A lightweight & versatile build? Check. Priced under $120? Check. Widely available & customizable via Nike By You? Check that one too. Here’s a 3-month, outdoor PG 5 review for ya – I’ll break down Paul George’s 5th signature hoop shoe from Nike and find out if the promising components live up to it.
SHOW TABLE OF CONTENTS
And after a very strange PG 4, things MUST be better this time, as otherwise – we’ll end up in the trash territory. And nobody wants their money spent on that. I’ll test the shoe’s fit & comfort, on-court performance, build quality, versatility & value for the price.
Behind the review: tested solely outdoors (concrete surface & synthetic rubber surface) for over 3 months by a 6’1 two-guard at ~175 lbs. I’ve got an explosive slasher playstyle, jump a lot & do a bit of everything. Wide footed.
Model: Nike PG 5
Weight: 12.81 oz / 363 g. (size 10.5 US)
Retail Price: $110
Cushion: full-length Air Dot Weld Strobel & Phylon midsole
Best Offer On: Finish Line
I. FIT & COMFORT
SIZING GUIDE: 1/2 UP!
You won’t have to scratch your head as you did with the PG 4 if you got the shoe. The PG 5 should fit most guys true to their usual size. Expect a snug, near one-to-one fit and most people also report that these leave just a tad bit of space length-wise. Nothing crazy, just some wiggle room.
For me as a big wide footer, I went up half a size since the shoe definitely feels narrow internally. The upper is very thin and forgiving, so no issues with the material colliding with my foot. The foam coming up from the midsole did ram the sides of my boat-like feet but it broke in and I soon found myself liking the fit overall.
Still a little tight, but I’d rather take a condensed and secure fit than a roomy & dangerous one where I’d slide all over the place. About a week was all I needed to feel comfortable when it’s game time.
So, true to size for regular/narrow footers for a secure, snug fit. Most wide footers will likely need to go up half a size but if you can, try these out in a store before grabbing ’em or order two pairs online just to be sure.
COMFORT: NICE AND LIGHT
Speaking of comfort itself, the PG 5 is nothing special but absolutely gets the job in providing me a solid, distraction-free experience when I’m playing or just messing around on the court. The shoe is almost absurdly light (yeah, that’s becoming a thing nowadays) and noticeably more feathery-like compared to last year’s shoe.
There’s a bit of internal padding around your ankle and a single large achilles notch to secure your heel in place. The tongue isn’t very well-padded but since it’s made of nylon and feels nice by itself, I’m cool with that.
Aside from being lighter, the shoe just feels faster and more sturdy when stacked against the PG 4. No more wobbly materials, excellent containment, smooth step transitions, and a solid overall experience. Each step also felt more pleasant since they’re using a plush insole now. Always a plus.
Looks familiar? For my OGs out there (or slight OGs for that matter), this traction pattern is straight from the cult classic Kobe 9 and that shoe has legendary status traction, without even exaggerating. The PG 5 gripped the outdoor courts excellently for me, and I have no issues with these outsoles performance-wise.
Deadly bite no matter the movement as a multi-directional pattern is being used here, no unnatural separations or anything like that, just simply great traction. Not a lot of wiping needed as well – an occasional swipe or two was all I did, and those were probably purely out of habit.
The only place where I needed to wipe these down a bit more often is the amazingly wrecked blacktop I sometimes play on when I’m not able to get to my usual park with a synthetic rubber surface for one reason or another.
This blacktop is straight from the 80s with all kinds of nasty debris lying around, along with a bunch of holes in the concrete.
But even there, the PG 5 didn’t have many issues. Even skipping a wipe or two in the heat of a battle, the pattern was able to catch my movements properly, albeit probably with a bit more “lag” if I would have tested the difference.
Fantastic traction performance is all you need to know here.
Now, just because the pattern is identical to the Kobe 9 doesn’t mean the rubber Nikey used is also the same. And it’s clearly not. Unfortunately, this is today’s leading issue among basketball sneakers in my opinion. ESPECIALLY with Nike products.
The Kobe 9 had durable rubber. People were banging in those for years. On the PG 5 – the rubber wears out super quickly. I was already seeing quite severe visual damage on my high-wear areas, not even a full month in.
These are just not outdoor-ready. No way around it. I was able to play comfortably and effectively for the 3 months but the pattern is almost fully burnt off now, excluding a few areas where we usually don’t do a lot of plants or push-offs.
Since the knobs are virtually gone, the rubber itself is still able to catch my strides at a good rate, plus I’m playing on abrasive surfaces, and 9 times out of 10, you’ll still have good bite outdoors even if you blow through the pattern. Not out-of-the-box level but still fine.
WHAT ABOUT INDOORS?
The bigger issue is if you plan to take these indoors on the hardwood later. Since the pattern is gone, there’s really not enough resistance on the surface to help catch your movements, and the rubber that’s left will likely cause some slide-outs and general “lag” when stopping and popping.
This is why I recommend either stick with these indoors or outdoors solely as you might end up a little screwed. Not saying this will happen 100% since I still have no way to test these indoors, there’s a good chance it will, speaking from personal experience.
Nike calls the cushion setup a full-length Air Dot Weld Strobel but it’s really just the same Air Strobel going from heel to toe, just like the PG 4. There might be some differences in the exact air unit but I’ll leave those to the people who have the ability to take the shoe apart and go more in-depth.
Check out this Reddit thread if you’re curious what these pack inside.
Along with the Air unit, there’s also a Phylon foam midsole underneath it and while the Air unit actually felt a bit plusher for me, the midsole under it felt stiffer than last year’s. Or maybe the actual insole is what made the stepping motions feel comfier than last year’s shoe. Or a combination of both.
But the end result is rather strange for me. Each initial step (first contact with the ground) felt nice and plush but the later part of the motion (push-offs, jump-offs after landing, etc.) felt stiff because of that foam used. Things normalized a bit a couple of weeks in but the end experience still leaves room for imagination.
The PG 5 will offer you a lower-to-the-ground ride compared to last year’s, it’s more stable now, it definitely feels faster and more responsive but without making things noticeably firmer than they were with the 4th shoe.
Steps still felt nice, and while there’s not a lot of felt “bounce” or spring back since that’s just the nature of old-school Air, the performance was always there for the most part. Even if I didn’t feel a lot of it.
Most positions should find enough impact protection here unless you’re very heavy & athletic or older and will be playing solely outdoors. And guys who felt last year’s setup was just too much – this one’s a faster, more stable version of that without completely taking away comfort.
And if you thought you needed more POP in your steps while hooping in the PG 4, well then I’d need to take you over to my shoe list for jumpers. That should fulfill your explosive desires I’m pretty sure.
Security is definitely the area where the PG 5 made smart improvements over the previous shoe from Paul George. No more clunky shrouds with zippers, no more multiple layers that don’t really do much. Let’s break down the main support features.
It all starts with a proper fit, of course. The PG 5 runs snug and secure, so no side-to-side movements inside the footbed, no bulkiness, none of that. You also ride lower to the ground now and since the foam midsole is more rigid, both overall stability and torsional support are now excellent.
And the platform of the shoe is wider & more flat than last year’s which, guess what, makes up for a very stable ride.
There’s also an X-shaped TPU midfoot shank that you can see through the hole in the middle, which ensures you’ll have the needed torsional rigidity. I think this is a decent choice for someone who’s got a case of plantar fasciitis (flat feet).
Then there’s an internal heel counter for heel & ankle lockdown, certain parts of the midsole come up acting as sidewalls for containment, and there’s also a Fuse piece on top of the upper laterally, to help with holding your foot in. The midsole also protrudes laterally a bit, acting as an outrigger for further stability.
The lacing system is Nikey’s traditional integration with the Flywire cables, as those cables are attached to the laces and pull down on the upper once you tighten the shoe up.
And that’s all you’ll ever need to play securely AND without being overly restricting. Everything feels in-tune together, no annoying pains, collisions with the materials, or foot suffocation.
Just be aware of those little sidewalls that come up in a few areas as those initially collided with the sides of my feet in an uncomfortable manner. That went away not even a full week in though AND it’s likely due to my wide feet. Still worth keeping in mind.
V. MATERIALS & BUILD
If we’re talking pure value for the money, the materials used are probably the weakest part of the PG 5. On the other hand, if we’re talking about performance and feel on the court, there’s not a lot to complain about. You’ll have to pick a side for this one, as unfortunately, we don’t get both this time.
The upper is mainly a textile & mesh build that’s extremely thin, especially the forefoot portion. The lateral piece and the back portion utilize Fuse overlays for additional structure. Yeah, they surely look like leather but it’s really more of the same synthetic plasticy stuff that doesn’t feel as plasticy this time.
The lacing system is decent and the lace loops are using that same leather-looking Fuse. I don’t know how long these will last but so far, no issues there 3 months in.
The tongue looks to be made of nylon, and the shoe sports a half-bootie construction. This means that the tongue isn’t separated from the upper as you’d normally see, but instead stitched together with the material internally, acting as a single piece.
Great for a one-to-one fit but can sometimes be a pain to put on. Not the case for the PG 5 though – these are super quick to slap on.
NIKE SAVING CASH? YOU BET.
So here’s the thing. It’s a budget signature that retails at 110 bucks, sure, but I’ve seen other brands put out shoes with much better build quality at the same price range.
Take the Dame line from adidas, for example. Those never go over $115 and offer great modern materials that usually don’t feel cheap, can last a while outdoors, and feel nice on foot.
Nikey can do better is what I’m trying to say. Cutting costs and maximizing profits? You bet. Or at least that’s what I think is happening. Or perhaps the PG line still hasn’t managed to convert a lot of sales with the 4 models so far, so Nikey isn’t putting a lot of money into the projects yet. Who knows.
But we as the consumers experience the end result and there’s no denying that some of us would like some premium touches or at least better overall build quality if the shoe has a “signature” name attached to it. This mesh material doesn’t look like it’ll last multiple seasons if we’re talking outdoor hoops.
I’m not seeing a lot of frays or damage to the seams but the upper overall looks pretty banged up. That’s the best durability insight I can give right now as perhaps it’s too soon to judge it. But you’re looking for a durable outdoor tank or a premium experience – you won’t those things here.
But in terms of performance – this upper is fine. It’s ultra-light and definitely plays that way, moderately breathable, and doesn’t need a lot of time before the fabric softens up and starts wrapping around your foot very nicely.
For $110, this is just more of the same formula we’re getting from the Swoosh. Solid performance, no real issues per se but clearly cheaping out on the material choices. I’ll leave it up to you to decide if that’s your thing.
Or, let me take you to my ultimate budget shoe list where you’ll see what I’m talking about. Awesome options for as low as $100 and BELOW.
The Nike PG 5 is a very solid all-around basketball shoe. There’s no denying that. There’s also no denying that it won’t cost you a fortune to get it. They fit snug & secure but wide footers will want to go up half a size. Traction is nearly Kobe 9-level, a.k.a. deadly. Durability-wise though, not so deadly.
The full-length Air Strobel cushion setup makes its return and the ride feels lower to the ground & faster this time. Not everyone will enjoy it but players who want to stay light & nimble while having a little bit of cushion underfoot will definitely find the shoe suitable.
Support is great and clearly upgraded from the confusion that the PG 4 was and while the new material setup can’t be put in the same sentence along with premium or high-quality, it works on the court in ways you’d normally expect. Not a multiple-season outdoor tank though, that’s for sure.
For $110 (and even less when sales hit these), this isn’t a bad deal but it’ll depend on what you personally prioritize when buying your hoop shoes. If it’s maximum comfort and premium materials – look away. If it’s pure durability for several years of hardcore outdoor hoops – look away.
But it’s all-around performance while it lasts along with modern shoe standards being met – the PG 5 has your back.
You can grab the shoe at your favorite sports retailers or customize it via Nike By You. You have the ability to slap on XDR rubber outsoles there for better durability and also separately customize both shoes, so some dope designs could come out of it. Nike By You will run you an extra $20.
Why buy from Finish Line? Click for my take.
WHY FINISH LINE?
Finish Line is my usual #3 option to get my basketball shoes from if Amazon currently doesn’t have it and the brand’s retail store (Nike.com, adidas.com, etc.) might be out of stock or doesn’t have my size.
I find them, along with a handful of other sports stores, to bring in new major and also lesser-known releases just as quickly as the main brand retailers, most of the time.
Very similar advantages to manufacturer’s stores here: very quick shipping times (and it’s free), convenient return & refund policies and you’ll never find any shoe priced over retail.
For some reason, Finish Line seems to be good at keeping a healthy stock of products, as there’s always a wide variety of sizing for most mainstream models. Something you can’t say about Nikey, Adidas, AJ, or Under Armour stores.
Of course, there will be exceptions and rare shoes that are hard to find globally won’t magically be available in large quantities here either.
Buying from the store will only be applicable for U.S. residents, so not an option for international users (unless you’re using a third-party service to ship internationally from US stores as I do).
Overall, I consider Finish Line to be the top pick out of the US’s popular sports retailers. Or perhaps I’m a little biased but regardless, I think I’ll be sticking to it for quite some time.
- All shoes priced at retail
- Good stock most of the time
- Fast & free shipping for the U.S
- Convenient refund & return policies
- You can find quite detailed and relevant reviews left by buyers
Still not sure? I’ve made a comprehensive guide and compiled some general tips on where to buy basketball shoes online. Check it HERE!
That’s it for the PG 5 review! I hope you found it informative as always! Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments below. Have you tried these yet and perhaps you feel different about ’em? Do you have a question I haven’t yet answered in the review?
Leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you as quick as I can!
Nike PG 5$110
- True to size for most, wide footers 1/2 a size up
- The midsole sidewalls collided with my feet within the 1st week
- Fantastic traction & support upgraded from the PG 4
- The cushion setup feels a bit stiffer than last year's
- Positions 1-4
- All-around players