The only seam you will see…
Alright, the meat of it – cushioning. First off, the insole. One of the first things I do to a new shoe is pull out the insole, as I believe the quality of the insole says a lot about a company and the attention to detail. Ball’N doesn’t disappoint. The dual layer insole is topped with a standard EVA, thin but dense. But glued to the bottom is a layer of softer foam, much like OrthoLite, leading to a soft, plush feel when stepping in.
Notice the additional foam cushioned insole bottom.
The second factor is why I wanted these on my feet: d3o. As I said, I first heard about it during the Olympics and thought how cool it would be to have an “impact suit”. Not exactly a full suit, but d3o takes care of your feet. When I first saw the shoe and the interviews with founder Rodney Jeter, I assumed the foam was only in the heel. I was surprised to find a sheet of d3o covering the full footbed in the forefoot as well. And what is the feel of the d3o on foot? Think of Nike’s Lunar Foam, but more resilient like adiPrene. I could feel a difference comparing running to jumping. When running, the foam almost felt flat on the floor. It was thin, not quite responsive but cushioned, and low to the floor. But when I jumped and landed, I could feel the impact stop at my foot. It absorbed impact as good or better than anything not named Air Max, but with a much more stable feel. I haven’t done the hd3o hammer trick from the video but I trust it would work.
Traction and stability, well, I hate to say this, but I told you I would come back to it. I may be going out on a limb, but here goes – the Ball’N All Out has the best traction of any shoe I have tried this year, maybe ever. It didn’t matter what floor I was on, I never once even thought of slipping. I was trying to remember if I ever heard the squeak we all look for, and to be honest, I don’t remember hearing it, but no matter. It freakin’ rocked. I have told anyone who asks “best traction ever”, and that is all I can say. I played on a floor in my Zoom Kobe VI’s one week, these the next, and the traction on the Ball’N All out was leaps better. That is all.
Stability is spot on as well, with the addition of the popular forefoot outrigger and a visible heel cup. The outrigger is big and beefy and runs from the midfoot all the way to the end of the pinky toe. It is thick and solid but not bulky or dragging as some can be. I believe this is because of the flexibility of the forefoot and the transition provided by the midfoot shank and d3o components. The heel counter is smaller than most in overall area but more than makes up for it in stiffness. Coupled with the midsole wrap, my heel never slid either direction and felt solid and stable pushing off on defense and in transition.
Continue to Page 3 for the final BALL’N All Out performance review recap…