Robbie Fuller, Adidas head basketball designer, tells SI.com the Crazylight Boost 2015 basketball sneaker franchise offers the “best of Adidas.” And he’s talking Boost cushioning combined with Primeknit construction.
The July release signifies an expansion of Boost cushioning on the hardcourt and the first Adidas basketball shoe to feature Primekint—an engineered yarn knit construction.
“Where you use it can vary,” Fuller says about the knit construction. “For running you can get away with a much more open structure that takes away more surface of the upper. For basketball, you have completely different zoning needs.”
Fuller says he worked on a variety of the new Primeknit running shoes as preparation for moving the style into basketball, along the way learning how to pair the knit with a support layer underneath for the stability needed during a basketball cut. “When you grab the shoe, look inside, we were able to leave very open areas in the toes and side panels by combining strong structures and a supportive layer on the inside,” he says.
Using Primeknit for a comfort layer—a key, Fuller says, in creating a skin-like feel—had the designer rethinking the way a basketball sneaker fits. Using insight from the newly redesigned Barricade tennis line, Fuller added a 3D-molded heel to wrap the back of the foot, keeping it in place. From there, he worked toward the midfoot, using a support layer—and a “techfit” collar design—to help hold the foot in place while allowing it to move naturally.
“Instead of building up big outriggers like a wall, if you can slow down the foot from the heel, you don’t have to spend so much time building supportive elements in the front,” he says. “By the time you get to the tip of the shoe you have comfort and breathability. You have already taken care of lockdown.”
With Primeknit completely redesigning the upper, Adidas also extended Boost beyond the heel cartridge it used in the 2014 version. The 2015 style exposes Boost—a thermoplastic polyurethane foam created from heat-steaming pea-sized capsules and binding them together for increased responsiveness and cushioning—all the way through the heel, helping engage the extra-response foam during cutting movements. The front of the shoe uses a newly designed Adiprene + foam that proves softer, Fuller says, for a better transition between the two cushioning technologies.
As the only Adidas basketball sneaker with Primeknit and only one of two with Boost—the D Rose 5 also features Boost—Fuller says the new offering fills a need within the Adidas line. “We put our best foot forward in a certain area and in this case it is that lightweight and comfort combination,” he says. “You end up having shoes that focus on traction, others top-tier support, others maximizing the energy. It is kind of cool how the footwear range ends up seeing a reflection of different skills on the court.”
Tim Newcomb covers stadiums, design and gear for Sports Illustrated. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.