Q: What Was A.I.'s First Shoe from Reebok?
A: The Reebok Question Mid
by Professor K, posted May 8, 2001
After years of being the sole bright spot on an underwhelming Philadelphia 76ers team, Allen Iverson is finally on a winning squad and in the national spotlight as the leading candidate for Most Valuable Player honors. He's unquestionably Reebok's most important athlete endorser, so much so that he now has his own clothing line and sub-brand, the I3 line. To our knowledge, the only other hoops player with a dedicated sub-brand prior to Iverson was Michael Jordan. But before all of the accolades, before the chants of MVP, before the brand extensions, there was the Reebok The Question Mid.
Originally released in 1996, Iverson's first year in the NBA, the The Question was A.I.'s first signature shoe. Reebok subsequently released four signature shoes for Iverson, the Answer I through IV, but none has enjoyed the popularity or staying power of the original The Question Mid.
figure 1. Visible here is the large midsole and the translucent outsole, which has a slight blue tint. The honeycomb structures on the sides of the midsole are purely for show, but the actual Hexalite unit is partially visible at the bottom of the shoe in the heel area.
Being an older shoe, the Reebok The Question is the only shoe in the Iverson line not to make use of DMX for cushioning. The Question instead employs Reebok's older Hexalite cushioning technology in which a honeycomb-like structure is used to absorb impact. To be honest, I'm not quite convinced that Hexalite really does much at all. Based on my experience with the shoe I think that the thick EVA midsole is what does the work of cushioning. While the shoe does provide excellent cushioning, my one real criticism of it is its overly thick and clunky midsole. While the outsole provides excellent traction and the wide base provides a stable platform for take-offs and landings, the large, blocky midsole makes lateral movement a bit cumbersome.
Other than that, the Reebok The Question is a very good all-around hoops shoe. Much like the Nike Air Force Powermatic, the The Question is an older shoe that gets the job done without a lot of flash or techno-wizardry. As mentioned above, the midsole is largely EVA-based, the upper is leather, and the inner is a simple fabric-lined job. Pretty old-school, but it all works together well. And, as noted above, the shoe is quite wide inside and out, making it a good choice for people with wide feet.
figure 2. The number 3 at the back of the midsole is for Allen Iverson, who wears the number 3. Note again the thickness of the midsole.
I did have a couple of issues with the upper, but they were both small and only lasted through my first two wearings of the shoe. Before the leather was broken-in, it was difficult to lace the shoe tightly enough to get a good, locked down fit. The stiffness of the leather combined with the external lacing system is the culprit here. But once the leather breaks-in the fit improves (although it is never at the level of some of the more modern hoops shoes). The other issue is that the portion of the upper covering the toe can rub and chafe against the top of the toes, causing some discomfort. Again, I think that the cause is the stiffness of the leather upper, which is even stiffer over the toes because of the leather toe-cap. But like the lacing problem, this went away after my first two wearings.
figure 3. As visible here and in all of the photos, the upper of the Reebok The Question Mid is constructed almost entirely of leather. This should make the shoe durable enough for use both indoors and out.
So, to sum up, the Reebok The Question Mid is a very good all-around hoops shoe with a fairly simple design, which probably has a lot to do with its longevity on the sales front. The leather upper and thick midsole should prove to be just as long-lived, making the The Question a good choice for use indoors and out. The thickness of the midsole can, however, hamper quick lateral movement and so this is a not a shoe that I would recommend to quick footed cutters and slashers (although, ironically, that is precisely the type of game that Allen Iverson plays). The Question also does not provide the locked down type of fit that some of the more modern hoops shoes provide, but at a current retail price of $69.99 for all but the White/Black/Flash Red colorway, which A.I. wore in the 2001 All-Star Game, the Reebok The Question is a steal.
Who's Worn It
Allen Iverson (G- Philadelphia 76ers)