Well… the Reverse Swoosh that I have grown to like is now gone, and we are back to the normal iteration of the Nike Logo. The Nike Zoom Freak 2 has a rather different concept compared to its predecessor with a more traditional midsole and the shoe structure looking even sleeker than before.
What I do appreciate is that the Zoom Unit is now at the Forefoot instead of the Double-Stacked Heel Zoom in the Freak 1. The traction also looks far more promising and I expect the Nike Zoom Freak 2 to play really well.
Significant Tech Present in the Shoe:
- Multi-Material Upper
- Internal Heel Counter
- Internal Shank
- TPU Forefoot Clips
- Forefoot Zoom Unit
Materials & Aesthetics (8.5/10):
Materials on the Nike Zoom Freak 2 are still mostly textiles and synthetics. However, from a feel standpoint, this year’s model does seem more premium compared to the mesh used in the Zoom Freak 1.
In terms of looks though, I would prefer the Freak 1s more as the Freak 2 does look a little like a running shoe. For me, they are definitely more for on-the-court than off-the-court. One weird thing I noticed is that the heel portion of the midsole looks a bit familiar… It kind of reminds me of the Nike PG 1. Maybe they reused the tooling? I guess we’ll never know.
In the NBA, not many players have been wearing these as compared to the Zoom Freak 1. Currently most notable player who rock these are the Antetokounmpo brothers: Giannis, Thanasis (Milwaukee Bucks) and Kostas (Los Angeles Lakers)
Fit wise, the Nike Zoom Freak 2 still is a pretty snug shoe but not as much as the Zoom Freak 1. That is really surprising because from a visual standpoint, the Freak 2 does look a little sleeker compared to last year’s model. That said, the shoe does fits true-to-size and wide footers don’t really need to worry with these as the lacing system seems quite forgiving.
Lockdown was really great on the Nike Zoom Freak 2 much like last year’s Freak 1. On top of the sleek shoe structure, the lacing system has a panel on the medial side that made the shoe feel really secure from midfoot forward. At the heel, the Internal Heel Counter and the Midsole structure keeps the foot in place.
Usually people will associate support with high-cut shoes and that low-cut shoes will make it easier for you to roll your ankle. Truth is, that is really not the case. Usually the “High-cut” area of the shoe is made mostly of textiles, knit or any upper material, as well as foam padding. This bit of materials will not stop your from rolling your ankles, it’s just not strong enough. The Nike Zoom Freak 2 is just the perfect example.
The Zoom Freak 2 is considered a lower-cut basketball shoe, but just the way the shoe is sculpted with the midsole wrapping up the sides of the shoe, the snugness of the fit and of course the TPU Forefoot Clips, your feet don’t have anywhere to go.
To add on to that, there is also a relatively stable base and even though the outsole is decoupled, the heel-to-toe transition seems seamless.
Gone is the Double-Stacked Heel Zoom and the Nike Zoom Freak 2 brings us back to a more traditional setup which is the Forefoot Zoom Unit. This simple but effective setup worked better than the Zoom Freak 1 had. It’s a wonder why they put the Double-Stacked Heel Zoom in the first place… Maybe it is done so that the Zoom Freak 2 can have an “Improvement” from the Freak 1?
The responsiveness and the bounce-back from the Forefoot Zoom Unit is great as usual and feels much better than just foam previously. In the heel there is no tech except for the foam itself and the impact protection could be a little better.
One thing to note is that the midsole does seem to crease very easily and I have heard from people that the rubber in the midsole might be a little too soft once broken-in. But so far, I do not have that issue.
Traction is where things get interesting. The Nike Zoom Freak 2 features nubs that are placed in a radial arrangement at the forefoot and the heel is filled with thick lines with the names of Giannis’ brothers.
For most hoopers, you will know the traction at the heel don’t usually do much so a lot of the focus is at the forefoot. And for the forefoot… the grip on the ground is amazing. As usual when nubs are used, there isn’t going to be dust trapped within the groves so slippage is minimized extremely. Dust do stick on the outsole over time but so far it does not seem to affect the grip.
As a bonus, the rubber used on the Freak 2 is on the thicker side so it will probably last a bit outdoors compared to common indoor models and with the nubs… you know the forefoot is going to get burned out first.
Final Conclusion: (9/10)
Overall, the Nike Zoom Freak 2 was a real fun to play in. It’s the kind of shoe that is simple, can fit to any play style and is an above average performer. Sure, I would love to see more tech being put into the shoe and we know that will come as we progress further into the Nike Zoom Freak line. It may be just the beginning but I think Giannis is in good hands with Nike.