The Reebok Shaqnosis (2013 Reissue) – Black Lotus Performance Reviews
Reebok Classics has taken over the Reebok Basketball performance line. This past season, the company added to the Allen Iverson and Shawn Kemp reissues with the most dominant center of this era – Shaquille O’Neal. Spring saw a relaunch of the first Shaq shoe in the Shaq Attack. For the Summer, the mind trust at Reebok aimed to release one of the most iconic sneakers of the mid 1990s. Carrying the bold hypnotic design, this shoe was representative of the 1990s. Without further delay, we feel a magnetic pull to the hardwood in the Reebok Shaqnosis in this Performance Review.
Originally released during the 1995-1996 NBA Season, the Shaqnosis is one of the most iconic shoes in the Shaquille O’Neal/Reebok back catalog. The features include the following:
- Full synthetic leather upper construction
- Cushioning provided by Hexalite technology in the forefoot and heel
- Non-marking rubber outsole multi-directional traction pattern
- Expansive padded Achilles notch for added comfort
- Reissue of the signature shoe for Shaquille O’Neal for the 1995-1996 NBA Season
Aesthetics and Styling
Any reissue from the 1990s/early 2000s sees a design with no compromises. Wild concepts and ideas actually made it to production, making for a golden age in the basketball sneaker world. The Shaqnoiss fist right into this description with the concentric oval upper design. Big and bulky, these were the days when you can make a shoe where weight concerns were not an issue. And for the largest player to ever play in the NBA, the shoe better be able to handle 300 lbs in a size 22 foot! All the design elements lean towards support. The cut of the shoe is high with a padded Achilles notch for more support and comfort. Hexalite cushioning adds both comfort and a solid base for any post player. This shoe is by no means made for the swift and nimble player. Shaq is one of the most charismatic figures to play in the NBA, and it was no surprise that he did dabble into entertainment during his basketball career. Represented in this Performance Review is the Metallic Silver color scheme for the DC Comics character Steel, which Shaq depicted in the box office motion picture.
From the side profile, the Shaqnosis has a dominating, hypnotic look. The iconic concentric ovals cover the upper of this high cut shoe. Metallic silver leather does fit the design well. For the outsole, the translucent green rubber is broken into forefoot and heel sections. A toe cap is formed up front, with stitching running across. The contoured shape of the forefoot is molded with a matching zig-zag traction pattern to keep with hypnotic theme. Three parabolic flex grooves add flexibility to the sole. In the middle of this area is a small circular inset which reveals the honeycomb Hexalite cushioning. This section is finished off at the mid foot where the rubber slightly dips and the first Shaq dunkman logo is molded in. The small heel area rises up the heel wall. There are more parabolic flex grooves and the traction pattern is a combination of zig-zags and circular insets – both molded deep. Hexalite cushioning is represented by an oval crevice in the center and on the back of the heel with another oval molded into the rubber. A shapely foam midsole runs around the shoe for support. This midsole has protruding elements all over and a small cut out showing the Hexalite on the lateral heel.
A simple, yet effective leather upper has thick stitched layers to create the hypnotic theme. The toe box starts off sharp and pointy with a triangular patch at the cap, followed by rows of perforations flaring off to the sides. Another dunkman logo is found at the throat line on the tongue lace hoop. The iconic ovals on the sides are made up of three padded layers of leather. Each thin strip is stitched on extending from the heel to the toe box. Finishing off each side at the base is the Reebok vector logo in an oval patch.
The wide back end of the shoe looks perfect for the big man. With the metallic leather making up the sides, the center is done in the reflective 3M material. Another dunkman logo is found here, but this time embroidered on; while a hand tab is stitched on the top of this high cut shoe. Since the back end rises high, the collar does not ascend at a steep angle, if any. Padding is ample, but the highlight on the inside is the expansive Achilles notch. For comfort, security, and protection, the Achilles notch covers the back and sides. It is heavily padded, giving the back end the bulky look.
There are a total of 7 eyelets punctured into the metallic upper. The rounded laces are high quality. For maximum support and comfort, the tongue is made up of leather with plenty of padding. The parabolic design runs through the patches from top to bottom, ending and flaring out at the top of the tongue where a Reebok patch logo is stitched on. Last, a very thick and plush insole covers the foot bed. This insole simply has the Reebok text printed on the heel.
Comfort and Fit
The bulky and wide build of the Shaqnosis makes for an easy entry into the shoe. Fit is true to size around the sides although there is some slight room length wise. The leather upper has a very padded and supportive feel around the foot. All the collar & tongue padding help to keep lace pressure down and the overall feeling of comfort high. Up front, the toe box has a flat feel. The shape feels perfect giving plenty of width room without feeling too open or loose. Moving to the rear, all the design elements bring more comfort and security. As a big man shoe, ankle support is paramount. For this shoe, the collar and tongue provide a comprehensive padded wrap. The wrap around the ankles is not the tightest, but there are no spaces left open. Heel lock down is great as there is little to no movement here. Perhaps the best feature of the fit is found with the Achilles. First off, the Achilles rises very high to protect the back end of the foot. Next, the padded Achilles notch adds both security and comfort. And because the notch is more padded than rigid, it does not restrict movement. Moving on, cushioning is stiff and responsive. The Hexalite technology is stiff but not uncomfortable. For arch support, the contours of the sole are not dramatic. The foot does sit on the flat side, but because the upper feels so plush around the foot, this is not a big issue. In the Shaqnosis, very good, padded comfort with excellent security is met with a responsive base.
On the court, the comfort of the upper and responsive foundation stand out. The Hexalite based cushioning has a dense and hard feel, but it is by no mean uncomfortable. Also, the court profile of the shoe feels more close than high off the surface. With that established, the eases right into play out of the box. Heel to toe transitions bring out what will be a hallmark of the shoe – just a solid fell. Cushioning is comfortable, the synthetic leather upper flexes well, and the outsole flex grooves keeps movement more fluid than very stiff. It goes without saying that the weight of the shoe is on the heavy side. This is very evident from the collar down to the mid foot. It is no doubt a top heavy shoe. Performance is fit for the power player needing comfort and responsiveness. Even though the shoe was built for down low play, the responsiveness works well on the perimeter. Yes the shoe is not the most nimble or agile for quick players, but the responsiveness of the foundation as a whole is just great. The Hexalite cushioning is dense, yet not sacrificing comfort. Faster players will find that playing off the forefoot is great for runners in the lane and finishes at the rim. Another aspect of the shoe that takes advantage of the responsiveness is with lateral movement. The shape of the forefoot on each side act as an outrigger. This keeps lateral movement very stable for sliding and moving whether on offense or defense. In the post, the big man will find this great for planting a base while backing down an opponent. Here, the responsive Hexalite again comes into play, with the heel having a little thicker feel to take more of a pounding. For jumps, the shoe is, again, very responsive. Getting up is easy off the Hexalite, and the only aspect that might slow the player down would be the weight. Landings are well handled on either the forefoot or heel. The minimal outsole gets the player right back into the action upon hitting the court surface. The Shaqnosis lives up to the hype of the bold design with excellent comfort, responsiveness, and court feel.
Security and comfort are favored over rigid protection in terms of stability for the Shaqnosis. First off, ankle support is excellent. From the padded tongue & collar, to the Achilles lobe, to the cut of the shoe, the design was made to keep the ankles secure. The player will have no problems pushing the shoe laterally and bending the shoe deep, as all these factors play a part in keeping the back end stable. Yes, protection is not bullet proof because the fit is more relaxed, but the coverage the shoe brings is like no other performance shoe currently on the market (aside from the Shaq Attack). Along with great ankle security, the upper does a great job of providing overall support. With a leather based upper, the player will get be able to push the shoe hard laterally. The leather base never feels like it is pushing to failure. What really shines is the comfort factor. The leather is not tough and rigid which is a godsend for those players who are very hard on their shoes. Last for stability is a the foundation. Built with a minimal outsole and the Hexalite technology for cushioning, the foundation can take a very hard pounding. Since the shoe was make for Shaquille O’Neal, this is no surprise. Whether off the forefoot or heel, the Hexalite has the density and thickness to take heavy impact without collapsing. This set up is most ideal for stop & start players and those who do not need a cushioned feel for every step. In the end, the Shaqnosis delivers on all aspects of stability.
Traction performance is just solid. Minimal rubber is used on the outsole to gain the most responsiveness for the multi-directional traction pattern. As the shoe was not design for the quick slashing point guard, it does fare well as far as stop and starts are concerned. In this case, the traction pattern is deep enough to provide some sticky grip. However, the best observation of traction performance is in an isolate case. For post ups on offense and defense, getting a foot hold in the paint is solid. The player can plant the foot, get a good base, and use the swooping flex grooves to control bends. Loss of traction down low almost never occurs. On offense, the sole and wide forefoot provide a good base for drop steps and jump hooks. Overall, traction performance is straightforward – just solid. As for ventilation, this is one area of the shoe that does lack in performance. The full leather upper and padding give no outlets for hot air to vent. If heat and moisture concerns are a problem, this might be an issue.
A shoe truly made for a big man, the Shaqnosis comes at a time of transition for Reebok Basketball. The design of the shoe harkens back to the days where designers pushed the limits aesthetically and where Reebok battled Nike/Jordan Brand for basketball supremacy. Power players looking for a shoe that caters to a big man style of play will find plenty of comfort, responsiveness, and stability in this iconic Shaquille O’Neal performer. Later this season, we will take a look at first Shaq shoe that Reebok released in the Spring. For now, the Shaqnosis is available in multiple color schemes at the Official Reebok Online Store.
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