April 29, 2012 BY John Kim
SN: It seems like there’s a lot of information that comes out of the testing process with athletes and machines, but obviously nothing’s perfect on the first try. How were the results from the initial round of testing?
ED: With all the learning we did with the Crazy Light 1, the first round of samples of the Crazy Light 2 were awesome! A lot of the revising with the Crazy Light 2 was with the materials, testing five different lining combinations, and once that was done, we got a design review. All of that feedback, including marketing and athlete feedback, went to Robbie who did a re-design, and that shoe went through the same exact testing we did with the first sample.
SN: Besides the toe-cap issue you mentioned before, what was another revision that had to be made from the original?
ED: Outside of the toe-cap issue, there’s a hang-tag on the Crazy Light 1 that says “For Indoor Use Only”, which allowed us to reduce web thickness and make the shoe as light as possible for optimal performance on court, but then we realized the majority of basketball players play outdoors.
SN: A few of our readers have mentioned the outdoor playability of shoe, and a lot of countries outside the U.S. play ball on outdoor courts.
ED: Yes, definitely. So one of the things was to change up the rubber – we actually have a thicker outsole around the perimeter which is a high-wear zone, and we also reduced the weight in the middle, and that resulted in a bit more abrasion-resistance and overall a more durable shoe that will allow you to play indoor and outdoor. Also, one of the big inspirations of Robbie was this idea of aerodynamic design and one of the results was reducing the seams. If you look at the forefoot, there really are no seams, so it’s almost piece up until the medial panel, so you have a smooth, more finessed finish. That was an unexpected revision that really enhanced the product.
SN: So where is the limit of “lightweight”, if there is any? Isn’t there the possibility of hitting a wall?
ED: Our team has a really solid understanding of basketball bio-mechanics and again, just going back to those 15 tests we put any shoe through – they’re pretty rigorous because that’s what comes from adidas, with our roots being in performance footwear. As long as we’re pushing the boundaries of “lightweight” and never forgetting and never compromising what it means to be a basketball shoe and what it requires, we can still go light. There’s a lot shoes that go light in a very arbitrary way, but we try to do it in a very intelligent way, and we’re still finding ways to make shoes lighter, which comes from not only material innovation, but construction innovation. We’re not there yet!
Elysia Davis is part of Sports Research, Basketball for adidas. Her background and experience in Biomechanics has been integral to the development of the adidas adiZero Crazy Light series.
Tags: adidas Crazy Light 2