Top Cushions For Responsiveness/Court Feel
Explosive. Guards want to feel explosive on the court. They want to stop on a dime to change direction, and they want their shoe to respond without slowing them down. A guard without weak joints or an injury history wants a cushion that is responsive and provides good court feel. Cushions are as varied as the shoes they are featured in. A responsive cushion is usually quite firm and does not provide a bouncy feeling. A responsive cushion is like taking a Porsche 911, which is already a fast car, and stripping it down to the bare essentials and tightening the suspension, the result of which is a Porsche 911 GT3. The GT3 is even faster because it is willing to sacrifice ride comfort and excess weight in order to perform even better on the road. A super responsive cushion is similar, in that you usually sacrifice bounciness, impact protection, or both in order to get that slightly more explosive and stripped down feeling. The difference in response times are slight, but the primary purpose in a responsive cushion is the feeling as well as that slight edge in response time. Court feel goes hand in hand with responsiveness, you want to be able to feel precisely what your foot is doing in order to make more precise and violent moves. One aspect of a cushion that affects court feel is the height of the shoe, if you have a very thick midsole, you will feel higher off the court and will not experience a good court feel. Similarly, if a shoe utilizes a thinner midsole, you will get better court feel as you are lower to the ground. Responsiveness and court feel are not the only important characteristics of a basketball shoe’s cushion. Impact protection and bounce are also very important. We previously discussed our Top Cushions For Impact Protection and our Top Cushions For Bounciness, so check those out to see which cushion setup best suits your needs as a player.
4. EVA/Phylon (Nike)
A standard EVA foam or Nike’s Phylon formula provides good responsivenss and court feel, but your knees and shins will hate you since it provides very little impact protection. Every Nike shoe uses Phylon in some form or fashion. I have played extensively in the Nike Air Max Audacity, which uses Phylon in the forefoot, and it is very responsive and provides excellent court feel, but the impact protection sucks.
3. Micro G (Under Armour)
Under Armour’s Micro G cushion is a nice cushion that provides good responsivness and is a little softer than their Charged cushion. The Under Armour Rocket uses Micro G, and it gives a good balance between impact protection and response.
2. Charged (Under Armour)
Under Armour’s Charged foam is similar to their Micro G cushion, but Charged is stiffer and more responsive than Micro G. The Curry 2 utilizes Charged foam, and provides excellent response but not much in the way of impact protection.
1. Jetlon (Brandblack)
Jetlon by Brandblack is an all around excellent cushioning system, as it provides a lot of response, court feel, and it feels pretty bouncy. The Brandblack J Crossover 2 and the Blackhawk utilize Jetlon and both feel quite nice.
Tell us which cushion you prefer if you want good response, and check out Don and Sammy’s discussion of our Top Cushions For Responsiveness/Court Feel below.