Fila 96 Grand Hill Review

8.3 score
[Editors rating (8.3)] = (WalkJogRun) score (8.3)/10

Editor rating: 8.3 / 10
User's rating: based on 0 user ratings
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Did you know that Fila used to make only clothes in the first 60 years of existence?

That’s right. Founded by Giansevero Fila in 1911, Fila was known as a company that manufactured and sold only clothes. It was at the beginning of the 70’s that the company branched out in the making of footwear and sports accessories.

The first sports endorsement was awarded to the legendary Bjorn Borg. Soon many more followed. But, since partnering with the legendary Swede, the brand became a very familiar label worldwide. The company gained in popularity, and become one of the most respected companies in the world.

But for now, in this review, there’s a little nod to the past. A tribute to a great shoe, that’s been revived and improved. The nostalgia is huge in the 2019 Grand Hill, or the Grand Hill 2.0 sneaker as it’s commonly known. But what are the details surrounding this sneaker? Find out in the post below.

Editor's Pros & Cons

Return of the 96 logo

Leather lining

Leather upper

Available in low cut and high cut versions


No vegan version


Having a great thick rubber outsole is a must when it comes to the athlete style sneakers, and in the 2019 version of the Grand Hill sneaker, it’s a great blast from the past. The famous 96 version of the sneaker had that same exact outsole, and Fila made sure that’s featured in the new and improved version of the model. The thick rubber outsole is comfortable, provides a great amount of traction and it great for playing a game of basketball indoors and outdoors. There is some hint of ridging on the bottom of the outsole, but the indentations are not that deep and pronounced.

However, the thickness and the massive nature of that outsole really compensates and gives the sneakers the traction that’s needed. The traction, the overall grip, and the stability are guaranteed because of that outsole. Also several of the satisfied customers expressed satisfaction with the heel lockdown at the back of the sneaker, but one major complaint was the applying the logo of the company to many areas. According to many of the customers, the Fila logo is used on the bottom of the outsole, on the sides of the outsole, on the upper, on the tongue. It’s a bit much and makes the shoe overcrowded with the different sizes of the logo.


The midsole is padded enough to secure the comfort of the entire sneaker. But don’t think for a second that the retro design is the only nod to the past in this particular shoe. No. The great 2A technology is characterized by the dense and very thick feel that it gives to the area in which it’s applied. In this case the padding in the midsole. Although it’s not very soft and plush to the touch, it does, however, provide the shoes with a lot of comforts and plenty of responsive feels. Yes, there is a good amount of arch support from the technology but the comfort that it gives is the number one priority to Fila.

It’s one of those technologies that are so good, that the company keeps improving them, although by some standards are considered archaic. It still works, and decades later it still gives the best results. But the thing is, in this particular model the 2A technology is applied in the entire surface of the midsole. Not just to a select area of the shoe. From the toes, especially to the midfoot area, and all the way to the heel in the back of the shoe.


The sides of the upper are also padded and the tongue is as well. The extra padding in the 2019 version of the Grand Hill sneaker, is there to give you the best possible comfort, fit and security, but not necessarily to one or two specific areas of your foot. The high cut of the upper, and especially that wide opening allow the ankle to support to become much greater and more pronounced, so you can rest assured that no ankle injuries can occur. The padding around the ankles is there to provide a better grip and much better security even in your weekly neighborhood basketball game. You don’t have to be a basketball pro or an NBA future hero to appreciate the padding in the shoe’s upper.

The entire surface of the upper is made from high-quality grain leather, and the lining inside the upper is also done with a thin leather lining. This particular model has a back strap that’s also adjustable and a type of rolled construction around the toe area and around the quarter of the shoe. The lacing system is the classic lacing system that’s been popularized by Fila, while the color of the laces matches the color of the upper. Always. If you chose a white upper, the laces will always come with the crisp white color, while if you chose the black version of the model, the laces will be black to match the rest of the shoe.


Thanks to the padding done in the midsole and on the inside of the upper, the comfort is off the hook here in the 2019 version of the Grand Hill model. But it’s not just about the padding really. The thick, rubber outsole provides much of the comfort, but from the bottom of the sneaker, and the tight snug feeling of the great lacing system also contribute to the comfort and overall security. When your feet are tightly secured from all areas, you’d better believe that you’ll feel the comfort that you deserve, as well.


The same goes about support. The padding in the midsole and in the upper supports your feet like no other feature. And it’s worth mentioning that that comfort comes from several areas, not just from the midsole. Even the thick rubber outsole gives provides plenty of support, and the high cut version highs the ankles and gives them the support that they’ll need. Basketball is a game with plenty of movement, action and running and it’s good to have shoes that will be looking after your feet in all the key areas. Toes, arches, ankles and pretty much everywhere else.


It’s great to have fine materials like grain leather and firm rubber in the outsole. But the quality of the materials means nothing if the quality of the craftsmanship isn’t up to the highest possible standards. Thankfully Fila knows how to improve a shoe that’s already been marked by high standards of quality. Every inch of the 2019 version of the Grand Hill sneaker is highly durable and will become your constant companion on the basketball court.


It’s quite surprising, but the 2019 version of the Grand Hill sneaker does contain a small amount of flexibility even with the ridged firm leather upper, the thick rubber outsole and the amount of padding that’s been done in the sneaker. The flexibility isn’t that great, but according to some of the customers that left a customer review on the official website, the flexibility is present enough to prevent any injuries to occur.


If the flexibility wasn’t all that impressive, you’d be happy to hear that the stability is quite impressive. All over the shoe. From the outsole to the midsole, going all the way up to the high upper. Every inch of the sneaker is stable enough to give you better grip, firm control and balance when you’re on the court. No restrictions no cramming and blistering have been reported. Stability is truly a key feature and the one that’s not been taken lightly. A lot of time, care and planning have been put in the making of this shoe, so you just know that the stability will be a top-notch priority.


Sadly the airflow could be better in the 2019 version of the Grand Hill sneaker. When Fila was rebooting the classic 90’s sneaker, a little more time and effort should have been invested in the airflow of the sneaker. The only provided of some amount of airflow is the leather outsole, but other than that, the upper lacks any mesh, indentations or perforations. Anything that could allow more breathability and airflow to the inside of the shoe. It’s sad, because these are athletic style sneakers that sees a lot of action, friction and movement, so the feet tend to get sweaty fairly easily. If only there was more the shoe’s airflow, than just the leather and its moisture wicking properties.


As you can plainly see from the outsole of the 2019 version of the Grand Hill sneaker, it’s fairly thick, chunky and big. It does carry a lot of the weight in the traction department, but things need to be improved in the ridges that sit on the bottom of that outsole. The ridging in the outsole needs to be more pronounced and much deeper in order for the traction to be felt. It’s there, but as always, it needs improvement in order to become better.


It’s sad when a great sneaker like this only comes in 2 different color options. The black and the white. Fila really needs to step up the game and allow more color variety in this particular model. It deserves plenty of more variety because two color options are not enough.


What first comes to mind when you look at the 2019 version of the Grand Hill sneaker? A great nod to the past. Fila went out of their way to improve the design, the functionality, and the overall style, but still, maintain the retro-inspired feel of the ’90s. With plenty more padding, and even more nostalgic silhouette, the 2.0 version is a great continuation of the 90’s inspired sneakers that were brought to life in the past few months. Fila has joined in on the trend and the result is the stylish, and fantastic 2019 version of the Grand Hill sneaker by Fila.

Bottom line

The 2019 version of the Grand Hill sneaker is a fantastic sneaker that pays homage to one of the greats. A basketball style sneaker that allows you to feel even more secured and protected thanks to the improvements that were made to the shoe’s structure and design. The nostalgia appeal is there, but for those of you who aren’t familiar with the 96 version, the reason to purchase this shoe is the fine craftsmanship and the great materials used in the making of that sneaker. They’re both amazing and the end result is a comfy, chunky and sleek sneaker that won’t let you don’t on the basketball court. It will become your new favorite pair only if you let it.