Gear Check: adidas Crazy Explosive Primeknit

The internet roasted the Crazy Explosive when pictures surfaced of the radical design. However, after fantastic reviews by the YouTube sneaker community, many have changed their tune. Does the Crazy Explosive’s on-court performance change an ugly duckling into a beautiful swan?

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Traction

The Crazy Explosive features a herringbone derivative that adidas calls Power Coral Traction. It can best be described as a topography map. The material is a translucent rubber that feels grippier than usual. It works well on clean and lightly dusty floor but as with most translucent soles, it requires more wiping since it attracts dust.

The durability of the outsole might be a problem. Bits of the outsole were peeling off after the first few runs in them. To be safe, we would not recommend these for outdoor use unless you want a $150 pair of slippers in short order.


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Cushioning

Aside from the unconventional look, the main talking point of the Crazy Explosive is its cushioning. Adidas took the cushioning of a running shoe (it’s essentially a basketball shoe sitting atop an Ultra Boost sole) and implemented it into the Crazy Explosive without sacrificing lateral stability. They were able to achieve this by caging the Boost on the lateral side while leaving the medial side exposed to allow the Boost to fully expand. You definitely feel the difference during toe-offs.

I really enjoyed the Boost cushioning from the heel to midfoot as it felt soft yet responsive at the time.

The forefoot, however, felt too thin, as I bottomed out frequently. The main issue was the thinness and density of the forefoot Boost. Since Adidas wanted the Boost of the Crazy Explosive to feel like a running shoe, it is on the softer side and my 180 pounds just pushed through it on jumps and landings. Lighter players might enjoy this setup, but it just didn’t work for me in the forefoot.


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Fit/Materials

Adidas has been all over the place in terms of sizing but the Crazy Explosive fits true to size with a finger width at the toe box and no dead space at all in the toe box. I had a little bit of heel slip initially but it went away within a day.

Adidas essentially took the Ultra Boost Primeknit upper and transferred it to the Crazy Explosive chasis. The main benefit of Primeknit is that can be made to be soft and flexible where needed and tightened in high-stress areas. Since the only backing is nylon, this iteration of Primeknit conforms to the foot like a sock with zero break-in time. Assuming you size properly, the Crazy Explosive should be ready to go right out of the box.

The inner bootie runs the full length of the shoe and is enveloped by the Primeknit upper to give a snug yet comfortable one-to-one fit.

Regarding the minimalist lacing system (four eyelets), I feel that it works, but I would have been better with a conventional setup. I constantly had to retie the laces during play since the top eyelet sits above the ankle bone and just loosens during quick movements. More friction with more lace loops would have helped.


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Support and Stability

Support on the Crazy Explosive comes mainly from the fit, internal heel counter and the infinity-shaped shank (see above picture). The Primeknit upper is soft and flexible so despite the higher cut, there isn’t any additional support.

Thankfully the shoe is very stable due to the lateral Boost cage as well as the large flat outsole.


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Lateral Containment

Lateral containment is excellent, as adidas is one of the few companies that addresses this performance aspect.

Adidas used a huge roll cage to keep the foot in place on hard cuts, but they also tightened the Primeknit in high-stress areas as well.

In addition, adidas thoughtfully placed a synthetic or rigid plastic strand at the base of the first eyelet to limit stretching.

Conclusion 

Pros: traction, heel to midfoot cushioning, fit, stability, containment

Cons: some outer ankle pain on cuts, forefoot Boost could use a Boost in volume or density; visible medial Boost is not nearly what is actually underfoot, laces loosen too easily, outsole is not durable and peels easily

Best for: lightweight players that need minimal cushioning in the forefoot

Price: $150

Weight: 17.5 oz. (size 11)

Based on looks alone, the Crazy Explosive would most likely be a straight to the outlets type of shoe. But with a smart design, a great implementation of Boost and very comfortable Primeknit, most ballers will love this shoe.

Despite its appearance as a “big man’s shoe,” you shouldn’t be swayed by its appearance. Andrew Wiggins will be playing in the Crazy Explosive this season and he’s a good example of who this shoe will appeal to: a lightweight perimeter-based player whose game is…well, explosive.

The Crazy Explosive excels in comfort. No surprise, given its Ultra Boost DNA and Primeknit upper. It’s an Ultra Boost on steroids with extra rigging for the rigors of basketball.

Some improvements that I would like to see include denser or thicker cushioning in the forefoot and a wicked traction pattern like the Rose 7. Maybe the Crazy Explosive 2 will find that perfect blend of all around exceptional performance. In the meantime, this is pretty close.