Let’s take a look at Joel’s first signature. Launched back in 2020, it shaped up to be among the best overall basketball shoes and it’s also a great fit for bigger guys like Embiid himself (obviously). Let’s put it to the test in my detailed Embiid One review solely made outdoors.
So, for anyone who’s hunting for a new pair of basketball shoes – I’ll break down the Embiid 1’s fit & comfort aspects, on-court performance, build quality, versatility, value for the price, and evaluate if it’s ready to be banged up outdoors.
SHOW TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Spec Sheet
- 1-Min Review
- Fit & Comfort
- The Build
- Alternative Shoes
- Let’s Hear Your Thoughts!
- Embiid One Review: The Verdict
I. SPEC SHEET
click to enlarge the specifications
GET THE EMBIID ONE HERE 🛒
II. 1-MIN REVIEW 🕒
For those short on time: here’s a quick Embiid One Review for you.
The UA Embiid 1 surprised me with how versatile and nimble they felt despite being Joel Embiid’s signature sneaker.
These should fit most guys TTS for a snug fit. Wide footers – you might experience some discomfort due to the lateral TPU wings ramming the sides of the foot (like it did for me). It went away about a week in.
Traction was nice and sharp outdoors, and I never needed to wipe the outsoles down too often. UA is also using some great rubber here, so expect these to last at least a full season of outdoor hoops.
The Micro G & HOVR cushioning setup sounds a little bit better than it actually felt but regardless, it’s a great ride these gave me.
Nothing too crazy, not too high off the ground, just enough step comfort while keeping each stride quick.
Just like with most performance sneakers from Under Armour, support and foot containment were excellent here.
The basic open mesh build isn’t among the most premium but it broke in to fit my wide feet super quickly, provided the needed structure and kept me comfy. All I ever need.
For alternatives, I recommend checking out the newer UA Flow FUTR X and the HOVR Havoc 4 Clone for a very similar, yet updated experience.
> The full review is below
III. FIT & COMFORT
How’s the sizing? How comfortable are they? Anything else to know fit-wise?
SIZING: TRUE TO SIZE FOR EVERYBODY
Let’s tip off with the must-know stuff first. These will fit most of you true to size. I went true to my size being a prominent wide footer and I have zero complaints about a week in.
The materials are very forgiving and thin, so most foot shapes will be compatible with this one since it’ll quickly mold to your foot accordingly. Plus, the base of the is fairly wide, so wide footer-friendly it is.
If you’d like to have some room for your toes or laterally and don’t like a snug, one-to-one type of fit, going up 1/2 a size is an option but do that at your own risk.
Remember that this type of shoe tends to stretch out to conform to a larger foot. But if we’re talking the opposite, you might run into containment issues stepping a half size up.
COMFORT: NOTHING SPECIAL, YET IT DELIVERS
The Embiid One resembles how Under Armour’s shoe fit, just in a slightly larger frame this time as opposed to Curry’s compact silhouettes.
There’s enough internal padding around the ankle and achilles to softly cup you which is nice, we’ve got a traditional lace-and-loop system with a separate tongue which is also very nice and pillowy.
I’m not a huge fan of one-bootie constructions (with some exceptions like the Dame 3) so I’ve appreciated this one. The shoe is pretty easy to put on and the upper’s absolutely not a chore to wear.
For a big men’s shoe, these feel quite light, nimble, and comfortable enough to get a pass for versatility. So yeah, I think most people will find these comfortable, not just dudes at the frontcourt.
The TPU lateral wings (the plastic pieces you see on the sides of the shoe) did cause some slight discomfort for my feet but that went away about 1 week in. Probably due to my wider than normal feet though.
How do the outsoles grip a variety of surfaces? What about dust & debris? How long will they last?
The traction slightly reminds me of a classic herringbone pattern mixed in with a modern take by UA as it’s not running a consistent pattern throughout the outsole.
Overall, the traction was more than enough for me to grip a few different surfaces in my block where I play, so right away, I don’t have much bad to say about it.
I usually play in a park that has a synthetic rubber surface. You know, the court that looks like a basketball court but produces more bounce and is generally softer for impact.
It’s still an abrasive surface though and there is PLENTY of debris lying around.
Besides a few slips here and there & needing to wipe the outsoles off occasionally, I didn’t have any issues. The pattern is spaced out just right and the grooves are deep enough to leave room for dust to escape.
How will it hold up if playing solely outdoors? While that’s impossible to pin-point accurately, I’ve been playing in these for over 3 months now and the traction’s still fine.
There is some cosmetic damage but I’m not feeling any effect on performance yet.
The rubber doesn’t look ultra-durable though, for those that are wondering. This isn’t your outdoor XDR stuff, just fairly good solid rubber. These should hold up better than an average modern sneaker primarily made for indoors.
How much longer? I really don’t know. I wouldn’t put these in my top 5 most durable outdoor options if that helps. I have no doubts a full season of outdoor hoops won’t be much of an issue with the Embiid 1.
How’s the shock absorption and energy return of the cushion? What about step comfort, ride height, and stability?
Full-length Micro G along with a HOVR heel unit is used for cushion and it’s very similar to how I’d describe the rest of the shoe: nothing mind-blowing but very solid.
Forget about the Curry 7’s Micro G & HOVR combo though – those are still much stiffer and lower to the ground compared to how the Embiid One implements its cushion tech.
Give these some time for the foam to fully soften up and you’ll have yourself a very nice performance-friendly package. This Micro G almost feels like the Micro G some of you might remember from the Clutchfit Drive or the Torch by UA.
It almost seems like UA has been attaching the Micro G name to excite people but it never truly felt like the classic Micro G for quite a while now. The Embiid One is a step in the right direction.
Excellent impact protection, smooth step motions, not super bouncy but still soft underfoot and feels pretty damn nice.
The HOVR unit adds some response at the rear and the end result is extremely well-balanced. I never felt like a sluggish 7-footer. The setup is stable, nimble, and comfy to jump around in.
If you’re looking for a low-key solid ride that fits just about any player out there, this one is an option.
How’s the all-around security of the shoe? What about stability, foot containment, and potential restrictions?
Support has virtually never failed among UA’s basketball products.
They seem to have nailed the formula to making to a mobile, light shoe that’s still super secure to play in without the typical restrictions you’d see on a shoe that maximizes support but adds stiffness & weight in return.
The Embiid 1 sports TPU lockdown wings that hold your foot during lateral motions, the read section of the midsole rises up and cups your heel for additional stability, the base of the shoe is wide as well.
Torsional rigidity is also solid due to a strong midfoot shank.
But all that doesn’t make the shoe excessively stiff or heavy. The upper is very light and the base of the shoe is also a bit rounded which reminds me of a classic Kyrie shoe. This helps quick players who find themselves in awkward, exaggerated foot plants or positions.
A very solid job – put the shoe on and forget you have it on. Something all shoes should strive for from a performance standpoint.
VII. THE BUILD
What materials make up the shoe? How do they feel & perform on the court? What about the build’s reliability?
The shoe is completely based on open mesh which is lightweight, breathable, breaks in very quickly, stretches out when it needs to and due to the support features implemented, I never felt this upper wasn’t enough.
There are also some Fuse panels on key areas for more structure and durability. The lockdown wings are pretty much plastic and might feel a little stiff at first but it probably won’t cause issues for most of you.
I’ve got some truly wide feet and after about a week, the issue was gone even for me.
The lacing system looks solid but I do have some concern for the lace loops inside the TPU wings. If we’re talking multiple years of mileage that is.
The forefoot area of the mesh already looks a bit worn but that’s merely cosmetic damage – don’t expect mesh to look fresh as a leather Air Jordan 1 after banging it on the blacktop.
I think durability for this one is on the average side. I’ll gladly take it though – sure it’s a signature shoe and the use of something more “premium” could’ve been even cooler but this gets the job done if we’re talking performance.
You might expect a premium knit or touches of genuine leather for a signature but don’t forget we’re paying just $120 for it. AND, it packs Micro G & HOVR for cushion, UA’s two best foams at the moment. A solid deal in my eyes.
Closing out the Embiid One review: quick recap, versatility, and final words
The Under Armour Embiid 1 is a very solid basketball shoe for not only big guys but for just about any kind of player out there.
Sure, there is perhaps something you’ll like more if you have very specific needs such as maximum court feel & responsiveness, or the opposite, maximum cushion and bounce underfoot.
But for the rest of us, this will do just fine, especially at $120.
Traction is fine & good for some outdoor action, cushioning accommodates most players well, there is plenty of support packing that doesn’t restrict you and the materials are pretty basic but have all the qualities from a performance standpoint.
Well done Under Armour, well done.
BUY THE EMBIID ONE HERE 🛒
IX. ALTERNATIVE SHOES
If you’re looking for a similar-feeling sneaker but you’re not sure about the Embiid One, I’ve got a few options
UNDER ARMOUR FLOW FUTR X, $120
If you’d like a similar experience that excells in versatility and balance regardless of the player, check out UA’s new Flow technology and the shoes that came with it.
The Flow FUTR X is one of the more succesfull models – similar to a Curry shoe but slightly better for more types of hoopers.
These will give you that unrivaled Flow traction that’s all foam, responsive cushion, excellent support as always and a synthetic upper in line with today’s standards.
UNDER ARMOUR HOVR HAVOC 4 CLONE, $120
Here’s an interesting one. The HOVR Havoc 4 Clone is not only an awesome all-around performer but also a throwback to more classic basketball shoes.
You’ll find everything you’d come to expect from a quality hoop shoe: a secure fit, good traction (will need some wiping), a very fun ride thanks to Micro G & HOVR, and lightweight support.
However, you’ll also get a full-on leather upper (I’m not sure if it’s synthetic but it very much looks and feels like genuine leather) – something you simply don’t see on today’s sneakers.
X. LET’S HEAR YOUR THOUGHTS!
Share your questions, suggestions, and stories below – they’re invaluable to me AND the future reader
Alright, thanks for staying with me all the way to the end of the Embiid One review! I hope you’ve found it informative! As always, the train never stops and I’ve got plenty more packing as well as plenty more to come.
The Embiid One is a solid budget option for a center, be sure to check out the complete list of the best shoes for big guys! It’s also among my favorite shoes of 2020 – check out the whole list of the year’s best releases!
If you’re an Under Armour fan, you might also want to visit my list of the best Under Armour basketball shoes from time to time.
And if you’ve got a question, suggestion, feel like sharing your own experience with the Embiid One, or just want to chat,
Leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you ASAP!
XI. EMBIID ONE REVIEW: THE VERDICT
My final ratings, key takeaways, and tips
Under Armour Embiid One$120
Fit & Comfort8.5/10
Value for the Price8.5/10
- Wide footer friendly: true to size is recommended for everyone
- Going up 1/2 a size is not recommended: might run into containment issues
- Super quick to break in but the TPU wings might cause some discomfort at first
- A very solid all-around performer
- Positions 1-5
- Most playstyles
- Bigger guys
- Wide footers