Few basketball players are as dangerous as James Harden when he’s isolated and facing one-on-one defense. He’s got the jab step, the head fake, the rocker dribble, the crossover, and one of the quickest first steps in the league.
His extensive offensive repertoire can put a defender on skates, but Harden is so quick that he runs the risk of juking himself out of his own shoes. adidas was tasked with designing a shoe that would be able to keep up with Harden, providing the comfort, traction, and responsiveness that allows him to utilize every ounce of his athletic ability.
The Crazylight Low 2016 is what they came up with.
Comfortable, Secure Fit
A lock-down fit was first and foremost in the designing process for Harden and adidas. Harden plays a lot of minutes, so comfortability is key. A full-length Boost midsole directly under the foot provides cushioning and comfort. The shoe is engineered for a secure fit, but it also needs enough flexibility to move with the foot instead of inhibiting Harden’s playing style.
An injection-molded heel fit system provides locked-in stability, so Harden’s foot stays in place. A woven upper and anatomical tooling alleviate pressure on the foot during quick offensive bursts. The shoe’s 3D Fins add strength during lateral cuts but still allow flexibility.
All of this technology is aimed specifically at providing the perfect fit; so Harden can make any offensive move, and his shoe stays right there with him.
With his foot securely locked into the shoe, and comfortability not an issue, the focus shifted to making sure Harden has the best possible traction. Harden puts defenders on skates, so he can’t afford to be slipping or tripping. He needs a shoe that can stop and go as quickly as he can, as well as the ability to cut in any direction.
The traction pattern on the bottom of the shoe is evolved from herringbone traction, with increased angles of deflection to provide even greater grip. The Fast Traction pattern features continental rubber, perfectly designed for the jab step attacks Harden has become so renowned for.
A wrapped forefoot midsole amplifies control at all angles, allowing extra grip for Harden’s aggressive attacks, quick cuts, and fast footwork.
Harden’s stop-and-go quickness is a big part of what makes him so hard to guard. He needs his shoe to be able to stop on a dime, but also get back up to top speed as fast as possible. That’s where the responsiveness comes into play.
The full-length Boost cushioning offers unmatched energy return: as soon as the defender stops, Harden is already propelling forward again. A sprint plate provides increased responsiveness by absorbing energy and turning it into extra bounce.
The dynamic fit also plays a role in responsiveness. With his foot secured, but also flexible, Harden can blow past defenders with ease. His foot stays securely in the shoe, but the shoe doesn’t slow him down by restricting his natural movement.
Crazylight Boost 2016
Harden’s athletic ability and offensive weaponry is second to none. The Crazylight Boost 2016 takes this into account, emphasizing fit, traction, and responsiveness. It was tough to guard Harden before; with the Crazylight Boost tailored specifically toward Harden’s game, it just might be impossible now.