Our verdict

Sabrina Ionescu, a well-known WNBA star, has finally launched her first signature shoe, and it's an incredibly solid model! This pair's great success has been demonstrated by our lab and wear tests, as it constantly got fantastic scores and showed its wonderful performance. Its 1-to-1 fit and supportive structure work hand in hand with its natural flexibility, giving us the confidence we needed to perform in-n-out and many other explosive moves. As it's also pretty lightweight, we felt fast with it, which we believe is ideal for quick guards and forwards that shine because of their speedy footwork. Its close-to-the-ground structure and cushioning technologies gave us the best of both worlds, levelling up this shoe's efficiency to the max. But it's a Nike model after all, so we wouldn't recommend it to wide-foot hoopers. Overall, we couldn't be happier with this first release.

Pros

  • Excellent overall performance and playability
  • Very durable and quality materials
  • Nice shock-absorption and midsole technologies
  • Great forefoot bounce
  • Supportive structure and great lockdown
  • Fantastic flexibility and court feel
  • Solid grip on different surfaces
  • Beloved Kobe-like aesthetics
  • Customizable

Cons

  • Not for outdoors
  • Not for wide feet
  • A bit pricier than other first releases

Audience verdict

86
Great!
  • Top 3% most popular basketball shoes

Who should buy

Honestly, we might be looking at one of the best first releases of a signature shoe that has joined our lab membership. You should definitely check the Sabrina 1 out if you're looking for:

  • A top performer on indoor courts.
  • A model that gives you a lot of ground feel and reliable cushioning technologies.
  • A Nike pair that offers a wonderful lockdown feel and containment.
  • A light and flexible hooper for quick and explosive moves and footwork.
  • A customisable and fashionable ball pal.

Nike Sabrina 1_outdoot_002

Who should not buy

Even though this model's solid grip and lateral reinforcements might make it seem like it's ready to play some streetball, we definitely wouldn't recommend it. Its outsole is not the toughest one out there, so it'll wear out pretty soon. If you want to play outdoors, you should have a look at our catalogue of shoes that can deal with the abrasion of those surfaces.

If you're a wide-foot hooper and you like spacious shoes, you should definitely skip these Nikes. The Adidas Harden Stepback 3 is a bit weighty, but it's a model designed for guards and for centres that adapts to big-toed bballers. It's also more affordable than the Sabrina 1!

Nike Sabrina 1_parts_and_pieces

Breathability

Finding a breathable basketball shoe nowadays is not an easy task! To check if a model is well-ventilated or not, we perform a couple of tests, starting with our beloved smoke machine.

We were off to a slow start! We patiently sat looking at the shoe, just thinking: "Where did all the smoke go?". After some seconds the shoe finally started breathing, it felt just like putting your shoe underwater and finally going up to take a deep breath!

On the one hand, the Under Armour Curry 10 showed a wonderful performance in our breathability test. That's what a 5/5 in ventilation looks like! On the other hand, it took the Sabrina 1 a while, but it managed to let out some smoke, earning a 2/5. Let's see if our light gives us some more hints!

Bingo! We could see some light trying to get through the mesh, so of course its breathability would be slightly better than some other models that have thicker upper materials.

Nike Sabrina 1 Breathability_3

Our microscope showed us how tightly woven the toebox material of this shoe is.

Nike Sabrina 1 Breathability_4

There's no way the air would have it easy with such a barrier between out feet and the outside world!

Test results
Sabrina 1 2
Average 2.4
Compared to 50 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Toebox durability

When we first saw this shoe (and its incredibly cool box, by the way), we couldn't keep our mouths closed. It looks awesome! But it's more than a pretty face, and our Dremel was absolutely ready to prove it.

What's that again? Nothing, you say? Yeah, nothing at all! Our tool lost this battle, just look at these pictures.

Nike Sabrina 1 Toebox durability_3

We can't say the results of this durability test were more than an aesthetically unpleasing scratch. It didn't affect the shoe's functionality or integrity at all, which is wonderful news.

Nike Sabrina 1 Toebox durability_2

We gave the Sabrina 1 a well-deserved 5/5 in our toebox durability test. If you want to see how hard it is to get such score, let us show you what the Nike Precision 6 looked like after this same test. That's a 1/5 score in our toebox durability test for you!

Test results
Sabrina 1 5
Average 3.8
Compared to 41 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
1
Toebox durability
5

Heel padding durability

We were also pretty happy with the results of this next test! Moving our Dremel to the back of the shoe, we went all in and attacked its heel padding.

Once again, it looks like our tool is struggling! The damage was minimal, so we gave the Sabrina 1 a 4/5 on our heel padding durability test.

Nike Sabrina 1 Heel padding durability_3

Not bad at all! It has once again outperformed many other models, as this is a quite vulnerable spot for shoes. Just compare these Nikes' results with the Reebok Answer DMX's.

Nike Sabrina 1 Heel padding durability_2

The difference is quite big, isn't it? Look at all that messed-up white material! This Reebok basketball shoe scored a 1/5 in our heel padding durability test. We just couldn't give it anything higher!

Test results
Sabrina 1 4
Average 3.6
Compared to 38 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel padding durability
5

Outsole hardness

At 86.5 HC, our durometer indicated this shoe's outsole is slightly harder than the standard.

Nike Sabrina 1 Outsole hardness_1

It's quite a promising start, as this indicates the outsole should be more durable than average. Let's see if our Dremel agrees!

Test results
Sabrina 1 86.5 HC
Average 81.7 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 50 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
59.5 HC
Outsole hardness
91.0 HC

Outsole durability

We were ready for action, as always! So we grabbed our Dremel and started digging in the Sabrina 1's outsole. Let's get this party started!

After our 22-second-long test at 10K RPM and 3.2N, our tread gauge confirmed our Dremel left a dent of 0.9 mm. This is an average score for basketball shoes, so not bad!

Nike Sabrina 1 Outsole durability_2

We put the tool in the same spot in every shoe. This time, as you can see in the picture, the rolling piece went for the black section, but it also included the lighter part in its attack. We were pretty happy with the result, as this model has a kind of spiky herringbone pattern, so the tool didn't actually make it to the base of the outsole.

Nike Sabrina 1_outdoot_0011

We also find this outsole pretty reliable during our wear tests, even outdoors! But if you use the Sabrina 1 to play streetball, please keep in mind it will not last long. It doesn't have the most resistant outsole out there, even if its performance is great.

Test results
Sabrina 1 0.9 mm
Average 1.0 mm
Compared to 29 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole wear
2.0 mm

Outsole thickness

When our calliper returned 4.1 mm, we realised these Nikes' outsole was as thick as the average.

Nike Sabrina 1 Outsole thickness_1

Once again, this result tells us that the Sabrina 1 is not the best shoe to play outdoors. Its outsole is neither the thickest nor the most resistant to abrasion, so outdoor courts will definitely take a toll on it every time you play.

Nike Sabrina 1_outdoot_0015

Test results
Sabrina 1 4.1 mm
Average 4.0 mm
Compared to 50 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole thickness
6.9 mm

Weight

One more fantastic result is on the way! Let's go with the numbers first and with our feet later.

Nike Sabrina 1 Weight_1

When we saw 12.5 oz/353.0g on our scale, we were really happy. It's a solid 11% lighter than average, which is wonderful for a model with such durable materials!

And it was the same feeling for our feet, too! This shoe's performance is unbeatable, and we felt super light dribbling, and during cuts and layups. It didn't stop us at all, and it really felt like an extension of our own foot. We believe quick guards are going to love the Sabrina 1 as much as we do!

Nike Sabrina 1_outdoot_009

Test results
Sabrina 1 12.45 oz (353g)
Average 13.90 oz (394g)
Compared to 50 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
11.29 oz (320g)
Weight
17.46 oz (495g)

Cushioning

Heel stack

Once we cut the shoe open, we grabbed our calliper and put it in the heel to measure its stack.

Nike Sabrina 1 Heel stack

At 23.7 mm, it's lower than average. This might make you think that this model lacks shock absorption, but it doesn't! We'll talk more about it when we analise its midsole, please wait patiently.

Nike Sabrina 1_outdoot_0014

We felt pretty close to the court with this shoe during our wear tests. This improved the control we had over our moves, giving us a confidence boost. Consequently, we went for more daring moves, like more difficult dribbles or risky steps in our 1vs1.

Test results
Sabrina 1 23.7 mm
Average 29.3 mm
Compared to 50 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
23.6 mm
Heel stack
38.4 mm

Forefoot stack

Our calliper told us that this shoe's stack height is even lower in the forefoot!

Nike Sabrina 1 Forefoot stack

It's the lowest forefoot stack we've seen so far in our lab! At 18.0 mm, it even got a lower score than the Adidas Harden Vol. 7, the Nike G.T. Hustle 2, and the Nike Cosmic Unity 2 (the three of them scored 18.2 mm). Pretty impressive!

Nike Sabrina 1_outdoot_007

When we played with the Sabrina 1, this translated into a wonderful court feel. We could go for effective fakes and crossover steps, we really enjoyed the performance of these Nikes!

Test results
Sabrina 1 18.0 mm
Average 21.7 mm
Compared to 50 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
18.0 mm
Forefoot stack
29.2 mm

Drop

Both stack heights are low, and this left us with an also low drop of 5.7 mm.

Nike Sabrina 1 Drop

We are going to use this picture of the Sabrina 1 cut in half to talk about the wonderful technologies we found in its midsole:

  • First of all, these Nikes have a full-length React foam that combines TPE and EVA.
  • On the forefoot, there's a really thin Zoom Unit. But don't let its size trick you, it still felt amazing underfoot, propelling us back up every time we stepped aggressively on it.
  • The black line you can see in the midfoot is a shank that gives some fantastic support. We actually believe this design works fantastically well with the shock-absorbing midsole. We felt safe and surefooted in our playtests.

Nike Sabrina 1_outdoot_0018

Test results
Sabrina 1 5.7 mm
Average 7.7 mm
Compared to 50 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.

Do you remember what we were saying about the shank being a perfect match for the Sabrina 1's midsole? Our durometer explained why with just a number.

Nike Sabrina 1 Midsole softness

At 19.0 HA, it's definitely on the softer side. That's why the shank is a perfect match for it, as it gives this pair the stability it needs to perform incredibly well on the court and get the best of both worlds: plusness and support!

Test results
Sabrina 1 19.0 HA
Average 25.6 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 50 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
11.0 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
38.6 HA

Insole thickness

Its insole is just as thick as the average.

Nike Sabrina 1 Insole thickness

At 4.5 mm, we don't have anything different to say here. The insole didn't have to compensate for any kind of lack from the midsole, and its not overly thick nature helps the shoe keep some oz/g out of the way!

Test results
Sabrina 1 4.5 mm
Average 4.5 mm
Compared to 50 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Insole thickness
8.6 mm

Stability

Lateral stability test

From the very first moment we saw this shoe, we just couldn't wait to put it on.

On our lateral stability test, we lace each pair all the way up and start wobbling our ankles. We were actually pretty happy with this shoe's containment, look at the video below and you'll see why!

During our wear tests, we enjoyed this shoe's supportive structure. It didn't feel rigid or too constraining, it was just like a safe elongation of our own foot. That's how it felt!

Nike Sabrina 1_outdoot_006

We could perform in-n-out moves like backdoor cuts. These types of moves can be done slowly, that's for sure, but the slower you go for it, the more effectiveness it loses. In mid to high-level basketball, you'll definitely see players go for explosive backdoor cuts. It's a very common move among forwards! But feeling unstable will make you want to avoid it, which would totally be a shame.

See? The Sabrina 1 is total and completely ready not only to face the challenge, but also to excel at it!

Torsional rigidity

Basketball shoes tend to be very rigid. This is usually because of their tough and durable materials, that act like a shield for your feet to avoid injuries.

Performing our torsional rigidity test on the Sabrina 1. It scored an agreeable 3/5.

As you can see in the video, it was not hard for us to bend this model at all! If you wanna see what our struggling thumbs look like, let us show you the video from when we tried to bend the LeBron 21. OH. MY. GOSH.

Performing our torsional rigidity test on the Nike LeBron 21. It scored a stubborn 5/5.

We actually loved this big change. It was like a breath of fresh air regarding the typical structure that the latest basketball shoes have gone for: extra rigid. This allowed us to perform every single move more comfortably and, on top of that, more precisely!

Nike Sabrina 1_outdoot_001

The Sabrina 1's structure is more bendy, yet it's such a grounded shoe that we never felt unstable. We think this design idea works wonders for quick and agile players, as that's how this pair itself made us feel.

Test results
Sabrina 1 3
Average 4.5
Compared to 50 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

To add some extra points to the overall stability of this model, we have its heel counter.

It scored a fantastic 4/5 on our stiffness test, which is slightly higher than average. Its well-structured self added to the amount of padding this shoe has on that area is the perfect combination for a wonderful lockdown feel.

Nike Sabrina 1_outdoot_0019

Have a look at this shoe's interior after we cut it in half and then separated its upper. The amount of padding it has is what enhances the lockdown feel and surefootedness, especially in the heel area. And we love it!

Test results
Sabrina 1 4
Average 3.6
Compared to 50 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

More and more stability is on the way!

Nike Sabrina 1 Midsole width in the forefoot_1

At 116.3 mm, our calliper indicated that this shoe's midsole width in the forefoot is a couple millimetres wider than average. This means so extra room for your feet to land comfortably after jumping!

Nike Sabrina 1_outdoot_0021

Test results
Sabrina 1 116.3 mm
Average 114.5 mm
Compared to 50 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
106.2 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
122.2 mm

Midsole width in the heel

At 89.7 mm, this shoe's heel width is pretty much average.

Nike Sabrina 1 Midsole width in the heel_1

But this also didn't affect our stability. The fit is snug and it has a lot of padding, so our feet felt this model's welcoming hug at the back as soon as we put it on.

Test results
Sabrina 1 89.7 mm
Average 90.4 mm
Compared to 50 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
82.4 mm
Midsole width in the heel
105.1 mm

Flexibility

Stiffness

The Sabrina 1 has been surprising us time and time again. This shoe didn't get tired of getting wonderful scores on our tests, and we didn't get tired of verifying it!

When we performed of flex test and we saw the result was 30.4 N, we couldn't be happier. It's true that, on the one hand, we did expect this score because of what our feet felt during our wear tests. The Sabrina 1 bent comfortably at the ball of the foot, going along with our moves smoothly.

We found this ideal for shooting, fakes, and open and cross steps. Can you think of one thing that these moves have in common? Exactly, the constant bending of the ball of the foot.

Nike Sabrina 1_outdoot_0016

Every shoe is going to let you make those moves, as they are typical in this sport. Yet some will make them smoother than others, that's for sure! The Sabrina 1 is pretty flexible, and our feet could tell. This made us have better control of any kind of fake we went for, as the forefoot bent easily. This is great for opening drills, as you need to pivot constantly if you're trying to trick your opponent. This equals your shoe bending back and forth in that same area, and the more flexible it is, the easier it will be for you to explosively perform the move.

Test results
Sabrina 1 30.4N
Average 39.8N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 50 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
23.8N
Stiffness
67.2N

Grip / Traction

First of all, let's have a look at this shoe's outsole pattern.

Nike Sabrina 1_outdoot_003

We can see some kind of spiky herringbone there with lines in different directions and a thick black line in the middle of the structure. This thread has some relief, meaning it's not as flat as what we've seen in other models. This improves traction and longevity, and we could definitely tell when we tried this shoe outdoors.

Nike Sabrina 1_outdoot_004

Still, these Nikes are not made to play streetball, as they would wear down pretty soon. But anyway, we enjoyed its solid grip on every court. It helped us play more confidently and perform some moves that require solid steps, as they'd be ruined if we slipped.

Overall, this shoe's solid grip is something we appreciated a lot during our wear tests. And it wasn't only on indoor courts with some dust, but also on rougher outdoor courts.

Size and fit

At 86.5 HC, our durometer indicated this shoe's outsole is slightly harder than the standard.

Nike Sabrina 1 Outsole hardness_1

It's quite a promising start, as this indicates the outsole should be more durable than average. Let's see if our Dremel agrees!

Toebox width at the widest part

When our calliper returned 106.8 mm, we could only nod. This model's toebox width at the widest part is over 5 mm wider than average, which is wonderful news for stability and comfort.

Nike Sabrina 1 Toebox width at the widest part_1

But hey, let's not go crazy about how spacious this sounds. This is a Nike shoe after all, remember?

Nike Sabrina 1_outdoot_008

Test results
Sabrina 1 106.8 mm
Average 101.5 mm
Compared to 50 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
92.6 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
108.2 mm

Toebox width at the big toe

Yeah, even if any of us didn't remember, our feet sure did. As per usual, these Nikes get incredibly narrower towards the big toe.

Nike Sabrina 1 Toebox width at the big toe_2

You can see it clearly in the pictures, this model tappers aggressively and it might be more suitable for standard-sized feet players like us, or users with narrow feet. The Sabrina 1's containment is pretty solid, which means that even if your feet are a bit more on the narrow side it should still give you the support you need.

Nike Sabrina 1_outdoot_0012

Consequently, we definitely cannot recommend this model to wide feet ballers. It'd definitely cramp their toes, which wouldn't only affect their performance negatively, but also their health. On our standard-width feet, this shoe's fit was great. No complaints at all!

Nike Sabrina 1_outdoot_0022

Test results
Sabrina 1 75.9 mm
Average 76.7 mm
Compared to 44 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
71.2 mm
Toebox width at the big toe
85.1 mm

Tongue: gusset type

Lockdown feel and containment are two of the key points this model can brag about. Its general structure definitely reinforces both these areas, but the cherry on top is the Sabrina 1's tongue.

Nike Sabrina 1 Tongue: gusset type_1

Being fully gusseted, this piece made sure our feet didn't move from their right place. We really enjoyed this feature, as it gave us some extra confidence during our playtests. Additionally, the locked-in feel is one of the strong points of the Sabrina 1, which felt like a tailor-made shoe.

Test results
Sabrina 1 Both sides (full)

Comfort

No reflective elements around, but it's not like the Sabrina 1 needed them anyway!

As we said before, we believe it's better to keep this shoe for indoor courts, as its outsole would definitely wear out sooner than expected if it has to face the abrasion of streetball surfaces. In other words, you don't need your shoes to have reflective as in indoor courts there's always some kind of light.

Nike Sabrina 1 Reflective elements_1

Tongue padding

At 11.0 mm, this shoe's tongue is pretty padded.

Nike Sabrina 1 Tongue padding_1

Following the foot containment we mentioned in our previous test, our calliper indicated that the padding of the tongue adds some extra surefootedness. Additionally, as the top is the most padded part, it protects us from any kind of lace bite.

Nike Sabrina 1_outdoot_0017

This shoe felt like an extension of our own feet during our wear tests, and the fact that we could tie the laces strongly and pull to feel safer thanks to the tongue's padding was a wonderful detail. We believe this matches perfectly the Sabrina 1's fit and lockdown feel.

Nike Sabrina 1_outdoot_0013

Test results
Sabrina 1 11.0 mm
Average 9.5 mm
Compared to 50 basketball shoes
Number of shoes
1.3 mm
Tongue padding
15.9 mm

Heel tab

These Nikes don't have any kind of heel tab at the back.

Nike Sabrina 1_outdoot_0020

Instead, it has a solid design with the signature of Sabrina Ionescu and the protagonist. We loved the minimal yet cool aura this detail embodied, matching the shoe's vibe perfectly.

Nike Sabrina 1_outdoot_0010

With a fully gusseted tongue and a locked-in focused structure, putting on and taking off this pair was not the easiest task out there. But we didn't really mind it, though. We just had to make sure the laces were comfortably separated from the main structure so we'd have enough room for our feet to fit in.

Test results
Sabrina 1 None

Removable insole

To be honest, we were pretty happy with this model's standard insole.

Nike Sabrina 1 Removable insole_1

Still, if you need to use your own orthotics or if you simply want to change it, no worries: it's removable!

Nike Sabrina 1 Removable insole_2

Test results
Sabrina 1 Yes

Misc

Reflective elements

No reflective elements around, but it's not like the Sabrina 1 needed them anyway!

As we said before, we believe it's better to keep this shoe for indoor courts, as its outsole would definitely wear out sooner than expected if it has to face the abrasion of streetball surfaces. In other words, you don't need your shoes to have reflective as in indoor courts there's always some kind of light.

Nike Sabrina 1 Reflective elements_1

Test results
Sabrina 1 No