Didn’t think I’d ever been this excited to talk about a shoe, but the New Balance OMN1s has left me positively thrilled to write this review! Lets’s first get the pronunciation out of the way: they’re derived from a Latin word ‘omnis’ (which means ‘of all things’) and are pronounced the same way: ‘awm-nis’. Not so hard, is it? Alright, now I have a lot to say about this shoe (mostly positive). In fact, I’d argue that this is actually one of the most notable recent releases in the realm of basketball shoes!
The New Balance OMN1S: Introduction
For those out of the loop, the shoes marked their debut quite recently i.e., 30th July 2019. Kawhi Leonard (a bona fide game-changer and one of the league’s biggest stars) debuted this pair his signature shoe during All-Star Weekend a year ago.
Now, New Balance isn’t exactly known for their basketball shoes, in fact, this is one of their two basketball shoes, so you have the right to be sceptical. However, I’m happy to inform you that New Balance has really knocked it out of the park with this release!
This pair is geared more towards ‘position-less’ players which basically means its not only for power moves and explosive plays. I’d say it’s a pretty formidable shoe and serves it’s purpose extremely well. On that note, let’s jump into the details.
I’d say it’s quite the looker, it’s got a sleek design and some variety in the designs. Some designs pack a translucent out-sole which looks pretty good if you are into that sort of thing. Most of the shoe is covered by this ‘FitWeave’ knit that is super soft and durable; there’s no significant damage to the material by stepping on it or whatnot. The knit really sticks to your feet and sort of moves with it instead of being completely stiff.
The upper part of the shoe may or may not be synthetic leather, it depends on the colour scheme. For the most part, the synthetic leather feels much better and more premium as compared to the other material used in some of the other colour schemes like the pink one.
It looks really good on feet and can be used for casual wear; though that would be doing it a massive disservice. It looks slim but it’s pretty wide and it even has wide variants for people with wide feet.
Now, these are the characteristics which truly make or break a basketball shoe.
First, you need to get the size right which can be complicated, believe it or not! I’d say going half a size under is your best bet unless you can try out the shoes beforehand. If the shoe doesn’t perfectly fit your feet then you never get to feel it’s true potential. Your feet slide inside the shoe and the lateral support doesn’t function well. However, once you get your size right, the design clicks and the pair does its job magnificently.
The New Balance OMN1S has incredible traction; period. The out-sole rocks a herringbone pattern which is almost perfect. It absolutely slays in all basketball courts; from squeaky clean indoors to blacktop outdoor courts. It is slightly skewed to the lateral side for the players into that sort of play. Combine that with the outrigger and you get some awesome lateral coverage. The outrigger gently grips the feet, preventing any slips you would expect in that sort of thing. Though one of the drawbacks of the herringbone pattern is that it picks up dirt super easily and although it only requires a gentle wipe, it’s still a little annoying.
There are both High-Top and Low-Top variants of this pair of kicks. Obviously, the high-top provides more ankle support or rather just more security and stability in general. But it can be argued that the added support somewhat limits movement as compared the low-top variant. It’s mostly up to personal preference. I’d say the Low-Top versions get it just right; not super or under supportive while not being super restrictive either.
The heel counter is somewhat flexible but still firm enough to prevent heel slippage and overpronation issues. Of course, like any other good basketball shoe, it has a very flexible forefoot that makes it very fluid when you need to shift your weight from heel to forefoot. There’s also a decent amount of bounce on the out-sole, particularly in the heel and forefoot. It is definitely noticeable while running. It’s a nice touch.
Believe me when I say comfort was not sacrificed in this pair. These might be one of the most comfortable basketball shoes out there. It uses the tried and tested FuelCell foam; people love it. This foam provides stability, security, compression and most importantly comfort. It is definitely one of the best cushioning methods in terms of basketball shoes, or just sneakers in general. It feels really soft and comfy. On top of that, it has also got some decent amount of bounce in the heel and tip as I mentioned before. Although, some people have said that it’s a little too dense.
The shoe is also super breathable in the tongue area. The material is light with a lot of holes in it that air can pass through. Though, since the material is quite thin, if you tie the laces too tight, they can block the airflow. FuelCell uses nitrogen packs like they do in car tyres. This enables the cushion to feel really good even after months of use. It’s not the same as when you bought it but it is pretty close.
Overall, the New Balance OMN1S is quite the basketball shoe. It has incredible traction, extreme comfort and pretty good stability. If you are willing to let the slightly iffy materials slide, then what you’re getting is a solid basketball shoe that works and feels amazing. I would definitely put this shoe in my list of top 3 basketball shoes and that’s pretty crazy considering this was New Balance’s first basketball shoe since, well, forever. If any of their new releases continue on the same path, then the future of New Balance looks very promising!
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