First of all Happy New Year, Tester Nation. We are stoked to be starting the year off with you guys! 2018 was another awesome year for sneakers, so Nick and Noor from the One on One Testers Team have compiled our Top Performance Picks of 2018. Let’s take a trip down memory lane to see straight performance beasts. You can view each shoe’s respective analysis by clicking on each image down below.
Our top performance picks of the year all released in 2018, and we made sure to provide the pros and cons of each model for your convenience. The models down below are listed in order from our favorites onward. Shouts out to the viewers on Instagram for the tip to do pros and cons on our favorite picks of the year! Thank you guys for a great year, and on to 2019! Here is the One on One Testers: Top Performance Picks of 2018 list.
Noor’s Top Performance Picks
The Harden Vol. 3 was definitely a shoe I was hyped to try, especially after loving the Vol. 2. The Boost cushioning was even better than the Vol. 2, un-caging the most of the Boost really made a big difference. I was able to feel the Boost immediately and loved how nice it felt right beneath my feet. The traction was superb in these, I love herringbone tread done right and these were it.
Dust was hardly a problem and I got good stops in these. The material used on the upper is a textile, but the way adidas did it was totally right. I loved the way these fit my foot, but just like it’s predecessor, the Vol. 3 had heel containment issues. The Vol. 3 features more padding in the heel than the Vol. 2 and the containment has improved, but I still experienced minor heel slippage.
The shoe I was super excited to try out in the beginning of the year, Brodie is one of my favorite players in the league right now due to his explosive athleticism and competitive attitude. The Jordan “WHY NOT?” ZER0.1 did not disappoint, the traction on these surprised me. I didn’t expect such a simple traction pattern to work the way it did on this model, amazing stops and I rarely had to wipe off dust.
Jordan Brand treated us with Full Length Zoom and man I really could play in these all day long, it felt really responsive and I loved the way it made me feel during games. The fit was another strength of this shoe, literally fit like a glove, although they are hard to get on sometimes. The only thing that really bugged me about this shoe was how heavy and clunky they felt, sure the support is great, but the weight of the shoe was noticeable.
Here we are, my third and final top performer of 2018, the Nike Kyrie 4. Technically, these did release at the end of 2017, but I tested these out in 2018 so it’s all good. Starting off, the traction was interesting to say the least. At first I lost all hope in the traction, I was slipping a lot and rarely got good stops. I persisted and broke the traction in and I was glad that I gutted through the horrible break in process.
Traction quickly picked up and became one of my favorite aspects of the shoe, no slip and slide happening in these bad boys. I also liked the way these fit my foot, a true one to one fit, something Kyrie definitely needs in a shoe. The cushion in the 4 was an improvement from the 3, but the Cushlon used bottomed out fairly quickly and I could not feel the Zoom unit in the heel at all.
The materials are the only other con of the shoe, just a plain engineered mesh with some colors either having a full mesh upper or having different materials in the quarter panel. The mesh didn’t really feel good to me at all and I usually like engineered mesh, the way they implemented it, alongside the fraying suede on the toe make the material a weaker point of the shoe.
Nick’s Top Performance Picks
Pretty much a no-brainer. These guys got the job done in every category, and excelled in almost every category. My main nag that I had with the shoe, which Noor also had, was the heel slippage. The sock liner material adidas Hoops implemented into the shoes is a micro-fiber material. I stayed true to size and had no issues regardless of the heel slippage. The shoe fit perfectly, it’s just that my heel would never stay fully contained until a lot of sweat build up occurred, or I just wore ultra-thick socks.
All in all, these are my favorite performers of the year, and the heel slippage is totally tolerable, it was just something to mention so those with skinny feet like mine know to be aware of how the fit differs upon each player.
One of the most well-rounded basketball sneakers of the year. The Nike PG 2 did everything right, but not everything exceptional like my number one pick did on my list. From the dope traction that stuck on a plethora of surfaces, to the nice forefoot zoom unit. Materials are great for the $110 price point, and I can honestly say the tech and premium quality you’re getting out of the Nike PG 2 is the best bang for your buck option currently out. The knitted mesh, adaptive lockdown wings, and one-to-one fit are all things that excelled the Nike PG 2 to number two on my top performance picks list.
My only complain here is that the heel is totally dead in the Nike PG 2. The actual phylon isn’t on the Kyrie 3 level, where things start to feel like cement. Nonetheless, there is no phylon foam, and nothing in between the forefoot zoom air unit and your actual foot. That’s why the forefoot cushion was so astounding, but the heel was just flat out dead. If the heel foam protruded out and was more sculpted, the cushion would be near awesome. Otherwise, the shoes fit narrow, but were great for me; it was just something to note for those that have other foot shapes aside from my pretty much normal foot.
Another really dope performer. The Nike Kyrie Low. Similar to the Nike PG 2, these are a pretty well-rounded sneaker. The Nike Kyrie Low pretty much got the job done in all categories. In fact, it did some things excellent. I absolutely loved the fit in these. I went true to size and it started off super tight, but the textile upper gets pretty soft and accommodating for my foot, and it wrapped around my foot like a sock after some hours of break in time.
Traction was good, but similar to the Nike Kyrie 4 (which I also tested out), it just doesn’t have a super grippy compound. The actual pattern/tread of the traction worked well not to attract dust, but just the overall grip of the rubber compound on the hardwood wasn’t great. That doesn’t mean that traction was bad, it just means that it could have been near perfect if the rubber compound was tackier.
Otherwise, support was great, but durability sucks. The swoosh paint is already chipping off on the strap, when literally nothing has touched it. Attention to detail and craftsmanship from Nike on their end with this model is poor. Very disappointed with the laces they used as well. They seem to get chewed up very fast just from the velcro strap, and the strap doesn’t have much function. It’s mainly there for aesthetic appeal. Durability, and the cheapness of the materials is something to look out for in this model, but they’re $110, and on sale right now.