Top Performance Picks of 2014 | Duke4005


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This year brought some big changes, for me personally and for our performance interests. I could not be happier to be on WearTesters and sharing my views and opinions with the readers and viewers. On top of that, we saw players switching companies, players staying put who were strongly rumored to switch, injuries, players not wearing their own shoe, and the rise of some brands that we didn’t know about before but will definitely see in the future. I dot his in categories and then pick my top 5, so without any further ado, here are the nominees…


46 Comments

        1. Ahhhh – makes sense and is kind of amusing. I thought he got the “most fun” and the real list mixed. My fault.

  1. at frst i was confused if it was nightwing… but u write differently, a diffrent attitude than nw definitely. i like ur writing style man, very direct and yet cool at the same time. kudos

    1. I did – and as soon as I postwd this I realized I left it off of my “other favorites”. Honestly, it would have been 6 or 7 in a top ten.

      1. Thanks.

        One more question for ya – considering both 2013 and 201 picks without any division by year, how would position your top shoes from 2013 amongst this year’s top picks – Specifically, the UA Spawn Anatomix and Jordan XX8?

  2. I feel like the woven upper on the XX9 feels really good fresh out when you first try them. But for some reason I don’t like it as much after the initial attraction. Clutchfit definitely feels great, both on the cushion and upper. But nothing beats leather that’s broken in. I wish Adidas put out a model with boost and premium leather or UA with micro G and premium leather. I’d easily pay the price Nike puts up with substandard materials. Was hoping the wow 3 would perform great, so I was severely disappointed when I saw how badly it performed.

    1. Last leather I got from UA was the Bloodline and I loved that shoe. Traction could have been better but on a clean indoor court it was solid.

    2. Snatch up the Melo 11 Christmas, there are still people sleeping on them. My pair is arriving on Wednesday!

      1. Already did 🙂 coming in on Tuesday. And I was one of those guys complaining about heel zoom and knee pain and other ailments. But I’m not afraid to admit it was a coincidence. My hip problems coming to a full circle and it’s affecting my legs and knees. It just so happened to flare up when I started playing in my XX9. I do still feel better playing in micro G, but any other cushion setup and I need to stretch extra well before I play. Boost would’ve been good except that forefoot cushion is extremely lacking.

  3. Def get where you’re coming from for the CL Boost…could’ve been, would’ve been.

    Great read, Duke 🙂

  4. Lunarlon doesn’t work for me either. Is it better than MicroG? I hope so. UA and Curry are having a great year so far. Hopefully they can expand their roster. I’d love to see them get Nate Robinson.

  5. Great list Duke. Glad you’re still doing this.

    I keep getting tempted to by the Clutch Drives because you and everyone else rave about them. I keep passing because I hate the high cut on them. I’m really excited about the Curry 1s because the cut looks right and the tech sounds great. Hopefully they’ll be better than the Drives and I can just scoop up multiples pairs of them instead…

  6. Hey Duke,always great reviews, u really help us. I ordered the UA’s Clutchfit Drive but I am worried about blisters.I found it really hard to choose between these and the XX9s. I know that ventilation is better in the 29’s.I just wanted to ask: as far as cushion, which one of those 2 would u prefer?What is better on the feel, responsiveness and impacts, micro g or the zoom setup of the 29’s?Considering the price too,is it worth it to give 100 dollars more for the ventilation if the cushion is similar?

    1. Tough one. I would take either cushioning and I think if you switched the midsoles on the shoes you would get the same performance from each. Really, the XX9 and CF should be 1 and 1A. They are that close. So – to pin me down – Micro G and woven upper.

  7. So you’d prefer the rose 4 over 5? Which would you choose as the best shoe with zoom air from 2013? And how much do you weight?

    1. Out of the box, no adjustments with the insole, I thought the 4 was better.

      Best Zoom of 2013? Tough – probably Lebron X. I 2014? Hyperrev. Unlocked? Different category and the XX8 takes it.

      1. Thanks for the info. And good job on providing your own opinions regarding shoes. I’m from Malaysia and I manage to cop the UA anatomic spawn after seeing the reviews from nightwing. Now I’m thinking of getting a pair of brandblack j crossover and a pair of rose 4s. Keep up the good work Duke!

  8. Hey duke solid list. I got the university red kobe 9s for Christmas, first lunar basketball shoe, I love the traction but I wish I could make them a little more springy like zoom which is what I’m familiar playing in (jordan xii, Lebron 10 , soldier 6). Is there any insole I can place on top of the lunar midsole that would help? I don’t want to buy a pair of bron 11s just for the lunar/zoom sole. Thanks

    1. Not that I have seen. I have the Jordan 2012 sets and the Lebron 4 and 11 sets, but as far as aftermarket you are stuck.

  9. Duke, ignoring the fact that you had to swap insoles on the Rose 5 all together. Where do they rank in the top 5? also, which color did you review? It looks like the black away upper is not as stiff as the red ones.

    1. if I had stayed with the stock insoles they would have dropped to probably 8 range. They really missed with that thin stock insole, even in the Wall and CL Boost. And I got the Brenda’s, or L Trains. Review was done on my old site. If I was buying, I would get the Chi Ice or Christmas for the materials.

      1. Oops sorry, I meant if you still swapped the insoles but ignored the fact you had to do that (pretend they came stock with better insoles), how would they rank? First, second, third? You mentioned they would be ranked higher if it wasn’t for that.

  10. Hey Duke,
    have the Hyperrev 2015 already reached you?
    I’m pretty unsure bout the traction and want to hear some thoughts about it.

    Keep up the good work.

  11. Great list, I would’ve probably switched the ClutchFit Drive, and XX9.

    Personally I had a major surprise in retro’s when I tried the Mutombo 2, with some added cushioning(I added a SofSole Air for a DMX-air type feel) they’re absolute beasts on the court(think a more robust Melo m9, so especially good for bigger guys).

  12. Hey Duke, you mentioned you swapped the LeBron 4 insole into Kobe 9s. Do you own Kobe 8s? If so, can you share how the LeBron 4 insoles fit with them? Thanks

  13. Hey, awesome list Duke:) I’m a small guard and want to pick up some new kicks since all the ones released in twenty fourteen r on sale. So what’s the best shoe for a guard that’s on Sale right now? KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!

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