The Tarmak Elevate 900 was way better than I expected, in every way.
Tarmak Elevate 900
Colorway: Miami Heat
Release Date: February 12, 2021
Style Code: 8642907
Decathlon is a sports store, similar to Dicks Sporting Goods, that operates all around the world with the exception of the USA. When I saw that a sports store put out its own, officially NBA-branded sneaker I was intrigued…not excited, but intrigued.
When I picked them up, I expected a goofy “Walmart” sneaker that was way more gimmick than sneaker. When I got them in my hands, I was surprised. The uppers materials weren’t amazing but they seemed to be your standard low weight, high-performance textile we are more than accustomed to seeing. The NBA branding wasn’t annoying and the midsole was plush and squishy. To be honest, they actually looked and felt like a LeBron. They passed the eye test, but how would they perform on court? I was able to play in these only outdoors, but this is how it went:
The traction was great. The shoe features a semi-translucent rubber outsole with a concentric circle traction pattern that offered great multidirectional coverage. The rubber was grippy and responsive and I had virtually zero issues with the traction. I need to test these indoors to confirm how good the traction is, but outdoors, they are good to go.
The Cushion is a double-density foam setup.
To gauge how good they actually were, I brought along a pair of the adidas Dame 2 to compare it to a good foam-based cushioned shoe. And I have to say…I couldn’t tell which I liked better.
I love the Dame 2 and the Tarmaks were right there with them. The foam is more responsive than it is plush, but if you like that type of setup (which I do) then you will like these.
Materials are basic. The upper consists primarily of a resilient mesh, which reminds me of the upper on the Puma Clyde All-Pro. The shoe is a bit difficult to get on, as the shoe features no tongue and has a textile booty you have to squeeze into.
The shoe requires a little break-in time, but that’s due in large part to the stiff torsional support that we will talk about a little further ahead.
When buying the Elevate 900, go true to size. They might feel a tad snug at first, but the textile upper soon molds to your foot. The lockdown was pretty good as well. The build stretched just enough to keep you comfortable. You’re secure from the ankle to the forefoot. There are several fuse overlays in high wear areas and a couple of flywire-esque cables that also help keep your foot in place as you play.
The shoe features what Tarmak calls its “Dynalift“ dynamic system. This is a rather stiff Pebax plate that runs the length of the shoe in two sections. For me, it was a bit too stiff. Once you play in them for a while it begins to soften up but it still might make your foot cramp a bit. The base of the shoe is extra wide and cradles the foot nicely.
I was pleasantly surprised by the Tarmak Elevate 900. Esthetically, I expected a novelty item and performance-wise an uncomfortable dud of a shoe. What I actually got was a solid performer that was way more satisfying than a “not a dud” sneaker. Its on-court performance was comparable to some top-notch kicks. It wasn’t a perfect shoe by any means, but what shoe is? Aesthetically, I have to admit I couldn’t shake feeling a bit goofy wearing a Miami Heat branded shoe, but that’s on me. If you didn’t know it was a Decathlon shoe you might think you were looking at a LeBron or maybe one of Li-Ning’s top-tier models. The best thing was that I felt zero remorse about beating these things up outdoors. They matched my pace with ease.
How to Buy Tarmak Elevate 900
The Tarmak Elevate 900 is available for $94 at Decathlon Spain.
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