It’s been a while but once again, a big man with a signature shoe. This time, it’s Under Armour and the probable MVP 2021, Joel Embiid, coming out with a new signature line beginning with the UA Embiid 1. If you don’t include Giannis (Is he a big man?), this is the first time a major brand has made a shoe for a big man since Adidas ended its collaboration with Dwight Howard in 2015.
Another point to note, this is Under Armour’s second signature athlete… wait a minute, Stephen Curry’s signature has now moved to his own brand, Curry Brand… but I guess it still counts.
At first glance, the UA Embiid 1 seems feature only simple tech as expected. The cushion setup is very similar to the Curry 7 so I would expect that to be its strongest aspect. Apart from that, I guess we will have to get into it to know.
Significant Tech Present in the Shoe:
- Mesh and Fuse Upper
- TPU Support Wings
- Internal Heel Counter
- TPU Shank Plate
- Under Armour Micro-G & HOVR
Aesthetics & Materials (8.5/10):
Aesthetically… the UA Embiid 1 really isn’t much. Mesh and Fuse make up most of the upper and the TPU Support Wings are probably the best detail on the shoe’s upper already. To be honest, it does just remind me of shoes like the Nike Kyrie 1 and the Adidas D.O.N Issue 1. Well, using Mesh and Fuse does have its advantages as well. The upper takes little to no time to break in and it is really durable compared to materials like knit.
When you use so much of Mesh and Fuse, you know it’s going to be an on-court model. Like I mentioned, there really isn’t much detailing and that UA logo is not going catch any eyes. The Embiid one is really not suited for streetwear.
Since its introduction in 2020, they have only been seen on the feet of Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers) in the NBA.
True-to-size is what I would describe the UA Embiid 1… for the most part. Some of the BballEquips members did recommend going up half a size due to the length of the shoe. They found it a little short from front to back. If you want to be safe, it would be best to try them in stores first.
If you looked at the shoe thoroughly, or even if you have a quick glance for that matter, you will realize that there really isn’t much tech on the Embiid 1. The simple lacing system works well with the TPU Support Wings to provide containment throughout the shoe. It is not something extraordinary but it gets the job done.
There is also padding at the heel to give a snug fit at the heel so that your heel would not slip out of the shoe.
As usual, the lockdown and fit provide most of the support but there are a few other features to look at. Zoom in to the TPU Support Wings and on top of containment, they provide lateral support at the midfoot area.
The Internal Heel Counter isn’t the hardest or the firmest, but the midsole at the heel area does wrap up high onto the upper to provide heel support.
If we move lower, there is a TPU Shank Plate within the midsole that provides torsional support and the Embiid one also has a very flat and stable base.
Just as expected, the cushioning is the best feature of the UA Embiid 1. Exactly like in the UA Curry 7, the Embiid 1 features a Micro-G Midsole with a HOVR crash pad at the heel. This means that the Micro-G midsole has a cut-out area at the heel where a round section of HOVR cushioning is placed in it. So, what does this bring?
Well, for one, the Embiid 1’s cushion setup provides great court feel. It is low to the ground and very responsiveness. That said, it isn’t super firm like one would expect. On the contrary, it’s very comfortable actually.
However, if you are looking for a cushy and plush cushioning, then this may not be for you. The impact protection on the Embiid 1 is just above average and nothing that would blow your mind.
Traction on the UA Embiid 1 brought back something we haven’t seen for a bit, the Heat/Pressure Map pattern. It is supposed to mimic the areas where there are high-strike zones during motion. Usually these high-strike zones will have more aggressive traction, different traction groves or different rubber but it seems like all UA did was paint it out.
The traction and the rubber feel the same throughout and one might even argue that the forefoot is a little inconsistent. That’s the exact opposite of what is supposed to be the case and I feel that it could be due to the placement or the arrangement of the groves itself.
Do note that the groves on the UA Embiid 1 is rather thin AND shallow so if you are playing mainly outdoors, then this is definitely not the shoe for you.
Final Conclusion: (8.7/10)
Overall, I guess it’s a decent start for a signature line but if I were to compare to shoes that I have mentioned before, the Nike Kyrie 1 and the Adidas D.O.N Issue 1, then it is pretty lackluster. That said, it’s still really refreshing to see a big man get a signature shoe again and not only that, it’s a shoe that players of different positions can try as well.