Nike Zoom Hyperfuse 2011 - Russell Westbrook Player Edition (PE)

The Nike Zoom Hyperfuse 2011 - Russell Westbrook Player Edition

Introduction

One of the biggest releases for Nike last summer was a continuation of the “Hyper” line with the introduction of the Zoom Hyperfuse.  Living up to the expectations, the shoe that featured the now widely used fused layered, one piece upper was one of the most solid performers of the year, fitting various playing styles, while also versatile enough for indoor and outdoor play.  It is with no surprise that revamped Hyperfuse – the Hyperfuse 2011 – comes with great anticipation and expectations.  The designers have stayed with the bold styling, while keeping the main performance features in place.  For our latest performance review, we see if the Nike Zoom Hyperfuse 2011 continues the performance standards set by the original.

Adding stability and radical aesthetic features to the original, the Hyperfuse 2011 is bound to be one of the best performers of the year.  The features include the following:

  • Hyperfuse upper featuring various layers for stability and light weight performance
  • Cushioning provided by Nike Zoom unit in the forefoot
  • Fabric-wrapped Cushlon midsole
  • Rubber herringbone outsole with forefoot and heel flex grooves
  • Forefoot and heel outriggers

Aesthetics and Styling

Earlier this month we took a look at the Hyperfuse 2011 Low, which displayed the stability upgrades over the original.  The mid cut version of the 2011 is not exception.  Aesthetic wise, the shoe is much louder and bolder.  Most notably, the collar ascends in a sharp slope, ending at a 90-degree angle, and a wavy eyestay has replaced the traditional straight line shape.  Furthermore, the designers have extended the midsole on the lateral side in the form of a large stability portion.  And finally, the different layers of fused material now have clear separation, with the strictly nylon sections cut mainly in triangular pieces.  What does this add up to?  One of the most unique basketball shoes on the market.

Nike Zoom Hyperfuse 2011 - Russell Westbrook Player Edition (PE)

A large stability portion lies on the lateral side and is one of the new features for 2011

The Hyperfuse 2011 maintains the “futuristic” aesthetics, mainly caused by the multi-layers of the fuse upper.  From the side, the designers have used more straight lines, with the open nylon sections in more controlled triangular shapes.  For the outsole, the same configuration observed on the original Hyperfuse and Hyperfuse 2011 Low is used.  Again, the herringbone pattern runs throughout, with forefoot and heel flex grooves and outriggers.  Complimenting the outsole is the fabric wrapped (this Westbbrook version of the Hyperfuse 2011 does not have the fabric wrapped midsole), scale patterned midsole.  In lieu of a shank plate the midsole is fitted with a large stability piece on the lateral side, which is marked with a Nike swoosh logo.  This stability plate no doubt the eye catcher of the shoe.

On the upper, the theme of added stability is clearly evident.  The toe box is almost entirely covered in the maximum three layers.  Moving to the medial, there are three triangular nylon section – at the midfoot, collar, and heel, with the rest covered in two or three layers of fuse material.  A slight Nike swoosh logo sits towards the collar.  Similarly, the lateral side contains only four open nylon sections.  But unlike the medial, more of the two layer fuse is used, creating a chain-mail like effect.

At the rear, the heel counter has been revised for more stability.  The traditional cup has bee replaced by a reinforced strip running through the middle of the heel.  Open nylon sections add ventilation outlets on the stiff heel.  Rising at a steep angle is the collar.  Reaching an apex, the collar drops straight down, forming a 90-degree angle.  The collar is done primarily with the three layers and is lightly padded, lined with a silk like material.

Back to the front, another major change is observed with the wavy eyestay.  Standard flat laces run through the first five reinforced eyelets which are part of the eyestay.  These reinforced parts are separated into two segments.  The final three eyelets are placed on the collar, which run vertically up.  For the tongue, the design remains the same, with padded perforated portions running through the center, and a nylon web connecting the sides to the inside of the shoe.  Up top, on this special player edition, the Russell Westbrook “Why Not” logo is printed in place of the Hyperfuse logo.  The thin tongue is lined in the same fashion as the collar.  To complete the Hyperfuse 2011, the insole insole has a designed graphic featuring a Nike swoosh logo.

Comfort and Fit

Fitting into the true to size Hyperfuse 2011 is eased with the wavy eyestay.  As the fuse material is naturally stiff, the variable width of the eyestay makes is easy to adjust and fit the foot inside.  Once inside, the stiff and rigidness of the shoe is felt.  The toe box is rather narrow, and may be a problem for those with wide feet.  There is very little wiggle room here and the stiffness is definitely felt.  Through the middle of the foot, around the eyestay up the tongue, is where the main pressure of the fit is felt.  The shoe holds tight and the fit is on the snug side.  Ankle support and protection is at a maximum.  Holding the ankles in place, the high rising collar gives the feeling of security, while the Achilles is left somewhat exposed by the cut of the rear.  This exposure does give some added freedom of movement, without sacrificing ankle support.  For cushioning, the shoe has a very solid feel.  Cushioning is neither too hard or plush, with the small Zoom unit having a pronounced feeling at the forefoot.  The heel area is a bit recessed and is solid.  For the Zoom Hyperfuse 2011, stiff, solid, and rigid are the characteristics that describe the comfort and fit.

Nike Zoom Hyperfuse 2011 - Russell Westbrook Player Edition (PE)

Stiff, solid, and rigid characterize the fit of the Hyperfuse 2011

Performance

Stiff and solid, the Hyperfuse 2011 stands firm on the hardwood.  Compared to the first generation Hyperfuse, the 2011 leaves very little room for extreme flexibility or softness.  That established, some may need a break in period to get used to the rigid upper and solid foundation.  While running, the shoe pushes forward, through the tongue, which sits relatively high.  The open backend of the shoe is definitely felt, which gives the player extra freedom of movement, without sacrificing protection for the ankles.  Naturally, the shoe is meant to be played hard and fast.  Transitions taken at high speeds, with abrupt stops are what the shoe is made for.  Explosive guards that play at a fast pace, or like to stop and start will find the shoe very complimentary to their playing style.  Outriggers on the lateral side make jab steps and any stopping motions easy, while still being able to keep up to speed with the lightness of the upper.  Responsiveness of the shoe is also a plus, and partly due to the lack of added cushioning.  The forefoot Zoom unit is just large enough to provide comfort, without sacrificing reaction time.  Players who play on their toes will find this to their advantage, as activating the unit for floaters or stutter steps is quick and easy.  It is with no surprise that players like Rajon Rondo and Russell Westbrook take full use of the  Hyperfuse to play at a break neck pace.  For landings, the thick Cushlon midsole is solid, while the Zoom unit provides some impact protection when landing on the forefoot.  What the Hyperfuse does lack, compared to the original, is fluidity and flexibility.  As the original Hyperfuse seemed to perform seamlessly on court, the 2011 may be too rigid.  Although the designers have included the wavy eyestay to help, flexibility on the whole seems to suffer.  And because of this, there is a lack of fluidness in performance.  At times, the three layered areas, mainly on the eyestay and high part of the collar can bend awkwardly and jab at the foot.  Again, this is predicated on the shape, size, and composition of the foot for each player.  A testament to the Hyperfuse line, there are only a handful of shoes on the market that can match the overall performance of the 2011, despite these downfalls.  In the end, the high performance of the shoe speaks more loudly than any small problems.

Stability is area where the Hyperfuse 2011 shines.  Power players who favor light weight performance will find the shoe fitting for their playing style.  With protection all around, from the ankles to the toe box, playing down in the post is not an area where the shoe falters.  Like the Adidas Superbeast, the low cut of the heel allows for a post player to play back to the basket, with added mobility.  Furthermore, the solid foundation and cushioning bed making it perfect for planting and timing a burst towards the hole.  One thing is for sure with the Hyperfuse upper, is that, although it is light weight, stability and durability are not compromised.  For our tests, long term durability is not factored in, but it can be safe to assume that the Hyperfuse 2011 is durable enough to handle the rigors of intense indoor or outdoor play in the long run.  In fact, there is no technology on the market today that can match the light weight, stability, durability of the Hyperfuse upper.

Traction performance of the Hyperfuse 2011 is excellent.  The herringbone pattern provides sticky grip throughout, with the flex grooves providing some fluidness in movement.  One aspect that helps traction is the lack of cushioning.  The Zoom unit in the forefoot is relatively small, and without any cushioning in the heel, the foot is able to push through to the outsole.  This gives added response and some of the best traction that can be found on any performance basketball shoe.  Ventilation, as expected, is great.  Although the upper is stiff and rigid, it is not thick, which allows for heat to vent a bit easier.  Couple this with the open nylon sections and, heat and sweat are never a problem.

Conclusion

With the performance of the original Hyperfuse, the designers at Nike had a tough task following up with the 2011.  It is clear that added stability was a key component in their thinking process.  On the court, the stability and durability of the shoe can not be understated.  The shoe is set to be one of the highest performing shoes on the market for the season, continuing the light weight, stable, and versatile performance of the original.  However, in making upgrades, it seems as though a bit of fluidness and flexibility has been lost.  Nonetheless, the Hyperfuse 2011 can still handle the playing styles of various positions, and is an option for both indoor and outdoor courts.  Available in a multitude of colors on the Nike Online Store, the Nike Zoom Hyperfuse 2011 was released earlier this month.

This shoe is comparable to:

Air Jordan 2011 Q Flight
Nike Zoom KD III
Nike Zoom Hyperfuse