This shoe IS SO MUCH FUN. There’s no denying that. But $180 for a non-signature that’s supposed to be a flagship? Is it worth the full price or should you hunt down a sale? Is it a well-rounded performer along with being a comfortable sneaker? Let’s answer it all in my 5-month Nike Air Zoom BB NXT review, made solely outdoors.
As always, I’ll break it down for you in a variety of fit, performance, and quality aspects in the most practical way for a hooper just like me. Let’s start off with the specifications.
SHOW TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Spec Sheet
- 1-Min Review
- Fit & Comfort
- The Build
- Alternative Options
- Time for Your Thoughts!
- Nike Air Zoom BB NXT Review: The Verdict
I. SPEC SHEET
click to enlarge the sheet
GRAB THE AIR ZOOM BB NXT
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II. 1-MIN REVIEW 🕒
Looking for the gist of it? The Nike Air Zoom BB NXT is a very exciting and fun shoe to hoop in. At least it was for me. They’re not perfect but they deliver certain things worthy of me coming back to them occassionaly, long after the initial review.
Most people should opt for their usual size, including wide footers like myself. I had a tad bit of length in the toebox but not enough for it to cause trouble.
Surprisingly, this one’s got fairly strong rubber slapped on the outsoles, and 5 months in – the shoe still grips both indoor and outdoor surfaces well.
The React + Zoom Air cushioning is the shoe’s bread & butter. It’s super fun, bouncy, and provides excellent impact protection, however, the Zoom pod on the lateral side CAN overcompress and cause some instability on certain angles.
Support was solid all throughout my days of playing, and the build won’t surprise you since we’re well into the lightweight fabrics era of materials on performance sneakers.
This one’s no different and also no less comforable that what you’d find on today’s top-tier performance models from the Swoosh.
It’s a pricey shoe and it’s likely not for everyone but if you can afford it – these should bring out of FUN out of you on the court. It did for me.
> The full review is below
III. FIT & COMFORT
True to size or should you deviate from your usual choice? How comfortable is the shoe & anything else to know fit/comfort-wise?
Let’s kick things off with how the shoe fits. A pretty traditional construction & build, so most people will be fine with their usual size.
There’s just a little bit of room at the toebox, while they should be perfect width-wise for those with regular/narrow feet.
However, if you’d like to have that glove-like fit with no extra room and you’d like to feel like a formula, going down half a size is also an option as quite a lot of people seem to have done just that with success.
For wide footers like myself, true to size will be the best bet. They’ve got a pretty wide base and the material does stretch out fairly quickly but the main issue for wide footers here is the lace cables up at the forefoot.
Even people with more regular-shaped feet reported those cables digging into their pinky toes pretty aggressively, let alone a wide footer.
Still, I do not recommend going up a full size as that would cause containment/general security issues as the upper is definitely on the minimal side, so there’s nothing really there to hold your foot in if the fit’s sloppy.
So, not the best option for a wide footer in general but it’s doable. Go true to size, arm yourself with some patience, and be ready to get your toes banged up a bit.
The Air Zoom BB NXT is a comfortable shoe. In fact, they’re REALLY damn comfortable. Unfortunately, my wide & thick foot wasn’t able to experience that in its full glory but even with the toe chafing issue, they’re still pretty good as I eventually got used to it.
Other times, I didn’t feel it at all, thinking I’ve finally broken ’em in. But the next day comes and here I am again cursing at the shoe for wreaking havoc on my pinkies. I’m not sure when was the last time I was cursing at my shoes aloud like that.
So while it’s very annoying, it’s not always there AND it’s mostly acceptable, so there’s that. I’m still pretty mad even thinking about it right now though lol.
But looking past this issue, the shoe is a joy to play in. They’re not the lightest and can feel a little bottom-heavy, especially at first, but the overall experience is definitely positive.
The upper is smooth and thin while nicely hugging your foot, also very smooth lining all throughout, as well as a nice large Achilles pillow that provides a secure feel to your heel & Achilles. The tongue is also heavily padded.
The heel is slightly tipped, while the outsole at the front is also rounded which promotes some really smooth step transitions.
Similar to the Curry 8 Flow, the Air Zoom BB NXT brings some runner shoe qualities and applies them to a basketball court. If done correctly – you’re getting a seriously comfortable shoe and this one’s definitely in that club.
Lastly, some say these can feel a little bulky at times. Firstly, yeah, they did initially feel a little “huge” on my feet but ever heard about a break-in process? We need to give each shoe enough action to really get a feel for it, get used to the build, and break the needed materials in.
Once that’s done and you still feel like you’re running on a pair of bricks – then it’s time to question the shoe.
For the Air Zoom BB NXT, even though the upper is minimal, several other components such as the midsole, the lace cables, and the shank plate all needed some time to feel right.
Be patient and remember not everyone’s foot shape is the same – you’ll be happy you did!
And secondly, that cushion setup and overall flow of the shoe simply outweigh any small traces of “bulkiness” for me. I’d take a quality cushion setup and smooth heel-to-toe transitions over an ounce of weight reduction any day of the week.
So bottom line – watch out for the lace cables digging into your toes, especially if you’re a wide footer. If you can get used to that or you’re not experiencing that issue at all – you should be in for one hell of a ride.
These are definitely making my current list of the most comfortable hoop shoes.
How’s the grip on a variety of surfaces? What about sensitivity to dust/debris? How long will the outsoles last?
We’ve got a very interesting traction pattern that seems to be consisting of linear patterns at the front and back, while it’s all radial at the balls of your feet. Traction was deadly on the Air Zoom BB NXT.
Stops, cuts, changes of direction, coming off screens, crossovers, you name it. No matter where I stepped, how I stepped – these handled the load. No slips, slides, or anything like that which was caused by the shoe.
I did slip a few times but that’s simply due to my terrible court which has spots where the synthetic rubber surface was literally torn off. I was also playing on the blacktop and the traction felt even deadlier there. The more abrasive the surface – the better chance you’ll have at getting a strong, consistent bite out of your sneakers.
Now, mind you – I’m not the shiftiest player ever. I’m not Kyrie and that’s not my playstyle, so the amount of times I was planting my feet at crazy angles isn’t that high.
If you’re a very low-to-ground player that’s shifty and operating at various exaggerated angles – you might or might not miss the multi-directional pattern coverage that comes all the way up to the sides. Something we’re used to seeing on a Kyrie shoe.
I personally didn’t really miss it and most of you won’t either. But good to know in case you’re a freak like Kyrie.
The rubber used on these is surprisingly durable. The grooves aren’t that deep but they feel strong and about 5 months in, these still grip the floor consistently.
There is visible wear & tear on high-usage spots on the outsole but so far, it’s just cosmetic damage. I do have some concern about the rubber fraying pretty hard on where the balls of my feet are though.
This will of course depend on what tendencies you have while planting your feet while making moves but I don’t see the shoe lasting another 2-3 years at this rate.
But then again, I was playing outdoors exclusively, and most of the sessions were 2+ hour wars, so we gotta give props. Not the most durable rubber I’ve seen but definitely stronger than your average sneaker Nikey has put out lately.
How much impact protection is offered and how’s the energy return of the cushioning? How about the ride height & stability?
If that doesn’t sound amazing, I don’t know what does. And good news! For damn once, this setup actually feels and plays pretty much as good as it was marketed.
The meat and potatoes of the setup is the dual-layered React midsole. You might think React isn’t a particularly bouncy or soft foam as we usually see it on runners.
Not this time – this implementation of React is awesome in every way.
It’s responsive, it’s bouncy, it’s comfortable, and promotes some ridiculously smooth step motions. Not the bounciest setup to date but enough to, one, keep it fun, and two, provide enough impact protection so most players would be able to rock these.
But then comes the React insole which adds to the step comfort and general softness underfoot, which is awesome. It might just be an insole but a quality one can make a huge difference.
And then we’ve got the Zoom Air pods at the forefoot. Those are pretty firm and not as bouncy as the React midsole but they do a great job at keeping the front portion very responsive.
They felt pretty dead at first but after breaking ’em in – they feel balanced and help pull off those quick accelerations any time I needed to.
One thing though, the elevation with these is real. You WILL be riding high off the ground, so forget about any real court feel or staying ultra-low to the ground.
However, when you’ve got such a well-thought-out and balanced setup, I didn’t really miss the low-profile ride. React is a brilliant foam compound that keeps things under control without taking away comfort, while the moderator plate in the forefoot makes sure the Zoom units are stable.
However, there has been some buzz around the lateral Zoom unit which overcompresses and can lead to stability issues.
Knowing this, I was pretty cautious going in as I’ve tried keeping my plants on the balls of my feet but then after some time, I quickly realized the Zoom pod doesn’t really cause an issue for me at all.
You might get a little sloppy if you really push the shoe laterally, sure, but this will depend on what kind of player are you. I’m fairly light, so perhaps that had to do with it.
Test it out, get a feel for it, and see if it’s an issue for you. If it is – keeping your foot plants in the middle should keep it under control, and you’ll eventually get used to it.
A versatile setup that should do the trick for pretty much everybody. It’s not overdone, it’s not dead either. It’s a ton of fun but the performance is still there.
The only nitpick is the lateral Zoom unit but I’m sure that’s not going to be an issue for everybody.
How’s the overall security of the shoe? Any trade-offs in mobility as a result? What about foot containment?
Apart from the lateral Zoom pod situation, overall support was great. Not overly restrictive, felt just right.
The base of the shoe is fairly wide, there’s a moderator plate that acts as a shank plate for torsional rigidity, and there are small outriggers laterally for stability.
There are also internal heel counters for heel & ankle lockdown, the upper contained the foot well and the traditional lacing system paired with the cables attached makes the shoe very secure.
However, this is still one of those runner-like shoes that rely on the fit for your security. All those features are nice and should be there but it’s the fit and the way the upper molds to your foot shape that makes it a very effective package without taking away comfort or slowing you down.
I guess the only thing that could be improved would be lateral stability. These ride high off the ground, pair that with the overcompressing Zoom unit and relatively tiny outriggers, and the shiftiest of players might find it an issue.
I personally didn’t but I’d be willing to think some of you will.
VII. THE BUILD
What are the materials used and how do they perform on the court? What about the build’s quality, durability, and value for the $$?
PERFORMANCE & QUALITY
The upper is all lightweight textile along with a few synthetic pieces to reinforce key areas such as the toe and the back. A very minimal upper but it works. It’s comfortable, it doesn’t take long to break in, and it’s fairly breathable.
The stitching work and lining definitely look high-quality and the lacing system’s sturdy too. Can’t say the same about all the stuff coming from Nike.
Is it all $180 worthy though? Well, that depends on what you value. If it’s performance – it’s all there, I have no complaints. But if it’s premium materials that will last ages that you’re looking for – then I guess waiting for a sale will be the best bet.
These are currently on some heavy discounts during the time of writing the review.
After about 5 months, my pair surely looks banged up but all of it is just looks. No serious fraying going on, so the pair is still perfectly playable. If the outsoles would wear out at the same rate as the upper – I’d say these would be a very strong contender for a trusty outdoor pair.
Not that it is right now – just not for multiple seasons solely on the blacktop. Indoors – that’s a different question and one that I can’t answer right now.
Overall – a modern basketball shoe utilizing modern materials that have become the norm. Whether they’re worth the full $180 will be up to you.
Concluding the Nike Air Zoom BB NXT review: are they worth the money?
The Nike Air Zoom BB NXT is a shoe that brings comfort, performance, and the FUN factor all into one. They’re pricy, that’s for sure but I still think it’s a good buy if you can’t get ’em anywhere under retail and you’ll be playing both indoors and outdoors.
But if you could snatch these for under retail – I think it’s a great buy. They’re super comfortable (as long as you deal with the toe chafing issue), traction is deadly on all the outdoor surfaces I played on, and that smooth ride is nothing short of awesome too.
They’re supportive but watch out for the lateral Zoom Air unit overcompressing as it can cause instability for some.
The upper is your 2020-2021’s standard textile stuff but it works. You would need to look for something else if you need raw, sturdy materials.
Another staple in Nikey’s non-signature lineup. Bravo!
🛒 BEST DEALS ON THE AIR ZOOM BB NXT
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IX. ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS
If you’re not completely sure whether the Air Zoom BB NXT is for you but you still want something similar – check out these potential options below
NIKE KD 14, $150FULL REVIEW 🛒 NIKE
I reckon some of you will want to retain that comfort, well-balanced overall performance, and, of course, the BOUNCE. The KD 14’s got you covered in all those areas.
If you were hesitant to try the Air Zoom BB NXT due to the Zoom pod stability question, Kevin Durant’s 14th flagship signature doesn’t have such a track record, nor did I personally experience anything that would cause similar issues.
In fact, the KD 14 is still one of my favorite modern hoop shoes to play in – they are a lot of fun.
NIKE COSMIC UNITY, $150FULL REVIEW 🛒 NIKE
Here’s something a bit more flexible when it comes to the type of feel and cushion you’d like to have. Nike’s Cosmic Unity is a fantastic all-around sneaker that showed what Zoom Air is capable of: unparalleled versatility.
This almost-environment-friendly knit upper will provide comfort, traction is deadly, and should last a while, and the full-length Zoom Air Strobel is both quick & low to the ground AND tons of fun.
PEAK TONY PARKER TP7, $110-$130FULL REVIEW
Ever heard of the Tony Parker line from PEAK? The 7th model is a very nice place to start: in fact, I crowned this one as the most comfortable shoe of 2019. Not just that, I think it’s STILL one of the more comfortable hoop shoes to wear on the court.
It’s an awesome guard’s shoe but could make just about any player’s experience enjoyable. Non-Nike-adidas-Jordan brands are underrated for hoop shoes.
X. TIME FOR YOUR THOUGHTS!
Share your questions, suggestions, and opinions below – I’m looking forward to it!
That concludes the Nike Air Zoom BB NXT review! These have made it to the most comfortable shoe list and also the $200 budget list for sure! I’ve got a feeling they’ll stay there for a good few years.
It’s not a cheap purchase, sure, but the least this shoe can do for you is show how much fun a basketball shoe can be on the court!
What do you think about it? Do you feel different about it? Perhaps you’ve got a question I haven’t answered in the review?
Leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you ASAP!
XI. NIKE AIR ZOOM BB NXT REVIEW: THE VERDICT
My final ratings, main takeaways, and recommendations
Nike Air Zoom BB NXT$180
- True to size is optimal for most
- Regular/narrow footers can go down 1/2 a size for a very snug fit
- The forefoot lace cables can cause discomfort for your toes
- The lateral Zoom unit can cause instability for some
- All positions
- Explosive/athletic styles
- Linear-dominant movement patterns