Our verdict

The Reebok Answer IV is a standout retro model that honors Allen Iverson. For us, this shoe is a no-brainer, especially since we are suckers for classic leather silhouettes that are immensely durable and supportive. Even though this Reebok shoe falls short of proper cushioning and other features of a high-performance hoop shoe, it still performs decent on the court. But if you consider it for your casual sneaker collection, we think that the Answer IV is a fantastic offering with a rich background.

Pros

  • Iconic '90s silhouette
  • Stunning leather quality
  • Exceptional stability and support
  • Phenomenal lockdown (laces, zipper, velcro)
  • Lighter than other Reebok classics
  • Great forefoot traction
  • Cool reflective side panels

Cons

  • No breathability at all
  • Unsatisfactory cushioning
  • Tapered toebox

Audience verdict

85
Good!

Who should buy

The Answer IV is very likely to be your perfect match if:

  • you're a massive Iverson fan
  • you're looking for an authentic high-quality '90s silhouette that actually looks good
  • you want a basketball shoe that makes a statement (performance is secondary)

Reebok Answer IV review

Who should NOT buy

If you are here to find an actual performance hoop shoe, this retro Reebok model is not it. Our current top recommendations are the Nike LeBron 20 and the Adidas Harden Vol. 7.

Another major turnoff of the Reebok Answer IV is its unbearably hot upper. If you need some ventilation inside your basketball shoes, we suggest the Nike Cosmic Unity 3 as a better choice.

Reebok Answer IV lab test

Breathability

We had some questions regarding the Answer IV's breathability. But alas, no answers.

As our smoke-pumping machine test shows, this Reebok shoe is stuffy as hell! Its sturdy leather upper retained 98% of the smoke inside the shoe, allowing just a tiny streak to come out through the zipper.

This shoe's ventilation is incredibly poor leading us to rate it with the lowest score of 1 out of 5.

To back it up, we even hovered half of the shoe over a bright light in search of any hidden ventilation pores. But to no avail. It's still a hot shoe.

The Answer IV uses genuine leather for its upper and there are no perforations at all.

Reebok Answer IV microscope

Test results
Answer IV 1
Average 2.3
Compared to 47 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Toebox durability

Oh-oh, here she comes!

And we are not talking about our shoe-eating Dremel tool this time around. This Reebok shoe's leather is the only monster in this room.

After 12 seconds of drilling the Answer IV's toebox at a 5K RPM speed, its wear resistance left us absolutely stunned! The minor scratch that occurred on the material was not enough to lower the shoe's durability score one bit. Thus, it deserves the perfect 5 out of 5 for toebox durability.

Let's add some comparisons to the equation. Here is what the exact same Dremel test did to a mesh-covered Adidas shoe.

Reebok Answer IV vs. Adidas Harden Stepback 3 toebox durability test

Reebok Answer IV vs. Adidas Harden Stepback 3

At least the shoe on the right gets to be more breathable.

Test results
Answer IV 5
Average 3.8
Compared to 38 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
1
Toebox durability
5

Heel padding durability

If you're someone who owned a pair of old '90s hoop shoes, you would probably know how after a year or even a few months, its collar lining would start peeling and flaking. The foamy padding becomes exposed and even though the rest of the upper looks unscathed, the overall look of the shoe suffers.

Well, that's exactly what we observe in the Reebok Answer IV. The ease at which our Dremel damaged the heel collar lining confirms it.

We had to give this part of the shoe a lower durability score of 3 out of 5. Not terrible but a little disappointing for a $170 leather shoe.

Reebok Answer IV heel padding durability

Test results
Answer IV 3
Average 3.6
Compared to 35 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel padding durability
5

Outsole hardness

Looking at this Reebok shoe's outsole, we found it to be a mixed bag. That's because the Answer IV uses two different types of rubber with very different densities.

On the heel, we have a softer compound which returned 64.5 HC on our durometer. That is considered really soft for a hoop shoe and is 26% softer than the average.

Reebok Answer IV Outsole hardness

On the other hand, the forefoot is lined with a super hard rubber which shows 88 HC. That is, on the contrary, 7% harder than the average!

Reebok Answer IV Outsole hardness forefoot rubber

This is actually the first time we have seen something like that in our lab. What's the logic behind it? To make heel landings softer? To keep the shoe's weight down?

We are not sure, to be honest. But one thing is for sure, the soft rubber makes this Reebok shoe a poor choice for outdoor games.

Test results
Answer IV 64.5 HC
Average 82.1 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 47 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
59.5 HC
Outsole hardness
91.0 HC

Outsole durability

Our statement above is 100% confirmed by our outsole durability test.

Having drilled the shoe's rubber at the heel for 22 seconds at a pretty high 10K RPM speed, we saw some notable damage.

A tread gauge tool helped us measure the depth of this damage and it turned out to be as deep as 2.3 mm, more than a millimeter deeper than average!

Reebok Answer IV outsole durability test

Definitely not concrete-ready! Unless we're talking about casual wear.

Test results
Answer IV 2.3 mm
Average 1.0 mm
Compared to 26 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole wear
2.0 mm

Outsole thickness

It was pretty wise for Reebok to make that soft rubber layer thicker. Because it melts like ice cream! Our caliper shows a whopping 6.9 mm of rubber thickness under the heel.

Reebok Answer IV Outsole thickness

The hard forefoot rubber, however, is much thinner. Based on our measurement, it comes in at 3.7 mm which is about the same as the average of basketball shoes.

Reebok Answer IV Outsole thickness forefoot
Test results
Answer IV 6.9 mm
Average 4.0 mm
Compared to 47 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole thickness
6.9 mm

Weight

Having reviewed beasts like the Reebok Blast (17.5 oz/495g) and the Reebok Question Mid (16.9 oz/479g), we were prepared to see a big number for the Reebok Answer IV too.

Reebok Answer IV weight

But it wasn't so bad!

Our scale showed 15.1 oz (427g) in a men's US size 9. This is only an ounce heavier than average! Kudos, Reebok! Perhaps that little trick with dual-density rubbers worked?

Reebok Answer IV Weight
Test results
Answer IV 15.06 oz (427g)
Average 14.00 oz (397g)
Compared to 47 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
11.29 oz (320g)
Weight
17.46 oz (495g)

Cushioning

Heel stack

Now let's take a look at how much cushioning this Iverson shoe has packed for us.

Using a caliper, we measured the shoe's heel stack at 32.2 mm. This is a couple of millimeters thicker than the average; most likely because of that thicker layer of rubber under the heel.

Reebok Answer IV Heel stack
Test results
Answer IV 32.2 mm
Average 29.4 mm
Compared to 47 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
23.6 mm
Heel stack
38.4 mm

Forefoot stack

In the forefoot, the shoe's stack height becomes thinner, allowing us to get a better court feel.

The caliper shows 19.1 mm which is 2.5 mm lower than average.

Reebok Answer IV Forefoot stack
Test results
Answer IV 19.1 mm
Average 21.7 mm
Compared to 47 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
18.0 mm
Forefoot stack
29.2 mm

Drop

The difference in stack heights that we got was 13.1 mm. This is a bit too steep for a performance-oriented hoop shoe these days.

Having this much elevation under the heel detracts from the player's ability to be in touch with the court and adjust the footwork quickly.

But after all, the brand is not promoting the Answer IV as a performance shoe. For a casual sneaker, the added heel cushioning is more beneficial as you need that for walking comfortably.

Reebok Answer IV Drop
Test results
Answer IV 13.1 mm
Average 7.7 mm
Compared to 47 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
4.0 mm
Drop
14.8 mm

Midsole softness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

Gone are the days of the DMX air-transferring pod technology. The modern-day Reebok Answer IV features its successor, the DMX foam. It is a dual-density setup that uses softer foam for primary cushioning and a firmer component under the heel for better impact protection.

Reebok Answer IV Midsole softness

Using our durometer, we checked how soft the main foam actually is. With a reading of 22.6 HA, it is in fact 18% plusher than hoop shoes on average.

But unfortunately, it doesn't make the Reebok Answer IV feel so comfortable. The shoe, as a whole, doesn't really have any give to it and feels really firm.

If you're missing the original DMX air transferring system and want to catch a glimpse of it, the closest shoe we've got to that is the Reebok Answer DMX. It has small air pockets in the forefoot and in the heel.

Test results
Answer IV 22.6 HA
Average 25.6 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 47 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
11.0 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
38.6 HA

Secondary foam softness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

Located in the center of the heel, this cushioning component is much denser than the primary foam. At 32.0 HA, it is actually 17% firmer.

Reebok Answer IV Secondary foam softness

Aside from impact protection, it occurs to us that this unit helps to stabilize the rearfoot.

Reebok Answer IV allen iverson face graphic

Fun fact: It features Allen Iverson's face graphic.

Test results
Answer IV 32.0 HA
Average 28.3 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.

Insole thickness

From our experience, the shoe's default insole doesn't do much to make underfoot experience softer. But it's not bad either.

Measuring its thickness in the heel, we got 4.4 mm. This is pretty much the same as the average.

Reebok Answer IV Insole thickness
Test results
Answer IV 4.4 mm
Average 4.5 mm
Compared to 47 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Insole thickness
8.6 mm

Stability

Lateral stability test

If there is one area where it's nearly impossible to criticize the Reebok Answer IV, that would be stability.

The shoe's stiff leather upper, firm and rigid sole, TPU shank, and other supportive features make it feel like you've got bowling alley walls around your feet!

Also, those sturdy rubberized overlays on the sides (with AI's logos) are not just there for looks either, you know.

Reebok Answer IV quality

Torsional rigidity

As we mentioned above, this Reebok shoe comes with a stiff TPU shank inside the midsole.

This component significantly elevates the shoe's torsional rigidity. So much so, that we gave it a maximum score of 5 out of 5.

Forget about twisting ankles in the Reebok Answer IV.

Test results
Answer IV 5
Average 4.5
Compared to 47 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

The shoe also comes with a good amount of rigidity in the heel counter. On a scale from 1 to 5, where 5 is the stiffest, we gave it the average 3.

Worry not, it doesn't make the heel hold any worse but it does give a little more breathing room for the ankle.

Test results
Answer IV 3
Average 3.6
Compared to 47 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

The landing area of the Answer IV is pretty broad, especially in the forefoot. Measuring the widest part with a caliper, we got 117 mm which is a good 4 mm wider than average.

This definitely made us feel surefooted moving laterally.

Reebok Answer IV Midsole width in the forefoot
Test results
Answer IV 117.0 mm
Average 114.4 mm
Compared to 47 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
106.2 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
122.2 mm

Midsole width in the heel

Back in the heel, the Reebok Answer IV doesn't exceed the average width but is still amply wide for a hoop shoe (more so, for a casual sneaker).

Our caliper showed 89.7 mm in the widest part of the shoe's midsole in the heel.

Reebok Answer IV Midsole width in the heel
Test results
Answer IV 89.7 mm
Average 90.4 mm
Compared to 47 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
82.4 mm
Midsole width in the heel
105.1 mm

Lockdown

The Answer IV’s mid-top silhouette features not one, not two, but THREE lockdown components! We haven't seen this many all at once, on one hoop shoe.

First, there is a traditional lacing system. Secondly, it is hidden inside a zipper-covered tongue. And finally, it is all topped with a Velcro strap.

Yes, it feels just as secure as it looks.

Reebok Answer IV closure

Flexibility

Stiffness

Freedom of movement is definitely not listed in this Reebok shoe's constitution.

Stiff in both the upper and the sole, the Answer IV did not give in to our flexibility lab test. Using a gauge, we measured how much force it takes to bend the shoe to a 90-degree angle. Just like we expected, it required a great deal more than average!

At 55.6N, it took 26% more force than the average hoop shoe.

But it's necessarily a bad thing. Some people actually prefer stiffer shoes for the pop that they provide. Walking or dribbling in the Reebok Answer IV, we indeed found it a bit springy.

But if your playing style really favors the ability to bend your feet freely, we highly recommend the following shoes:

Test results
Answer IV 55.6N
Average 40.3N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 47 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
28.9N
Stiffness
67.2N

Grip / Traction

From a modern hoop shoe perspective, having a tread pattern in the forefoot only is... something else. We we expected surprises as the Reebok Answer IV is not your typical basketball kick.

The forefoot rubber features a herringbone pattern with deep multi-directional treads. To our great surprise, it functioned really well on the court. We could say that it is a guard-ready type of grip.

Reebok Answer IV outsole

As long as you stay on your toes, of course. Because the heel part of the shoe could really use some traction.

Size and fit

Toebox width at the widest part

One of the shoe's pleasant surprises was of course its true-to-size fit. But having medium-width feet, we can only speak for ourselves.

Measuring the widest part of the shoe's toebox, we found that it is as much as 7 mm wider than average! Woow! That would've been some real good news for wide-footers, if it wasn't for the the shoe's tapered shape.

Reebok Answer IV Toebox width at the widest part
Test results
Answer IV 108.2 mm
Average 101.4 mm
Compared to 47 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
92.6 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
108.2 mm

Toebox width at the big toe

Please be informed that the shoe's toebox gets significantly narrower around the toes. Measuring its width at the big-toe mark, we got 72.3 mm which is 4.5 mm narrower than average! That's half a centimeter less space to wiggle your toes.

Reebok Answer IV Toebox width at the big toe
Test results
Answer IV 72.3 mm
Average 76.6 mm
Compared to 41 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
71.2 mm
Toebox width at the big toe
85.1 mm

Tongue: gusset type

There are no gussets in this Reebok shoe's tongue. But with that zipper, trust us, there is not even a hint of sliding or bunching.

Reebok Answer IV Tongue: gusset type
Test results
Answer IV None

Comfort

Tongue padding

The tongue on the Answer IV has a reasonable thickness. Based on our caliper measurement, it is 7.5 mm thick. About 2 mm thinner than average.

To be honest, we were prepared for prepared for a monsterously padded tongue. Like the 15-mm pillow on the Reebok Blast.

Reebok Answer IV Tongue padding
Test results
Answer IV 7.5 mm
Average 9.6 mm
Compared to 47 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
1.3 mm
Tongue padding
15.9 mm

Heel tab

A leather finger loop is attach at the back of the shoe. It is finctional but also aesthetically intergrated with the rest of the shoe.

Reebok Answer IV Heel tab
Test results
Answer IV Finger loop

Removable insole

Like we said in the cushioning sections above, this Reebok shoe feels firm underfoot. But the good news is that you have the option to elevate comfort by swapping the shoe's insole.

Reebok Answer IV Removable insole
Test results
Answer IV Yes

Misc

Reflective elements

Wow! We don't see reflective elements on basketball shoes every day!

But now we got one on the Answer IV and it is big! The entire side overlay lights up in the dar, also highlighting Iverson's logo. Pretty dope! 

Reebok Answer IV Reflective elements
Test results
Answer IV Yes

Background

The Reebok Answer IV we lab-tested is a revamped rendition of an iconic model.

Adorning the outsole is Iverson’s mantra which is also tattooed on his arm – “Only the Strong Survive.” Set into the heel is a black and white imprint of his face that depicts his characteristic cornrows and headband.

The side overlays featuring Allen Iverson's "A.I." signature have a swooshy vibe to them. It's like they embody his fast-paced style of a shooting guard.

Reebok Answer IV style

Back in a day, the Reebok Answer IV became an instant classic when he stepped over Tyronn Lue after crossing him over and hitting a go-ahead jumper during the first game of the 2001 NBA Finals.