The most iconic basketball team line – the Hyperdunk – has counted its final seconds of existence. Why? We really don’t have a clue… But Nike didn’t leave us hanging, instead, we got not one, but two completely brand new follow-up lines (AlphaDunk & Zoom Rise) that suppose to continue what our beloved Hyperdunks did for 10 years.
So today, we’re doing a double performance review to find out which one has an edge to be called a true Hyperdunk’s successor since these two guys do share a lot in common both esthetically and tech vise.
Without any further ado, let’s dive into the head-to-head performance fight against the Nike AlphaDunk and the Nike Zoom Rise. Who you got?
WEIGHT: 411 g. / 14.5 oz
TECH: FLYWIRE, FLYKNIT, ZOOM AIR
TYPE: HIGH – TOP
FIT: 1/2 DOWN
RETAIL PRICE: $180
BD RATING: 7.9/10
NIKE ZOOM RIZE
WEIGHT: 402 g. / 14.21 oz
TECH: ZOOM AIR
TYPE: HIGH – TOP
FIT: TRUE TO SIZE
RETAIL PRICE: $140
BD RATING: 8.6/10
More money gets you better things, that’s how life works, and that’s how it works in this scenario as those extra $40 will give you a re-engineered Flyknit upper on the AlphaDunk, compared to your standard mesh set-up on the Zoom Rise. Now that might sound like a really substantial difference, but performance-wise, the gap wasn’t that noticeable. Actually, both of the set-ups do have their own strong sides to offer.
That being said, if you’re more of a comfort-first person, no doubt, the AlphaDunk has more to offer in this compartment, even taking into account that this particular Flyknit is reengineered, which basically means it has been supported by a TPU coating over those bigger chunks of knit. That allows to greatly improve containment/stability of the upper, yet keeping that form-fitting factor on a high level.
On the flip side, the regular mesh upper on the Zoom Rise doesn’t lag behind that much vastly as far as comfort goes. I still did get to enjoy that almost second-skin-like experience that might take a few extra spins to receive compared to the competitor. However, talking about its strong side, it has to be the support, especially when it comes to lateral coverage. My foot did feel tangibly more secure upon lateral force in comparison to the Flyknit which tends to stretch just a tad bit too much to my comfort zone.
Bottom line: even though the AlphaDunk has more of a premium upper with slightly higher comfort level, I still would pick that additional support on the Zoom Rise, and keep those $40 in my pocket on any day of the week.
It’s a true heavyweight fight. Standing in the blue corner, measuring at 14 mm in thickness and undisputed cushioning champion – the forefoot Zoom Air from the AlphaDunk. Now standing in the red corner, measuring at 10 mm in thickness, it’s none other than the forefoot Zoom Air from Zoom Rise.
On paper, the AlphaDunk rocking that gigantic Zoom pad which literally covers the entire forefoot section seems to have better odds to come home as a winner in this department. And while this Air craziness is something that I could only dream about, to your huge surprise or not, the set-up on the Zoom Rise is what I did enjoy more.
The main two reasons being compression capability & placement. Although the Zoom unit on the AlphaDunk is the thickest in the game, it is caged within pretty hard rubber on the sides, which sort of defeats the whole purpose of it being so damn bouncy & impact protection heavy. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it still produces tons of compression and kick-back force, especially if you’re a heavier player. However, I was expecting a bit more out of those 14 mm of Air to be completely worth it losing mobility, and court feel.
Can’t say the same about the tooling on the Zoom Rize. It has to be that combination of precise unit placement, some type of foam that plays like BOUNCE, and more forgivable caging. Talking about the placement, the Air unit is shifted more towards the midfoot in order to offer a perfect amount of forefoot cushioning but at the same time leaving some spaces at the tip of the toe area to create that smooth heel to toe transition. Not only that, but it also has nice court feel which helps you to control your on-court movement whether you’re taking off or going for a crossover. So yeah, it’s a damn well thought out set-up that I enjoy the heck out of it. By the way, I want to see whatever that foam is on other models, not even mad that there was no heel Zoom Air unit.
Both of the models do feature a somewhat similar traction patter, I like to call it “ the fingerprint pattern” which has a pretty good history of delivering a solid to great performance. And this time it was no difference, well, only for one of them.
Talking about performance, you won’t be getting any problems while balling out on those prestige courts from both of them. But we don’t really give a damn about that aspect, right? Dirty courts are what we care about the most, and this is where the boys are separated from real men. Unfortunately, this was yet another department where the AlphaDunk underdelivered… I’m not sure whether it was due to poor rubber compound, its translucent form factor, the pattern itself or everything together, but I just couldn’t get them to work consistently. One time I was gripping, the other – slipping.
Luckily, the Zoom Rize was a completely different story. While the Jordan brand has the Air Jordan 34, amazing traction as well as the rest of the shoe, Nike has these. Low maintenance when it comes to wiping – a quick wipe here and there throughout a session, and you’re golden. Hard grip and I mean really hard (that’s what she said) within every direction or angle of your foot. Loved it.
Now as far as outdoor usage goes, I would place both of them in “periodical usage” territory.
As the Hyperdunk’s successors, they kept that main core of being versatile, maybe one more than the other, but when it comes to fit, the outcome was pretty much the same. That being said, both of the performers do feature a body that is accessible for our wide footers. Two new models for wide footers? Is this a fake performance review?
All jokes aside, if choosing the AlphaDunk, wide footers should go true to size, while with the Zoom Rize you might find yourself more comfortable with half a size bigger pair. Now for the rest of the players, it’s true to size for the Zoom Rize or go half a size down for the AlphaDunk.
Looking at the upper, as I mentioned earlier, you can’t really go wrong with both of them. The Zoom Rize has more firepower in support department when the AlphaDunk is a tad bit more form-fitting & pliable. It’s up to you which side you’re choosing. However, evaluating each of them as a whole, it’s where those small details make huge differences, again, unfavorable for the AlphaDunk.
Starting off with the lace straps, the woven option on the Zoom Rize is stronger and has more to offer in support department than the Flywire strings on the AlphaDunk. But probably the most annoying part of the AlphaDunk for me would be the ankle area. Same deal as with the KD12, the ankle portion on the AlphaDunk is rather wide & loose. That makes you feel like you’re wearing two sizes bigger shoe, which could potentially cause some serious anxiety for ankle containment fans out there. In contrast to the Zoom Rize, you can really lock-in your ankle, especially when using the last lace hole.
When comparing the midsoles, despite them being different in shape, the width of the platform is rather the same, making them sit wide on the court, and producing a lot of stability. Whereas with the upper, as I mentioned before, the Zoom Rize is the one that does feature wider lace straps that cover more surface area, combined with overall more rigid mesh set-up for more solid lateral coverage. Though, I didn’t have any major problems with the AlphaDunk either whether it was lateral coverage or heel lock-down.
Turns out that only the Nike Zoom Rize can be called a true Hyperdunk successor, while the AlphaDunk is yet only an overpriced, true big man’s shoe that doesn’t really do much.
From a consumer standpoint, it’s a win-win situation in which you’re getting more for less. Obviously, a $140 price tag isn’t that cheap, it’s more in a signature shoe territory, but it does perform like one. That being said, folks, we have a new every man’s on-court performer.