ARTICLE BY Boon Mark Souphanh

5 Sneakers You Have to Ball in This Year

Nike Kd12 Assets 005 Rectangle 1600 Promo Shot

After a sluggish build-up over the past few years, the performance basketball market is back on the fast break in 2019.

Team Swoosh continue to blaze a trail, the Big Cat have roared back into relevancy, and New Balance have entered the market riding high on the clout of Kawhi. On top of that, social media and immersive coverage has opened up the sport to a new generation of fans – and rekindled the competitive spirit of the old guard.

Brands have gone hard in the paint to find the perfect balance between performance and panache, and they’ve come up with some big plays so far (for the most part).

It’s been a hot minute since ballers have had this many quality options to choose from, so here’s the gamers you need to lace up before the year’s out.

Westbrook Why Not Zero 2 On Foot
Jordan Why Not Zer0 2 Release Date 0 Side

Jordan Why Not Zer0.2

For his latest signature sneaker, Russell Westbrook matched his nuclear athleticism with nuclear performance and aesthetics. Simply put, it’s one of the most ambitious signature sneaker designs the Jumpman has ever done. That said, we’d expect no less from Russ.,

The sole unit is packed with a two-piece Zoom sole and a quirky exposed mid-foot plate, while the upper adopts a deconstructed look with exposed stitching, lofted mid-foot strap, double-layered heel, and exterior TPU at the heel.

We can’t guarantee you’ll become a triple-double machine, but at least your steez below the knees will be on point.


Puma Clyde Court Disupt On Foot Deandre Anton
Puma Clyde Court South Beach Side

PUMA Clyde Court

While most modern performance silhouettes look to the future, PUMA’s first performance basketball sneaker in over 20 years tips its hat to the past. The Clyde Court is a contemporary reinterpretation of an OG silhouette – NBA legend Walter ‘Clyde’ Frazier’s beloved signature sneaker.

That’s not to say it can’t hold its own on the NBA hardwood, either. It’s blessed with a sock-like upper and comes powered with two of PUMA’s best technologies – IGNITE foam and NRGY beads – for next-level cushioning and stability.

Decorated with the iconic Formstripe on its side, the Clyde Court is quickly becoming a modern classic.


Air Jordan 4 Bred Michael Jordan Celebration
via Five-Star Basketball
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via Five-Star Basketball

Air Jordan 4 ‘Bred’

If you’ve ever balled in a pair of Air Jordan 4s, you’ll know they aren’t exactly the nimblest sneaker going around. That said, a special colourway deserves a special place in your on-court rotation.

On MJ’s feet when he hit ‘The Shot’ in the 1989 NBA Playoffs against the Cavs, the iconic sneaker has been part of basketball folklore ever since. And we’re sure you’ve heard – the Jumpman are set to bring back the ‘Bred’ baller with its familiar ‘Nike Air’ heel logo in celebration of the AJ4’s 30th anniversary.

If you’re one of the lucky ones to cop on May 4, don’t be afraid to flex ‘em on court. After all, that’s what they were made for.


Kawhi Leonard New Balance Omni 1 On Foot
New Balance Kawhi Leonard Omn1 S Side 1

New Balance OMN1S PE

Kawhi Leonard’s move from Jordan Brand to New Balance has been one of the sneaker stories of year so far but, much like ‘The Klaw’ himself, news surrounding his debut NB sneaker — the OMN1S — has been shrouded in mystery. Officially unveiled back in February, the sneaker is yet to receive a release date.

However, with Leonard’s input, you just know the OMN1S is going to be a well-designed on-court workhorse. Powered with nitrogen-fuelled performance technology – FuelCell – the sneaker will no doubt pack plenty of spring.

Expect a release before the year’s out.

,Kevin Durant Nike Kd 12 On Foot
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Nike KD 12

Twelve signature sneakers in, Kevin Durant and Nike continue to come through with a fresh approach to design. For the KD 12, they’ve reimagined construction norms by tweaking the ‘strobel’ – the thin woven textile between the sockliner and midsole that traditionally provides structure and support for the shape of the upper – into a dynamic performance driver.

By replacing the traditional strobel with a full-length articulated Zoom bag that’s stitched directly to the upper, a new whole level of responsiveness is achieved.

It’s one of the most progressive performance basketball designs we’ve seen in a while. If that’s not enough reason to lace ‘em up, we don’t know what is.


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