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REACT – A Performance Review of Nike’s Latest Cushioning System

It’s been a while since Nike launched a completely new sole technology. On August 3rd however, REACT will officially launch with the Nike Hyperdunk 2017 Flyknit and the Jordan Super.Fly 2017. While both shoes feature full-length REACT, they couldn’t be more different…

I got to test the Hyperdunk and the Super.Fly in advance to give you an insight into how the shoes fit, feel and perform on the court, both inside and outside. Check out my two part review below!

I’ve been playing basketball almost my entire life, but in the last years I took a bit of a break and just took part in some pick up games every now and then. Having the privilege of testing unreleased shoes was such a motivation however, that I decided to go to a real basketball practice and put these new performance shoes to a real test. So I went to the s.Oliver Arena in my hometown of Würzburg and left my blood, sweat and tears out there. (I literally almost cried from exhaustion…) The shoes will be tested in 5 different categories, namely Traction, Cushion, Materials, Fit and Support. They can score between 1 and 10 points in each of these categories. Here we go!

Up first was the Jordan Super.Fly 2017!

Traction:

At first sight, the outsole of the Super.Fly looks as if it has traction for days and Jordan Brand describes the outsole as a solid rubber outsole which “has a multi-directional traction pattern, informed by pressure mapping, to deliver targeted grip“. Unfortunately though, I cannot cosign this description. The s.Oliver Arena is a very clean gym, the German first-division team s.Oliver Würzburg plays there, but I did not register one squeak of the sole whatsoever. And we did practice our step-back jumpers, crossover dribbles and ran some suicides. I mean I didn’t slip and slide through the gym, the traction was solid, but I cannot give more than 6/10!

Cushion:

How does REACT react? That was the main question for me going into this weartest. In the Super.Fly 2017, REACT feels really soft and comfortable. Just walking around in the shoe prior to the practice session, I could tell that the comfort was on a really solid level. And that is where I have a little problem with the Jordan Super.Fly 2017. It’s a great, comfy shoe to walk around in, but to ball in, I’d rather have some Zoom under my feet. Maybe it would have given the shoes a little lighter feel and a less bulky outsole. The responsiveness when attacking the basket or running suicides was okay, but unfortunately not great. Don’t get me wrong, the cushioning feels good and comfortable, but the overall feeling of it when playing basketball could be better, so I give it 7/10 and probably would recommend using it as a lifestyle shoe.

Materials:

The materials on the Jordan Super.Fly 2017 that I tested are flat out great. The nubuck upper feels super soft and looks absolutely beautiful. However, these materials are also a drawback considering the Super.Fly’s purpose as a performance shoe. After 10 minutes of playing my feet felt as if I had played in winter boots, they were steaming. The premium leather is not breathable at all, unfortunately. A mesh upper should probably cut the cheese when it comes to breathability and therefore would be the better option if you want to ball in these shoes. Lifestyle-wise, the materials are top-notch! The lack of performance suitability though means that i can give them only 8/10 points…

Fit:

I had the chance to try on US sizes 12 and 12.5, and while I usually rock a 12, the 12.5 was the better choice for me as a basketball shoe. So I would suggest to go up half a size in these. The overall is pretty comfy and at the same time tight to the foot. Jordan achieves this with the help of the tongue which is integrated into the forefoot for a comfortable and seamless feel and basically allows you to rock the Super.Fly 2017 without the laces, as long as you don’t ball in them that is. The lacing system is called Flight Web and delivers a dynamic, stabilizing lockdown. So, to my surprise, the shoes do fit pretty good, therefore I give them a score of 8/10.

Support:

When it comes to support, the Jordan Super.Fly 2017 is solid, but not excellent. As mentioned before, the traction was surprisingly weak and therefore, the support also lacks a little sometimes. While the fit is really good, the overall stability while wearing the shoe suffers from the bulky and too thick outsole. The shoe feels a little heavy and while Jordan promises a “stable ride” thanks to the traction pods on the sole, playing at full speed with fast cuts is not where this shoe has its strengths. Although the heel area features anatomical internal padding for stability and comfort, the ankle support is not top level. Overall support is a solid 6/10, but the shoe has its comfort zone in a relaxed shootaround rather than a 5 on 5 game.

Final Score: 35/50

All in all, the Jordan Super.Fly 2017 is a good shoe. In my opinion, it is better used as a streetstyle shoe thanks to its premium materials and its flashy looks. The combination of beige, or black like on the other pair I tried on, and the vibrant infrared outsole is absolutely stunning. Plus the silhouette itself is shaped beautifully. I haven’t made up my mind yet on which colorway I should get, but I will definitely cop this high-quality, comfy basketball shoe and hit the streets in them!

Watch out for several fresh colorways of the Jordan Super.Fly 2017 to drop starting August 3rd on KICKZ.com and in our stores!

Round 2, the Nike Hyperdunk 2017 Flyknit!

Traction:

Different shoe, different traction. Although both the Jordan Super.Fly and the Hyperdunk feature the REACT system, their soles highly differ from one another. The Hyperdunk also uses traction patterns similar to the Super.Fly, but surprisingly, they work a lot better. They were squeaking all over the place, music to the ears of a true baller! No matter if crossover-dribbles, pull-up jumpers or quick changes of direction, I did not lose my grip. The sole did not stick to the floor like glue, but this was a level of traction one needs when playing basketball. A score of 8/10 for the Hyperdunk!

Cushion:

I don’t know how that is possible, but somehow, REACT reacts differently in the Hyperdunk compared to the Super.Fly. The outsole is not as heavy and bulky and you have a better court feel when playing in the Hyperdunk. Nevertheless, the comfort which I experienced in the Super.Fly still remains. Plus the response you get from the Hyperdunk when jumping or accelerating feels much better than in the Jordans. This makes them significantly better in the cushion category and gives them a very good score of 9/10!

Materials:

The materials on the Nike Hyperdunk 2017 Flyknit are, as the name implies, a lot of Flyknit plus some fine leather and suede. The upper consists mainly of Flyknit, Nike’s high-tech fabric which gives you a sock-like feel. It is almost a one piece upper if it wasn’t for the tongue, a piece of premium leather with soft suede on the front. What I didn’t quite get, is the strange looking, see-through part on the achilles heel, which is basically a mini nylon cage. This tiny detail looks and feels a bit strange in my opinion. Other than that, the rest of the shoe is well designed and crafted. A good 8/10 in my eyes.

Fit:

As just mentioned, Flyknit gives you a sock-like fit. Thus the Hyperdunk sits pretty tight at your foot. I tested a size 12 and probably should have asked for a 12.5 instead. It was a little too tight for me. And surprisingly, although the sole looks really wide, the Hyperdunk 2017 Flyknit fits a little narrow, especially on the outer arch. My feet did hurt quite a bit after practice. Apart from these problems though, the fit of the Hyperdunk is great. The shoes hold on tight to your foot and give you exactly the feeling you need when trying to play your best basketball. Especially around the heel, where the Super.Fly 2017 has its problems, your foot sits perfectly in the shoe. However, given the problems with the narrowness, I can only give the Hyperdunk 8/10 for its fit.

Support:

The tight fit combined with a good lacing system which goes all the way up above the ankle give the Hyperdunk great support. Its small weight and good traction also help you get around the gym feeling stable at all times. With your foot being gripped firmly by the heel padding, you don’t slide through the shoes or anything and always stay in a good stance. The sole could be a little lower to the ground, but that’s the only thing I would criticize when it comes to support. Therefore, it’s an excellent 9/10!

Final Score: 42/50!

The Nike Hyperdunk 2017 Flyknit is a great basketball shoe, with a very good cushioning system, namely REACT that keeps you comfortable and is very responsive at all times. I recommend going up half a size though, as the shoes fit rather narrow and run a little small. Everybody who’s looking for a lightweight performance shoe with great support and traction should consider the new Hyperdunk! You can’t go wrong with these performance kickz!

A wide range of Flyknit and non-Flyknit versions, high and low, of the Nike Hyperdunk 2017 are already available on KICKZ.com and more will be dropping on August 3rd!

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About the author

Philip is a KICKZ Bowling Champ who manages the Instagram account. He is a tatted up sneakerhead with an immeasurable amount of useless knowledge inside his humongous brain. Being a fan of Penny Hardaway in his childhood, he tried to model his game after the lengthy Orlando point guard and became a solid all around weapon on offense with a soft touch and unlimited range. Nowadays he walks around in his SB Nikes, Vans and Retro Basketball Shoes and eats like a vacuum cleaner. LeBron = GOAT.

2 comments on “REACT – A Performance Review of Nike’s Latest Cushioning System”

  1. fellmonger.dm@gmail.com' Eshika Roy Reply

    Thank you for posting this informative review about Nike’s latest cushioning technology. It seems like the ideal shoe for playing basketball. This new technology of traction and support will help a lot in moving around the court. Please keep on sharing more interesting updates about the latest shoes in the upcoming posts.

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