By now, you all know how The Sneaker Brief team feels about the Gordon Hayward’s first signature. I’ve already published my performance review of the ANTA GH1 quite a while ago, in the “Barbershop” colorway, and it’s still my favorite basketball shoe of the year, and of all time. Both Alan and I purchased premium suede “Gentleman” colorway due to how much we love the shoe, and because of how clean the colorway is to us. Thus, here’s our ANTA GH1 “Gentleman” Performance Review.
Here’s Alan’s thoughts:
My favorite basketball shoe ever: The Anta GH1 in the suede leather “Gentleman” colorway.
Yes. I’m going there. No, I did not get this shoe for free from ANTA. I paid $140 for this shoe and waited 4 months for it to ship from Thailand. Now let me get the only con out of the way. The laces that come with the shoes are not good quality at all. There. That is it. That’s literally the only con of the shoe. Now let’s talk about why the GH1 in the all suede leather upper is the best performing basketball sneaker I’ve ever owned.
Indoor performance with outdoor durability. To the people who say “nIkE mAkEs ThEiR rUbBeR sOfT oN pUrPoSe So It GrIpS bEtTeR”, I am sorry to inform you that you can have both grip AND durability. If I pay 200 dollars for a signature athlete’s shoe, not only do I expect the best performance out of the shoe, but I also expect the most longevity. This shoe, at least in my outsole’s colorway, has both. The three circular patterns in the forefoot and the tiger stripes in the back grip like crazy. No dust pickup whatsoever. I don’t play like Kyrie, but in theory, if you utilize a lot of spins and pivots, the circles should be perfect for you. A small bit of the rubber comes up 15 millimeters on the medial side, which provides extra traction when you need to sell your crossover and you’re faking one direction and your back foot needs to be on the medial side. However, I do suspect that pairs with translucent outsoles will attract more dust.
Low profile, responsive, and impact protection. Air Jordan 1s hurt my lower back, but Boost sneakers and Crocs, which are abundant with soft cushion, hurt my knees after a while of playing. The cushion can’t be too hard or else my back is absorbing all of the impacts. And it can’t be too soft or else my heel sinks into the cushion, sending the impact up to my knees. The GH1’s iteration of full-length A-flash foam does not disappoint. It is the perfect Goldilocks of cushioning for my body and athletic ability. According to our ANTA source, the foam is actually their version of a pebax elastomer foam, which is what the Nike Vaporfly marathon shoes use. The external heel cup slightly cages the heel cushion, but that actually works in the shoe’s favor because it prevents the heel portion from over-compressing. The lateral forefoot cushion is caged by a soft TPU piece and the rubber on the medial side only comes up 15 millimeters. The lateral TPU piece prevents that side of the cushion from compressing and inverting your ankle. The medial side foam is allowed to expand and compress but not too much. You get all the impact protection of a good foam with all the stability of a low-profile cushion. I personally like the flash foam in the GH1s more than the KT5s because the KT5s were slightly higher up off the ground and compressed a bit more. The thick high quality 6-millimeter polyurethane anatomically sculpted insole that molds to your arch is just the cherry on top. None of that cheap Nike Ortholite stuff that feels like dryer lint. A-flash foam is soft, but it has a stronger quicker rebound than A-shock foam, Boost, or Lunarlon. 10/10.
Mostly flat, slightly rounded heel and forefoot.The midsole shape is exactly what I need as a perimeter player. I want a nice flat shoe with curves in just the right places. The Adidas DON Issue 1 is flatter than Montana, but the heel cushion literally adds 1 inch of foam behind your heel. The Jordan Why Not Zer0.2 had awesome rounded heel and forefoot sections, but the shoe wasn’t flat horizontally; you could literally rock side to side like Michael Jackson on them. The GH1 gets it right. Slight rounded heel that recedes towards the front of the shoe and a small toe-off section in the forefoot. The rest of the shoe is flat front to back and side to side. The outrigger is nice and strong and flat, but it’s not too obtrusive where it got in my way when I was making lateral movements.
Mostly leather and suede. Yes, I know the shoelaces are bad, but the rest of the shoe is great. For the “Gentleman” colorway, the shoe is comprised of mostly suede and leather. I suspect that the external heel counter and lateral TPU piece are covered in glue and then dipped in suede shavings, but I could be wrong. There are multiple layers of the shoe upper. The outermost layer and the huge toe cap are made of suede. Connecting the lateral and medial sides of the outermost layer of suede is a thin stretchy micromesh. The inner booty is a mixture of leather at the internal heel and suede everywhere else. Attached to the booty is a partial tongue. The part of the tongue you grab to put on the shoe is suede on the outside and leather on the inside. The rest of the tongue, which is under the stretchy micromesh, is a nice soft mesh. The leather and the suede aren’t on the same level of softness as a Michael Kors handbag, but compared to other modern shoes, the leather and suede are quite nice. The regular pairs of the GH1 use a mainly knit and soft vinyl toe cap. I don’t have those to compare with my suedes, but I assume those will be more flexible and breathable. Don’t get me wrong though. This shoe is not unbearably hot and stiff. The suede is super soft and flexible. Zero break in time needed. One thing to keep in mind though is it’s hard to remove stains or dirt from suede, so if you’re OCD, buy the normal knitted pairs with the synthetic toe caps. Another thing is that after playing in these for a while, the suede literally molds to my feet so you can see all the folds of my foot movement in the suede pair, at least.
Support, Stability, Fit, & Containment:
A wide footer friendly shoe that doesn’t skimp out on anything. I have wide feet and have a 24-centimeter-long foot. ANTA says they use the same sizing as Nike, so I would actually measure my foot in centimeters and then go to Nike’s shoe size chart to choose what size you should get in ANTA. You’d be surprised how often people’s shoe size doesn’t correlate with their actual foot length. I got a size 6.5 and width wise I was perfect. I had less than a thumb’s width of space between my toe and the end of the shoe. Youtubers complained about the GH1’s bubbly toecap, but for me it fit my wide feet perfectly. I recommend going true to size for wide feet, but half size down for normal and narrow feet. Don’t forget, most Chinese brands make their shoes wider because the average Asian foot is wider than the average Caucasian foot. If the shoe is too tight for you, take out the super thick insole: 6 millimeters is a lot. Keep in mind, the suede version of the shoe may wear differently than the regular knitted pairs. Because the shoe conformed to my foot nicely, every other protective feature of the shoe could do their job. In addition to the external heel counter that cages the heel foam, there is also a larger internal one that hugs your entire heel. The flat midsole and beefy outrigger/TPU cages kept you upright. The suede and leather do not stretch at all. Also, your foot actually sits within the foam, not directly on top of it. There is a torsional shank plate that covers the entire midfoot and stops right before the forefoot. Similar to the Jordan Why Not Zer0.1’s internal ribbon lacing system, the 4 ribbons that double as lace loops actually come up from below the footbed and through the suede upper. As if the suede and the toe cap on top of the upper weren’t going to be enough, the 4 ribbon cables also help lock you down. The two eyelets at the top are on two “wings” of the internal suede leather booty. These two wings help draw your heel into the back of the shoe. Who knew that a sneaker modeled after a dress shoe would have every support feature I could need?
Overall effect on my playstyle:
I loved the ANTA Shock The Game 3.0 Mid’s midsole shape. It really let me rock into my shot and sprint like crazy. However, the STG 3 midsole was a bit narrow compared to the GH1. And the after trying on the GH1, I can now tell that the STG 3 had a “globular” heel. The STGs did not have as flat and stable of an outrigger as the GH1s do. Furthermore, because the STG’s was “decoupled” where only a bit of the forefoot and heel were touching the ground, I longed for a shoe that made more contact with the ground. There was a “learning curve” when I first tried them on. If anything, I prefer this setup more. While the GH1 does not have as aggressive as a curve as the STGs, I feel way more stable because of the GH1’s strong outrigger and flatter shape. Plus, it’s not like the GH1 is as flat and clunky as the DON Issue 1s. The heel is rounded and recedes in and the forefoot has a nice toe-off. This gives me just enough curvature to sprint and rock into my shot, but there is no chunky bulbous heel to bump my stride. This A-flash foam provides both court-feel and impact protection. Forefoot lockdown and containment was just as good as my other STGs with the forefoot vinyl wrap, except the GH1s feature a strong stable flat outrigger. And it’s not a Kobe AD flimsy outrigger fin. There’s an actual structure of the outrigger connecting it to the rest of the shoe. Also, there is a large forefoot width to heel width ratio. In other words, the forefoot is significantly wider than the heel section. Even MORE forefoot stability. In addition, the alternate STGs felt a little bulbous and pudgy in the forefoot while the GH1s, even though they were wider and flatter, felt more precise and quick because of the slightly pointed toe. This shoe kicked ass on defense. The toe cap, lateral TPU piece, and low-profile A-flash foam contained me by giving me flat, stable, and impact absorbing cushion. Whether it was perimeter defense or guarding a post player, the support/containment features and curved yet laterally flat midsole had my back. Defense makes or breaks a basketball sneaker, and the GH1s passed with flying colors. Keep in mind though that my colorway was mostly suede and leather, so the normal versions that use knits may feel differently. And finally, even though aesthetics have no bearing on actual performance, but when you look good, you play good.
Pros: Everything else. Traction, cushion, quality, comfortability, support, and containment
Cons: Cheap shoelaces, long shipping time, if you’re OCD about cleaning then don’t get the suede version
Let us know what you think of our ANTA GH1 “Gentleman” Performance Review in the comments below.