Even after heading in a new direction, the Nike PG 4 doesn’t disappoint too badly. Click through for our full Nike PG 4 Performance Review.
Similar to the moon landing inspired pattern from the PG 3, this Full-Length Air inspired pattern performed better than I had anticipated.
Every court I took the PG 4 to just proved how good the traction was night after night. Even on the worst, and dirtiest, of courts the pattern accumulated the debris from the floor, but it did not let it affect the grip in a way that made me want to change shoes. There would be times when I would be surprised to see just how much dust was collecting and falling off of these things without me noticing while playing. Best of all, the pattern is done in a way that you receive consistent traction from every spot on the sole. The grip I received at the midfoot was the same at the heel. Which was the same at the toe and both medial and lateral sides. Just consistent coverage without worry.
Traction was reliable and consistent. Two things you need when it’s the foundation of your basketball shoe.
The PG line had been using my personal favorite cushion (Zoom Air) and then they decided to switch things up for the PG 4. Initially, I didn’t want the change. I love Zoom Air and I was wishing they had just used the Zoom strobel featured in the KD12. But the Air strobel used here proved to be just as nice — maybe even better than nice for some people.
Zoom Air has a bounce to it. You compress the unit and when you begin to lift your foot you can feel the air bag bounce back into shape in a quick and snappy fashion. Air is more of a pillow. You land onto [then into] the bag while it absorbs impact along the way. It won’t bounce back in a way that you can feel, but it maintains its shape well, so by the time your foot strikes again you have another soft and absorbent landing for the duration of the cushioning’s lifecycle.
Some players, like myself, prefer the quicker snappy feeling Zoom provides. However, there are a lot of players that love this pillowy feel under foot. It will make you feel like you’re sinking into the midsole a bit, but luckily the Air unit is thin enough to not have an effect on mobility and speed.
The midsole is thicker than I’d like, but its also wide and stable. Often times when you have plush cushion you lose stability, but that doesn’t happen with the PG 4. I do think they could have achieved the same cushioned feel with a slightly thinner midsole, but this setup wasn’t a major deal breaker.
Personally, I still prefer Zoom Air. But, there are going to be a lot of players that will fall in love with Air all over again.
Materials are pretty standard for today’s modern textile/knit builds. The main difference is that they used a shroud with a zip-up enclosure. This aspect reminds me of the good ‘ol 90’s. A time when zippers were cool and ventilation was an afterthought. Luckily [for us] we now live in the 2020’s (crazy to think about) so ventilation wasn’t an afterthought this time around.
The medial half of the zip enclosure is an open knit. This area doesn’t have the torque and pressure from game play applied to it throughout your time on-court so having it remain breathable is a welcomed change. Whereas the lateral section is more of a traditional shroud with a stronger layer in place to hold you on during your cuts and lateral moves.
The shoe fits a bit awkwardly. They run short length wise so I ended up going up 1/2 size. Once broken in the shoe fit perfectly, but left me wishing there was a bit more lateral support.
The lacing system under the shroud really helped save the overall fit from being too sloppy. I would have loved to have seen the foot rest within the midsole a bit more with a setup like this. There were times when I’d be moving around and would feel my foot move over the footbed a bit. The shoe held itself together well enough, but it could have been better. Especially when being compared directly to previous PG iterations where forefoot lockdown/containment seemed to have been a priority.
Because of these small containment issues I felt the support suffered a bit. The platform was wide and stable once planted, but getting yourself into planting position wasn’t as smooth as it could have been. Torsional support wasn’t awful, but also could have been a bit better. Perhaps the full-length Air hindered the use of a torsion bar? I’m not exactly sure. All I know if the overall tooling does feel a bit soft all-around.
If you’re needing a much stiffer setup under-foot then this isn’t going to be the shoe for you. If you’re not in need of a stiff or rigid setup, then the PG 4 may end up being perfect for you.
Overall, the Nike PG 4 was very solid, but not as well rounded as I would have liked. They remind me of the Curry 7 — only opposite. The Curry 7 focused on stability and left cushion behind — even with the combination of HOVR and Micro G. Whereas the PG 4 took a new stance on cushion, and left a bit of the support/containment from the previous models behind.
I feel most people will enjoy the shoe. The $110 price point makes most people feel they’re getting a great shoe full of tech. Which, isn’t completely inaccurate. The tech specs are much more appealing than they are in the similarly priced Nike Zoom Freak 1. However, the comfort and traction aren’t enough for me to make them a go-to in the gym bag. That honor currently goes to the Nike Kobe 5 Protro — #MambaForever