I’ve got a special one for you! Presenting you my Nike Zoom Heritage N7 review: the native American-inspired shoe with an old-school, Retro type of vibe. The design pays homage to “rez ball” – the ultra fast-paced, physical version of basketball on the streets the native American communities play.
So despite the fact that the shoe has history behind it, it’s also an outdoor shoe. Coming in at $130, I think this is shaping up to be a fantastic outdoor model for anyone who’s looking for unrivaled durability in the park.
THE REVIEW PROCESS
I’ve been playing in these here and there for a while now but the last 2 months were focused on solely testing the shoe non-stop (mostly outdoors), so here’s what I’ll break down:
- Fit & comfort
- On-court performance
- Build quality & value for the price
- Versatility, evaluation of who it’s best for
Let’s jump in!
Model: Nike Zoom Heritage N7
Build: High mid-top
Weight: 17.3 oz / 490 g. (size 10 US)
Retail Price: $130
Cushion: Zoom Air & Phylon
Available colors: White & black (leather) | Dark grey (wool)
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I. COMFORT & FIT
FIT ADVICE: LARGE AS HELL!
If you’ve ever worn a pair of classic Jordan or Nikey retro’s, you’ll feel a sense of nostalgia stepping into the Zoom Heritage N7. While the silhouette might look familiar (KD 12 vibes), the shoe feels pretty far from today’s technology standards of comfort, lightweight design, and thin materials.
But first, let’s get the sizing out of the way.
The shoe runs pretty damn large for most feet, even some wide footers. Based on the general reception by the consumers, and also off my own experience, I’d confidently recommend going 1/2 size down for regular/narrow footers.
Wide footers such as myself, it might be a little more tricky since everyone’s foot shape is different and your foot might not be as wide as mine. I personally went true to size and I’m glad I did.
Even though the shoe still felt a little roomy, I really pulled on the laces and the fit is now pretty good. With that said, it would be safer to try these in a store BUT you can forget about these being widely available in most stores.
I’ve got a VERY wide foot, and going true to size was the closest to a one-to-one fit I could get for my foot.
I suppose most people, even wide footers, will need to go down half a size, while extreme cases like me and my giant a** feet will be good going true to size.
COMFORT: A “MODERNIZED” RETRO
One thing about genuine leather is it takes AGES to break in. The shoe felt like hell during the first 1-2 weeks of playing, while it slowly started to soften and feel better in a ~1.5 month period. That’s how long it took me to really break them in and feel like this is a full 100% of what this fit can offer.
So, let’s say you got the size right, you broke them in and the fit’s pretty alright. Whatever the case may be, expect these to bring a pretty heavy, bulky, and sometimes even sloppy feel. This is one of those cases where a shoe weighs a good amount and feels that way on the court.
The large & wide frame of the shoe, thick materials, and a near-high cut ankle collar all make for a pretty damn bulky package. The only thing separating these from feeling like a total retro is the cushion setup which makes up for fantastic stepping comfort. Have to give props there.
Other than that though, look away if you’re aiming for a light, fast, and low to the ground formula. This is a total opposite – a sturdy tank that doesn’t feel that bad but you still pick up on the shoe’s bulkiness at times while playing.
No major slipping or containment issues, just a sense of wearing a “big” shoe on your feet.
Not a huge drawback but something you wouldn’t mostly see among 2020’s usual modern basketball shoe releases. But if you like that retro, classic leather sneaker, and how they feel on the feet, the Heritage N7 will feel close to home.
Knowing the fact I was getting myself an outdoor-focused shoe (which is rare nowadays), I expected the traction to be nothing less than stellar.
And I was totally correct. This outsole is CRAZY.
I mean look at that pattern, it screams traction. An aggressive pattern, super tacky rubber, and deep grooves, which all lead to kick-ass traction all day.
I’ve played in a concrete park and also a synthetic rubber surface. Both were totally murdered by this beast of an outsole, dust or no dust.
No constant wiping required, as the rubber seems to be so damn tacky and sticks to the floor extremely well, eliminating the issue of dust getting into the way of the pattern biting.
No real break-in time required either, these will give you solid multi-directional traction out of the box, no matter the court.
One of the most durable looking rubber compounds I’ve seen in recent years, so outdoor durability will be superb.
I feel two ways about this. I’m extremely impressed by this outsole that literally checks all the boxes in terms of quality traction while being translucent as well! Gone are the days where translucent outsoles were the standard of poor or inconsistent traction.
But I also don’t quite understand why Nikey doesn’t implement this in more releases. I get all the marketing stuff behind putting out different design patterns that would offer something fresh but this needs to be a staple.
Sure, this is a special release in Nike’s N7 collection but come on now, borrow this rubber compound, and literally slap it on your “budget” or outdoor models. Result = everyone’s happy and saves a bunch of cash!
The shoe having somewhat of an untraditional release, I could not find the tech specs or any specific information on the shoe’s properties. There’s definitely a Zoom unit and a midsole (most likely Phylon) but how big the unit is, where is it, and how thick the midsole is, we don’t know.
With that said, we all know it’s all about how it plays and feels, not about what’s written on paper. And the Heritage N7 proves that you don’t need to worry about the specs – the cushion setup offered here is really good.
I liked the way the cushion felt right after stepping in them for the first time. This is a very outdoor-friendly setup as it offers plenty of full-length impact protection, just a little bit of bounce and energy return, while not riding extremely high off the ground.
Sure, it’s not super low profile but it’s a very well-balanced ride. It actually reminds me of the KD 13, just a little less spring back and a tad bit higher off the ground.
This is a fantastic cushion setup that offers a bit of everything that most players will enjoy: impact protection, slight give to the foam, and a little bit of bounce. All while not completely losing court feel and response.
This isn’t the fastest nor the most responsive setup some guards would prefer but I still think it’s a very versatile ride, and one worthy of $130+. I loved it.
Something that’s extremely important for a hoop shoe to be supportive is a correct fit. A one-to-one secure contained fit is the foundation of overall support a shoe can provide.
As you now know, this is definitely a pretty bulky shoe so if your fit’s a little roomy and you’re not feeling secure or the movements feel sloppy, chances are – you either need to get the sizing correct, re-adjust the laces, or shove an aftermarket insole.
The reason I’m saying this is because the shoe is very supportive once it fits your foot properly. There’s an external heel counter, a torsional midfoot shank, the midsole comes up at the forefoot and slightly cups your foot for extra lateral coverage and the shoe’s platform is undeniably very wide, promoting stability.
But the real winner here is the leather upper. You simply cannot make a shoe with poor support & containment when thick, sturdy genuine leather is what mostly makes up the shoe.
Despite the shoe bringing that bulky feel at times, there’s no denying it’s supportive.
I don’t think any player or position will find the support lacking. Whether it’s laterally, torsionally, or medially – there got you covered.
V. BUILD & MATERIALS
The upper is genuine leather, while the black portion sort of dividing the upper in half is a synthetic textile material.
This is a combo straight from the early 2000s with a modern twist. It’s tough for me to love it but there’s also no reason to really hate it either.
This type of OG upper and the way the shoe is built definitely has its advantages but there’s no denying there are drawbacks when compared to modern materials.
The strong points are very strong support & containment and unrivaled durability outdoors, so it’s a total bang for your buck if you’re looking for a heavy-duty outdoor model.
The drawbacks are what you come to expect from traditional, mid-tier quality leather: a lot of extra weight, a bit of a nightmare to break in, and also the lack of any ventilation.
You can personally weigh the pros and cons based on what you prefer, and see if this would work for you. Me being a fan of modern uppers that are usually lighter & feel that way, I didn’t love this thick leather setup but once again, I don’t have any major problems with it either.
It works but there’s no denying there are MUCH lighter, softer, and more forgiving uppers out there.
Either way, if you happen to enjoy the materials used on the Heritage N7, your $130 will be well spent, as these aren’t breaking down on you any time soon.
The Nikey Zoom Heritage N7 took a page out of the retro era and shook things up a bit to make it suitable for modern outdoor play.
I really do respect the homage to the native American communities as well the charity Nikey is doing to help those people in need. And with that, we also got a KILLER outdoor shoe!
The shoe fits large, so make sure to half a size down (regular, narrow & most wide footers) and true to size for those with very wide feet. Once you get the fit right, the shoe is a solid performer.
Traction is NUTS, the cushion setup is nice and versatile, there’s plenty of support coming from the leather upper alone. The shoe feels a little bulky and can be sloppy at times, especially due to a not perfect fit, so be aware of that.
If you’re looking for something that’s in the mid-tier price range but would last you a long a** time no matter how or where you play, this is actually a very solid buy. If you can get past the old-school materials and sense of bulkiness that is.
Get the Nike Zoom Heritage N7 on Amazon:
Why buy on Amazon? Click to find out!
I’ve been ordering a solid 70%-80% of my hoop shoes from Amazon and can confidently say it’s almost always the most trustworthy and convenient option to buy your shoes.
Yes, it’s great to find the shoe you’re looking for on an original retailer such as Nike or Adidas but the reality is a bit different – a lot of times, especially for shoes older than 1-2 years, it’s a very small chance you’ll find the shoe or better yet find it in your size & color.
You’ll mostly find the latest releases directly from the brand’s store but the period is usually pretty short until they’re out of stock.
This is where Amazon comes in.
Amazon is not strictly one retailer giving you the products, it’s a whole chain of thousands of different sellers, all supplying different products, including basketball shoes. You will mostly find more color and size options on Amazon for your desired shoe than on an original retailer or even a general sporting goods store.
Sure, there will be exceptions where Amazon won’t have a particular shoe but that’s on the rare side.
And the best part is the pricing – you can find older shoes and at times new shoes priced under retail, sometimes at crazy low prices, which is something you’ll never see on Nike.com, adidas.com, and other retailers (except during discounts/sales of course).
To sum things up and give you a generalized idea of why Amazon beats other stores more often than not, I’ve compiled a shortlist of the most notable advantages the massive store chain has over its competitors.
- Usually, higher stock, size & color/edition availability compared to other stores
- Blazing fast shipping times (sometimes delivered the SAME DAY if you’re close to the seller’s stock)
- A good chance to find shoes priced under retail
- Extremely convenient return/refund policies
Still not sure? I’ve made a comprehensive guide and compiled some general tips on where to buy basketball shoes online. Check it HERE!
Comfort Rating: 7.5
Performance Rating: 8.5
Value for the Price Rating: 9
Suitable for Outdoors: Yes
Recommended for: Most players | heavier/frontcourt players | outdoor courts
Overall Rating: 8.4
That’s it for the review! As always, I stoked to know you took some valuable information from this if you’re looking to get them.
I’m curious to hear what you have to say though! Would you be rocking this OG silhouette in 2020? Or you got a question?