t affect my speed game, I’ll give it a go. Thanks so much for all your stellar work!

  15. Once again, another solid performance review. Don’t get me wrong, i really liked the content of this review as well as all the other reviews that you made but the way this vid was made didn’t feel as “natural” as your usual vids. The older vids had a personal touch to it that it felt that the viewer was just talking to you & having a conversation about shoes which made it more interesting. Let’s just put it this way. If this was the first vid i saw from your reviews, i wouldn’t be as hooked to your reviews & your site as i am now. This is just my opinion & i know it wouldn’t matter to you but i do hope you think about it. Just try to watch your old vids then watch this one & you’d notice the difference…thanks!

  16. This is what I heard back from Li-Ning this morning:


    Thank you for your interest in Li-Ning. The Way of Wade collection will be released within the next few weeks, the shoes were delayed coming out of the factory. They will be shipped to the US at the beginning of next week. The retail price will be $135.00. They will be released online and in select stores in Miami and New York.

    Thank you

    ▶ Show quoted text

  17. I actually loved your new style of reviewing shoes. You say it straightly clear without pause so I don’t need to keep pausing my youtube player just to hear clearly what you say in your previous models. It’s not only the shoes of this world that improved, it’s the reviewer himself too. Big Applause for you NW!

  18. hyped up about the li ning way of wade, looks dope, and i wanna get a pair but where???
    how did u get a pair???
    searched it online the whole time and still cant find it 🙁

  19. Thanks for the review, I’m looking forward to possibly playing in these!
    I purchased the Li-Ning TurningPoints for last season, and they were incredible, definitely the best shoe I’ve played in yet. In your opinion, would you choose the WoW’s over the TP’s, or would I be better off getting another pair of then TurningPoints? Thanks, Nightwing!

  20. hey man, thanks for the review? just 1 question, what about the weight? is it on the heavy or light side?

  21. hey man, thanks for the review! just 1 question, what about the weight? is it on the heavy or light side?

  22. hi, just want to chime in for those who interested in this shoes.
    6’0″ 200lbs big frame
    playing 2 / 3 position
    im in the early thirties and i play leisurely on an indoor Gym twice a week.
    currently in my rotation are Lebron X and this Li Ning way of Wade.

    heres what i feel about the shoe.

    my gym floor are not that clean but not too dirty either, so ill say its “moderately” clean.
    the traction in theese are very good compared to lebron X which was’nt bad either
    so if i should give it a point maybe 9/10.

    i’ve always loved Zoom air and those 360 Zoom max on the Lebron X is still the king of cushioning IMHO
    this wade feel a liitle bit firmer than zoom but still adequate for my heavy weight, much better than Kobe 8 that i have. so score is 7/10 . i give the Lebron X 10/10 where i’ll give the Kobe 8 5/10.

    i just love the real premium leather.
    im on my thirties and theese makes me feel young again (nostalgic memories)
    9/10 from me.

    have a flat foot, and a little bit on the wide side. but this shoes fit my feet perfectly they are true to size, a little bit snug at first but give it a go and it will expand and conforms to your foot shape in less than 10 min playing time.

    i can’t say anything as this category is not important IMHO

    can’t say much yet because i just played once in theese but i feel very secured and safe in this.
    unlike those flimsy Kobe 8 . i never like kobe line, and i dont really like lebron line as well (except for the awesome cushioning on the X) i like something in the middle of those two, something like air jordan line,
    this plays like jordans for me .
    and i love it.

    side note:
    the shoe feel a little bit on he heavy side and feel a little clunky at first but you will adjust to it in 1 or 2 games.
    like i told you this is not something “light and flexible” as the Kobe line nor “heavy and bulky” like the lebron line.
    this shoes for me combined the best of both world.
    not too flexible but not too restrictive in the same time.
    not too light but not too heavy as well

    Overall i give it 9/10

    it plays like those favourite shoes from the 90’s era like Air Go LWP, Air ZOOM ’95 , Jordan XI Low.
    if you like those shoes, give this a try. but if you like those super light modern shoes like Kobe or D rose model, you will hate this.

    hope it helps, thx.

    1. Your overall score total comes out to 8.6 which should then be rounded down to an overall of 8.5 based on the grades you gave each category. The lack of ventilation is also why these shoes break in so easily as heat helps the materials soften up and then mold around your foot without much time required.

      1. hmmm thx i just want to give my personal opinions hahahaha. 🙂
        im not as good as you for giving scores , that’s a hard things to do.
        luckilly you always helped us to choose which shoes that are good for us.
        this Li-Ning Way of Wade is one of the best that i tried this year.
        yeah totally agree that the lack of ventilation making this shoes a better fitting shoes
        which is awesome in my opinion as i never really care about the ventilation .

        i just don’t like the Kobe’s line, and i don’t like all low tops except for the good ol AJ XI low.
        now my rotation are Lebron X, Li Ning Wade, and waiting for the Lebron X elite.

        just a question, night wing, is there any differences between the + enabled lebron X vs non + ?
        will the sensor makes the mid sole “stiffer” or something ?

        1. Just add up the scores and divide by how many categories (5 for yours) and you’ll get your overall.

          Ventilation is def one of those things that is a hit or miss in some shoes. Sometimes is works with you and other times itll work against you and cause blisters and such. A happy medium is always nice to find.

          I personally love playing in lows so i think youre crazy lol. Seriously though, i just like playing in lows so long as they fit properly.

          The Nike+ version may be a bit stiffer and I dont like that the part where the chip sits isnt flush so you can feel it under your arch.

          1. hahaha maybe my overweight body and the way i play the game doesnt allow me to wear low top comfortably im not a guard
            i played small forward most of the time , sometimes shooting guard.
            and basically im an outside shooter and rebounder on defensive end.
            and maybe my age doesnt help either.
            i’ve several injury , and achilles tendonitis being the latest after playing few times in kobe 8.

            thx for the tips on the nike+ thingy.

            one more thing though , have you ever tried nike ID shoes before ?
            if you did, is the sizing the same as the general realeases ?
            i’ve heard from some forums that the nike ID sizing is tend to be a little bit bigger ?
            i’m currently have lebron X size 11 on my rotation
            and i want to order the lebron x elite ID

            thanks a lot.

            oh another thing, this li ning WOW is not cheap
            at least not in my country.
            it cost me about US180 .
            more expensive than Kobe 8 and KD V.
            about the same price as the Lebron X 🙁
            but i like the shoes so for me its worth it 😛

            1. The iDs I have fit me true to size but the most recent I have is the KD V… even then I only have a few pairs of iDs but they all fit me perfectly in a sz 9.

  23. there seems to be no outrigger for way of wade and turningpoint. how does this provide stability, especially for ankle sprain, similar with other basketball shoes with outrigger? i think i have been used to ektio after your great review. then with your review of wow and turningpoint, i’m keen on buying one but can’t afford to have another ankle injury due to past sprains and achilles injury.

  24. I hate that these aren’t more widely available in the states. The man won the Championship last year and again this year and they still haven’t pushed them here in the USA yet. Sad. They would absolutely be cleaning up right now. MOney would be thrown at them. He’s going on his Encores and we still don’t have the original and the site is not even available to buy anything. Shame.

    1. it depends on which li-ning store you go to. if you go to a factory store they will definetly not have but if you go to a big store( not a small one) they should have them. i went to a store the other day and i saw them but they didn’t have my size. correction from my other comment size 9.5 and down

      1. Thanks man, are you living in beijing? Caus if you are, can you give me an address for one of the big shops?

  25. BTW the li-ning way of wade warrior(these ones) are only availible in a size 9 and down. You can’t get a bigger size unless you like special order or something. And you can’t do it online.

  26. Hey nightwing have you ever tried to swap the bounse cushion insole to kobe8s lunarlon? does it fit? will that give the WoW a better cushion with the same court feel? because i feel like the bounse cushioning is a bit minimal specially on the forefoot. If i can’t use the lunarlon insole, what insole would you suggest to give me additional cushioning on the WoW? hope to hear from you. thank you! 🙂

  27. Hey, I love your reviews and everything! I was just wondering, what is this color way called and where could I get it?

  28. Good read bro one thing I wish u added because I’m looking all over. What is the weight of these shoes in oz?? Any help. Thanks

  29. hey guys, i’m thinking of buying the Team No Sleep cw , will the outsole last on cement courts?
    thanks 🙂

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