With the Curry 5 being the latest shoe in the Curry signature line, potential buyers will often ask if this shoe is worth switching to, or even which should be their first. With both shoes having sleek and slender designs, I will be telling you today which of the two will come out on top, as always, in terms of material, traction, and comfort. The Curry 5’s low profile contrasts with that of the initial Curry 4, but a Curry 4 low is also out. However, with our previous review on the Under Armour Curry 5, I think there’s a clear winner here.
The low version of the Curry 4.
Let’s start with the Curry 4 on this. The Curry 4 has an internal sleeve, which will feel locked in around the ankle and forefoot, and is also comfortable. This knit is also quite stretchy and thin, which adds more to the comfort of the shoe. I loved how this shoe’s upper was designed, as it was both supportive and soft. Parts of the shoe also have a synthetic overlay to add structure, as well as support or stability. Unfortunately, one of these parts goes over the toes, so when walking, the overlay can dig into your toes. After breaking in, I didn’t have any issues anymore with the overlay, but I can understand that it may still happen even after. It’s more of a nuisance and doesn’t cause injury like I’ll talk about with the 5s in another section.
Overall, Curry 4’s materials are far from poor quality. The knit feels amazing, but the synthetic areas just feel like a regular synthetic fiber. The Curry 5 also has a knit, but its upper is fully comprised of it. The knit was also stretchy, and I didn’t have any complaints with this aspect of the shoe. The full knit allows the shoe to conform to the player, and gives quite decent ventilation. Antifoam on the forefoot and heel, as well as a unique lacing system, add to the shoe’s lockdown. The 5 has materials that feel like they’re premium, but they’re overshadowed by core problems. Both shoes are also extremely light, both at around the 11 oz area. This really helps out when you’re aiming for speed. With the 4 in particular, because it’s so light, it makes you almost forget that you have the shoe on. This lets you just focus on the play, rather than think about your shoes all the time. For aesthetic, I like high shoes more than lows, so I preferred the 4. The five does still look nice, however. Both shoes do look quite similar, with the signature SC written on the side of the midsole.
The Curry 4’s circular pattern, which was a complete change from the herringbone pattern in previous shoes in the line, created some strong traction in every direction. I find that this shoe performs extremely strong on the court. This shoe holds up quite well on the court but picks up an average amount of dust. Wiping will be necessary to hold up the shoe, but even with dust on the shoe, it still performs pretty well. The shoe will require breaking in to get that strength on the rubber. Before breaking in, I didn’t think much about the traction – as in, it was just decent.
On the other hand, the Curry 5 also gives a strong bite – the catch is that the shoe has to be on just about a spotless court to really experience it. The Curry 5 picks up dust like a vacuum- whatever dust that is present, the shoe will pick up. It requires that you wipe extremely hard, as the dust almost latches onto the rubber. The shoe’s been regarded as inconsistent because of it, and sliding will almost always occur when you’ve played long enough without wiping.
It feels disappointing because you can certainly feel it have that incredible stopping power, but it just goes away way too quickly and way too drastically. If both of these shoes played on the cleanest court there was in the world, I’d even say that the 5 trumps the 4 quite a bit. However, even on moderately clean courts, the 4 will be at the 5. In terms of playing outside, both shoes should hold up pretty well, as the rubber is both thick and hard on both. On a side note, both shoes have translucent rubber, while players have wished for solid rubber versions of the outsole. There are some editions of both that have solid rubber or gum sole, so just be aware of which colourway you’re getting if you truly want the most traction out of a shoe. In addition to soles, both shoes are also squeaky when you play, but the Curry 4 needs to break in for that, while the five will eventually lose its squeaky-ness when it eats up whatever dust there could be on the court.
Both the 4 and the 5 have similar speed plates on the middle of the sole area, which offers stability and recoil. In terms of cushion, the 4 and 5 have a proprietary foam compound, known as EVA, or ethylene vinyl acetate, which has a consistency similar to rubber. This rubbery consistency also feels low to the ground for both shoes and gives in slightly to compression. It also offers a slight bounce to it, which does feel good. It’s noted to be resistant to cracks and UV radiation. Unfortunately, that’s not true, at least for the Curry 5 with compression marks, which will likely not interfere with performance issues very much. The impact protection of the 4 is comparable to that of the 5, which is somewhat minimal. This minimal underfoot cushioning lets you get some better court feel, control, and stability, which is what the Curry line has always aimed for.
On to the glaring issue with support; what sets apart the 4 and the 5 is potential for injury. The 4 has no glaring issues that I can see, nor did I experience during my testing time and games with it. Meanwhile, the 5 has this crazy arch fuse welds that can cut and chafe your foot arch. It certainly gave me blisters, and I have a pretty normal foot. Looking at other reviews of this shoe, I came to found the same problem and found that the 5 has a problem. Now, it didn’t happen to every reviewer, but I wouldn’t take the risk if I knew that there was this potential for injury. I could hardly even complete the testing phase of the 5s, and i didn’t want to play my games in them.
Fit & Support
Both of these shoes have pretty narrow fits, so wide-footed people should probably steer clear of both of these shoes. Specifically speaking, the 5 does have a wide toe area, but its middle is tight and narrow. The 4 is just narrow all around. Even though I had an average foot, I liked the narrow fit too. Both shoes also have remarkable lockdown, but I’d say the 5 is almost exclusively built for lockdown. Its lacing system, the Anafoam, and the snug fit all make sure that your foot is always in contact with the shoe. This also kind of works against it, though, since the arch area will almost always be in contact with your foot and cause the blisters mentioned before. Meanwhile, the 4 has no outstanding problems with lockdown and fit. The knit that reaches up to the ankle also helps with heel and Achilles tendon lockdown. Lateral stability and containment worked exceptionally in the Curry 4. The support, however, was lacking in the ankle area because there was nothing overlaying the stretchy knit. This makes the shoe pretty much feel like a low. Because the 5 is a low, it also doesn’t have any ankle support. It does, however, make up for this with the stability and wide toe, unlike the 4. In other areas with the 4, it has the overlay wrapping all the way around the shoe, which feels really good.
This is about the only area where the 5 actually has a notable edge over the 4. The 5 withstood durability testing quite well, and its strong rubber also performed strongly. The only problem is aesthetic with the painting on the midsole, as well as the compression marks. However, the 4 did have problems where the fused knit connects to the overlay. There was a reviewer who had this area come off on his 2nd day of testing. I didn’t get anything that extreme, but there were parts that were coming off their glue here and there. The rubber did at least holdup.
Just don’t get the Curry 5. It has some serious potential for injury on the arch, and you’d have to be playing at a premium court to get even decent traction. Both shoes do pick up dust, but the difference is that the 4 can still play decently and doesn’t pick up nearly as much as the 5. The 5 loves dust and latches onto it. You’ll have to wipe constantly and wipe real hard with it. Both shoes can perform outside. Basically, the 4 is just the better brother of the two. With similar material makeup, you aren’t missing out on anything by getting the 5. The 4 feels really comfortable and extremely stable. While durability may be a slight issue, the shoe did still hold up in our tests with only one possible area that will likely wear down first. On top of that, the 4 retails at about $130 – well worth it. The 5 is just nowhere close to being worth $130 unless you truly enjoyed it is aesthetic and down to the court feel.