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Nike Zoom Rize 2 Performance Review

The Nike Zoom Rize 2 is a follow up to one of 2019’s top-performing basketball sneakers, the Nike Zoom Rize. Our test of the Zoom Rize 2 spanned two pairs and months of testing including several pandemic-induced stops and starts.

Needless to say, we’re happy to finally get this review posted. Enjoy this (very complete) performance review and let us know on Twitter if you have any follow up questions.

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Nike Zoom Rize 2 Traction

Traction

Nike Kobe 9 inspired outsole pattern?! I didn’t play in the Kobe 9. But I know that when Nike name drops what is regarded as one of the best performing outsoles ever in the product description, it better be great.

I’m not sure the Nike Zoom Rize 2 traction is all-time great. But it was great for me during testing in both regular solid rubber and XDR rubber versions. And it was good on a mix of surfaces both indoors and outdoors. The mostly radial, partial foot map pattern covers you on movements in every-which-way. It also provides the same tread depth and spacing that made the original Zoom Rize a great option.

If outdoor play is your only option, I would recommend opting for the XDR outsole for durability purposes. However, I found the standard rubber to be the better performing option on both inside and outside surfaces. It will fray much more than the XDR, but if I’m being honest, the standard solid rubber’s durability is solid.

Nike Zoom Rize 2 Cushion

Cushion

This is where the Zoom Rize 2 gets interesting. For one, the forefoot Zoom Air bag improved from an already hefty 10mm thickness. On the other hand, the unit doesn’t provide the same amount of coverage. It’s essentially a large volume heel unit (think Air Jordan 32 or Nike Kobe 10) transferred to the medial side.

Despite the smaller amount of space covered, the forefoot Zoom feels bouncy and highly effective, especially for more explosive movements. The position of the Zoom bag is key. It’s decoupled from the heel section of the midsole and placed directly behind a deep outsole flex groove. What this does is provide points of extra compression on both ends. The extra compression distributes the air smoothly and enhances the snappy, springy feeling so many of us love about Zoom.

We still don’t know the foam used in the Zoom Rize series. But in the second iteration, the heel and carrier portions of the midsole feel just as good as the first. Maybe even a bit springier. Court feel aside, you are getting just about everything you could ask for from a cushion standpoint.

Nike Zoom Rize 2 Materials

Materials

The Zoom Rize 2 sheds some of the weight and bulk from the original Zoom Rize by using a thinner textile base. The textile base is topped with haptic print detailing. This textured detailing is somewhat similar to what was introduced on the Nike Kobe 6. However, the “islands” are much smaller. The pattern crosses the entire lateral side and toe of the shoe, but not the medial sections. The print may protect the rest of the upper a bit, but I see it as more fashion than function. Performance-aside, I’m happy it’s there.

It’s funny, because materials may be the biggest improvement over the first iteration simply by doing less. As mentioned, excess materials were shed for a more form-fitting, decently-supportive, minimal-to-no-break-in set up. Overall, I just enjoyed the upper and suspect many others will as well.

Nike Zoom Rize 2 Fit

Fit

I bought two sizes. I bought my true size in one. In the other, I bought an EP (Enhanced Performance) version (with XDR outsole) from Asia in a half size down. Though the half size down is the EP version, I don’t believe it was built on a different last. It seems more narrow than other EP and PF (Performance Fit) shoes I have. That’s just something to note in case you’re in the US and don’t want to buy via Nike By You.

Initially, both pairs seemed to fit similarly, so true size and a half size down are both playable for me. However, I prefer the fit of a half size down as they’re just a touch closer to the foot. This felt more secure as the materials do stretch just a bit over time.

Wide footers, you may want to consider half size up on this one. Although the materials shouldn’t be much of a problem for comfort, it’s a narrow shoe overall.

Nike Zoom Rize 2

Support

This is what everyone is wondering or already made assumptions about. That Zoom sits HIGH in the forefoot, but is it unstable? Not in my opinion, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. I’d prefer the base to be a little bit wider. But if Nike did that, it would add extra weight. And that would just give some people a different thing to complain about.

Fortunately, I didn’t have any issue or even a scare when it comes to rolling over the footbed. I attribute it to the strength of the lateral TPU support piece that cages the forefoot Zoom. It also extends to the arch to provide torsional support across the decoupled tooling. For comparison, this plastic is much stronger than the plastic that cages the smaller Zoom bag of the Nike Zoom BB NXT. Although there isn’t a true outrigger, it still does a good job of not buckling under pressure.

The heel support works by way of an internal counter as well. But going back to the midsole height, I just want to be clear on a few things. I am not trying to sell anyone on this being a stable shoe. I’m admittedly not exactly what you would call shifty on-court. But when it comes to putting effort into defensive movements, side-steps into shots, and hard plants for off-ball change of direction, I felt secure in the Nike Zoom Rize 2.

Overall

Overall

The Nike Zoom Rize 2 is my personal favorite shoe to play in during this pandemic. Everyone that enjoyed the first Zoom Rize, will likely enjoy the Zoom Rize 2 just as much, if not more. The overall and surprisingly lighter weight of the shoe will make some feel faster and more explosive. On the other hand, the narrower base and higher midsole height will worry some people.

Chris’s experience in the Jordan Why Not Zer0.2 comes to mind. It almost seems like a combination of that shoe and the Nike Zoom Rize, but with less bulk.

If you are unfamiliar with either of those shoes, I’ll leave you with this. The Nike Zoom Rize 2 has all the necessary features to be enjoyed by bigger post players like Marc Gasol or Nikola Jokic while also appealing to faster, downhill type guards like Russell Westbrook. That may not cover everyone’s preferences, but it’s a wide spectrum, nonetheless.

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