BrandBlack, an independent California-based company with big market aspirations, is fresh on the scene and looking to leave it’s mark in basketball footwear by constructing solid performance-focused sneakers for the hardwood.
The J. Crossover II, the second signature model for the Los Angeles Clippers’ Jamal Crawford was released late in 2014, seamlessly blending a futuristic approach to design and quality.
So, just how does the J. Crossover II perform on-court? Keep reading below to find out.
The J. Crossover runs true-to-size, so definitely make sure you get your regular size. The beauty of this shoe, much like the Air Jordan XX9, is the full woven upper from the forefoot to the midfoot areas. The woven upper requires no break-in time, and will mold to your foot after a few wears. Unlike shoes constructed from synthetic materials, there’s no tightness in any area of the shoe once you put them on. It really is a joy to wear.
The positives from the woven upper are negated slightly when it comes to durability, however. This is not a major issue for me – after all, we are playing basketball, no? With that being said, it’s not as if the materials will fall apart after only a couple of uses. I hooped in this for a couple of months and my pair only exhibited the usual wear-and-tear (mainly near the toe-box), but if you’re looking for longevity, then this pair will not last as long as a pair made from Fuse, or something of that nature.
Great all the way. Those of you who have played in the XX9 know what a woven upper is capable of support wise, and it’s applicable to the J. Crossover as well. There’s just enough glue holding the upper in place, while still allowing for a great range of motion – especially when cutting and making lateral movements.
The synthetic heel counter is perfectly fine, and the shoe does have an internal TPU unit which helps contain your heel – there’s no slipping or sliding when playing. I normally lace my shoes to the very top, but much like the Kyrie 1, I felt like I got a better range of motion by lacing them up the second-from-top eyelets.
Image via: KickSpotting
This is my favorite aspect of the J. Crossover, and in my opinion, it’s best attribute.This is where BrandBlack are at their innovating best. The traction pattern is unique and unconventional, but so, so good. It’s divided into three segments that look like blades. The pattern on the lateral and medial sides is designed for offensive moves (think Jamal Crawford’s deadly crossover), cutting and stopping on a dime.
The blades in the middle aid in sticking to the floor, perfect for when your running back on defense. I haven’t played with these outdoors, and I don’t feel like I would recommend it either. In addition, the only indoor usage these got were on pristine NCAA courts so there was no issue with collecting dust or continuous wiping of the soles.
As far as the cushioning, the shoe features what the company calls Jet Lon which is a full-length foam. It feels very similar to Jordan Brand’s Flight Plate tech, and even though it’s different to those shoes, it does provide a just as smooth transition from heel to forefoot. It’s very responsive right from the get-go.
I never had any blisters or sore feet when playing in these.
Ventilation on the shoe is pretty good – there’s mid-foot perforations on both the lateral and medial sides, along with perforated tongue as well.
Initially I didn’t know what to expect from the J. Crossover II. I wasn’t sure how an independent company could compete with the big dogs of the basketball footwear market, but Brand Black have really shown me something. I loved the J. Crossover II.
In my opinion, it would suit perimeter players better than a big man, but each to his own.
It’s definitely right up there in my top 3 shoes of the last three months to hoop in, and at $140 retail for a pair, it’s great value in comparison to the $220 you would pay for the Air Jordan XX9.
*The J. Crossover II is available from Brand Black
*Top images provided by Brand Black