So you probably wondering how I was able to snatch a pair of these bad boys? Well, long story short, not too long ago StockX went global by expanding to Europe. For those who don’t know, I live in Europe; and European sneakerheads won’t allow me to lie that, as far as exclusive sneakers go, the supply is scratching the bottom, literally. Especially when you live in a small country as I do. But this huge move by StockX changed everything…
So without any further ado, let’s dive into the performance review of the most futuristic/modern basketball sneaker in the world – the Nike Adapt BB. Are they better than their “laceless” rivals? Let’s find out!
WEIGHT: 430.9 g. / 15.2 oz
TECH: POWER LACING SYSTEM, CUSHLON
FIT: TRUE TO SIZE
RETAIL PRICE: $350
BD RATING: 8/10
BEST PLACE TO BUY: StockX
Before getting them I had some doubts about the upper being not as form-fitting with all of the wires & mechanisms inside, luckily, it’s nothing like that once you slide your foot in, and let them do their thing.
The upper packs two separate layers of some type of unseen knit material with the power lacing mechanism sandwiched between them so that the step-in experience would stay intact.
On the official Nike site, they don’t highlight the materials used on the Adapt BB’s, though, that knit does feel nothing like any other previous model featuring Flyknit. The first layer is pretty much a see-through and does have some similarities of stuff used in the Kobe 11 Elite, except it’s less plastic, more comfort type of scenario. Whereas the second layer underneath is thicker, and more like your regular Flyknit. Still, it’s like a blend of knit & mesh, I don’t know, it’s some strange stuff. The last part worth mentioning is a plastic U shaped plate which is there to improve durability and foot containment on the lateral side & forefoot area. And as expected for paying more than $350, everything is put together in a quality fashion that transforms into its performance by offering great foot containment, breathability, and form-fitting factor.
Looking at the back, the heel section is covered with what seems to be suede. While that futuristic heel mold with some led’s on the sides give you those “Nike Air Mag” type of vibes, and makes you really feel like you’re wearing something truly taken from the future.
So the Nike crew, in their easily the most cutting-edge, innovative, and most expensive massively produced basketball sneaker across the board, have decided not to put the best cushioning system in the entire sneaker world which is, without a doubt, Zoom Air. Yep… No Air for these beauties…
My theory why this happened is that there wasn’t enough space to implement additional stuff, like Zoom Air due to the power lacing system’s motor taking the majority of the midsole. However, watching “What’s Inside” YouTube video where they literally dissect one of the Adapt BB’s, it revealed the motor itself actually being pretty compact, and taking only the middle portion of the midsole, leaving a ton of space in the forefoot & heel areas to pack some Air. So what the hell, Nike?
Thank God, they didn’t mess things up completely by throwing in compressed phylon or some other “dead” stuff as for the midsole. Instead, the Nike Adapt BB is rocking a full-length Cushlon cushioning. And the main thing with it, as well as with any other foam compounds, the bigger of a chunk it is, the more life you’re getting out of it. That said, the heel is rather fat on these, therefore, it offers some nice impact protection & compression alongside some creases as a cherry on top. Same thing, basically, about the forefoot section. You do feel higher off the ground which hinders court feel a tad bit. Though, I don’t think that sacrificing court feel without getting some nice pep in your forefoot is worth it. That well-known responsiveness and energy return from Zoom Air is what I have been missing the entire testing period. And it makes me mad knowing that there actually was enough space to pull it out.
Judging from the latest on-court performers (KD 12, PG 3 ), Nike seems to be on some type of circular traction pattern wave and the Adapt BB is yet another proof of that. So with that said, the translucent bottoms are featuring a spiral traction pattern with some hits of horizontal lines to go along with. Not really a huge fan of that horizontal line pattern since it does have a bad reputation for not offering full coverage. It’s only good for back and forth type of foot action.
I was about to think that Nike has finally figured out how to make a translucent rubber act as confidently on-court as it does solid rubber, rating the latest performers with similar circular traction implementations, like the KD12 or PG3. Unfortunately, the Adapt BB’s were not completely on that level giving their performance on more dirty courts.
Talking about performance on clean courts – it’s bananas. I mean, literally. In some situations, my body wasn’t able to catch up with that beastly bite. Instant stop on a dime, no chill whatsoever. Kind of scary… Unfortunately, once put against some debris, that beast goes to sleep, and inconsistency kicks in. It’s definitely nothing major or deal-breaking about that. I’m pretty sure that a solid rubber compound would fix the problem. But as of right now, just make sure you’re doing your part by consistently wiping the outsoles. Once you do that, the bite is fairly strong. If you don’t – those bottoms will remind you fast. No, this isn’t one of the features of the Adapt BB’s.
Now it’s time to talk about the stuff that makes this sneaker so unique, cutting-edge, out of the future or however you want to call it, and that is the power lacing system itself. I won’t get into details of how every single piece of the mechanism works and all of that geek stuff, although it’s really interesting. It’s better to see & hear than to read about it. So after you’re finished reading this review, I highly recommend going on YouTube for some dope behind the design knowledge in the form of a video.
So, basically, the Adapt BB’s have some type of built-in sensors that track your foot’s shape and all of the information needed to automatically tighten up for optimal fit. From there, you can use two individual buttons on the shoe to tighten more or loosen it up to your liking. Or you can use the app on your phone to do the same thing, plus creating your individual preset. Man… This whole power lacing system is out of this world. It’s just something about you watching them create that custom one-to-one fit with the press of a button or swipe of a finger. It really makes you feel like you’re wearing something taken straight out of the feature. One day you dream about this as a kid, the other you hold that in your hand…
Pushing aside the novelty factor, is this stuff any practical, though? The answer is YES. Without a doubt, the power lacing system & the shoe itself is ready to be put against some true on-court beating. As throughout the whole testing phase I didn’t experience any issues or bugs with the mechanism or the app itself.
Unlike the traditional lacing system, the power lacing system allows your configured lockdown preset to be kept throughout the whole play session, without a need of readjusting it. Or when you’re still in the break-in stage, you can easily readjust the fit on the go, like literally during the possession, with just one press of a button. Just don’t go too hard on it since you can lose your foot’s blood pressure real quick.
On the other hand, the traditional lacing system still has an edge over the automated one for having way more adjustability freedom. For instance, you can tighten the midfoot but keep the ankle section looser. As with the power lacing system on the Adapt BB you only have the option whether to tighten or loosen the whole construction at once. I hope to see this get updated in the next version if there’s going to be one.
Now as far as the sizing goes – it did remind me of the journey you had to go through with the PG3 to eventually enjoy playing in them. This time around, it wasn’t that major of a deal as the Adapt BB’s aren’t that narrow. Though, in the first few days, I was experiencing mild pinching in the lateral side where the mini swoosh logo is located. But that went away after they broke in. So that being said, for regular, narrow footers I recommend going true to size. Whereas wide foot owners might want to go save and pick half a size bigger pair.
As I mentioned earlier, you do have an internal U plate within the upper which in tandem with raised midsole is there for foot’s lateral containment. It might sound minimal, however, the set-up does absorb that lateral pressure & force created by the foot quite solid. Same scenario with the heel. The rare portion of the shoe is nicely molded and has probably the most rigid internal heel counter, so heel slippage isn’t a concern in these. And, no, I did not forget to mention that pony external heel counter which is there basically only for the looks.
The only concern I had must be related to the fact that in some situations the shoe did feel a bit “tippy” due to the pretty thick & soft midsole. Wish it could have some type of caging on the lateral side to eliminate that sensation, as it feels like the outrigger is the only part in the midsole that keeps your ass from busting out. Personally, that never happened to me. But for more explosive fleshier players there’s a risk.
As the world’s biggest sportswear company, Nike has to carry the responsibility on its shoulders for consistently pushing the limits and dictating the newest innovations for the rest of the sportswear world to follow. Therefore, the Nike Adapt BB is the pinnacle of the on-court performers as far as tech goes. Nike already had enough experience in the past that allowed them to build the latest, most cutting edge tech around solid performance. And although this is only the first glimpse of the feature, and there’s a lot of room for feature improvements, it’s already the exciting one.
Now let’s talk about less exciting stuff – the price. For the Adapt BB’s to be in your rotation you will need to drop some huge bills, like really huge. And I’m not talking about the retail price. That train is long gone. What I’m talking about is near $400… Yep, it’s freaking nuts. Yet, it might sound stupid, but I sincerely think that it’s worth it. But not for everyone, though.
If you’re the person who is looking for his next performer to beat on them local courts – they’re not for you. Better save your hard earned money and pick one of the elite performers for more than half a price. But if you happen to already own more than one basketball sneaker in your rotation, and the Adapt BB’s would be like your flex day go to’s, then go ahead and pull the trigger. You definitely won’t regret it as these bad boys will be the head turners, conversation starters, you gonna make some new friends, possibly, some chicks as well. Ohh… Also, add that wireless charging dock to the list as well. Little easter egg for y’all – it can charge your phone or even four of them. Damn… They’re gonna love you for that.