The Zoom Flight Club was the first of Nike’s Re-Fresh collection to appear on the feet of many NBA players. The Zoom Shark-A-Laid seems to be the next in line, as …
A hybrid of the Snake N’Destrukt and the Air Raid, this shoe combines outdoor durability, upper stability, and in-your-face style. Staying true to the Re-Fresh idea, Nike offered these shoes in the classic and irresistible black/white/carbon fiber colorway reminiscent of the Zoom Flight 95.
As I struggled slightly to lace the shoes up, I couldn’t help but hope that the two stylish but cumbersome straps that cross over the top of the shoe had some functional purpose. I laced the shoes up to the second-to-last eyelets and found that they were very loose around the ankles. Feeling safer with more ankle support, I tried lacing them all the way to the top. This actually yielded so much ankle support that movement was restricted; I had tightened the laces so tight that the plush ankle collar dug into my Achilles. I loosened them a bit and found a perfect balance of ankle support and mobility.
Since the Shark-A-Laids posess the same midsole setup (Phylon with heel Zoom) and outsole pattern as the Phenoms, my expectations of the same cusioning, heel-toe transition, and traction were verified. Zoom Air in the heel softened my heel strike, heel-toe transition was effortless, and traction was great on both indoor and outdoor surfaces. I noticed almost immediately that the lateral stability of the shoes is amazing, as the two straps actually prevent the upper from shifting outwards during lateral movement, allowing for sharper, more precise cuts. The interior forefoot was slightly on the slim side, but not ridiculously slim like the Foamposite Lites. They’re just about as roomy as the LeBron Soldier III’s, and the arch height matches that of most Nike shoes (Huaraches, Flight Clubs, Phenoms, Zoom BB’s, etc.) The mesh tongue and mesh panels on both sides of the upper allowed for good breathability (the straps didn’t seem to suffocate my feet), and the ankle support was very reassuring throughout games – so much so that these shoes can probably even accomodate power forwards and centers.
The straps provide great lateral stability while still allowing the mesh tongue to do its job.
Same outsole pattern and cushioning setup (Phylon midsole with heel Zoom) as the Phenoms
I can’t really call this a complaint because the Shark-A-Laids did perform very well, but the ride isn’t as low to the ground as shoes like the Phenoms, Zoom BB’s or Huaraches. I actually put the Phenoms on my left foot and the Shark-A-Laids on my right foot for a side-by-side comparison, and the Phenoms are definitely lower to the ground. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing; think of it as a BMW’s handling vs a sport-tuned Range Rover’s. Of course, the Shark-A-Laids are still more nimble than anything built for big men with a full Max Air unit (Air Max Tempo, Air Max Elite).
The Bottom Line: The Nike Zoom Shark-A-Laid is a very good shoe that’s best suited for mobile forwards that crave ankle support but still want a smooth ride in a quick shoe. Overall, they’re a tad heavier and slightly clunkier than the Zoom Phenoms, but this level of lateral stability and ankle support in a shoe that forwards and even big guards will appreciate is tough to match.
Rudy Gay wearing the Nike Zoom Shark-A-Laid (custom Team USA colorway) at the Team USA scrimmage in Las Vegas