October 16th welcomes the most magical time of the year – all the sports are on TV, ALL THE SPORTS. Today the NBA reawakens from its post-Finals slumber (pre-season doesn’t count) with a star-studded opening week. Will LeBron’s Lakers make the Playoffs? Can DeMarcus intergrade fluidly into the Warriors offense? Does adding Kyrie and Hayward to the Celtics make them a legit contender?
Today’s start of the season got us thinking about our top-5 sneakers heading into the 2018-19 season. They are ranked in order so let us know what you would have done differently!
5. James Harden – Adidas Harden Vol. 3
The Harden Volume 3’s design inspiration came from James’s ability to shift gears from medium fast to slow. #Slowdownfast speaks to the stop-and-start style of Harden’s step-backs and step-throughs. One second he’s here, blink, then he’s two feet behind the 3-pt line draining a jumper on you. Adidas held to the Harden’s tradition of using BOOST while lowering the overall cut to an all-time low. We’re excited for the Vol. 3 because we know it’ll perform well but this year leaves a bit to be desired in the looks department. They’re good, but just that… good.
4. Kevin Durant – Nike KD XI
Kevin Durant’s eleventh signature shoe has evolved greatly in comparison to the KD 1. We’ve been in love with the sock-like fit of the shoe’s upper and the use of both React and Zoom Air. The KD XI marries React and Zoom for the first time resulting in a unique feel that supports every stride (with React) and jump (via Zoom) perfectly. We’re a little salty about how good the above pictured Seattle Supersonics PE looks and the shoe is heavier than we expected, but overall Durant’s latest is a fantastic shoe. There’s no doubt KD and the Warriors will go deep into the Playoffs so there will be plenty of PE opportunities for the KD XI to shine.
3. LeBron James – Nike Lebron XVI
Rumor has it LeBron will lace up the below pictured XVI’s that draw inspiration from his iconic King adds that featured James decked out in lions print on a kingly throne.
Upon first leaked pictures of the LeBron XVI we were skeptical but with each new colorway excitement built. The evolution of Nike’s BattleKnit, the advancement of Flyknit, offers breathability, durability and flexibility – the three elements of basketball footwear each shoe strives to achieve. We were excited to see a similar cushioning system to the LeBron XV return because it provides all the benefits of Max Air without sacrificing flexibility (though comparatively stiff). The tongue design isn’t our favorite and the shoe’s overly low-key aesthetic doesn’t leap off the page like the XV. With that said, we’re extremely excited to see LeBron lace these up in some kingly purple and gold. The shoe’s understated look will lend itself well to whatever Tim Day and the Nike Basketball team dresses it in though.
2. Various – Air Jordan XXX3
Our top two choices are what they are because of the new direction each shoe took. The Air Joran XXX3 continues the line’s recent trend of drawing inspiration from shoes 30 years ago respectively (XXX1 = Jordan 1, XXX2 = Jordan 2); but unlike the last two years the XXX3 calls upon very few literal design cues of the Jordan 3. This year’s signature Jordan shoe does a great job of utilizing the spirit of the 3 with subtle nodes via heel tab and midsole shape while still feeling like a new shoe. A new new lacing system dubbed FastFit works like a motor-less HyperAdapt providing a completely customized fit around the wearer’s feet. The mechanism reminds us of a parachute rip cord which is totally awesome and inventive. Almost as awesome as…
1. Various – Puma Clyde Court Disrupt
Ask us a year ago if we’d think one of the coolest basketball shoes on the market in 2018 would be a Puma model and we’d call you a liar. What Puma has achieved this year with new designs and endorsers has been a breath of fresh air for the basketball shoe division of footwear. The Clyde Court Disrupt perfectly pays homage to the original Clyde (rightfully so because too often the OG Clyde is forgotten as an all-time great basketball design). Puma updated the shoe’s materials and fit without altering the Clyde’s overall look – the shoe’s instantly recognizable and brand new, what’s better than that? Assisted by an aggressive line up of endorsers including DeAndre Ayton, Marvin Bagley, Danny Green and possibly DeMarcus Cousins the Clyde Court has entered the crowded basketball shoe battle with a haymaker and is sure to turn heads this year. If the initial colorways got us feeling a certain way then sky is the limit for this new comer.