Performance Review // adidas Crazylight Boost 2015

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Over the course of the past four summers, the adidas Crazylight series has emerged as one of the most watched franchises in performance hoops. A category changer for The Three Stripes, the original emphasis on cutting weight to outperform peers has shifted to creating a streamlined showcase of the brand’s top tech.

Taking on the mantra “it’s not about light weight, it’s about right weight,” the adidas Crazylight Boost 2015 avoids tunnel vision on the scale and places emphasis on brand innovations such as Boost and Primeknit. Serving as the second season of Boost in basketball and the first time Primeknit has hit the hardwood, we played in the adidas Crazylight 2015 to get some early observations on the newest release from adidas Hoops.

For the latest Performance Review, peep the video above as well as the written portion below.

Support

If you love playing in low tops, you won’t have any support issues here. Despite having the somewhat maximal Boost cushioning in the heel, they play very low to the ground and feel quite stable. The heel cup definitely feels sturdier than the clip used last year and the asymmetrical tongue is a nice touch. While the Primeknit construction doesn’t really bring anything to the support table, the padded collar definitely does. These felt good on both sides of the ball.

Cushioning

Cushioning is a bit of a double edged sword. Like last year, the Boost in the heel feels fantastic. Like last year, there’s still no Boost in the forefoot but rather very low profile adiPrene. Because of this, you have a lot of bounce in the heel but not where you want it as a guard that plays on your toes. While Boost in the forefoot is what we all want, is it what we need? Though less than amazing compared to the heel Boost, the adiPrene in the forefoot does allow you to play very low and have great court feel. The spring in the step isn’t there, but neither is the separation. While Boost has always worked best for casual and running wear in big, bouncy fashion, perhaps it would be best slimmed down on the hardwood. All in all, my feet felt good through a whole run when playing in these — both my heel and my forefoot — but the bounce or full-length wow factor isn’t there.

Traction

Traction was a bit of a disappointment for me on the Crazylight Boost 2015. Not that I ever slipped when playing in them or didn’t feel like I had my footing, but the grip wasn’t to match with how low to the ground they played and the amount of wear on the outsole after playing indoors was disconcerting. The last shoe I regularly played in, the adidas D Lillard 1, had really deep grooves on the outsole and the traction pattern on these is pretty basic. So far not bad from a slipping standpoint, but definitely something that could be worked on.

Lockdown

Lockdown wasn’t bad on these, but it could’ve been a lot better. The Primeknit upper feels great on the foot — it’s soft, supportive and breathable — but it doesn’t hug the foot like you’d want it to. The main issue is in the toe box. Much like the D Lillard 1, there’s a lot of room above the toes even when the length is right. I had to tie these up really tight to play in and feel snug enough and usually re-tie a few times during multiple runs. In general, Primeknit is the right direction for the Crazylight Boost franchise, I’d just like to see it tighter knit like on the Ultra Boost runner.

Weight

Even though weight isn’t the focal point on this model like previous Crazylight releases, it’s far from an issue. In fact, it’s actually really good. The Crazylight Boost 2015 feels extremely light on your feet and the low top cut and Primknit construction only add to that. While I wish the Primeknit was tighter knit as mentioned above, the fact that it’s so airy makes the shoe feel extremely light on your feet, which is a plus when playing fast as a guard.

Durability

Durability is a tad tough to call at this juncture. After a handful of indoor runs in these so far, the technical aspects hold up very well as the Boost still has bounce and the Primeknit retains shape and strength. My only concern with the durability is the amount of wear on the outsole, specifically the forefoot. I’d really like to see deeper grooves or a harder rubber on the next model.

Overview

Aesthetically, the adidas Crazylight Boost 2015 is a gorgeous shoe, but in regards to performance it lands more in the ranks of very good versus great. The only aspects keeping it from great are evolved Primeknit construction, a better traction pattern and some sort of forefoot cushioning upgrade — which most if not all would like to be Boost.

Over the past few years, adidas Basketball has continued to put out solid product that lacks fatal flaws but also lacks the ‘wow’ factor that propels a shoe to a solid A or A+ ranking. They’re close. The Crazylight Boost 2015 is no objection to the trend, performing strong on court but not quite changing the game. From a technical standpoint, the biggest innovation is bringing Primeknit to basketball. While the Primeknit upper proved a major leap in breathability from that of its Crazylight Boost predecessor, it sacrificed lockdown to some extent seen mostly in a roomy toe box and the need to tie and retie extra tight.

As pointed out in the video, this in many ways mirrors the introduction of Primeknit to running. On the first generation Primeknit runner, the adiZero Prime Boost, the technology wowed aesthetically and provided great breathability, but it didn’t hug the foot like modern mesh or even dated leather. The next generation runner, the Ultra Boost, would sacrifice some of that breathability but result in a much stronger shoe. I’d hope/expect to see that type of progress on the Crazylight Boost 2016.

From a personal standpoint, I like the Crazylight Boost 2015. They breathe better than last year’s Crazylight Boost and they bend better than the first three Crazlights. The only thing I didn’t like was the lack of lockdown through the toe box on this generation of Primeknit and durability issues with the traction. In general, they wowed me aesthetically but left some room for improvement in performance. Still, I do like playing in these and will continue to.

For the guard on the go, these will serve you well during your open gym runs and are worth testing out before the season starts. For a big man on the block, the lack of cushioning and impact protection in the forefoot may disappoint. There’s no doubt that adidas is definitely on the right track with their Crazylight series and visually they’ve created their best pair yet. I’m just hoping that the next one improves the fit of the Primeknit upper, the cushioning in the forefoot and the traction pattern.

Those looking to purchase a pair of the adidas Crazylight Boost 2015 can do so at adidas. For more on the model, read an interview by our own Nick DePaula with the Crazylight 2015 Boost designer, Robbie Fuller, here.

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