Style - Kicks and Gear / Apr 26, 2012 / 3:00 pm

A Trip To L.A. To Check Out The Lightest Basketball Sneaker Ever

adidas adiZero Crazy Light 2

adidas adiZero Crazy Light 2 (photo. Sean Sweeney)

On March 28, someone in Chicago sent Lawrence Norman a text message. The adidas vice president of global basketball picked it up, read it, and starting getting chills. It read “48 out of 48.” Four words were all he needed to realize adidas struck gold with the adiZero Crazy Light 2. This was the first year they had partnered with the McDonald’s All-American Game, and between both the girls’ and boys’ games, 48 of the most accomplished players in the country were chosen to represent the very best of high school basketball. Adidas supplied the sneakers, outfitting every locker with their as-yet unreleased Crazy Light 2s, hoping, but not entirely believing that every player would wear them. People have different tastes. You can’t please all. A backup plan was in place with backup sneakers just in case a few players didn’t take so quickly to the bright and stylish new shoes.

Instead, every single kid in the games – all 48 of them – emerged onto the United Center floor wearing the lightest basketball sneaker ever made.

“They all wanted that extra confidence,” Norman says looking back.

Earlier this week, adidas invited myself and other select media out to Los Angeles to take in the launch of those shoes, the Crazy Light 2. At 9.5 ounces, it is more than 10 percent lighter than the nearest competition, and was the talk of the NCAA Tournament after players from Kansas, Louisville, Wisconsin, Indiana and especially Baylor were all rocking this super light sneaker. The sneaker is also more aerodynamic thanks to an enlarged asymmetrical SPRINTFRAME. There’s added volume in the midsole for a more supportive base, and the three-layer SPRINTWEB, which took three years to design, is the thinnest ever.

“This season, this design season, we were really inspired by aerodynamics,” says the sneaker’s designer, Robbie Fuller. “If you look at the new SPRINTWEB, the last one was a little bit more raised and you saw seams. This one is completely smooth, only .1 millimeter of a raise from the SPRINTWEB to this base.”

Upon going out to L.A., I wasn’t so much excited to check out the sneaker as I was the presentation. I still wear the Crazy Lights from last year, and still enjoy them. I knew the Crazy Light 2, which will go on sale on May 24 for $140, was going to be an improvement. But as Norman told me, it’s the stories behind every sneaker that truly make it what it is. For the Crazy Light 2, it’s a mantra aptly described by Fuller as “light done bright, light done right.”

“It’s not a trend to be lighter,” adds Norman. “It’s something that’s going to be here forever.”

Fuller says there are parts of the shoe that have been in the making for two years. He made sure there was more breathability in this sneaker, and believes it looks and feels more textured because of it.

“It’s such an amazing performance shoe,” says Fuller. “It’s the ultimate. It’s the best, and we wanted to celebrate that.”

And that we did. After commemorating our arrival with dinner and drinks by the pool at the Viceroy in Santa Monica on Monday night, we shuttled over to the Clippers practice facility on Tuesday morning. The team was away fighting for homecourt advantage in the playoffs, so we had the entire place to ourselves. Adidas did it up big with a laser show and Gus Johnson, who came in to MC the event. They not only had design samples and drawings available to check out, but there were a number of unique colorways of the Crazy Light 2 on hand that were specifically designed by football players. One in particular, put together by Robert Griffin III, was super dope.

I got a tour of the place, saw the locker rooms, the trainer’s rooms and even the whirlpools the players use for rehab. The team’s personal chefs cooked us up some lunch in the players’ lounge as well. I also got to hoop. But perhaps the coolest thing of the day came when I was led into the locker room, and found my locker stuffed with gear. Above it on a brown plague read the name “Sean Sweeney.” You know I had to hit up my boys immediately to tell them I had myself a locker with an NBA team.

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