Recently, I had an opportunity to get my hands on a pair of Lonzo Ball’s notorious Big Baller Brand shoes. For those of you in the dark, Big Baller Brand aka BBB is owned by Lonzo’s eccentric father, LaVar Ball. Hype and hate have defined the brand with any mention of the shoe drawing strong opinions. I was (am, it’s complicated) a doubter until I actually took the time to disassociate the shoe from BBB. The Zo2 Prime Remix most definitely fits into the mold of what it means to be a modern performance shoe – it’s light, low synthetic (in martials). The complicating factor for me is the price tag; the Prime Remix simply isn’t a $495 shoe, period. Shoes are expensive to produce, really expensive. If you’re a ‘mom and pop’ brand like BBB then charging a lot is a must… someone has to help split the bills. It’s like Ben & Jerry’s vs. Kroger Brand ice cream, you pay a premium for a superior product (ice cream)… it’s just… nothing really makes the Zo2 premium compared to its competitors other than the packaging. A dust bag and heavy duty box does provide a nice first impression. Lets dive in to the specifics together:
Before we dive into technology and materials lets address the elephant in the room. Yes, they closely resembles Brand Black’s Rare Metal shoe, but BBB isn’t biting Brand Black’s designs. The Zo2 Prime (and all the BBB shoes) exist because of Santa Ana. What is Santa Ana? Well, it’s a licensing company that (helps)create and distribute footwear. Santa Ana’s founders have huge roles in Brand Black which resulted in a BBB design that utilized tech found in BB. Most noticeably, the Zo2’s sole tooling/design mirrors the Rare Metals.
“Good looking shoe right?”, “If they had a Nike logo they wouldn’t be bad.”, “I’d take a free pair but wouldn’t pay.” I’ve heard all of these statements and each are true in their own way.
Santa Ana branding accompanies BBB’s logo on the lateral sides in a nice gold color. Seven separate materials/prints make up the shoe. From this angle we get our best look at the eye stays (space between the lace holes and upper) that emulates Nike’s Kobe 6 snake print. Unlike the Kobe 6, this iteration redefines ‘plastic-y’. It doesn’t offer any real texture and it’s incredibly thin too. IF BBB charged $80 for the Zo2 Prime Remix then the upper materials would be fitting and price appropriate. BUT they don’t, so it’s hard for me to praise what they’re offering from a quality standpoint.
The toebox and tongue have a textile like material that is hard to describe. To the touch it feels somewhere between ribbed and coarse. Lonzo’s circular logo at the top of the tongue is screened onto one of the worst tongue materials I’ve ever felt; it’s flimsy and looks like it could rip easily. At least it looks nice ( a popular theme here).
This ‘opened box’ angle provides a look at the nicely lined box. We also get the best full images of each material visually working off one another. The square print material in-between the mudguard and eyestay is semi-translucent, we can see the ankle padding through it with this angle. I can’t deny that as a complete package the Zo2 Prime Remix looks engaging and interesting.
Lastly, carbon fiber throughout the heel counter is a nice touch. The material’s print looks great (as always) and provides nice stability. Admittedly, the heel counter is the upper material that feels significant.
When Lonzo Ball decided to decline offers from all the major shoe brands he broke the norm. When his family decided to do it their own way, they made sneaker history. Leave a comment below if you bought a pair of Zo2 Prime Remixes. Big shoutout to Deadstock Coffee for providing the pair featured in this article.