Sometimes, companies swing and miss. It’s not really a problem, every one does it. Sometimes, an idea is completely out there, off the wall, and so audacious that you just have to go for it. Maybe it works, maybe not. The important thing is, how does the company recover, rebound, bounce back? The Nike Hyperdunk 2016 is just that: the rebound.
The 2015 last year, well, sucked. The 2016 is the opposite of suck – it’s actually pretty good. But let’s not ruin the review so you don’t need to read the next 800 or so words. Let’s get to it…
Nike goes away from herringbone and gives us its take on blades for the Hyperdunk 2016. Very similar to the Kyrie 2, the HD has more of the pattern for better durability and stopping power. The open windows under the ball of the foot and the heel cause no problems – actually, being in those places made the traction feel even more consistent and true. Outdoors? Probably not for long, and not so much because of the rubber and pattern but the exposed Zoom windows would be a severe liability for damage.
Zoom is making a comeback this year, at least on some models, and the Hyperdunk 2016 is one of them. This isn’t the Unlocked Zoom of the XX8 or the Articulated of the KD9, but even embedded in the Phylon midsole the response can be felt. Push-offs were quick, landings were solid, no pain or impact felt back up, and the second jump came quick – no lag time waiting for the shoe to recover and respond. Most foam systems will have a “drag” to them, meaning the foot sinks in and then wiats for the response. Zoom was designed to be quick from the push, and the HD16 hits it direct. That said, the Phylon could be thinned a little so the good Zoom feels even better, but really, no complaints. The windows are the eyes to the sole.
Probably the only problem with the shoe, and it’s not really a problem as far as working well. Yes, the mesh/fuse upper feels good on foot, and yes, it is durable (so far), but this is 2013 Hyperdunk upper materials, not 2016. However, the 2013 was a model most loved (until the Lunar bottomed out), so maybe mesh/fuse like this is not a bad thing. Fused mesh is found on the lateral side for stability and support on hard cuts with open-cell mesh on the medial side for mobility and breathability. The upper is almost a one piece, with the tongue wrapping from the outside in under the laces, which makes the shoe a treasure to get on foot (what is it this year with tight openings?). The heel has an internal counter and no, it doesn’t run the full height of the heel. Flywire for lacing support in the mid-and-forefoot locks in. Overall, again, nothing ground-breaking, but it works as a package.
Excellent. Didn’t even have to lace tight to get locked in, forefoot and heel. The tongue wrap system coupled with the Flywire works together to pull the shoe down over the foot, while also tightening the forefoot around the ball of the foot and the toes. Plenty of lace loops to tighten and loosen for a custom fit top to bottom and the tongue is padded enough to keep the lace pressure minimal in most spots – there was a little pressure on the medial forefoot from the Flywire, but nothing deal-breaking. The ankle padding is dense and wraps perfectly around the ankle and heel, stopping any slipping or sliding. Oh, yeah, length is TTS but width is slightly narrow, so most will be okay staying true.
Wide base? Check. Adjustable lacing system? Check. Midfoot shank? Yeah, okay, check. Low ride? Yep, check. All the elements necessary for a good, stable shoe are here. Not a boot by any means, despite the higher ankle collar. Why not? Well, see that area just where the ankle collar starts? That is disconnected from the lower half of the shoe at that point, allowing the collar to lace tight but still move with the joint. All of the security of a high collar but flexibility of the low cut. In addition, the foot sits below the top of the midsole, right in the bucket, so the Phylon construct also helps to jeep the foot from rolling off the shoe on hard cuts or jabs. Solid.
Nike Hyperdunk 2016 Overall
For the second time this year, in a review, THIS is a Nike Basketball shoe. Nothing groundbreaking or new technology-wise, just tried and true tools for a performer. The upper is comfy, cushioning is springy, and traction and fit are ON on. The biggest relief, again, seems to be the return of Zoom. Long known as the standard of response, the past few years have seen a de-volution of the cushioning. No more. Between the Hyperrev 16, the KD9, the Hyperdunk 16, and the Jordan XXXI, it seems as if the designers are back to utilizing Zoom fully.
If you are a do-everything player – rebound, shoot, defend, drive – look no further, the Hyperdunk 2016 will help you do everything you need to. If you bought the 2014 and 2015 hoping for the best, don’t give up. The Hyperdunk 2016 easily gets back on track.