Adidas adiZero™ Shadow - All-Star (High-Energy)

The Adidas adiZero™ Shadow

Introduction

Not a big surprise this season, Adidas Basketball has brought high performance to the table with their Fall and Spring line ups.  To go along with the adiPower Howard 2 and adiZero™ Rose 2.5 for the first quarter of 2012 comes the latest Adidas team basketball performer – the adiZero™ Shadow.  Continuing the light weight trend which seems to be dominating every basketball sneaker company, the Shadow has already made an impact on the big stage, with many Adidas sponsored NBA athletes opting for the Shadow during the new year.  Furthermore, as the spotlight in the basketball world is on the NCAA Tournament, perennial favorites, Kansas, as well as Indiana and Baylor, have had their players sporting the Shadow on a consistent basis.  In our latest Performance Review, the Adidas adiZero™ Shadow hovers over the hardwood.

The team shoe for the Spring, the Adidas adiZero™ Shadow follows in the footsteps of previous releases this season.  The features include the following:

  • Synthetic leather upper with Sprint Web sides for light weight support
  • Stiff mid foot TORSION System plate for stability
  • S-Shaped non marking rubber outsole
  • Light weight mesh tongue
  • Molded EVA midsole with PU insole

Aesthetics and Styling

Aesthetically, the Shadow can easily be mistaken for a couple of Adidas performers this year – including the Stupidly Light, adiZero™ Ghost, and adiZero™ Rose 2.5.  Through the Sprint Web upper, S-shaped outsole, and logo stripes at the heel, Adidas has kept the designs this season very  close.  And although looks may be hard to distinguish each model, performance wise, the company has done a great job in having the shoes present something different on the court.  Released in time for the 2012 NBA All-Star Game, the bright High Energy version of the Shadow is the choice for this Performance Review.

Adidas adiZero™ Shadow - All-Star (High-Energy)

Aesthetically, the Shadow fits inline with the Adidas 2011-2012 line up

A straightforward mid cut, there are no real aspects that truly jump out from a side profile.  The collar has a seamless rise, and the openings cut through the Sprint Web are a familiar look for Adidas Basketball this season.  The foundation of the Shadow comes in the form of an S-shaped outsole teamed with a stiff mid foot TORSION System plate and molded EVA midsole (see our Performance Reviews of the Adidas adiZero™ Ghost, Stupidly Light, and Pro Model Zero for a detailed description).

For the upper, a combination of synthetic leather joins a Sprint Web construction for light weight performance.  Up front, the toe box is simple made up of shiny patent leather.  Stitched to the forefoot on each side, the patent leather runs diagonally and is marked with perforation holes on the sides.  A synthetic leather flap resides at the throat line for added stability.  Symmetrical sides  differ with the materials used.  On the medial side, stitched patent leather covers the nylon openings, backed with mesh at the collar and forefoot.  Making up the lateral side is the light weight Sprint Web, branded at the heel with “adiZero” in gold, and towards the top of the collar with a faint “SPRINT WEB” text.

The heel counter is covered with a large stitched patent leather piece.  Taking a page from the Rose 2 and 2.5 Sprint Frame, the three stripe logo flares out to the sides of the heel, with perforation holes punctured low on the sides.  Above the stitched counter, a leather piece adds reinforcement while a hang tag eases the fit.  A jersey/fleece material lines the collar, through the Achilles and heel, with padding plush, but thin.

Lacing comes in the form of heavy duty flat laces, running through seven eyelets.  The eyestay is reinforced with leather on the medial side and final two eyelets on the collar, with the lateral side reinforced with the Sprint Web material.  Lined as the collar is, a light weight mesh tongue is designed with a vertical strip design.  The tongue flares wide at the top where a leather patch is stitched with a lace holder.  Perforation holes and a gold Adidas logo put the finishing touches on the uniquely designed tongue.  The last aspect of the Shadow comes with the contoured PU insole.  Contoured for added arch support, the insole has a textured synthetic to limit slippage with a large gold “adiZero” logo print on the heel.

Comfort and Fit

Those familiar with the Adidas line up this season will know the Sprint Web upper holds close for a snug fit.  Sizing is true as the front toe box area and rear heel counter bring a more solid feel than the thin Sprint Web and leather sides.  The roomy toe box is very comfortable, following the contours of the foot, with wiggle room all around.  Most of the pressure is felt down the center of the foot, with the sides clamping down snug and comfort aided by the tongue.  Ankle support is high and very good with the slope of the collar rising naturally to cover the ankles.  The collar and tongue have minimal padding as it is enough to provide support and some protection, without a bulky feel.  Heel lock down is not overly pronounce, but again is comfortable.  Below, cushioning is on the responsive side – not too firm or soft.  With the contoured foundation, there is plenty of arch and side support to keep the foot from lying flat, and the TORSION System plate has a very stable feel.  Overall, the Shadow brings a comfortably snug and responsive fit, with targeted areas of stability at the front and rear.

Adidas adiZero™ Shadow - All-Star (High-Energy)

A patent leather toe box brings a more stable feel than the light weight sides

Performance

On the court, the Shadow is ready to burn up the hardwood.  A low profile brings excellent court feel, and the fit is just solid.  Running is very fluid, as the S-shaped outsole grips the court naturally, with the toe box flexing well.  The weight of the shoe is on the light side, but has a very supportive feel.  Performance favors quick players as well as agile perimeter players and is overall versatile on the court.  In a word, the Shadow can be describes as consistent.  The shoe has great responsiveness all around, whether on offense or defense.  For players who need speed and quickness, the shoe can handle abrupt movements, stops, and changes in directions on the fly.  Running up and down the court in the context of a game and staying with an offensive player, the shoe plays with stealth and speed.   And although the cushioning set up is not the most plush, comfort is not a problem.  Since the shoe plays fast and is very responsive, pushing off on the foot bed feels seamless. For landings, the foundation takes the brunt of impact, again, consistently, with heel strikes having added support.  In the end, the Shadow is a consistent performer on the court, with great versatility and responsiveness in a comfortable, light weight package.

In a light weight context, stability for the Shadow is very good.  Starting from the bottom up, the mid foot TORSION System plate, along with the contours of the foundation keep the foot as stable as possible.  Couple this with the Sprint Web and leather sides gripping the foot close and there is very little sliding.  Cutting, jab stepping, or simply pushing hard on either side, the upper provides exceptional hold around the foot with good comfort.  The last aspect of stability, which is noticeably felt with fit, is the toe box and collar.  Constructed with less give than the Sprint Web and leather sides, these areas are very stable without totally restricting movement.  The toe box is solid and supportive, but will flex at a moments notice.  And while the ankles are supported high, there is no sense that agility is lost.

As seen with previous Adidas releases this season, traction is based on responsiveness without too much grip.  The Shadow naturally plays quick and fast, utilizing the S-shaped outsole to keep the player balanced and able to respond quickly on the court.  Abrupt stops are handled well, aided by the outrigger when pushing towards the lateral side, not pulling the player to a stop, but gliding the player into the next step.  Traction performance is very comfortable and easy on the knees, an advantage many players can benefit from.  For ventilation, there are few shoes on the market that can compare with what Adidas has designed with the Sprint Web and nylon opening set up.  Not only does how air vent easily, but, at times, air can be felt passing into the shoe.  Player who value excellent ventilation in a shoe will find comfort with the Shadow.

Conclusion

After all of our reviews of the 2011-2012 Adidas Basketball line, consistent, high performance on the court is a very fair conclusion that can be made.  If anything, Adidas has offered basketball players with plenty of options, although similar in design and construction, that have enough variances in performance that each model brings a slightly unique performance feel to the table.  What the Shadow represents is another all around, versatile team shoe that fits in with the light weight movement.  Along with the Pro Model 0, the consistent performance of the Shadow makes it one of the more attractive every day models in the Adidas catalog this year.  For the swingman, guard, and perimeter player looking for an every day performer that delivers on responsiveness, quickness, and light weight stability, the Shadow is a choice that comes highly recommended.  Released earlier this year, the Adidas adiZero™ Shadow is currently available in various color schemes at the Official Adidas Online Store.

This shoe is comparable to:

Adidas adiZero™ Rose 2.5
Adidas adiZero™ Ghost
Adidas Stupidly Light
Adidas Pro Model 0