Adidas adiPower Howard 2 - Orlando Magic Away

The Adidas adiPower Howard 2

Introduction

Last month, our First Look special featured the fourth Adidas Dwight Howard signature shoe, the adiPower Howard 2.  Built similar to the BEAST Commander from last season, the Howard 2 is the quintessential big man shoe on the market this season.  In a landscape filled with light weight and minimal performers for the quick and explosive player, there are few choices that have the true power player in mind.  Our latest Performance Review takes the Adidas adiPower Howard 2 on a test run.

Comfort and Fit

Creating an opening for the adiPower 2 starts with loosening the side straps which hold the shoe together.  Locked in, fit is true to size and the pressure is, unsurprisingly, evident around the logo straps, gripping tight.  Through the center of the shoe the mid foot is held in place, opening up at the toe box which has a more open, yet close and comfortable feel.  Wiggle room is precise, meaning that it does not give a too open or tight feel.  At the rear, heel lock down is excellent, as well as ankle support and protection, which is light but feels very supportive.  For cushioning, the insole provides a comfortable barrier and the Alive technology brings great sense of comfort and responsiveness.  And with the side straps gripping tight, arch support is excellent.  There is little to be said about the comfort and fit of the adiPower Howard 2 as it is comfortably snug and very sturdy and supportive.

Adidas adiPower Howard 2 - Orlando Magic Away

Holding down the mid foot are the three logo stripes, which are connected to the TORSION plate

Performance

With the crop of basketball shoes on the market today, the feel of the Howard 2, initially, is a breath of fresh air.  The fit is snug & sturdy, and court feel is excellent.  One aspect is certain – this shoe is not made for the meek of heart.  Sheer aggression is what the shoe feels as though it is pushing for, and once the small break in period has elapsed, the performance is versatile for every position.  Coming to a sprint, the shoe has great flexibility, flexing perfectly around the toe box corrugations, and the Sprintskin sides are felt through the tightly gripping straps.  The weight of the shoe is not on the light side, but this does not hider lateral movement.  Moving side to side playing in the post, or sliding with an offensive player, the design of the forefoot eases movement.  The cracked portion of the outsole flares out just enough on both sides creating a smooth rolling feeling.  For the guard, playing with an active and aggressive pace brings out the best in performance.  Hard cuts, slashing, stopping and starting, the performance shines.  The player can play fast and hard without a second thought as it just feels extremely natural.  Conversely, for the big man, the shoe is an absolute wonder.  The strict power player who relies on sheer force can push off the foundation, which is comfortable and solid.  Any style of post play is full supported by the shoe, whether the player tends to back down opponents, or simply uses the post position to create shots.  For jumps, the midsole and Alive cushioning set up is very responsive, lifting the player up consistently, on the run, or from a static position.  Impacts from the forefoot to the heel are taken with great comfort.  Simply outstanding on the court, the versatility of the Howard 2 is fit for players looking for a well balanced and aggressive performer.

Stability with comfort does not get any better than the Howard 2.  Regardless of the fact that this is a “big man” shoe, stability performance fits an aggressive smaller and faster player just fine.  Break neck cuts and stops are naturally performed.  The mid foot hold from the straps combines perfectly with the TORSION System plate in keeping the foot stable and in place.  Big men will find no faults with stability.  Whether you are player who is methodical or a power player that values agility, the shoe can handle both.  From the responsive mid sole, TORSION plate, and mid foot straps, the foot is held in place to take major abuse, holding ground or fighting for position.  The ankle support and general flexibility of the shoe also helps the player move quickly in the most stable sense.  In the end, the balance of stability and performance is exceptional.

Adidas adiPower Howard 2 - Orlando Magic Away

The shattered backboard pattern provides excellent traction on the court

Traction performance brings excellent grip with responsiveness.  The design of the lower half works as a whole, from the shape, cracked glass pattern, to the circular insets.  Up front, the large arrow head flex groove creates a break at the forefoot area to allow the traction area just below to work.  What this does is allows the player to charge forward with agility, and have some grip to stop and decipher a next movement.  Guards will find this perfect for changing directions on the fly, while the big man can replant to power up, or spin for a shot.  For merely moving around the court, traction is comfortable as the player can stop on a dime, or hold down a position all without having the feeling of being stuck in place.  The most lacking area of performance comes with ventilation.  Because of the snug fit and lack of perforation or any ventilation areas, long sessions on the court can result in heat build up.  Depending on the player him/herself sweat issues may be a problem.

Conclusion

These days, basketball shoes are marketed in terms of weight for speedy and quick play.  It is therefore and uphill battle for a company releasing a shoe targeted towards the “big man,” as perceptions and judgements of a shoe, in the eyes of the consumer, are made before a shoe is even considered an option.  With Dwight Howard as one of their main attractions, Adidas naturally has to cater to their star with a model that suits his play.  The Adidas adiPower Howard 2 is a perfect blend of providing what a big man needs in sturdiness, stability, and the ability to handle aggressive play while also having attributes compatible for the non-big man player.  In essence, the balance and versatility that the Howard 2 brings translates into exceptionally high performance for absolutely any type of basketball player.  This is truly one of the best performers of the year.  Available now at the Official Adidas Online Store, the adiPower Howard 2 is ready to race on the court and shatter backboards.

This shoe is comparable to:

Adidas adiPower Howard 1
Adidas Pro Model 0