Traction. If you play in the average pick-up game it can be hard to come by. There isn't someone dusting the floor before the game, perhaps it hasn't seen a dust mop in a week or more. Pickup courts are not the pristine, grippy, waxed hardwood of an NBA or college court, or even your local high school varsity team. Finding a shoe that has good traction on less than ideal surfaces can be golden. I recently edited my review of the Adidas Crazy Light 2 after playing on some dustier than usual floors. In short, the grip went from good to terrible and I ended up switching to an older pair of shoes…the Fly Wade EV. I've been much happier since then.

As usual, these are old shoes. I bought them last year at ROSS for $50. Still, there's enough similarity between these shoes and some of the current designs that it's worth comparing the technology, and some of the things to watch out for are universal. These are good shoes, but they have their problems and are far short of perfect…click "read more"for the rest of the review.


The best thing about them is the traction. The open pattern and the very soft rubber really grabs the floor. They are kindof like pencil erasers though, the rubber is soft enough that I've noticed a fair amount of wear on the inside of the toes. That's fine for indoor play, it isn't like they are wearing away too fast, and it's that softness that allows the rubber to bend and contact the floor despite the dust. They are extremely squeaky shoes though, I sometimes feel like I sound like a one-man basketball game when I'm practicing alone in the gym. Every stop is greeted with a loud squeak as the rubber bites the floor. Still, that's fine by me if every stop is also on a dime.

These shoes are also really stable. The outer front of the sole has a really wide wing that gives the ball of your foot a really solid platform. I can cut really sharply and I don't feel any fear of the shoe rolling. They also provide a really stable platform when coming to a jump-stop or a shot off the dribble. It feels much more solid than most of the shoes I've worn and I'm not sure if it's the width of the sole, the traction or perhaps a combination of that with the lockdown fit.

The fit really is the second best thing about these shoes. They lock your foot in really solidly. The upper is pretty lightweight and flexible, but they don't feel as light as they are. When I've got them laced up they feel as supportive as the last pair of foamposites I owned, a pair of 2003 Ultraposites I got free when I returned a pair of Shox VC's (the shoe so ugly and intriguing I had to try them once they hit the bargain bin). Overall the Wade's feel really solid and lace down really well. The mid foot especially is really tightly locked in. I didn't expect this given the sparse internal padding that is really targeted to only a couple places around the ankle bone. Still, the fit is comfortable and perfectly tight.

This fit is compromised by a terrible design decision at the ankle, at least for people with my anatomy. The top lace hole is supported by a hard plastic button which is probably there to keep the lace from tearing the upper. Unfortunately, this button lays directly over a nerve that comes down the top of my right ankle. I initially stopped wearing these shoes because a spot on the top of my foot went numb for a few days after wearing them. After spraining my ankle the brace I wear keeps the plastic button away from my foot,which allowed me to switch back to these shoes…but the story doesn't end there...

As mentioned by other reviewers, this version of the Wade 2's are a mid-year revision and Nike cheaped out on the insoles. After I switched back from the Adidas Crazylite 2's the bottom of my heels started feeling a bit sore, so I decided to switch out the insoles. They were indeed pretty squashed down and a new pair of Spenco's made these shoes both improved the fit and made them incredibly comfortable. Unfortunately…the insoles apparently changed the fit enough that the nerve on my left ankle was now directly under the hard plastic lace button that had plagued my right foot. So…I haven't come up with a good solution for this problem yet and have been leaving the top lace unlaced, probably not the best idea.

Another positive of these shoes is that the upper is bulletproof. They don't show scuffs and don't seem to get scraped up at all. The only wear I've seen is on the big jordan logo, which gets scuffed from other peoples shoes. Also, as usual, I wear a hole in the fabric on the inside of the right ankle, but that is just how I roll apparently.

In conclusion. If you want great traction and happen on a pair of these online or in a store they are worth it. But, they are only worth it if you don't have the same problem with the top lace button that I do. This type of Fuse upper is really strong and flexible, I would recommend any shoe that uses this kind of technology. I also really like this type of wavy, open, traction…but only if the rubber is super soft. I have noticed that the new KD shoes and the Kobe Flyknit have similar open patterns and are now being sold on Nike ID with the option of a soft indoor sole or a harder wearing outdoor sole. I presume this is the reason, to give players the awesome traction indoors. In that vein, these would make great outdoor shoes, the upper is bulletproof. Also, in the future I will look out for the wider front of the foot, I've been really impressed by the stability that it offers.