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Deconstruction: PUMA MB.01

It’s been a while since I’ve been electrified by this PUMA MB.01, a hoop shoe that has been the source of heated discussion in the sneaker field for quite a period of time. It has been favored by quite a lot of people for its excellent comfort as well as outstanding cushioning.

The PUMA MB.01, released by PUMA for LaMelo Ball, embodies PUMA basketball’s core philosophy of blending competitive sports with trendy culture. Let’s break it down and have a look at its specific internal structure. After all, the structure is an important part of the whole story and has huge implications for its overall performances on court.

The longitudinal section of the PUMA MB.01.

As you might’ve noticed, the padding of both the tongue and the heel is quite thick, thus offering super nice comfort and protection for us. Inviting, right? In theory, I would say that it is a good choice for most players, including the wide footers, but my experience has told me that it is not the case. There isn’t more extra room inside the toebox than it looks like from this perspective. So for wide footers, going up 1/2 a size may be more ideal.

After changing to an ideal size myself, everything is OK and I never ran into such glaring problems as heel slippage and toe bumps. Therefore, as long as you pick the right size, the shoe will also fit you snugly.

The separate vamp and midsole.

The tongue is not integrated with the vamp, and the welt is relatively big, making the shoe more suitable for a variety of foot shapes. But anyway, to avoid any possible discomfort, like over-tightness at the heel or the toes, trying the shoe on in the flesh is best, in my opinion.

The first two sets of shoelace holes are designed dynamically, reaching the midsole position. After tightening the laces, the forefoot wrapping will be terrifically improved. My foot just sat comfortably inside the shoe, and the vamp feels like cupping it and pinning it down inside. As soon as I am engrossed in playing, I feel as if I were only wearing a pair of socks. Anything is wonderful at that point.

Stellar job – no any complaints hitherto!

To be honest, I was a bit shocked at the thickness of the vamp which is about 4.21mm. Since there is no air holes in the vamp (at least I couldn’t find any), it’ll be stuffy to wear the shoes in weather above 20 degrees Celsius. What’s more, the thickness of the heel area even runs into 7.12mm, making it all the more sweltering for players, not least during high-intensity plays, I should say.

One beckoning and distinctive area of the shoe lies in the insoles. The pattern on them is actually eye-catching and impressive, and if you happen to have some complex in this aspect, you’ll probably get infatuated with it.

The midsole cloth is made of EVA and the back side the non-woven fabric with product information printed on it. Nothing special to talk about this respect.

One big thing about the shoe is its cushion tech. The NITRO FOAM cushioning material with supercritical full-foot nitrogen FOAM craft and the  independent PEBAX cushion sound thrilling! It’s really a wonderful cushion setup, no other way to put it.

The front midsole features the honeycomb pattern that aims at enhancing multi-directional flexibility in movements. At the meantime, the independent PEBAX cushioning material is placed at the force point of the heel, and the whole midsole upturns to provide overall stability.

When I first wore the shoes I couldn’t get used to its cushion that felt a bit hard for me. However, after several rounds of play, I began to feel the full potential of the cushion and then things just turned out to be after my own heart.

Thanks to this setup, I feel that the heel really offer me stellar impact protection and the forefoot portion, a bit low to the ground, helps make it ultra-smooth during heel-to-toe stride. In a word, there cushion performance is stable, balanced and right to the point.

The PEBAX of size 42.5 is approximately 46.01 mm long, 45.09mm wide and 4.92mm thick.

As you can see there’s the “XXX” at the midsole heel. It actually stands for Ball’s youngest honer ever.

Besides that, TPU is not uncommon in sneakers and in this one it greatly improves lateral stability.

The hard TPU on the side of this size(42.5) is about 193 mm long and 4.04mm thick.

The arch TPU is placed between the midsole and the outsole.

The transparent rubber outsole, being largely upturned in the forefoot, plays a significant role in improving stability. I know that the rubber sounds not bad and should, in theory, offer nice traction, if not deadly. On paper that is. But expectations  are usually far more ideal than the reality.

When playing indoors, I am prone to choose the wooden floors, on which the outsole naturally exposes its shortcomings. Its traction is not good enough as to help me stop right away and it is also sensitive to dust, requiring frequent cleaning. That’s definitely burdensome for me and so I’d  start feeling a decrease in responsiveness of the outsole, though still bearable.

But there are still times when I’d wipe the outsoles off with great care and then they’ll work well to a point that quite startles me. So I deem that if you take the time to get used to wiping these off, you may find them more agreeable than what I’ve said here.


The PUMA MB.01 embodies Ball’s personal style both in its entirety and in detail, and with a variety of practical setups, both on and off the court, it is a remarkable work, though not perfect. It does provide me with almost everything I need from the perspective of actual plays.

Of course, you can compare it with other shoes, but I think you may draw conclusions like it is far more cost-effective than the various sneakers on the market currently. With a price of $157, you are getting a very nice sneaker and the more you play in it, the more likelier you’ll dig this one a lot too!