What’s going on CK fam? It’s PJ again back with another performance review! Fresh off my performance review of the Jordan 31 (click HERE to read), next on my list is the Brandblack Rare Metal. (which was the J Crossover 4 before Jamal Crawford moved on to adidas)
Weight: 188 Pounds
Basketball Experience: 4 years of high school basketball, 20+ years overall
Basketball Play Style: point guard, more quick than fast, average explosiveness, aggressive defender
Shoe Size: length of a 9, width of a 10, usually compromises at 9.5 for best fit
Current Basketball Shoe: Brandblack Rare Metal (Size 9.5)
Previous Basketball Shoe: Air Jordan 31 (Size 9.5)
Collective Kicks Rating System:
*Here at Collectivekicks we will be utilizing a 1-5 scale, 1 being the worst and 5 being the best. I will be using a theme for the rating scale on each performance review, and this edition’s rating theme will be the actors who played Batman! (shoutout to Nightwing2303)
5. Elite (Michael Keaton)
4. Great (Christian Bale)
3. Decent (Val Kilmer)
2. Mediocre (Ben Affleck)
1. Garbage (George Clooney)
Traction: 3- Decent (Val Kilmer)
It looks a lot like the blade traction we’ve been getting from Brandblack in the past, unfortunately, it just doesn’t work as well. Don’t get me wrong, the Rare Metals don’t have bad traction, I was just a little disappointed. The JCrossover 2s and especially the JCrossover 3s had really good bite even with a little bit of dust present. The Rare Metals offer good consistent traction just not the bite I expected or wanted.
-The Brandblack Rare Metal Traction-
The traction does improve a bit after some initial break in time, I definitely noticed the grip improve. Even then so, the rare metals didn’t live up to my expectations in this department. I’m not sure if they overdid it by adding small notches into the blades (possibly adding to the dust clogging instead of helping), but the one thing I noticed right away was that the outsole isn’t entirely covered by rubber traction. Some of the midsole (Jetlon Plus) becomes a part out of the outsole and even though these portions are textured with traction patterns I don’t believe they grip as well as the same portions that are covered in rubber. Why did Brandblack do this? I don’t know, maybe to make the shoe lighter? I don’t know for a fact, but in my experience with the Rare Metals, the traction was decent to good, just not great like I was hoping for. I’ll take consistent good traction like this over the super inconsistent traction I received in the Air Jordan 31s, at least you know what you are going to get from the Rare Metals every step you take on the court.
-Traction=part rubber part Jetlon Plus-
Cushion: 5- Elite (Michael Keaton)
I’ve always felt that properly implemented zoom couldn’t be beat, but man does this stuff give zoom a run for its money. Brandblack implemented what they call Jetlon Plus into the Rare Metal. I read in a Slam Magazine Online interview with Brandblack Founder Dave Raysse (HERE) that Jetlon Plus is basically the same thing as Black Foam (40% more rebound than regular foam) from the JCrossover 3 and Ether models from last year. They essentially just took Black Foam, cut it down 1/4th of its height and removed the Force Vector plates that were implemented last year for additional stability.
-Say hello to the best foam I’ve ever played basketball in-
Jetlon Plus is plush, bouncy, and even after hours of playing, my 34 year old knees felt great. Court feel is definitely improved over the JCrossover 3s from last year, which was about my only complaint from last year’s JC3. The Rare Metals don’t sit ridiculously low to the ground, but you’re definitely not 5 inches off of it like it felt in the JC3s.
Jetlon Plus does feel a little similar to Bounce cushion by adidas (I previously played in the Lillard 2s), but I definitely give Jetlon Plus the nod. It feels more lively, and is softer and overall a more comfortable cushion. I’ve sadly never played in Under Armour’s Micro G, but I’ve heard Jetlon Plus feels similar to that. Any way you slice it, Jetlon Plus is the best foam I’ve ever played in. Really, really, good stuff. (adidas Boost is next on my to try list)
Comfort: 4-Great (Christian Bale)
The Jacquard upper is a little more stiff than I expected. A good amount of break in time was needed for me, especially in the toe box area. I’m not sure what the design inspiration was, but the fuse overlay section on the medial side of the toebox dug into my foot a little bit initially. After a few runs, that portion broke in and it feels fine now, but there was some definite discomfort at first for me personally (especially on the left shoe).
-Slight initial discomfort between the white fuse layer and the bottom eyelet. You can see the indentation in the upper-
Maybe I was spoiled by performance woven uppers, and while I know there is some support and durability advantages to thick jacquard fabric uppers, I really prefer the comfort and flexibility of performance wovens like flyweave (Jordan Brand) and primeknit (adidas). They just flex a lot more naturally and give you that sock like feel that is second to none. By no means am I saying the jacquard used on the Rare Metals is uncomfortable, it just isn’t as comfortable as the performance wovens from Jordan Brand, adidas, and even Brandblack themselves (JC2). Overall, still a very comfortable shoe, definitely nothing to complain about.
Another big plus for the Rare Metals is the weight. Man are these things light. (11 ounces for a size 9) Not only are they light, but they feel light with the weight being distributed so evenly throughout. That’s a major complaint I had about the adidas Crazy Light 2016s when I first tried them on. Those things are bottom heavy like crazy, and I didn’t like how it felt when I was moving around. When you lift your feet off the ground in the Rare Metals it really feels effortless. The feeling is equally satisfying when you plant your feet on the ground. It’s the most “unclunky” basketball shoe I’ve ever played in. The midsole/outsole reminds me of Nike’s Ultra midsole/outsole as far as the weight and feel, just with a lot more bounce thanks to the Jetlon Plus. The comfort from the midsole down is like nothing I’ve experienced in a basketball shoe. It really is amazing.
Support/Fit: 5-Elite (Michael Keaton)
The fit was probably my favorite aspect of the Rare Metals. They feel like they were tailor-made for my feet, and that’s saying something because I have weird Frodo Baggins like feet. I don’t know what Brandblack did, but the fit around the midfoot, collar, and heel was totally unexpected. You are so locked in with the Rare Metals, but at the same time I felt ZERO pressure, pinching, or pain.
I’m pretty sure it has something to do with the high-low hybrid setup. It aesthetically looks a little off since the it goes from a high to a low so drastically, but man this setup really does perform. Nightwing2303 said it best, ” When your laced up fully, it feels like a mid or a high, but you got all that range of motion and fluidity of a low”. That really sums up how these feel from the midfoot to the heel. I felt zero heel slip and even when laced up tight I felt zero pressure around the top of my foot and ankle.
” When your laced up fully, it feels like a mid or a high, but you got all that range of motion and fluidity of a low”. -Nightwing2303 (spot on sir)
I can see the toe box being a little roomy for narrow-footers, but for wide-footers like myself it is perfect. I went true to size, and while I did have about a thumb’s width of room up front, my foot didn’t feel loose and wasn’t flopping around thanks to the amazing fit and lockdown of the shoe. The microfiber type insole probably doesn’t help too much performance wise (maybe a little extra grip between the foot and foot bed), but I still feel it was a nice added touch by Brandblack.
-Roomy toe box, runs maybe a hair long. Definitely wide-footer friendly-
For a super minimal shoe, the good amount of support and containment I received from the Rare Metals was a lot more than expected. The super wide and flat base, the big outrigger, the raised midsole for lateral stability, the midfoot shank, the Rare Metals really packs a lot of little neat features that prevents you from questioning the lack of support, stability, and containment on a minimal basketball shoe. Brandblack is really detail-oriented, something I’ve appreciated about them since day 1. Even the laces are super nice!
Overall: 4.5-Amazing (Adam West)
Brandblack really brought it this year with the Rare Metal. Aside from the “good” traction, everything else on the Rare Metal is just top notch. I especially enjoyed the cushion and the fit on the Rare Metals, absolutely beast in both departments. I know Brandblack isn’t the most renown company out there, but I find a lot of satisfaction and enjoyment when I step on the court knowing I’ll be the only one rocking these performance beasts! It’s like I know a secret that nobody else does lol.
If you play on a decently maintained floor and are looking for a light minimal shoe, with exceptional fit and cushion, look no further than the Brandblack Rare Metal. At $110, you really cannot go wrong with the Brandblack Rare Metals, they come highly recommended!