The Nike Air Foamposite Pro is an evergreen that manages to turn heads even two decades after its first release in 1997. It has grown a cult following of faithful support foam upper fans, and the outlandish and futuristic design is bound to entice generation after generation. While it is fairly pricey, it is also a collector’s item, and could even bring about some profit in resale- should you ever want to part with it. This sturdy basketball shoe takes a while to break into, but most people are more than thrilled with the amount of comfort they got out of it.
The cross forefoot grooves are barely visible, but they do provide some degree of flexibility to the foot when weight is applied. Seeing how this is a cross between a basketball and a lifestyle shoe, it’s good to know that jumping and landing forefoot motions are encouraged by these grooves. The midfoot features a carbon shank that is positioned beneath the rubber compounds and that provides extra stability to the midsole and more firmness to the foot.
One downside of the otherwise ingenious upper is that it takes a while to break into it. Every time you start to play in these shoes, you’ll have to break them in a little bit beforehand. The Foamposite functions so that it retains heat and moisture from your feet and uses them to soften up and adjust to your feet. However, once you get the shoe off and let it cool down completely, it will become stiff again, although it will be more contoured in the shape of your foot. If you’re looking for a good basketball shoe that doesn’t require any extra time to ‘work’, you might want to reconsider getting the Foamposite Pro.
A lot of basketball players swear by this shoe and don’t mind the weight one bit, but if you’re not a pro or a semi-pro player, you’re going to have a tough couple of weeks while you adjust to the weight being added to your feet.
However, this isn’t something that Nike just overlooked – the Foamposite is a type of material that demands heat and moisture (read: sweat) in order to soften up and be molded. There is no way your feet would ever adjust to this shoe, or vice versa unless the breathability was kept to a minimum. If you, for any reason, need a breathable shoe that prevents overheating, sweating and blisters, skip on the Foamposite Pro completely.
Another thing to note about the Foamposite Pro is that sizing is crucial. This shoe runs a tad narrower than what most people would perceive as a regular fit, so pay close attention to the position of the toe and pinky – if you pick the wrong size, this shoe will be unforgiving.
The Foamposite upper does seem spacey and outlandish, with the shell-like foam that encapsulates the foot and flame-like grooves. There are numerous colorways of the famous shape, and a lot of times, they involve splashy, metallic colors that are anything but subtle. However, the shoe does have its more discreet moments, so there is something for everyone.
The sides feature the quintessential Nike Swoosh (something that differentiates the Foamposite Pro from the Foamposite One), and the back tab has ‘Foamposite’ written vertically over it. A lot of people agree that you can wear this shoe with everything, except for a suit and skinny jeans – in them, they’ll make your feet look huge.
Some people frown upon the upper seams that only have one stitch instead of a double one, but that stitch is holding Foamposite together, which means it won’t tear no matter the number of stitches. The upper is built to survive longer than any other part of the shoe: it will outlast the seams, the sole, the glue and at least 20% of marriages.
The only problem with this shoe is the heel lockdown which isn’t the best, and if the sizing of the shoe isn’t 100% correct, this will result in heel slipping, which renders the upper stiffness more or less useless. Nevertheless, this is a very protective shoe, due to the fact that it’s almost impossible to sprain an ankle in it, and the foam doubles as impact protection, so that you won’t feel other players stepping over your toes.
However, we think they’re worth every penny, not only because of their durability and the amazing support they offer, especially for heavier players, but because they are a collector’s item.
Each year’s model is the next year’s sought-for sneaker, especially if you nag the limited edition design. In a way, the Foamposite Pro can be both an investment and a hefty expenditure – it’s up to the way you look at it.
The transparent outsole rubber has the best grip when it’s kept clean, especially when playing on indoor courts – the more dust the rubber accumulates, the easier it is to slip when transferring the weight on the outer edge of the shoe. This isn’t an insurmountable problem, seeing how a simple wet wipe can solve this issue.
Overall, the outsole adheres firmly to the ground when you put weight on it, creating a pleasant contrast between the Zoom Air cushion and some good old ground feel.
- Zoom Air full-length cushioning
- Extremely comfortable once broken in
- Not breathable
- Basketball, flat surface shoe
- Expensive but also a collector’s item
- Heel lockdown can be loose
- Foamposite upper molds to the shape of the foot
- Extremely durable
While they aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, these are durable, high-quality shoes that would suit best a forwards or inside player, while the lightweight guards and playmakers could experience some difficulties with the lack of lateral flexibility.
The Nike Air Foamposite Pro is the kind of shoe that gives as much as it receives, so if you don’t want to invest your time and a little bit of effort into making it supple and comfortable, you’re going to be left with an uncomfortable, stiff shoe. But, as with all good things, they’re worth working for.