ADIDAS THRILLRAHNA�|�EASY DOES IT words & images_Nick DePaula Every year in our industry, there's several types of shoes that release, as there's always a marquee signature launch that weaves in details from a player's life or playing style, there's surely a new gimmick technology that is either widely accepted or denounced by most, and then there's the shoes designed to just fit into the business plan and perform admirably considering its price and intended value. The adidas Thrillrahna is exactly that, a great value buy for the hooper looking for some longevity out of their next hoops shoe, who's not worried about wearing a signature product or high-tech beast. For the people uninterested in rocking another grown man's namesake sneaker or calling a dude "King" or "The Answer," adidas has been making some great strides the past few seasons with their more value aimed sneakers. After the Pilrahna earned some great praise from hoopers nationwide, the Thrillrahna is the latest of that lineage to carry on a total package offering. Priced at $80, the shoe is pretty straightforward and more importantly, basic, with a simple combination leather and mesh upper and herringbone outsole that you can simply get in and get out of. Along the upper, the first thing you'll notice is that there's huge allowances of mesh everywhere. It's a great testament to there being leather overlays for support only where needed, and an even brighter note is the brand's continually expected Three Stripes branding is used as a functional element of the shoe. Rather than add lines to the shoe just for the sake of a court view, the stripes make up what the brand is calling adiWear, which in this shoe entails branding made up of a rubberized compound that is then integrated into the lacing system. (We also saw adiWear used as a forefoot lateral support wrap on the TS Creator.) The middle stripe is doing most of the legwork for the shoe, as it wraps underneath the arch and securely hugs the midfoot of the upper, helping you get a snug fit that's just to your liking. With the systematic approach to the integrated lacing, and the shoe's stable base that I'll get into a bit later, it allows the shoe to work with the foot nicely. Above: Here you get a good look at the adiWear midfoot stripe wrapping underneath the arch, resulting in a nice cradling feel along the midfoot. While the upper features a refreshingly straightforward and intuitive design, it's along the outsole that the shoe's performance-first mentality is carried over. With a not-so-standard-by-industry-standards herringbone outsole (there's a layer of concentric circles a few millimeters below the recessed groove pattern), the outsole of the shoe helps contribute greatly to the overall durability and longevity of the Thrillrahna. You'll notice the nods of '65' and '60' labeled along the navy and white portions of the rubber bottom, and that's actually a call out of the rubber's durometer, a measurable way of determining firmness. For comparison, a rubberband has a durometer of about 25, while a car's tire tread clocks in around 70. The 5 point difference in hardness simply means the heel crash pad, outrigger and perimeter of the outsole are tuned more firmly, while the herringbone pattern has more give for squeakier traction. Not a huge factor by any means, but a cool technical note indeed not often seen outside of a developer's office. In an era where rubber outsoles seem to go quicker than normal and bringing up the term 'metered obsolescence' makes most brands uneasy, the Thrillrahna ranks well above most shoes in terms of its durability. The rubber outsole may seem firm at first, but the shoe's durability and breathable mesh upper makes it a great outdoor option for players of all sizes. You'll notice other techy trinkets like the TPU midfoot shank, and heel and forefoot pivot point hits, and as we learned with the Zoom Kobe IV, it's not always the height of the shoe that determines its overall stability, but rather the base. Thanks to the adiWear along the midfoot, collar fit and radiused heel, the shoe sits low to the ground and you'll never get concerned about its stability or stance. Initial firmness might be an attribute from adidas that polarizes most hoopers, and while cushioning like Lunar Foam and Zoom Air feel exponentially more responsive than adiprene and in this case, just an EVA midsole, once again, if you're after a shoe that'll last you several months and you're thinking marathon over sprint, the Thrillrahna is worth taking a look at. The biggest point of difference when comparing kicks from the Swoosh and Stripes is the fundamental approach to longevity and cushioning. Units like Lunar Foam may start out soft and become firm or bottom out over time, while the Thrillrahna's EVA foam begins firm and softens up nicely during the life of the shoe. Deciding which set-up serves you best is entirely a personal decision. If your rotation is pretty thin, you can definitely expect a few months out of the Thrillrahna and it'll hold a consistent feel throughout. If you're after responsive cushioning or place a ton of importance on the first ten wearings and less weight on a shoe's longevity, then you might want to look elsewhere for more lively cushioning systems. Above: The Thrillrahna boasts a nicely integrated lacing system. The midfoot's adiWear stripes and the top eyelet's heel collar wrap (seen above) all bring the upper closer to the foot for a great snug fit. While the Thrillrahna isn't one of the best shoes of the season, it's a real solid choice for players looking for some durability and dependability from their shoes, as well as a ton of value out of a modest price point. The most impressive aspect of the shoe is definitely the use of adiWear through the midfoot, as the shoe's fit can be optimized precisely while lacing the shoe up. It might not be ideal for bigs who are looking for a higher cut, but burly center Kevin Love rocked it for most of the beginning of� the NBA season, and the firm cushioning and stable base make it an attractive option. Point guards, combo guards and wings looking for a light and breathable shoe that stresses fit sans frills are definitely who the Thrillrahna was intended for, and at $80, you'll be hard-pressed to find a better value in a long-term sneaker investment that sure to hold up well over time. If your wallet is willing to go a few brackets up, you can find better performers in the $100 range that will offer more cushioning. Who's Worn It?
Mike Conley Jr. (Memphis Grizzlies), John Salmons (Sacramento Kings), Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves), Andre Miller (Philadelphia 76ers), Tony Allen (Boston Celtics), Mike Dunleavy Jr. (Indiana Pacers), Sergio Rodriguez (Portland Trail Blazers), Antonio Daniels (New Orleans Hornets) and many others