After a successful debut in last year’s NBA Playoffs, the lightest ever is back. And it’s even lighter. The adiZero Crazy Light Low is only 9.2 ounces (261 grams) and comes in six new colorways. The same SPRINTWEB and SPRINTFRAME technology as the adiZero Crazy Light Mid is used to provide speed, support and comfort. Check out our talk with Jack Gray, Global Category Manager for adidas basketball, as he speaks about the history and evolution of the shoe, why light doesn't mean sacrificing performance, and what we can expect out of adiZero Crazy Light in the future.
Could you first talk about the success of the original adiZero Crazy Light basketball shoe?
Jack Gray: We changed the game by providing the athlete with the lightest ever. The response not only at retail but with our athletes is that light is right. They love the shoe and the concept of adiZero, light and fast, with a product like this really sets us apart from everyone else. There is BC and AC: Before Crazy Light and after Crazy Light.
Do you think that’s created more of a demand, too?
JG: For sure. Lightweight is now the price of entry for product and with the adiZero Crazy Light we are the leaders in fast and light. When you couple that with a hot design, great colors and materials, you start to crossover beyond the court to the street.
Can you tell us about the new low-top on this year's adiZero Crazy Light?
JG: We are constantly talking to our athletes and the trend of low top basketball shoes is gaining momentum. When the demand comes in for a low-top, it’s only natural for us to answer with adiZero. This model is currently worn from the high school level all the way up to the NBA. Current athletes wearing the low are Derek Fisher DeShawn Stevenson, Cory Brewer and Nolan Smith among others. D Fish played a role in its creation as he specifically requested a low top that would allow him to be faster. Playing in LA, he also wants to have certain swag when it comes to his shoes. We created 6 different colorways specifically for him.
Which aspects of performance did you focus on when designing the shoe?
JG: Our challenge was to create an evolution of the mid with similar benefits, but packaged in a way that brings a little more street to the court. With the low, we looked even closer at the adiZero F50 football boot to ensure that the performance low-top standards aligned. There are a lot of similarities between the two games when it comes to lateral movements such as cuts and change of direction. The SPRINTFRAME and SPRINTWEB are engineered to work together to provide lightweight support and lockdown.
Can you talk about the 6 new colorways coming out this year? Is there any inspiration behind it?
JG: We are constantly talking with kids and certain colors from the mid stood out as iconic and trend relevant. The black-red edition that was featured in our 9.8 tv spot was one such color. That shoe had a unique way of using color to make the shoe look lower and that drove the way the other shoes were colored up. For the NBA All-Star game in Orlando, our apparel team drove the concept of court to beach to play on our brand’s ability to provide product that seamlessly moves from the court to the street. Our apparel team has created a unique take on the lightest NBA All-Star uniform by incorporating some of those beach elements such as board shorts, a dip dye color execution, and the use of “hardwood heather”. We looked at that hardwood heather as a key component behind driving the upper color of grey and then adding the color of speed, high energy orange. This color will be our statement for NBA All-Star footwear.
Were there aspects of the design that changed and evolved over the course of the development?
JG: What people will immediately notice is the positioning of the stripes. The adiZero Crazy Light 1 had collar branding. Obviously you don’t have the real estate for this with a low so the question is how do you position the branding in a way that is unique and compelling but still conveys fast and light? We looked at several different versions but selected this execution as it allowed us to expose as much of the SPRINTWEB as possible.
This year's adiZero Crazy Light brings back the same SPRINTWEB and SPRINTFRAME technologies. Can you talk about the innovations that have been made in these technologies?
JG: They were two technologies that were engineered for one of the lightest football boot ever, the adiZero F50. They worked together to create the perfect balance of lightweight and support. We took those learning’s and engineered them specifically for basketball to address the unique nature of our sport. The result was the lightest ever.
Based on insights from last year's adiZero Crazy Light, what did you change in this year's shoe?
JG: We did a lot of testing on the adiZero Crazy Light mid, so we didn’t want to walk away from that completely but rather adapt for a low top. This meant adjusting the placement of the SPRINTWEB to ensure that it was optimized for the new pattern. It also meant that we adjusted the construction of the shoe from a blucher (where the tongue and toe box are connected) to more of a standard one where the tongue was separated, This allowed us to create more of a seamless SPRINTWEB look. The result was creating an even lighter shoe clocking in at .5oz less than the mid. We saw an overwhelming number of people adopting the shoe for the street. Because of this, we adjusted the toe box design to lessen the cut outs to expose more of the rich materials.
Do you feel that the weight of a shoe is becoming more important in basketball? How does the emphasis on weight in basketball compare to sports in general?
JG: The benefit of light has always been there as athletes look for any advantage to be faster. That goes across all sports because who doesn't want to be faster? For hoops, not only are we able to make athletes faster but we are able to make the difference between a layup and a dunk.
Can you hint at what’s coming next for the adiZero Crazy Light in general?
JG: All I’ll say is that you better get ready to be faster.