Reebok Wall Season 3: ZigEscape

The Reebok Wall Season 3: ZigEscape

Introduction

It has been almost 3 years since John Wall was signed to be the new face of Reebok Basketball.  With his arrival came the ZigSlash, the first Reebok basketball shoe featuring the Zig Technology.  And last season came the first official Wall signature shoe – the ZigEncore.  Introducing a low profile version of the Zig sole, the Wall Season 2 implemented the ZigNano, a platform to be used for future models.  For this season, Wall and Reebok bring a new Zig based performer to the stage.  Will the latest Reebok signature shoe finally push the company into the spotlight?  The Wall Season 3: ZigEscape looks to break barriers in our latest Performance Review.

The lone player specific shoe in the Reebok Basketball catalog, the ZigEscape is the second official signature shoe for John Wall.  The features include the following:

  • Synthetic upper featuring nubuck/leather panels
  • ZigNano sole for a lower profile and responsive court feel
  • DMX Shear technology for impact support
  • Non-marking rubber outsole with herringbone traction pattern
  • Stability plate from heel to forefoot for maximum stability

Aesthetics and Styling

A couple of years back, Reebok was invigorated when the Zig technology took the sneaker world by storm.  The ZigSlash was the first basketball shoe to incorporate the zig zag sole, and last years ZigEncore updated the sole with the low profile ZigNano.  As the main shoe in the Reebok Basketball catalog, the ZigEscape keeps the technological features of the ZigEncore intact, including the ZigNano and inner bootie system.  Also keeping inline with the design is the upper, which still features a blend of materials, ranging from a brushed synthetic, to nubuck and mesh.  For this Performance Review, the Washington Wizards red, white, and navy blue color scheme is the choice.

Reebok Wall Season 3: ZigEscape

Introduced last season, the ZigNano sole is used again for this second John Wall signature shoe

A bulky, boot like appearance is observed from the side profile of the shoe.  It looks as though the ZigSlash and ZigEncore were melded together to create this latest John Wall performer.  The back end comes up high, while the collar has a pointy design to match the waves of the Zig sole.  For the outsole, the non-marking rubber is split into forefoot and heel sections.  The rubber comes up to form a toe cap and flares out creating forefoot outriggers on both sides.  Molded into the rubber is a herringbone pattern for traction, while ridges from the ZigTech midsole create natural flex grooves.  At the mid foot, the “Reebok” logo is molded into the stiff and dense midsole.  The support base for the minimal rubber sole comes with the low profile “ZIGNANO,” which has very little give, and a large stability plate.  This plate cups the heel and extends to the forefoot for maximum support and stability.

Multiple layers, with various materials make up the thin upper.  First, a soft and smooth brushed synthetic layer begins at the toe box and moves through the eyestay to the collar.  Two horizontal grooves and three small perforation holes are present right near the throat line.  For more stability, a nubuck panel is stitched over the brushed synthetic.  This piece rounds the front of the toe box and then flares to the sides where they come to a point at the collar.  There are discreet perforation holes present on this nubuck panel, placed close to the collar.  The final upper layer is found wrapping the front.  Thin and smooth, the vinyl piece is glued along the base of the forefoot just above the stability plate and passes through the toe cap, ending at the lateral mid foot.

The first signs of a signature shoe come out at the back end.  Above the stability plate, a stiff heel counter is covered in a mesh material, which is stitched on.  A plastic “Reebok” logo is stamped right in the middle.  Moving up, a rubber portion adds support and has a diamond shaped piece with a wavy graphic and the John Wall “JW” logo.  The collar has the zig zag design, made with the brushed synthetic on the outside and lined with a textured synthetic.  A John Wall mock signature on the lateral completes the collar.

Lacing comes with four lace hoops stitched on the brushed synthetic and two diamond shaped eyelets on the collar.  Light weight oval laces simply run straight up the shoe.  The most interesting aspect of the shoe comes with the inner bootie.  Made with a mesh material and quilted lining, the bootie is naturally padded because the materials are thick.  The bootie extends to the back end, supporting the base of the ankles and forming an Achilles support with a hang tab.  On top of the tongue, white stitching creates and outline for the nubuck patch.  This diamond shaped patch has the last “JW” logo and a hang tab with the “Reebok” branding.  Finally, a thick, soft and flimsy insole sits above the hard footbed.  The only comforting feature for the cushioning bed, the insole simply has the Reebok logo printed on the heel.

Comfort and Fit

Following the path of the ZigSlash and ZigEncore, an inner bootie system welcomes the foot, with the tongue and heel hang tabs making for an easy entry.  Fit is true to size, with the bootie padding feeling thick and comfortable.  The toe box area is a bit narrow for width but fits close to the toes, as it is more flat than rounded.  Lace pressure is felt down the middle and will be dependent on each person where most of the tightness is felt.  On the back end, heel lock down is excellent.  The Achilles notch is both comfortable and fits well, while the TPU counter holds the heel in place without a hard feel.  Ankle support is also very good.  Again, the bootie can be felt gripping below the ankle as it feels secure.  The tongue helps to provide a good wrap with the collar and the pointy shape gives room for the ankles to flex laterally.  What results is non-cumbersome ankle support and protection.  Moving to the footbed, cushioning is stiff.  The foot pushes through the plush insole where the Zig sole and stability plate are noticeably felt.  What is sacrificed in plush comfort is what is gained in a responsive, low profile feel.  Around the foot, the contoured sole keeps the foot from sitting flat.  Arch support is provided by the bootie holding tight and the sculptured stability plate.  In all, a comfortable inner bootie is met with good back end support and a low profile, responsive base for the ZigEscape.

Reebok Wall Season 3: ZigEscape

A quilted inner bootie brings great comfort and support

Performance

The foot pushes right thought the soft insole onto the very stiff Zig sole.  Court feel is excellent as the minimal rubber outsole sits somewhat flat, but close to the hardwood surface.  As with most Zig based shoes moving forward has a natural feel, and the ZigEscape is no exception.  Heel to toe transitions do not get any better that this.  The brushed synthetic flexes easy down the toe box and middle of the foot, while the flex grooves keeping the sole from feeling completely rigid.  The weight of the shoe feels very balanced, as it is not too light or heavy.  Performance favors those looking for a balance and aggressive shoe.  The first aspect of the shoe that stands out is the responsiveness.  Because of the Zig set up, the player can feel the foot push through and almost feel the rubber hitting the court.  Playing off the forefoot or heel has a consistent feel and the shoe does a great job of pushing the player in the direction desired.  Moving laterally may be a bit jagged because of the sloping cut on the lateral side.  The forefoot outriggers do help to keep the foot in place, and the Zig sole is responsive, but some might find discomfort for those abrupt lateral cuts.  For jumps, pushing off the sole brings great responsiveness.  Even for those who are not dynamic jumpers, the natural feel the shoe brings is excellent for jump shots, finishes, and fighting for rebounds.  Impact is harsh as the Zig sole has very little give.  Amazing balance, responsiveness, and court feel characterize the performance of the ZigEscape.

Stability performance for the ZigEscape is two fold.  One on hand, the inner bootie and upper do an outstanding job of balancing comfort and support, without restricting movement.  The bootie has coverage from the forefoot down to the Achilles and heel, cupping but not covering the ankles.  Comfort comes with the quilted lining, which has a padded feel, while the thin upper solidifies the hold around the foot.  Needless to say, there is very little slippage during play.  The player can push the shoe very hard, bending and torquing the shoe side to side without a feeling that the upper will fail.  All the aspects of the upper, including the nubuck panel, can be felt holding, and the inner bootie just stays in place.  Furthermore, the collar design lends itself well for quick players.  Crossovers and abrupt cuts are not hindered by a cumbersome feeling around the ankles.  Instead, the player has plenty of support.  The next aspect of stability disregards comfort.  A stiff Zig sole and large stability plate do a great job of keeping the foot from bending awkwardly and slipping too much.  The benefit of the sole comes with great responsiveness, first and foremost, and the fact that it can definitely take a pounding.  Heavy footed and hard impact players will find this favorable because of the consistency felt throughout play.  In the end, there are very few moments where the sole will feel different for any type of movement or landing.

Traction performance is very balance.  The herringbone surface does the job of providing sticky grip for those quick stops, jab steps, and spot ups.  Where the shoe shines is with the discreet flex grooves from the Zig sole and the low profile of the ZigNano.  This brings more fluid traction on the court.  That is, instead of the player just coming to a halt, the sole does a great job of keeping the player ready to move.  For example, when the player needs to run down the court on a loose ball, the shoe does not have a jerky transition.  Moving in one direction, and then needing to sprint in the other direction quickly, the sole grips the court to give the player a foothold, then allows the player to seamlessly transition into a sprint.  All in all, traction performance is a bright spot for the ZigEscape.  Ventilation is an area where there are not too many concerns.  The inner bootie does have a good grip around the foot, but is not cumbersome at all.  Free air flow may not be felt, but the upper is thin enough to allow for good ventilation, while the quilted lining, surprisingly, does not trap heat.

Conclusion

In a sports world that demands results now, John Wall has had a slow start to his NBA career.  Sidelined with a knee injury to start the season does not help with the exposure for the latest Wall signature shoe.  In any case, those looking for an aggressive performer with excellent responsiveness and court feel will be throughly impressed with the ZigEscape.  The impact of signing Wall has not meant immediate success for Reebok compared to other pairing, namely Derrick Rose with Adidas.  Whether it be lack or marketability or simply the fact that Wall has not made a strong impact in the league, Reebok Basketball seems to be stuck in their attempt to make any significant ground on the competitors.  The ZigEscape does show a progress in performance from the ZigEncore, and can be looked at as one of the best performing shoes of the season.  How well it does among consumers – time will tell.  Available now at the Official Reebok Online Store, the Wall Season 3 ZigEscape is an impressive performer.

This shoe is comparable to:

Reebok Wall Season 2: ZigEncore
Reebok ZigSlash