Preview: Air Jordan 11 Retro (White/Black – Dark Concord)

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A big thank you to my friends at Jordan Brand for saving me the hassle of the craziest release of the year. My offering to you: A closer look at the kicks before you hopefully get your hands on your own pair later this week. Are you copping?

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First Look: Under Armour Micro G Bloodline

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The Under Armour Micro G Bloodline — the signature shoe of Bucks guard Brandon Jennings — dropped on Friday, Nov. 4. I’ll be wear-testing them in the weeks to come, just as soon as I’m finished with another shoe. Really interested to compare them to my other low-cut shoe, the Zoom Kobe VI.

For now, enjoy the photos. This white colorway isn’t available yet, but you can get the black launch colorway on UnderArmour.com for $109.99.

Disclosure: Under Armour provided the shoes for this post and the subsequent review that will be posted later this month.

First Look: Air Jordan 2011 A Flight

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Next up in my review of shoes dropping this fall: The Air Jordan 2011 A Flight. I’m intrigued to try this one for a few reasons: It’s a Jordan with Flywire and it features the lauded Jordan 2011 sole, which is supposed to have very good traction. Enjoy the pictures for now.

If you’re interested, the Jordan 2011 A Flight is now available in six colorways, including this one, from Nike Store for $120.

Disclosure: Jordan Brand provided the shoes for this post and the subsequent review later this month.

Review: adidas adiZero Rose 2

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Derrick Rose’s history with adidas is an interesting one. Early in his career, with shoes like the Supernatural Creator, he had an incredibly high-performing shoe, but something that was more part of the “team” family of adidas shoes. At that point in his career, he also wasn’t the MVP-caliber player he is today. Then, last season, the performance continued to be high level with the adiZero Rose, but nothing about it was revolutionary. Then, as the playoffs began, Rose was set to be the face of the 9.8-ounce Crazy Light. Except Rose wasn’t wearing them. Well, he wore them for about a half against the Pacers, and then it was back to his old shoes with TV campaigns running during the break that featured Rose touting the lightweight offering.

So that brings us to this season and the adiZero Rose 2, which is pictured in the slideshow above. (Note: Photos were taken after multiple wearings, in case you wonder why the soles aren’t pristine white.) While we probably won’t see Derrick Rose with them on the court any time soon, I took my best crack at playing with them to get a few for what the Bulls point guard will be rocking whenever we see him return.

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A closer look at Jordan Brand training gear

Full disclosure: Jordan Brand sent me all materials reviewed here, previously seen in this post.

I don’t consider myself much of a distance runner. If you catch me at the tail end of a five-mile run, you’re probably also catching me in the warmup for a really long nap. My workouts tend to be focused around a lot of sprints/squats/lunges/bodyweight drills/etc. Not that there isn’t running involved, but it’s just in totally different intervals. As a result, I’ve become much more interested in the “training” segment of footwear in apparel over the last two years or so.

The short version of my thoughts on Jordan Brand’s foray into this field: Love the shirts, love the shorts … but not sure Trunners are for me. More thoughts after the jump.

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First look: Jordan Brand goes into training market

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The Trunner shoe line isn’t new to Jordan Brand, but as of this fall, Jordan Brand is making a more concerted push into the training market as of this fall, not only marketing shoes, but also apparel that is more fitted to your training needs — as opposed to what many consumers have come to know as an incredibly baggy line of hoops gear. (Seriously, those of us below 6-feet-tall have an incredibly difficult time wearing anything Jordan Brand. Finding a small is like finding a bald eagle hanging out in your neighborhood. Even on those, they’re pretty generous with the fabric.)

So Jordan Brand hit up a few folks like myself who have a focus on the training market with their latest push:

  • The Jordan Brand Get Ready S/S shirt ($32)
  • The Jordan Brand Get Ready shorts ($35)
  • The Jordan Brand Trunner 11 LX ($105)
  • Resistance bands and drawstring bag
  • Jordan Brand “Every Single Day” water bottle
  • iPod nano preloaded with workout routines
  • Beats by Dre earbuds
I’m particularly interested in how many hoops heads are interested in Jordan Brand training gear, given that they’ve already got some built-in brand loyalty probably, but I’d bet they’re currently training in regular Nike gear or maybe something like Under Armour at the moment. If Jordan Brand made the move to produce more training gear, and you were already someone who plays in Jordan Brand, would you make the switch for your exercise apparel and footwear?
I’ll be trying these out over the next few weeks and checking in with my thoughts afterward.

Review: Reebok RealFlex

Two belated reviews in one night. What’s not to love?

Given my previously mentioned foot problems, I’m developing something of a love-hate relationship with thin-and-lights, but let’s take a look at this shoe independent of my personal issues. The RealFlex hit the market around the same time as the previously reviewed adidas ClimaCool Ride and a latest iteration of Nike Frees. It’s spring/summer and thin-and-lights are in style and flying off the shelves. The RealFlex is one ounce heavier than the Ride, checking in at 9.2, but it bests the Nike Free Run 2, which weighs 9.4 oz. It’s a relative push between those two though.

Despite what you see in those oh-so-popular RealFlex ads with the talking bits of shoe sole, these actually come with a pretty substantial sole. When compared to the Ride, I felt like there was a little bit more going on underneath. I wasn’t wild about the suede (?) material that was on much of the upper. Just thinking out loud, was the idea to try and keep the elements out? If so, it seems sort of counter to the rest of the shoe that is really ultra-breathable.

Stability, like with the Ride, is my biggest concern with the RealFlex. Just as with its adidas counterpart, you’d never catch me in these doing anything that involved any sort of quick change of direction. Because the sole is a bit more substantial, I did feel almost kind of elevated, which would be fine except the upper material is really flimsy because of its lightweight properties, so I didn’t feel particularly locked in. I was really only comfortable using these for straight-line running.

I have to continue to say to people that if you have any sort of foot needs for special support, be prepared to pop in your own insoles. I’m using $40 SmartFeet insoles at the moment, which might lead you to question why you’d even bother with these if you had that need. (Of course, you can move the SmartFeet around to multiple pairs of shoes, but if you consider yourself a serious runner who also finds himself with special support needs, you might be better off shopping for that straight out of the box.)

These run relatively true to size, although you’ll find yourself with a little bit more wiggle room as the materials in the shoe just aren’t as thick as your typical kicks. (I wear an 8.5 in both these and the Zig Slash. Don’t think I could squeeze in an 8, but definitely could tell I had a little more room, so I slipped on thicker arch-supporting socks.)

I enjoyed walking around in them around the house and just being out running errands. Thin and lights are great for that, and I’ve got every day insoles I can pop in to make them more comfortable for those trips.

The Reebok RealFlex continues to be available in a variety of colorways from Reebok.com for $89.98, and you can get free shipping and returns for orders on $79, so if you’re curious… what’s the risk?

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