words_Jordan Hagedorn

In my time as a basketball sneaker fan, several shoe brands have come and gone. As a consumer, you have so many choices when it comes to what you can wear on the court.

One of the new and unique choices that I decided to review on-court is Clipper point guard Baron Davis’ signature sneaker, the Li-Ning BD Doom. A couple interesting design cues on this particular shoe are the Baron Davis “Beardman” logo on the tongue and the 3M reflective dots on the lateral and medial sides of the upper. With Baron Davis as a front man, Li-Ning did a good job capturing the essence of the veteran point guard with the logo.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Li-Ning brand, check out Nick’s Introduction to Li-Ning and the BD Doom. As for the actual performance of the shoe on the court, here’s the breakdown.

For me, when it comes to picking a basketball shoe, the most important thing is comfort. I want a shoe that feels good without affecting my play in any way. When I first put the BD Doom on my feet, they were super comfortable. Once I pulled the tongue up, the shoes were nice and snug, fitting like a glove throughout the entire time I played in them. Let me note that the BD Doom runs a half size small. I wear anywhere from a size 12.5 to 14 normally and took to the court in a size 13 in these, so the shoes fit well.

The shoes feature Li-Ning Bounce technology in the forefoot and Li-Ning Cushion technology in the heel which provided sufficient cushioning. The shoes felt close to the ground. It felt like there was a small piece of memory foam under my foot, which was pretty comfortable although a little thin. The midsole is an interesting shape but it did provide satisfactory cushioning. Even though the insole was a little thin, it did allow for a lower to the ground, decent court feel. When playing in a game setting, the cushioning was adequate.

With Baron Davis being a bigger guard, Li-Ning wanted to make sure they got the ankle support right, and in the case of the BD Doom, they did. In the 10 times I wore this shoe, I had no problems with ankle support. The shoe’s unique outsole design, forefoot lock-down fit and comfortable ankle collar all factored into these being a great shoe for my ankles.

When you’re playing hoops for an extended period of time, the breathability of your shoe is very important. If your feet get too hot, they can become uncomfortable and be an unnecessary distraction on the court. Breathability is one aspect of the BD Doom that needs some work. Other than the holes for laces, there aren’t any areas that allow air to flow or escape. The ankle collar is comfortable but is made of a material that can get a little hot. The same material also runs up the foot to the tongue, making for less-than-stellar breathability.

The heel-toe transition of the BD Doom was somewhat surprising. I liked everything about the shoe when I was just shooting around, but as soon as I started to run, cut and play harder, putting more stress on the shoe, a flaw was exposed. When I cut or stopped hard, the transition wasn’t particularly smooth. It wasn’t extremely painful by any means, but it was noticeable. It may be a problem that could be solved by simply wearing another pair of socks. When it comes to my feet and basketball shoes, it’s about being as comfortable as possible. If that means wearing an extra pair of socks, then so be it. I have personally never worn ankle braces but in the world of sneakers, every person is different. Although the pesky toe was the main issue I had with these shoes, it wasn’t a deal breaker. Overall, the shoes performed really well on-court.

Another important attribute of a basketball shoe is the traction. The last thing you want is to be sliding all over the court and being unable to keep your footing when driving to the hoop or defending an opponent. The BD Doom’s traction is excellent. When cutting, driving and defending, the tire-like traction pattern was very effective. The rubber outsole runs up the back heel further than your traditional midsole and the strategically placed flex grooves make this traction pattern a great one.

At 16.0 oz., it isn’t the lightest basketball shoe available, but the shoe is built really well. I have played in the super light Hyper kicks and the feather-light Kobe shoes, and, while having a really light shoe is a perk, it doesn’t always determine what shoe I’ll play in. The Air Jordan 2010 wasn’t very light and it was still a great shoe to play in. The BD Doom is a great shoe at 16.0 oz.

My final grade for the Li-Ning BD Doom is an B+. It’s a solid basketball shoe. The heel-toe transition and breathability need some work, but the comfort, cushioning, ankle support and traction are all great. I personally have a similar style of play as Baron Davis and I would recommend this shoe to a bigger point guard. The shoe would work for a forward as well. The kicks played really well and didn’t cause any major issues for my feet. I’d have no problem taking to the court in Baron Davis’ signature Li-Ning shoe any day of the week.
Available Now: Li-Ning BD Doom

*Performance Review shoes provided by Eastbay*