Review: adidas adiZero Rose 2

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Derrick Rose’s history with adidas is an interesting one. Early in his career, with shoes like the Supernatural Creator, he had an incredibly high-performing shoe, but something that was more part of the “team” family of adidas shoes. At that point in his career, he also wasn’t the MVP-caliber player he is today. Then, last season, the performance continued to be high level with the adiZero Rose, but nothing about it was revolutionary. Then, as the playoffs began, Rose was set to be the face of the 9.8-ounce Crazy Light. Except Rose wasn’t wearing them. Well, he wore them for about a half against the Pacers, and then it was back to his old shoes with TV campaigns running during the break that featured Rose touting the lightweight offering.

So that brings us to this season and the adiZero Rose 2, which is pictured in the slideshow above. (Note: Photos were taken after multiple wearings, in case you wonder why the soles aren’t pristine white.) While we probably won’t see Derrick Rose with them on the court any time soon, I took my best crack at playing with them to get a few for what the Bulls point guard will be rocking whenever we see him return.

Before getting into feel, features, etc., it has to be said that this is probably the sharpest looking shoe that Rose has worn to date. This seems to be an almost unanimous opinion. The “jeans” test is always a good standard, and I think Ty from Leaders makes it pretty clear that these work with jeans in a casual setting in this post on his Tumblr.

I think it’s something about the lace loops and the toe cap, but the shoe reminds me a lot of a mix of the Jordan XVI and XVII. (The toe cap on the XVI and the lace loops on the XVII.)

It’s definitely the first Rose shoe — and maybe the first adidas hoops performance shoe — that I remember looking at and thinking that it had materials that made it almost as much of a fashion piece as anything. The somewhat cracked leather on the toe cap, the metal pieces on the upper lace loops. All little parts that made it feel a little bit more on the high end of things.

My No. 1 issue is always ankle safety in a shoe like this, and I felt reasonably locked in. I didn’t have any rolls of the ankle while wearing these. I’m not wild about the design of the sort of floppy upper lace loops though from the performance side. They seem very specifically made for Derrick Rose’s Speed Wrap ankle brace that he wears. It’s great to accomodate that additional width on the upper part of your foot/lower part of your leg, but what if you don’t wear a brace? Then it’s just sort of a flexible area that’s adding weight and didn’t feel like it served a ton of purpose. Not a huge negative, except to say that I think they could’ve cut a tiny bit of weight off the shoe and gotten under or right at 12 oz. by removing those tabs. (The shoe checks in at 12.6 oz.)

Two areas that came up short in my test run: comfort and grip. I know that sounds like a pretty awful statement, and it should sound bad, but let me be specific before you totally cast aside the adiZero Rose 2.

I’m big on traction. If I can’t hit the baseline and turn quickly without fear of sliding and pulling my groin, I can’t play in your shoe. And yet, I kept finding myself wiping the bottom of my shoes the whole time. Except they weren’t particularly dirty. The TS Supernatural Creator and the adiZero Rose had similar traction patterns. The adiZero Rose 2 goes an entirely different direction, and I don’t think it’s for the better. I’d love to see them return to that Feet You Wear-styled sole. I thought that was an unfortunate change.

Now, my comfort issue wasn’t an all over issue. My feet weren’t bleeding when I took them out. But I did wind up with small blisters on both arches. I’m not sure what the reason was. I don’t want to entirely blame the shoes, because I wear special insoles, but I swap those same insoles into numerous brands every week — including adidas — and I don’t experience those issues. Other than that particular incident, I thought the feel was just average. For sizing concerns: These seemed pretty true to size for me. I’m an 8.5 in most shoes, and that was the case here, too. Maybe a little bit narrow, but for the most part you ought to feel safe ordering online in your regular size if you can’t get to a store.

In a way, this year is a big win for adidas in that they might’ve finally cracked the design end of things. Derrick Rose is now a transcendent NBA star with an on-and-off-court sneaker to match his all-around game. I’d like to see the traction revamped, and perhaps see a second look at how they do the uppers. I tend to think whatever discomfort came from the sole swap. If you’ve tried them out, please hit me on Twitter, Facebook or in the comments with your thoughts.

The adiZero Rose is available on Eastbay.com in three colorways — including the one pictured in this post — for $109.99.

Disclosure: adidas provided the shoes reviewed in this post.

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