Adidas held a special event in New York City last week to unveil their latest basketball shoe, the adidas adiZero Crazy Light.
I had the opportunity to attend the event and witness the inauguration live.
Adidas pulled out all the stops for the event, and it was clear from the start how proud they were of their latest feat in engineering.
More than two years in the making, the adidas Innovation Team (aIT) and adidas Basketball Design developed the adiZero Crazy Light from the canvas of a bare foot to ensure every part of the shoe serves a vital performance function. Only lightweight, highly flexible and durable materials were selected to create the lightest shoe in basketball.
The adiZero Crazy Light traction system has varied engineered thickness to ensure maximum grip in high wear perimeter zones, and less thickness and weight in low perimeter zones like the midfoot. It also features longitudinal grooves in the heel and forefoot to provide support during extreme forefoot cuts.
The adiZero Crazy Light is the perfect balance between lightweight construction and support to improve performance. The revolutionary construction is unlike anything in the market.
- SPRINTWEB – Revolutionary new exoskeleton system is less than 1mm thick and seamlessly bonded to a nylon textile base to significantly reduce weight and provide increased support. The web layout of the materials provides vertical and horizontal strength to give maximum support.
- The SPRINTFRAME external heel counter and TORSION SYSTEM are bonded together to allow for maximum weight reduction, energy return and motion control.
- BOUNCE construction stitches the upper directly to the tooling to save weight and cut down on extra material needed for bonding.
The upper is made with translucent nylon to further decrease weight and gives players nearly 360 degrees of ventilated comfort.
- The footbed is comprised of specialized foam to provide lightweight comfort around the collar while minimizing heat build up.
- Injected toe cap provides toe drag protection and maintains forefoot volume.
- Each lace eyelet is load bearing and has a corresponding web spar to support players during hard cuts.
The adiZero Crazy Light provides players with maximum traction and flexibility on the court.
- Outsole traction system has varied engineered thickness to ensure maximum grip in high wear perimeter zones, and less thickness and weight in low perimeter zones like the midfoot.
- New traction pattern offers a multi-level cross section that increases surface area and limits dust build up for indoor players.
- Features longitudinal grooves in the heel and forefoot to provide support during extreme forefoot cuts.
- Asymmetrical midsole layout aligns with internal I beams to reduce rollover and help players adapt and adjust to playing surfaces.
What better place to premiere the shoes than on the biggest stage in basketball?
If you paid any attention to the amazing opening set of games for the 2011 NBA playoffs, you more than likely saw at least one player rocking a pair of the adiZero Crazy Light.
If you watched Derrick Rose drop 39 on the Indiana Pacers in Game 1 or 36 in Game 2, you probably saw his special black and red player editions—albeit for brief flashes. Chances are the cameramen had trouble keeping up with him on his wild forays to the bucket.
While I'll admit that I'm not crazy—no pun intended—about the name of the shoe, it certainly lives up to its lofty claim.
Weighing in at 9.8 ounces, the Crazy Light is truly the lightest basketball shoe ever made. It weighs nearly two ounces—or 15 percent—less than its closest competitor, and while you may not become aware of it right away, it is noticeably lighter than most basketball shoes on the market.
I, for one, am accustomed to playing in heavier shoes with a lot more cushion and support. Those of you who are used to playing in the same types of shoes will appreciate the difference in weight.
Despite the differences, I can say with confidence that these provide all the amenities of heavier and thicker shoes while maintaining its lightweight profile.
“No other basketball shoe compares to the new adiZero Crazy Light and it’s a shoe that will revolutionize the game,” said Lawrence Norman, adidas Vice President of Global Basketball. “The ultra lightweight design is built for players who want to be faster, jump higher and perform better on the court. From the NBA’s best to pick-up games across the world, players are asking for light footwear to help them become one step quicker - and the adiZero Crazy Light delivers this in a way like no shoe in history.”
A major concern I had before trying the Crazy Light on was ankle support and the comfort factor.
Griff Wilson, senior developer for the adidas Innovation Team, believed that “the key is to provide the support and cushioning of a traditional basketball shoe in a super lightweight construction."
They managed to put all the right cushioning and support in all the right places.
You get strong ankle support while remaining comfortable enough for intense sessions of basketball.
My only complaint was that it felt a little tight around the midsole. By no means was it bad enough that I couldn't play in them, but it was noticeable, particularly after a two-hour session of ball.
Then again, my experience could be unique and different from other people. Perhaps I just need more time to break them in.
It's easy to go on and on about all the technology and work that went into making this, but that means nothing if the shoes don't perform up to a certain standard.
Speed kills in almost every sport, and it's certainly no different in basketball.
“Lighter footwear makes you faster and speed dominates on the basketball court,” said Derrick Rose, two-time NBA All-Star of the top-seeded Chicago Bulls. “The adiZero Crazy Light is the lightest basketball shoe I’ve ever worn and it will no doubt make me faster on the court for our playoff run.”
It doesn't really get any better than a ringing endorsement from the soon-to-be 2011 NBA MVP and arguably the fastest player in the league, Derrick Rose.
Of course, that doesn't mean as much to your everyday average Joe when they hit the courts. They won't be breaking ankles and dunking on seven-footers quite like Rose does.
So after the press conference ended and I got my interviews out of the way, I had an opportunity to put the adiZero Crazy Light through its paces.
A number of media members in attendance—including none other than Bobbito Garcia—played a few games of five-on-five basketball and got to test out the shoes.
Since everyone was wearing the adiZero Crazy Light, none of us really had a "competitive advantage" over one another. We were all on equal ground, at least in terms of equipment.
The soles of the adiZero Crazy Light grip the floor like racing tires on a tight corner. I was able to get a lot of momentum when trying to spin off my man or when coming hard off a screen. I also had no trouble making cuts, getting that burst off my first step or changing directions on a drive.
I can't say for sure if I was any quicker, but my feet certainly felt lighter when moving around the court.
Of course, you can't give a proper review without trying the shoes on an outdoor court.
Over the weekend, I managed to get in a handful of five-on-five pickup games at a local outdoor court.
Traction was my biggest area of concern on outdoor courts since the surface was rougher, and I knew that's where I would be spending most of my time playing in the Crazy Light.
There was one specific moment that stood out where I knew that the traction on the shoes was great.
While backpedaling trying to defend a two-man fast break on my own, I managed to slide back and right into the path of the oncoming ball-handler to cut off his penetration, disrupt the fast break and force a turnover.
It sounds like a very common play, but with the force and speed that I slid back, I most definitely would've slipped and fallen on my back if I had shoes with poor traction or more wear on the soles. Instead, I kept my balance, my feet remained firmly planted on the ground and I ended up making a great defensive play.
Basketball shoes have become a staple in the latest fashion trends and styles.
However, people tend to forget that they were built for one purpose—to play basketball in.
While the shoes look great, these are by no means a trendy pair you'll be rocking when you go out. The quality of these shoes is judged on performance, and they certainly deliver.
Whether you play on the perimeter or in the low post, the adiZero Crazy Light is versatile enough for players of all types.
The adiZero Crazy Light will be available June 3 in four colorways for $130 including sharp blue/white, black/red/white, grey/white/neon green and red/white. It will roll out in six additional team colorways through September and will be available at Foot Locker, Eastbay and www.shopadidas.com.