Performance Review: adidas Adizero Crazy Light 3

Prose: Jake Sittler (@jtsittler)


Back in 2010, the original Crazy Light was the shoe that drove the adidas brand’s weight-driven performance shoes. It carried over from basketball to football to soccer, as adidas’ sole goal was to provide the lightest weight footwear and performance products in each category. The brand’s designers cut weight everywhere via the use of layered synthetics with support in places where it was only absolutely necessary. This was achieved through the implementation of technologies such as SprintWeb (a weight-shedding composition for the shoe’s upper) and SprintFrame (a rigid, supportive, yet lightweight chassis). I remember first seeing the original CL, from the sketchwork to the first official pictures, and marveling at the low-profile midsole, the sculpted Sprintframe, the barely-there Sprintweb upper and the high-cut but slender silhouette.

But this “adizero” push was a double edged sword. In its quest to provide the lightest footwear products on the hardwood, the Crazy Light has succeeded. The Crazy Light 1 broke the 10-ounce barrier, weighing in at 9.8 ounces in a size 9. The Crazy Light 2 dropped that to 9.5 ounces, and the CL3 clocks in at 9.4 ounces. The reduced weight played great on court because the shoes also packed quite a bit of ankle support into such a lightweight shoe.


But I personally felt that the cushioning, inherently pretty thin (a requirement to achieve such a light weight), just didn’t give me enough impact protection or midfoot support – especially after a few weeks of hooping. Props to adidas for using premium foam for that midsole and getting as much impact protection out of such a thin profile, but it simply wasn’t enough for me and it took a toll on my knees after a while. I also was never fully satisfied with the fit, which seemed compromised by all the webbing that didn’t quite flex naturally with the foot. As I found out, those same issues cropped up again in the Crazy Light 3.

Fit: 8
As with most aspects of this shoe, I have mixed feelings. On one hand, I’ve always been a fan of the SprintFrame tech because of the sculpted fit and solid lockdown it gives you. The CL3 Sprintframe was excellent again, providing quality heel lockdown. A more padded and molded interior collar also gave a nice fit around the ankle. The outsole and midsole also appear to be slightly wider through the midfoot, which is a welcome development given how narrow shoes such as the Crazy Light 2 and Rose 2 had been in the past. I have an extremely narrow foot but some adidas models in the past were so narrow underfoot that I felt like I got no torsional support. The CL3 was certainly better in this department.


But I felt I was never able to quite achieve a full lockdown through the midfoot because of the synthetic upper and Sprintweb combination. The supporting overlays placed along the midfoot and toebox never quite seemed to flex naturally. I hoped this would improve after several wearings, but even after 8-10 sessions I still wasn’t fully satisfied. It was also difficult to get the shoe to stay laced tightly and I found myself re-tying the shoes more than once during a 2-hour hoop session. I would feel my foot sliding around slightly, and that’s nearly a deal-breaker for me. It wasn’t terrible by any means, but compared to the Anatomix Spawn and Crazyquick that I’d be consistently playing in, it didn’t hold up. At $140, the price point comes into play too and I expect no excuses lockdown from a shoe like that.


Heel-Toe Transition: 9.5
Transition was smooth as the shoe rides very low to the ground. I’m not sure what the heel-toe drop would be on the Crazy Light, but it figures to be fairly minimal and that lends itself to a pretty fluid heel-toe motion. There’s plenty of flexibility thanks to well-placed flex grooves and wavebone traction setup.


Cushioning: 8
This is probably always going to be a major point of contention with the Crazy Light and it’s really going to come down to the reviewer and your (the wearer) own preferences. My opinion is this: the low to the ground feel is great. I felt light, quick, uninhibited by the shoe. That’s a credit, again, to the high quality foam adidas uses to pack some cushioning in to such a thin midsole. And the more dense Crazy Comfort insole (pictured below, on the right) does make a big difference initially, giving the footbed more padding and support.


But wearing the shoe for an extended period of time really revealed the flaws, in my opinion. There simply isn’t enough impact protection in the shoe for my wearing needs. The Crazyquick, with the segmented midsole, also gave me great court feel but the quick zones, adiprene midsole and thicker rubber outsole allowed for just enough impact protection. The shoe moved with your foot so well, making the cushioning more responsive and, I think, helping to dissipate some of the impact from each footstrike.


The Crazy Light didn’t feel as responsive to me and it felt like my feet consistently took the brunt of the impact. As you can see in the picture above, the only thing between your foot and the TPU Sprintframe is the insole. You can see the white piece underneath the heel and the forefoot, and that at least gives you some direct contact with the midsole. But the dark gray surrounding the white pod is the Sprintframe. An insole is going to get compressed and worn down rather quickly, and I found the impact protection to be rather harsh. The actual foam is fine, and is fairly responsive, but to me it just was too firm because of the frame.

Traction: 9
Wavebone is a version of the industry-standard herringbone pattern and it did an adequate job providing traction. I did find that it picked up dust on courts that were less than perfect, and I didn’t always get that reassuring squeak. But it was certainly very solid and I wasn’t concerned with losing my footing while making cuts or changing direction at high speed (your high speed is probably faster than mine but it’s all relative, right?).


Materials/Durability: 8.5
I touched on it before, but I didn’t love the upper synthetics because I felt like I couldn’t achieve full lockdown. I understand these are used in order to keep the weight down and thus make it a Crazy Light, but I’d like to see them softened up or at least placed a little differently in order to allow the proper flex.


Besides that, I didn’t see too many issues crop up. The midsole foam is high quality and the Sprintframe heel counter is solid, while the rubber compound used on the outsole is relatively soft but provides good traction.

Bottom line, the Crazy Light is a shoe that some of you will probably really like. You can’t go any lighter than this and the shoe allows you to play low to the ground and quick on your feet if you’re that type of player. But if you need impact protection at all or want a shoe that really forms and fits your foot well, I think there are better options out there. I liked the CL3 better than either of the first two Crazy Light models but there were too many shortcomings to make it one of my favorites of the year.

Overall: 43/50

Performance Review: adidas Crazyquick

Prose: Jake Sittler (@jtsittler)

After wearing the adidas Adipure Crazyquick for the first time, I struggled to find the right adjectives to describe the shoe.

Stealthy. Predatory. Aggressive.

I struggled with a description because the Crazyquick doesn’t feel like any shoe I’ve ever played in. I told Finch after the first hoop session that I forgot they were on my feet by the end of the run – and that is a very good thing. One thing is clear though: this is a finely-tuned, precision engineered piece of footwear and is a performance beast.

As I’ve noted in each of my previous reviews, I value fit more than anything else when it comes to performance sneakers. The Kobe VI is my standard in terms of fit, as it brought the upper to the foot, locked me onto the footbed and moved with me. Yeah, well, the Crazyquick is now the new standard.


When you’re talking fit with the Crazyquick and putting the shoe on for the first time, you’ll immediately notice two things: the Techfit upper enveloping your foot and the Sprintframe chassis locking the midfoot and heel in place. Techfit is not a new technology to the adidas brand – it’s been used in compression tops and bottoms, as well as a couple of running models, for a couple of years now – but this is the first version we’ve seen on a basketball shoe. The upper basically feels like a neoprene bootie base with strategic overlays – the three stripes enveloping the midfoot give the upper added lateral stability. The graphic pattern of the upper reminds me of the way that the Kobe VI used “scales” to give the shoe texture as well as added strength.

Sprintframe has been criticized in the past (notably on the Crazy Light models) for being too small, but the chassis on Crazyquick fully wraps the heel and extends through the midfoot. The heel and midfoot are completely locked in place. I experienced absolutely no slippage and the fit is glove-like from heel to toe. Dual ankle notches aid comfort around the ankle bone and range of motion, and the mid cut does a great job of giving you a supportive feel while not restricting movement whatsoever. I’m not sure what else to say regarding the fit, other than that the Crazyquick is the single best fitting shoe I’ve ever played in thanks to the TechFit/Sprintframe combination and bootie-like upper. This shoe becomes part of you and moves with you as an extension of your foot, and that’s exactly what I want.


One final note: the lacing setup is slightly asymmetrical, which allows the three stripes on the forefoot to wrap around to the top of the foot to provide extra lockdown and support. It’s the little things, folks.

Heel-Toe Transition
The Crazyquick was absolutely perfect in this aspect as well, providing the best court feel I’ve ever experienced. The 17-pod outsole moves naturally through the footstrike and moves with you through any type of cut, defensive slide or sprint. The Crazyquick is reportedly the most weartested shoe ever produced by adidas, and that level of testing and refinement shows up in the transition. Getting all the pods to work in harmony is something that must have been fine-tuned hundreds of time. Crazyquick designer Robbie Fuller said he wanted the transition to be like a centipede, with each pod gripping the floor precisely when it should. The shoe does just that. I’d liken the sensation to wearing a minimalist running shoe or a well-cushioned Nike Free from a flexibility standpoint (the shoe still provides support – I’ll get to that later). The transition is smooth and rolls through the footstrike with stability and unparalleled court feel.


There were a couple aspects of the cushioning setup I found interesting. Obviously, you’re going to give up a little bit of impact protection in order to get that great court feel so the Crazyquick is not necessarily plush and padded in the cushioning department. Impact protection is adequate though, and responsiveness is excellent – aided by the perfectly tuned outsole which allows you to push off and go whenever you demand it.


When Finch and I first discussed the shoe, he was initially (and rightly) skeptical of the lateral stability/rigidity of the shoe given its deep flex grooves and carved-away outsole. Again, the shoe’s engineering came through. If you remove the insole, you’ll notice a rigid plate (part of the Sprintframe chassis, I’d assume) running from the heel to the midfoot that gives it good, lightweight stability while allowing the outsole pods to do their job. Again, I can’t understate the level of engineering and testing that this takes. (If you don’t understand how midsole construction affects the cushioning unit, check Finch’s review of the flawed Hyperdisruptor.) In the center of the plate directly underneath the heel you’ll find a small foam circle, indicating the adiprene-cushioned midsole that makes up the cushioning platform. I enjoyed being able to physically see the construction and it helps you understand how they designed such a great setup.

It’s herringbone all around and in various angles, and the traction is superb. Deep grooves on each of the outsole pods allow the pods to grip the floor securely and provide reassuring stop and go ability no matter how sharp the cut. Four zones and 17 individual pods work in concert to provide elite level traction. Not much else to say, but I’m happy that they went with the tried and true pattern underfoot, and it certainly pays off from a performance standpoint.


Materials/DurabilityTime will tell for the upper of the Crazyquick when it comes to durability. The Techfit upper feels and fits amazing, but it is almost like a neoprene bootie with supports fused on strategically so it remains to be seen how long that lasts. I’m not doubting the durability, but since it’s a new materials setup we’re required to withhold judgement. I believe the outsole and midsole will hold up just fine, as thick, durable rubber was employed for the outsole and the midsole has remained firm.


In conclusion, the adidas adipure Crazyquick is one of my all-time favorite performance shoes at this point. A ton of engineering, fine-tuning and development was put into this shoe and it shows. In a performance market where it seems like corners are cut on plenty of models, it’s refreshing to play in a shoe that bills itself as a performance beast…and actually backs that up. adidas introduced a new thought process with the Crazyquick line, employed new technology and updated some existing tech, and came away with one of the best performance shoes on the market.

Fit: 10
Heel-Toe Transition: 10
Cushioning: 9.5
Traction: 9.5
Materials/Durability: 8.5
Overall: 47.5/50 = 95/100

TGRR Blog: adidas Adipure Crazyquick Performance Review Primer

Prose: Jake Sittler (@jtsittler)

I should have the adidas Adipure Crazyquick in hand tomorrow afternoon and will hopefully get in a pickup run with them at 6 pm Wednesday night. I’m anticipating the review for this shoe for a couple of reasons.

First, adidas announced that the Crazyquick was the most wear tested shoe ever produced in the adi labs so I’m expecting a finely tuned fit thank to said wear testing and the nature of the TechFit upper itself. I also expect the transition to be top-notch thanks to the 17-part outsole that designer Robbie Fuller likened to a centipede with the way in which all the pods work in sync to grip the floor.

I’m also happy to hear that the engineers enlarged the Sprintframe chassis for the Crazyquick – I always felt that Rose’s shoes could have used a slightly beefier frame – and I hope that this gives it the necessary lateral stability despite the deeply segmented outsole. The deep grooves were the only thing that initially made me pause, as I hoped that torsional support wouldn’t be sacrificed in the name of flexibility or cutting weight (a la the Reebok Sublite Pro Rise, which is quite possibly the worst basketball shoe I’ve ever put on my feet).

The athlete feedback seems to be overwhelmingly positive, and a lot of the adidas-sponsored NCAA Tournament teams went to the Crazyquick during March Madness. John Wall and Damian Lillard are reportedly leading the marketing campaign, with Nic Batum making a few cameos as well. Former Indiana University guard Maurice Creek was still hooping in his at the rec center in Bloomington when Finch and I were down there playing pickup ball a few weeks ago, so there’s your insider (not really) nugget for the day.

More updates to come over the next few days at The Gym Rat Review Twitter account and expect a full review within 10 days.