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SHOE TEST '03
 
WEAR: NIKE SHOX VC 2

Manufacturer: Nike 
Price: around £130
Use: Indoor / Outdoor
 

The Pitch: Be Vince Carter - or if that doesn't take your fancy, be somebody else wearing Shox VC2, the follow-up to the successful VC boot of 2002. "An elegant package of full-grain and synthetic leathers combined with a dynamic response cushioning system for mad ups and soft downs." Shoes for jumping in other words.
 

The Look: Leather and Lace. Available in black, metallic silver, and white / red. We're not convinced that it's cool to wear shoes that have big holes running through the sole but if that's your bag (baby), then have no fear, Vince is here. In many ways, this is a traditional looking pair of basketball boots but for sheer menace, may we recommend the black, sir.
 

The Shoe: When we put the original Shox VC through its paces, our key reservation was that the lacing was dreadful and that "Nike tried to be a little too clever but with a little tinkering, this could be the model for basketball in the future."

V2 - version that is - is so much better. Lace em up, take to the court and you'll feel like your skillz are just that bit madder - even if it's just a hideous illusion. 

More an overhaul than a mere tinker to last year's debut Vince, it has so much going for it now. While it's not the lightest shoe around (which may put off aspiring dunkers), it's by no means heavy. Otherwise, for sheer excellence in comfort and balance, it's just about perfect.

The Shox system does exactly what it says on the tin, giving you lots of impact cushioning with its cylindrical soles. It also makes it easy to run in spite of the inherent elevation but with no fears about crashing over on one side. A neat trick.

Not that it would matter - there's so much ankle protection included but VC2 still gives ample room to move around. And thankfully, Nike have ditched the hideous velcro lacing which blighted the original in favour of good old-fashioned laces. Hurrah!

The other major upgrade is that inserted boot cushion of VC1 has been replaced by a fully-lined interior. Yet it still feels comfortable from the moment you put it on. There so much to be said for keeping things simple.
 

The Verdict: Unlike Vince himself, Shox VC 2 has just gone to another level since a year ago. If you want a boot to look cool on the street, find something else. 

If you want a shoe though that's going to make you feel like a NBA player on the court and give you every edge you ever needed, then they don't come much better than this.

Rating:  9/10

Test by Stuart Gresham