The Reebok Pumpspective Omni – Black Lotus Performance Reviews
Reebok Basketball has shown some fight this season with 2 brand new models for their Fall catalog. Couple this with a marketing campaign featuring Jason Terry, Isaiah Thomas, and Nerlens Noel and it looks as though the company is making a fresh new start. Last month, we looked at the Question Mid inspired Q96 CrossExamine. With the recent success of such classic models as the Question Mid, Kamikaze II Mid, and the Shaqnosis, it was only fitting for the designers to draw inspiration for a new model from past successes. The second major release in the Reebok Basketball catalog revolves around another iconic sneaker of the 1990s. This time, it features one of the more eccentric basketball technologies to be incorporated into a shoe – the Pump. In our latest Performance Review, the Pump is back in the Reebok Pumpspective Omni.
A 2013 revamp of the Pump Omni Lite, the Reebok Pumpspective Omni brings back the Pump technology in a modern basketball performance shoe. The features include the following:
- Synthetic leather upper backed by the 3D Fuse-Frame for a light weight build with stability
- Cushioning provided by DMX Foam technology
- Rubber outsole with herringbone traction pattern
- Mid foot stability plate
- Reebok Pump technology on the tongue for comfort and fit
Aesthetics and Styling
Much like the Q96 CrossExamine, the Pumpspective Omni is designed as a light weight version of an old classic – this time the Pump Omni Lite. A minimal look with mesh windows, a thinner upper, and sharp lines are a departure from the padded, bulky look of the Omni Lite. Not all has been lost, however, as the shoe still maintains a full synthetic leather upper. DMX cushioning and the 3D Fuse-Frame go along with the highlighted Pump as the technological patents crammed into the shoe. Style wise, the shoe is pretty straightforward. It is not too fancy or outgoing which is great for those who do not prefer to stand out of the crowd. Introduced with the Q96, a handful of color schemes saw a release. This Performance Review evaluates the Red/White/Blue version.
Looking like a standard mid cut from a side shot, the Pumpspective has the sharp, long lines. The foundation sets the tone, while the upper has the FuseFrame line running along the side. Not seen from afar, the synthetic leather upper is more solid & supportive than light & flimsy. We begin our look with the herringbone based rubber outsole. It forms a toe cap up front with two corrugations for protection from stubs. The lateral side has a very pronounced outrigger, while the medial side sees the herringbone traction pattern climbing up the sidewall. At the forefoot, the herringbone pattern is cut very large, but not too deep. A Reebok “R” is found on the medial side in lieu of a pivot circle. Rounding the lateral side is smooth rubber before coming to a flex groove and some thicker horizontal grooves below the outrigger. There is a slight dip as the contoured mid foot is reached. Here, a cut in the rubber is present with the midsole foam creeping through. The medial side has the “TRANSITION CASE” text molded into the foam. This transition case is cut with deep diagonal grooves – the middle three revealing the bright green contoured TPU plate. Finishing off the underside is the horseshoe-shaped heel with more of the herringbone traction pattern. For support, DMX technology is used for the midsole. From the forefoot to the mid foot, the foam is low profile. As the heel is reached, so is the support. The heel sections are marked “C I” on top (the foam is textured) and “C II” on the bottom (smooth foam). A small DMXFOAM logo lies on the bottom heel section of the midsole.
To give the shoe a 90s feel, synthetic leather upper is used for the upper. The leather begins at the toe box with a reinforced cap. An arrow of perforation holes marks the toe box. Moving on, each quarter panel is cut with a mesh window. Below the window, the rubber has the smooth feel, but towards the lace hoops it has a discreet snakeskin print. Fine diagonal lines are printed on each side around the forefoot for style. The lateral side has the biggest style touch in the form of a wavy line running from the heel to the toe box. It has the “3D FUSEFRAME” text at the mid foot.
A simple back end is found at the rear of the Pumpspective. Above the thick midsole, layers of synthetic leather are found on each side. On the medial side, a large triangular leather portion is stitched on. The outline is smooth with a blue line design up and around the collar eyelets. At the center of this patch is perforated snakeskin. The lateral side shares a similar set up without the leather patch. In contrast, the triangular portion comes in the form of another mesh window, while the base has the snakeskin leather with the Reebok branding. Up the heel, the lining comes through for the Achilles notch. The lining is a soft, jersey material with two small pieces of padding residing on each side. Below the padding, the stiff heel counter can be felt.
Eyelets and lace hoops run straight up the center of the shoe, equipped with standard oval laces. The four eyelets are found at the top and bottom (throat line and collar), while the lace hoops run down the middle. Each lace hoops is tucked underneath the leather upper so they are not visible on the outside. They are stitched down to the base of the shoe on the inside to help with fit. Complimenting the lacing system is the inner sleeve. It starts with the mesh material on the tongue which is present along the base and sides where it is stitched on. The middle portion of the tongue is a soft, thick, and plush material to accommodate the Pump. It is very wide to reach around the sides of the foot. The top of the tongue has the signature Pump basketball and small release valve, while the back side is padded and lined with a soft synthetic. Last but not least is the contoured and plush insole. It has a memory foam like feel, stamped with the Reebok Basketball logo on the heel.
Comfort and Fit
Fitting comfortably through the generous opening, the Pumpspective Omni brings a true to size fit. Pumping up the tongue makes the fit tighter & bulkier down the middle. The leather and 3D Fuse-Frame grip the sides but are not form fitting. All in all, the shoe fits tight, but comfortable. At the toe box, there is ample wiggle room to keep the toes from bunching up. It has enough width to help those with wide feet. Around the ankles, the collar & tongue provide good coverage. The wrap is more relaxed than tight, but can be made tighter by the added eyelet on the top. Those who prefer ankle support with some mobility will find this accommodating. The last aspect of back end support is with heel lockdown. Here, the counter holds the heels comfortably with little movement. Cushioning for the shoe is on the responsive side. The foot pushes through the plush insole onto the DMX based foam, which is neither too stiff or plush. There is a slight rise at the heel because of the added thickness of the midsole, but it does not affect the overall feeling of the shoe. The foot is not in an awkward position. For the sides, the contours of the foundation are slight which has the foot sitting somewhat flat. However, the tightness of the leather/3D Fuse-Frame/Pump tongue does provide a sense of support. Tight and comfortable with a responsive foundation, the Pumpspective feels like a winner.
Pumped and ready, the Omni has excellent low profile court feel in a static position. The insole provides some cushioning over the stiff base, while the upper has a comfortable, yet protective grip around the foot. There is no break in time need to get up and running. Heel to toe transitions feel tight and balanced. The sole is on the flat side which allows the player to push the deep herringbone in to grip the court. Flexibility of the leather upper is very comfortable without a flimsy feel. The weight of the shoe – which is neither to light or heavy – while running, is very balanced for basketball. Performance for the shoe is versatile for all play types, from casual, to active, to very aggressive. The first aspect of the Pumpspective that shines is with court feel and responsiveness. There are no major barriers with the foot pushing through the foundation to get a feel of the court. Playing off the forefoot or heel, movement feels tight and controlled. The shoe can handle changes of directions, transitions to jumps, and lateral movement with a sense of ease. One of the best features of the shoe is the lateral outrigger. It is not too overbearing, as it helps for those lateral slides on defense or when stoping to raise up for a shot. Aside from the court feel and responsiveness, the overall balance of the shoe makes it a prime time performer. It never feels like the player is dragging the shoe down the court. The shoe pushes the player to use the court feel to play with both speed & aggression. There is nothing in the design that hinders any movement. Moving to jumps, the responsive foundation and DMX cushioning is great for all types of jumpers. It is fit for those who tend to play below the rim or explosive jumpers who are always trying to finish or grab a board. Landings may be a bit on the harsh side with the stiff cushioning. Excelling with court feel, responsiveness, and balance, the Pumpspective Omin shows what Reebok Basketball is still capable of.
Looks may be deceiving when stability is observed. From a distance, the Pumpspective looks to offer the light weight support that many shoes on the market today bring. However, the leather based upper is excellent for both comfort and stability. First, the Pump technology helps the tongue/inner bootie lock the foot in place. It also provides a sense of comfort because the pressure can be adjusted to the comfortability of each player. The 3D Fuse-Frame backed upper provides a tight, but not suffocating grip around the foot. All of this allows for the player to play very aggressive. For all the abrupt stops and jerky play, the foot stays in place. The upper can handle hard lateral pushes without fail. Also, the stability is excellent for the agile power player. Since the upper does not fit the form of the foot, the player can push the shoe and have some slack from the leather upper for support. Stability is solidified with the foundation. From the thick heel to the mid foot plate to the lateral outrigger, there are enough features applicable to all players and positions. This is a case where the features of the foundation perform at a high level. The thick heel provides great impact protection, the mid foot plate keeps the shoe from feeling flimsy (along with the leather upper), and the lateral outrigger is excellent for those harsh lateral stops. All in all, stability performance helps to make the Pumpspective a great performer.
Traction performance fits the aggressive style of play. The shoe is equipped with with a deep herringbone traction pattern separated by a mid foot/heel cavity. It is more flat than rounded which keeps the herringbone on the court surface at all times. Stop & start or heavy footed player will get the most out of traction in this shoe. The shoe can handle most of the abrupt stops well through the herringbone traction pattern. Cutting, pull up jumpers, and jab steps have the signature herringbone court grip. What makes traction stand out is the mid foot cavity. It helps the shoe almost play as though the forefoot and heel areas are separate (which for the most part they are). And since the sole is flat, it is important for the overall balance of the shoe. Whether the player is gaining that quick traction from a first step or from up/down the court running, traction has grip and balance. The player would be hard pressed to find any issues with traction in this shoe. Ventilation performance is very good. There are plenty of outlets for heat/moisture relief around the shoe to keep the foot comfortable. On the inside, the lining also helps to reduce discomfort from heat.
The Pump technology came out in a time where the basketball sneaker landscape was still growing and open crazy ideas & concepts. It did strike a cord with sneaker fans as the technology was embraced on all fronts – commercially and financially. Incorporating it in a new and improved model is an interesting step for Reebok Basketball, which looks to be picking up the pieces. In the Pumpspective Omni, the translation of the Pump into a modern day shoe is exceptional. The shoe has a current market feel while the performance is versatile. It is a solid, well balanced shoe offering solid responsiveness, stability, and traction. In other words, those looking for an everyday shoe that is versatile can find a lot of value in the Pumpspective. With only two models showcased in their Fall line up, Reebok Basketball will need to bring up the pace to keep up with the growing market. They have the heritage, resources, and performance to make a big impact. The deciding factor will be how much effort and focus they can put into their catalog to see it blossom. Available now at the Official Reebok Online Store is the Pumpspective Omni.
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