As Derrick Rose fights back from injury, adidas releases his new D Rose 3 Collection. Too much too soon? Don’t doubt the return…
As most readers know, I have been singing the praises of almost every adidas release of the last 3 years, especially the Rose line. Not that I am picking favorites, the products just fit my game and perform that well. It is no secret why — quality build, materials, designs, and development lead to products built for athletes to use and abuse. Ever since the adidas TS Supernatural Creator I have been sold on the Rose-endorsed line, with the Rose 1.5 being my favorite and top 5 of all-time. While I liked the line last year, there was a definite step back due to the lack of PureMotion technology underfoot, although I think the Rose 2 is one of the most compelling designs in recent athletic footwear history).
As soon as the pics of the D Rose 3 leaked, I was in. The shoe had a sleek, subtle look of class that reminded me of what Air Jordans were in the late 80’s. With no noticeable changes in technology (actually, the shoe looks like it has less technology than the 2), what would adidas bring to the table to hook us again? Just the best performing Rose shoe since, well, maybe ever.
To start with, the materials used on the Aluminum grey edition are not suede or leather but the closest thing you will find on the market to both. Reviewing the Bulls “Home” pair, I was blown away with the attention to detail. The grey nubuck is inlaid with a subtle print reminiscent of the toe print on the “Away” Rose 2.5 color. Like a digital overlay. The second detail to catch my eye was the collar. The GeoFit in the 2.5 is redesigned, set in the top of the ankle collar, and has a much denser feel than previously felt. Last, and probably my favorite detail, is the inner bootie. While not full coverage, it does run heel to toe with a cutout behind the SprintWeb vents. Of course there are the requisite Chicago details we have come to expect which will be detailed in photos numerous times over. I cannot wait to get these kicks on court. Here we go…
First thing I notice on fit is the forefoot. Cut narrower than the Rose 1.5 or Rose 2.5, it gets the Rose line back to the form-fitting feel of the original Rose 1 product. Where the 2 had some rough spots and needed some break-in time, and the 2.5 was a little wider and more forgiving than some liked, the Rose 3 fits like a ninja boot. That was my first thought — Storm Shadow from G.I. Joe. The lacing system and the materials allow the shoe to completely wrap the foot and pull down into the midsole with no movement whatsoever. The way the nubuck flexes and fits is something I haven’t felt in an adidas shoe, ever. With the popular uses of webs, wires, nylon, and plastic in uppers lately, getting a high-quality, although synthetic, upper was a welcome plus.
The SprintWeb along the midfoot is hidden — the red stuff in the side vents. While it is not as prominent in appearance, it is still a major factor in performance. The upper never stretched or let my foot slide off of the footbed while playing, holding me in tight. There is also a more pronounced arch in the Rose 3 which contributes greatly to the tightened fit. The midsole is highly sculpted and formed to the foot, leading to a very natural but supportive feel.
One thing in the arch I must mention, which leads back to the luxury style, is the rolled seams and double stitching. While functionally supporting the arch and midfoot, adidas took the design a step further and added in the stitching. Probably unnecessary but it is a smooth look.
Ankle fit and feel is effortless. The GeoFit being re-designed does nothing but hold your foot completely in the shoe and together with the SprintFrame chassis leaves nothing to chance on ankle support. I did experience some initial chafing issues along the Achilles but I was wearing no-shows on my first wear. I switched to adidas Team Speed Crews for the rest of the wear testing and the next time went back to no-shows and had no problems.
Transition and cushioning are where this shoe really comes to play. While I, like most other adi heads, mourned the loss of PureMotion last year, I did enjoy the S-midsole design of the Shadow, Crazy Light, and Rose 2.5 once I gave it a chance. The flex and transition were great, and gave a feel of speed and motion. Going away from that design a bit, the new Rose still incorporates elements such as midfoot cutaways and the rounded heel. I found the shoe to sit lower than the 2 or 2.5 and very close to the 1.5. But where I had a slap feeling at first in those shoes, the D Rose 3 feels natural from go. The shoe wants to be on the toes, bouncing. Even when I purposely ran on my heels to try to “slap” I was not feeling it. The midfoot drives the foot forward and pushes through steps. No need really to go into SprintFrame and what it does again, but it still provides the best combo of stability and transition in the game.
Cushioning blows away last year’s models, plain and simple. Nothing fancy here, just what we have come to expect — high-grade premium foam implemented in all the right spots and levels. The cushioning elements are basically the same as the adizero Crazy Light 2, with a little more stability and less bounce in the heel, which I love. I want my heel locked in, stable, and not bouncy on landings. These do not disappoint. I did experience a break-in on the forefoot but one day of casual did the trick. After that it was pain-free landings and responsive, push-me-and-I-push-back performance.
Traction was a real hot spot last year at this time. If you recall, Rose 2 designer Robbie Fuller introduced storyline traction patterns on that model. He used a lava pattern indicating Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano which held up Robbie’s plane and trip back to the States. While I loved the pattern, the general public seemed so worried about it they could not get past the difference. No problem this year. Full length, heel to toe herringbone comes to us. Broken up by lateral flex grooves (always welcome for transitional purposes), the rubber is thick and soft. No sliding, either on the 24 Hour Fitness court, my league court, or the church court on Thursday nights. All indoors. Texas outdoor ball doesn’t get much play. Not squeaky like the Crazy Light or Crazy Light 2 but smoother and flowing while in games. One thing I didn’t notice until writing this — the shoe had an outsole rigger on the medial side of the forefoot. My guess is that it is designed to help when pushing off on drives, and while I didn’t experience any noticeable change, I can see where the idea could work.
I really don’t know where else to go now. I have worn this shoe non-stop for a week, doing everything in it, and I can say it is the most comfortable, casual, versatile shoe in my closet. For casual, the sleek lines, rolled edges, subtle stitching, and plush materials are unmatched in the basketball world today. For ball, the traction, feel, fit, and transition cannot be topped with anything on the market at the moment. My love for the Supernatural Creator is well known, and my favorite shoe of all time is the Air Jordan III. This shoe and Rose line are quickly taking over my closet. When Jordan came into the league he was fresh because of the effort and enthusiasm he displayed. The Jordan line struck a nerve with kids and young adults because of the aura of luxury around the name and logo. I can see Rose following that path. Humility, hustle, and skill have Rose on the cusp of greatness, and his shoes reflect that. I have never felt LeBron’s shoes have fit him personality-wise since the II, and I truly believe Kobe wears whatever they tell him to. But the Rose line had touches of Rose the player and Rose the personality ingrained top to bottom from the start, and the fans and collectors connect with that.
Not bragging, but I have not bought a lot of shoes over the past three years of writing reviews. I will buy more Rose 3s. The shoe is that good, #1A in my opinion of best Rose shoes ever (Supernatural Creator still ties it). The shoe is Rose, and that is the best for me.
The adidas D Rose 3 is available at adidas Basketball retailers and adidas.com.