Adidas adiPower Howard

The Adidas adiPower Howard

Introduction

With the premier big man in their corner, Adidas has taken full advantage of one of the most charismatic players and personalities in the league.  This summer, Dwight Howard has been active promoting the Adidas brand in commercials and through tours of Asia and Europe (which many NBA superstars have done this quiet offseason).  Last season brought two long overdue signature models – the BEAST Commander and Superbeast.  For the 2011-2012 season, Adidas will again follow the same formula with first and second half shoe for the most dominant big man in the league.  For our latest Performance Review, we bring the newly entitled Adidas adiPower Howard on to the hardwood.

The third signature shoe for Dwight Howard, the Adidas adiPower Howard continues an impressive line of performers tailored for the power player.  The features include the following:

  • Brushed synthetic upper & synthetic leather with Adidas SPRINTSKIN
  • TWIST TORSION® SYSTEM for maximum stability
  • Clear rubber outsole with Cilia Traction Surface
  • Injected EVA midsole
  • Polyurethane insole with Dwight Howard print

Aesthetics and Styling

A quick glance at the adiPower Howard and one can not help but notice the similarities to the Superbeast from last season.  Retaining the aesthetic and technological features, the basketball SPRINTSKIN and TWIST TORSION® SYSTEM are hard to miss.  And customary to a Dwight Howard signature shoe, the playful signature marks bring the personal touch.  What has changed is the bold design displayed with the Superbeast and BEAST Commander, but at the end of the day, if the shoe performs well, living up to the aesthetics of the predecessors can be forgiven.

Adidas adiPower Howard

No Dwight Howard shoe is complete without fun and playful signature markings

From a side profile, a standard high cut is observed.  The SPRINTSKIN upper and TWIST at the midfoot draw the attention, as the brushed synthetic material is more prominent up close.  Beginning on the underside, the clear rubber outsole from the Superbeast is replicated.  Marked with circular insets at the forefoot and heel, the fine Cilia surface serves as the basis for traction.  Through the clear rubber, the “TORSION SYSTEM” stability plate forms a Z at the midfoot and extends the whole length of the lateral side.  Supporting the outsole is a dual layered midsole, which has the customary “TWIST” at the midfoot.

On the upper, the SPRINTSKIN joins leather and a brushed synthetic.  At the toe box, the shiny brushed synthetic material shimmers.  Each side panel is stitched close to the sides, cutting off the toe box close to the side of the toes.  Finishing off this area are vertical rows of small ventilation holes and the “1” and “2” (12) of Howard placed at the throat line.  The lateral side is simply made up of the SPRINTSKIN, with the rubber cage overlay.  For the medial, symmetry in layout is evident, but this time in the form of perforated synthetic leather.  Each side is adorned with the rubber Adidas three stripe logo, which is stitched on.

Moving to the rear, a stiff heel counter is marked with an Adidas logo, with a nylon netting laid on top.  Around the counter, the brushed synthetic material runs through the sides and collar, with a stitch and perforated pattern at the top of the Achilles area.  The collar rises from the top of the Achilles where brushed synthetic patches are stitched on each side.  Littered with perforation holes, the stitched sections also serve as reinforcement for the collar eyelets, with branding on the lateral side coming in the form of an etched “DWIGHT HOWARD” print.  On the inside, the textile lining has sufficient padding, with extra emphasis placed high on the ankles.

Lacing comes in the form of standard oval laces, through 7 eyelets.  The eyelets run straight and are reinforced by the rubber SPRINTSKIN overlay on the lateral and leather panel on the medial.  Beneath the laces sits the tongue which is made of a perforated padded portion, completely covered with a nylon net (similar to the heel counter).  Flaring out at the top, the top of the tongue contains a brushed synthetic section that contains a white stitched pattern and a lace holder in the center.  Another Dwight Howard marking comes in the form of a signature which sits along side an Adidas logo.  The tongue is lined with the textile lining found around the collar and does not have any elastic bands that connect to the sides.  And last, but not least, a thin insole brings the shoe full circle with printed smiling Dwight Howard graphic present on the heel.

Comfort and Fit

With a snug fit, the adiPower Howard fits true to size.  Gripping the foot close, the sides of the shoe provide the most pressure in fit, and as the TWIST creates a gap at the midfoot, the medial side has a floating but secure feel (reminiscent of the Pro Model Zero).  There is a sharp contrast, compared to the sides, as the toe box area is roomy and the brushed material has a thin and soft feel.  Up top, the ankles are securely held in place comfortably, which is due in large part because of the wide tongue and padded collar.  Down low, the heel sits nicely in place on the contoured counter, but there is some room for the Achilles to flex and move.  Stability, however, is not compromised as the ankles have a taped feel.  Moving to the footbed, cushioning is on the hard side, but not uncomfortable.  There is plenty of arch support on the medial side, helping to keep the foot from lying completely flat.  Adidas has stayed true to the big man roots as the comfort and fit can be summed up as secure and protective, with comfort around the ankles.

Adidas adiPower Howard

A stable but comfortable fit is provided by the third Dwight Howard signature shoe

Performance

Stepping on the court, the adiPower is tight and solid.  The shoe has great court feel in a static position and does not feel as restrictive as might be expected for a “big man” shoe.  Weight is average, but the shoe feels more on the light side.  What is most interesting is that although the sides grip tight without the most extreme cushioning, there are no rigid areas or hard spots that would induce discomfort.  That established, entering into a full sprint, the balance of the shoe comes to the forefront.  Providing flex at the toe area, the synthetic material eases heel to toe transitions while the sides are held snugly.  Below, the outsole has a very responsive feel which allows for smooth stops & starts, as well as fluid lateral transitions.  Playing in the post, the SPRINTSKIN upper holds true, but allowing some flexibility for quick lateral thrusts and spin moves.  Furthermore, spin moves are made fluid with the shape of the midfoot and flexible back end, where the combination of the TWIST and freedom around the Achilles area give the shoe some nimbleness.   For cushioning, the hard but responsive bed is perfect for going back up and down while fighting for rebounds.  In the end, the performance of the adiPower is consistent with the needs of a power player.

A shoe tailored towards a big man should not be without suprub stability and protection.  In this instance, stability performance is exceptional.  The evaluation of stability begins with the side panels.  Leather on the medial with SPRINTSKIN on the lateral form pillars which are solid.  The designers have effectively shaped the side panels to allow for maximum abuse, providing excellent hold and most importantly, not hampering overall fluidness.  In other words, although the sides keep the foot held in place, there is still enough flexibility around the collar and back that lets the player use his/her agility and athletic ability.  Down below, the midsole and outsole combination are solid with the TWIST TORSION® SYSTEM.  Again, the versatility here does little to slow down an athletic big man, while still providing a foundation that can take the rigors of a full game down low.  Overall the adiPower is meant to take a pounding.

Equipped with a Cilia surface, traction is excellent.  Providing comfortable grip, the Cilia surface combined with the circular insets are perfect for planting, stopping & starting, and planting a foot hold.  This would all mean very little if the shoe did not have a means to transition out of, which is where the contours of the TWIST gives the player an added sense of mobility.  And because of the great traction provided, the adiPower is a viable option for a speedy guard who values stability and security.  Long term durability on an asphalt surface may be an issue to the finely molded outsole surface, but in the short term and on a hardwood surface, traction shines.  Ventilation is an area where there are very little concerns.  Heat and sweat are a non factor even after long sessions on the court.  This can be attributed to the light SPRINTSKIN upper material and ventilation holes which are placed all over the shoe.

Conclusion

As there very few choices on the market specifically targeted towards the post player, the Adidas adiPower Howard stands at the top of the list for the upcoming season.  Of course it does not hurt that the shoe carries the name of the premier big man in the league.  And it is no surprise that the performance is up to par with the standards of Dwight Howard himself.  Bringing balance, stability, and excellent court feel the adiPower Howard is the best choice on the market for any player, bigs especially, looking to gain an edge in the post.  The Adidas adiPower Howard is available now in various colors at the Official Adidas Online Store.

This shoe is comparable to:

Adidas Pro Model Zero
Adidas Superbeast
Adidas BEAST Commander