I’ve got something special for you today. Presenting you my comprehensive Nike Adapt BB 2.0 review! Next-gen basketball tech is here in its full glory. Or is it?
Before getting into the performance review on the basketball court, I want to show you what you get upon ordering the shoe.
WHAT’S IN THE BOX?
You get a nice box with a pair of self-lacing sneakers, a pair of dope looking colorful insoles, and a USB cable.
That’s right, a damn USB cable. That’s to power the shoe’s automatic lacing motor which is Nikey’s now second attempt to revolutionize basketball technology.
There are two little culprits though. First, this bad boy comes at $350-$400 (depending on the colorway). Second, it’s literally only the second ever Adapt basketball shoe that uses the self-lacing system.
Say what you want about Nike, there’s no denying that it takes a lot of time, and trial & error for a company to nail such a product that attempts to do so much for the future of sports tech.
THE REVIEW BREAKDOWN
With those things in mind, I had the chance to pick up the shoe and after about 3-4 months of playing (mostly indoors), I think I’ve finally nailed down my final opinion on how I feel about this “new era” of shoe tech and the shoe’s general practicality for a basketball player.
Or someone who’s simply looking for a new pair of hoop sneakers.
I’ve had these for a bit now but due to quarantine, I’m not able to find a way to play in a gym consistently, which is why the review comes now rather than sooner. Here’s what I’ll be breaking down:
- The shoe’s fit & comfort aspects
- My take on the Adapt technology & implementation on the Adapt BB 2.0
- The shoe’s performance on the court
- Build quality & value for the price
- Versatility & who it’s best for
Model: Nike Adapt BB 2.0 “Tie-Dye”
Weight: 20.1 oz / 570 g. (size 10 US)
Retail Price: $350
Cushion: Forefoot Zoom Air Turbo & Cushlon midsole
I. COMFORT & FIT
ADAPT SYSTEM: WORKS BUT NOT WITHOUT ITS FLAWS
Let’s first quickly break down how the automatic lacing system works. You get the shoe, download the Nike Adapt app on your phone, put on the shoe, and use the two buttons (+ and -) on the side of the midsole to adjust the lacing system.
Once you set up a desired fit profile with the app, the next time you put the shoe on, it’ll automatically apply the chosen fit.
You can then further adjust the tightness with the buttons but there are only a handful of preset choices that automatically apply when you put on the shoe.
It will not perfectly fit all foot shapes, so you’ll have to adjust the fit pretty much each time you put the shoe on if those presets don’t fit you perfectly. Chances are – they won’t.
I think this partly defeats the purpose of a self-lacing shoe. Why should we need to further tinker with the shoe every time if it’s supposed to do that for us?
Sure, the presets might work for some but for certain guys, this will feel like just another shoe that you need to lace up before getting into the action.
This could surely be fixed with a software update by adding more presets or allowing us to save a custom fit as a profile and then use it automatically. I mean that’s the definition of a self-lacing shoe right?
I don’t hate the idea – I dig innovations and ways to further advance sports tech to make it more convenient for the player but at the moment, I think this idea needs some work to feel worth it for $350.
SIZING ADVICE: VERY SNUG
Due to the shoe’s stiff nature and narrow construction, the Adapt BB 2.0 fits snug, tight, and condensed. Not KD 14-like narrow but still pretty compact.
Regular/narrow footers can go true to size if they prefer this type of fit.
Wide footers like me, go up half a size (which is what I did) – after a few days of playing, these fit pretty well. Definitely not a top 10-level fit – they’re still a little too condensed for me personally.
Perhaps going up a full size would’ve been a better idea but since the length is perfect for me now, that could’ve been jeopardized with a full size up.
For those who got wide feet and are looking for a roomier, looser fit, you can go up a full size.
The general rule of thumb for all people – give these time to break in and don’t be fooled by the first few games/hours with these. They’ve got a few rigid pieces that need breaking in and giving ’em time to soften up makes a huge difference here.
COMFORT: YOU CAN’T MAKE A MOTOR FEEL PILLOWY SOFT
I didn’t have huge expectations when it comes to how comfortable the shoe will be. It’s got a lot of tech to pack inside, they’re narrow and compact, and stiff materials are mostly used.
If that’s not enough, there’s a damn motor inside and the shoe weighs OVER 20 OUNCES. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that number for a hoop shoe lol.
I gotta say these were slightly more comfortable than what I’ve originally anticipated.
Before getting into the inevitable stuff, there a few good things worth mentioning.
They feel extremely secure and safe to play in. Tank-like containment for explosive movements, a quality ankle collar that doesn’t restrict too much yet still cups your ankle to secure it, lockdown is great and the midfoot area actually feels nice after broken in.
Now for the inevitable.
The forefoot area is very stiff, barely flexes and that doesn’t help increase comfort levels at all. I’d prefer to have at least some degree of forefoot flex for more precise movements and more natural step transitions. Not a dealbreaker but something I wasn’t a fan of.
I know a lot of people, including myself, don’t put much attention to the weight of the shoe. Say what you want but you simply cannot ignore that the shoe feels every bit of the 20 ounces. Yes, it’s heavy.
Lighter players will feel the weight more than heavier frontcourt players or generally more athletic/explosive players. I like to play explosively and I can’t help but get distracted by how heavy and sometimes stiff these feel.
There’s probably not a lot Nikey could do about the motor weight but the shoe itself – no excuses there. I truly hope they find a way to shave the weight off since it’s reached a point where I believe everyone would feel more heavy-footed than they should.
A herringbone-like traction pattern is used along with a translucent rubber outsole. Once again, it’s 2020 people – translucent doesn’t mean throw-away traction.
The shoe gripped the floor well and on a consistent basis, which is the most important part. It’s got that nice multi-directional pattern that covers pretty much any angle of movement you can think of and stopping power is acceptable enough to make me forget about the traction. A good start.
But nothing’s ever only good now is it. This translucent rubber is really sticky – that’s great for gripping the floor and sticking to it but not so good for dirtier courts.
Dust and other debris clog up the grooves of the pattern extremely quickly. Regular wiping is most definitely required here if you play on a medium/poor condition floor as dust noticeably affects the traction on the shoe.
As long as you have access to an excellent condition court – you’re good.
OUTDOOR DURABILITY: SKIP!
You wouldn’t have thought Nikey will put an outdoor-ready outsole on their $350 flagship shoe with next-gen tech, have you? Neither have I.
The grooves of the pattern are laughably thin, the rubber is relatively pliable too, so good luck taking out a pair of $350’s outside on a consistent basis.
The pattern will likely burn off sooner than you think, so it’s best to stick with indoor gyms with the Adapt BB 2.0. Not that it was intended for anything else.
A Zoom Air Turbo unit (debuted on the Kyrie 8) along with a Cushlon midsole is the shoe’s cushion setup and even though it’s nothing truly special, it absolutely gets the job done – hassle-free. Something that can’t be said about several other parts of the shoe.
I think it would’ve been suicidal for Nike to implement a specific player-orientated cushion setup on a $350-$400 model. So what we get is a nice, versatile ride that most guys would enjoy or at least feel efficient while playing.
There’s plenty of impact protection thanks to the soft midsole and the Zoom Air Turbo unit in the forefoot gives an ample amount of energy return.
One of those setups where it might not feel super bouncy of fun to hop around but it works very efficiently performance-wise. The forefoot reminds me of the Zoom Rize. And that’s a very good thing.
A small drawback would be the lack of any real court feel if you’re one of those light, shifty guards who prefer maximum response and zero loss in speed.
Not to say the cushion here is unresponsive, it’s just that the Cushlon midsole + Zoom Air Turbo makes you sit pretty high off the ground. Not a lot that can be done about it.
Overall though, a great setup. Gets the job done – nothing else required in my book.
Since the shoe fits like a mini tank, you already know it’ll be supportive at that moment. To add to that, there’s a beefy heel counter to lock your heel & ankle down, there are these TPU side panels that look like wings which greatly enhance lateral protection and containment.
The genuine leather ankle collar won’t be loosy goosy on you either. Lastly, torsional rigidity & support is solid as well. For a flat footer, this is a solid option since you’ll get that torsional coverage needed to feel comfortable.
Overall, I’ve got no complaints on the support here – the shoe is stable, foot containment is great and you won’t roll your ankle in a 20-ounce tank anyway.
This kind of coverage comes at a cost as I’ve stated earlier – bulkiness, forefoot stiffness, and the general feel of wearing a pair of 20-ounce shoes doesn’t help you feel quick & mobile.
V. BUILD & MATERIALS
The shoe’s upper is mostly made of synthetic TPU yarn. If you’re not familiar with the concept – think of a knit material backed with a lot of glue to make it more structured.
The ankle collar area along with a piece of midfoot & tongue pull tab is all genuine leather which I think is very cool. Full-on leather would’ve likely been overkill to an already heavy shoe.
Lastly, the plastic wing looking panels on the sides are, you guessed it, plastic. Same thing for the exaggerated external heel counter that barely adds anything performance-wise.
So, is that a $350-level material setup? I don’t think so.
Sure, I know some compromises had to be made to pack the motor inside and the intent to make the shoe very durable because of it comes at a cost of extra weight & stiff materials.
But I can’t help but think the TPU yarn setup could’ve been one-upped to something like nylon backed knit or high-quality mesh. I won’t say this doesn’t feel $350 since you don’t normally see $350 basketball shoes.
What I am going to say is the materials just don’t feel premium enough to validate the price tag. I know a large portion of that price comes from the Adapt system but if you’re spending that much on a shoe, some touches could’ve been made to really push the boundaries of what we call a “premium” shoe.
Sure, it plays nicely, it’s relatively comfortable but several $100+ uppers feel nicer than this one. Take the $100 CP3.12 for example – those things have pure Flyknit that feels buttery smooth and it’s almost a quarter of the Adapt BB 2.0’s price.
The shoe is built well and it looks like it’ll last a while as long as you keep it indoors.
The materials aren’t a dealbreaker either – they play nicely and don’t feel terrible. But something more than that could’ve been done. I usually don’t say that but for this type of price, I’ll make an exception.
The Nike Adapt BB 2.0 is a step in a somewhat right direction. I think the concept needs a lot of work to experience what’s being claimed by Nikey. And that price tag isn’t nice at all. I wouldn’t call you crazy if you’d say this is a collector’s shoe more than an actual performance hoop shoe.
Not taking anything away from it though – the sneaker has its strong points. Traction is solid, it’s got a great cushion setup, it’s extremely supportive and the upper plays nicely.
The self-lacing concept is cool and it does work but you’ll need to do some tinkering to nail that fit down for your foot shape.
If you can get past the bulkiness that comes from the weight of the shoe and a lack of forefoot flex (especially during the break-in process) – I think it’s worth a shot. If you can afford it that is.