Shoes02The guys over at The Association have already talked about the Starbury Ones, so you can go there if you want the full story and origin of Stephon Marbury's signature shoe. If, on the other hand, you want to know whether the shoes are actually worth the cheap pleather they were printed on, you've come to the right place.

At a mere $14.98, the price of the Starbury Ones is unprecedented. I mean, there are homeless people walking the streets of Chicago who paid more for the paper bags they rubber-banded to their feet. And since we've been taught that even the most basic basketball shoes will run you anywhere from $50 to $70, the natural assumption is that the Starbury Ones are poorly made. And yet Stephon's
offical site claims that the shoes are "exactly the same as the most expensive kicks in the market." Don't know what to believe? Well open wide baby bird, 'cause momma's got a big fat nightcrawler of Truth for you.

In order to review such an unprecedented shoe, I needed an unprecedented rating system, which is why I created the Starbury Shot Quantity Evaluator (TM). Just as Stephon's personal happiness is directly proportional to the number of shots he gets in any given game, the SSQE rates shoes based the "quantity of shots" ratio that determine's Marbury's relative level of post-game satisfaction:

5 Shots = An unacceptable failure

10 Shots
= A slight underachievement

15 Shots
= Generally sufficient

20 Shots
= Strangely pleasing

25+ Shots
= So close to perfect you'll probably thank God
Mission Statement: 25+ shots
Every pair of Starbury Ones (and, in fact, everything in the Starbury Line) comes with a tag that reads as follows:

"This is about you and me. This is about you and me changing the world. This is about you and me saying it's not about the commercials, the gimmicks, the dollar signs. This is about you and me showing the world that it can be done. Starbury is my life. This line was built on what I've been through. From Coney Island to Madison Square Garden. These are the shoes I wear on the court; these are the clothes I wear off it. This is what I believe in. I'm tired of people saying it can't be done. Change the world with me."
Since Stephon is a selfish gunner with a well-earned reputation as a locker room cancer, it would be easy enough to cynically disregard these words. Just ask Larry Brown. But you've gotta admit, it sounds really good.

Availability: 5 Shots
I spent over a week trying to get my Starbury Ones, and it was a complete pain in the ass. I called the local
Steve and Barry's (the only place the Starbury Line is sold) to reserve a pair. Somebody named "Debra" took my name, shoe size, and color preference, and told me I had to pick the shoes up by Saturday (they were released on Thursday). But when I showed up Thursday night, I was told by the store manager that S&B's doesn't reserve its merchandise. Even worse, all the Starbury shoes were already sold out. However, the manager assured me that another shipment was due tomorrow.

I called the next day and talked to "Lisa." I asked if the new Starbury shipment had come in, and she said no new shipments of anything were due until next week, and that there was no set day...the shipments just come in "whenever." When I asked to speak to the store manager, she informed me that she was the manager.

This process of calling and going by the store went on for an agonizing eight days. I finally found a single pair of size 13 Starbury Ones, in white. There were only two other pairs in the store; a white size 9 and a black size 11.

It shouldn't be that hard to get shoes. It really shouldn't. The sad part is, people are already
selling the shoes on eBay. One schmuck is trying to sell a pair for $34.99 and charging $9.50 to ship them. Nice. Nothing like selling a $15 shoe for $45. What makes this an extra "Soon my Electro-Ray Will Destroy Metropolis" level of superdickery is that people are consciously buying shoes intended for the underprivileged for the purpose of reselling them for profit. I would like to extend a hearty "FUCK YOU" to those people.

Appearance: 20 Shots
Say what you will, but the Starbury Ones look good. They don't look like $150 shoes, but they look a hell of a lot better than $15 shoes have any right to look. They're sleek and stylish without being tacky (anyone remember the Dada Spree's?). I would not be ashamed to wear these shoes in public. And if they didn't say "Starbury" on the back, I might even feel downright good about wearing them.


Construction: 10 Shots
The leather of the shoe is extremely thin. The tongue of the shoes looks like it's held in by cheap medical gauze. The insole almost fell out when I removed the paper they stuff into the shoe so it holds its shape. Simply put, it's not the best made shoe in the world. But then again, for $15 how could it be?

I was tempted to rate the shoe's construction at 15 Shots, because it's the most well-crafted cheap shoe I've ever seen. However, the shoe is being touted as "exactly like" the most expensive basketball shoes on the market, and that's like saying a Big Mac is "exactly" like filet mignon. If used rigorously, these shoes will not last as long as more expensive shoes. And a Big Mac will give you a worse case of gas then a filet. I'm just sayin'.

Coolness Factor: 15 Shots
I wore these shoes to a pickup basketball game. I told everybody I was wearing Starbury Ones, and I explained how much they cost and that they were created to provide affordable basketball shoes for the urban youth. I then received a steady stream of mockery for the rest of the night.

But here's the thing: I was only made fun of after I told people about the shoes. Before that, nobody said anything about them. So sure, the Starbury Ones weren't wowing anybody, but nobody noticed they were "cheap shoes" until it was revealed. And mind you, some of these people are shoe fiends that absolutely must buy two copies of every pair of Air Jordans that come out, and they will not hesitate to laugh at someone for wearing Converse or low-end Nikes. So the Starbury Ones actually did an excellent job of fitting in and masquerading as middle to high-end shoes...which is exactly what they're supposed to do.

Wearability: 5 Shots
This is where the Starbury Ones fail. They just aren't comfortable. They ride high and really grip the ankle. This means that the shoes are hard to get on, rub the hell out of your ankle while you're wearing them, and then they're hard to take off. They're also rather big and clunky for basketball shoes, reminiscent of basketball shoes from the mid-90s. Fortunately (or unfortunately), the leather is thin and so the shoes are actually pretty light.

Speaking of the leather...it has all the flexibility of a cardboard box. Maybe there's a breaking-in period or something, but instead of comforming to the movement of your feet, the leather actually "caves in" while you walk. This caving-in process can produce sharp little indentations that poke your feet. This doesn't just happen while you're hooping it up, either; it also happens when you're just walking around. It's both annoying and a little painful.

The shoes don't have any arch support either, and there's very little padding, so it can feel like you're running up and down the court with a couple wooden planks strapped to your feet. Due to the weak sole and complete lack of arch support, it's difficult to jump and accelerate when running out on a fast break (not to mention the "clomp, clomp, clomp" sound you'll make while running). This will be a deterrent to almost anyone who plays competitive basketball, but especially to someone like me who has flat feet. By the end of the night, both of my feet were sore and my left knee was aching. I don't know how Stephon is going to get through next season playing in these things.

Overall Rating: 5 or 15 Shots
The final rating of these shoes really depends on what you're using them for. If you want something that looks cool to walk around in, then the Starbury Ones are a damn good shoe for $15. You could probably even use some gel inserts to make them more comfortable. BUT...if you expect to play basketball in them, you're going to be tragically disappointed. Not only will you end up with chronically sore feet to go along with your aching knees and ankles, the shoes aren't constructed well enough to last long under the pressure of serious balling. This isn't in the tagline, but Marbury might have created the first fully disposable basketball shoe.

(update: Steve and Barry's still doesn't have an online store. If one isn't nearby your best bet is eBay.)
26 Comments:
Anonymous Craig said...
Great review!

The tag line is awesome. What's even funnier is that it's probably written by some advertising intern with the instruction to "Write it in the mold of Starbury... not Stephan Marbury, but Starbury!"

Anonymous Hype said...
Heh, good review.

I just had that nostalgic thought of the old site kicksology.net while reading this (though, there's plenty more humor here!)

Blogger Alex Craddock said...
yeah good call there bbawful

try gettin bball shoes in the u.k, its hell.
Unless you want to try a dodgy website, which i have and ended up not getting them OR a refund, you have to go to the capital, LONDON, to get a half decent pair.

but nice review yeah, but i'd kill for a shop like that!!

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Great review. Very detailed and on the mark. I got a pair when they came out and wrote about them as well. One problem I had was the wierd way the (thin) laces run along the tounge of the shoe. It was hard to lace up and , yes very snug around the high ankles. I'm with you on the fact that they're better to walk around in than wear on the court. How can that be? Oh yeah...they only cost $15. They only appear better than they actually are. Yeah, that's Starbury. WB

Anonymous Anonymous said...
It's natural to look hard for problems in a shoe that costs $15. But I work at a footwear design firm and we literally took the shoe apart and it really does have materials and technical design that are pretty much exactly what you would find in the high end basketball shoes. I have no idea how they can sell it for that price. Different shoes have different builds, and this kind of construction is designed to maximize speed on lateral (side to side) movement. If this is how you play your game, you really can't buy a better performance shoe.
I've played in the shoes about 5 times now and they're breaking in nicely. You should play in them a few more times before judging them.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Dang, this is one of the funniest reviews I've read in a while. Hard to believe Marbury will actually wear these in an NBA game. Considering the amount of force these superb athlete's generate and place on their feet, I don't see how he can do it.

I remember Hakeem Olajuwon's shoes that came out in the mid 90's. He, too, wanted a shoe that wouldn't cost kids hundreds of dollars to buy. But his Spauldings were well made and durable, and even lasted Olajuwon multiple games on the same shoe.

I don't see the same happening with these for Marbury.

Anonymous bob weaving said...
I think we’re missing the point here. The shoes are made in China. By Chinese. Child labor. Prison labor. Absurd work hours. Appalling work conditions. No worker’s rights. I’d be impressed, and willing to pay twice the price if Starbury gave the kids he’s selling shoes to a job HERE, so they can actually BUY the shoes. This pious pitch about making a difference is either crap, or Marbury is simply another uniformed jock without the ability to think beyond what’s been fed to him. You wanna’ make a difference? Give American kids a job. Give them the ability to buy whatever shoe they want, rather than what Marbury thinks they deserve. One dimensional player with one dimensional thinking.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
For your information, while still plagued with problems that need changing, the entire Chinese economy is progressing rapidly and "made in China" does not automatically denote "child labour" any more than "Air Jordan" means that the feet in the shoes belong to a man with the initials MJ.

Before buying into neo-hippie egg head crap, do your own research and find out what's really happening in the world.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I work for a major advertising firm that specializes flooding alternative media with bogus propaganda. Our favorite tactic is logging onto blogs as "professionals" with a supposedly neutral opinion, only to shamelessly plug our own products. If you want a great example of what we do, just look at the above comment that goes: "I work at a footwear design firm and we literally took the shoe apart..." The guy in the cubicle next to mine wrote that, and he is a real dink. He wears the same pair of cheap khaki pants every day, and I hate his polyester ties. His wife is also ugly, but he does drive a nice new Dodge Caravan. But I digress. The point is just to be on the look-out for schmucks. I am telling you this only because I am about to sell my story to 60 Minutes, and I figured you should know.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I recently bought a pair of Starbury SMX for $10 plus tax. They're much better than the Starbury Ones. Yes, the SO's thin sole, midsole and innersole add up to the fact that you can feel the floor when you jump in the shoes. However, while the SMX's are touted as a lowtop shoe, they come up about half an inch past the ankle, giving quite a nice ankle support, something I need a lot. Yes they're a bit clunky and resemble "old-school" sneakers a lot, but I like them quite a bit. No I don't play basketball, but they're rather comfortable and so far have held up to what I've thrown at them. In case you're wondering, I'm a 25 year old Graduate Student with medium Cerebral Palsy (I get around witha walker or crutches); I'm not a CEO, nor a basketball player; I'm just a regular guy who wanted a pair of comfortable sneakers to get around town with. I think I got more than my money's worth.

Anonymous Uncle Al said...
I just got mine today and broke em in immediately. Super lightweight, low to the ground, good traction, tight lacing system, good ankle support, breathable but sturdy leather, and good looks. Overall, I give them an A- for lack of arch support. If anyone says they dislike these shoes, they are just hating. As a former high school basketball player and assistant AAU coach, for $15 they are worth $60 more than what I paid for them. I would recommend these to any serious baller who realizes that a good shoe isn't made good because of the price.

Anonymous Pastor B said...
It is amazing to me that we let the hate we feel against a person get in the way of their maturation. Yes Marbury has issues, yes he needs to learn how to be a team player, but he's trying to do something for SOMEBODY else! Where it really counts in every day life not on the court. Whether or Knicks win or not is not going to effect you but if you got kids who need shoes 15 bucks is going to effect you. Let the man do his thing.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
A few months ago, I spent some time working for Steve & Barry's, which is the only place where these shoes are available. I spent time at both the store level and at the corporate office on Long Island. The issues that you had with availability are dead-on accurate. The store has a primative inventory system at best. They have no delivery schedule, and anyone at the store who tells you otherwise is lying (which we were encouraged to do.) When I worked there, we ran completely out of jeans. Completely out. We had to take the jeans off the mannequin displays and sell them. It's going to be so much worse with the Starburys. If you get lucky enough to find some, then good for you, but don't expect the store to have any when you look for them.

Anonymous Caroline said...
Where in Los Angeles Calif. can you purchase Starbury sneakers, By Stephon Marbury.Send answer to cthjay@yahoo.com

Anonymous Starbury One said...
Okay... I'm sorry to say this, but do you honestly believe that Stephon Marbury is selling these shoes "for the good of the children"? I mean, come on folks, this is Stephon Marbury, "Starbury", we are talking about! The only reason he is selling his shoes for cheap is because nobody would buy his shoes is they were expensive. Imagine that you walk into FootLocker, FinishLine, whatever, and you see five types of sneakers:

-The New Starbury's for $100
-The New T-Mac's for $100
-The New LeBron's for $100
-The New Melo's for $100
-The New Air Jordan's for $100

Of course, this is made up, so obviously the prices would not all be exactly the same in real life. Anyways, you have five different pairs of sneakers to choose from: Tracy McGrady's, Carmelo's, LeBron's, the Jordan's... and you are going to tell me that you would buy the Marbury's? Of course not! "Starbury" only made dirt-cheap shoes because he would make MORE money off of them. Even kids that aren't poor are buying them because there has been so much talk about them! Starbury is loading up on the money! He's selling TONS more shoes at $15 than he ever would at $100. So don't give me the crap that "we be hatin'" Marbury, because he's "doing something nice for others". Because, although he's helping others, the main idea is that he is heping himself.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
"He's selling TONS more shoes at $15 than he ever would at $100."

Umm, yea thats the point. I don't care if he does it just because he wouldn't sell many for $100. What I do know is that I will never buy a $100 pair of shoes. A Steve and Barrys is opening in my area soon and I'm looking forward to getting a pair. Price is probably the biggest factor in shoes when I look at it. Maybe they won't be the most comfortable, but break them in, get a gel pad or something, and I'm sure they will be just fine. If you want to spend 6 times as much on a pair of shoes, unless there made of water or air or something that feel literally like I'm walking on air, theres no way in hell am I going to pay that much for a pair of footwear.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
cmon people Steve and Barry's sells quality for less. do you understand supply and demand? obviously not. think about something real quick. Just think if Steve and Barry's had an online store. they would not be able to keep up with demand, skyrocketing prices. i guarantee if they did have an online store i would have ordered the starbury shoes plus a bunch of cloths. besides, how many of you are famous? then, leave it to the professionals both athletes and business.

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Anonymous Dion said...
As a former Arizonan and a Suns fan since their expansion year, it took a lot to change my mind about Stephon. This shoe did the trick. He may not be the answer on the court, but he sure is when it comes to shoeing up my 12-year-old twin gym rats. The Starbury is as well-made as other kid hightops and has a reasonably high playground cool factor. They like the look, I like the price. Life is good.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
www.starburysneakers.com

Sneakers are awesome..... I own over 30 pairs.

Anonymous TOPO TONY said...
hay i live in northen cal. and took a drive to south cal just to find a steve and berrys . i have two boys 16 and 14 and me and mon found starberrys , at the store you could only buy 2 pairs PER PERSON a day cool , i took home 7 pairs and there great great great damm . the kids wear them every day ,fit good and look good. and the jackets and the pants ,everything was 9.99 to 14.99 thanks STEVE AND BERRY WE GOING BACK IN FEB AGAIN THANKS TOPO TONY

Anonymous pande said...
first time I saw this shoes is in Oprah show, and Marbury said that he want to make a nice basketball shoes without have to spend too much money for the kids. Nice idea though

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Anonymous Anonymous said...
I love these shoes Starbury Ones..
I have 3 pairs and have worn them well....

Im trying to find more new ones now it seems I cant find them anywhere
including on his site
looks like they stopped making them.. thats too bad I loved the shoe and the price!!!!

Whats up w all the hate

sounds like Nike people are planted trying to bring it down sine they cant compete!!

The shoes ROCK man
BRING THEM BACK!!!!

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