Last week, adidas unveiled the adiZero Crazy Light -- the lightest adidas basketball shoe ever, and the lightest basketball shoe on the market, period. Kept under wraps for literally years, the project to create the world's lightest basketball shoe had finally come to fruition. There was genuine joy in the presentation, and it surely warmed the hearts of executives and designers alike as a select group of media (along with emcee-slash-ringer Bobbito Garcia) put the shoes through their paces afterwards -- especially because no one died. You have until the June 3rd release date to decide whether the Crazy Light is right for your game, but in the meantime, we'll answer some of your imaginary questions. Let's go.
1) SO HOW LIGHT IS "CRAZY LIGHT"? How about 9.8 ounces in a size 9? For comparisons sake, a Kobe VI weighs 10.7 ounces, a pair of NBA socks weighs 2.7 ounces, and a Big Mac weighs 7.5 ounces. The ClimaCool Ride, adidas's minimalist runner, weigs 8.9 ounces. So the Crazy Light is SUPER light, especially for a true midcut.
2) THAT IS LIGHT. SO ARE THEY JUST FOR POINT GUARDS OR SOMETHING? Nope, not at all. Yes, guys like Derrick Rose and Mario Chalmers and Jrue Holiday are wearing them right now in the NBA Playoffs, but so are Hedo Turkoglu, Josh Smith and Wilson Chandler. And Josh is not a point guard by anyone's definition.
3) DID THEY JUST START WITH AN EXISTING SHOE AND STRIP IT DOWN OR WHAT? Nope, the exact opposite -- they built the Crazy Light out from the foot. Lots of prototyping, lots of trial and error. New materials, new processes. What they wound up with was a lightened-up Sprint Frame chassis and a Sprint Web upper, which is about the most breathable upper you'll ever see on a basketball shoe. How committed were they to lightweight? Look at the upper eyelets -- see how they're set into square bases? The eyelets themselves were going to be square until they figured out round ones would be fractionally lighter (actually, the sample photos show square eyelets -- those are gone). Basically the equation is light = fast. Lose ounces, gain speed and quickness. So they went as light as they could -- for now, anyway.
4) YOU SAID DERRICK ROSE IS WEARING THEM. ARE THEY HIS NEW SIGNATURE SHOE? Nope. Whole different beast. While the adiZero Rose 2 does take some cues from the adiZero Crazy Light (which was designed first), the Rose 2 -- being a true signature shoe -- has bells and whistles that would have pushed it over the 10-ounce mark. In the meantime, Rose is wearing a PE version of the Crazy Light, as seen above.
5) BELLS AND WHISTLES? No, not literally. Come on.
6) OK, SO THESE SHOES WEIGH ABOUT AS MUCH AS FOUR PAIRS OF NBA SOCKS. DO THEY HAVE ANY CUSHIONING AT ALL? Yep. Nothing fancy, though -- just a single-density, high-grade, injection-molded EVA foam midsole with two interchangable sockliners, CRAZY LIGHT and CRAZY COMFORT, which sit right on top of the Sprint Frame chassis. The CRAZY COMFORT insoles are made up of a slightly denser foam, and don't have a zillion holes punched through them.
7) AND THE ANKLE COLLAR? That's padded too, although only with 4mm of padding. Every little bit counts, though. Ahead of the ankle, things are super-light, with a less-than 1mm thick exoskeleton bonded to a nylon mesh base. You can see through them.
8) SO HOW MUCH ARE THEY GONNA BE? Retail is set at $130, and... WAIT, DOES THAT MEAN THESE WILL BE THE MOST EXPENSIVE BASKETBALL SHOES PER OUNCE EVER? I don't -- why would you even ask that?
9) NEVERMIND. PLEASE CONTINUE. Thanks. They drop in four colors initially -- Sharp Blue/white, black/red/white, grey/white/neon green and red/white. Six additional team colorways will follow, and who knows after that? You'll be able to find them at Foot Locker, Eastbay and shopadidas.com
10) ANYTHING ELSE WE SHOULD KNOW? Well, they feel... light. On your feet, I mean. They're lighter than some running shoes, and this is a true midcut basketball shoe. The extreme ventilation takes some getting used to, and the new highly sculpted outsole pattern (a variation on the tried-and-true herringbone) squeaks like crazy, but eventually you forget about the shoes and just play. Which is the way it should work with any basketball shoe -- here there's just less than ever to forget.