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Nike PG1 Performance Review

Affordable signature shoes are all the craze as of late. However, being affordable doesn’t mean they’re the next big thing. Here’s our official Nike PG1 Performance Review.

Traction – The Nike PG1 features an interesting pattern that will serve you well on-court. This particular version of the shoe features translucent rubber, and while it’s better than what Nike Basketball has put out in the past, it still isn’t the best option. Why does Nike insist on using clear rubber? It’s mostly to showcase the technology within the shoe. However, upcoming colorways of the PG1 feature solid rubber — what I’d recommend over the translucent options — while highlighting the cushion within the midsole by changing the color of the rubber in that particular section. I believe that is the best route and I’m surprised Nike hasn’t done it sooner with so many complaints about the lack of tackiness its translucent rubber offers.

The good news is that the pattern here really helps the rubber compound out and dust doesn’t stick to the pattern much. A quick wipe every so often will do the outsole good, and I’m almost positive that the solid rubber options will far exceed this version on-court.

Cushion – Forefoot bottom loaded Zoom Air is what is offered in the PG1. This setup is for those that want a more responsive ride for greater reaction speed. You won’t sink into the cushion and you won’t feel it bounce back as you would if it were directly underfoot, but it gets the job done for the most part. At the heel it’s just Phylon so nothing special there. Some may feel the setup is a bit lackluster if they’re expecting an abundant amount of cushion, but if you are more into court feel then this will prove to be a worthy setup.

Materials – This is one of the best material options we’ve had from Nike Basketball in a long time. It offers a little bit of everything, but not in a way that would make the shoe feel awkward or cluttered with tons of gimmicky materials.

The forefoot is free feeling with the open mesh and it’s protected by a layer of fuse in the high wear areas. This is great for players that stay on their toes and do not enjoy breaking in shoes. Meanwhile, the rear panel, on this colorway, is made of nubuck and it feels like the good ‘ol days when nubucks and leathers were being used to construct a sneaker. The overall build feels good, looks good, and plays well. Can’t really ask for much more than that. Materials and fit on the Nike PG1 are my favorite aspects of the sneaker. Speaking of fit…

Fit – The PG1 fits true to size. However, they are very snug — just the way I like it. The overall fit reminds me a bit of the Zoom Kobe 5 — one of the best fitting shoes I’ve ever worn — especially at the forefoot. And that’s before I even adjusted the strap. If you’re a wide footer then you may want to go up 1/2 size as the one-piece construction doesn’t offer much stretch once they’re on your foot.

Lockdown is incredible. The midfoot feels perfectly secure and there are only four lace loops. That one-piece bootie construction is so snug that it keeps your foot from shifting while in motion and the lacing just ensures your foot stays firmly locked down onto the footbed. Then we have the strap. I admit, it looks useless, but it works. My first few runs in the shoe I never even bothered tightening it as the shoe felt good as-is, but when I finally decided to mess around with the strap the forefoot containment went from really good to really awesome.

Support – Most perceive low top shoes to be less supportive than a mid or high, but that isn’t the case — especially not with the PG1.

The traditional support features are in place and work moderately well but, it’s the shoe’s midsole sculpting that is doing most of the heavy lifting. This midsole cups your foot and it’s something I feel is very beneficial for players. It’s a foolproof method to ensure your foot and the footbed are one while wearing the shoe. Feeling separate from your footwear will cause sloppy movement and will eventually result in an injury if you land on someone’s foot. Being contained within the upper and the midsole together provides you with the feeling that you’re not just wearing a shoe, but that the shoe is part of you. Yes, the midsole and outsole are rounded, which is strange, so they look like they’d be unstable. For whatever reason, that is not how they play.

Overall – I’m not going to say the Nike PG1 is the best shoe of the year. Nor would I say it’s one of Nike’s best hoop shoes ever. I will say that the Nike PG1 is very good if you’re looking for a shoe that feels like an extension of your foot without breaking the bank.

Two years ago this would have been a shoe that retailed for $125-$140, but with the competition creeping up quickly, it comes in at a very reasonable $110. Yes, there are other shoes from other brands that will offer you a little bit more in the cushion department, but the fit and containment here are key features that will benefit those looking for something that will allow them to play their game without restriction. Don’t waste your time with the translucent soled versions either — just go for the solid rubber options and avoid any potential traction issues.

Nike’s PG1 is a perfect blend of new and old. The materials offered will remind you of the past but won’t leave you feeling as if they’re stuck in the past. It makes me excited to see what Nike does in the future.

  1. Appreciate the review as always! Based on your experience, these are what I expected which is good. I really like this colorway but won’t be spending 200+ on ebay to get it. Probably gonna be a pass altogether now, just BC I won’t like many colorways after this one and I like more cushion for my aging body lol.

    1. I definitely wouldn’t pay over retail for these. They’re a good buy at $110. There are some other colorways that’ll be dope though so keep your eyes open.

      1. Why doesn’t Nike ever use soccer technology on their basketball shoes? I’m sure if the indoor traction on soccer shoes works, it would work for basketball shoes. Plus the sock on Nike soccer shoes works, so why not give it a try on basketball shoes? Or maybe Nike should use boa lacing to get a better wrap and fit on shoes. Maybe team with vibram to give their traction an extra kick. Maybe study hand textures to get better traction. Just a thought

        1. I used to think the same thing when i took my ratty asics to the court and they gripped like crazy. The thing is too much grip isnt the optimal performance level. Could end up getting hurt too from the shoe catching too hard

          1. This is true. Damaged hip flexor due to extreme grip. Haven’t been able to move the same ever since. When I saw the Air Jordan 1 has the best grip of all time… I mean it lol.

      2. Hello Nightwing I live in HK and I recently saw an XDR version of the PG1s being sold in a retailer. I usually play outdoors so will the outsole burn out really quickly even with XDR rubber? (the pattern us really shallow so I’m not sure, please help out)

  2. Excellent review as always NW. With all of your IG posts mentioning the less than average traction I thought you might recommend passing on these. I’ll check out the new colorway coming out this weekend. Thanks!

  3. NW, Will you be doing a performance update once you have been able to try out a model with solid outsole? how does the traction hold up? did you have any issues with the lines on the traction fraying? Which shoe you would you best compare traction to?

    Im thinking of these and dame 3s..performance says it all but these are sexier than the dames..

  4. NW, will you do an update once you tried a solid rubber outsole model? how the traction holding up? i fear its shallow and will easily burn up. Which shoe would you also compare the cushion to?

    between these and dame 3’s are difficult choices.

  5. Nightwing,
    These remind me of the Nike Air Zoom Drive, a shoe that Steve Nash used to wear, one that Nike stopped Nash from wearing. If you have worn that shoe, are they comparable to this new shoe for George?

    1. I’ve never worn that shoe, but they look like they’d be fairly comparable. Traction looks better on those and they’re likely heavier due to the leather and caged heel Zoom. But should offer something similar.

  6. Fit is a huge deal to me, but I have my doubts to how well these can stack up overall in the whole “Budget Low” category vs the BB models, Dame 3, and CE Low. Heard the Jordan B. Fly was pretty good as well.

  7. Thanks for the performance review. Looks like everything I expected except the cushioning. I thought that PG would neee a more explosive cushion, but I guess I’m wrong. I thought it would be top loaded and that I could really feel it, so I’m most likely going to pass on these and pick up something like the Crazy Explosive Low, which is a shame because I like everything on this shoe other than the minimal cushioning. The looks, the materials, the low mud cut of of the shoe, good traction (on a solid pair), the fit and the price point. I think I would like these but I need a pair of shoes that have good cushion that will last me 7-8 months of heavy use. Maybe I’ll get them if the price drops just cause but I’ll see. Anyway, thanks for the review.

  8. Thanks for the review. Everything about the shoe sounds solid for the price. Would you say the translucent rubber they used on these are a step down from the compound they used on the hyperdunk 2016 lows you have?

  9. Woops.. copped Nike Zoom Live awhile ago, and very very pleased with it. Now this shoe is beautiful!! How would you compare this Vs the Zoom live?

  10. Contemplating on getting these PG1 not into dark CW on kicks will wait for any lighter CW but for now what I’m rocking on courts are the Nike Zoom Live 2017 all whites I called them (Kyrie2 lows) IMO but with that missing forefoot zoom cusions. Now my question is to you between the PG1 vs NZL2017 which one you prefer to play with?

  11. i think this is the best shoe nike have out right now, at least for my needs, the kd9 is great but the cushion popped on me a few wears in and while fun to play in, i didn’t really need the kind of cushion that they provided anyway…sure, the cushion isn’t top-loaded and doesn’t give you the kind of bounciness that people seem to demand, but the shoe is designed for explosiveness and speed, and the shoe is basically built like a tight-fitting runner, if you’re a mobile player who plays the game on their toes, i think this is really an outstanding shoe

    in terms of fit this has everything out there beat for me (nike are still the champs in this category, hands down), i have the harden above this in my rotation because i love the boost, the stability and the traction is a bit more reliable, but the PG1 is not far behind, just an amazing form-fitting rocket for your feet, no frills, no extra tech that you don’t need, just streamlined performance

  12. I just got mine after days of waiting to be delievered. I feel like the heel sinks a little, the forefoot and the fit overall feels so great and looks great too on foot. Maybe I will use them for my outdoor games.

  13. Normally wear Jordan brand or top of line only shoes, but grabbed these because I liked the look and feel. Awesome shoe, for $160 in aunstralia compared to $320 for ajxxx1 and $280 for hardens and roses these are unbeatable at the price, and price aside a fantastic shoe to play in and look great. I grabbed this colour way but love the ivory cow as well, so will be tempted to grab a second pair. Great shoe.

  14. Are these good for flat footed players? personally i can’t use most of any basketball shoes because they are all hurting underneath my feet, shoes such as Hyperrev 2016 is the only shoes not hurting. Any recommendations?

  15. Nightwing, If there was heel and forefoot zoom (hyperrev 2016) , or it was a full length (KD 9 or Crazy Explosive), setup, I would definitely think about getting. Forefoot zoom isn’t enough for me. I’m a bigger player for my age (13) so a little more cushion is required. A shoe that I love is the D Lillard 2, with full-length cushion (Bounce). Nike should have taken a page out of adidas design for the Dame 3 and D Lillard 2 for this model.

  16. Nightwing, Thanks for the review, this was very helpful. I like the way it looks but would want a shoe with more cushioning. Would changing the inserts/insoles work? I have a pair of Kobe 11 elites, which are comfortable but the traction is, as you put it, inconsistent… I was thinking of swapping the inserts (from the KB11 to the PG1) but am I playing with fire?

  17. Hey NW, any comments on those Nike Hypershift shoes? Ive seen quite a few NBA players wearing them like Isaiah Thomas and they are pretty cheap. Any of you guys happen to have them?

  18. I was browsing for basketball shoes and I found these. I clicked on them so fast because I thought they were on sale. These are a great price!

  19. Same price so I gotta ask…
    Rare Metal Thunder or PG1s?
    (btw MANY ppl still sleep on Brandblack so you’re the best IMO to answer this)

  20. Why doesn’t Nike ever use soccer technology on their basketball shoes? I’m sure if the indoor traction on soccer shoes works, it would work for basketball shoes. Plus the sock on Nike soccer shoes works, so why not give it a try on basketball shoes? Or maybe Nike should use boa lacing to get a better wrap and fit on shoes. Maybe team with vibram to give their traction an extra kick. Maybe study hand textures to get better traction. Just a thought

  21. should I wear this for outdoor play? I’m considering between the lebron soldier 9 and this, what do you think?

  22. How’s the traction on the new PG1 Black Gum? Did it change from a 6th man to a starting five? They look really dope and they’re about to drop tomorrow. Would you suggest that shoe?

  23. My ankle hurts after a few days playing with this shoe, idk if it’s the shoe or not but I don’t tell like I had enough support in my ankle. Before I hurt my ankle I thought the shoe was amazing. In any shoe my ankle would hurt but since the pg1 are lows I don’t have support were I want it. The shoe is very light and is one of my favorite basketball shoes.

  24. The PG1’s are by far my favorite on-court performers. Already having purchased two colorways, I was just wondering if there are any other sneakers that play similarly to the PG’s so I could switch up the model and not really the performance of the shoe?

  25. I got these shoes a whole size up, there a little tight but I things that just the shoe. My only problem is that while I’m wearing them the outside of my foot were my little toe joint is feels like its getting squeezed to death. Is that just how the shoe is? Or does that go away after a while?

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