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With the rise in crowdfunded markets, a new spectrum of B2C products has been born, and with the pandemic, studies have now shown that significant developments have been made within this area.

Numerous environmentally-friendly footwear that were launched on crowdfunding platforms have been featured on IBTimes, but so far, they were almost exclusively streetwear, which has less demand when it comes to performance. With the release of the B.EASE Suspended basketball shoes, we see for the first time an attempt at producing performance athletic shoes.

How do crowdfunded sports shoes perform? And can it compare with major established brands? Let's dive in to find out.

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Original Design

Coming up with an original design is not an easy task. Being a bit of a sneakerhead since my teenage years, I've seen how even the major brands struggle with this. So how well can a relatively minor shoemaker based in France do? The answer is: surprisingly well.

The B.EASE Suspended is quite a unique design, and there's no obvious inspiration from other shoe designs. The closest resemblance that I can find is the LeBron 15, but even then, there's only very minor inspiration that's taken. The Suspended is very much an original design, with quite a unique and handsome look of its own.

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Tough and Comfortable Upper Construction

The first visual design that stands out when seeing the Suspended for the first time is the red strap that runs down the center of the front of the shoes, which subtly features the motto: 'Make Every Shot Count'.

The rest of the shoes are divided into layers, starting at the top with the soft 'gray' section, which is where the tongue would usually be. Its soft, one-piece, knit construction was, I found, to be more comfortable than the traditional shoe structure, and offered adequate padding for the laces that are over the front of the feet.

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The next layer down is the durable TPU and recycled plastic layer. It's much more stiff than the knit section and looks quite durable and reliable. I especially appreciated the hardened layer near the toes - in my experience, extra protection around the toes goes a long way to extend the life of shoes as the part around the toes are the most susceptible to wear and tear.

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Unique Lacing System

Coined as B.Stable laces, the Suspended shoes have a distinct lacing system. Running along the sides of the shoes, the lace anchor points are made up of two sets of nylon straps and two sets of cords, making it look like two 'rails'.

One important feature that it has is the the top/last anchor point of the laces running right up to where the lateral malleolus is (the bony protrusion felt on the outside of the ankle), which then creates a wide wrap around the whole ankle, providing a secure fit and good support.

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Supportive Multi-layered Sole

The B.EASE Suspended has a multi-layered sole design, where the inner sole is made of a thick memory foam and is laid upon two layers of EVA midsole. The midsoles are on the firmer side, which provide more support and agility for the wearer.

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The Suspended then features a one-piece rubber outsole that covers the entire base of the shoes. Instead of going for some fancy outsole that is put together with multiple sections, the one-piece construction makes it tougher and more suitable for outdoor courts.

After trying out the B.EASE Suspended I found that its shock absorption is on-par with major brands, and what's more, it has noticeable improvement for both stability and agility.

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Outsole designed for Stability and Agility

Upon wearing the B.EASE Suspended and moving around in them, I noticed an extra feel of stability that prevents my ankle from twisting outwards. After detailed inspection, I noticed an extra lip on the outer edge of the front of the shoes. The added width effectively prevented my feet from rolling outwards and offered good ankle protection.

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The rear of the shoes that supports the heel is, on the other hand, made for maneuverability, with more rounded edges. This enables the wearer to perform movements like crossovers that require more rapid change of direction.

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Final Verdict

In an era where many sneakers are more about hype than performance, decent pairs of high-performance shoes for less than $200 has become a rarity. Seeking to provide a more affordable alternative that has comfort, dependability and design at heart, the B.EASE Suspended was created.

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As for the burning question of whether a crowdfunded basketball shoes can deliver on its promise? After going hands-on with the Suspended basketball shoes, I can say yes. B.EASE has managed to create a pair of high-performance shoes at the fraction of the cost of major brands. For that we are awarding the B.EASE Suspended the IBTimes Exceptional Value badge.

For those interested in the B.EASE Suspended, you can find out more on its website.

David is a tech enthusiast/writer who is often on the move and is on a mission to explore ways to make his overhaul flights more enjoyable. This is a contribution to an ongoing IBTimes review series on gadgets for Business Travellers.

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