The Nike Zoom Crusader are the lowest cut sneakers I have ever played in. It isn’t a surprise at all that some are afraid to try low-cut sneakers because they believe it lacks “support”. That being said, let’s take a look at how this ends up playing on court and figure out how functional it really is and whether or not, it has enough structure to support the foot. [new_royalslider id=”254″]
There are two types of rubber used on the outsole on the Crusaders that happen to work really well both indoor and outdoors. The inner section of the shoe is tad bit more forgiving than the outer area allowing the shoe to grip to the floor. Surprisingly, the pattern held itself pretty well indoors as I squeaked my way around to the hoop. I had no issues with lateral movements although with dusty courts, I was a little hesitant. Cutting to the basket, abrupt stops, and all the quick moves I was covered. I just had to make sure I wiped the soles at dead balls to keep me from slipping. But once you do, you should be alright. The combination of two rubber outsoles allow you to hoop in them outdoors even if they aren’t the XDR version. For those who want a shoe for both indoor and outdoor, look no further. They rubber isn’t soft so it can handle some wear-and-tear on the pavement.
Nike got it right once again with an awesome midsole and Zoom bag choices. In the forefoot, you have a rectangle sized Zoom bag similar to the KD VI and a standard heel Zoom unit. At this price point, $110.00 is a deal for having heel and forefoot Zoom. Usually Nike uses Phylon foam and Zoom in the forefoot. Density is the keyword here as the midsole isn’t firm. It’s nice and soft so you feel the Zoom right beneath your foot. No, it’s not Unlocked Zoom, but it delivers a nice fluid experience offering responsiveness and low to the ground feel. No mushiness at all. To be honest, it reminds me of the Kobe 5 cushioning set up which is a huge plus. I even used the shoes for casual wear as it was that comfortable. Didn’t expect that at all when I first tried on the shoe since it was a little stiff. Once broken in, the foam midsole and Zoom units become more apparent so give it a couple wearings and you’ll be good.
Cushion is graded on responsiveness, impact protection, and court-feel.
Running around the Crusader is effortless. From heel strike to toe-off, the shoe feels fluid and smooth. Because of a soft midsole and responsive Zoom cushioning, you glide through the court with no clunky feeling whatsoever. You remain low to the ground with great on-court feel.
Heel-to-Toe transition is how smooth a shoe feels as you strike on your heels to pushing off from your toes.
Fit is true to size lengthwise, but runs very narrow. If you have a wide foot, I highly recommend trying these on in-store prior to purchasing. I wouldn’t even suggest going a half size up so make sure you strap this up before buying. There is a neoprene sock-like sleeve that may be a problem for some. For me, I had no problem as I went true to size. Lockdown is great in the forefoot as it uses first-generation Nike Flywire keep your toes in place. Containment in the midfoot is superb with no complaints. The heel however is a concern since the neoprene sleeve doesn’t do a great job holding the heel in place during play. Once you break in the sleeve (after 5 wearings), it starts loosening up, leaving no stability in the rear-end despite the fact that there is a internal heel counter. The last thing you want to do is have second thoughts on court especially if you’re playing at a high level. This becomes a problem when you play in a shoe that has a low-cut collar with no backing for structure. There is a synthentic fuse outer shell, but even that doesn’t touch the ankle at all. My advice, keep the shoes tied up using all eyelets to minimize heel slippage. Bottom line, if you’re a guard who plays quick, fast, and need a lightweight and responsive sneaker, check out the Crusaders. For those who play big and need a lot of support, lockdown sufficient enough, but you got to try them on first hand. I can’t really speak for bigger players since I am far from a big, so don’t count these out just yet.
Support ties directly with the issue above, heel lockdown. Like I said, the neoprene sleeve has a lot of give, leaving the rear end of the sneaker with minimal stability. The heel lockdown and fit of the shoe is actually very good the first few wearings, but once broken in, it isn’t as apparent. To add on, there isn’t a midfoot shank for torsional support. The shoe doesn’t flex much to begin with around the midfoot so it shouldn’t be an issue. Other than the heel lockdown issue, the Crusaders support the shoe and does a great job keep the foot on the footbed. The materials keep the shoe intact and doesn’t hinder performance. For bigger size players, this would be an issue as lockdown isn’t as great and cushioning won’t provide impact protection.
For those who want a shoe for indoors and outdoors, this a great shoe to have. It provides great traction, has great cushioning, and has an upper that will last longer than a season. The upper is pretty standard nowadays as it uses Fuse and mesh with an inner neoprene sleeve. The quality of the rubber is thick and rough so wearing it out shouldn’t be an issue. Breaking in doesn’t hurt and once you do, the shoe is comfortable. Materials flex great, no stiffness at all.
You have side panels that allow air to shoot through and also a ventilated tongue. Had no issues with sweat orfoot slippage. No complaints in this department.
Ventilation is not part of the overall score as it does not hinder the performance of the sneaker. However if the foot is excessively drenched upon play, it will effect the score and be mentioned in the review.
The Nike Zoom Crusader was a surprise to me. It may look like a standard sneaker, but in fact, I had a great time playing in it. It was light, responsive, and fun to play in. It reminded me of the Nike Zoom Kobe 5 as it had a low-cut feel, responsive cushioning, solid traction, and well, it was my type of shoe for my style. However, it isn’t the Kobe 5 as the lockdown isn’t quite there. My main issue for the Crusader is stability. I believe if you’re a bigger person in height and weight, the more you need stability. If you’re smaller like me, stability is still a huge factor, but we don’t need it as much as bigger and stronger players. The Crusaders come at a great price, they look great, and they play pretty damn good. Obviously, support is it’s biggest setback, but if you can possibly reinforce your ankles with some braces, you should be alright. [new_royalslider id=”254″]
For $110.00, I would shell it out and give it a try. You’re getting a full on Nike Zoom cushioned sneaker in a lightweight and durable package. Definitely recommend it.