When it comes to shoes, ones that were released years ago tend to be overlooked by sneaker heads. Shoes that were released a while back ago, or “retro” if you will, can be hard to review because it can become rather esoteric. That said, it is always fun to revisit classic kicks, especially if there is still access to them in new condition.
Peak is another Chinese brand that has made its way to the basketball world. They have seen players like Dwight Howard, Tony Parker, George Hill and Shane Battier all lace up with Peak. But these kicks in particular are from the line of former NBA player Darnell Jackson. Jackson, who now plays professionally in Poland, was with Peak back in the late 2000s and early 2010s and received his own signature shoe model. While hard to find, they deserve a bit of recognition as this was from an era when Peak was just being introduced to the NBA.
The look of the shoe is a pretty general high-top. The overall shape is what you would expect from a normal high-top. Nothing is revolutionary for the shape, but nothing is terrible about it either.
Where the sneaker really takes off in design is that it has a Velcro strap in front of the tongue that says “D-Block” on it. We have actually seen Velcro make a slight comeback with newer shoes (the 2017 Nike Zoom pops to mind); we did not see them on older basketball shoes too much. Not only was it a fresh idea for the time, but it also personalized the kicks for the line. It was an added feature that revolutionized and personalized a rather generic high-top.
Finally, Peak is inscribed throughout the shoe. Normally, I find this somewhat tacky for a shoe company to do, however Peak actually did a fantastic job with this. Peak is written in metallic, lowercase lettering on the outside of the shoe and on the inside part of each shoe has Peak written in holes resembling pointillism (I’ll touch more on this with comfort and breathability). Also, Peak is written on the tongue and on the front underneath the laces and it is on the back with the triangular Peak logo. I could do without the writing on the front, but the inscriptions of Peak on the sides really take my breath away and really add a huge dynamic of the design.
Overall, while the shape is left to be desired since there is nothing new or groundbreaking with it, the Velcro strap and inscriptions really add a phenomenal aesthetic to the sneaker. Add it to a pretty neat colorway that is blue and white with red speckles, you have a pretty neat looking shoe.
Peak, as a whole, tends to run on the small side. If I can, I’ll usually ask for a size up from what I normally wear. I was lucky enough to find these in a 14 so I rolled with it. Not only does it solve the problem of running on the smaller side, but it almost wound up being too roomy. I was pleasantly surprised with this revelation when the kicks came. With this model, you would definitely be all right ordering your normal shoe size.
This may have to do with the surprising fit of the shoe, but overall the shoe is pretty comfortable. Alongside a pretty good fit, the cushioning on the inside is world-class. The cushioning on the inside is just so wonderful it’s almost plush like. Peak really outdid themselves with the cushioning on the inside.
One drawback of the comfort is that the ventilation leaves a tiny bit to be desired. The ventilation design is incredible as the air holes actually spell out “Peak” on the inside portion of the sneaker. As I said, it gives sort of a pointillism vibe. The part that is left to be desired is that the air holes are rather tiny. Due to the quality of the cushioning, your feet can actually get a little too warm. Though if that is the only drawback of comfort, I would not discount the shoe on that because the cushioning is out of this world.
If you are a fan of lightweight, swift moving shoes, then you should probably steer away from these. While they are perfect for basketball or casual wear, they are not exactly the lightest. I would not recommend going on a “fun run” or anything like that with these because the weight would take its toll.
With that said, the weight is not overbearing. You will not feel tired from dragging these around or anything like that. I would say they are heavier than the normal basketball shoe, but it is not egregious. For a shoe that looks good and has great cushioning, weight is a small price to pay for the overall quality.
Shoes like this have a tendency to be discarded by sneaker heads. They are considered an old model and from a brand many people are not familiar. There are reasons as to why people would look at a shoe like this and just say no.
Look past that though. Look past those stereotypes with older shoes and especially on lesser known, Chinese brands such as Peak. This shoe is probably my favorite out of the four I have from Peak (though all four pair I own I love) and is a definite keeper. The flashy look, the aesthetic, and the rarity is what sold me on the shoes; the cushioning and surprise roomy aspect of the shoe skyrocketed it into one of my favorites in my collection. Even with this being an older model, I have had people give rave reviews to me in person and even become a conversation starter about the brand to other sneaker heads. Peak was looking to strike a punch among arriving to the NBA with these and with more availability and exposure, they definitely could have.
The biggest downside is the successfully finding a pair for purchase. Due to the age, availability is going to be a problem. I was lucky (and I mean LUCKY) to score a new pair from eBay. I was amazed when I even saw a pair like these on eBay. The only known place that these are still accessible to my knowledge is PeakSneakers.com. They run for $132 approximately and the size selection is limited from 7-10 (I suppose I consider myself EXTREMELY LUCKY now for finding a size 14 for just a bit more than $30). One other thing is that this particular colorway is not available. There is a white, red and gold version (which is considered the home shoe) and a black and red version (which is considered the away shoe). Given when Darnell Jackson played for the Cavaliers and given they use blue in their alternate jerseys, it leads me to believe that these would be considered the alternate colorway. If you think you could like a shoe like this (and are willing to pay for them), then this is the shoe for you.
No promotional consideration was given in exchange for this review. The views expressed in this review are those solely of my own.