Saturday, April 18, 2009

First Impressions: Nike Zoom MVP Trash Talk.

Remember when the world first started to go green and restaurants started using napkins from recycled materials, yet they were as coarse as sandpaper? Well that's sort of how the Nike Considered project started in the spring of 2005. With a goal of reconsidering both design and environmental impact to deliver products that looked utterly different from anything ever created; Nike delivered footwear that lightened it's environmental footprint, but didn't necessarily rub people the right way, being a little too avant garde on the style spectrum. In our modern society, many want to be ecologically cognizant, but really don't want to sacrifice aesthetics or comfort to do so. Well as usual, the folks in Beaverton, Oregon have an answer for that with the newest edition to the Nike basketball family.

Even though Steve Nash won the NBA MVP Award in 2006, Nike is calling his newest signature shoe the Zoom MVP Trash Talk, I'm assuming the MVP stands for "most valuable planet". It's little secret Nash cares about the environment just as much as he does setting up his teammates with assists, they drop on Earth Day, April 22nd no less. With that in mind this edition reduces the fiber content by 30%, utilizes environmentally preferred materials and comes in a box made from 100% recycled fiber. So now that you can ball with a clear conscience, how do the shoes perform?

Despite the fact that the Zoom Kobe IV's set off a low cut basketball furor, Canada's finest baller has been sporting lows for a long time now. While the Trash Talks aren't as light as the Kobe's they don't tip the scales that much heavier. When I first slid my foot in, I was pleasantly surprised with the abundance of support. This is largely attributed to Nike's optimal motion midsole architecture which offers a solid base for the foot, yet still provides great lateral motion. Also within the heel of the shoe is an additional Dri-Fit lined sleeve with a pull tab to keep your foot in place. Conversely the toe box is strikingly comfortable with an increased sense of feel allowing you to get a great feel for the court when pushing off cutting or turning.

I'm assuming this is where Nash & Nike would say this was developed like a soccer shoe/football boot for that very reason and I would have to give them credit for it. Obviously designed for the spirit of play that Steve Nash typifies, I've played in them twice and while it offers the free flowing mobility to run, it definitely doesn't leave you second guessing the support or balance you would need to break, cut or turn.

While there is much hoopla over the Trash Talk's ecological merits, it's a solid performance shoe. If you were none the wiser you wouldn't have had a clue that the leather, suede, nubuck and patent patches on the shoe are scrap fabric from the cutting room floor or that the shoelaces are made from 100% recycled polyester. The Zoom MVP Trash Talk is a strong, yet light shoe that offers the mobility, feel and comfort for a top flight NBA athlete, and while I'm apparently not on that level, it came pretty close to feeling like it... at least my feet did.

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