If you take your basketball shoes seriously, then you’re probably familiar with Nightwing2303. He’s the founder of WearTesters.com and one of the internet’s most trusted sneaker reviewers. You can check out his latest reviews, performance tests, and more at WearTesters.com, on twitter @Nightwing2303, and on YouTube at Nightwing2303. You’ll also see his reviews on eastbay.com and in the Eastbay catalog, giving you the scoop on all of the hottest new basketball products.
We sat down with Nightwing to talk about how he got into basketball shoes, his style when creating videos, his all-time favorite shoes, and more.
Let’s start at the very beginning. How did you first get into basketball, performance, and sneakers?
I only got into sneakers because of basketball. I started playing actively around sixth grade and I was wearing Payless shoes. The people not wearing Payless shoes were making fun of me, and I started noticing that everyone was wearing Nike and Jordan, so I started seeing the popular trends. Since then, I’ve just been totally into basketball. When I got my first pair of Jordans, I was like ‘Yo, I can’t wear anything else’ and it took off from there. I got really into the tech involved with the shoes, really into the designs, and it’s just something that never left me. I’ve been in this world ever since.
When did you know you wanted to take that passion and make it into a career?
That was a complete accident. I don’t even know why I picked up a camera and made a review to be honest. At the time, I was just getting back into basketball. My kid had been born like three years before that so I had been really focused on work and providing. My old shoes were from high school, so when I tried to play in those at the park they were literally falling apart. I needed new sneakers and they were super expensive. I started looking for reviews, just to make sure that I didn’t get ripped off or anything, and there weren’t any, so I grabbed a camera, bought the most expensive shoe, and made a performance review – it’s been crazy ever since.
How do you go from that one video to WearTesters and thousands of subscribers?
Social media opened up the window to sneakers. Before then it was a more select group of people to reference, but the way that the internet works, it just kind of opened the flood gates. People in Indonesia all of the sudden are being told that Jordans are cool so now they want some. So I think it’s just a weird phenomenon that I don’t think would have been possible without social media.
How would you describe your review videos?
My style is a little blander than other people. There’s not very much flash. But I try to make up for that with some substance. I try to teach people what their money is going toward, especially with the prices the way they are right now. You’re really trying to maximize your purchase, so you want to know everything there is to know about that product and that’s what I try to do.
How would you describe your relationship with Eastbay?
Eastbay is where I learned all of my tech. I would read all about the shoes. That’s what really drove me. You’d get the catalogs every month and circle the ones you want and hope you could save enough money to buy them. The Eastbay magazine was like the original sneaker blog, so it’s cool to be able to work with them now.
What are some of your go-to basketball shoe recommendations right now?
Each week, we’ll break down the most popular upcoming shoe drops. We’ll give you the lowdown on the prices and sizes, break down the history of the shoe, and give you the scoop on the newest tech features. Check back every week for the hottest shoe drops. If it’s hyped, it’s here. You can check out the full list of releases on Eastbay’s Release Calendar. Here’s what you have to look forward to this week:
JORDAN RETRO 13 LOW ‘CHUTNEY’ – JUNE 10 AT 10 AM ET
The iconic Jordan Retro 13 Low ‘Chutney’ will drop for the first time since they originally debuted in 1998. Considered a grail by many collectors, this classic looks just as good as it did back in the day with the traditional black and chutney color scheme. The Retro 13 Low ‘Chutney’ is one of the most anticipated releases of the summer, as Jumpman fans have waited nearly 20 years for a chance to get their hands on this fresh kick. Men’s $174.99, Grade School Boys’ $119.99.
GIRLS’ JORDAN RETRO 4 ‘LINEN’ – JUNE 10 AT 10 AM ET
The Jordan Retro 4 ‘Linen’ has a lot of men wishing they could fit into a smaller shoe size. This women’s exclusive comes in a white and light sand colorway with light blue accents finishing the look. It’s the perfect kick for the summer season, so pick up your pair and make all the guys jealous they couldn’t find one in their size. Women’s $139.99.
NIKE LEBRON 14 ‘AGIMAT’ – JUNE 10 AT 10 AM ET
A special version of the Nike LeBron 14 drops this week with the ‘Agimat’ colorway, which pays homage to the Philippines. ‘Agimat’ is the Filipino word for charm. The Philippines is a basketball-crazy nation that LeBron has a connection with since visiting. The shoe comes in a blue-and-gold colorway with references to LeBron’s career accomplishments on the tongue’s pull tab. Men’s $174.99.
NIKE FOAMPOSITE PRO – JUNE 9 AT 10 AM ET
The Nike Foamposite Pro drops in full family sizing this weekend with a ‘Tech Fleece’ colorway. The Foamposite is outfitted with tech fleece wool material on the upper and an icy outsole. It’s the first time the Foamposite will feature this special material construction, so if you’re a fan of the Foams this is a must-cop. Men’s $229.99, Grade School Boys’ $179.99.
NIKE PG 1 – JUNE 9 AT 10 AM ET
The PG 1 drops in the ‘Pure Platinum’ colorway that has been popular with Nike and Jordan releases in recent weeks. It’s another fresh look for summer, with a platinum grey upper and a gum rubber outsole. The textured fish scale design is a reference to George’s love of fishing. If you’re still searching for a ‘Pure Platinum’ look in the right silhouette, then this might be your shoe of the summer. Men’s $109.99.
Golden State and Cleveland have been on a collision course all season long. The Trilogy is finally underway as the league’s two best teams and biggest stars battle it out in the championship for the third straight year.
With that in mind, we’re taking a look at the signature sneakers. Who wins the title remains to be seen, but there’s no doubt about these championship-caliber kicks.
King James has plenty of signature shoes to choose from, but the Soldier line has to be considered a favorite after last year’s championship performance. This year, the Nike LeBron Soldier 11 added a fourth strap for an even greater locked-in feel. At the same time, the Soldier 11 utilizes Zoom Air cushioning to provide the explosive abilities that LeBron has become so well known for.
LeBron has said he loves the lighter, faster, sleeker, and stronger feel he gets while wearing the Soldier line. The Soldier 11 is made with that in mind, providing the ultimate locked-down fit without sacrificing explosive abilities, making it perfect for LeBron’s quest for another championship. Read more about it here.
Kevin Durant is hunting for his first championship, and has a brand new shoe to do it in. The KD X offers a similar look to its predecessor, but has subtle upgrades that help refine the shoe and ultimately Durant’s game. The KD X utilizes the best Flyknit construction ever to be used on a basketball shoe, engineered specifically for flexibility, breathability, and support where Durant needs it most.
A full-length Zoom Air unit offers responsiveness that’s perfect for KD’s offensive attack and defensive prowess, while the oversized laces provide more lockdown and an original look. The shoe also marks Durant’s 10th anniversary with Nike – you can read more about that here. What better way to celebrate than with a new shoe and a championship ring?
Kyrie Irving’s late-game heroics helped end the city of Cleveland’s title drought. Now, Irving is back for another championship and to further establish his reputation as one of the game’s most clutch players. His Kyrie 3 sneakers are built with his fancy footwork and hot handles in mind. He needs solid lockdown, plenty of strength and support, and enough flexibility to utilize his entire offensive repertoire.
The Kyrie 3 is a guard’s dream. It’s made specifically for stop-and-go moves at a moment’s notice. The outsole curvature allows for seamless transitions in any direction, allowing Irving to move quicker, cut faster, and blow by defenders with ease. Who knows, maybe it’ll even help Irving hit another game-winner in crunch time.
The back-to-back MVP leads his team into battle, where Golden State looks to recapture the title that was taken from them last year. Curry can run the court like no other point guard, with one of the game’s deadliest shots, most dangerous handles, and passing abilities that are second-to-none.
The Curry 3Zer0 is built to withstand the intensity of the playoffs and all of the crucial moments that will arise. The streamlined sneaker offers the same ankle support, comfort, breathability, and cushioning as the Curry 3, but in a minimalized silhouette that is equipped for the season’s most important stage. It’s championship season, and the two-time MVP is looking to re-take the throne.
At first glance, the KD X looks similar to its predecessor, the KD 9, but a deeper dive into the shoe reveals the subtle intricacies that make the KD X so innovative.
Durant’s 10th signature shoe marks a milestone. It’s been 10 years since a skinny teenager signed a deal with one of basketball’s most iconic brands. As Durant has grown, he’s continually refined his game, working to become as efficient as possible.
His signature shoe line takes a similar approach, consistently making subtle updates that allow Durant to perform better and better on the court. The KD X utilizes the best Flyknit construction to ever be on a basketball shoe – engineered specifically for the flexibility, breathability, and support a basketball player needs.
The Flyknit advancement mixes low-stretch, high-tenacity yarn at critical stretch points, as well as a high stretch yarn at the collar and across the forefoot. The combination creates the perfect balance of support and a sock-like fit that’s made with basketball in mind.
The unconventional lacing system is another standout feature of the KD X. Durant and Nike designer Leo Chang focused on the laces, noting that the laces are an often under-the-radar element of the shoe. The lacing system helps provide a snug, supportive fit, while the large laces provide a unique look that Durant loves.
Of course, a player with Durant’s explosiveness needs strong cushioning. The KD X carries over the full-length Nike Zoom Air unit that debuted in the KD 9, enhanced for added durability and refined for maximum impact cushioning, so that Durant can absorb contact and turn it into responsive energy.
Building upon the KD 9, with the addition of subtle technology upgrades, the new KD X is a perfect 10. The shoe will be available on June 2 at eastbay.com.