Don’t overlook budget friendly options just because they don’t have a name attached to them. The Nike Zoom Live 2017 is a great example of why you shouldn’t.
Traction – I’m unsure if this traction pattern used on the Nike Zoom Live 2017 has a story to it or not, but I like to call it the Death Star pattern. It straight up kills it on most courts and conditions without issue. These were a solid go-to option for me anytime I needed to switch into something with more reliable traction — especially when dust was present — as the grooves are deep enough to channel the dust through without it getting in the way. The nubs are also placed multi-directionally so you’re covered from all angles. Outdoor players might not receive long lasting traction because the rubber is a bit soft, but you’ll receive working traction while it lasts.
Cushion – The rectangular Zoom Air unit makes a return in the Nike Zoom Live 2017, but it isn’t bad this time around. When surrounded with the right kind of Phylon, Zoom Air thrives — and that’s exactly what we have here. While the tooling isn’t anything special, it’s comfortable and provides you with a low profile ride with some impact protection. The heel doesn’t feature any cushion, but the foam used is comfortable and I never experienced any comfort issues while wearing the Zoom Live 2017.
I’ve mentioned this on Instagram and I’ll mention it here as well — these are what I call “Mr. Reliable” — and the name sort of speaks for itself. Nike’s Zoom Live ’17 is a very solid and reliable option for on-court use. Nothing that will catch you by surprise or knock your socks off, but that’s not a bad thing.
Materials – He we have mesh, nylon, and a bit of fuse in high-wear areas. Simple, comfortable, and straight to the point. Durable enough to last, but soft enough to not be a pain in the ass while breaking them in. The upper will contain your foot well enough while not feeling overly restrictive. When you factor in the ankle strap then you realize you’re completely locked in at the heel and ready to play.
When you have a comfortable material setup such as this it really makes you scratch your head when you try to think about what could have happened with something like the Kobe A.D. Nike is more than capable of creating product that contains and supports without causing discomfort or restriction; it makes these feel like a purchase worthy of your $100 bucks.
Fit – The Zoom Live 2017 fits true to size and can accommodate an ankle brace for those that need it. I only wear braces if I’ve tweaked my ankle(s) which is why this type of information isn’t provided regularly (for those wondering). Wide footers might be fine going true to size once the upper breaks in, but trying them on is always best, just to be safe.
Containment is solid, but you will have to readjust the laces a bit after you break them in to ensure you’re as locked in as you’d like to be. I know most dislike the thought of straps nowadays, but there are straps out there that serve a purpose — this shoe’s strap serves a purpose. Heel lockdown is fantastic and in turn this low top shoe feels just as supportive as any proper fitting mid or high top.
Support – The Nike Zoom Live 2017 features standard support features. Internal torsion shank — you can see it in the cushion image above — along with an internal heel counter. However, the fit and tooling are what allow these basic features to shine. The materials wrap around your foot like a glove and the strap not only locks your foot down onto the footbed but the lateral layers mimic the foot’s natural support ligaments; this draws your foot into the rear of the shoe with the added bonus of strengthening your own body’s natural support system. Basic at its core, yet very effective.
Overall – Taking the $100 price tag out of the equation, the Nike Zoom Live 2017 stands up against Nike’s higher priced models and outshines them. When you factor the price into the mix these seem like a no-brainer, so long as they offer you what you’re looking for in a shoe.
The Zoom Live 2017 is all about low profile tooling, isolated forefoot Zoom Air cushioning, soft materials, and solid lockdown. If you’re a fan of low tops then you’ll likely be a fan of these. If you’re not a fan of low tops then try these out — they may surprise you.