Just looking at the Air Zoom Breathe 2K10 you can tell it has close ties to the Nike Breathe Free and Cage shoes. Slipping them on, that relationship becomes ever more apparent. I'm really reminded of the Breathe Free shoes when wearing these. The Cages are an evolution of the Breathe Frees, but have their own feel. These feel more Breathe Free II like than Cage like.
I think the similarity to the Breathe Free II comes from the feel of the upper. Whereas the Breathe Cage shoes featured a beefed up Drag On design for additional support and stability, the 2K10 feels softer and more like the feel of the Breathe Free II. From the midsole up, the shoe is very light and flexible feeling with absolutely no break-in required.
When moving side to side, I really appreciate the low to the ground ride in these shoes. The Zoom Air cushioning does a great job of making tough landings comfortable, but what I like most about it is its responsiveness combined with the fact I can feel the court. The Lunarlon in the forefoot responds in much the same way and the front of the shoe feels very light and responsive.
The chassis of the shoe is very rigid. There's a healthy midfoot shank, and the rear of the shoe is supported by Nike's Fit Frame to prevent the shoe from overly flexing. Both combine to offer good torsional support. During play, the supple uppers and the stiff chassis work well together providing ample stability and comfort.
Nike's Drag On material not only makes for a comfortable upper, it provides some solid durability, too. It is beefed up on the medial side so that players who drag their trailing foot wont blow holes through the upper. I don't drag the medial side of the forefoot as much as I drag the toe tip of the shoe. Even at the tip of the shoe, my toe dragging tendencies haven't put much damage on these.
Mesh underneath the Drag On material allows for great ventilation and my feet never felt hot or overly sweaty during play.
For the outsole, Nike has gone with a pretty standard herringbone pattern. Traction on hard courts is very solid. The XDR rubber offers plenty of grab. I can take off for an aggressive sprint, make a lateral cut or come to a quick stop without worry of slipping.
The outsoles do not come with a durability guarantee, which is a shame, but I've found them to be very durable during my month-long playtest.
What we have here then, is a unique shoe in the Nike line. It is the closest option to the now discontinued men's Nike Breathe Free II and offers a lighter and airier feel compared to the Cage II or the Ballistec 2.3. While I find the stiffer Cage and Ballistec to feel more solid, the Breathe 2K10 feels lighter and faster. The flex from the uppers allowed the shoes to move with my feet and helped my make quick progress around the court. On the fit front, the Breathe 2K10 feels a tad wider than the Breathe Free II and the Ballistec 2.3. I'd say it offers a true medium fit. I have narrow feet, but by choosing a thicker sock I was able to get a nice and supportive fit.
Overall I was very impressed with this shoe. It felt very fast on the court, the comfort was excellent and I was getting lots of traction. That all combines to make the Breathe 2K10 a winner in my book and the best part is, they proved to very durable so I still have plenty of wear to look forward to.