And1 Entourage Mid - Elements Pack

The And1 Entourage Mid

Introduction

Many basketball fans know And1 for their street ball image which they capitalized on through tours and mix tapes since making a big impact during the mid-1990’s.  During their high point, the company had a roster full of stars including Kevin Garnett, Vince Carter, and Stephon Marbury to name a few.  In recent years, it is no secret that the company has fallen in the backdrop, with their main star being Indiana guard Lance Stephenson, lacing up the Tai Chi and Empire Mid throughout the 2012-2013 NBA season.  One of their latest releases for this year is the follow up to the Empire Mid.  In our first ever And1 Performance Review, we put the Entourage Mid to the test.

The And1 Entourage Mid is a light weight performer from a company that was once in the spotlight.  The features include the following:

  • Upper featuring synthetic leather and mesh openings for light weight performance
  • Cushioning provided by an EVA midsole with an air unit
  • Rubber outsole with herringbone traction pattern
  • L2G Philosophy on the foundation for flexibility and performance
  • Minimal foam insole for comfort and responsiveness

Aesthetics and Styling

The image that And1 had in their days was brash with an attitude.  Their shoes were not as bold as some of the concept-like designs released during the late 90’s/early 2000’s, but the brand did carry a sense of individuality.  In the Entourage Mid we have a modern day look.  With an upper made of a combination of synthetics, including leather and mesh, it can easily be mistaken for a Nike performer, of course without the swoosh logos.  And with a clear air bag for cushioning, the comparisons to Max Air are only natural.  Even though And1 may not have the mainstream popularity it once had, they are no strangers to the market, releasing a special Elements Pack which outfits the Entourage Mid in bright color schemes.  The choice for this Performance Review is the bright blue, representing Water.

And1 Entourage Mid - Elements Pack

This vibrant blue color scheme is part of the Elements Pack

Swooping lines like a roller coaster, the Entourage Mid has a stylish & sleek look.  The bright blue color scheme fits the design well, as the scale textured upper draws the eyes.  Mesh openings along the sides give the shoe a look that blends in well with the most popular models on the market.  Below, the shoe is fitted with a translucent blue outsole.  The outsole forms a toe cap with the And1 player logo in the front, and also creeps up the heel and mid foot sides.  A wavy herringbone traction pattern is molded throughout the three areas on the sole.  The forefoot area has a diagonal flex groove.  Branding comes in the form of an AND1 logo on the mid foot portion and a “L2G PHILOSOPHY” logo molded towards the heel.  The minimal foundation is complete with a EVA midsole and a air unit for cushioning.  Running from the mid foot around the heel, the air unit is made with a clear plastic bubble.

For the upper, the stitched synthetic leather has a scale texture and pattern.  A rounded toe box starts the first stitched layer, which extends up the center of the shoe making up the eyestay.  Four discreet perforation holes are placed along the throat line.  On the sides, the scaled leather forms a base of support.  Triangular mesh cut outs run through the sides with a shiny & smooth layer of synthetic material adding body and support over the mesh.  A plastic “AND1” logo finishes off the upper on the lateral heel.

At the rear, snake skin patterned patent leather runs from top to bottom.  The Chinese character for water is placed in the center in the appropriate blue.  Rising at a steep and steady incline is the collar.  Padding is minimal but soft, with the lining made up of a textured synthetic.

Bright blue standard flat laces run through 8 eyelets punctured through the leather eyestay.  The top two eyelets on the collar are reinforced with metal rings.  A padded mesh tongue sits under the laces with a lace holder towards the top.  More of the scaled patterned leather is found on the top patch which has another AND1 logo.  The tongue has soft padding and the textured synthetic for lining.  Last but not least is the thin, soft foam insole.  A quote is printed on the heel, bringing out the attitude of the shoe and company.

Comfort and Fit

With a generous loosening of the laces the foot slides easily into the Entourage Mid.  Fit is a tight true to size once laced up to the top.  Lace pressure is felt down the center of the foot.  The upper does sit very close to the foot, especially on the sides which are thinner than the leather areas, but does not have a gripping and suffocating feel.  This allows the foot some comfort while still having a good tight feel.  At the toe box, the shape is slightly rounded on top and the flare on the sides is accommodating for those with wide feet.  Moving towards the rear, the  collar and tongue provide a very good wrap.  Padding is ample, but not too plush.  Support is good since the ankles are covered, but protection may not be the best.  The collar has a more thin feel and is flexible, which limits protection.  Heel lock down is tight but, again, the counter has a soft feel.  This is good for comfort, but may be lacking in terms of protection.  Cushioning is stiff and minimal.  The shoe has a lower profile feel making the set up more responsive than comfortable.  For arch support, the slight curvature on the medial side and close fit of the upper are noticeably felt.  The support is not the most pronounced or very secure, but there is support.  A comfortably tight fit with a responsive base, the Entourage Mid has a minimal & raw feel.

And1 Entourage Mid - Elements Pack

Fitting is tight and the foundation has a responsive set up

Performance

On the court, the Entourage Mid feels like a minimal basketball shoe.  Court profile is low & flat, while the upper feels thin & airy.  The player can get up to speed without any hesitation.  Heel to toe transitions are fast and solid.  The upper has very good flex and the foundation feels low as well as responsive.  Weight wise, the shoe plays on the light/fast side.  Even though it is a mid cut shoe, the flexibility and thin feel of the upper play more like a low cut shoe.  The foot pushes right through the upper, especially around the collar, so movement is not restricted.  For performance, quick and fast players will find advantages in the shoe.  The shoe has a minimal feel all around.  Below, the foundation is tailor made for those looking for good responsiveness.  Quick cuts and lateral movements on defense feel aggressive and tight, while forward movements are aided by the low to the court profile.  The shoe pushes for pace and movement more so than stop & start perimeter play.  Playing into the speed and raw nature of the shoe is the upper.  There are very little restrictions in terms of flexing and being nimble as the upper has a thin feel.  Plush comfort may be lacking but the foot can easily flex through the leather toe box and mesh sides.  When all is said and done, the shoe just plays very fast.  For jumps, the air based cushioning and low profile provide a stiff but somewhat explosive base.  The player can get up quickly without any hindrances, and landings do not have an uncomfortable shock factor.  Fast, quick, agile, and responsive, the Entourage Mid has a raw feel on the court.

Stability for the shoe is fit for the smaller, quicker player.  Evaluating ankle support and protection, the shoe is satisfactory.  Other than the mid cut covering the ankles, which gives some support, protection is a bit lacking for those who play very hard.  Since the shoe favors flexibility and speed, it is easy to push right through the collar.  This is especially felt when the player dips low or pushes laterally.  Stability comes with the fit of the upper.  The upper does fit tightly, but does not suffocate the foot.  Slipping is held to a minimum allowing the player to do what is needed when playing at high speeds.  The best aspect of the upper is the fact that the foot has the freedom to breath, yet is held tightly.  This is due to the fact that the mesh panels simply sit close and do not collapse around the foot.  Next the minimal foundation feels very tight.  The EVA, air sole, and rubber outsole are just solid.  The foundation can take all the bumps, scrapes, and hard landings all in stride.  This aspect is interesting because the base, for the most part, is not big or bulky, which one would expect for a shoe to be solid.

Equipped with a full herringbone pattern, traction is on the sticky side.  This plays into the raw performance of the shoe, great for stop & starts, and just moving all around the court in general.  Because court profile is low, the player has more control and a better feel to put the sole to use.  Offensive minded players who are always moving forward will be able to find very good traction when need – bursting forward on a drive or deciding to come to a halt for a pull up.  In the end, the look and design of the outsole is not a deception when traction performance is observed.  Moving to ventilation, the Entourage mid is very good.  The thin leather and mesh sides allow for the foot to have room to breathe.  Mesh openings do the job of releasing any hot air, letting the player play in comfort.

Conclusion

With their light shinning below the high profile radar, And1 has survived in the basketball sneaker landscape.  The Entourage Mid was released without any mainstream support or hype (and there have not been many And1 releases that have had hype in recent years).  Nonetheless, the performance is highlighted by very good court feel and traction in a fast, light weight package.  The shoe plays very raw and does fit the rebel image the company had in years past.  Those looking for a change of pace from what Nike or Adidas may offer will not be disappointed with the Entourage Mid.  As the basketball shoe market is dominated by a few, it is always exciting to see new companies and past companies continue to bring out new models.  And1 has shifted their focus in the past couple years on a different market, and hopefully they will rise to high prominence again.  The And 1 Entourage Mid Elements Pack is available now at select retailers.

This shoe is comparable to:

Nike Zoom Hyperdisruptor
Spalding Threat