Top 5 Low Top Shoes of 2016! (May)
For players who like to feel fast and explosive, low top basketball shoes are often the first place they turn. Here at the Sole Brothers, we usually do not play in low tops, since we tend to have ankle issues, but when we do play in lows, we use ankle braces. Even though low tops are not our favorites, since we received a lot of requests to discuss our Top 5 Low Top Shoes, we will lend our experience with basketball shoes to help you decide which shoe is right for you. Don and Sammy logged a lot of hours in these shoes in order to bring you the best performance reviews and to create this list.
Honorable Mention: Nike Kobe Mentality 2
The Nike Kobe Mentality 2 is a low top shoe designed to play basketball on an outdoor court. The Kobe Mentality 2 is a very good shoe overall, there is nothing particularly wrong with the shoe other than the drop in Lunarlon midsole. The traction is phenomenal as well as the fit, and the materials on the upper are decent. At $100, this is an affordable shoe that performs well on the court.
5. Under Armour Curry 1 Low
The low top version of Stephen Curry’s first signature shoe with Under Armour is an older model, but since it is still available for purchase, we included it in this list. The Curry 1 Low is one of the Sole Brothers’ favorite lows. The Charged cushion provides good impact protection, responsiveness, and court feel. The midsole is not particularly bouncy, but after breaking it in with many hours of play, it does provide a slight bounce. The AnaFoam upper feels incredible, the shoe fits well, and the traction is good. The outsole does attract dust, but it performs well once you wipe. The Under Armour Curry 1 Low is a very good shoe, but its successor, the Curry 2 Low, was a let down and did not make this list.
4. Nike Hyperlive
The Nike Hyperlive is a team model low top that Paul George rocks on the court. The traction on the Hyperlive is awesome and on par with the Kobe Mentality 2. The rubber on the outsole is hard, so it should be good outdoors, and it requires minimal or no wiping. For Sam, the fit was good, the shoe did not have any dead space, and the upper did not require any break in time to fit properly. The upper is made of mesh with fuse material in the high wear areas for increased support and durability. The cushion in the Hyperlive is an injected Phylon, which Sammy said feels nicer than the Kobe Mentality 2. The Nike Hyperlive is a very light shoe that makes you feel explosive on the court, and at $100, it is a bargain.
3. Nike Kobe 11 EM
Kobe Bryant’s 11th signature shoe with Nike was a highly anticipated shoe this year. The Kobe 11 EM (for engineered mesh), lived up to the hype. The traction on the Kobe 11 EM was superb! The upper is constructed with engineered mesh laid over a Neoprene one bootie upper. The cushion is a drop in Lunarlon with a denser foam in the heel, and it is not a great cushioning setup. The Kobe 11 EM fits extremely well, feels incredibly light, makes you feel explosive, and makes you want to keep playing in it. The Kobe 11 EM is cheaper than its Elite counterpart, but at $160, it is still a bit overpriced.
2. Nike Kobe 11 Elite
The Nike Kobe 11 Elite features a different upper and (usually) a different outsole than the Kobe 11 EM. The Kobe 11 Elite, with the exception of a few colorways, features a translucent outsole, and the traction is horrible. The outsole attracts a lot of dust, and the Kobe 11 Elite loses grip, causing you to slide and risk injury. The upper on the Kobe 11 Elite, however, is fantastic. The upper is constructed with Flyknit with TPU strands for increased durability and support. The Kobe 11 Elite improves on the cushioning setup in the EM version, the Elite uses a drop in midsole with a Zoom unit in the heel and full length Lunarlon. The Kobe 11 Elite is a very good shoe, and is a little better than the Kobe 11 EM, largely due to the materials and the cushion.
1. Adidas D Lillard 2
I bet you never saw this one coming! The second signature shoe for Damien Lillard with Adidas is one of our favorite shoes this year. The Adidas D Lillard 2 features excellent traction, but it does require some wiping. The Bounce midsole is incredible, it provides amazing impact protection, a good amount of bounciness, and good responsiveness in the forefoot. The jacquard upper provides good support and lockdown, and the one bootie construction fits comfortably around your foot and provides good support. The D Lillard 2 fits well, but there is some room in the toe area as well as some slipping in the heel. The D Lillard 2 retails at $105, which is an absolute steal considering how good this low top shoe is. Let us know in the comments below if you agree with our selections or if you think we missed something, also check out Don and Sammy’s video where they break down the Top 5 Low Top Shoes below.