- 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
- No breathability at all
- Unsatisfactory cushioning
- Tapered toebox
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)
Who should NOT buy
Another major turnoff of the Reebok Answer IV is its unbearably hot upper. If you need some ventilation inside your basketball shoes, the Nike Cosmic Unity 3 is a better choice.
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.
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
At least the shoe on the right gets to be more breathable.
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.
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.
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!
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.
|Answer IV||64.5 HC|
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!
Definitely not concrete-ready! Unless we're talking about casual wear.
|Answer IV||2.3 mm|
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.
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.
|Answer IV||6.9 mm|
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?
|Answer IV||15.06 oz (427g)|
|Average||14.22 oz (403g)|
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.
|Answer IV||32.2 mm|
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.
|Answer IV||19.1 mm|
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.
|Answer IV||13.1 mm|
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.
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.
|Answer IV||22.6 HA|
Secondary foam softness
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.
Aside from impact protection, it occurs to us that this unit helps to stabilize the rearfoot.
Fun fact: It features Allen Iverson's face graphic.
|Answer IV||32.0 HA|
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.
|Answer IV||4.4 mm|
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.
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.
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.
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.
|Answer IV||117.0 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.
|Answer IV||89.7 mm|
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.
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:
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.
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.
|Answer IV||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.
|Answer IV||72.3 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.
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.
|Answer IV||7.5 mm|
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.
|Answer IV||Finger loop|
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.
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!
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.
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.