Nike Zoom Rize 2 Review: 2021 Performance Breakdown

The first Zoom Rize launched back in 2019 was among my favorite shoes to play in and it’s a serious package for virtually any player. The time has finally come to put out a comprehensive Nike Zoom Rize 2 review and break down what exactly has changed, and if it’s still the amazing performer the 2019’s predecessor was.

Nike Zoom Rize 2 Review: 1st Shoe
Nike Zoom Rize 1 (2019)

Since I’m in Europe and most countries there are still on some sort of lockdown, this will be an outdoor-only review. I’ve been playing in the shoe for over 3.5 months now and I’ll break down the fit & comfort aspects, on-court performance, value for the price, versatility, and changes from the first shoe.

High jumpers especially – pay close attention!

SPEC SHEET

Nike Zoom Rize 2 Review: Side 1

Model: Nike Zoom Rize 2
Build: mid-top
Weight: 14.92 oz / 423 g. (size 10 US)
Retail Price: $160
Cushion: forefoot Zoom Air unit & foam midsole

I. COMFORT & FIT

Nike Zoom Rize 2 Review: Top

SIZING: PRETTY STANDARD STUFF

Starting with the need-to-know first, the Zoom Rize 2 definitely has a more narrow construction compared to the first shoe. It’s not a night-and-day difference but enough to make me concerned due to my wide a** feet.

Regardless, I went true to size and after some adjusting time, any other option would’ve likely been detrimental. Most regular/narrow footers will be fine with their regular size and many people reported the shoe doesn’t fit super snug – there’s a little bit of room left there at the front and sides.

If you’re aiming for a tight, complete one-to-one fit, going down half a size is also an option. For wide footers though, I’d still recommend true to size for most. Sure, they feel very snug for me even after a couple of weeks but going up from there likely would’ve caused length issues and containment could’ve been slightly compromised.

In an ideal world, I would’ve liked the shoe to be just a bit more forgiving laterally and medially, as there’s barely any breathing room there for me. Luckily, the upper handles the forgiveness thing for me and made sure my foot coming in contact with the insides didn’t cause major discomfort.

And I’ve got a very strong case of wide feet, no joke. If I’m good with my true size, most of you fellow clown-footers should be a-okay as well. Still though, ordering a couple of different size pairs and returning the unneeded one is the safest option, since not everyone might like a very condensed fit.

Nike Zoom Rize 2 Review: Pair

COMFORT: THE 1ST ZOOM RIZE ON STEROIDS

With some changes done to the upper and the shoe’s platform, the 2nd Zoom Rize brings very similar vibes the 1st shoe brought but there are a few changes that make it an even better experience comfort-wise.

Firstly, the shoe feels and is, lighter due to the material changes and a more narrow platform. While I didn’t have complaints about the first Zoom Rize’s weight at all, I’ll gladly take any weight reduction I can get.

While not a major difference between the two shoes, the Zoom Rize 2 feels lighter and a little quicker while making a more aggressive movement, albeit it’s still the same insanely fun ride underfoot, smooth steps 24/7, a similar amount of internal padding, and the overall feel is super close, for a lack of a better explanation.

Most people will enjoy running and jumping around these and will be able to do it safely. Foot containment is still solid despite the more minimal upper, I’ve never had any heel slippage or any other issues. Well done so far!

II. TRACTION

Nike Zoom Rize 2 Review: Outsole

Now, there are a few outsole options to go with when getting the Zoom Rize 2. There’s the regular option with standard solid rubber (the one I got) but there’s also an EP type of version that comes with more durable XDR rubber.

You can also slap an XDR rubber outsole yourself if you buy the shoe in the U.S. via Nike By You. So if you’re playing mainly outdoors, the logical option would be to either track down the EP version of the shoe or go with an XDR outsole when you’re customizing the shoe on Nike By You.

I’ve got the shoe in Europe through my local sports retailer and even though I’ve got the regular solid rubber option, I don’t have many complaints about it.

The traction pattern is very close to the original shoe. A radial pattern with proper spacing and deep grooves dominates the outsole and these gripped the floor well at all times. Consistent, not annoying when it comes to dust piling up inside, and fairly durable.

Whether you’re a shifty guard or a big center, I feel like there’s enough multi-directional bite for everyone here, especially outdoors, as you’re coming to contact on a rougher surface.

Perhaps a little less reliable-feeling than the first shoe’s but that’s purely based on feel to the touch. I doubt there will be any major difference between the two durability-wise. The rubber is still tacky, fairly strong and the grooves are deep enough to beat today’s standard indoor-focused competition.

III. CUSHION

Nike Zoom Rize 2 Review: Side 2

If you’ve checked my review of the first Zoom Rize or any review of the shoe for that matter, you know the cushion packed there was nothing short of awesome. Good news, the Zoom Rize 2 follows the same formula, just with a few small tweaks.

There’s a beefier forefoot Zoom Air unit now which feels almost the same. It’s thicker but covers a little less ground this time. Despite that, it’s still super comfortable, gives some of the most explosive-feeling energy return there is today and impact protection is still great.

To go along with the Zoom unit at the front, there’s also a foam midsole that’s just as insanely comfortable as on the 1st shoe. However, the forefoot/midfoot & heel sections are now more distinctively separated, giving more room for both the Zoom unit and the midsole to compress, making things even bouncier.

Seriously, if you love cushion and bounce in your step, there’s hardly a better setup in mind when it comes to keeping things efficient, not slowing you down, and offering enough stability to keep this crazy setup in check. This is as versatile as it gets while offering this much UUMPH underfoot.

Nike Zoom Rize 2 Review: Back

You’d probably have to play in the Zoom Rize 1 and then the 2nd shoe right after it to notice some sort of difference underfoot but guess what, that’s exactly what I did. Things are very close but I’d say the Zoom Rize 2 is a tad bit bouncier at the midfoot & heel sections while a little softer at the front.

The only downsides to this type of setup are the lack of any real court feel and a small compromise in stability. The second shoe does feel like it rides off the ground a little higher and the narrow tooling doesn’t help stability. Don’t get me wrong though, I’m not saying I was unstable.

I’m just saying if you had to put the two shoes against one another, I’d give a slight nod to the first shoe stability-wise.

HOWEVER, on the practical side, I don’t think a lot of people will notice a big difference. I’m a very explosive player myself – never once I felt in danger or lacking confidence before making a move. Part of that was the lateral TPU piece that cages the forefoot Zoom and comes up halfway to the midfoot/arch area.

The thing is, you’ll just have to get used to this elevated ride if you’ve been playing in less cushioned, lower profile setups before. Once you do that, I don’t think you’ll want to come back. This cushion should be the benchmark in nailing down the balance performance-wise while offering as much cushion as possible. It’s that good.

IV. SUPPORT

Nike Zoom Rize 2 Review: Heel

While losing a little bit of structure due to the more minimal upper materials used, I still think the shoe is still supportive enough for most players & play styles.

There aren’t a lot of features packed here but if you’ve got the fit right for you and you’ve got used to the elevated ride, you shouldn’t have issues. The earlier mentioned lateral TPU cage straps you in laterally and makes sure the cushion isn’t overly unstable.

That same piece also adds some torsional support as it comes up to your foot’s arch area.

There’s also an internal heel counter for heel & ankle coverage which works well along with Flywire cables for further lockdown. While the base of the shoe isn’t that wide, it’s still wide enough to keep things safe in my opinion.

But if we’re talking about an ideal scenario – I do think there are more nimble setups for the shiftiest of guards out there that emphasize stability more. But then again, I don’t think you should be going with such an elevated ride, to begin with, if you’re looking for a very fast, low-profile setup.

I’ve never personally rolled an ankle or slid out of the footbed in these. I was completely fine and never felt something was lacking. And with that, the lesser weight and more minimal structure of the shoe made things even less restrictive.

I’d take that over half an inch of extra stability personally. Whether you will – that’s up for you to decide.

V. BUILD & MATERIALS

Nike Zoom Rize 2 Review: Forefoot

The upper is mainly a lightweight textile with a haptic print texture on the lateral & forefoot sections on the shoe. There aren’t any real Fuse/TPU overlays for more structure but my guess is that was done to shed as much weight as possible.

I don’t personally feel like the haptic print texturing does anything for the shoe performance or durability-wise despite what Nikey says on their website. Looks cool, sure but where does the increase in durability come from? I’m not sure.

With that thought, I am more of a fan of this upper compared to the 1st Zoom Rize’s engineered mesh. It’s still nothing premium for this price tag but this made the shoe lighter, a little more nimble, and breathable while keeping it supportive.

These took a little less time to fully adjust to my foot compared to 2019’s design which felt a little stiff at first but if we’re talking pure durability, I wouldn’t put these among the most reliable.

But then again, you always have to put things into perspective. I think it’s a fairly durable shoe when you put it aside a Flyknit Kobe A.D. NXT 360. As on the other hand, these wouldn’t be so durable looking when stacked against a full-on leather Zoom Heritage N7.

The shoe has a standard lace & tongue construction and it’s fairly easy to put on. The overall build looks good, the outsole is durable for gritty outdoor games and if you keep the upper healthy, I think they will last long regardless.

I am seeing small amounts of fraying along the toe area as well as on the bottom of the swoosh but it’s nothing serious. I don’t see these breaking down 6+ months in.

VI. OVERALL

Nike Zoom Rize 2 Review

The Zoom Rize 2 is definitely a successor to the first shoe. A lot of the stuff feels very similar but a few small tweaks did improve certain aspects.

The shoe is comfortable and feels a little more forgiving due to the thinner textile upper, though it does have a more narrow construction. Traction is still good and looks durable (even the non-XDR version), cushion is still phenomenal but does ride high off the ground. Might take some time to get used to.

Some could make an argument on the 2nd shoe being less stable & supportive but it’s honestly hard for me to agree to that from a practical standpoint. I’ve never felt like there was something lacking.

The upper is nothing special for this price but does a solid job in keeping a minimal break-in period, disposing of unneeded weight, and providing enough containment. I think it’s more comfortable than the engineered mesh on the first shoe.

If you don’t have either shoe of the Zoom Rize series – I’d honestly say both are solid options. I wouldn’t pick a clear winner here. And if you think the tweaks made for the 2nd shoe were enough to upgrade from the 1st – go for it! At the very least, you’ll have an experience that’s extremely close to the Zoom Rize 1 and that’s absolutely not a bad thing.

You can grab the shoe at your local retailer or if you’re in the U.S. – Nike By You is the main option.

The scores of the shoe are below!


WHAT DO YOU THINK?

That’s a wrap for the review! I hope you found it useful! As always, there’s more where that came from. If you’re having trouble finding the Zoom Rize 2, the 1st shoe is still an amazing option and I think it’ll stay that way for several more years.

Or, you could check out my ultimate list & guide for the best overall basketball shoes money can buy right now. Find it below!

And of course, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the shoe. Have you tried it? Do you feel different about it? Maybe you’ve got a question?

 

THE VERDICT

Nike Zoom Rize 2

$160
8.4

Fit & Comfort

8.5/10

On-Court Performance

9.0/10

Value for the Price

8.0/10

Outdoor-Ready

8.0/10

Main Takeaways

  • Most foot shapes: true to size will be fine
  • Regular/narrow footers can go down 1/2 a size for a tighter fit
  • Comes in several options: regular (solid rubber) & EP (more durable XDR rubber)
  • Still very well-rounded with a few tweaks: lighter, more mobile and a thicker forefoot Zoom unit

Recommended For

  • All positions
  • Most playstyles
  • Explosive/athletic players

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