When I became a sneaker head, I mainly considered Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour to be brands I would roll with. Never did I expect a brand like Li-Ning to not only become a brand I roll with, but to become my favorite brand altogether.
I found out about Li-Ning through an infographics project I had to do for my Sport Communication class. For my infographic, I chose to research Evan Turner, one of my favorite Celtics players of all-time, as they are my favorite NBA team. Little did I know that not only he wore Li-Ning, but he actually had a signature shoe through them. When I first gazed at the 004 model, I knew I had to have them.
On my birthday (well a few days after due to shipping), I was delightfully surprised with these. The look was enough to convince me to want them, but this was also an experiment. I never have worn anything Li-Ning before. Heck, I had only heard of the brand for only a couple weeks. I had no idea if these were going to be fantastic for me or if they were going to be duds.
The overall look of the shoe was the major selling point as I have said. Had the Celtics played in a Christmas game in 2014 (which they did not), these likely would have been what Evan Turner had worn (given these were called the Christmas colorway from the site these were purchased from). The colorway is actually fantastic since pink and green tend to work very well together. Another plus on the overall look is that the TurningPoint logo on the tongue is very subtle, something that is a contrast from the shoe itself. While it may not be a revolutionary basketball shoe, the shoe itself has a great look for this colorway and other colorways that were available.
One other plus on the look of the shoe is the shape. Some hi-tops have a tendency to run too high and take away from the shoe. That isn’t the case here. The shoe is a perfect length for a hi-top. Also, the overall design is borderline flawless with the logo and designs providing a subtle touch to an overall flashy shoe.
Fit is probably the biggest drawback of the shoe. I normally wear a 13, but when these were purchased, 12 was the largest size they came in. Luckily for having a large foot, I do not require a wide width or need for a wider shoe. If this were the case, these shoes could not have worked. The shoe itself is on the narrow side. It makes for a bit of a tight fit because of this. Even though I lucked out and worked for me, I recommend going a half to a full size up on these from what you normally wear.
Despite having a narrow fit, once you get them on and break them in, they are actually very comfortable. They are perfect for both performance wear (say for basketball, tennis, or training) and for casual wear. What works with the shoe is they have fantastic breathability. Your feet really will not get too hot or uncomfortable wearing them for a long period of time. Also, the insoles and cushioning on the inside with Li-Ning’s BOUNSE and Cushion technology. Wearing them for a long period of time will not create discomfort or grief with your feet.
One under appreciated aspect of any shoes is the weight of the shoe. Some shoes are so unbearably heavy that they can be a total drag to wear for performance or casual wear. Other shoes may be super light and may impact durability or performance. The TurningPoint 004 finds that perfect “happy medium” of sorts. It is not too light or too heavy. For what is technically a basketball shoe, it is the perfect weight. They’re obviously going to be heavier than the normal running shoe or the normal casual shoe, but for what is branded a basketball shoe, they have an ideal weight. What’s important is that for casual wear, they will not be too heavy either, unlike other basketball shoes.
Overall, this is the shoe that put Li-Ning on the map for me. Not only did the look sell me, but the comfort sold me as well. As I have said, if you are interested in buying these, if you can, go a half size to a full size up for maximum comfort and for the best possible fit. Don’t do what I did and go a size down just so that owning these would be a reality. Other than fit, this shoe was nearly perfect. I recommend this with other accessories from the TurningPoint line, such as a hat, which is pictured above.
What’s funny is Li-Ning went from a total unknown for me to arguably my favorite brand. Chinese brands can be sort of an unknown and even dismissed by “diehard sneaker heads” due to cheaper cost and unknown material. Some sneaker heads even call these brands of shoes knock-offs or imitations of more famous shoes here in the USA. Some brands could be argued as such (I’m looking at you Onemix and Uncle Martian), but really these notions need to be done away with. Sure they may not have the star power of say Nike or Adidas, but they get the job done with their footwear and THAT is what matters.
These shoes are very rare and hard to come by. If you are interested in these in this colorway, or the other colorways available (interestingly named Hellboy and Milk Cow), HiBasketballShoes.com has them for $99.99 as well as ChinaSportShop.com. Unfortunately, the highest size available now on each website is only an 11 so if you are on the larger side of shoe sizes, then you may be out of luck unless you strike gold on eBay or Amazon.
No promotional consideration was given in exchange for this review. The views expressed in this review are those solely of my own.