Nike Zoom Hyperdunk 2011 Pink Fire

The Nike Zoom Hyperdunk 2011

Introduction

Last month, our First Look feature looked at the technical and aesthetic features of the Blake Griffin Hyperdunk 2011 – one of the most anticipated shoes of the season.  The shoe that started the light weight revolution and introduced the Flywire technology is back carrying an updated package while maintaing the sleek and bold style that changed the industry in 2008.  Does the Hyperdunk 2011 bring the line to new heights?  Our Performance Review looks at what might be the top performer of the season.

Comfort and Fit

Along the sloping center of the Hyperdunk 2011, the foot slides through the stiff sides.  Fit is true to size, and the shoe has a tight and rigid feel.  The center area, from the tongue down, carries the most pressure, with the padded top of the tongue providing comfortable support for the front of the foot.  At the toe box, the toes have some wiggle room, and the flare of the outrigger is prominent.  On the sides, the nylon and Flywire upper sits close and is very thin, giving the foot some freedom of movement.  Although the fit is not sung or comfortably plush, the upper is close and the lack of thickness is welcomed.  Ankle protection and support stay true to the Hyperdunk style, with a ankle wrap type feel.  There is very little padding but no real comfort issues.  Towards the rear, the heels and Achilles are in place comfortably, aided by the padded lobes on the sides.  For cushioning, the shoe is surprisingly solid.  The Zoom units are integrated into the shoe seamlessly that they are not noticeably felt.  What is felt solid foundation, through the insole, down to the midsole and outsole.  Slightly tilting upwards, the footbed slopes as the outsole is shaped, with the heels slightly recessed.  Overall, the Hyperdunk 2011 has a stable, rigid, and solid feel, with sufficient comfort.

Nike Zoom Hyperdunk 2011 Pink Fire

Thin but rigid, the nylon and Flywire upper provide a stable feel

Performance

With the shoes strapped on, the Hyperdunk gives the feeling equivalent to sitting behind a high performance sports car.  The construction has a surprisingly sturdy feel, even with the thin nylon upper, with the solid feeling of the lower half providing a perfect compliment.  At first, running is a bit stiff, as the sides of the shoe are held up tight, but the overall light weight pushes for fast and aggressive play.  Heel to toe transitions are a breeze, aided by the curvature of the sole, as well as the flex grooves.  Flexibility comes mainly through the thin tongue, and the wide flaring forefoot outrigger is pronounced with each step.  Moving laterally, the forefoot outrigger is a bit wide, but again, the tight construction of the shoe holds everything in place.  As the shoe seems fit for aggressive play, athletic power forwards who can play inside and outside will relish with the Zoom unit set up and feel.  It is customary for the Zoom units in certain Nike basketball shoes to have a pronounced bouncy feel, which can limit responsiveness.  However, the 2011 set up seems to be more solid, and more pressure must be placed to activate the units.  This leads to better balance for larger players who can play on the perimeter, and use the lightness of the shoe to blast to the hole.   For smaller players, the overall great balance of the 2011 comes into play.  Whether it is weaving through the lane, or stooping low to get past an opponent, the shoe keeps the player on edge, ready to transition out and in.  And while landing, the thick Phylon midsole provides excellent comfort and evenly distributed impact support.  In the end, the Hyperdunk 2011 brings very balanced and light weight performance.

What can be considered the most surprising aspect of the shoe is in stability performance.  Normally, a nylon based upper would present problems with stability, but the designers have done an exceptional job with the 2011.  The integration of the Flywire strands, and most importantly, the placement of the fused overlay provided excellent stability in a light weight package.  For guards who put extreme pressure on the shoe, playing at a stop and start pace, or continually driving up and down the court, the stability performance of the upper holds true, as the nylon covering moves and flexes as a whole.  Similarly, the upper is built so well and rarely feels at a point of failure that post players can bang and fight down low with peace of mind.  Solidifying the shoe is the lower half foundation.  The Phylon midsole is thick and supportive for every landing, while the midfoot shank plate holds the foot in place.  While up to, the ankles are supported and protected well.  All of this adds to excellent stability for the 2011, with very little sliding on the inside and an overall feeling that the shoe can take a pounding.

Nike Zoom Hyperdunk 2011 Pink FireTraction for the 2011 version of the Hyperdunk is solid, due in large part to the overall balance of the shoe.  The herringbone combined with all the flex grooves do the job in providing grip throughout intense play.  In place of sticky traction, the shoe performs more towards fluid performance than towards extreme grip.  The result is better responsiveness and the ability to explode off the Zoom unit in the forefoot at a moments notice.  In the area of ventilation, it is no surprise that the shoe is excellent.  Heat getting trapped in the shoe is not an issue, and with the upper so thin, ventilation holes for air traveling into and out of the shoe are not needed.

Conclusion

For the past 4 years, the Hyperdunk has been the signature model in the Nike basketball catalog, due in large part to amazing light weight performance and versatility for all positions and playing styles.  In recent years it has been overshadowed by the rise of the Zoom Kobe line, as well as the introduction of the Hyperfuse last season.  The 2011 iteration of the Hyperdunk marks a vast improvement over the previous two.  Staying true to the main technological features, with the Flywire and dual Zoom units, the Hyperdunk 2011 is a fast, stable, and versatile performer.  Fit for all playing styles, this version of the Hyperdunk is the best out of the 3 released over the years and is sure to be one of the top performers of the season.  Released last month, the Nike Zoom Hyperdunk 2011 is available in a variety of colors at the Official Nike Online Store.

This shoe is comparable to:

Nike Zoom Hyperdunk 2010
Nike Zoom Hyperfuse
Adidas adiZero™ Crazy Light

Nike Zoom Hyperdunk 2011 Pink Fire