The Reebok Zig Slash

Introduction

With the first pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, the Washington Wizards selected Kentucky phenom John Wall.  As with all first picks in the NBA Draft, a bidding war between the major footwear companies beings.  This year, Reebok was able to acquire the coveted first round pick.  Soon after Wall was signed, Reebok unveiled their new signature basketball shoe for the season, the Zig Slash.  The ZigTech line was successfully released earlier this year,  and Reebok hopes to translate the popularity gained to the basketball line.  The Zig Slash represents a major step forward for Reebok since the Allen Iverson branded Answer and Question lines.

The Reebok Zig Slash is a unique and refreshing take on the traditional basketball shoe.  The features include the following:

  • Zig-zag shaped ZigTech outsole
  • Patent leather with a synthetic and mesh upper
  • Internal bootie liner
  • Stability plate above the outsole
  • Lightweight Ortholite sockliner

Aesthetics and Styling

A stand out in the crowd of traditional shoe soles, the ZigTech makes an immediate impact to the styling of the Zig Slash.  Reebok has combined elements with the ZigTech sole, including shiny patent leather and a triangle based upper pattern, to add spice to the otherwise tame lines of a mid-top basketball shoe.  Adding the blue and white of the Washington Wizards, this model is definitely pleasing to the eyes.

The synthetic and mesh upper blends right in with the patent leather

With a view from the side we get the mid-top look, outfitted in patent leather and a synthetic & mesh upper.  The ZigTech soles and the patterned upper provide the signature look and personality to the shoe.  Blending naturally, the simple color scheme flows from black to blue (or white to blue on these models), fitting the shoe perfectly.  On the outsole, the ZigTech is main feature.  The signature zig-zag design runs throughout the sole and serves as both an outsole and a midsole.  For the outsole, a U-shaped black rubber piece straddles the toe area down to the midfoot of the sole.  Another black rubber piece resides at the heel.  The segmented zig pieces run horizontally, with vertical zig-zag patterns on each horizontal piece.  As a midsole, a hard stability plate connects the ZigTech to the upper.  On the heel area, the “ZigTech” logo is present, with the ZigTech running high on the back end, decreasing in size as the toe area is reached.   A flaring outrigger around the toe and forefoot completes the ZigTech sole.

Made up of shiny patent leather, the toe box is riddled with perforation holes on each side.  This patent leather panel runs to the forefoot area on the medial, and almost to the heel on the base, with the Reebok cross check logo providing the diagonal end line.  On the medial side, a long patent leather panel runs from the forefoot area, moving diagonally up all the way around the heel.  This panel, which forms the heel counter, contains the all black “Reebok” sticker in large font.  The small triangular design is present on this panel, revealing the synthetic upper.  On the quarter, the combination synthetic and mesh upper is present.  The base side has triangular cuts, showing off  the mesh material which is in all blue.   Conversely, the medial side simply has perforation holes.  Overall, the design is simple, yet eye-catching.

The Reebok Zig Slash houses seven eyelets, with the first two present on the patent leather toe area.  Standard oval laces run through the eyelets, going through a patent leather lace holder which is placed towards the top of the tongue.  A thin light weight tongue contains a black strip in the middle, running to the patent leather triangle design on the top.  The rubber “Reebok” emblem sits in the middle of the triangle, which also contains the lace holder.  Moving to the inside of the shoe, the smooth soft lining runs on the back of the tongue and on the special heel holder.  Made with mesh on the outside, the heel holder is tucked in behind the quarter and connects diagonally to the tongue.  With this, the heel holder and tongue form a unique inner bootie for comfort and fit.  The collar is lined with the mesh material, which is seen through the base side triangular design.  Finally a black Ortholite insole forms the initial cushioning base.

Comfort and Fit

When you are able to get your foot inside the Reebok Zig Slash, you will notice an extremely snug fit.  Although the shoe fits true to size, it does have a narrow feel.  Firm cushioning is felt throughout the foot, as the shoe has a surprisingly low profile.  With the ZigTech, it might be expected that the height of the shoe would be an issue, but that is put to rest once you step on the court.  The foot is in unison with the zig-zag sole and the ground.  The patent leather toe box holds the foot in securely, with a little wiggle room.  On the protection side, the ankles are wrapped nicely with the mesh providing little hindrance.  The highlight of the fitting is the heel holder & tongue inner bootie.  From the heels, to the ankles, and all the way through the achilles, the heel holder comfortably locks in the back end.  Once the laces are tightened, the tongue provides a soft touch, completing the wrap around the ankles.  In all, you get a very comfortable, snug, and secure fit.

The ZigTech sole provides excellent traction and flexibility

Performance

Running is the instinctive action that is felt with the Zig Slash.  Although the patent leather feels rigid, running is smooth.  The ZigTech sole provides amazing flex and responsiveness while running.  The weight of the shoe is not entirely felt, as movement seems free and fluid.  With jumps, the flexible sole allows for seamless transitions, while landings have the impact evenly displaced through the ZigTech sole.  Overall, there is little discomfort with the cushioning.  With forward moves, the outrigger on the sole provides support for making immediate stops and jab steps.  There is little movement of the foot anywhere, as the heels and ankles are held in place, with the patent leather holding down the toe area.  However there is a slight delay getting out of lateral breaks and movements.  This is due, in part, to the stiffness of the ZigTech for non forward movements.  While the ZigTech provides flex moving forward, there is little flex when moving laterally.  This can effect spin moves and defensive lateral movements on the whole.  Besides this minor set back, the Zig Slash is impressive.

Stability of the Zig Slash is exceptional.  All the major aspects and features of the shoe combine in a manner that keeps the stability at a maximum.  The patent leather provides excellent protection, while the synthetic & mesh upper have the necessary give when pressed to the limit.  The ZigTech sole is rock solid, and can take the abuse of any type of player type.  On the inside, the inner bootie holds the foot in place comfortably and without movement, while allowing for flexibility of the foot as a whole.  In the end, your foot is well housed and protected.

The ZigTech sole holds up well in the traction department.  Traction is great for any surface, and, as this shoe was made for a guard, movements that require immediate stops are handled in stride.  Moving on, ventilation is an aspect that Reebok obviously keyed in on.  With ventilation holes all around the shoe – combined with the mesh on the tongue and quarter – the foot is able to have excellent breathing room.

Conclusion

In recent years we have seen Reebok fade away from the premier basketball shoe line up.  In the past, signature athletes such as Shaquille O’Neal, Shawn Kemp, and Allen Iverson put Reebok on the top of the industry, with popular models including the Kamikaze, the Answer, and the Question.  Solid models such as the Buckets, Stop N Dish, and Deep Range are available in the Reebok basketball line up, but these models do not seem to be heavily promoted.  With the John Wall on board and the Zig Slash in place, Reebok is primed to make it back to the top.  The shoe is made exceptionally well and most importantly, maintains high performance standards.  Guards and faster players would be wise to put the Zig Slash to the test.  The Reebok Zig Slash serves as a defining signature shoe for the company and is available at select retailers now.