To whom much is given, much is tested. Such is the responsibility of crafting the signature shoe for Derrick Rose. Adidas Basketball Category Designer Robbie Fuller has the dream job of lacing the league?s MVP with the demanding task of equipping the most explosive feet in the NBA. Coming off the performance success of the Crazy Light and the aesthetically embraced Rose 2, we talked to Robbie about his latest creation, the adidas adiZero Rose 2.5.
Nice Kicks: What are the challenges of creating a sneaker for Derrick Rose?
Robbie Fuller: Functionally, making sure it can keep up with his speed, lock him down, and give him the right traction. Style wise, making sure it can go from court to street, and for sneaker culture, making sure it can get more positive feedback on your blog than everybody else?s shoes [Laughs]! To be honest, when you have a favorite athlete you don?t just want to seem them drop 40 every night only, you want to see their shoes be as tight as they can be. When we sit down to work on a Derrick Rose shoe, we know we?re doing a piece of history and we have to make sure we really step up.
Nice Kicks: Two signatures in one season seems to be a new idea adidas is pushing. What was the reasoning behind that?
Robbie Fuller: I think it?s unique. The way our innovation works is that we?re continuously innovating, and things aren?t always just ready at the beginning of the season. Sometimes they take a little more finesse to get right. By approaching his footwear twice a year, we?re able to make tweaks, where necessary, to make sure that he has the best advantage possible on court.
Nice Kicks: So you?re saying that the Rose 2.5 is being worked on when the Rose 2 is being played in?
Robbie Fuller: Yeah. Continuously, we?re working on things. You?ve got these windows of opportunity to build these benefits into the shoe. By us having two separate models, we can reevaluate the shoe and maybe get that extra little piece into the shoe that you wouldn?t have if you were just going to do a new colorway. A new color won?t make you faster, but these benefits will.
Nice Kicks: How involved is Derrick in the design process?
Robbie Fuller: He has a desk right next to mine [Laughs]. I?m just kidding. We meet with him several times a year, whether it?s myself or with the athlete?s service team, and we collect all that information. From a comment space, he?s really adamant about the look and the style of the shoe. We take the responsibility of blending and balancing that with the functional breakthroughs so that shoe can easily go from court to street.
Nice Kicks: Do you have any first hand examples of a style aspect that he either loved or nixed?
Robbie Fuller: It?s one that he says every time we meet up: it?s always about the simple look of having a clean toe. You can see that?s been pretty consistent across all his shoes. It looked really good on the 1.5 with the white toe, all-patent. This year, we wanted to bring some shine to the toe as well, and we did it through the satellite graphic. He sets the expectation of making sure that it?s clean, simple, and super wearable, and this is how we delivered.