Just to start this off, the Nike PG 1 was a surprisingly pleasurable experience to play in on court. Affordable basketball sneakers, especially signatures are getting more and more popular and I’m stoked about that. That means we’ll see more “bang for your buck” models coming to the market as per the usual. Here’s the One on One Testers Nike PG 1 Performance Review.
To take a start, the Nike PG 1 features a storytelling traction pattern. It’s different but it works! Some particular versions of the sneakers have solid and translucent rubber outsoles. As shown in the picture, I have the solid rubber outsole. Now the solid rubber outsoles have a weird multi-colored rubber along the forefoot zoom unit on the outsole to showcase the cushioning of the sneaker. I get it, Nike wants to show their forefoot zoom, which is nothing special. If you’re worried about the forefoot being inconsistent due to the different colored rubber, it’s not. We have a “fish scale” storytelling traction pattern and it worked really well. Traction was very consistent on almost all court conditions I played on from indoors to outdoors. The only thing that was an issue was wiping every few plays. The actual grooves themselves are pretty tightly packed together so that’s the reasoning as to why dust got trapped in there. This is some of the softest rubber I have felt on almost any shoe in recent memory, they will work outdoors, but it should be a no-go for you if you plan on seeing good durability from these on an outdoor court surface. Durability on these won’t last outdoors which might be a let down for some athletes.
Reasonable is what I have to say for what Nike offered us in the Nike PG 1 cushioning. Forefoot bottom loaded Zoom Air encased in a Phylon midsole, which starts off VERY stiff at first is what we get out of this model. It’s not adequate, but it’s definitely reasonable for this specific model. This setup is definitely going to be more catered towards those that want a low to the ground/quick feeling beneath their foot. You won’t be able to feel the zoom beneath your foot like the usual bounce back in your step but you can feel it when taking exceptionally hard impacts. It will cover you impact protection wise in the forefoot of the sneaker despite the lackluster feeling of the bounce back of the zoom you probably won’t be able to feel. It definitely gets the job done but that heel portion made of a really stiff phylon starts off ROUGH. It took some serious break in time to really get that heel foam to compress.
One of the better material options Nike Basketball is giving us in recent memory. It offers old school materials with new school materials in the perfect blend & combination that a lot of players will really love. There are no tricks or gimmicks, I can promise you that. We have a few different materials so lets discuss. The forefoot features an open air, and actual breathable mesh. The strap is also comprised of that material as well. There is a thin layer of fuse around the mud guard area for added support and durability. For those that don’t like breaking in forefoot materials of sneakers, this is for you. The mesh surprisingly didn’t require hardly any break in time. The rear panel of the sneaker (around the heel portion to mid-foot) features what seems to be a decent quality of a synthetic suede. No it’s not real suede, but it feels and looks pretty nice on foot. This is what gives this sneaker a glimpse of what 90s shoes were really like, but not being too bulky or heavy at the same time. Overall, the materials are a highlight of the shoes. Looks good, plays good, and aren’t too heavy or restricting on foot. The one-piece tongue literally molds to your foot after the first few wears and it’s AWESOME.
Another big HIGHLIGHT of this sneaker. If you plan on hooping in these, which I’d expect, you should go true to size. Wide footers or players with high arches may want to consider going up a half size as I did. Personally, I find that suffocating or overly tight fits bother my foot and I like a bit of wiggle room in the fit of my sneakers. Sizing up a half size in the Nike PG 1 didn’t affect the overall fit or lockdown/support of the sneaker for myself. After going up half a size, the fit was still super snug, but didn’t feel as suffocating when I tried on my true size in the forefoot of the sneaker. This is one of the best one-to-one fitting shoes EVER, period. I have a narrow foot with a wide forefoot and personally, going up a half size did the trick for me as I can’t stand very snug fitting shoes. Overall lockdown and support of the shoes was PHENOMENAL. The mesh and suede materials lock your foot down and support superbly. You shouldn’t be sliding around in them, period. The laces do an adequate job of locking you down, but that mid-foot strap is something else. On first try-on I didn’t think the mid-foot strap would do anything until I realized it is connected to fly-wire cables that lockdown your foot when you tighten the sneaker. It worked very well and I love it.
No, the Nike PG 1 isn’t anything special. It has some nice features, and then just some average features. It worked really well for what Nike gave us, and it got the job done really well. I can for sure see myself playing in these from time-to-time again, just not outdoors. The sneakers give us a great blend of new and old school materials, reasonable cushioning, adequate traction, and superb lockdown. They are definitely one of the better “bang for your buck” models on the market NOW. I’d say give them a try if you liked reading about what I had to say about these in my performance review.
Nick Montesano, born and raised out of New Jersey. High school junior, sneaker fanatic, performance guru. Love to share my passion for sneakers of all kinds, and bring you all daily content. Favorite shoe ever: adidas Harden Vol. 3. Favorite player ever: LeBron James.