April 29, 2012 BY John Kim
Sneaker News: So adidas Basketball got back in the game by creating a whole new flagship sneaker with last year’s Crazy Light, essentially starting from scratch on the project. But for the Crazy Light 2, the team obviously had something to build upon. Walk us through the early process of the Crazy Light 2.
Elysia Davis: The Crazy Light 2 started with a review of the Crazy Light 1. We wanted to get a hold of what we achieved and what we wanted to improved. The Crazy Light 1 was really a statement of “Lightweight” and “Innovation”, so when we moved on to the Crazy Light 2, we definitely wanted to get lighter, so that was the first point we wanted to achieve. When we start at any shoe construction, we start at even before the samples, so it’s a review of sketches; Robbie had a lot of design ideas, so we sit down in a cross-functional team and go through which ideas seem to get after the concept, anytime we need to bring in our engineers to consult on Sprint Frame or any of the herringbone pattern, so we do a review of just sketches, then we go to a 2-D cat, then a 3-D cat, and review those before we even work on any tooling.
SN: With the Crazy Light being such an intense performance shoe, what’s the wear-test process like?
ED: We do an eight-week wear-test on Innovation concepts, so that means we take these early samples and send them to our D-1 colleges and have them play for eight weeks and we go visit them at the four-week mark and record any wear or abrasion issues that we need to address. One issue that was raised with the Crazy Light 1 was abrasion on the toe-cap, so we replaced it with a lightweight rubber toe-cap that would be more abrasion-resistant. We also run a series of parallel tests within our sports research lab – we have over fifteen tests that we put every single basketball shoe through, and that goes from traction, to cushioning, to flexibility, to torsional flexibility. We also have biomechanical testing – we get our lead athletes to perform agility drills, record the time it takes to complete the drill, the forces that they can generate, and of course, how the shoe is holding up using a lot of high-speed video. So from there, we complete a list of things that are great, and things that we want to improve on.
Tags: adidas Crazy Light 2