Executive summary: crazy different looking but pretty good overall. Step in comfort is excellent. Really feels like a high cut Ultra Boost made for basketball with nearly no restrictiveness. However, thin forefoot cushioning is too running shoe like and thin for heavier/denser players. No discernible difference in performance between Primeknit and Mesh. 

Free balling has a new meaning

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 it actually underfoot, laces loosen too easily, outsole is not durable and peels easily

Sizing: true to size

Best for: lightweight players that need minimal forefoot cushioning 

Weight


Exactly the same weight in both versions at 17.5 Oz. 

Traction


I’m really enjoying Adidas’s traction patterns this year. I haven’t been let down by any of their new models. Despite the translucent rubber, it doesn’t pick up dirt and grime like the Hyperdunk FK or Rose 7 PK.  Adidas calls it Coral Power Traction since it looks like coral ..because when I think of traction performance, I immediately think of coral (come on Adidas Creative Department!)

   I  know everyone will ask and I’m going to write a full run down on the three models but out of the CLB16, Rose 7 and CE, these are last not because it’s bad but because the other two are just that excellent. It’s slightly worse on clean and dusty floors as the Rose 6 for reference. 

*I forgot to note that the outsole is not durable and peels easily. Does not bode well for outdoors  or long term*
Cushioning

This is the highlight and lowlight of the shoe in my opinion.  Adidas didn’t mess with this Boost by adding more pellets or making the Boost feel denser. Adidas caged the lateral side  with a soft rubber compound to keep the Boost stable on quick movements and landings (hmmm sounds like something I would have suggested). 

There is a definite decrease in Boost moving from the heel to forefoot so it doesn’t have that consistent meaty feeling like the CLB16. The addictive Bounce feel is mostly felt in the heel to midfoot while it thins out.  If you look at the outsole, Adidas cored out certain areas to enhance the trampoline effect (similar to the Hyperdunk, AJ’s, Super fly). 

It does feel very similar to a running shoe’s cushioning which is a good and bad thing. I experienced forefoot pain due to bottoming out at the forefoot but I switched out the cheap insole for the Rose 4 insole (again) and it made it feel a lot better but I still bottomed out in the forefoot. At 180 lbs (hey it’s summer break lay off! ) and size 11’s I thought  maybe I way too dense for this forefoot cushioning. 

But then being my normal self I took the insole out and noticed this mysterious glow on a sunny day and it got me curious.  No, the Green Lantern wasn’t nearby and I have not visited Krypton recently. 


What you see is a very thin layer of Boost in the forefoot. I know you can see through the heel as well but it’s not nearly as transparent.  I took this as a comparison shot with the CLB 16 Boost is roughly 1/2 to 1/3 of what’s seen on the outside. 

And Rose 7


In actuality you are getting about the same amount as Boost in the forefoot as my Energy 2m from a few years ago. So you really are getting the cushioning of a running shoe. 

Don’t get me wrong, I love the feel of Boost in running shoes but that cushioning is set up for running, not jumping up and down repeatedly. It’s not uncomfortable or hard like the CLB 14 or anything but it could be better (just watch next year). Also worth noting is the lack of cushioning where the torsional shank is placed in the forefoot or basically 1/4-1/3 of the forefoot. It might be 1-2mm thin. 


Had Adidas put the forefoot set up of the CLB, Rose 7 or 6 then we’d be talking cushioning heaven. 

    Visual tricks aren’t anything new. Look at Nike and visible Air. It gives the wearer a certain amount of confidence and reassurance when you can see the tech. But for actual performance purposes, this doesn’t work for me. I guess the extra Boost on the medial side might help keep the foot contained but I still feel it’s more visual than anything else 


If you want a more balanced Boost feel, get the CLB16, Rose 7 with a different insole or last year’s Rose 6. 


I played around in both pairs to compare because when you just put them on separately they both felt plush and soft.  However, when on foot, the CE is definitely a softer ride overall. Forefoot Boost of the Rose 6 still wins easily and feels more even heel to toe. 

Fit

I went true to size and the length and width is perfect for me. Narrow footers might want to go down half a size although the length might be too short.


The internal bootie runs the full length of the shoe and I had a little looseness in the heel the first few games but I just had to retie my shoes and Inwas fine. No heel slippage after a few games but the CE doesn’t have the locked in feel like the Rose 7 or Hyperdunk 2016 but I don’t think it’s supposed to and it still works fine. Free balling remember ?

There are only four eyelets on the CE and it works ok but I still don’t understand why Adidas is trending this way? I still think a standard lace set up is better.  More eyelets equates to more friction which requires less time fiddling with my  shoes. 

Looking at the internal lacing system you can see the top eyelet has straps that go down and down and back to help lock the foot in. 

The rest of the eyelets have a similar two strap system to assist with lockdown as well. 

Overall the fit is great but could use a better lacing system to keep the heel locked in.  

Materials

Primeknit is nice but if weren’t billed as a premium material, I don’t think people would be gushing about it as much. I played in both the regular version and Primeknit and I really couldn’t tell a difference. What’s great about Primeknit is that Adidas can use one material and give it strength or flexibility where needed. It also allows them to make cooler looking textures, patterns, and colors. 


There is a nylon backing pretty much everywhere except the forefoot on both the mesh (I guess that’s what I’d call it) and PK versions plus you have the full length internal bootie so you’re not going to feel a difference on your skin with either material (insert condom joke)


The “mesh” version feels similar to Adidas’s old Techfit but softer, thinner and stretchier.  

Since they couldn’t knit more strength into the upper, Adidas just added a flexible yet strong TPU for strength. 


Here you can see the tighter knitting on the Primeknit all along the same places. 

 

Overall both materials are great with strength and support in the right places. 

If you’re a materials whore, you’ll enjoy these. Well done Adidas !
Support and stabilty 

With the extra high cut, you’d think the CE would have exceptional support but the upper is flexible and soft so the support comes from the fit and heel counter. I had some outer ankle pain on hard cuts from the heel counter and it got better but never really went away. 


The shoe is very stable though thanks to the caged Boost as well as the infinity shaped shank. I believe they made it this way since it is so plush but as thin as the forefoot cushioning is I think a shorter X bar like the Rose 5 would have been better.   

The outsole is also very wide and there isn’t an actual outrigger, it’s just a very wide flat outsole. Even wider than the Rose 7 with the outrigger! I never felt in danger of tipping or spraining my ankle. 

Well done with Adidas!

Containment 
Adidas has my love because they addressed one of my biggest pet peeves with modern shoes and just roll caged the sh*t out of all their shoes this year.  


But they also added a thin synthetic or nylon strap that runs across the forefoot. Under Armour did something similar with the CFD 2 low and it works great. 

See I’m not crazy, it just took a few years for a company to actually do something about it. 

Thank you and well done Adidas!

Conclusion 

Crazy Looking and Crazy Comfortable to wear but I’m not Crazy in Love with the Crazy Explosive.  I’ve said it before that I’m not a material snob and these feel nice but it’s not like I’m going to notice how Primeknit upper feels versus a broken in synthetic or leather upper when I’m actually playing..and if I am, please bench me. You get the exact same performance out of either pair and as I stated in an earlier post, the mesh version only cost me $98 so that’s a $52 saving versus the PK. 

Step in comfort is fantastic and the shoe as a whole is a nice shoe that feels like a running shoe but the forefoot cushioning is so thin and unremarkable feeling that it doesn’t matter how spectacular the heel cushioning feels. If they  Boosted up the forefoot like the CLB16, then I wouldn’t hesitate to play in these. If I wore a size 13 I probably wouldn’t have noticed since the overall cushioning would have been thicker.   Lighter players that aren’t as dense as I am at 5’10, 180lbs, size 11 should be ok with the thinner forefoot.

Should you buy the Crazy Explosive now? 

No, definitely not. Nothing sells out anymore and at $150 the CEPK is on the high side now that Nike started rolling back prices like Walmart. With a “unique” divisive look, no Superstar (Wiggins is a work in progress), no limited runs and no Swoosh, Jumpman or Kanye, I can guarantee these will get cheaper quickly. The non PK is already $98 on Amazon. 

Which Adidas Boost shoe should I buy? 

I broke down every component of Adidas’s big three so hope this helps. 

HeadX3: Adidas Bball comparison

If you want a running shoe feel, go with the Crazy Explosive. If you want an all around performer, go with the Rose 7 like I did. And if you want a low cut Rose 7, go with the CLB16 but try it in store because the fit is tricky. 


76 Comment on “Adidas Crazy Explosive Performance Review

  1. Pingback: Headx3: Three Stripes, Three Shoes, Which One To Chose?  | schwollo.com

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