Brandblack Rare Metal Performance Review
The latest release from L.A. based Brandblack, the Rare Metal, is one that we have been anxiously waiting to test on the court. When Sammy got his pair, he was super stoked to play in them since he and Don got an early look at them when they went to the Agenda Trade Show several months ago. Back then, this was being developed to be the next genereation in Jamal Crawford’s J Crossover line, dubbed the J Crossover 4 or JC4, before Crawford left Brandblack to sign with adidas. After Crawford’s departure, Brandblack changed the name from J Crossover 4 to Rare Metal. The Brandblack Rare Metal features some upgraded technologies, taking Brandblack’s existing tech to a new iteration with new features. Let’s see how the latest from the small, fashion forward brand performs on the court.
In the new Rare Metal, Brandblack decided to modify their signature blade traction pattern by adding grooves to each of the blades to channel dust rather than allowing it to collect in between grooves, theoretically improving the traction on dustier courts. Sadly, this did not work out very well for Sammy. Sammy reports that the Rare Metal actually attracts a ton of dust and that you lose grip completely. He said that you stop pretty hard for a few plays, then the dust causes you to lose traction and requires frequent and hard wiping (unlike the adidas Crazylight Boost 2016 where you barely wipe at all and you’re good to go). Sammy also said that on Instagram, a lot of people were telling him that the traction is supposed to be excellent and that he needed to break it in more, but even after playing in them for a long time, there was no noticible improvement. He did say that on a clean court, the traciton on the Rare Metal should be good. The rubber compound is pretty soft, so it is not advised that you play in them outdoors. The Brandblack Rare Metal earns a rating of 5/10 for traction.
Brandblack chose to implement a new and improved version of its Jetlon cushion, called Jetlon EVL (for evolution). Jetlon EVL is supposed to be more absorbent than the original Jetlon, providing you with greater impact protection, bounce, and response. Brandblack used a nice, thick slab of this new Jetlon EVL for the Rare Metal, and the results are amazing. Jetlon EVL feels sort of like adidas’s Bounce cusion, only this is more bouncy. The Rare Metal gives you good impact protection, a nice bouncy feeling, good court feel, and good responsiveness. Another plus for the Rare Metal is that it feels lower to the ground than the J Crossover 3 that it was made to suceed. The Jetlon EVL cushion on the Brandblack Rare Metal is an impressive all around cushion that gives you everything that you want in a cushion, earning it a score of 9/10.
The upper on the Brandblack Rare Metal is constructed with a jacquard knit textile with TPU reinforcements on the medial side of the toe area and a 3D molded tongue. The jaquard material feels stiff at first, but once it is broken in it feels very nice without stretching out too much. The toe area in particular feels amazing once it breaks in and gets softer. The TPU overlay on the medial side is meant to reinforce the upper during extreme crosses and toe drags. The materials, coupled with the fit, support, and lockdown (we will discuss that in a moment), make this an amazing upper. The Rare Metal earns a rating of 9/10 for its materials.
Fit: The Rare Metal fits amazingly! Sammy went down 1/2 of a size and reports that the shoe fits perfectly for him. He did not have any dead space in the toe area or anywhere for that matter.
Support: The support in this shoe was very good. The extended outrigger at the base of the shoe provides great stability during hard cuts. Since the materials do not stretch out and the shoe fits well, the upper provides good forefoot and midfoot support, while ankle support is a non-factor since this shoe is a low. It must be noted that a shoe’s base and midsole provide more ankle support/protection than any upper, and since this shoe has a very good cushion and stable base, your ankles will have a solid foundation to sit on, but that does not mean you are impervious to injury.
Lockdown: Sammy did not have any slipping in the forefoot or in the heel, which is especially impressive in a low top shoe like the Rare Metal. The Brandblack Rare Metal earns a rating of 9/10 for fit/support/lockdown.
Ventilation, Durability, and Aesthetics
Ventilation: The shoe felt quite cool and ventilated, earning a rating of 8/10.
Durability: Jacquard uppers do not tend to be the most durable materials available, and since the rubber compound used on the outsole is pretty soft, the Rare Metal is not going to be a tank. This means that it earns a rating of 7/10 for durability.
Aesthetics: This thing is straight fire! The silhouette is dope and the colorway looks nice too, you can easily rock these on the court or off. Don and Sammy don’t like that there are blues and greys mixed with the black and red colors on this particular one, but I love it. We give these a rating of 9/10 for aesthetics, I think it should be 10/10, but I don’t make the scorecards :).
The Brandblack Rare Metal in Sammy’s size 7 weighs in at a miniscule 10.23 ounces which is incredibly light. The shoe feels light on the foot as well since the fit is streamlined and the shoe feels minimal. The Rare Metal retails at $111, which is incredibly cheap for an excellent shoe. Sammy does not recommend this shoe or have it in his rotation anymore simply because the traction on a dusty court is so bad, but if you play on a clean court, you should be able to enjoy this shoe. Let us know in the comments what you think about the Brandblack Rare Metal and check out Don and Sammy’s Performance Review below.