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New Balance OMN1S Performance Review

After having a rough time trying to find a pair to buy and test, our New Balance OMN1S performance review is finally here.

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New Balance OMN1S Traction

The New Balance OMN1S traction is amazing. No other way for me to describe it.

It’s a variation of herringbone, but done is a beautiful way. It’s almost like a serrated outsole that slices through dust — even on the worst courts. The rubber used gripped every court I took them on as well no matter how good or bad the courts finish was.

For me, this is the best traction I’ve used all year long. And there have been some great ones — Air Jordan 34 — but this one has proved to be the most consistent no matter what was thrown at it.

Oh, did I mention it’s durable as hell? For you outdoor hoopers… this one will last you a good while.

Except for New Balance branding, a modified herringbone pattern that plays in to the ‘Klaw’/former Raptor theme runs full length on the outsole. This moderately aggressive pattern along with the rubber compound does well to minimize the impact of dust. The solid rubber colorway tested doesn’t seem to accumulate as much dust as a translucent may, and what is built up eventually gets pushed out due to the nature of the grooves in the herringbone pattern.

It’s not always a screeching or obvious bite – but like Ja and Ashanti, it’s always on time. Traction fit for one of, if not the best, two way player in the game.

This shoe grips to the floor just like Kawhi palming a basketball with his bear claws. No matter what direction I moved, the grip just snagged the floor — in a good way. I felt no issue nor slippage with the shoe. I didn’t even wipe much (even though it’s a force of habit to kick your leg back and do a hand swipe). The traction is straight legit.

New Balance OMN1S Cushion

This is everything I want the Curry line to feel like. Court feel. Stability. Cushion. The three wish list items I always have for cushion, and one that I tend to really only get with Zoom Air.

The Fuel Cell setup is awesome and I’ve become a believer. To all of those that run in New Balance runners… man, y’all must love running around in this stuff.

I will say that it doesn’t feel quite as nice as day one, but it still feels really good. Its also really light and flexible so there is really nothing cumbersome about the shoe at all.

Don’t let the fluffy feeling exterior or Ortholite insole fool you, New Balance’s FuelCell is a little on the firm side in the OMN1S midsole. That doesn’t make it a bad cushion, however. It is a stable setup with great court feel, transition, and comfort. Impact protection is okay, but nothing you should plan on jumping out the gym in.

Overall, this implementation of FuelCell isn’t quite on the level of other brand’s top foams, but I find it to be a suitable cushion nonetheless.

While the comparisons to other brands may or may not get thrown in, the Fuelcell doesn’t exactly scream or feel highly-cushioned. You feel low to the ground, garnering more of the impact towards your legs and knee. You do feel an ample amount of it at the heel, however, there is a drop off from the midfoot to the toe. While players who like court feel will like this setup, a person that required more impact protection, like myself, I do feel my knee/back aching more since I rely on that impact protection more. It’s not great, but it gets the job done.

New Balance OMN1S Materials

The build is pretty standard for today’s modern basketball shoes. It feels like a Jaquard knit to me, and I feel it’s the safest way to go when it comes to using textiles on basketball products.

There is no real stretch to the material as the way its structured keeps everything together really nicely. It offers more of a contouring type of textile that moves with your foot instead of just wearing a sock shoe just to wear a sock shoe.

Durability has been great as well. Not traditionally something you think about in correlation with textile builds.

FitWeave is the name – the upper reminds me of the Crazylight Boost 2016 jacquard a bit. It’s flexible, but just a tad bubbly in the toe, which can be offset by going a half size down, which I did. It is a strong material, so containment is not an overall issue so long as the fit is right.

The tongue area’s stretchy knit provides crazy ventilation but does allow for some unwanted shifting. This is where the synthetic suede eyelets and collar (Heatwave colorway) play an important role. For $140, I’m not mad at the upper base, but for the synthetic touches, were talking about felt like stuff that is far from premium – it especially looks bad in the pink color it comes in.

Taking price out of the equation and going strictly performance, everything is functional.

New Balance OMN1S Fit

Going true to size, which is what I originally had done, proved to be a mistake. The shoe fits 1/2 size too long. While playing in the pair in my true size my foot was never locked in at all and there was all kinds of shifting while making any sort of movement on the hardwood.

Luckily, I was able to find a pair 1/2 size down — hit up ShoePalace.com if you’re looking for a pair. They seem to sit there even though they’re sold out everywhere else. Once I went down 1/2 size the lockdown was damn near perfect. From heel to toe and from medial to lateral side — just solid all around.

One thing I don’t love is the tongue. It’s light and well ventilated, but it’s really thin. So, there were times when I’d had laced the shoe up a bit too tight and it would cut off circulation in my foot. A quick adjustment and I all was well, but it’s just the one thing that made the shoe not quite perfect for me.

I never tried the New Balance OMN1S on in my true size. Starting with Nightwing, I heard enough recommendations to go down a half size and that seems like it was the best decision made. In length, a half size down is perfect for me, and in width I have no issues.

As I alluded to in materials, lockdown is highly dependent on the eyelets of the OMN1S, as the tongue area and midfoot band are just too stretchy for my liking.

New Balance has wide options on their direct site, but purchasing from there seems to be quite a struggle compared to retailers like Footlocker and Shoe Palace that only seem to carry standard sizing. If you are a wide footer and take a shoot at NB online’s wide options, just consider that these run long also.

Hella long (insert a “That’s what she said!”). I have a size 13 and the shoe feels like a size 14+. So, it is highly recommended to try on a pair, or if it was a guessing game – 1/2 size down at least. Luckily – New Balance might be one of the few if not so far only available grand that has the normal and wide foot option to select – Shoutout to NB for showing love for us Shrek-feet people. I went with thicker cushion socks to alleviate the extra room in the shoe and played fine, I just wish the sizing gets corrected for future models ahead.

New Balance OMN1S Support

Support and containment was horribly dangerous when playing in my true size, but as stated previously, the second pair I bought 1/2 size down feels damn near perfect.

The fit and lockdown are able to properly do their thing while the standard support features — torsion shank, heel counter and outrigger — all work really well together.

As usual, getting the right fit is step one, then everything else in support should take care of itself. The internal heel cup is nothing spectacular but combined with a good fit it will do well along with a wide-enough base, stable cushion, lockdown and torsional support. Nothing amazing, but enough to get the job done.

New Balance OMN1S Overall

While I’ve been critical about the way New Balance has been marketing the shoe, and making them nearly impossible to find, I will say that the design team that was in charge of creating the product did a really good job. If more basketball players were able to get a pair with ease instead of having to jump through hoops and pay ridiculous amounts above retail then I think you’d see a lot more New Balance logos on the court. Until that happens, New Balance basketball shoes will continue to be thought of a relic of the past instead of what they should be thought of as — one of the best basketball shoes of 2019.

I’m still not sold on this being a 1-5 position shoe but then again, what does positions really mean in this age of basketball where some NBA point guards wear max cushion sneakers and some centers often go the minimal cushion route?

New Balance does a solid job with the OMN1S coming back into the basketball marketing. Sizing needs some work but if you overcome that then everything comes together nicely for a pretty good performer.

It’s nice to see New Balance come back to basketball with a solid shoe. Would we like to see more models? Of course. Would we like New Balance to get the sizing right? Absolutely. Does the shoe hit all the checkmarks? I say it does. The shoe won’t make you play like the MVP Kawhi Leonard, but Darius Bazley and newly signed Dejounte Murray all seem to be onboard and so am I. The shoe provided everything a ball player like me requires (again – sizing and cushioning are the minor downsides) to play competitively without any worry. The shoe provided great traction and a solid build. I’m definitely excited about what’s next for New Balance as it’s a nice shoe to restart the basketball line.

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New Balance OMN1S Scorecard

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