images by Andy Hur

by Gerald Flores

It’s been on adidas running shoes. It’s even been on skate shoes. But it’s never been on a basketball shoe…until now. Primeknit, adidas’ seamless woven upper that debuted in 2012, hit the basketball court for the first time in the Crazylight Boost 2015. You might have spotted the sneaker during this year’s NBA Playoffs, and you’ll see a lot of the shoe next year on the feet of adidas athletes like Andrew Wiggins, Jeff Teague, and Mike Conley.  

Primeknit isn’t the only upgrade to the adidas Crazylight series. Here, the sneaker’s designer Robbie Fuller breaks down all the fine details behind the brand’s latest in basketball. 

The decision to use Primeknit on the sneaker came from the need to focus on fit.

“We landed on wanting to skin the foot—locking it and holding down the foot,” Fuller said. “In skinning the foot, we thought, ‘Oh, let’s use Primeknit.’ It’s the perfect technology to be that first comfort layer.”

Primeknit had to be slightly modified for the rigors of basketball.

There’s a big difference between a running in a linear motion versus multidirectional basketball cuts. Designers had to adapt the upper for the hardwood by reinforcing it in certain areas, but still leaving some room to keep the sneaker lightweight.

“We were able to engineer in zones of breathability. When you get the shoe and reach inside, we didn’t have to put a reinforcement layer throughout the entire upper,” Fuller said. “We were able to do it strategically and have the vamp and midfoot with holes so you’re able to get that heat out and get that cold cool air in.”

There’s more adidas Boost cushioning in the 2015 Crazylight compared to last year’s version.

“In the 2014, you had Boost in the heel and we looked to bring it all the way outside the tooling this year,” Fuller said. “So if you’re hitting the shoe outside the heel, you’re engaging the Boost and really maximizing the energy and comfort from the technology.”

Jeff Teague was one of the main NBA athletes giving feedback on the Crazylight Boost 2015.

“When he was testing some of the early-concept models he said it just felt game-ready. Like straight out of the box with no flex pressure issues,” Fuller said. “Traditionally, if you have a brand new shoe, you have to break it in for a couple games before it feels right to you, but Jeff saying he could play in them straight out of the box felt like good insight and that we were on the right path.”

The biggest challenge to using Primeknit: the number of color options.

courtesy of adidas

Using Primeknit was a completely different approach to building an adidas basketball shoe. Fuller says there were challenges in figuring out the layers of knit, as well as getting the colorations right. 

“The way color can be applied with the shoe, you have the opportunity to have up to 14 different colors put into one surface,” Fuller said. “The challenge is that there’s too much opportunity with it. Trying to control all those options can take away from having a focus.”

Expect Primeknit to be on upcoming adidas Basketball signature sneakers.

According to Fuller, players on the adidas Basketball roster have given Primeknit glowing feedback. As a result, the design team is already working on ways to incorporate the material in upcoming signature lines. “We’re going to continue to listen to the athlete, especially some of the icon guys,” Fuller said. “We want to make sure they’re getting pinnacle products. As we learn new things and create concept cars, we give it out to them and then we make sure we integrate it into any product they wear.”