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The WearTesters Weekender: Ideal Basketball Shoe

We’re back with the WearTesters Weekender! As requested by our readers last week, we will be discussing our vision of an ideal basketball shoe. Be sure to read through, digest, and share your idea of the ideal basketball shoe! Remember, to each their own


WearTesters Weighs In

The Ideal Basketball Shoe

Chris (Nightwing2303): 

It’s hard to make what I’d consider the ‘perfect’ hoop shoe… mostly because I feel there are shoes out there currently that fit the mold. At least fit that mold pretty closely.

The Nike KD 7, for me, is a great performer. I loved the way the front of the shoe was mesh for range of motion while the heel was Posite for structure and support. Much like the BrandBlack J Crossover 2, but the heel on those offered a little less structure, but enough support to keep me happy. Woven materials would be used for sure. While I love the Air Jordan XX9, I think the partial woven/ knitted upper featured on the Crossover 2 & KD 7 is a better setup.

So for the upper, I’d definitely have a woven midfoot to forefoot, and the heel I’d use a nice premium leather with some sort of heel counter for support – something along the lines of the Kobe 7’s heel clip.

For the cushion… I’d probably go with full length Boost. Encapsulated for the most part, but exposed in the heel and forefoot so it can compress and deflect energy properly… the way it was meant to. My sh*tty Photoshop skills do not showcase the forefoot Boost… because it made my little image look worse than it already does. So just use your imagination to visualize the forefoot Boost.

Traction would have to be beast. I’d go with the CP3.VI pattern with the rubber compound of the Kobe 9… hell yeah! They’d be f*cking awesome.

And there you have it. A sexy low top sneaker that features a low profile feel, but maximum cushion for protection and deflection of energy. Only the best materials are used along the upper in the form of a woven front and a supportive leather back… additional support supplied by the modern-day exposed heel counter. Then you have the traction of a god… this sh*t would stop The Flash. Actually… they would have good enough traction for The Flash. So that’s what I’ll name them after…

Meet the WearTesters Speed Force Boost. Trademark that name pronto, adidas… I’m also available for hire if any of you brands would like some bad-ass hoop shoes in your lineup. You’re welcome.

Ideal Nightwing Shoe



Noah (TheShoeRestorer):

My ideal basketball shoe would probably look pretty weird, but visually I would want something black and white, high contrast, like the Reebok basketball stuff from the early-mid 90s.

  • Outsole: the Brandblack blue outsoles are just mean, I’d have them because the traction is great.
  • Midsole: full length Boost or Micro G, something really cushioned and bouncy. Of course, I’d want a carbon fiber shank embedded in the midsole.
  • Upper: beautiful thick-cut tumbled leather, similar to that on the WoW 2. I love breaking in a leather shoe.
  • I don’t want a one-piece inner bootie type setup and I’d like the shoe to be a mid or High top. The guts would be a padded material that can also give a bit of ventilation.


Jason (Shoelander23): 

This is a tough one because typically, there are trade offs for performance aspects that could create the perfect shoe (ex: durability vs. a shoe with no break in time.) with that said, these are some things I’d want in a perfect hoops shoe:

Upper: preferably a mesh/knit upper that provides limited break in time and breath ability. There needs to be a few layers stacked, or just a thick layer to provide durability and support.

Cushioning: while there are a lot of fantastic, soft cushions out there (Boost, Lunar, Micro G) I prefer a traditional set up like heel and forefoot zoom for responsiveness. Love the XX8 and even the Pegasus 31, as far as runners are concerned.

Traction: really doesn’t matter how it looks (herringbone or storytelling) as long as the grooves are deep and widely distributed. I’m more of an outdoor hooper so a harder compound would be great.


John (SoleEngineer):

This is a tough call, given the freedom and power of choice. I think I would do a mash up of a lot of technologies and materials, old and new, as others have said. Let’s break it down.

  • Midsole/ Outsole – I’d definitely want the ‘Feet You Wear’ influenced, PureMotion set up for my midsole. However, within the PureMotion pods I would want podular Boost foam for some noticeable bounce back and responsiveness. This way, I could surround the boost in adiprene+ and cut flex grooves throughout the midsole for flexibility and transition. Finally, I would want my traction pattern to be the same as the CP3 VI( don’t we all!) and with XDR rubber so I can actually play in these beauties outdoors.
  • Upper – The upper is tough for me, but I’d have to go with leather. Some nice thick cut, full grain leather that will break in with a few wears and really mold to me foot. Since leather doesn’t retain its shape and support as well as some synthetics, I would definitely like a Soldier 7 esque strap to keep me locked into the heel and on the footbed. Furthermore, I would really like my laces to be through nylon straps a la the Jordan X/ CP3 VIII AE. That way there is something more rigid for support and fit, while still being stronger and more substantial than flywire cords.
  • Details – A few minor details that I’d definitely want to make the shoe all that it could be… Namely, the nice laces from the Brandback JCII, and the heel padding and tongue structure/padding of the Brandblack Phantom. They were so plush and comfortable I would never say no to that padding if I had a choice! Also a heel counter/support structure along the lines of the Kobe IX’s would be ideal for supporting my full speed defensive exploits.

Re-reading what I want in my ideal shoe, damn these things would be expensive and complex to make, but I’d never take them out of my bag!


Ideal basketball CP3 6 Ideal puremotion









Brandblack Phantom 1Nike Zoom Soldier VII Deep Royal Pure Platinum - Medium Navy - Detailed Look 7








Bryan (brhinkle1): 

Ideal shoe? This is tough – there are too many companies with too many good technologies to just say, “That is IT!!!!” Especially with all the brands we test, most (not all) shoes do something well. I will try this and see how it sounds:

Start at the bottom – traction. Herringbone is the tried and true master, but which pattern? Old school adidas Pro Model? Works and is durable. Nike Kobe I? That pattern was unbelievable. What about a story, like Jordan XX8? The Rose 5 was glue, same with Curry 1 and J.Crossover I and II. I will go – Kobe I.

Cushioning – Boost or Unlocked Zoom or Jetlon or Micro G or adiprene+ or Max Air or … See? It’s hard. I have an idea for this – I want adidas PureMotion pods with Boost in them. That would be my dream. Existing? I say – Micro G. It is the most refined, consistent tech for cushioning out now. Zoom is too small most times. Boost is still in the work-in-progress stage. Max Air is too unstable. My second choice is Unlocked Zoom like the XX8 but durable.

Fit – I like tight but not restrictive. Has to fit my foot perfect. XX9 was great but I could use more stability. I say – Kobe V or Brandblack Raptor low. I also really like the Rose 1.5, but if I have to pick – Brandblack Raptor.

Support – Ektio if I need it. Adidas Supernatural Creator if I don’t.

Materials – leather with a mesh tongue. Think Melo M10 Year of the Horse, adidas Rose 3, and Under Armour Bloodline for recent shoes. Nothing breaks in like leather and it just feels nice. If I want to save a cow, I love ClutchFit and the woven of the XX9 and JC.2. The Rose 5 Brenda is another recent pair I love to play in.

So, here is the final Frankenstein make-up –

Kobe I traction
Puremotion pods with Boost inside/Micro G cushioning
Brandblack Raptor fit
Ektio support/stability – or sprintframe if I’m not hurt.
Leather upper – as long as it is real

Make it happen.


In Case You Missed It…


Nike Kobe X (10) Elite Performance Review MainNike Kobe X (10) Elite Performance Review – by Nightwing2303

If you absolutely ‘need’ the ‘latest thing’ out then feel free to drop $225 as you’ll still be getting a great performer. So if money isn’t an issue, then go for it. 



peak tp9 open (580x435)Rising To The Top – Peak TP9.2 Performance Review – Duke4005

The TP9.2 is simply an evolution, but closer to the Lighting than last year’s model. If you need solid cushioning, lockdown fit, durability, and traction, look no further. If you are looking for a swoosh, get the blinders off.



skechersYou’ll Never Believe Which Brand Is Nike’s Biggest Threat -by Noah Goldowitz

According to Wunderlich, “the Skechers brand remains in high demand across all geographies and demographics”



The BrandBlack Force Vector Will Come in Premium Leather 1The BrandBlack Force Vector Will Come in Premium Leather – by Nightwing2303

One will feature a molded mesh upper and the other will feature premium natural leathers. What is premium natural leather? Some really good sh*t, that’s what.



WearTesters Wordplay of the Week

I’m cool I don’t foretell best
I ain’t nicest MC, I ain’t Cornel West
I am Cornel Westside, Chi-town Guevara
Malcolm eXorcise the demons
Gangster leaning
He traded in his kufi for a new era
Chose a 44 over a mortarboard
I ain’t a credited institute graduate
I ain’t from Nazareth
My conception wasn’t immaculate
I ain’t master no calculus
A good addition to the rap audience

– Lupe Fiasco, ‘Just Might be OK’

(Easily my favorite bars from the track, Lupe humbly explains his qualifications, his religious journey, and his place in the rap game)

Lupe Fiasco released the critically acclaimed album, Food & Liquor on September 19th, 2006. Almost 9 years later, he has released a music video for ‘Just Might Be Ok’. It is very well produced, unique, and brings Lupe fans back to the sound and the emotions associated with his early work. Furthermore, relistening to the track with the visuals reminded me how relevant his words are, even now. The social commentary had context upon release and probably always will given the continual struggle for social equality, economic prosperity, and justice. As a contemporary addition to the song, Lupe added footage of the Baltimore protests to leave his audience with a controversial, albeit thought provoking, visual.

As an added bonus for those interested in sneakers (all of us, right?), there are a few key sneaker cameos in the music video: Curry One Candy Reign’s, Nike Air Raids, Air Force Ones, etc.


Mayweather vs. Pacqiuao

via Bleacher Report

Comment below: Who are you pulling for?


That’s it for Issue 18 of the WearTesters Weekender. As always, thank you for your continued support and participation in the discussion. We’re looking forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments!

  1. Good read.

    Speculating the perfect basketball sneaker is so much fun. Everytime I put on an older shoe I haven’t worn in a while like Reebok Answer IV or Jordan CP VI they remind about stuff shoe companies seem to forget, like simple yet effective traction or comfort over simplicity/weight.

    1. Old sneakers definitely remind us of some of the great features that weren’t broken but still got fixed. I guess that is part of the value of all these non-Jordan retros!

  2. i agree with you wholeheartedly about the kd 7 being a near-perfect shoe, nw, it’s got everything i could possibly want from a shoe- flexibility, stability, excellent cushion set-up, breathability, pretty good traction, support….and it’s a low top. it also helps that they look pretty cool on top of it all. i think that out of all the shoes in my rotation right now it is the most dependable, alongside the clutchfit drive low…

  3. Air Jordan XX8 SE
    + Carbon Fiber/Kryptonite/Kevlar encased zoom bag
    + Melo11 “tendril”
    + DaDa spinners that push airflow inward
    + Jordan XVII Suitcase

    Suweeeeeeeeeet! 😀

    Go Manny!!

  4. My perfect hoop shoe would be:
    Traction: Kobe 10
    Cushion: Full Length Boost (exposed as much as possible, without suffering stability)
    Materials: PrimeKnit Upper with a backing similar to the Rose 5’s.
    Support: Similar tooling as the Rose 5, but with a front like the brandblack, but using primeknit.
    Dream Colorway: A USA themed colorway with a few stars, a stripe, and that great red, white, and blue.

  5. Low Top
    J. Crossover 2 upper but full length woven
    Kobe 9 Carbon fiber wings
    A drop in full length boost mid sole encased in phylon with a Lebron 12 hex zoom units at the bottom(Sorta like how the lebron 11 had zoom at the bottom)
    Kobe 9 traction.

    I shall call it the Weartester MoHops

    1. So you’d want Brandblack’s woven upper all the way through the heel? Interesting, that would be crazy light and comfortable. Also, a drop in boost midsole? YES PLEASE!

      1. Yea I figure the Kobe 9 carbon fiber wings would be enough. I would love a drop in Boost midsole but I think it would need to be in phylon which is why I put the hex zoom units at the bottom like the lebron 11

  6. Mine is lightweight, breathable, responsive yet maximum cushion, a plate to keep foot from flexing too far, no shaffing or areas espesially in toebox causing discomfort, and low price so will probably be on sale or last years model, also going into from last one is when people see them are not going to be jealous or want to rob you for them sad that’s situation keeping lots of people from buying a signature shoe even if it’s 200-300 USD like a air Jordan. Glad the jc 2 is lower and still the best but don’t like high fashion as keeps everyday people from getting them.. My thoughts.

  7. There needs to be 4 types of perfect shoes
    1. Indoor full court
    2. Indoor half court
    3. Out door full court
    4. Out door half court

    But here’s my take on taking existing attributes and assembling the GOAT for indoor play

    Outsole, the cp3 7 made with kobe 9 rubber, like Ndub called out. Flex grooves at forefoot – all black.

    Mid sole. A full length max zoom unit but trimmed down slightly so it could sit inside a foam bed of sort so to minimize damage and the foam carrier would be white made with my dreamed up composite call (trademark) “ever white” that will never yellow or scuff

    The heal counter would fit like the kobe 5 but resemble the jordam 3 with a fat ghetto name plate with a tag “stae 310”

    There would be a shank plate some how or stabilizer bars like the melo m9 for support.

    The upper materials would be a clutch fit and the shoe a 3/4 top.

    It that’s not possible I would roll with the kobe 9 ext black, kobe v, Melo m9 or cp3 7

    1. Dang I forgot to name my sneaker box

      My shoe is to be called the “GOAT Pepper” and the initial colorway would pay tribute to Pippy Longstocking. Beasts will be at footlocker saying ” got them peppers?” Fl “sorry man, sold out – you have to kick me down $1000 to get your name picked”

    2. Dang I forgot to name my sneaker box
      My shoe is to be called the “GOAT Pepper” and the initial colorway would pay tribute to Pippy Longstocking. Beasts will be at footlocker saying ” got them peppers?” Fl “sorry man, sold out – you have to kick me down $1000 to get your name picked”

  8. My perfect hoops shoe would have the XX9s upper with unlocked zoom in the forefoot (more similar to the xx8s where it sticks out more instead of the xx9s), and boost in the heel. Kobe 9s traction. I’d buy like 10 of these

  9. For me I’d have to go with the hyperchase design.
    Kobe x traction.
    Boost in the heel , with unlocked zoom in the forefoot.
    Hyperchase lacing system.
    Kobe 8 heel clip.
    Tendril between the heel and forefoot.
    J crossover knitted material along the toe box and mid foot.

  10. Great read. Just to put in my two cents.
    My upper would be knit or engineered mesh/fly mesh(wish really isn’t that much different)
    Then a nice leather piece in the heel with structure. Actually a lot like night wings. For the midsole I got a little creative. I want a nice bouncy resilient foam let’s say boost, full length but only exposed in the heel a la the prime knit boosts but maybe not as thick. Then on the forefoot some real and I’m talking real big zoom. Not one of the small bars, at least soldier 6 size or maybe the size they had way before. Traction would be a simple herring bone, with a compound that would last outdoors.

  11. Fascinating read! Perfect is still a subjective term after all.

    But just a quick question: what’s the story behind the XX8 traction pattern?

    1. Glad you enjoyed it! Great point to be made about all of these different choices from our team and all the readers never pinpointing what’s perfect. No one can come to an exact consensus because we are all different body types/ players.

  12. Me personally.
    I would go low like a kobe 8 cut.

    Traction: herringbone. The crazy quick outsole with the 17ish segmented pods with the herringbone shape and rubber compund of the kobe 4. So. You have natural flex with the segmented pods and maximum grip cause of the pointed herringbone and rubber compund of the kobe 4 Which grips anywhere and remains durable.

    Cushion: lunarlon. Its probably the best cushion ive tried before bottoming out so i want it to have a lunar drop in thats durable with zoom/boost forefoot and heel units for responsiveness and additional impact protection.

    Materials. Preferably engineered mesh like the kobe 8. I know that the kobe 9 em has less fuse but i like the fuse on the 8’s it gave them some support. Thats midfoot-forefoot and the heel has way of wade leather and make it a thick cut.With tons of soft padding in the heel and heel notches. With a heel counter similar to the kobe 8 elite which had carbon fiber. And a full length carbon fiber shank in the midfoot for torsional and arch aupport.

    Fit: tpu reinforcing the eyelets ala wade line. But the eyelets are like the kobe 8 just with tpu reinforcing. And the tongue is thin but with padding like the kobe 8. The heel will be perfect with all the padding and that carbon fiber heel cup. Along with the midfoot cause of that carbon fiber shank as well as the forefoot because of the natural flex thanks to the nex gen puremotion.

    Support: Carbon fiber heel counter and shank will provide additional support in the heel and midfoot. The notches will make heel slippage non existent. And the fit will be perfect thanks to the engineered mesh and fit of thr kobe 8 and improved because of the additional tpu reinforcement.

    Overall: its the kobe 8 but better.

    1. Thats my take on this week’s topic, though @sole engineer if i may request the topic for the weartesters weekender. Whats the most comfortable shoe you’ve ever worn. The one pair of shoes that you can wear all youre life on and off court and let’s imagine that it will never deteriorate or get broken. And one more question wheres jarron?
      Pacquiao vs mayweather was big here whole country, yes you read that right, was watching.

  13. Traction pattern – J28..hands down
    Midsole/cushion – SC1..i love the energy returned and court feel,and there is impact protection(in my exp)
    Material – Mesh with overlay Clutchfit..that will be awesome,durability+vent+support,CFD structure

    Others-j29 lacing system,high-top,round lace,spawn anatomix1 for tongue,j28 heel counter..

  14. Awesome stuff, my ideal shoe.

    Traction: Shaq Attaq 1(crude, aggressive traction, sticky, great rubber).
    Mid-sole: 5-pod PureMotion(Supernatural Commander-style), with thick, juicy Cushlon(CP3.6 style), making the movement natural, and almost lazy in cushioning.
    Uppers: And1 tai chi height(low mid-top), and engineered Canvas(like the adiPURE BB SprintSkin(behind the Kurim cage)), firm, but with ‘woven-/knitted-comfort’.

  15. A pair of rose 1.5 with an insole like the lebron 11 or full length boost. Think about it XD

  16. Traction: Kobe 9 compound with the Jordan 28’s pattern.
    Cushion: “Unlocked” Micro G surrounded by Zoom Air.
    Materials: Same thing as nightwing, except mine would be knit material with the Melo M11’s heel setup.
    Put the LeBron 10 tongue and the M11’s lacing system and it’s perfect.

  17. The perfectly durable Lowtop:
    KD 7 traction
    Kobe 9 Engineered Mesh
    Kobe 8 Shank plate
    Kobe 8 Elite Heelcounter
    Lebron 11 tongue
    Fulllength Zoom
    Jordan Xx9 lateral stopper

    The perfect lightweight Lowtop
    Kobe 9 traction
    Kobe X like caged lunarlon but fulllenght
    Real Flyknit upper
    Melo m10 lacing system
    Kobe 8 Elite / Lebron 11 tongue

    And how about a new theme: make the perfect shoe by taking an existing model and changing just one aspect. Like taking a 2015 a kobe 9 and making it fulllength zoom instead of nondurable lunarlon

  18. I like how everyone just has different ideas about the “perfect” shoe. My ideas are probably a bit different from everyone else’s since I mainly play volleyball. Although most vball players prefer low-cut and lower profile shoes, I’ve been wearing mid

    Traction: Kobe 9 rubber compound with Superfly 2-like outsole, but have the area in the back filled in with more herringbone (no empty space like in the normal Superfly)
    Midsole: unlocked zoom air in the forefoot with the normal phylon surrounding it, but MicroG from the heel to the midfoot.
    Upper: woven (AJ 29) or clutchfit (or something similar so my wide feet will be okay). An external heel counter like the Clutchfit Drive or Kobe 8 if clutchfit is used, or just a built in TPU heel counter if the AJ 29 upper is used

    1. I think using HyperPosite like in the LBJ 11 would be just as good as either of the two upper options I mentioned, although it would be pretty heavy. It feels nice and supportive though.

      1. Also, having MicroG all the way throughout instead of having the phylon would have a much better ride imo, but I dunno what it would do to the unlocked zoom feeling.

  19. Lowtop
    Upper – Woven supported by foamposite heel cup wrapped into midsole
    Cushioning – drop-in lunar/zoom midsole from Lebron 11
    Support – Carbon fiber shank and forefoot piece from Kobe 10
    Fit – Like the Kobe 6
    Outsole – Kobe 10 in a slightly harder/more durable rubber

  20. my ideal shoe would be similar to the d rose 773 2. pure motion setup with a drop in boost midsole. the traction would be the same as the d rose 4just to allow natural flex. for the upper i d like the crazylight boost mesh from midfoot to toebox, anf foamposite in the heel. here you have a breathable, supportive cushioned shoe

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