By Barry Janoff
March 9, 2013: In January, John Wall of the Washington Wizards moved from Reebok to parent company adidas, bolstering adidas' hoops portfolio and effectively ending Reebok's as it converts its focus to fitness, exercise, workouts and events such as the Reebok CrossFit Games and the Spartan Race.
Now, adidas has unveiled Wall's first official shoe for adidas, CrazyQuick, which according to the footwear firm, is "designed to make athletes quicker with a focus on flexibility, lockdown and traction."
Wall debuted the shoe on-court in a game March 6 against the Minnesota Timberwolves (during which he scored 19 points and had seven assists).
He was on-hand at a CrazyQuick media event in adidas' New York headquarters the next day, along with company officials including David Baxter, vp-sport performance for adidas America; Robbie Fuller, advanced footwear category designer for adidas; and Al Van Noy, global innovation head for the adidas Innovation Team.
"It’s really a comfortable shoe and has great traction for me to stop-and-start without losing seconds,” Wall, who played one season for Kentucky and then was the overall No. 1 pick in the 2010 NBA draft — said during the adidas presentation. “You’ll be seeing me in this shoe a lot in different colors throughout the rest of the season."
Wall has been averaging more than 16 points and eight assists per game during his NBA career with the Wizards.
The strategy to put more focus on Wall — which industry analysts say could lead to a signature shoe and clothing line — comes as one of adidas' key hoops endorsers, Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls, remains in rehabilitation mode following a knee injury suffered during the 2011-12 playoffs. The brand's other top hoops spokesperson, Dwight Howard of the Los Angeles Lakers, has been dealing this season with shoulder problems and the after-effects of off-season back surgery.
Another Washington D.C.-based athlete, quarterback Robert Griffin III of the NFL's Redskins, debuted the football-cleat version of CrazyQuick this past season.
In addition, adidas-sponsored NCAA football teams including Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Louisville and Northern Illinois wore CrazyQuick cleats during their respective post-season Bowl appearances.
Adidas said the technology would also appear in running and training shoes to "help athletes be quick during all phases of game preparation."
“We talked to a lot of athletes, and they all want to create space from their opponents,” Fuller said during the adidas unveiling. “Quickness is the thing we wanted to maximize to achieve that space creation. The CrazyQuick is not just a group of parts. Every single part of the shoe works together to allow the other parts to perform at the highest level they can to achieve that quickness.”
“We designed CrazyQuick based on athletes’ insights,” Baxter concurred. “The sports landscape is rapidly changing as athletes get faster and games get more intense and competitive. Speed is important but no longer enough in today’s game. Athletes know quickness is the defining factor in what distinguishes them when they’re on the field and court.”
According to adidas, the CrazyQuick training shoe features "four quick zones for improved control, flexibility and lateral support leading to quicker, multi-directional stopping and push-off." The CrazyQuick running shoe has a TechFit upper "built for a skin-like fit to provide a natural run without sacrificing support, while the outsole design offers enhanced flexibility and traction to promote quick movements in all directions."
The adidas Crazyquick basketball shoe (MSRP $140) and football shoes ($150) are scheduled to hit retail and online May 1. The CrazyQuick training ($110) and running ($100) will follow.