Being only the 21st basketball athlete that Nike has awarded a signature model means there are big shoes to fill, and Paul George has his work cut out for him. Let’s see if the Nike PG1 can hold its own…
Traction – The solid rubber outsole and traction worked above average; the diamond-gridded nodules held their ground on most conditions. That isn’t to say I didn’t have some minor slippage when the pattern picks up big chunks of dust, but one or two wipes and you’re back at it without skipping a beat.
The highlighted area showcases the location of the forefoot Zoom Air unit (the translucent rubber actually showed the Zoom Air section) — it’s something simple, but it’s the little things that matter, especially for us at WearTesters. I recommend sticking to the solid rubber outsole for traction consistency.
For those considering using this shoe for outdoors, the durability might not last as long due to the thin nodules.
Cushion – The cushion is bottom-loaded forefoot Zoom Air Unit for the PG1. The Phylon midsole used here is actually softer than most Nike basketball shoes I’ve tested, and the setup was a very responsive low-to-the-ground ride.
You don’t feel the forefoot Zoom unit much, especially for those that are expecting bounce-back, but it gets the job done. For a big man like myself, I do prefer more cushioning — top-loaded Zoom Air in the forefoot and heel, full-length Zoom, or double-stacked Zoom Air units — but I didn’t have a problem with these. I was surprised, especially coming from a recent knee injury. to see how supple the Phylon midsole felt. Forefoot Zoom, soft Phylon midsole, responsive court feel — that combination is definitely a setup worth taking a second look at.
Materials – Drum roll please?! The materials here are absolutely the star of the show. Nubuck midfoot to heel, mesh material transition with fuse overlays on high wear areas from midfoot to toebox, solid rubber traction, footbed strap that is locked down with Flywire, and a bootie construction — superb!
The execution and design was clearly well thought out. There’s a bit of an ol’ school vibe from using good ol’ materials that work on a modern shoe. The materials used on this shoe were incredibly functional; they didn’t add bulk or additional weight to the shoe. Overall, the materials used here are very well implemented and my favorite aspect of the shoe.
Fit – Fit was like a glove, a size too small. The shoe is hella narrow and fits super snug. I lucked on getting a half a size up (because it’s damn near impossible to find a size 13.5). I tried on both my regular size 13 and a size 14. For the size 13, my foot went in, with somewhat semi-violent interaction and mild blood circulation slowly cutting off…then, there was numbness. The size 14 fit my foot fine, with minor struggle getting into the shoe, but there was too much room in the front. So I went on a mission to see if 13.5 was available, a true rarity.
This shoe is specifically catered to the narrow-footed, quick on their feet, shifty players. Even 1/2 size up, the PG1 required some break-in time due to the snugness. After a game or two, the shoe fit like a glove and contoured to my feet exceptionally well. It’s still a concern that not all shoes are created for all athletes alike.
Support – We’re all thrown the idea that low-top shows have less support — which I think a lot of bulls***. Although the shoe does fit snug and requires minor break-in time, the PG1 has the combined support areas placed strategically. The midsole cups your feet, the foot sits well on the footbed, and the bootie construction keeps your feet locked. Additionally, the heel (including the extra padding) wraps around the back of your foot and heel quite well, making sure you’re locked in.
The midsole and outsole are slightly rounded-out but I never felt any instability. The PG1 acts as an extension of your feet without becoming a nuisance. Wonderful lockdown, solid traction, responsive ride — I’d say it’s pretty supportive, especially for a first signature model that is a low-top.
Overall – The PG1 is a wonderful shoe to play in, as long as you don’t have wide feet and you can get your foot into the shoe. For a first signature model and it’s $110 price point, I think the shoe is fantastic.
If you want a nice looking shoe that is responsive on-court with superb containment, this shoe is the beez neez! I suggest going with the solid rubber outsole. If this shoe is an indication of what’s to come from the Swoosh, I’m excited. The PG1 is from the same designer as the Ambassador 9, a hit, so I’ll have to hold him (and Nike) to slightly higher standards and expectations. I’m already anticipating the PG2 — hopefully, it’s wide-foot friendly or releases in size 13.5) — but we’ll just have to wait and see.