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Nike Hyperlive Performance Review

Talk about flying under the radar. The Nike Hyperlive released this year to no fanfare and even less publicity. That’s a real problem, because the shoe deserves WAY more than it was given. How does it compare to this year’s top performers? Find out with the WearTesters Nike HyperLive Performance Review…


Nike hyperlive performance review 1

Freaking fantastic. Expectations were not high due to the pattern, but much like the Hyperchase last year (actually, just like the Hyperchase last year), the outsole was great. The hexagonal nubs have traction lines running across them in different directions, so it could be called multi-directional, but the way the nubs stick out from the sole and the spacing works. Dust is not a problem, even on the dirtiest, nastiest, swampiest courts (thank you 24 Hour Fitness). The rubber is stiff and the pattern is thicker than most so even outdoors you should be good for at least a couple of wearings. (Sarcasm — a few months or longer before they are completely gone.)


Nike hyperlive performance review 2

Here’s the only major problem with the Hyperlive, and it is an isolated problem: the drop-in midsole. Made of polyurethane, not Lunar foam, the midsole is stiffer on initial wears and takes MANY games to soften up to a semi-Lunar level, but honestly, not a bad thing. Bigger players will appreciate the longevity (Lunar does tend to bottom out) and the stiffness for support, but players looking for cushy/plush need to keep looking.

The Hyperlive does feel quick; the response is immediate because of the lack of sinking into the foam, so quicker players wanting ultimate court feel should be extremely happy. If you must, the Kobe insoles all swapped out easily, as well as the Lebron IV articulated Zoom insole. 


Nike hyperlive performance review 3

Hmmm…on one hand, the very first Hyperfuse felt good and broke in nicely, hugging the foot and flexing great. On the other hand, that was, what, six years ago? Eight? Materials have drastically changed in that time, except on the Hyperlive. Not a bad thing, again, if you like the open, rope-like mesh-type of Fuse.

The upper starts off STIFF, Shawn Bradley stiff, and didn’t break in much over the 2.5 weeks of testing. For a low cut shoe like this one, that adds some stability, but it also caused some boot-like slappiness when running, at least for the first two-three wears. After the midsole breaks in some, and the mesh/Fuse begin creasing, the fit improves and the clunkiness disappears. I love the tongue — almost Pro Combat-like padding at the top and lace pressure is nil. The stiff mesh and solid outsole should mean outdoor life Boy Scouts would be proud of. 


Nike hyperlive performance review 4

Perfect. Honestly, after the break in, fit was dead on. The asymmetrical lacing system took lace pressure off the foot and wrapped the lateral side completely over into the medial midsole. The heel cut is really low, but the heel cup comes almost to the top of the collar and the heel notch snugs right around the foot. The HyperLive looks long but only because of the last lace placement — stay true to size and enjoy. One of the best fitting shoes EVER (wide-footers, you MAY be okay, but only if you give the upper time to break in). 


Nike hyperlive performance review 5

For a low top, surprisingly, not bad. The ankle counter runs high and keeps your foot vertical instead of horizontal. The stiff materials do come in handy to hold your foot in tight and not allow movement while playing. Under the arch there is a PU molded support for midfoot support. The best support is the midsole/bumper on the lateral forefoot. As narrow as the forefoot is, and it’s Taylor Swift skinny, the raised guards keep your foot on the footbed and stop rollovers before they start (like, it has ESPN or something). The lateral side has fuse overlays across the ball of the foot for even more trapping. And this is where the stiffer midsole helps; it doesn’t bottom out as quickly as a Lunar so the foot sits flatter longer. All in all, a low that everyone can get into.

Nike Hyperlive Overall

Nike hyperlive performance review 6

The Nike Hyperlive was impressive in it’s overall performance, but only one area really stood out: fit. It is one of those shoes that could be better, but is still a fun ride and a no-frills player. If you are a guard/forward, or even a bigger guy who can wear lowtops with no worry, then the Hyperlive is a good look for a budget model to get you through summer. Durable, grippy, and cushion that should last.

If you need a soft or bouncy cushioning and ankle “peace of mind,” keep looking. Nike, for some reason, your team models and budget shoes were really nice this year. Hopefully the signature models borrow and catch up for 2016.  

Nike hyperlive performance review 7
  1. Wide foot opinion after having the shoe for a while, stay true to size like Duke said. Break in process will be a little painful. But after that it will be an extension of your foot.

    1. I say wide footers stay far far away from this shoe. It’s one of the skinniest I’ve seen in awhile. Even sizing up 1.5, it was too narrow for me. With so many options available, don’t even bother wide-footers.

      1. I’m a wide footer myself but I didn’t find it tight with moderate lacing. It did however gave me discomfort when I tightened it further on my shorter foot (right). Nonetheless, it became an extension of my foot (my left at least) on my first fit but I’ll give it a burn to see whether it’s a keeper.

        On one hand, my Dad absolutely loves the pair, given his feet a narrower and slightly longer than mine.

  2. Great review Duke. I keep thinking about getting a pair and dropping my Lebron 4 or flightposite insoles in to get a nice zoom ride. Now that these are seeing heavy discount I think I will try it.

  3. Got my pair two weeks ago.I’m an outdoor player(only courts in my city) so I wanted a shoe that could hold up on the blacktop,and all I can say is I FOUND IT!!!The traction on these is terrifying,I found myself stopping immediately regardless of my speed.The cushion is rather stiff and they hurt the outside of my right forefoot(CP3 IX,anyone??),but I’ve only played in them 2-3 times so far so I think they’ll get better after I break them in.

    I’m in Maseru btw,in Lesotho(A tiny landlocked country in South Africa).Yes Weartesters,we have sneakerheads here too.

  4. personally, I would say these look and feel generic in person. not saying it’s a bad shoe but rather saying mediocre overall. considering there are a lot of better options and sales out there at $100.

  5. I’m a heavier player that loves lows and I love the drop in these over any lunar Kobe XI. I guess because of my weight (200lbs) I can feel the response in the midsole so it doesn’t feel as stiff. The only thing I sort of disagree with is the fit they are form-fitting but they also fit a little short just like last years Hyperchase.

  6. can i use the Lunar with full zoom insole of the Lebron 11 on this?
    or there is no chance?
    Lebron 11 insole are perfect , can anyone try it?

    1. I use my 11 insole in my hyperchase so i assume it would work in these as well. Feels awesome btw

      1. thanks the hyperlive all star are on sale for 100$ in dubai, and still expensive i think, so ill wait till they go Rock Bottom and buy one

  7. Are these better or similar to kyrie 1 fuse? I loved those, and i was thinking about buying these and using my kb 11 midsoles

  8. I got mine a couple of months ago and it has been my go to kicks.. i’ve been switching between DLillard1 and Hyperlive, but i think i might stay with the Hyperlive. Probably gonna get some newer CW the EYBL Hyperlive or those “ICY” Grey and Blue..
    Fit is very nice, i play 1-2 and it’s a great shoe for a Guard IMO, either your playing for recreation or competitively..

  9. heads up for people who want to play in this shoe: the paul george all star edition and the net collectors society pair have a softer upper than the regular ones, as they use a different mesh without a fuse backing (there is fuse over high wear areas but they are a lot more flexible), i have three pairs of the hyperlives (love playing in them) and the regular ones don’t come close to the two that i mentioned in terms of comfort

  10. also i have no idea why, but the cushion in the all star and the net collector joints feel softer than it does on the regular ones, almost lunar like, but not as mushy, i don’t know why, or if it’s all in my head

  11. Hah, never thought I’d hear/read a Mean Girls reference on on Weartesters but well played sir! ??

  12. I quite enjoy the polyurethane setup on these guys. It feels nice a squishy under my feet. To be fair though I’m 6’5″, 250ibs so I imagine I compress the foam a lot more than most. Could be why a lot of players wear these as my frame is more similar to that of the average nba player. Likewise lunar by itself is never enough for me. I get only a few good wears before I can feel too much of the floor.

  13. How much do these weigh? Because I really like being light on my feet. Although the Kobe Mentality II is the lightest shoe I have seen on this site so far, I am on a budget and I hear that Lunarlon does not last long.

  14. i want a low top that i can also use to play volleyball, my budget can only afford this, the kd8 which is 40% off right now here in the phillipines and the most expensive on my list is the hyperdunk low… im on the heavy side too.

  15. Hi duke. Just wanted to ask you a question. I just tried the hyperlive size 7 in store and I was golden. But then I put in my orthotic insole for my shorter right leg and suddenly I felt pain in the lateral pinky side of my right foot being pinched and strangled by the upper. So I gave it another shot with a 7.5 and I was good, but not golden like before. Support is big for me after 2 knee injuries so should I stick it out with 7 for another painful break-in like the kd9 or go with 7.5? Thanks and love your work ?

  16. hey ny jumpman quick question. both this shoe and the hyperrev2016 are onsale for $100 and im wondering which one to get. any tips?

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