We now live in a world where a very respected and influential rapper has a legit high performing signature basketball shoe. The PUMA RS Dreamer, J. Cole‘s signature basketball shoe, is the real deal. It looked like LaMelo Ball of teh Charlotte Hornets would be the NBA player to rock these on-court, but he ultimately went with different Puma models. As you’ll see in the performance review, this is a shoe you can trust on court.
PUMA’s rubber compound for its performance basketball footwear has been consistently good and the RS Dreamer is no exception.
The pattern, inspired by a feather, looks a bit sketchy in terms of performance, especially on the lateral side, but they proved to be really good on court. Every surface I took them to had the same results, which is a great sign in terms of consistency.
If you’ve played in previous PUMA Hoops offerings then you should know what to expect by now. Solid traction both indoors and outdoors.
Like it’s traction, PUMA’s cushioning has been pretty consistent too. Only, this time around, it’s not exactly a compliment.
While the ProFoam gets the job done, it’s firmer than almost any other EVA setup used by other brands. If you want to boost their cushioning, a great option for that is Move insoles. When the midsole is thinner, as it was on the PUMA Clyde Hardwood, then it’s tolerable. However, when it’s implemented in a slightly thicker midsole, you can end up with something that feels a little dead underfoot. There is no real rebound or bounce back with the foam. It’s just there. Swapping the insole out for something more comfortable underfoot will help a lot, but if PUMA wants to be a true contender in the performance category, it needs better cushion tech.
This is another consistent category for PUMA Hoops as the materials are quite nice. Not as premium as the Clyde Hardwood, but still nice.
Textile mesh is used as the primary build while smaller patches of suedes are used. This gives the RS Dreamer a moderate blend of both old and new. The raw materials give you a 90s feel while the textile gives the current generation a modern fit and feel. No break-in required — other than the ankle collar — as the shoes feel game day ready fresh out the box.
The PUMA RS Dreamer fits true to size. If you want a super snug fit you could go down 1/2 size, but I feel true to size will be the best option for most players.
Lockdown is solid from heel to forefoot. The only thing to be aware of is that the textiles will start to stretch out a little once you begin to play in them. You may need to go back and readjust the laces after a game or two to get them to your preferred amount of snug. Otherwise, I had a great time playing in them.
Support is similar to the Clyde Hardwood. You sit within the midsole a bit so that helps keep your heel and forefoot on the footbed. The rest of the support comes from standard features, a midfoot torsion shank and the fit. Nothing to really complain about or highly praise. They get the job done and that’s exactly what most of us want from support.
The PUMA RS Dreamer is for sure one of the best looking basketball shoes of 2020. The cushion is the only thing that needs tweaking. Once PUMA gets better cushioning, I think more players will be willing to try them out on court over industry heavy hitters like Nike, Jordan, and adidas. Fingers crossed it doesn’t take too long. Time is of the essence when it comes to footwear. The sooner PUMA gets some real cushioning, the better.
In the meantime, if you buy a pair of the PUMA RS Dreamer, then you should be fairly satisfied. They are one of the best overall basketball shoes for the year, and one of the best low tops as well. They check all the other boxes. Again, an insole can help with the cushion until PUMA can get a better blend of foam or ETPU.