The Nike Cosmic Unity 2 was a letdown, and it’s just not safe to recommend this shoe to any basketball player.
Colorway: Coconut Milk/Atmosphere/Mint Foam/Black
Release Date: 2022
The Nike Cosmic Unity was a famous basketball shoe when it was released. It provided a low-to-the-ground ride while still having the springy feeling of Zoom Air courtesy of the Strobel unit. The Nike Cosmic Unity 2 looks to build on that repertoire by keeping the same cushion setup but with a different upper and aesthetic design. Does this year’s follow-up match the standard set by the original? In a word? No.
Traction is the Nike Cosmic Unity 2’s best feature. The pattern is multidirectional, keeping you covered on every movement. If you’re into a squeaky traction pattern, you’ll find it here.
Better yet, the rubber compound used is effective and durable indoors and outdoors. It’s as good of a traction setup as you’ll find on the market today.
The Nike Cosmic Unity 2’s cushion is its other standout feature. Just like the original model, these feature a full-length Zoom strobel unit, which provides a ton of responsive cushion while retaining a ton of court feel.
The foam compound used here is softer and less bulky than what was used on the first Freak 4 but it’s not plush like a React or Cushlon setup. The star of the show is the Zoom, and the foam is a great supporting act. The shoe is also crazy flexible in the forefoot, so the spring-like effect of the Zoom is felt even more than it would be otherwise.
It’s a real shame I didn’t like the rest of the shoe because this is about as good of a combination of traction and cushion as it gets.
This is where things start to go downhill.
The Nike Cosmic Unity 2 features a thin textile upper with some fuse overlays in the lateral and medial forefoot areas. In the back of the shoe, the collar uses a felt-like material, with a lot of foam rising from the midsole to help with containment.
My main issue was with the textile base – it doesn’t provide any kind of structure or support. This wouldn’t have been as big of an issue if I had been able to get a better fit (spoiler alert: it didn’t happen) or if the midsole would have cradled my foot in the forefoot a little bit more like the original Cosmic Unity did.
The bottom line is the materials are cheap and not very strong. The fact that this shoe costs $160 makes the material choices even more egregious.
I went true to size, and length-wise, it was just right. As for the width? Yikes.
The shoe is outrageously narrow in the midfoot area. The sections of midsole foam that wrap up onto the upper make things pretty cramped, but the dealbreaker, for me at least, is the shank plate, which I could feel pinching the sides of my feet with every step. If I loosened up the laces to relieve that pain, the fit in the heel was compromised. I’d say the forefoot fit would also be compromised, but I never got a secure fit in the forefoot to begin with. On lateral movements, my foot regularly shifted within the forefoot area of the shoe.
My foot is pretty narrow, so the fact that this shoe was still too narrow for me in the midfoot is cause for concern. It’s important to remember this is just my experience. If you’re able to try the shoe on and can secure a good fit, then I’m not only very happy for you but also more than slightly jealous.
The inconsistent fit I experienced meant I was never confident in my movements on the court, and it also made for, uh, less-than-stellar support.
Fit is the most important aspect of a shoe’s support, so the Nike Cosmic Unity 2 is already off to a bad start. When your foot isn’t locked into a shoe, the injury bug is much more likely to bite.
While the Cosmic Unity 2 has all the standard features that would aid a supportive shoe – a midfoot shank, heel counter, a midsole that wraps up onto the upper, and a wide-ish base, it’s still not enough to make up for the lackluster fit and materials.
I badly rolled my ankle on a routine play while wearing the Cosmic Unity 2, and while I won’t blame the shoe for the injury, I’m fairly confident I wouldn’t have suffered the injury in most other shoes – especially the original Cosmic Unity.
The Cosmic Unity 2 is simply too flexible, too unstable, and has too sloppy of a fit for me to consider them anything close to “supportive.” Wear at your own risk.
I had high hopes for the Nike Cosmic Unity 2, and while the standout features, traction, and cushion, lived up to my expectations and more, there were too many issues stemming from the fit and materials for me ever to want to take this shoe on-court again.
If you can find a fit that works for you, that could be enough to make up for the shoe’s overall lack of support, and you may end up enjoying these. The ultra-narrow and painful midfoot area make me think you’re better off taking your $160 elsewhere.