The first thing you notice about the new Under Armour Curry 6 is the dazzling colourway. Inspired by the nighttime neon lighting of Oakland’s iconic Fox Theater, this is a shoe that turns heads on the street and, in the right hands (or rather feet), opponents’ ankles on the court.
They’re certainly a far cry from the infamous Curry 2, which became an internet sensation back in 2016 for its daggy-dad drabness, inspiring a deluge of vicious Twitter memes that characterised the trainers as legitimate footwear for nursing home occupants.
That Curry was in the middle of a losing NBA Finals series against the Cavaliers at the time made the reaction all the more cruel. It seemed people suddenly forgot they were pouring scorn on a man who, in the last decade has redefined the way the game is played, his near-cosmic range as a shooter and ability to get to the hoop off the dribble stretching defences to breaking point. But, you know, haters gonna hate.
A life-long baller, I’d have to say my game is perhaps more suited to the much maligned 2 rather than the confidently flamboyant 6. At 43 years old, my once ‘relatively’ explosive vertical leap has all but evaporated, leaving me to rely on an old-man game heavy on fakes, dinks, nudges and digs . . . okay, I’m dirtier than Matthew Dellavedova. Let’s just say I get by on grit rather than grace.
So, it is with some trepidation that I lace up a pair of the Curry 6. With its neon sole and lacing system, all-black upper and full-length HOVR cushioning system, I feel like I’m wearing something designed by NASA. Which is perhaps fitting given I instantly feel lighter on my feet. It makes me wonder: can I possibly reclaim a few centimetres of the aerospace previously vacated by my diminished vertical? The Curry 6 makes me believe that I can.
As I bounce onto the court for a lunchtime pick-up game I’m struck by the shoes’ grip, courtesy of a split outsole that increases surface contact. They feel extremely tacky, to the point where I worry about rolling an ankle. It’s only a fleeting concern – as the game progresses I’m reassured by the support of the fully knit upper, which gives you a snug, compression-like fit.
A full-length speed plate keeps you on the balls of your feet, helping you, at least according to the press release, “blow by defenders”. Try as I might I cannot blow anything except possibly a gasket and in the end settle for pull-up midrange jumpers over my shorter opponent.
I walk off the court impressed by the shoes’ performance, if not my own. Did they change my game? Not discernibly. That’s asking a lot of any shoe. But they did make me feel different and for weekend warriors and casual lunchtime hoopers like myself, that’s plenty. In my mind I was as fleet of fleet of foot and bouncily effervescent as Curry himself, a man who’s stated aim on the court is to play with a sense of joy. That’s a goal to which even plodders like me can aspire and one that in the rarified reaches of a lunchtime pick-up game, I manage to achieve.
The Curry 6 Fox Theater colourway, $210 UnderArmour.com.au