CounterKicks‘ open review invitation (send to email@example.com) to any customer who purchases the APL Concept 1 has resulted in this second performance review by reader Kevin Hung. Broken down into segmented categories, Kevin provides us with an in-depth look at Athletic Propulsion Labs debut shoe and patent-pending “Load ‘N Launch” technology. Continue reading for Kevin Hung’s in-depth performance review of the APL Concept 1.
Being a person who has worn various brand basketball shoes in the past few years to seek the best performance and appearance joints for the on-court game, the APL Concept 1 truly fulfilled my criteria of how a good basketball shoe should perform.
As a guy who mainly wears Reebok, adidas, K1X and And1, what the Concept 1 brought is a hugely different experience compared to any of the other brands products and I put together below a detailed review in sectioned categories to give you all some information on how the Concept 1’s performed for me…
Size: US 11 (in Concept 1)
Game Style: All-Around Forward, Occasional Point Guard
I was attracted by the Concept 1′s look instead of the Load ‘N Launch technology at the beginning. The carbon-fiber pattern vamp and color combination is so fresh that I would love to put them on anytime. They are absolutely a neck-breaker on the basketball court. The first time I wore them, guys came together and asked, “where did you get your shoes?” This situation seldom happens on me, even as I’m a person who is always switching joints on the court. It is kind of fun when you have people discussing what you are wearing.
Cushioning/Load ‘N Launch/Responsiveness: 9.5/10
I have to say that I was like all the others when I first heard about how the APL Load ‘N Launch system works. “Is that a joke or just another marketing gimmick?” But being a basketball sneakerhead and tech-savvy on footwear, I don’t mind to give a try to this revolutionary system because jumping higher is always concerned and desired from ballers. This is what ultimately motivated me to purchase the Concept 1 because I believe they could help my game (especially for a person who cannot dunk for some years). I have to say that I’m not really an athletic player since having tons of knee injuries in the early days of my balling career, which limited my ability on leaping. However, what Concept 1 brought is not just an instant increase on the leaping, the Load ‘N Launch system provided a more powerful first-step and explosiveness to my game. I love to drive inside often anduse my strength to score in the paint area because as where I’m located (Hong Kong), my body size does take some advantages on most of my opponents, and so with the Concept 1 on, I can speak in a way that the shoes can either provide me with extra power when I’m trying to finish the basket or in the other way, saved some of my energy compared to wearing other brand’s shoes.
Also, I have to mention the superb functional high-rebound EVA midsole and insole, these parts works perfectly for shock-absorption and every time I grabbed a rebound or landed on the ground hard, they guaranteed me not having any feeling of pain.
The weight is light compared with other basketball shoes that launched in the same period, especially with such an amazing system installed. The weight should generally be favorable and accepted by most ballers. The translucent outsole provides a very good traction on the court.
The overall silhouette is smooth and the mid cut design provides good ankle support without locking your ankle too tight. I like shoes that allows me to wear no-show socks and the Concept 1 provides for this without hurting my ankle or heels (big ups to APL on the sleek fabric application of the interior lining). The shoes also provide a lock down fit when I tied up the laces.
But as we all know, nothing is perfect in this world and cons are found in this category. The ventilation of the shoes isn’t the greatest due to the application of a full synthetic vamp; it’s quite hard to wear them to ball in for more than two hours in the gym because I found out my socks are completely wet afterwards. Plus, another main problem is, the Concept 1 may not be suitable for people with a flat/wide forefoot. Being that I’m Asian, I’m not having a huge flat forefoot but at the lateral side which is near the first lace hole (the area that will bend when you are in motion) it does scratch my foot sometimes when I’m trying to do moves like quick cutting. So please be aware and consider to go a half size larger if you are a wide forefoot person and going to purchase the Concept 1.
Overall Score: 9/10
Price is a major concern for the APL Concept 1 because not everybody would like to spend $300 for just a pair of basketball shoes but from what I can tell after my wear testing is that the Concept 1 is a product that brings the basketball shoe game into the next level. It really enhances the performance and improves your game. I would like to see more development on the APL line and see how far they can go and look forward to the next generation of the Load ‘N Launch system with even more inches added in leaping.
-Review by Kevin Hung
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