Reebok Answer IV

The Reebok Answer IV (2012 Reissue)

Introduction

This Spring, Reebok, under their classic line, reissued the Allen Iverson branded Question to great success.  The iconic shoe has been reissued in the past, but the release of the Pearl Red color scheme sparked widespread interest causing the shoe to fly off the shelves within hours.  Following up on the success, the next reissue stems from the only Iverson MVP season.  During the 2000-2001 season, Iverson would lead the Sixers all the way to the NBA Finals, capturing the regular season MVP award on the way.  Shocking the heavily favored Los Angeles Lakers in game 1 of the Finals, Iverson would have one of his greatest games ever scoring almost 50 points to give the Sixers a 1-0 lead.  Iverson would be equipped in the fourth signature release of the Answer.  Now, our latest Performance Review takes the iconic Reebok Answer IV back on the hardwood.

Another iconic release for the Reebok Classic line, the Answer IV harkens back to the 2001 NBA Finals.  The features include the following:

  • Synthetic leather upper with zip up shroud
  • Cushioning provided by full-length DMX foam technology
  • 3D Ultralite rubber outsole
  • Mid foot stability plate
  • Iverson signature markings throughout this 2012 reissue

Aesthetics and Styling

Stepping over Tyronn Lue after hitting a clutch jumper, the Answer IV was on prominent display.  The early 90’s styling is evident with an eccentric look, highlighted by a shroud over the laces.  A grain leather upper is met with a very thick midsole.  Iverson markings come in the form of the “I3” logo and a face imprint on the heel, while the technological features are the full-length DMX foam cushioning and a 3D Ultralite rubber outsole.  For this Performance Review, the first reissue of the Answer IV this year is the color scheme worn by Iverson in Game 1 of the 2011 NBA Finals.

Reebok Answer IV

Allen Iverson wore these performers during the 2000-2001 NBA Season

An arrow point silhouette is revealed from a side profile of the Answer IV.  The lines are smooth and simple for this low-mid cut shoe, as the flows fits in perfectly for the design.  Covering the lacing system, the shroud keeps the look nice and clean.  Below, a very minimal rubber outsole is split into forefoot and heel sections.  First, the forefoot area has two large herringbone sections taking the lateral and medial sides.  These oval shaped portions are raised, as they are the natural areas where most traction is needed.  Down the middle of the forefoot lies thick wavy grooves, around the toe cap and towards the mid foot.  A small Reebok vector logo sits in a raised oval at the center.  Mid foot stability is provided by a shiny stiff plate.  The arrowhead shaped plate has the first “I3” logo.  Continuing down, the heel area is loaded with plenty of logos.  Contoured at the stability plate, “Only the Strong Survive” is etched into the rubber.  A large circular area is cut into the rubber where a bubble shows off an Iverson face print.  Slits on the sides break up the rubber and a small herringbone section lines the back area of this large oval.  The outsole is finished off with a “DMX” logo on the medial which rides up the midsole and a Reebok vector logo running up the heel.  Supporting the minimal rubber sole is a thick midsole.  From forefoot to forefoot the foam is cut with diagonal corrugations.  What is most interesting are the forefoot sections, stitched with smooth black leather over the foam.

The leather upper fits in seamlessly with the sole.  Up front, the toe box leather is stitched and smooth, extending through the heel.  On the sides, the forefoot leather sections point to the toe box and follow the design from the midsole.  The “I3” logo is embedded into the leather.  Capping off the upper is grain leather covering the quarter panel and collar.

Simplicity in design is found at the rear where the smooth black leather overlay runs up the heel.  A hang tab is formed which has the “I3” logo.  The rest of the heel has the leather corrugated, forming ridges, with a translucent plastic piece marked with the “IVERSON” name.  Integrated into the design, the collar is low cut for a mid cut shoe.  Padding is soft and not too thick, while the lining is the synthetic leather all the way around.

Hidden underneath the leather shroud, the lacing system for the Answer IV is comprised of 5 lace hoops.  The leather shroud has a pointy look, made with a combination of the smooth and grain leather.  A zipper with the “I3” logo securely closes the shroud, where a velcro tab brings the sides together.  Standard oval laces run through the lace hoops and a lace holder in the center of the tongue.  The tongue is made with a mesh material on top and lined with the smooth synthetic leather.  A leather section is on the top which has the Reebok logo on top.  Finishing off the IV is a thick foam insole, glued onto the footbed.  The white insole simply has the Reebok logo on the heel.

Comfort and Fit

A slight opening is made once the leather shroud is zipped down, and slipping into the Answer IV is easy.  Surprisingly, the shoe does not have an overtly bulky feel as the fit is roomy and a half size large.  Once tightened, the laces can be tucked under the shroud for a nice clean look when zipped up.  Lace pressure comfortable and not suffocating, while the leather covering serves more for aesthetics than function.  At the toe box, there is plenty of wiggle room all around.  The upper has a very comfortable feel, giving the foot room to breathe.  Up top, the collar height does just enough to cover the ankles and the placing of the last eyelet is just below the ankles.  This gives the feeling of a low cut shoe, with ample support and protection.  Heel lockdown is very good, as it has a natural and comfortable feel.  Below, the full-length DMX foam is flat, thick, and stiff.  The heel area is a bit raised and it does feel somewhat responsive.  This would not be described as the most comfortable set up, but thankfully the arch support is satisfactory.  In the end, the Answer IV brings a very stiff base with the upper providing comfort around the foot.

Reebok Answer IV

The 3D Ultralite rubber outsole site close to the hardwood for excellent court feel

Performance

A step on the court and the hard cushioning bed is felt.  Despite the lack of plush cushioning, court feel is excellent, as the foot feels very close to the surface.  The forefoot area is slammed to the ground, while the heel has some bulk.  Getting up to speed, heel to toe transitions are great.  The shoe flexes at the toes right where zipper ends, which may need a short run to get used to, and the leather upper is very comfortable.  Because of the general feel of the shoe, performance favors a more active player.  To get the most out of the shoe, it is best played at a hard and fast pace.  The shoe may be good for casual wear, but really shines when pushed hard.  Guards who based their game on responsiveness, explosiveness, and speed will find many aspects that cater to their game.  Playing off the forefoot is very responsive.  Whether launching for a jump shot or planting a first step, the low profile design of the outsole helps to get the player in and out of movements quickly.  The raised sections of the forefoot give a natural feel when pushed hard, on either the lateral or medial side.  And with the lacing system and cut, the shoe does play like a low cut which results in giving the player some added movement.  The weight and balance of the shoe is not ideal for players who want to be nibble, but the feeling around the ankles does allow the player some leeway to be a little bit more agile than the design suggests.  Wing players will find the thick heel area to be perfect for perimeter post ups and spinning, as the responsiveness is there.  The bulkiness of the heel may limit a guard on the outside when not pushing forward, but the thickness is very supportive for missteps and awkward landings.  For jumps, the weight of the shoe is not an issue.  Because the outsole site very close to the floor, pushing off the forefoot can be explosive.  Response time is excellent for quick finishes at the rim and fighting for rebounds.  Landings are handled a bit hard in terms of cushioning, but again, the court feel once the player has landed helps the player stay in the flow of the game.  A solid performer, the Answer IV brings excellent court feel for players who value responsiveness and versatility.

Stability performance for the Answer IV is exceptional.  The Iverson line has never had issues with stability because of the construction.  Leather uppers with sufficient padding and a thick midsole do a good job of protecting the foot for intense play.  As minimal uppers do their job by conforming to the foot, shoes like the IV use the more sturdy upper materials for stability.  For guards, moving laterally is fast with great court feel.  The leather upper provides a supportive shield that has enough flex and give to keep from being to restrictive.  Because the upper does not site close, it gives the foot some room to feel up against the tongue and side cushioning, putting them to work.  The result is consistent and comfortable stability during play, with few moments where the leather feels as though it will fail.  Below, the thick and hard midsole is meant to take force.  Heavy footed players, as well as stop and start players, will find this set up favorable.  On offense, this allows the player to push hard and be very active at all times.  Likewise on defense where it feels natural for the player to stay grounded while defending, taking hard steps while moving constantly.  Again, like the upper, the player would be hard pressed to push the foundation to some point of failure.  A comfortable leather upper and very solid base is what the Answer IV excels at in terms of stability.

Equipped with a 3D Ultralite rubber outsole, traction performance is outstanding.  The minimal amount of rubber used results in a lower profile for the shoe, keeping the player close to the court at all times.  Off the forefoot, harsh stops at high speeds, as well as general grip is excellent.  Because the herringbone sections are raised, the shoe has natural grip on the forefoot.  The raised herringbone sections on the sides grip while either sliding laterally or pushing off the medial side.  In the flow of action, there are few hiccups moving around the court.  Although the heel might be a bit thick in terms of agility, it does provide good grip on the court for rocking back and forth, and also for getting set for a spot up or for post position.  All in all, traction fits the performance of the shoe perfectly.  Ventilation performance is satisfactory.  The leather upper and shroud covering will obviously keep natural air flow from traveling through the shoe.  Depending on each player, this may be a nightmare or a non-concern.  The shoe may trap in heat, but would not be considered the least ventilated shoe ever.

Conclusion

There is no hiding the fact that Reebok Basketball has been in shambles once the career of Allen Iverson faded to a close.  The Iverson years can be looked at as the golden age for the company in the basketball arena.  It can be argued that Iverson is to Reebok Basketball what Michael Jordan is to Nike.  With an increased marketing effort, Reebok looks to revive their struggling line though reissues.  Worn during his best season as a professional, the Allen Iverson Answer IV is still an exceptional performer today.  Marked by responsive and solid performance, the shoe not only looks the part, but plays it as well.  Those looking for a throwback shoe that can still hold up well today can look no further than the Answer IV.  For the Fall, Reebok plans continue their barrage of Iverson signature reissues with multiple color schemes of the Question and Answer IV hitting the market just in time for the Holidays.  Basketball fans everywhere have plenty to look forward to with the Reebok Classic basketball line.  Released this summer, the Reebok Allen Iverson Answer IV is available now at select Reebok retailers.

This shoe is comparable to:

Reebok Question (2012 Reissue)