Under Armour was very close to making one of the best $100 sneakers of 2018 with the Curry 3ZER0 2.
Traction on the Curry 3ZER0 2 is aggressive, rugged, and covers every direction you can think a basketball player would strike their foot for starts, stops, and changes of direction. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Under Armour might be the best when it comes to traction on basketball shoes. The Curry 5 was a hiccup, but between the Curry 3ZER0 2 and the HOVR Havoc…man, both are great options.
Like the HOVR Havoc, I never had an issue with the Curry 3ZER0 2 indoors or outdoors. Nothing could really distract the outsole from its main job: providing great traction.
Micro G and Charged are used on the Curry 3ZER0 2, much like they had been used on the original Curry 3ZER0. This time around it felt like Under Armour really tried to cater to those that love court feel but dislike shoes that lack cushion.
The tooling here almost feels like a runner; the shoe starts thick in the rear and tapers off to the point where you almost feel like it’s just you, some rubber, and the court. It made for an interesting first few runs that I ended up really liking after testing was all said and done.
I will say that this still isn’t that OG Micro G that we all miss, but it’s still really comfortable. Yes, the HOVR Havoc is a bit more comfortable, but the 3ZER0 2 isn’t bad. If you liked the Curry 3, but wanted something slightly better then this is it. If I were to compare this setup to the original 3ZER0 then the original felt thicker, you sit higher off the ground in it for sure, and it also felt a little bouncier than the new iteration.
Now, if you’re comparing the 3ZER0 2 to the Curry 4 or Curry 5…well…there really is no comparison. This shoe has the cushion each of those lacked, without the loss of court feel.
Materials on the 3ZER0 2 are interesting. The shoe almost feels like a wetsuit for your feet, but the upper isn’t neoprene. Under Armour calls it a “molded maxprene upper with zonal restriction engineered from within for maximum comfort and breathability.”
All I know is that I really liked the 3ZER0 2’s upper and the way it wrapped around my foot. I recently completed the performance review on the Nike Kobe AD Exodus and one of my critiques was that the forefoot didn’t feel like it was warm and inviting. I prefer the upper of my basketball shoes to really hug and wrap around my foot, and the 3ZER0 2 offered exactly what I like.
Sometimes, when you have a shoe fit this close to the foot it ends up being a bit too restrictive for some, but the 3ZER0 2 doesn’t fit that description. It is snug but not suffocating. It’s like your favorite pair of compression shorts/pants. Yes, they’re tight, but it’s the type of tight you enjoy versus the kind that you loath.
The Curry 3ZER0 2 fits true to size and that is what I’d recommend. However, wide footers may not enjoy this one.
Its rubber outsole wraps up the forefoot a bit for containment and support while the materials really mold themselves around the foot. If you’re a wide footer and go up half a size to try and give your foot some breathing room then you may not get the support you need out of the upper construction — which is lacking support, but I’ll get into that in a bit.
Lockdown is more like locked in with the 3ZER0 2. Once you get your foot into the shoe, slightly difficult but not annoyingly difficult, then you’ll know what I mean. The 3ZER0 2 just sucks your feet into the shoe and then all you’re left with is lacing them around your foot-shape. The upper really takes care of everything else.
Much like the Kobe AD Exodus, this shoe has everything you need out of a shoe in terms of support…except one thing. The Kobe’s lacked torsional support and the 3ZER0 2 lacks a heel counter. Like, there isn’t one in there. I was surprised by this when I first got the shoe in-hand and was very skeptical with this area because it’s missing one of the most important aspects to heel/ankle support.
To be fair, I never had any ankle or rear support issues in the shoe. None at all. But I still feel there should be something there just in case. The upper and its giant nylon lacing that runs from one side of the shoe to the heel is what keeps your heel in place. There is also a small section of the midsole that comes up just a bit to try and make sure your foot doesn’t roll over the footbed, but c’mon. Shoes need a heel counter. I would have, at the very least, liked to have seen something similar to what was provided with the Curry 2. While that heel counter was thin and flexible, it still did what it had to do to keep your heel on the tooling. That should have been carried over to this model.
Again, I had not experienced any issues, but for added security and reassurance…put a heel counter in your shoes. Please.
With all that out of the way, the rest of the support features on the 3ZER0 2 were great — especially the forefoot outrigger section. As I mentioned earlier, the rubber outsole cages the midsole at the forefoot and wraps up to the upper material. This provided a ton of stability along with lateral support when needed. If you’re a forefoot-heavy player then I feel the 3ZER0 2 will be a great option for you. Land on a foot the wrong way though and you will really need a heel counter.
The Curry 3ZER0 2 was a nearly perfect shoe for Guards. Had it had a heel counter then it would have been — especially at the $100 price point.
Traction is its standout feature along with the fit. Forefoot stability and support are off the charts awesome in the 3ZER0 2. Heel support is, well, it isn’t really even lacking — it’s just plain missing. Head scratcher, I know.
As the 3ZER0 2 sits now, it’s a really good shoe that’s missing a major component. Had that component been there it would have been a great shoe. Period.