2013 has been one hell of a year as far as basketball performance models are concerned.
As consumers, we've had the most well-rounded performers released for nearly 12 months straight, which makes shopping for your next hoop shoe pretty easy. So far we've seen shoes that anatomically map the foot, next generation PureMotion make a huge splash, Flywire becoming Dynamic & the unlocking of Zoom Air. Of everything we've been introduced to this year, there is one thing that sticks out the most and has been prevalent throughout every brand... the trend of foam cushion becoming more and more a staple vs the more gimmicky setups we've seen in the last.
While adidas has been utilizing foam as their primary source of cushion, it's been astounding to see other companies following suit. Nike has transitioned the Hyperdunk, which initially was a Zoom based model, into a foam based model. Their signature line with the Kobe and LeBron have done the same and it looks as if they won't be looking back.
Reebok's latest attempt at re-entering the basketball market removes all original cushion options - Hexalite & DMX - and replaces it with a newly revamped DMX foam. The Pumpspective even has a dual density setup integrated into the midsole which should make for an interesting ride.
Under Armour is no stranger to the realm of foam cushion as their Micro G is arguably the best foam cushion available on the market at this time while other "unknown" brands (to the US at least), such as PEAK, Li-Ning & Anta, all have foam cushion setups of their own.
It's amazing to see how relatively fast the translation has been even though the latest foam cushions are somewhat new. Polyurethane once was the primary source of cushion until Air and Phylon were introduced. adidas' EVA and Nike's Phylon have been the go-to foam options for years and within the last 7 or so years, foams have advanced tremendously... so much so that it's often held in higher regard than Air at this point. Not to mention it's easier on the body than Air setups while also keeping the shoes relatively light just by not having additional features built-in.
The most prominent trend in basketball performance footwear is definitely the great foam race. Who will wind up being the industry leader is up for debate but if adidas can get their Boost foam into the mix... We just might have a winner.