Original Shoe Design: Adidas Crazy Low Boost

My dream is, and has always been, to work at one of the powerhouse sports companies (Nike, Adidas, Under Armour, etc). Specifically, I want to be involved in the creation of their performance basketball shoes. I have attempted to design shoes in the past, but I found out that I’m not a very good artist.

However, my decision to produce this design arose when I entered Adidas’ PENSOLE design competition. The winner with the best design got the grand prize of being enrolled in a 3-week class on the Adidas campus in Oregon, where one would learn the ins and outs of the shoe design industry. The class would also be spearheaded by Dwayne Edwards (former head designer for Jordan Brand, now with Adidas).

Unfortunately, I didn’t end up winning the competition, but I’m extremely happy with how my design turned out, considering it’s my first official attempt at shoe design. So without further au jus, I present to you, the Adidas Crazy Low Boost.

Zoom Kobe V

The Concept
Since Nike revolutionized the low-cut basketball shoe in 2009 with the Zoom Kobe IV, low-cuts have become the preferred type by all levels of ball players, and I am no exception. My all-time favorite shoes to ball in are the Zoom Kobe V and VI. From the moment I tried on a low-top basketball shoe, I fell in love with them.

Nowadays, low-top models are present throughout Nike’s performance line. However, most of Adidas’s low top basketball shoes are either variations of their high top models, or international-only releases. To me, there was still a place for a standalone, low-top, flagship performance basketball model, so that’s what I set out to design.

At the time, Adidas had teased a release of a basketball shoe that featured their new “Boost cushioning”, which had been previously used in their running shoes, to great success. So I decided to incorporate the Boost cushioning into my shoe (Shortly after I designed my shoe, Adidas released the Crazy Light 4 Boost, which was, coincidentally, a low/mid top shoe). I’m probably a little bias, but I think that Adidas’s design was kinda bland and ugly. Should have used my design, Adidas! You done goofed!

The Iconic 3 Stripes
As you can probably tell, the silhouette of the shoe bears a striking resemblance to the Zoom Kobe V and VI. Shocker! The look is aggressive and stylish, with the pointed toe and high, pointed tongue. I wanted to make sure that the shoe looked like a basketball shoe, and not a running shoe. Also, one thing that I have always loved Adidas for, is their creative placement of their iconic Adidas 3 stripes logo (Look at the Drose line, the Crazylight line, T-Mac line, top ten 2000, crazy 8’s, etc).

I have to admit, as much as I love Nike. And I REALLY love Nike. Part of the reason their styles are starting to look stale is because the swoosh is ALWAYS in the same place. So regardless of how much they change the other aesthetic elements of their shoes, its hard to ignore the brands large, iconic Swoosh. For better or for worse, it’s the first thing that your eyes are drawn to. Come on Nike, I know that big swoosh has made you tens billions of dollars, but dare to play with it a bit more!

In my design, I placed the 3-stripes logo on the midsole, with it actually being an extension of the TPU midfoot shank/Sprintframe. That would mean that the logo would be made of plastic, and would wrap up from the bottom of the shoe, up onto the medial side of the shoe. However, one problem I could see with making the logo plastic, is creating a hard, uncomfortable surface that would agitate the side of your foot when making lateral cuts.

BOOST is hands down the best foam cushioning ever.

I’ve tried on Adidas’s running shoes that utilize Boost cushioning, and let me tell ya, its like walking on clouds. Oh. My. Goodness. They are so comfy and pillowy-soft, yet don’t feel too mushy. True to Adidas’s advertisement campaign, Boost cushioning actually “springs” back when you step. However, I think that the Boost cushioning used on Adidas’ running shoes is a little too soft for basketball, so my shoe will offer a slightly denser Boost specifically adapted to withstand the jumping and harder impacts of basketball.

I chose to use Boost cushioning in the heel only, with Adiprene cushioning in the forefoot. This is because most players tend to favor a move responsive, firmer forefoot cushioning to increase court feel, and a softer cushioning in the heel for shock absorption (See Nike’s Air Max / Zoom Air dual cushion setup on the Lebron and KD line).

Adidas Copa Mundial

Upper Design

The toebox features flex grooves, not only allowing for a more natural flex while running, but also gives a stylistic nod to Adidas Copa Mundial futbol cleats, which inspired my choice to create a low top athletic shoe. Fun fact: Kobe Bryant has said that The Copa Mundial futbol shoe was the reason why he pushed for a low-top basketball sneaker in the first place.

Growing up a huge futbol fan in Italy, Kobe noticed that futbol players exclusively wore low tops. Yet the stress, torsion, and rotation put on their ankles was even greater than in basketball. So if they played in low tops, why couldn’t he? That’s Kobe for you. He argued that a low top offered a freer range of motion in the ankle thanks to the absence of material wrapped around it. Despite initially being met with skepticism, his shoe went on to prove that playing basketball in a lowtop shoe was not only possible, but beneficial. And TA-DA, the Zoom Kobe IV became enshrined in sneaker history.

As for the Crazy Low Boost’s material, it features Sprintweb, which allows for a large variety of different patterns and materials. When I was coloring the shoe, I wanted to create a very unique color scheme. I have always been a fan of Nike’s Galaxy-inspired signature shoes, released in 2012 for the All-Star game. The silhouette also reminded me of a shark, with the tall tongue being the dorsal fin, and the pointed toe and flex grooves being the shark’s head and gills. I chose a galaxy-inspired color scheme for the upper. I then rounded out the theme with tongue and heel cup reminiscent of a night sky.

Original sketch

Originally published at thathoopla.blogspot.com on October 27, 2015.

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