The Adidas Superbeast

Introduction

Dwight Howard was granted with this first signature shoe this year – the BEAST Commander.  Making up for some lost time, Adidas has released the second signature model for Howard, entitled the Superbeast.  With the adiPure™ and adiZero™ Rose 1.5 models, the Superbeast marks the change in performance for the second half of the NBA season.  Last month, our Adidas Spotlight Special included the Red Carpet All-Star Superbeast.  A unique and fun take on the Superbeast, the All-Star version would strip away some performance features – most notably the SPRINTSKIN upper – in place of more Hollywood appropriate styling.  Our performance review takes the standard Superbeast, with all the performance bells and whistles, on to the court.

Made for low post specialists, the Adidas Superbeast moves in a different direction than the preceding BEAST Commander. The features include the following:

  • Light and thin SPRINTSKIN upper
  • TORSION® system with TWIST at the midfoot
  • Injected EVA midsole
  • Polyurethane sock liner
  • Dwight Howard signature branding on the heels and tongue

Aesthetics and Styling

The Adidas Superbeast is an imposing figure with the three stripe Adidas logo rightfully placed along the sides of the shoe.  Putting the Superbeast with the BEAST Commander, the departure in styling is glaring.  Technologically and aesthetically, the two models share very little, aside from the Dwight Howard signature stamp.  The Superbeast marks a true transition in design.  For example, the past two season have seen the PUREMOTION pod configuration dominate the Adidas line up.  This is not the case with the Superbeast.  Nonetheless, the design and style of the Superbeast are appropriate for the large statured Dwight Howard.

Three large Adidas logo stripes take up the majority of each side

From the side, the Superbeast gives the impression of dominating size.  The thick three stripe logo almost completely covers each side.  Creating a dramatic effect, the stripes go in hand with the steep sweeping curved lines, which are observed from the collar down to the front of the shoe.  Starting with the lower half, the clear, non marking rubber outsole sits flat on the underside.  Small circular insets are placed on the forefoot area and heel.  For each inset, a small cylindrical rubber piece in placed inside.  Splitting the outsole in the middle, is the TWIST “Z” shaped TORSION® system.  Colored in grey, the TWIST TORSION® system runs along the lateral side, twisting and turning into the outsole at the mid foot, ending on the side heel.  The last touch on the outsole, which also forms a toe cap on the front, lies at the back of the heel, where a blue Adidas logo is carved into the clear rubber.  An injected white EVA midsole compliments the clear outsole.  From end to end, the midsole follows the curves of the shoe, with a sharp indent at the mid foot for the “TWIST” system.

A full grain leather base makes up the upper for this version of the Superbeast.  A simple narrow toe box is marked with ventilation holes and a small grey Adidas logo at the throat line.  The leather side panels are stitched before the forefoot is reached.  Each side of the shoe is designed with symmetry, as the stripes would connect perfectly if extended through the laces.  A gradient blue to white fade, from the top down, marks each thick stripe on the base side.  White rubber diagonal lines mark each stripe, which are stitched on.  For the SPRINTSKIN, the rubber casing that we have seen on the adiPure™ again forms the basis of stability.  In between each stripe, there are four areas colored in grey, with the “SPRTINSKIN” label placed close to the toe box.  Following the lateral side, the medial exhibits an identical layout.  The difference lies with the grey nubuck material, which is marked with perforation holes.

At the rear, a shiny grey material makes up the heel counter.  Here we see the first markings for Dwight Howard, as a “12” and a Dwight Howard signature are etched on the right and left shoe respectively.  At the center, a strip of full grain leather provides a break before the blue Achilles support, with a white Adidas logo, is reached.  This leather strip curves upwards, outlining the collar and forming the eyestay.  Covering the top end is a high rising collar.  With minimal padding, the area of coverage for the collar is cut short, as the designers have placed an Achilles support rather than extending the collar around.  Lining around the collar is provided by a blue synthetic textured material, which also lines the back of the tongue.  Interestingly, a softer material lines the Achilles heel support.  With two padded lobes on each side, this part of the shoe provides support and protection with comfort.

Running though 8 eyelets are high quality flat white laces.  Configured in sections of two, the first six eyelets, which are punctured onto a leather eyestay, have reinforcement at the front with a plastic strip, and small metal washers on the inside/back.  This ensures both stability and enables the player to lace tightly with no restrictions.  Because the last two eyelets are cut into the collar, they are not reinforced.  Up the tongue, ventilation holes run rampant in vertical rows.  A lace holder is placed towards the top of the thin leather tongue, which is connected to the toe box.  The most prominent signature aspect of the Superbeast is visible at the top.  On a shiny blue strip, the right shoe has the “BEAST” etched in a laser like font.  For the left shoe, the Manchild glares with red eyes.  Rounding out the Superbeast is a blue sock liner, marked on the heel with a red Adidas logo.

Comfort and Fit

From an aesthetic point of view, the Superbeast is a complete departure from the preceding Beast Commander.  The trend continues for comfort and fit.  Sliding into the Superbeast is easy, as no toggling is necessary.  True to size, the fit is relaxed and comfortable, moving away from the tight snug fit of the Beast Commander.  With SPRINTSKIN all round, comfort is at a maximum.  The foot is held in place by the thin and light material, without tight pressure.  At toe box, there is ample room for movement.  Most of the pressure in the fit is observed through the center of the shoe up to the top.  Once at the top, plush and comfortable collar padding is felt, without all the bulk.  And with a tight grip, the tongue provides ample cushioning to negate any discomfort.  A down side of the fit is evident at the Achilles.  Although the collar provides excellent support and protection for the ankles, the back side is left exposed.  The padded lobes at the rear ease the Achilles in, but does not lock the back end down.  Next, the cushioning bed is comfortably stiff.  The foot sits relatively flat, with the heel area exhibiting a slight drop.  This flat base goes in hand with the soles, which sit low to the ground.  For most shoes, a stiff foot bed would affect overall comfort, but in this case, the fit compliments the stiff cushioning.  Overall, the Superbeast has an thin and light feel, with padded comfort.

Heel comfort is provided by the padded Achilles support

Performance

The Superbeast could easily be mistaken for a small guard shoe.  The low profile of the shoe is combined with a light weight feel and flexibility all around.  With a narrow toe box, the sides are given an extra area of free movement.  Restrictions held to a minimum, running is very light.  Weight is felt mostly at the sole, as the upper is thin and light.  For guards, forward movements towards the basket, and quickly getting up to finish can be performed with ease.  Lateral movements, however, favor a slower pace.  Geared more towards centers and power forwards, the Superbeast works best for playing down low.  Because of the height and angle of the collar, quick lateral breaks, especially while playing defense against quick charging opponents, are hindered.  For a big man, lateral movements involve working an opponent slowly to a position, and this is where the Superbeast shines.  With TORSION® reinforcement spanning the lateral outsole, getting a foot hold is is made easy.  Once a move is made, whether it is spinning baseline, or going straight up, the light SPRINTSKIN allows for the player to burst to the finish.  When landing, the thick midsole and outsole absorb impact with little discomfort.  This shoe is a great embodiment of how Dwight Howard plays – quick and agile, with power.

For a big man shoe, stability is of great importance.  In the design, two aspects can be evaluated.  First is the upper stability.  Creating three pillars of support, the three stripe Adidas logo provides zones of flexibility and support from the eyestay down.  As the SPRINTSKIN panels between the stripes flex freely, the stripes themselves provide hold.  The result allows for the upper to bend in zones, rather than in an uncontrolled fashion, functioning similar to flex grooves placed on an outsole.  This makes it ideal for holding ground, while still having the ability to make nibble moves.  At the rear, lock down concerns may be an issue facing the basket and zig zaging forward, but it is not an issue otherwise.  Backing down an opponent methodically, the collar holds the ankles to provide protection and support.  The lower cut Achilles support allows for baseline spins and turnarounds, without the bulk of the collar weighing down.  The second aspect evaluated is the oustole.  With the large TWIST TORSION® plate centered, awkward bending of the foot is a rarity.  At times, it feels as though the whole outsole moves as one, not letting the foot get out of position.

Traction for the Superbeast is tailor made for a big man.  Although there is a lack of sticky grip, the flat rubber outsole sits low to the court.  With the added circular insets riddling the outsole, planting the foot for position or holding ground keeps the foot on the court with no sliding.  Moving to ventilation, the Superbeast keeps the foot cool.  Ventilation is provided all around, as  perforation holes on the tongue work well with a breathable thin SPRINTSKIN body.

Conclusion

With the strong performance of the Adidas fall basketball line up, coupled with the impressive adiPure™ for the start of the second half, Adidas has had a season to remember.  With the industry moving in the direction of light weight shoes with a minimalist approach, the options available for power players and those who pattern their game around the post are at a minimum.  Providing a breath of fresh air, Adidas continues to provide their consumers with a spectrum of choices.  The Beast Commander provided exceptional performance, and is a fitting signature model for Dwight Howard.  In the Superbeast, Adidas has successfully designed a shoe that fits the light weight material movement, sacrificing very little for the post player.  Fitted with SPRINTSKIN, the Superbeast presents a big man shoe, with a feel that would make a guard feel comfortable.  The Superbeast is available at the Official Adidas Online Store now.

This shoe is comparable to:

Adidas BEAST Commander
Adidas adiPURE™