Following the disaster of the Reebok Zig basketball line, adidas shifted John Wall to their stable of young point guards. Joining the pack doesn’t mean you can’t be a leader, but does he get the equipment for the job?
Let’s just get this out of the way – I thought the previous John Wall line of sigs was, well, not AS BAD as some other reviews, but not great by any means (first time I felt I got hurt purely because of the shoe was in the Zig Escape), and couple that with me generally feeling Wall was overrated (Kentucky is not my favorite school), I could have cared less where he ended up in the NBA and what his shoe looked like. But enough hate spewing – those days are long gone. With the Crazyquick and Crazyquick 2, Wall finally had the performer he needed. And now, we come to the J Wall 1, and my opinion on a shoe has never been so divided. Why?
I try to discount looks in performance reviews. Really has no place – if a shoe plays well, it could look like a train wreck on Mars and I am cool. However, I am realistic as well, and if it looks bad, I will wear for review and they will be gone – back to the box in the back of the closet or given away (no, you can’t have ‘em). So the divide here is – they feel good on court, but the looks threw me. Don’t get me wrong, they look good for a team shoe, or the Rose 773 line, but not really “signature” caliber. Then I get online in message boards and EVERYONE is all over these, how good they look, rocking off-court, love the colorways, WTF gives? Am I that far gone? Probably, but you know, I ain’t ever tried to impress anyone but me, so forget looks, let’s roll…
Comfort and Cushioning: First off, no, IT DOES NOT HAVE BOOST! There, now that that is over, if you want Boost, go get the D Rose 5. The Wall has adiprene+, and it may not be choice 1 in foam but it isn’t far down the list. For those of you too young to know or care, adiprene+ was the 3-Stripes’ answer to Nike Zoom Air for a while, and although the properties are completely different, they were both considered premium. Only seen in the running line for the last couple of years, the D Rose 4 saw a return to the basketball line and it bounced. The first feeling I got from the J Wall 1 was dead. It wasn’t painful – it just didn’t respond like I am used to. Boost, Micro G, Jetlon, Gradient Dual – all foams that initially feel steps better than adiprene+ does now. I have played in these now for about 20 hours over the last 9 days, and I have come to a conclusion – adiprene+ must be one of the most durable foams out, because it is just now breaking in and it feels right. Still no spring or “a-ha” bounce, but there is a liveliness that is coming out slowly. Pulling the insole out, I see the circle under the heel and the segregated foam in the forefoot that we have gotten since the Crazylight (and a shoe I was told numerous times didn’t have adiprene+. Hmm?). Not full-foot, separated by a rigid shank right under the insole, but heel and forefoot are consistently breaking in together and working good. No pain, but still a little behind the technology of today.
Comfort, however, is FREAKING AWESOME!!!!! Thick running mesh lets the shoe flex and give like, well, a running shoe. Ventilation is Clima-like. There are some fused/overlay areas around the toes and laces for durability and support but overall the upper structure is just mesh and padding, and nothing is more comfy than mesh padding. Speaking of padding, the ankle should make ’90s babies happy. It’s thick, yo, like J.Lo, and the ’90s ain’t getting it back. The ankle pad helps with the lockdown because the opening at the top is pretty wide, and the tongue is wide and pretty thick by today’s standards, so no lace pressure. Overall, comfort may be the best trait of the shoe. But we still have two more categories