WearTesters has tested Nike’s React cushioning in the all-new Hyperdunk 2017. Hopefully, for the last time.
Traction – If it isn’t herringbone, this is the stuff that works. Hell, this type of pressure mapped pattern might even be a little better than traditional herringbone. While I cannot give this the Kobe 9 Hall of Fame level, it is as close as it comes.
There was only one court that threw the Hyperdunk 2017 for a loop, and that court was so bad that everyone in the gym was slipping. However, I’d say that that experience was not typical so most people should be completely satisfied with how the traction on the Nike Hyperdunk 2017 turned out. It was fantastic.
Cushion – While React may be Nike’s most resilient foam cushion, it’s my least favorite. I was told by a product line manager for the brand that the same slab of Nike’s React cushion was implemented in the same exact way on the Jordan Super.Fly 2017.
I found this strange because I was able to tolerate the cushion in the Jordan Super.Fly 2017, but the Hyperdunk 2017 left my legs aching and burning. My feet would ache as soon as I’d start to warm up and they’d absolutely hate me by the end of a three hour session.
Will my experience with React be the same as everyone else’s? I highly doubt it. Some prefer firm cushion because it aids with speed and agility. There will be no loss in mobility or a feeling of sinking into mushy cushion. There are plenty of players that prefer this type of feeling.
If you prefer a springy cushion then there are plenty of options that will give you that feeling, React just isn’t one of them. If you enjoy having a quick first step that isn’t altered by mushy cushion under foot but prefer some sort of impact protection then I’d highly recommend buying a secondary insole. It may give you everything you want and everything you need.
To put things into perspective, if you love setups that are similar to the Kyrie line then you’ll love the Hyperdunk 2017. However, if you love setups closer to the Hyperdunk 2016 or KD9 then you’ll want to look elsewhere.
Materials – This Hyperdunk 2017 features an engineered mesh build. If you wanted a more premium feel you could always opt for the Flyknit edition, but in terms of overall functionality the engineered mesh works out just fine — and it’ll save you some cash at the same time.
Usually engineered mesh is lightweight, breathable, and easily damaged during game-play. The trade-off is that it requires little to no break-in time. This year Nike backed the material with a nylon and glued the two layers together. Nike has highlighted this by using contrasting colors for the base layer, which you can see here in blue. There are pros and cons to this setup; on one hand, it reinforces the mesh upper and provides greater durability. On the other hand, it limits the amount of airflow that mesh traditionally brings. While it isn’t suffocating, it is noticeable.
It still feels and acts like what you may be used to — if you’ve played in other engineered mesh models — so I don’t think that the lack of breathability is a deal breaker. If anything, going extra lengths to try and limit the amount of stress applied to the mesh during game play is a good look for those that only get one pair of hoop shoes per year.
Fit – The Hyperdunk 2017 fits true to size and I’d recommend that wide footers go up 1/2 size. However, the Flyknit version of the Hyperdunk was said to fit wide by one of our wear-testers (you can read those performance reviews by Stanley Tse) so I would recommend those for hoopers with wider feet.
Lockdown is what you’d expect — especially from a Hyperdunk. No frills, no Flywire lacing strands, no gimmicks. Just a simple throat with a basic upper built on a neutral last. Simple and effective. I love it. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy trying out new designs and features on footwear. However, with a line like the Hyperdunk, I prefer consistency.
Nike’s Hyperdunk is similar to its award winning runner, the Zoom Pegasus, where you usually know what you’re going to get each year. The brand may switch up the cushion here and there, but the basics of the shoe are almost always there.
Support – Like the fit, everything you’d expect from a hoop shoe is here. An external heel counter, along with an additional external reinforcement piece, and a TPU torsional plate are all in place. All of piece do their jobs and keep your foot on the footbed, ensuring you aren’t straining your foot.
However, where the support excels is with the midsole and outsole tooling. A number of rounded outriggers are in place on the Hyperdunk 2017 and they offer a wide stable platform without feeling clunky or restrictive. These outriggers act like bumpers that ensure you aren’t rolling over on lateral maneuvers. This is something I’ve experienced before with the Ektio brand of footwear. Unfortunately, people didn’t accept the look of the bumpers — until it was placed alongside a Swoosh — and Ektio went out of business. And yet, the function of the design is still the same and works as it did before.
Overall – The Hyperdunk 2017 is a beast on-court. Traction, materials, fit, and support are all standout features. However, Nike really needs to work on React cushion or ditch the foam entirely.
I wouldn’t be surprised if this was a one and done type of foam after lackluster experiences in these and the Jordan Super.Fly 2017. Nike could have marketed the cushion more towards the quick guard that needed a little more than just Phylon, but we’ll see what the brand does with it next year. The good thing is that aftermarket insoles are usually a solid investment for sneakers like this because you can use that insole in as many shoes as you’d like.
Would I still recommend the Nike Hyperdunk 2017? Hell yes. Traction alone makes these a worthy purchase. Cushion, as I said, can be altered with a new insole.