After releasing his third signature pair with Nike, Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo recently rolled out the Nike Giannis Immortality, his first ever budget sneaker with the famous brand.
Upon its first appearance, the Giannis Immortality immediately received positive feedback from the sneaker community. From an aesthetic standpoint, some even claimed that this budget sneaker is way better than the latest pair from the main signature line, the Zoom Freak 3.
However, the comparison did not age well for the Freak 3. It is because when the Giannis Immortality was released in July, many ballers even pondered that the budget pair is also better than the main signature shoe performance-wise.
But before you get too hyped over the claim that the Giannis Immortality is better than the Freak 3, keep in mind that this is a budget pair and it only costs US$80. Of course, Nike made a lot of cutbacks with the pair, so don’t jump the gun just yet.
However, it doesn’t mean that the pair won’t work, either. Besides, there are a lot of bright spots Giannis Immortality could offer.
So is it a fact or a myth? Is Giannis Immortality really better than Freak 3 in both major categories?
To enlighten your perplexed minds — and feet — Dribble Media is here to provide an in-depth performance review of the Giannis Immortality.
The Giannis Immortality is infused with cheap textile materials on the uppers, which feel very minimal thanks to its thinness and softness. The textile uppers are surprisingly excellent in conforming to the users’ feet and are very comfortable for its price.
Also, there is a good amount of airflow and breathability, so ventilation won’t be much of a dilemma. In addition, its forefoot has a minimal amount of fuse materials for reinforcement and protection.
Speaking of protection, the heel portion is infused with micro-molded mesh for added stability, comfort, and lockdown.
However, the uppers have a major downside. Since they are made from basic and weak materials, the durability is questionable. The uppers may be excellent aesthetically and there are also some bright spots performance-wise, but in the long run, the materials won’t be able to take on heavier loads.
There is one word to describe the traction performance of the Giannis Immortality: beast. For a US$80 pair, the shoe is an absolute beast on the court and could be considered a top-tier sneaker.
The outsole is very aggressive and there are almost no delays when stepping on the gas or shifting directions. It is made with either solid rubber or translucent outsole depending on the colorway. Even though Nike has been a bit inconsistent when implementing solid rubber or translucent outsoles performance-wise, this pair somehow made it work.
On top of that, the outsole’s best attribute is the pattern. It is infused with a full-length herringbone traction pattern. Again, the herringbone is a tremendous on-court performer and is arguably the best traction pattern, as it is famous for its aggressive grip and omnidirectional bite, so pairs rarely go wrong with this traction pattern.
Also, the compound used in the sneaker’s outsole is thick and firm, so the durability won’t be much of an issue whether being played indoors or on blacktops.
Therefore, there is no room for debate that the aggressive traction of the Giannis Immortality is its best attribute.
CUSHION AND SUPPORT
Let’s first go with a bit of a reality check here. Since the Giannis Immortality is a budget pair with a US$80 price tag, there is no way that Nike would implement heavy-duty and cutting-edge technologies in the entirety of the pair. So somewhere along the shoe, there will be cutbacks and loopholes. In this case, the Giannis Immortality has a hollowed cushion technology.
That’s hollowed, not lackluster, because the pair literally does not have any cushion technology infused in it — not even a small amount of Zoom unit. Therefore, it did not receive the name Zoom Giannis Immortality, unlike the “Zoom” Freak 3. But despite the absence of cushion technology, Giannis Immortality still has enough compression that fully comes from the full-length phylon midsole.
Also, Nike filled that gap by implementing cored holes, which you can see at the pair’s outsoles — a concept similar to the Nike KD12. The cored holes allow the foam to compress inside the mold, so when the user presses onto the shoe with all the body weight, the hollow pillars will move inward then expand outwards. That would give a sensation of compression even though there is no cushion technology.
In addition, there are two breaks as seen on the outsole. One break is for flexibility that reinforces the traction when running or shifting, while the other is for additional responsiveness wherein the foam will move inwards between the rubbers, resulting in more compression.
Though very minimal, the pair can really serve some responsiveness and is very lightweight, too. The pair also provides excellent court feel, given that it is not bombarded with technologies and foams.
Giannis Immortality’s heel-to-toe transition is also smooth. It has good curves on the heel and forefoot, which reminds us of the Nike Kyrie Low 3. However, its maximum heel to toe transition relies on its forefoot flex since it has very thin and soft upper materials.
As far as the support goes, there is a minimal amount of padding and mesh on the tongue, while the ankle portion is not really bombarded with foams so there is not much tightness on that portion. Nonetheless, the ankle lockdown is still good.
In addition, there is a double-layered midfoot band beneath the medial Swoosh for added support and lockdown.
For stability, there is not much slide in the footbed except for lateral movements. Since there is no lateral counter and the upper material is very thin, not to mention that the pair’s forefoot is steep, users could experience a bit of instability during lateral movements.
But to make things worse, the major downside of the lack of cushion technology of the pair is the absence of torsional support. It is very evident when the pair is bent to its limit. Hoopers will notice that the Giannis Immortality can actually be bent up to its medial portion where the torsional support must be present. This somehow reminds us of the Nike Roshe Run.
Due to this, some players, especially those who have arch issues, might experience pain on their arch. Though the pain they might encounter may not be very severe, it could still be bothersome. Nonetheless, this issue could not be considered as a deal breaker for the pair.
SIZE AND FITTING
As far as sizing goes, the pair goes true to size. However, the forefoot area is snug. But if you are considering going down half a size, think twice.
The pair’s sizing is a bit tricky. Depending on your feet structure, going down half a size could make the fit shorter. So it would be best to personally try a pair before purchasing.
Nonetheless, the forefoot will still stretch after a few break-ins.
The Giannis Immortality is definitely a bang for the buck, considering its excellent aesthetics, cool colorways, top-tier traction, and not-so-bad cushion. Remember that ballers could enjoy all these attributes by only paying US$80, which is absolutely a steal.
However, players just have to be wary about the pair’s compatibility. Based on the pair’s materials and performance, it would be more appropriate for players with straightforward play style.
Players who are very shifty or heavy could have a hard time using the pair due to its lackluster lateral stability and support. Also, the absence of a cushion technology and implementation of cheap uppers could be an issue for heavier players in the long run.
Now, how do we settle the argument if the Giannis Immortality is really better than the Freak 3? Since ballers have different preferences and point-of-views, opinions would still vary.
The Giannis Immortality might have some aspects which are better than the main signature shoe such as the aesthetics and traction. However, longevity and overall effectiveness would always be the deal breaker.
Keeping the price comparison aside, we cannot discredit the fact that the Freak 3 has real cutting-edge technologies and better materials, while the Giannis Immortality has no cushion technology, which might backfire on full-time ballers. If you want to take a peep at the Nike Zoom Freak 3, we pulled out some of its best (and most affordable) pairs on Amazon.
Nonetheless, the Giannis Immortality will be highly-sought after and shall definitely make its case for the best budget sneaker of 2021.
The Nike Giannis Immortality nets an overall rating of 4.7 out of 5.
Despite being a top performer, the absence of a cushion technology could be bothersome for many players, especially to those who have feet issues.
WHERE TO BUY
The Giannis Immortality is now available in various colorways at selected Nike stores and online. Pairs are up for grabs for US$80.
And one more thing, you can also visit Amazon to check out the best deals on your favorite Nike basketball shoes. Check out this powerful Amazon search tool, and cop the next Nike shoe that you want!