Jimmy Butler’s first signature with Li-Ning is surprising a lot of people. Continue reading below for an in-depth Li-Ning JB 1 performance review.
Formerly a famous Jordan Brand athlete, Miami Heat superstar Jimmy Butler joined the Chinese footwear brand Li-Ning in 2020. It was a trail-blazing move reminiscent of a similar decision that former Heat legend Dwyane Wade forged: leave a sneaker giant like Jordan and create a new pathway with Li-Ning.
Right when he inked his signature on the black-and-white, the sneaker world knew that it would only be a matter of time before Butler released his first signature shoe with Li-Ning. That came true of course, with Li-Ning successfully launching JB 1 in 2022.
And yes, the first Butler shoe gives a fantastic lasting impression. We know you’re curious, so continue reading below for a full-length Li-Ning JB 1 performance review.
Premium materials stand out in the Li-Ning JB 1
What immediately stands out in the Li-Ning JB 1 is how premium-looking its materials are. It does look premium, especially with how aesthetically-good the carbon wires on the uppers are. It’s not just on the looks though, as the Li-Ning JB 1 materials really feel premium on the feet.
The uppers of the JB 1 are made of textile-like material that feels lightweight and breathable. Basketball shoe uppers that offer a whole lot of ventilation often compromise quality and durability, but that is not the case in this Li-Ning shoe.
The Li-Ning JB 1 boasts the signature Li-Ning BOOM Fiber technology that serves as carbon wires throughout the shoe’s uppers. Along with the ventilation it provides, the BOOM-weave upper material also straps everything together, stabilizing your feet at every turn.
The Li-Ning JB 1 has excellent traction on indoor courts
The Li-Ning JB 1 offers a signature Honeycomb Cellular Loc (HC LOC) technology on its outsole. Its outsole is softer than most basketball shoes, providing amazing bite and grip on clean courts, especially indoors. The JB 1’s outsole goes for a quasi-herringbone traction pattern on the forefoot and the heel areas while flaunting the visible Carbon Plate technology on the middle.
But while it offers excellent grip on indoor courts, the opposite could be said about its performance outdoors. The Li-Ning JB 1’s foam outsole, much like the ones on the Curry Flow, does not last long on outdoor courts. Its grip is not as strong as when used on indoor courts, and the outsole quickly picks up dust.
A soft outsole’s downside is its performance and durability outdoors, but it does provide extreme grip and support indoors. The Li-Ning JB 1 is a perfect example of that.
CUSHION AND SUPPORT
Unique drop-in midsole highlights the Li-Ning JB 1
The Li-Ning JB 1 integrates a unique drop-in midsole made of their BOOM technology. Li-Ning describes the BOOM midsole as an “embedded one-piece full palm” technology that adds more to the lightweight and bouncy attributes of the midsole.
It’s indeed true; the Li-Ning JB 1 is very responsive and bouncy, two sneaker assets that vertical athletes love. And even though the midsole is on the lighter side, it doesn’t compromise impact protection, which is again a piece of good news for vertical athletes.
Moreover, the full-length carbon-fiber plate in the JB 1 offers excellent support and containment. Everything is strapped together, giving you extreme confidence in doing quick side-by-side or lateral movements.
When you combine the JB 1’s bouncy midsole, its impressive carbon-fiber plate, and its foam midsole, you get a basketball shoe that gives you extreme containment and boost on first-steps and quick turns.
SIZE AND FITTING
The Li-Ning JB 1 boasts tremendous lockdown
The Li-Ning JB 1 is a bit roomy on the toe box, so narrow-footed players might want to go a half size up on this one. On the flip side, wide-footed players could go true to size with the JB 1.
But then again, the BOOM-weave technology on the uppers, along with the fully-padded tongue, gives you tremendous lockdown. So even if the Li-Ning JB 1 has a roomy toe box, you know that you’ll still get excellent containment on your movements.
Li-Ning is steadily climbing to the top of the basketball sneaker ecosystem, and their first work in the Jimmy Butler signature line is a statement. The Li-Ning JB 1 is light, responsive, bouncy, and grippy. The only downside of this shoe is its traction performance and durability on an outdoor court, but no shoe is perfect, right?
The Li-Ning JB 1’s hefty price tag could be a dealbreaker for some, but it has premium materials and a comfortable build.
The Li-Ning JB 1 nets an overall rating of 9.3 out of 10.
WHERE TO BUY
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)
Yes, the Li-Ning JB 1 runs a bit wide on the toebox, which is good news for wide-footed hoopers.
The Li-Ning JB 1 performs better on indoor courts than on outdoor courts. The durability on the foam outsole of the Li-Ning JB 1 may not last long on outdoor courts.
The Li-Ning JB 1 flaunts a foam outsole, which provides tremendous bite and grip, especially on indoor courts.
The Li-Ning JB 1 is more suited to guards and wings, as it does not provide excellent impact protection like those in the Nike LeBron’s.
We hope that our Li-Ning JB 1 performance review helped in your search for the basketball shoe that’s perfect for you. Stay tuned for more Dribble Media sneaker reviews!