Performance review: adidas adiPower Howard 2.
If Dwight Howard insists on taking over for Shaq, in game and nickname, he better have the equipment to handle it. Trust me, he does now…
Disappointed. The word that came to mind when I tried the original adiPower Howard model. No, it wasn’t a bad shoe, but based off of the adidas SuperBeast of last spring, I was ready to jump in the first adiPower Howard sig and do work. Besides, I can’t live on guard shoes alone, so I was anxious to see what the latest “big man” shoe could do for me. Coming out of the adiZero Rose 2 and Bloodline at the time last fall, I was looking for great heel or forefoot lockdown. The Howard 1 cushioning was great, with the Alive system carried over. Traction from the cilia pattern underfoot was on point, but I just never felt quick or agile in the shoe.
Problem solved. The new adidas adiPower Howard 2 is so updated it could be a completely different signature line. About the only holdover is the use of Alive for cushioning, but even that is tweaked and improved to such levels it is almost unrecognizable.
The first thing I noticed out of the box with the adiPower Howard 2 was the high cut. A TRUE high-top. Not as high as the early 90’s, but as close as you will get in a new shoe today. And the tongue looks HUGE. Great. Loved the “shattered glass” pattern of the material used for the upper, and the triple stripes side supports look promising for midfoot lockdown. And although the previously implemented cilia traction pattern worked better than almost any other out there, I was really ready for something new. The ice blue Howard 2 bottoms had me ready.
Fit, fit, fit. All I can think when I slide into these. The heel padding is perfectly contoured to my heel and ankle — not too thick or thin, in an almost memory foam-like chemistry. The ankle cut is high on the sides allowing for a supremely locked-in fit while the achilles is cut as low as the adiZero Rose 2.5 to allow for that good motion while running. The midfoot is one of the best, if not the best, fit of a shoe I have reviewed. The side stripes/straps are floating separately from the upper, attached and secured at the base, and lace up around the foot for a support I had only dreamed of. Danger here though, don’t lace up too tight or your toes will feel lonely from lack of blood. I usually pull mine as tight as possible, almost to lace-busting proportions, but these wrap so nicely that casual loose is just tight enough. The forefoot is cut at just the proper medium width to hold your foot and still flex right where it needs to under and behind the toes, allowing for smooth toe-off in transition that any guard shoe would be jealous of.