One of the standout highlights of my World Basketball Festival weekend was going through a wear-testing of the new Nike+ Hyperdunk 2012. I have been so amped and hyped, pun intended; to get my hands on the digital footwear experience that the newest installment of the Hyperdunk series brings to the court. I have decided to breakdown my thoughts and experience into a three part series that I will unveil over the week by discussing the Form, Function and Philosophy of the shoe. First up is the Form!
The first thing I look for in any footwear is the shape of it. It has to have a presence that is unique and streamlined and has to flow with the foot. I have always been a fan of a shoe that looks like an extension of the last it was created on and the new Hyperdunk is exactly that. My favorite view is the top view as it looks like the shoe was tailored to fit your foot. If you look at that view closely you can see the medial forefoot midsole tucking away and disappearing under the waist of the upper. The vocabulary of the shoe is strictly form follows function and it clearly shows in the dynamic figure of the shoe.
Materials & Process
The shoe is primarily synthetic but it does not feel nearly as stiff as the previous iterations of the line primarily because of the update to the new “Dynamic Flywire”. The pervious iteration featured a TPU Welded Skin over the top of the Flywire to lock it into place thus creating a stiff and sometimes irritating upper. The new version is far more flexible as the Flywire has now evolved into nylon cables that adapt with the movement of your foot.
The shoe has a “sandwiched” mesh that provides a lightweight and minimal support package around the ankle. When I say minimal, I mean that, it measures out to be about ten millimeters. The foam is also perforated to allow for extra breathability and flexibility. There is a “floating” counter, similar to the first Hyperdunk; that is injected asymmetrically onto the heel of the shoe. It is quite thin in comparison to the first version of the shoe but doesn’t stop it from functioning properly.
Fit & Feel
I normally wear a size10.5 but I had a feeling that the shoe would run a little narrow and I was correct. So I am currently wearing a size11. I believe the main reason it runs narrow is because it is primarily synthetic materials that are meant to hug your foot like a second skin and they certainly do that. The materials remind me most of the Nike Soccer Mercurial line, the synthetic is quite thin, maybe one and half millimeters; which allows for a great amount of flexibility. One flaw that I felt previous generations had was that the welded synthetics would dig into your metatarsals when it flexed but the synthetic they are now using seems to have way more elasticity to it and really allows the shoe to flex but retain its shape without any irritation.
Under your foot is a combination of Phylon and Lunarlon so it is very springy and responsive. I do feel like I am sitting up a little bit higher than the 2011 Hyperdunk but I could be wrong. If I had to guess the heel is probably about 25 millimeters off the ground and the forefoot is probably around 15 millimeters. So pretty traditional basketball heights.
I received what is listed as the Black/Metallic Silver colorway on NikeStore.com but it features what I believe to be is their “Blue Glow” colored midsole along with their “Court Royal” accents. The “Blue Glow” midsole is quite dope as it features a slight amount of iridescent flop to it, meaning that the color shifts. In certain light you will see it pick up slight magenta highlights that add a purple hue to the midsole. The synthetic skin is matte in its appearance but it has a slight gloss to it that is quite low. The heel counter is matte as well but it has a textured grain causing it to pick up some reflective highlights. The Active Flywire is two colors, “Blue Glow” and “Court Royal” giving it a very refined but bold execution of functional color. I am calling it functional color because the two colors interact to create a graphic that expands and locks in the midfoot of the shoe; it is quite stunning.
The most dramatic use of color is probably the simplest, the Metallic Silver swoosh. We have all seen silver swooshes before but the way the “Blue Glow” midsole and Flywire and the “Court Royal” Flywire interact together they create a hierarchy that leads your eye directly to the swoosh, thus causing it to be the focal point of the Hyperdunk. Which I am sure was intended, as the shoe will be plastered all over our Olympics coverage this summer.
The graphic of the shoe is quite bold but simple. As I said before this shoe is a great example of form follows function, all of the lines and materials are derived from their intended purpose and function. They really highlight the technology the shoe offers. The sole unit is a unique take on a circuit board as concentric circles that are derived from the placement of the Nike+ sensors interact together to create excellent traction. My only complaint is that the designer tried to mimic some of this graphic of the sole unit into the mesh perforations in the upper and I feel like it distracts from the dynamic cut in the synthetic skin. I will say I understand what they were trying to accomplish. They wanted to create a holistic aesthetic and to an extent it looks like the synthetic skin is being torn away to reveal the inner workings of this “robotic” shoe, which is a great idea. I just think the circle graphic around the ankle disrupts the flow of the overall visual but that is being very picky because the shoe is phenomenal in its appearance.
Other areas of the shoe that really excel are the “Court Royal” lace tips. It adds a sophisticated amount of flash to an area that is generally overlooked. One other detail that I love is on the toe down where the tongue is sown into the synthetic upper. It is angled to align with your flex zone allowing for a natural motion to occur in the forefoot, a simple but great detail. I also really love the little “tack” stitches that you can find along the eyerow on the lateral and medial sides. They add a nice detail of old world craftsmanship to a new world product.
As you can tell I really love the shoe. I think it is a great way to revolutionize the Hyperdunk series and really elevates basketball footwear into new areas, as it should. Stay tuned for part two as I break down the function of the Nike+ System for Basketball.
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