Reviews / 06.15.12

Nike Zoom Hyperdunk 2011 Elite Performance Review

words & images // Nick DePaula

Sometimes you’ll read paragraph after paragraph about a shoe before finally making it to the verdict and main chunk of the performance review.

This is not that review.

That’s because the Hyperdunk Elite is the best shoe of the season – the best shoes in years, actually – and a complete joy to play in.

During that first week after I got my pair, I was looking forward to the clock hitting 6:30 every day so I could bounce from work and go play in them. They’re the best-fitting shoe I’ve ever worn. They’re incredibly supportive, lightweight, cushioned, responsive and stable. Everything you’d want in a sneaker, these have. (Well, maybe not the price tag …)

The Zoom Hyperdunk 2011 was already my favorite shoe of the year when it launched, with its sweet blend of cushioning, fit, traction and support. When I first heard about the Elite Series that Nike Basketball was kicking off this spring, I really wasn’t sure how they could improve on it.

It’s pretty easy to see that pretty much the entire upper has been revamped here, and while the launch Hyperdunk 2011 fit damn well, the Elite version takes things to an entirely new bar-setting level. The upper has actually half the layers, and it hugs better than anything I’ve ever worn.

On top of that awesome fit, the Pro Combat tongue is tremendously plush and padded, but unlike the LeBron 9 Elite, it’s only incorporated right over the top of your foot and then thins out towards the top of the tongue, resulting in less puff and exact lockdown around the collar. The shoe is flooded with Kevlar Flywire, and in tandem with the actual carbon fiber heel counter, you’re locked right in.

This is the first shoe in a while that I have zero complaints about. Perhaps the breathability could be better, but literally everything about them is money. The traction is squeaky and perfect on even a dusty court. The lockdown and support are perfect for slashing players and speedy guards. And the sheer comfort that comes from the beefed-up insole, Pro Combat tongue and heel / forefoot Zoom Air combo is unmatched.

You won’t read many reviews this brief, and in this case, it’s because the Hyperdunk Elite is simply that good. If you have any specific questions that you’re curious about, fire away in the comments section and I’ll be sure to answer. Literally everything about these is awesome, and they’re also great for any position on the court. (Unless you cut powerfully and plan to have Marc Gasol stepping on your foot.)

If you’re up for the $200 price point (even though you can definitely buy two pairs of the launch Hyperdunk for that much now that those are on sale), you won’t regret it all. They’re one of my favorite shoes in years.

Grade Breakout //

designed by: Leo Chang

best for: all positions

colorway tested: Black / Metallic Gold

worn by: Blake Griffin

key tech: two-layer bonded upper with Kevlar Flywire strands throughout, sizable real carbon fiber heel counter and midfoot shank, heel and forefoot Zoom Air units, Pro Combat tongue, anatomical sockliner with grip nubs, Kevlar laces

pros: The best combination of fit / support / cushioning / traction and total performance in years.

cons: price

improvements: I seriously can’t think of any.

sizing: true to size

buying advice: The Hyperdunk Elite is my favorite shoe in years. Right out of the box, everything about them is amazing. The fit and feel, cushioning and ride, and support and traction are all industry leading. All in all it’s a monster of a sneaker that I’d recommend to everyone. That is, if you’re ok with the monster price tag.

Available Now: Nike Zoom Hyperdunk 2011 Elite

Author: Nick DePaula


  1. TIM says:

    Interesting review! What are the differences between these an the original hd 2011s?

  2. Manav says:

    Im thinking of getting these. I lay competitively and practice about three hours a day. How durable are these?

  3. Nick says:

    How long have you had yours now for? How is the wear and tear?

    I have had both the original 2011 Hyperdunks and The Hyperdunk Supreme. Both felt amazing at the beginning but both have aged very poorly.

    The main issue for me was the foam rubber type parts around the side of the sole. I found that that would easily chip just from someone standing on the side of your foot. This made them look pretty ragged in literally a couple of weeks.

    Do you think I will have the same problem with these?

  4. Tritty says:

    yer Nick the KOBE VII’S have the exact same problem the rubber weres out easily and grazed just from a minor slip!! And i only where mine twice a week cause i wear other basketball shoes when i practice and train!

  5. Chris says:

    For some reason, the forefoot fit feels significantly more snug in the elites as compared to the OG hyperdunk 2011’s. I wear these with elite socks and I had to go .5 bigger on the elites.

  6. Chris says:

    Nice write up. I currently own a pair so reading your review was helpful. Although, I did have a couple comments.

    For some reason, the fit in the forefoot area of the shoe felt significantly more snug to me as compared to the OG hyperdunk 2011’s and supremes I currently own/play in. Even with a pair of broken in elite socks (which thin overtime) and a brand new pair, I had to go .5 bigger on the hyperdunk elites. So for those ordering online, i suggest trying them on first with thin and thick socks to get a better idea of the sizing of the shoe.

    Also, my first impression when I bought the elites was the quality of materials used to make shoe, which in my opinion seemed “cheap” especially for a $200 pair of shoes.

    Even though I am a hyperdunk fan, I would definitely not pay retail for these.

  7. don the GSW fan says:

    i tried this and the sides were too soft for me

  8. Liam says:

    Will we be getting hyperdunk 2012/ hyperdisrupt reviews anytime soon?

  9. Marc says:

    These are most likely the best shoes I’ve ever had when it comes to performance on the court. Cushioning, traction, court feel, weight are all excellent. Personally I think due to the lack of inside padding these are not the most comfortable shoes ever but I guess that’s the price you pay for a lighter shoe. they also run a bit narrow.

  10. malek says:

    my school colors