words // Brandon Richard
In most other seasons, Washington Wizards point guard John Wall is probably on his way to being named NBA Rookie of the Year. However, Blake Griffin is sitting out in Los Angeles with a stranglehold on that award. Wall’s play can’t be overlooked, though; his 16.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 8.7 assists per game rank him amongst the elite floor generals in the league already. His confidence has increased as the season has moved along, and his jumpshot is starting to fall. The Washington Wizards are in a re-building phase, but have found their centerpiece moving forward.
Wall’s consistently improving game is good news to Reebok, who signed the rookie point guard to a big endorsement deal last summer. For most of the season, Wall has gone to work in his un-official Reebok signature shoe, the Zig Slash. Still going strong, a new Wall-inspired colorway is currently available to purchase today at Eastbay.
The shoe features a black and white leather upper with a white mesh underlayer toward the heel. Malibu Blue hits the inner liner, lower portion of the Vector logo and Zig sole. Through the middle of the Vector logo is a section of contrasting steel silver. Tonal Reebok branding on the medial mudguard finishes off the look. As you can see in the photo below, this is the colorway Wall wore when officially introduced as Reebok Basketball’s pitchman last summer.
Available: Reebok Zig Slash – Malibu Blue/Black/White/Steel
After years of being somewhat of a forgotten brand in basketball, Reebok made a strong return last year by signing number one overall NBA Draft Pick John Wall and introducing their new Zig Slash hoop shoe. The shoe, which makes use of Reebok’s energy-returning ZigTech outsole, has been seen on the feet of players like Wall, Jameer Nelson, Jason Terry and Danilo Gallinari. With the success of the Zig Slash comes new colorways arriving at Eastbay, including a special make-up for John Wall.
Three new looks of the Zig Slash are being introduced early next month. The first, a custom colorway for Wall, features a capital blue nubuck upper with black accents and a white Zig sole. Next up is a royal blue-based pair with a heavy use of white to compliment the look. Last is a clean white-leather shoe that gets help from pure silver on the Vector logo, mesh underlay, laces and sole. Pre-order all three of these new colorways at Eastbay.
Pre-Order: Reebok Zig Slash
words and images_Zac Dubasik
One of my absolute favorite aspects of playing pickup ball is that each and every game, something is on the line. I’m not talking about pride, honor or even bragging rights. I’m talking about something tangible, and for those who love to play, even valuable. I’m talking about “staying on.” You win, you get to play again. It’s as simple as that. Personally, I don’t go to the gym to sit around and socialize. If I’m there, I want to play, and I want to play as long as possible.
A few weeks back, I got to the gym a little early one night. Fortunately though, runs had already started, and I was able to jump on a team. Unfortunately, that team was quickly dispatched, and it was time to sit almost immediately. This happened one more time, and I was beginning to think it was just going to be one of those nights. Around that time though, a new group of players arrived, and I managed to get picked up on a better team. First game? Win. Second game? Another win. It was obvious that this team was going to stay on for a while, which under normal circumstances, would have been exactly what I’d want. On this particular day though, it was my first run in the Reebok Zig Slash, and over our six-game win streak, I had actually began to hope we’d lose.
I’ll give credit where it’s due. The Zig Slash has generated more interest in any Reebok basketball shoe than the company has seen in years. With Allen Iverson exiting the League, the signing of John Wall gave them a chance to regain some relevance in the minds of hoops fans, and an opportunity to remain visible on a marquee-level name. It also gave John Wall a chance to become more that just a number, which likely would have happened had he signed with a bigger company, like Nike. When it comes to the marketing aspect of the deal, there have definitely been some positives for all sides. Where I won’t give credit though is to the shoe’s performance.
Top to bottom, there’s disappointment everywhere you look. And starting with the bottom, the first major letdown is the shoe’s signature feature, the ZigTech tooling. While being advertised as an energizing experience, it feels quite the opposite; it feels dead. Rather than producing good cushioning, good court feel, or a compromise of both, the ZigTech yielded none of the above. Unfortunately, the cushioning was actually not even the tooling’s worst attribute. The shoe’s traction was absolutely awful. A major reason for this is due to the fact that much of it is comprised of the same foam as the “midsole.” There is rubber attached in key zones of the outsole, but even this doesn’t help much. There are a few different courts I play at, one of which is pristinely maintained, and another the complete opposite. Wanting to give these shoes the best chance possible, I stuck to the good court over the course of my testing, and even this couldn’t help the shoes stick. This is a design and development issue, not a matter of the herringbone picking up too much dust.
While I’m on the tooling, I’ll also address the transition. With this type of deep segmentation in the outsole, the transition would have to be good, right? Wrong. While not terrible, the lack of heel radius, along with the firm TPU plate to which the tooling is affixed, produced a slappy feel. It was even worse when moving laterally. While there are some slight flex-like groves moving up and down the shoe in the heel and midfoot area, the TPU plate and lack of radiuses on the sides of the shoe added to the lack of court feel.
Moving on to the shoe’s upper, things get a little better. It was surprisingly light, considering the amount of material needed for something with such a high cut. Also, the large perforations are backed only by a fairly open mesh, which gave the shoe good breathability compared to the low standard hoops shoes have set. The shoe’s collar was a bit too restrictive however, and extremely uncomfortable. I’d highly recommend wearing long, thick socks if you decide to give these a run. The shoe’s biggest problem though is that there is a major disconnect between the upper and tooling. Truly great shoes have uppers which function holistically with their tooling. Each piece works in conjunction with the other to produce a result that can only happen when the package is so complete. Even aesthetically though, the Zig Slash’s two primary parts seem to have nothing to do with one another. So, while the upper itself is decent, the lack of connection between the two parts limits its effectiveness.
In its current form, the ZigTech platform feels like it was simply rushed over from running, without properly adapting it for hoops. With so many other good choices out there, many even cheaper, it’s hard to recommend these kicks. While the thought of Reebok getting serious again in the basketball world is great, they have a long way to go if a Zig-based shoe is how they are going to do it.
Available now: Reebok Zig Slash
*Performance Review shoes provided by Eastbay*
The Zig Slash isn’t officially the signature shoe of John Wall, but Reebok is making sure they do everything they can to make sure the shoe is associated with the rookie phenom. Here’s a new colorway of Reebok’s new hoop shoe, done in a colorway that’s been a longstanding favorite in the sneaker community. The shoe features a full grey synthetic and mesh upper, with a patent section working the toebox. Hits of white are seen on the tongue, laces and Zig sole. These officially drop in early December, but you can reserve your pair today.
Pre-Order: Reebok Zig Slash – Grey/White