adidas strikes again with the Crazy Light 2. After a broad debut in March Madness, we find out if the shoe is still Crazy…
Since Nike introduced the Hyperdunk in 2008, the race for the lightweight crown has been at the forefront of almost every company making athletic shoes, whether for baseball, football, or basketball. With the introduction of the original Crazy Light last year adidas slapped every basketball company in the face, especially with the “chop” series of commercials and the fact they broke the sub-10 ounce barrier first. Whether it was “Lighter Than Yours” or “Light Done Right”, no one could deny the pure innovation and technology introduced. With a year to fine tune and advance, does this edition stack up or float away?
Yes, I got the media pack. Not bragging (maybe a little), but my box-opening experience with these was a little different:
Yep, they are LIGHT. Not as eye-opening as last year, just because we knew now what light meant, but there was a noticeable difference from last year. Just from looks you can see more structure and form to the shoe. Where last year was, to me, a glorified, modern Chuck Taylor, this was a sleek, sock-like web of a performance shoe. Just from the flow of the heel cup to the more organic midsole, it is obvious more was aimed than just lightweight. This shoe is built to go. I also noticed a LOT more padding in the ankle collar, which was one of my main concerns last year. To add padding and still come in lighter is a feat. First thing I did was weigh it – 10.4 in my size 10.5 with the Crazy Light insoles, 11.1 with the Crazy Comfort. That is lighter. Skip the rest, let’s get at it…
First thing is fit and feel. The point guard on my league team (City of Fort Worth Champs, 3 years running, yep) hates the new minimal shoes – no inner padding or sleeves, no liners, no comfort features. Needless to say, he hates these. There is the added padding in the collar, but otherwise, nada. Zip. Me, on the other hand, I love it. There are no real seams or rough spots because really, there are almost no seams. The melding process used for SprintWeb, like the Fuse system, allows for little to no stitching or layers. This year’s version is triple layered – bottom mesh, heavier glue-like fusion, and then the glossy, structured and supportive layer. Being thinner in most of the shoe allows the mesh to really form to the foot – my foot felt locked in much more than last year. The heel lockdown and fit is also vastly improved from last year, with an asymmetrical heel cup running higher on the lateral side, where most ankle rolls occur, and cut away on the medial side to strip weight. The shoe is still cut narrow and long, but sizing up would have been a mistake as it would have given me way too much length and given me happy clown feet. I did feel some pinching along my little toe from the cut but only when casually wearing. It seemed like as I was playing on my toes, on defense, running, or driving, the pinch went away. I do like the fact the forefoot and laces run as one piece, where last year had a flex point at the toe. Led to a smoother transition and run.
Cushioning is, well, EXACTLY like last year. One of the bounciest versions of foam I have ever worn. I swore last year had adiprene and adiprene+ (I was proven wrong very shortly later) and this year is the same, although I did experience a bit of a break-in period. The midsole is a bit stiffer than last year, which means it should hold up a little longer, and this contributed to the stiffness initially. After about two hours it went away and I had a flexy, bendy, bouncy Tigger shoe. (Don’t pretend you don’t know Tigger). No mush, and response time to cuts and defense was not inhibited in any way. So far I have seen minimal breaking down, and since last year’s are still very playable I would assume these would be in the same range.
Support is the wonder of these shoes. How, at running shoe weight, are they supportive enough to handle cuts and landings? Truthfully, I don’t know. I remember when 15 ounces was LIGHT and 20 was not out of the question. And that was 6 years ago. T-Mac VI. Really. Well, the SprintFrame is one reason. From Puremotion, to SprintWeb, to Crazy Light, SprintFrame has been a staple of all the great adidas ball shoes of the last couple of years. And there is a reason. It works. Running from heel cup through midfoot and under the arch, it ties the rear of the shoe into the forefoot and pushes the foot through transition. Stable and quick, it allows the wearer to cut and drive with little worry for ankle roll or feet slipping. I would love to see PM make a comeback, but a shoe with SprintFrame is definitely the next best thing. As for forefoot stability, it is all about the SprintWeb, as it holds the foot over the shoe and allows for so little movement the foot has nowhere to go. The sole is flared a bit but not to the point of an outrigger so quickness out of cuts and slides is no problem.
Traction. Wow. To be honest, the CL1 had the first squeaky traction I can remember adidas putting on a shoe. But the tread pattern was not, repeat, NOT meant for rough surfaces. It was shallow and soft. Wood = great stops. Concrete = a short period of great stops. Semi-good news for the CL2. Treads are deeper and to me the pattern is more effective. Bad news? Still soft. From the pics you can see the concentric circle pattern and pivot point on the ball of the foot, and the harder rubber horseshoe in the heel. Stops on a dime. Really – not the best I have ever tried (still the Ball’N All Out) but not many better.
The only real complaint I have? The shoe pops. Really. When first put on, my left shoe has made a consistent pop, like it was too big or not flexing at the toes. After about a thirty minute “warm up” it quits, like the material softens. But never fails, every time I have worn them, the pop is there. Loud enough other people hear it. But not the right shoe. Nuts. But that is a cosmetic (I guess?) complaint. It never hampered play or performance, and I have heard of some others withthe problem but some didn’t, so it could be a foot shape factor.
Another hit. Another market trendsetter. Adidas, over the last three years, has consistently put out great shoe after great shoe. I have no idea what comes next for a CL3. Under 9? 8.5? How? I never thought under 10 would be playable, and the last two years drilled that away. All I know is, it will perform. It will break ground. And it will reset industry marks. The only Crazy thing is not recognizing greatness when the Light is shining.
-Review by Bryan Hinkle
The adidas adizero Crazy Light 2 is available now at adidas.com and adidas retailers.