Photo by Oscar Castillo

At 22-years-old, Nick Daiber should still be in college by normal standards. Instead, the former adidas intern who dropped-out after just two years of college is now designing basketball sneakers for the brand’s top athletes like James Harden and Jeff Teague.

His first design project to make it to retail—the Crazylight Boost Low 2016—is the sneaker that Harden will wear at the top of the 2016-17 NBA season before switching over to his first signature shoe. Toronto Raptor Kyle Lowry has already been wearing the sneaker as part of Team USA.

“It was a pretty unreal opportunity for this to be the first shoe I worked on,” Daiber said. “I kind of came to the table as a bit of a performance nerd, so it was a good project for me because I could really geek out on all the details that were going to make it a great shoe.”

The latest in adidas’ CrazyLight series signifies a new direction for the franchise that originally kicked off with setting out making the lightest basketball shoe on the market back in 2011. The 2016 version of the CrazyLight isn’t so much focused on weight reduction as it is on cushioning. It’s the first basketball sneaker to deliver a full-length Boost midsole. The lowtop silhouette is also a lot sleeker aesthetically than it has been in previous versions.

“The Crazylight franchise was all about making things better through giving players the lightest basketball shoe ever, and this kind of represents a shift in that,” Daiber said. “The full-length boost may not be the lightest anymore, but if you play in it you’ll actually realize that it plays light and when your legs are tired, you’re going to feel be fresh hours into the run. That’s where we shifted because we knew we wanted to turn up the dials in comfort.”

The designer describes his job description as basically, "playing basketball all day." The launch of the CrazyLight Boost 2016 is just the beginning of Daiber’s young footwear design career. Although he has several other projects coming up on the docket, he's staying mum on the specific details.

"I like to think everyone is a little bit of a creator, if you’re playing ball or whatever you’re doing, you’ve got opportunity to create so we’re really embracing that. I can’t tell you everything to come, but we're excited about next launch we have," he said. "We know the pace of the game is changing and we’re not actually looking to keep up with the pace, we’re actually looking to set the pace."