words & images_Terence Tang Nike's Refresh collection has continually appeared on the feet of many NBA players, including the franchise starting Zoom Sharkley, Zoom Flight Club and Zoom Phenom. The Zoom Sharkalaid is next in line, as rising superstar Rudy Gay wore them to tear up the Team USA scrimmage earlier this summer, and he and Jazz PG Deron Williams have been wearing them all season long. A hybrid of the Zoom Sharkley (which was a hybrid of the Shake Ndestrukt and CB94 in its own right) and the Air Raid, this shoe combines outdoor durability, upper stability, and in-your-face style. Staying true to the Refresh idea, where Nike combines the classics of yesteryear, Nike offered these shoes in the classic and irresistible black/white/carbon fiber colorway reminiscent of the Zoom Flight 95. Initially, I struggled slightly to lace the shoes up, and I couldn't help but hope that the two stylish but cumbersome straps that cross over the top of the shoe had some functional purpose to make the effort worthwhile. I laced the shoes up to the second-to-last eyelets and found that they were very loose around the ankles. Feeling safer with more ankle support, I tried lacing them all the way to the top. This actually yielded so much ankle support that movement was restricted; I had tightened the laces so tight that the plush ankle collar dug into my Achilles. I loosened them a bit and found a perfect balance of ankle support and mobility. SC Sharkalaid5 Since the Sharkalaids posess the same midsole setup (Phylon with heel Zoom Air) and outsole pattern as the Zoom Phenom, my expectations of the same cusioning, heel-to-toe transition and traction were verified. Zoom Air in the heel softened my heel strike, heel-to-toe transition was effortless, and traction was great on both indoor and outdoor surfaces. I noticed almost immediately that the lateral stability of the shoes is amazing, as the two straps actually prevent the upper from shifting outwards during lateral movement, allowing for sharper, more precise cuts. The interior forefoot was slightly on the slim side, but not ridiculously slim, like the Foamposite Lite, for example. They're just about as roomy as the Zoom LeBron Soldier III's, and the arch height matches that of most Nike shoes (Huarache '09, Zoom Flight Club, Zoom Phenom, Zoom BB, etc.) The mesh tongue and mesh panels on both sides of the upper allowed for good breathability (the straps didn't seem to suffocate my feet), and the ankle support was very reassuring throughout games - so much so that these shoes can probably even accomodate power forwards and centers. I can't really call this a complaint because the Sharkalaids did perform very well, but the ride isn't as low to the ground as shoes like the Zoom Phenom, Zoom BB or Huarache '09. I actually put the Phenoms on my left foot and the Sharkalaids on my right foot for a side-by-side comparison, and the Zoom Phenoms definitely feel lower to the ground. This wasn't necessarily a bad thing; think of it as a BMW's handling vs a sport-tuned Range Rover's. Of course, the Sharkalaids are still more nimble than anything built for big men with a full Max Air unit, but it's an area that could use a bit of improvement. SC Sharkalaid3 Overall, the Nike Zoom Sharkalaid is a very good shoe that's best suited for mobile forwards that crave ankle support but still want a smooth ride in a quick shoe. They're a tad heavier and slightly clunkier than the Zoom Phenoms, but this level of lateral stability and ankle support in a shoe that forwards and even big guards will appreciate is tough to match. If you're looking for a durable playing option with good heel cushioning, lockdown and lateral stability, the Zoom Sharkalaid is a solid choice and can now be had on sale for far less than their $88 retail. Who's Worn It? Rudy Gay (Memphis Grizzlies), Deron Williams (Utah Jazz), Rajon Rondo (Boston Celtics) SC Sharkalaid2SC Sharkalaid4SC Sharkalaid1