Traction: The Nike Air Max Audacity 2016 uses a pliable rubber compound along the outsole. If the traction looks familiar it’s because it was carried over from last year’s model, which was worn by Anthony Davis. The latest model, the 2016, is currently worn Ben Simmons, the NBA’s #1 draft pick. The rubber traction is quite inconsistent and found myself wiping more often than I should because I was in slip-n-slide mode like a noob on an ice skating rink.
Those who plan to used these outdoors should turn to something else because the rubber compound won’t last as long. If you play on pristine NBA/NCAA courts you should be okay. If you’re on a dusty court, you’re better off roller skating blind-folded. Regardless of the position you play, the traction just didn’t cut it.
Cushion: Air MAX!!! The 180-degree Air Max bag on the heel gives enough proper cushioning upon landing impact. The shoe also features a soft Phylon midsole to help with the compression and friction upon landing. This setup isn’t my cup of tea because I prefer being lower to the ground. Had the shoe used an Articulated Zoom Air unit on the heel and inserted an EVA crash pad foam beneath the forefoot it would have been more forgiving. However, this is a budget friendly model, so for $100 having an Air Max unit and a soft Phylon is already a plus.
Materials: The Nike Air Max Audacity features a soft mesh upper along the shoe that is backed with some foam panels at areas where cushion is necessary. Fuse is utilized at high-wear areas such as the toe box, along the areas where the lacing strands are located, and around the heel. A stretchy neoprene backing allows for an easy on-foot feel. Nothing to run around and flaunt about, but pretty basic and standard for an everyday ball shoe.
Fit: Adequate. The shoe fits great as long as I laced it tight. The Flywire strands keep your foot locked into the footbed. With the exception of the lackluster TPU heel counter, the shoe fits true to size. The ankle color is dense but not overly padded. When paired with the neoprene heel collar it makes for an easy stretch and fit. Even if you wear thick socks and an ankle brace, your fit should more than suffice. Wide-footers, no need to worry — theNike Air Max Audacity is wide-foot friendly.
Support: The support comes directly from the fit of the shoe, which is the main issue due to the flimsy TPU heel counter and the slippery outsole traction. These two items on the shoe just don’t work well together, even if it is just a budget model shoe. I’d like to see a more padded ankle/Achilles collar, however, it was good enough as long as the shoe was laced tight. While I understand that the basketball division works on a particular budget, we would definitely like to see these particular issues adjusted for the next iteration.
Overall: Swoosh. Nothing ground-breaking or new technologically innovative, but the shoe does its job. For a budget friendly shoe, the materials were implemented tastefully. The cushioning setup was adequate with the soft Phylon midsole and the 180 Max Air bag, although not my cup of tea. For big men who slash and cut and play on pristine courts, you shouldn’t have a problem with these (I don’t have much access to a pristine court).
The Nike Air Max Audacity 2016 is definitely not on the Hyperdunk 2016 or KD9 level, but those watching what they spend would be surprised with this shoe. Here’s hoping the Audacity 2017 makes some adjustments with the budget because this was a surprisingly decent shoe. Until next time.