The Nike Sabrina 1 looks and feels like a Kobe. In fact, it would have been really cool to see Sabrina repping the new Kobe brand, but at the same time, it’s nice to see her get her own signature line.
Nike did a very good job with these, balancing the Kobe influences while creating a shoe and a new signature line with its own personality and unique vibe, and at the same time producing a top-notch performance basketball shoe. They even nailed the materials of the shoe that are synthetic and performance-driven, but still feel nice in hand, but more on that latter. In this article, we will also include the testing results of WearTester’s own Stanley Tse.
Nike Sabrina 1 Review
Nike Sabrina 1 Specs:
Nike Sabrina 1 Traction
The Nike Sabrina 1 features a solid, no-nonsense, traction setup. The traction pattern, for all intents and purposes, is full-length herringbone. It is a slightly more artistic and funky rendition of herringbone, but at the end of the day we have an aggressive triangular pattern with lines going in every direction, so it should perform very well on court.
The sole combines solid and translucent rubber, but it’s predominantly translucent. This means it won’t be a great outdoor option, but indoors it should offer excellent grip. Even if Nike gave us a fully solid running shoe type outsole or even a sole predominantly built with solid rubber, it still wouldn’t be great outdoors in terms of durability.
Stanley: Traction – The traction of the Nike Sabrina 1 features multi-directional patterns for any type of direction as well as stop-and-go motion. The shoe was super grippy which allowed me to move without hesitation. On super dusty floors, you’ll have to do the occasional wipe, but that’s normal. On super clean courts, there wasn’t a need to throw the hand back and wipe the rubber, it was ready-set-go as soon as I stepped on the floor.
The traction rubber lines felt a little bit thicker so for those looking to play outdoors – you may be in for a treat with the durability. One caveat – availability – the shoe has sold so fast that it’s almost harder to find another pair if you plan to burn these through the blacktop.
Nike Sabrina 1 Cushion
The cushion on the Nike Sabrina 1 is excellent, assuming you are looking for a reactive, low-profile setup. The Sabrina 1 features a full-length React midsole with a hefty Zoom Air unit in the forefoot. This configuration is perfect for lighter shiftier players who enjoy a quick, low-to-the-ground experience on court with just enough impact protection.
This setup might not be enough for bigger more powerful players who put a beating on their joints every time they are on the hardwood, but it should be enough for the vast majority of players out there.
Stanley: Full-length React foam with a top-loaded Zoom Air unit in the forefoot. A great combo to start off with especially being a first signature shoe. The Sabrina 1 provides ample responsiveness along with its low-to-the-ground court feel with the implementation of the midfoot shank for stability. It’s not the softest ride (as the REACT was a little bit firmer for my liking) but it’s sufficient enough for me for a first signature model. It’s an absolutely well-balanced cushion shoe.
Nike Sabrina 1 Materials
Materials on the Nike Sabrina 1 are what you would expect from a modern hoop shoe and also not at all what you would expect. Shoes built with synthetics and textiles can feel cheap and flimsy in hand, but that isn’t the case here. The textiles used along the upper feel nice, perform tremendously, and add a lot of depth and texture to the overall design.
If you are going to go with textiles on your shoe, this is the way to do it. The materials are layered in such a way that it boosts the shoe’s lockdown, which combined with the lace cables and the lacing system itself, is going to provide a very secure feeling ride on court.
Stanley: The Sabrina 1 materials are comprised of a multi-layer mesh upper as well as some minimal textile reinforcements with TPU on high-wear areas. The shoe also features a previously stated full-length REACT midsole with a top-loaded Zoom Air Unit, as well as a rubber outsole (options to utilize gum/translucent are available via NBY and/or depending on the colorways released). All solid combinations for a steady shoe.
Nike Sabrina 1 Support
Support is also a strong point of the Sabrina 1. It all starts with the cushioning setup which is very stable and low to the ground. Then we have that very wide, Kobe 5-esque outrigger and a substation TPU shank plate in the midfoot, both of which will also boost stability while playing.
On top of that, we have those really nice materials that conform to your foot and lock it down effectively, those lace cables on either side of the shoe that draw your foot back into the footbed, and lastly the lacing system itself and the heel counter which works together to lock in your heel.
Stanley: Support comes directly from the correct fit and sizing of your shoe. The shoe is built very structurally sound, especially for very shifty on-the-go movement types of players.
The React midsole and Zoom Air unit in the forefoot provide ample responsiveness while the traction screeched the floor like brakes for a car, especially with its wider base of the outrigger. Midfoot shank provided ample torsional rigidity, especially on the harder shifts, but nothing the Sabrina 1 couldn’t handle.
Nike Sabrina 1 Fit
The Sabrina 1 fits true to size and offers a great 1 to 1 fit. HOWEVER, they do come in woman’s sizing so, if you are looking for your Men’s size you will need to go a size and a half up (12 Men = 13.5 Women). If you don’t want to risk it, try them on in-store.
Stanley: Made for a woman, extended for Unisex sizing – so make sure you get your proper sizing fit in advance. I went with my true-to-size even with my slightly wider-base foot. I knew the React midsole and multi-material upper would eventually break in so going up an extended size would not work for my personal benefit. I did have just a little less than a thumb’s length along the toe which is what I prefer and I never had my toe jam the front even on hard stops. I would definitely recommend going to your natural size.
Nike Sabrina 1 Overall
The Nike Sabrina 1 is a great first signature shoe for Sabrina Ionescu and is one of the best basketball shoes Nike has to offer in 2023/24. It’s a shoe that visually, and in terms of performance, could easily be a Kobe shoe, so if you’re looking for a shoe that will give you that “Kobe” feeling on court this one is a safe bet.
The Sabrina 1 is a top-notch guard-style shoe that will give you great traction (indoors), a speedy and reactive cushioning setup, along with elite lockdown and support. If you’re looking for a basketball shoe with beefy and plush cushioning, this might not be the shoe for you, but that is hardly a drawback.
Stanley: Solid. As a first signature shoe, I’d call it completely solid. The overall functionality of the shoes really caters to very shifty / floor-game-based players. Suffice it to say – as we’ve seen Sabrina wear a lot of Kobe’s, the shoe does have some resemblance to the G.T. CUT & Kobe, particularly the 5. Not to say it’s a negative thing, but It’s actually a really good reference to use for building an ultimate game shoe.
I do wish the REACT was a little bit softer (perhaps Cushlon 2.0/3.0?) and/or apply a Zoom Turbo unit instead. The other little nitpick I had was probably the heel-to-toe drop (depending on the colorway) of the shoe. There was a little inconsistency between my “Ionic” and my “Spark” colorways. The “Spark” colorway particularly I felt the heel felt a little bit higher than the Ionic colorway – on the heel to toe drop. I’m sure with more time and wear it’ll eventually compress better, but that’s just my take on what I’ve worked with.
Last but not least – the upper’s durability. While they do have a mesh upper – the durability of long-term wear is a concern because depending on how you play and how much torque you apply on the shoe, the upper material is going to stretch (especially the part where they state minimal textile reinforcement). So be that as it may, You may want to keep an eye out for the longevity of the shoe.
Other than that – again, for a first signature model – The Nike Sabrina 1 is really a great eye-opener and court performer. With the stakes being high and the hype matching the performance, we’re excited to see how the second signature follows up. Will Swoosh be able to match the hype and performance? We shall see… In the meantime, Nike…Just Do it.