Sneakerhead

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted, so I figured that I should break back into this blogging game and write about something I love as a hobby.  Basketball, and more importantly the shoes that go with them.  Call me a “sneakerhead”, that’s fine.  I appreciate sneakers, whether it’s shoe I wear casually, or more importantly, something I use on the court for the best performance possible.

Some have asked me, “Why do you spend so much on shoes for basketball?”.  My feet are the most important asset for basketball, so why not spend research time and money to make sure I get the best products available.  I don’t expect them to make me be like Mike, break ankles like Kobe, or dunk like Lebron.  I expect them to give me the best possible support, cushion, and performance money can buy.  I’m going to break into some thoughts on performance basketball shoes I’ve purchased and why.

Recently, Jordan Brand came out with some great innovation in terms of athletic science and support with the Air Jordan XX8 with the shoe itself focusing on energy efficiency.

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I am a custom orthotic user, and they fit perfectly inside the AJXX8, almost as if the shoes were designed to support them specifically if needed.  Some might call these ugly or non-conventional, but playing in these first hand, I can tell you that these are a great performance basketball shoe.

Kustoo.com got together with the Jordan Brand’s designer Josh Heard to go over the shoe itself, and what they were trying to accomplish other than making money off of us as consumers.  It’s a great read overall.

A detailed look at the Air Jordan XX8 with designer Josh Heard

Another great shoe I’ve been playing in with great success is the Kobe 8.  I haven’t played in the Kobe since I acquired custom orthotics with the Kobe 6.  The 6 unfortunately did not work well with my custom orthotics and I moved onto the Lebron line as a result back then.  Well now with the Kobe 8 “System”, a custom tailored midsole can be purchased from Nike to work with orthotics of all sorts.  Below is a picture of the Kobe 8, my orthotic on top of the removable midsole, and the default combo mid+insole the Kobe 8 ships with for reference.

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In short, these remind me of the Nike Free run shoe with more stability, cushion, support, and most importantly a one to one fit. The default insole that comes with these mold to your feet, but are of course no where near as effective as the prescribed custom orthotics in my opinion.  If you want a detailed review of this shoe, check out Kicksoncourts.com’s thoughts on them.

Being someone that has played in the Lebron line for some time now, the Air Jordan XX8 and Kobe 8 made me realize how heavy and bulky they are for my size and athletic ability, effectively making me clumsy on the court.  This is of course due to the fact that Lebron’s shoe line are crafted to perform well for guys as freakishly built and as athletic as Lebron James. The Lebron X is a prime example of this.  Great cushion, lots of tech, but built for a beast, not a regular guy like me, and now this shoe has turned into an expensive outdoor shoe.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the shoe, I just prefer others to it at this point in time.

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The only Lebron shoe that works extremely well for me is the Lebron 9 Elite.  These were released last year and was an effective re-design to the original Lebron 9 released in late 2011.  If the X Elite follows suit in this direction, it could be promising for the average guy as well.

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So why so many shoes, right?  Shoe rotation.  Most athletic podiatrists for pro and college teams suggest that after a shoe has been worn through extensive play for more than 60 hours, they should be retired and not used further due to midsole compression and stretching of the upper materials from the torque of use and moisture from sweat.  Well fortunately for my wallet’s sake, I don’t play any where near a professional level, so three shoes in my current rotation should last me a long time.

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