words // Brandon Richard
With the season winding down, John Wall’s Reebok signature shoe arrives in another new colorway. The newest Zig Encore features a marbleized green synthetic upper, flanked by green mesh on the side panels for enhanced breathability. Green also handles the tongue and ZigTech sole, while Sun Yellow fills in the tongue branding, laces, inner lining and outsole to complete the look.
The Reebok Zig Encore is equipped with a unique Zig Tech zigzag sole, designed to optimize energy return. Other tech features include a removable sockliner and non-removable insole to accommodate orthotics; a TPU heel clip for added rearfoot support and stability; and a multi-surface rubber outsole to provide optimal traction.
Grab John Wall’s Reebok basketball shoes over at Eastbay today.
words // Brandon Richard
Despite another rough season for the Washington Wizards, second-year point guard John Wall is wrapping up his sophomore campaign with another line of solid stats. By the numbers, Wall is scoring and rebounding better this season, while also seeing increases in his field goal and free throw percentages. As John continues to grow as a player, so does his Reebok Zig signature sneaker line, which has arrived at Eastbay in another brand new colorway.
Taking cues from the Wizards’ new color scheme, this Zig Encore sports a navy blue leather upper, with perforations on the toebox for increased breathability. Navy also works mesh on the tongue and the laces, while white fills in the Vector logo on the side panel and the ZigTech midsole. Completing the look are hits of red along the interior and on the multi-surface rubber outsole.
Stop by Eastbay to pick up John Wall’s newest Reebok basketball shoes today.
words // Brandon Richard
Though he wasn’t selected to play in the big game, Washington Wizards point guard John Wall had a busy NBA All-Star Weekend, participating in the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday Night and Saturday’s Skills Challenge. Hooping for Team Chuck in the Rising Stars game, Wall flirted with a triple-double, recording 17 points, 6 rebounds and 8 assists on the night. One of the game’s big stories was the slam dunk display John put on during the fourth quarter, prompting a ‘John Wall for the 2013 Dunk Contest’ fan campaign on Twitter and other social media campaigns. Will we see the high-flyer in All-Star Saturday Night’s main event next year?
For this year’s festivities, Wall laced up this special All-Star colorway of his signature Reebok basketball shoes, the Zig Encore.The shoe features a metallic Tin Grey and black upper, accented by a unique Bright Blue and white All-Star print on the lateral and medial side panels. A multi-color speckle print appears on the midsole, which sits atop a translucent blue Zig outsole to finish off the look.
Stop by Eastbay to pick up John Wall’s All-Star basketball shoes today.
Game photo via Yahoo
words & images // Zac Dubasik
On paper, there is not really anything that stands out about the Zig Encore. If you look at each individual aspect of the shoe (which we will), nothing is really outstanding. And that makes this a hard shoe to grade, because I somehow ended up really enjoying playing in it. Make no mistake – the Encore is a decade behind a lot of the season’s best performers – some of which are much cheaper. But everything that the Encore does right came together pretty well, and made for a satisfying playing experience.
My biggest gripe with last year’s Zig Slash was its awful traction. It did have a herringbone pattern, but unfortunately, most of it was grooved into the tooling foam. Much more rubber was used on the Encore though, which resulted in solid traction. Unfortunately, the rubber compound used is a little on the firm side, and doesn’t grip as well as I’d like. But overall, and especially compared to last year’s, it’s dependable when clean.
The Zig Slash featured a sky-high cut that wasn’t very comfortable, but was supportive. The Encore has a much more modern cut, and offers far greater range of motion. Combined with the improved traction, it is a much faster and more mobile shoe. The collar lockdown isn’t perfect – I would have liked to have seen more molded padding to keep the heel in place better. Thankfully though, a solid internal heel counter kept things in place when I was laced tightly.
As for the rest of the upper, the patent leather-based colorway I played in was stable, yet flexed well. And despite how busy it is, I had no rubbing or hotspots where the many layers come together. It also held my foot securely over the footbed. The shape of the upper, on the other hand, is puzzling to put it frankly, and one of my bigger issues with the Encore. The shoe fits great through the midfoot, but the toe has far too much room at the tip. This is an extreme comparison, and an exaggeration, but it helps illustrate my point. Imagine a pair of men’s dress shoes with a pointed toe. The shoe fits close through the midfoot, but then has empty space in the toe to accommodate the pointy shape. While this may create a pleasing aesthetic in certain situations (I guess), I am lost as to why a similar last shape would be used on a performance shoe.
The Encore isn’t nearly as bad as that example, but any amount of excess toe room in a performance hoops shoe is just unnecessary. I don’t feel that it’s a matter of sizing up or down either, because if your foot is narrow enough to fill the midfoot, the shoe will be far too wide and roomy across the ball of the foot. The last shape wasn’t a deal breaker when it comes to playability, but it did make for a sloppier fit than what would be ideal. That excess toe length doesn’t work in its favor.
Moving on to the tooling, the revamped ZigNano midsole is much more basketball friendly than the original. This sleekened out version is lower to the ground, resulting in better court feel, and it also has better flex. What’s interesting is that this new version has more foam through the forefoot than the original. The platform’s exaggerated wavy midsole is filled in for more stability and a consistent ride up front. While the shoe’s Zig technology itself was of course adapted over from Reebok’s Running division after the instant success it experienced, the Reebok Basketball team did a nice job improving on the sport-specific needs of a Zig concept this time around.
Cushioning wise, I found the heel to be much softer than the dead-feeling Zig Slash. It’s not particularly responsive by industry standards, but very good when it comes to impact protection. The forefoot on the other hand, is firm. This is often the tradeoff when you get lower to the ground, and upgrade court feel. If court feel ranks highly among your preferences, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. I found myself wanting a little more protection up front though after long runs.
The single biggest issue I have with the Zig Encore though is its price. At $115, it just doesn’t offer the quality, innovation and playability that we’ve come to expect at that price range in today’s market. It didn’t seem to cause any durability issues, but the construction is downright shoddy. There are crooked stitch lines and excess threads throughout the upper. The bonded seams and smooth lines of its competitors make the Zig Encore feel dated in comparison. And it just doesn’t offer enough from a performance standpoint to make up for it, and justify the price.
That doesn’t mean it’s a bad shoe – just not a good value. It’s hard to recommend at $115 over the competition, but I did enjoy playing in it from a sum-of-its-parts perspective. If you are a Reebok or John Wall fan, the Zig Encore is a perfectly capable on-court performer. If you’re after exact fit, great cushioning or modern construction, you may want to look elsewhere.
best for: casual players who like the aesthetic of Zig-based shoes
colorway tested: White/Black/Red
key tech: ZigNano midsole
pros: transition, heel cushioning
cons: last shape, build quality, price
improvements: refined last shape, more attention to detain in construction of a $115 shoe
buying advice: The Zig Encore is a major step forward compared to last season’s Zig Slash. Nothing about the shoe stands out as amazing, but I thoroughly enjoyed playing in it. At $115 though, it there are better playing options from almost every competing brand. But if you like the aesthetic of the Zig tooling, and are looking for an alternative to the bigger names, the Encore does play well.
Available Now: Reebok Zig Encore
words // Brandon Richard
After taking a few lumps in his rookie campaign, Washington Wizards point guard John Wall is set to return to the court this season to remind hoops fans why he was the number 1 overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. While doing so, he’ll also be taking the floor in his first official signature Reebok basketball shoes, the Zig Encore. Featuring a synthetic leather and mesh build the Zig Encore is characterized by a unique ZigTech zig zag sole that is designed to optimize energy return. For the most passionate Wall fans, a new limited edition colorway of the Zig Encore is available now at Eastbay.
Paying tribute to Wall’s time at the University of Kentucky, this Reebok Zig Encore sports a white and royal blue look. His old jersey number “11” is printed on the medial side of the shoe, right below his signature along the collar. A blue ZigTech sole and white rubber outsole completes the look below.