When we got the phone call from the good people at adidas last month asking us if we would like to test run the latest Derrick Rose adiZero signature series, the answer was most definitely a resounding YES! I had been looking for an excuse to stop writing about basketball and go out and actually play it with a purpose once again. Armed with the adiZero’s in hand and a ball partner in the less fortunate Willie Flight (poor kid didn’t get a pair, pays to be the Editor) I headed down to the local indoor courts to give the pair as much burn as I could for a, ‘not-as-fit as I could’ be basketball player.
To help with the review I decided to break it down into categories. What aspects of the shoe I liked and how it stood up to the tests of the hardwood.
The thing with adidas basketball shoes is that they don’t get enough credit for the technology behind their shoes. Compared to other basketball sneakers out in the marketplace adidas are right up there with the best shoes. Created to fit uniquely on All-Star point guard Derrick Rose the emphasis of these kicks is lightness and that is the first thing you notice about the shoe when you pick it up. The claim is that this sneaker is lighter than the first. The weight has been reduced to a mere 12.9oz using SprintSkin technology on the shoes upper. SprintSkin is an expandable material that allows breathability and lets air flow through the ‘mesh window’ on the sides of the shoe. Internal EVA midsole for cushioning, and a PureMotion pods on the outsole for traction. This shoe has the complete package when it comes to on-court usage. It is light, comfortable and has all the performance requirements a ball player would need.
This is the area the shoe excels. Wearing it initially was like wearing a pair of socks to ball in, only with cushioning. It felt so light that it is almost indescribable with words. The beauty of that was felt especially on defense when having to make quick lateral movements. Now don’t get me wrong I’m no fleet footed NBA player but it certainly felt like I was when I was wearing the shoe. Gone from the first shoe is the ankle booty, It’s a more traditionally cut sneaker which provided support around the ankle : So much so that you could feel the support without it being overly constricting to the point where it was uncomfortable. A lot of sneakers feel restrictive once they’re on the foot, in particular around the toe area where feet can occasionally get ‘jammed up’. Not so with the adizero, great combination of lock-down support and flexibility.
Continuing on with the comfort them is the playability of the shoe. Moving around was a breeze. Lateral movements and explosive movements are handled well, the support was there throughout the shoe. Although I am only 5’10 I suspect that the shoe will translate well to a ‘bigger’ player as well despite quickness and speed being it’s target market of player. When required to make a sudden stop the adidas PureMotion pods were like Brembo brakes on a Porsche. On a couple of maneuvers when having to reduce speed suddenly such as pulling up for a jumpshot or closing out on a defender the pods worked a little too well, they literally stick to the hardwood. I almost tripped up a couple of times when performing stop/start movements. I tested these shoes out on a few occasions and I can honestly say that after playing for a couple of hours each time the shoes inner never got ‘damp’ once. Usually with basketball shoes your socks become drenched with sweat because there is a lack of breathability. Not so with the adiZero. The aforementioned mesh windows see to that. There are also some slight perforations in the toe panel on the top of the shoe which help with that in addition to the windows. Obviously designed for quicker guards relying on speed, the lightness of the shoe allows for more explosive movements.
Part of the selling point of the original Derrick Rose shoe was it’s ability to mesh on-court performance with off-court wearability. “Making sure the shoes are wearable so that the younger kids – if they’re going to spend their money, they’re going to wear them off the court” said Rose of the original adiZero.
While it may have rung true with the first series of the shoe unfortunately the 1.5 is not as versatile as it’s predecessor in this instance. As great as the shoe may be on-court it just didn’t look as good when thrown together with a pair of jeans.It felt like I had just thrown on a pair of ‘basketball sneakers’ whereas the adiZero had more appeal and could be worn with some nice jeans and T-shirt. As far as on-court style, it is fantastic. It definitely turned some heads with it’s bright red/grey and white colorway.
With a retail price of just under $200 in Australia the shoe falls into the affordable range when you factor in the performance of the shoe and the technologies used. adidas’ aim was to re-establish themselves in basketball products with the signature series of both Derrick Rose and Dwight Howard. They have created a perfect performance shoe for ballers to play in. It ticks all boxes on the performance side of the equation. Lightness, stability, traction, breathability and construction. Factor in it is a mean-looking on-court shoe and you have all the hallmarks of a success for adidas. When you consider the range of shoes out there you’ll notice that many focus on a shoes aesthetics first and put performance second. adidas have focused on the performance aspect first and foremost while still maintaining a certain degree of appeal for the shoes looks. Whether you’re an MVP candidate in the NBA or a recreational baller this shoe is perfect for both. adidas have re-entered the basketball market with an explosion.
Light makes Fast indeed.