Way of Wade Fission 9
Way of Wade’s Fission line has been a very consistent outdoor basketball option in the past couple of years. The Way of Wade Fission 9 feels like a slight step back in terms of performance.
Release Date: 2023
If you’re looking for a good performance basketball shoe at a reasonable price, in recent years, Way of Wade is probably your safest bet. The consistency in the quality of their products is to be admired. A bonus with many of their hoop shoes is that they are designed to perform well on outdoor courts, and they are one of the few brands to offer outdoor-specific basketball shoes. The Way of Wade Fission 9 is one of these models.
The Fission line has been very solid over the years, and the Fission 8 in particular was a banger. The Fission 9 has some very interesting performance features, but their implementation, unfortunately, may be an issue.
Way of Wade Fission 9 Review
Way of Wade Fission 9 Tech Specs:
Way of Wade Fission 9 Traction
The Way of Wade Fission 9 features a very outdoor-specific traction setup. The outsole may look decoupled but in reality, what we have is a full-length rubber cup sole, built with some heavy-duty rubber at that. The traction pattern itself is a series of thick, deeply set, horizontal lines that will take forever to wear down. However, as well as this might perform outdoors, it is not an optimal setup for all-around performance.
For starters, the horizontal configuration of the traction pattern will work great for linear movements on court, but lateral coverage could be an issue, especially indoors. If you plan on playing with these exclusively on gritty outdoor surfaces, you probably won’t have any problems, but on sleeker surfaces like PVC parquet lateral slippage seems likely.
Then there is the build of that rubber cupsole. The rubber is so tough and there is so much of it that it doesn’t allow the cushioning system to expand and contract underfoot and it makes the shoe extra stiff. This is a huge trade-off to boost the outsole durability, which might be worth it for some, but not for most.
Way of Wade Fission 9 Cushion
The Way of Wade Fission 9 features three-fourths length Boom cushioning housed within a Lightfoam+ carrier. Boom is Way of Wade’s best foam cushioning, and Lightfoam+ is a firm and basic lightweight EVA. On paper, this reads as a wonderful setup for outdoor play, and as a lot of bang for your buck for $120. The issue as we touched on before is the implementation.
The cup sole suffocates the Boom foam, which feels great in almost every other Way of Wade shoe it’s featured in. There are some small cutouts in the rubber, but they are not enough to allow the foam to do its job. With ample break-in time, the midsole may begin to soften slightly, but even then we would be talking about a very reactive, almost neutral cushioning system, which isn’t optimal for outdoor play.
Way of Wade Fission 9 Materials
The Way of Wade Fission 9 features a primarily textile build, which, for the price, is above average. There are 2 different textiles used on the Fission 9. The material used on the toe box feels like a very heavy-duty ballistic mesh, with a fuse overlay at the very tip of the shoe. The side panels of the shoe are constructed with a much thinner and more forgiving bit of textile.
Both of these materials do a good job of conforming to your foot and enhancing lockdown. They feel slightly plastic-y in hand but, in terms of performance, they get the job done.
Aside from that, we have 2 lace cables towards the top of the shoe, plastic eye stays at the midfoot, a nice external heel counter, and a gusseted microfiber tongue. Again, nothing elite or premium, but it is all functional and boosts the shoe’s all-around performance.
Way of Wade Fission 9 Support
Support and containment on the Fission 9 are presumably the shoe’s best qualities. The main highlight in this aspect is the PROBAR LOC torsional plate. This is a very heavy-duty TPU shank plate that covers the whole midfoot of the shoe and extends out into the forefoot as well, so you’ll get all the torsional rigidity you could ever need and some spring in your step as well. But the shoe also features a second, top-loaded TPU shank plate.
On top of that, the aforementioned heel counter does its job well to keep your heel in place. Lockdown is also on point thanks to the construction of the upper, the lace cables, the fuse and synthetic leather overlays, and the actual fit of the shoe. In this sense, the Fission 9 is a very stable and secure feeling shoe on court, maybe even too much so.
The combination of the PROBAR LOC plate, the second TPU shank, and the substantial rubber cup sole makes the shoe very stiff and will require a good amount of break-in time. But, on the bright side, if you are a basketball player who needs an elite level of torsional support, this might be the shoe for you.
Way of Wade Fission 9 Fit
The Way of Wade Fission 9 fits true to size, so go with whatever size you usually use with Way of Wade. One thing to keep in mind is they do fit more narrow than other Way of Wade models. Way of Wade usually builds on wider lasts to cater to their Chinese consumers, but that is not the case with the Fission 9. The Fission 9 is not a narrow shoe by western standards, just a bit more narrow than your typical Way of Wade shoe.
Way of Wade Fission 9 Overall
The Way of Wade Fission 9 is a niche performance basketball shoe. It is not a bad shoe per se, it’s just not built for everyone. If you’re looking for a stable, tough, and secure outdoor basketball shoe, the Fission 9 has you covered. As far as indoor play goes, as long as lateral traction is not an issue, you can expect the same. But this is definitely not the fluid, comfy, all-around performance model the Fission 8 was, which, admittedly is disappointing.
Even more so when you look at all the performance features that are packed into this, very reasonably priced, basketball shoe. The implementation is just slightly off. The Fission 9 might turn out to be a great basketball shoe for some, but probably not for most.