World Balance Cager
The World Balance Cager could have been one of the best budget basketball shoes ever, if not for one weakness.
Colorway: Off White
Release Date: 2022
Price: $49 / Php2699
The World Balance Cager is the new kid in town for Philippine-brand World Balance. When I first saw it, it reminded me of the Li-Ning Power VIII V2. It has that bulky look to it. However, I was surprised that the shoe was light and moved well with my feet. But it has one glaring weakness that keeps it from being considered one of the best in its class.
This is one of those times that I don’t appreciate this section coming first. Unfortunately, the traction wasn’t great. The rubber is tacky, and the pattern is correct with herringbone, but the weakness came when dust got clogged up because the pattern was so tightly spaced. Once dust got in between the spaces, it was over. I completely slid out once on a dusty hardwood floor. The grip was better outdoors, but the downside there was the durability. I saw some significant fraying after about two hours of playing.
There is another version of the shoe, the brown colorway, that features gum rubber. I can almost guarantee that those will have better traction, both indoors and outdoors. The World Balance DimeDrop also has gum rubber and its traction performed great.
The midsole is Trampolite, one of World Balance’s premium foam-based cushioning systems. It compressed well and provided impact protection without feeling too high off the ground. There’s a lot more court feel up front and lots of foam in the back. It wasn’t cloud-like, but I’d say it’s versatile. It can cater to most Filipino players regardless of position. This is largely because most of us don’t exceed 5’10”.
The insole is Terrasoft which seems like it has some polyurethane in it, but that doesn’t make up its entirety. It will be more durable than Ortholite insoles. If you want to switch it out with Move Insoles or your orthotics, you can do so without much trouble.
We finally get to the best part of the sneaker. Take a second look at the price, and you’ll be amazed at what this shoe offers. The base is an open-celled mesh which makes the shoe breathable and comfortable. From there, things just get better. The toe cap is made of soft leather that breaks in nicely. There are suede side panels for both aesthetics and lateral support. The tongue is likewise made of suede. Then the back collar area has more leather and additional screen mesh. At this price point, I don’t think you can get any better materials anywhere.
Fit is true to size. If you’re in between sizes, I suggest going up half a size. World Balance currently does not have any half sizes. Another recommendation is to use the topmost eyelets even if it seems you won’t need them. If you don’t, I found that the laces become too long and can interfere with your feet while playing. So to be safe, use all the eyelets.
There are many support features on this shoe. We have already mentioned the overlays. We also have an external heel counter that’s one of the beefiest I have tried so far. The outsole also has a substantial outrigger that caught my every move. You sit within the midsole which adds to that stability. My only complaint is the traction. All these support features don’t mean much if we’re slipping and sliding all over the place.
World Balance Cager Overall
The World Balance Cager has a lot of potential. I sincerely hope World Balance follows this up with a Cager 2. If they could just update the traction, this would be a top contender for one of the best budget basketball shoes and one of the basketball shoes with the best value. This is in comparison with any shoe of any brand anywhere. The materials for this price are nearly unbelievable. If Nike were to do these kinds of materials on an upper, I bet they’d be charging around $120 at least. Let’s hope the next model will be better.
You can check out more World Balance reviews here.
How to Buy the World Balance Cager
The World Balance Cager is available for $49 or Php2699 at World Balance.
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