What’s in a shoe? A lot, if the flash sites and gizmos of the leading brands are to be believed.

But for serious ballers, what you want, what you really really want, is something that feels good and allows you to play hard.

Looks a plus, but merely a bonus.

So we put three shoes through their paces: two you’ve all heard of, and one you might not have, to see if you get a dunk for your dime.

Nike Kobe X

We’re big fans of Nike, from the LeBron to the KD, and there’s a reason why their kicks regularly top the charts.

Kobe Bryant’s tenth signature shoe (pic above) has been designed to the max with creative director Eric Avar saying it is a provocative concept but, more practically, “a super light, responsive and purposeful look at high performance, high design and high style.”

It contains hybrid cushioning, an advanced traction system and a seamless textile upper, which is a way of saying it’s stable, robust but also very light.

It’s no coincidence that during EuroBasket Women, it was the most popular shoe on shoe. We played with it and it feels great to wear with plenty of support. It could do with a little more breathability, to use one of those buzz words. But we like.

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Adidas D Rose 5 Boost

We feel kind of sorry for Adidas. You have the NBA MVP, and uber-star, Derrick Rose as your face and then he keeps getting injured. Bad signs.

At MVP, we’ve not traditionally been huge fans of his signature shoes. They’ve always felt a bit, um, clunky. The 5 is massively better, we’re pleased to say. The traction is terrific. They’re light – and super-stable. And the Boost part in the midsole, they claim, is “an innovative material that returns energy to every step for quick moves.”

If you want looks, this might not be for you. In which case, you’re probably not a real player anyway. And while the soft rubber sole might not withstand a lot of playground use, the Sprintweb vents and the feel make a pleasure easy to wear.

- More info



Heard of Kipsta? Neither had we until we recently got an invite into the Decathlon-owned brand’s design space in Lille where they promise to turn out products with the user in mind. And this is their high-end basketball shoe – no NBA endorsements or fancy brand names necessary.

It is, they say, equipped with insole made from superimposed EVA foam for optimum cushioning and a U-Lock system guarantees support and stability.” Again, no turbo-charging of the features.

It’s light and stable, for sure. Traction? Hmm. A bit too much sliding, until we’d broken them in a little. The cushioning isn’t quite as we’d want. We definitely felt the impact of a hard game a day later.

But Kipsta’s chief advantage is they’re half the price of every one else. And for sheer value, if you want something simple for the occasional run, don’t rule them out.

More info


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