Elite performance or elite price?
Cushion – 360 Zoom… Max Zoom… whatever you want to call it, its awesome. Still limits overall flexibility but the slimmed down midsole (in direct comparison to the LeBron X) definitely helped out tremendously. If you’re looking for maximum cushion that doesn’t lack responsiveness then this type of cushion is a great option. However, if you’re the type of player that prefers to be one with the court and remain light on their feet then this type of setup isn’t what you’re looking for.
Materials – Similar materials and structure to Nike’s HyperRev but a bit more supportive and durable. The mesh itself is a single layer that is pretty coarse and strong, not sure what its made of – as far as thread/ fiber type – but its strong enough to stay in one piece… at least so far. Nylon backs the interior of the shoe, much like the Kobe 9 EM, which adds additional structure and support plus the nylon offers very little stretch so thats a huge plus; especially when it comes to this low top upper and bulky Air based bottom. Then there is the foam structure in between the mesh and nylon… the amount of structure in place is significantly greater than the HyperRev thus giving the wearer a much more structured and supportive shoe overall. It’s probably not my ideal setup but its works for what it is so I can’t really complain too much.
Fit – They fit true to size and lockdown was decent. There was a nice little hot spot right where the dual tongues overlap at the base of the laces during my first few wears (yes, I wear Elite socks and it didn’t help) but it went away the more I wore them. Dynamic Flywire is in place and acts as the lacing structure… this worked fine for the HyperRev but I didn’t enjoy it much with this shoe. I found myself constantly having to readjust the laces after games to achieve the greatest amount of lockdown possible – speaking in terms of lateral lockdown, heel was perfectly fine for me.
Ventilation – The KD VI wasn’t the best when it came to ventilation and air flow… they lacked quite a bit with the plastic one piece Fuse upper. These are infinitely better and offer much more air flow. I’d say they were pretty close to the HyperRev so if you enjoyed how they were then its pretty similar.
Support – The support is weird. If you were to take the upper and the midsole/ outsole and treat each as their own support pieces then they’d each do fairly well on their own. Put them together and it becomes a little jumbled up. Their base if flat, wide and supportive overall while promoting pretty good stability once you get used to being on the Air unit. With the upper… its more on the minimal side – similar to the HyperRev – and at times a little sloppy until you readjust the laces again. Again, separately… they aren’t bad… but putting them together doesn’t work as fluidly as one would like. If the upper from the KD VI was used on the Elite and the upper from the Elite was used on the KD VI then the midsole/ outsole construction & design would have flowed better while in motion than they do as they are now.
Overall – I don’t hate them but I do feel that certain aspects just didn’t flow as smoothly as they could have – or should have – while playing. Like I said above… if the uppers of the KD VI and KD VI Elite were swapped then I think they’d have played a lot better. Some key highlights from the Elite are their traction and cushion… everything else was okay but nothing to write home about. Is the $200 price tag worth it? Thats up to you… as the consumer, it always is. If a product offers you what you want or need then you’re the only one that can make that decision. I know that for me, personally, there are other shoes out there that offer me more of what I want and that has nothing to do with the price point at all. I suppose, if the shoe fits… wear it.