Brandblack Force Vector Leather Review
Don, Sammy, and myself heard about a flash sale on Brandblack’s website a while ago and we all jumped on the insanely discounted Brandblack Force Vector Leather/Premium. The original retail price of the Force Vector Leather was $160, and all three of us purchased it for the insanely low price of $40! That sale did not last for long, as Brandblack removed the shoe from their site and then put it back up at $80, which is still a huge steal. This shoe is essentially the J Crossover 2 with a completely different upper, the midsole and outsole are the exact same. The Force Vector Leather has a very good foundation upon which to build, can it exceed expectations and improve upon the already incredible J Crossover 2?
The outsole features Brandblack’s blade traction pattern with thick grooves and a soft rubber compound. This shoe will probably not be a good outdoor shoe, but on an indoor court it is an incredible performer. You stop very hard and fast and it does not attract very much dust, requiring a wipe every 5-7 plays. The traction on this shoe is very good, so the Sole Brothers give it a rating of 9/10.
The Force Vector Leather features full length Jetlon and Force Vector technology. The Force Vector technology from which the shoe’s name is derived is essentially a hard plastic plate and/or casing used to cage in the Jetlon midsole in order to maintain stability during cuts and crossovers. The Jetlon midsole is absolutely incredible! Jetlon provides excellent impact protection, is very responsive, gives you great court feel, and it provides a good amount of bounciness. Sammy is lighter player, and he mentioned that he does not feel any bounciness unless he is going all out. Don and I are bigger than him and we both felt the midsole give us some bounce. I felt a good amount of bounciness in the forefoot and felt very protected there as well. Impact protection in the forefoot is something I have desperately needed for a while now, but didn’t want to spend the money or I didn’t want to buy the hideous D Rose 6. The heel area does not feel very bouncy at all, but it provides enough impact protection to where you do not feel anything when running, which is nice. The impact protection and bounciness in the forefoot are the primary reasons this shoe has become my go to shoe, but the story gets even better from here. The Force Vector Leather earns a rating of 10/10 for its cushion.
The materials are where the Force Vector Leather and the J Crossover 2 are different from each other. As the name implies, the Force Vector Leather utilizes a full grain Vachetta Italian leather upper, with suede on the heel, and a molded foam sock liner and mesh footbed for ventilation. Don and Sammy were surprised with this upper, since they usually do not like to play in shoes with leather uppers. Leather tends to be more cumbersome, thick, and bulky than other materials. Other materials like jacquard or knits are lighter, less bulky, and perform at least as well as leather. The leather that Brandblack used to construct the Force Vector Leather is buttery smooth and feels very soft both to the touch and on foot. Don said that he is used to old school leather shoes that use very thick leather pieces and feel very bulky. The Force Vector Leather feels nice and soft with no break in time required in order for it to feel right. The J Crossover 2’s only problem was that since the knit upper did stretch somewhat, when you did a cut or crossover, your foot would move off of the footbed. The Force Vector fixes this problem with its strong leather upper that will not stretch, but it still manages to feel soft and comfortable, unlike the Kyrie 2 which had a strong, yet stiff upper that hurts your feet. The Force Vector Leather utilizes its materials in an unexpected, but amazing way, earning a rating of 9/10 for its materials.
Fit: The Force Vector Leather fits very nicely, Sammy and I went down 1/2 of a size and Don went true to size, but he has a narrow foot. If you have a wide foot, you should definitely try this on first if possible because the materials do not stretch. There is no dead space in the toe (or anywhere for that matter) and the leather upper sits right over your toes.
Support: This shoe gets major points for support. Even though the upper feels soft on the foot, you cannot really stretch the materials and it should get even better over time as it conforms to your foot. The ankle support is good as well since this shoe is a mid to high top with a strong upper and comfortably padded inside. An internal TPU heel counter helps to keep your heel in place and provide additional support for your heel and ankle. Don and Sammy report that it feels very nice and safe when you wear an ankle brace with this shoe.
Lockdown: We did not experience any problems with lockdown at all, none of us experienced any slipping in the heel or forefoot. Don was surprised that the lockdown was this good considering that he prefers to have some sort of strap or flywire to really hold him down but this shoe simply features the well crafted leather upper. The inner bootie wraps around your foot to provide a snug fit and add to that feeling of being locked into the shoe. The Force Vector Leather earned an impressive rating of 9/10 for fit/support/lockdown.
Ventilation, Durability, and Aesthetics
Ventilation: Much to our surprise, the shoe was not hot at all, earning a solid rating of 8/10 for ventilation.
Durability: The Force Vector Leather is probably going to be a very durable shoe, the only potential issue being that Don experienced some fraying of the material where the midsole and outsole meet, which would be easily solved if the outsole wrapped around the toe area a little higher. Besides that one little hiccup, this shoe seems durable. It is made with premium materials with an impressive attention to detail and it is put together very well. The Sole Brothers give this shoe a rating of 9/10 for durability.
Aesthetics: This thing is straight fire!!! Don and Sammy are big fans of the solid colorways and the blue outsole. The silhouette is clean and the details on the leather upper give it a sleek look that is somehow aggressive in an understated way. The Force Vector Leather earns a rating of 9/10 for aesthetics.
The Force Vector Leather weighs in at 13.02 ounces in Sammy’s size 7, which is not super heavy, but it is also no the lightest shoe around by any means. The Force Vector Leather should be good for most players, although Don seems to recommend it primarily for guards and smaller players. Considering the very low sale price at the moment, there is no shoe this good or premium that is anywhere close to this price. If you haven’t already copped a pair, you should do so immediately. If you did purchase a pair, let us know in the comments what you think of them, check out Don and Sammy’s Performance Review below, and take a look at our scoring breakdown below.