Technically, he doesn’t run the one, but he’s running towards that MVP trophy… When the Nike Zoom Run The One dropped, James Harden had just begun the 2014-15 NBA season. Since then, he has blasted his way into MVP contention and of course, the NBA Playoffs. The Zoom Run The One has been his choice of sneakers for most of the season, but he has changed into the new Nike Hyperchase as of late. Regardless of the fact, the ZRTO plays surprisingly well for the package it offers. It plays a lot like it’s predecessor, the Nike Crusader sharing the same traction and low-cut design. I’m sure Nike will give Harden a future signature shoe so let’s see if these hold up to the Kicksologists performance standards.
As always, we start off by testing the traction. The outsole is made up of two types of rubber compounds. The inner area is a lot more soft and less dense than the outer part of the outsole. With that, we’re not sure if it has to do with outdoor and indoor hoops, but the grip is great. It needs a minor break-in time as the rubber is stiff and doesn’t grip the floor initially; the more you play in them, the better they get. For you squeaky enthusiasts, the shoe does squeak. I’m not talking about the sound the shoe makes when you walk, the shoe whistles as you stop on dimes and cut to the basket. I had no issues moving laterally or back pedaling. Nike did a great job making sure that Harden wasn’t slipping around on court. With Harden’s move set, they definitely got this right.
The ZRTO can be played outdoors (pictured above) however the rubber isn’t solid enough to withstand hours of concrete play. Treading isn’t soft, but it isn’t hard either. I’ve played about 10 hours in mine and you can see the wear on the medial area of the outsoles. It isn’t too bad, but thought I would mention that.
Just about everyone on court wipes their soles during dead balls and with this shoe, it’s no different. With the ZRTO outsole, it doesn’t attract dust like some other outsoles do. I didn’t have to wipe constantly which was great. The traction pattern isn’t as close so dust doesn’t collect during play.
Unlike the Crusader that had zoom in both the forefoot and heel, the Zoom Run The One only contains it in the forefoot The heel has some sort of foam brick. Pretty odd, but it is what it is. During play, the cushion isn’t as responsive as I would want it to be probably due to the density of the midsole. The midsole is pretty dense, but softens up slightly as you play on. The Zoom Air in the forefoot could hardly be felt even after they break in but for a hundred bucks, they manage.
Court feel is great. The shoe sits pretty low profile. I never felt too high off the ground or off balanced. Is the shoe responsive? Eh, somewhat. To be honest I didn’t feel a whole lot of bounce, but I still felt pretty great. My knees didn’t hurt after my games so that’s a plus. Playing outdoors is a different story. Lastly, I wouldn’t say the shoe was plush at all, but it wasn’t firm either. It’s a great balance between both and kept me stable for the most part. Mushy isn’t a term that you would want to describe your basketball shoe.
Overall the cushion was great. You would expect the heel to be the deal breaker here, but in this case it isn’t. Still, I want more than a piece of foam in the heel, but my body wasn’t dying at the end of the day. Cushion isn’t as great as the Crusader, but these aren’t bad either. Great package for the price.
*Cushion is graded on responsiveness, impact protection, and court-feel.
James Harden is one smooth dude on court. He can get to the rim at will. His shoes are just like his dribble, step back, pull up… silky smooth. Probably one of the best areas of the shoe is its transition. From the heel strike, to toe push offs, it feels like the shoe is meant for jabs and quick attacks at the rim. I give credit to the two piece construction on the upper. The fuse toe piece bends really well allowing great mobility and flexibility for the foot as you cut, jab, or run. Flexibility is huge for the 1-3 guard position especially when you are trying to create your own shot.
Not only does the shoe provide really good flexibility, but having a great heel strike and toe off comes really natural for this sneaker. It’s hard to forget the lack of heel cushioning, but when the shoe feels this great when your on fast break, you kind of don’t care much for it anymore. The ZRTO offers a quick slash esque feel to them that delivers every time. The low-cut collar offers great range of motion and doesn’t restrict your movements at all. I know i’m making this shoe sound God-like but truly is a fun sneaker to play in in that respect.
*Transition is how smooth a shoe feels as you strike on your heels to pushing off from your toes.
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Shoe fits true to size for me. They do run narrow so those who have wide feet may want to at least try these on or move onto the next one. They aren’t wide at all. Fortunately, my feet are on the narrow side so the fit on these were awesome.
As far as lockdown in the heel department, it wasn’t perfect. My first couple runs were very scary. Not because the shoe isn’t stable, but because of personal feelings for how low the shoes cut were. Probably the lowest sneakers I own and I love playing in lows. These however took it to another level. But, thankfully the shoe is very rigid in the heel area as it offers a very good internal heel counter. The sides of the sneaker are fuse and synthetic so that gave the heel area some additional structure and support.
Lockdown in the forefoot was on point. No extra space, but not a crowd either. The midfoot was top notch as the lacing system did a splendid job containing that area. One con I can point out is that they should have added one more lace hoop in the shoe allowing a secure fit for the ankle. I had to tie it real snug around the tongue of the sneaker (there is no tongue but close enough) to get secured. Not a huge problem, but it could be fixed.
When I thought this score would be mediocre given the fact that the shoe is a true low top, the ZRTO scores pretty damn well.
Support/Stability: – 8/10
Just like lockdown, I didn’t think this should would be great at all. From the start, I was already worried about rolling my ankle. Looking at the silhouette and on the shelves of stores, the shoe looked way too low for my liking. But I was curious on how it would be and thankfully, I was wrong. Nike used a combination of old school tech with the first-gen Nike Flywire and Fuse along the upper. Along with a stable base in the forefoot, the ZRTO is surprisingly a supportive shoe. I’m not going to lie, throughout some games I felt like I was going to twist an ankle, but it was all in my head. I was at ease once I found out how the shoe really played. Definitely changed my perspective.
Nothing too insane, but you have fuse around the upper and synthetic plastic overlays. No expensive Flyknit or Flightweb or Woven uppers, yet this old fashion Nike material will get the job done. The toes are a little beat up from toe drags and the outsole tread is worn out to some degree, but they still function. The laces are looking terrible though, but I don’t care much for it. The shoe also doesn’t weigh you down as it plays light and isn’t bulky at all.
I like to experiment with my testing methods. I usually stick my foot out the car while I drive and see how breathable shoes really are, but that wouldn’t be so credible for an on court review like this. For the most part the ZRTO have side panels that allow air-flow through the sneaker during play that result in a substantial amount of air. This alone serves great ventilation. The end.
*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 Zoom Run The One looks to be a pass from the start, but ends up being a great basketball sneaker for those who enjoy mobility, speed, and slashing to the basket. Not only does it offer great transition, traction, and just enough cushion to get by, but it allowed me to look past my fear of the low-cut ankle collar that this shoe has. A few minor issues that I would fix is adding a extra lace hole to secure the fit and also add heel zoom rather than just a piece of foam.
Overall, you are getting a great shoe for the price of $99.99 retail. You get a low-key signature model from a premiere athlete, James Harden. But is the Zoom Run The One an MVP in our books? Not really. Although there are a lot of high end models right now in the market, it has potential to be in a starting rotation for the court for any hooper.
If you can get past the low-cut collar with no fear (as you should) then you should look into these. If you are a guard who are light on their feet and want something that gets the job done for the budget price, I say pull the trigger. You can find these for the low ($79) right now so don’t hesitate and Just Do It!