Adidas Top Ten 2000 (2012 Reissue) - Infrared

The Adidas Top Ten 2000 (2012 Reissue)

Introduction

Following our Performance Review last week of the Kobe Bryant related Nike Air Zoom Huarache 2k4, we continue with the reissue theme!  Signing with Adidas before entering into the NBA, Kobe would win his first three rings, fittingly in the three stripes.  The year Kobe was drafted, 1996, the Top Ten 2000 would be the main model for Adidas that season.  Featuring the “Feet You Wear” technology, which would be the precursor to Puremotion, the Top Ten 2000 brought amazing court feel and balance to the court.  For 2012, Adidas has thankfully reissued a timeless basketball performer.  Our latest Performance Review takes the 2012 reissue of the Adidas Top Ten 2000 on the court.

Originally worn by Kobe Bryant in his rookie season, the Adidas Top Ten 2000 brought the Feet You Wear technology to a basketball performer.  The features include the following:

  • Synthetic upper with leather paneling and elastic bands
  • “Feet You Wear” inspired technology on the outsole
  • Soft EVA foam midsole with PU insole for comfort
  • Rubber outsole with herringbone traction pattern
  • 2012 Reissue

Aesthetics and Styling

A design which may not suit the masses, the Top Ten 2000 can still stand out today.  A wavy sole with a lacing system based on hoops & elastic bands is bold and daring.  The shoe is surely meant for those who not only want to have comfort and balance, but dare to push normal basketball fashion trends to the limit.  And in the market featuring sleek, light weight aesthetics, the somewhat boot like appearance many not fit in, but is definitely not outdated.  If anything, the design and style is more eclectic than an indication of the 1990’s styling.  Technology comes in what can be considered a breakthrough in terms of basketball footwear for the time.  Although not using the exact patented “Feet You Wear” technology from the late 1990’s, the modifications made for this reissue still serve as the main technological feature of the shoe.  Blending flashy styling and great technology together is never a bad thing, and the color of choice for this Performance Review is the black/white, with the bright infrared.

The Top Ten 2000 is one of the most comfortable basketball shoes ever made

Round braided laces, the wavy "Feet You Wear" sole, and elastic bands on the upper give the shoe a unique look

Bulky from the side, the eyes are drawn to the wavy sole and accompanying leather panel on the upper.  The round braided laces are somewhat hidden by the elastic bands running across the middle area and overall the shoe just brings a unique look.  Those familiar with the Puremotion technology will be brought to a smile with the outsole.  Sectioned off in five main portions, the rubber is molded with a thick herringbone pattern, which extends up the side walls including the toe cap and heel areas.  The five sections are as follows – the main toe/toe cap area, one large circular pod on the medial forefoot, two small circular pods on the lateral forefoot & mid foot, and large heel area.  A EVA midsole wraps the herringbone pattern, following along the contours of the rubber with a wavy outline.  The foam is soft for comfort, creeping through on to the underside where it creates a flex groove at the toe area and fills in the mid foot on the medial side.  In place of a mid foot plate, the midsole has the Adidas logo molded in.

A combination of materials is found on the upper for targeted support, while keeping flexibility at a maximum.  The small toe box area is made with a stitched nubuck like material, designed with an ingrained rock pattern.  This material forms a reinforced toe cap and also forms a large holding strip (for the elastic bands and tongue) which extends all the way up the tongue.  On the sides, a stitched leather panel runs from the base of the shoe for added support.  Following the wave designed sole, the leather has a slight shine to it and is given extra padding on the lateral side.  The final part of the upper comes in the form of three elastic bands, which run across the center of the shoe.  Running through the lacing system, the bands are marked with “adidas” across each, serving to add flexibility and hold for a closer fit.

Protection on the backend comes in the form of a stiff heel counter, covered by the shiny synthetic leather.  Stitched on, the leather has thickness added, similar to the lateral side, for protection and is branded with a plastic “adidas” logo bubble in the center.  A hang tab is stitched just above the counter on a soft and padded mesh material.  The high rising back end reaches up the Achilles and flows without a true height increase to the collar.  Covered with the rock patterned nubuck material are the sides of the collar, which has the bright infrared adidas logo embroidered on the lateral side.  On the inside, a felt-like synthetic is used for lining, made in ridges for added comfort.  Padding is soft and targeted with two lobes high along the sides, and the Achilles area padded through to heel counter.

Perhaps the most unique aesthetic aspect of the Top Ten is the lacing system.  Round braided laces run through hoops and eyelets, navigating their way through the elastic bands and a tongue support.  The laces run wide to the leather panels on each side and is more like a rope system, bucking standard flat lace system.  A nubuck support strip is stitched on to the tongue marked appropriately with three adidas logos down the center.  Keeping the tongue in place, the openings left allow the laces and elastic bands to run through.  The tongue itself is lined in the same fashion as the collar and is heavily padded.  To bring this bold reissue to a close is a soft and flimsy PU insole.  Covering the footbed, the insole is branded with the final Adidas logo at the heel and adds even more comfort to the shoe.

Comfort and Fit

Getting into to Top Ten 2000 is simply a breeze, with the main aspect of fit standing out prominently – comfort, comfort, and more comfort.  Fit is true to size, for the most part, but moving a half step down would bring a more precise fit.  Lace pressure is non-existent with the amply padded tongue alleviating any negative pressure.  The combination of the elastic bands and lacing system is very comfortable and does not feel overly bulky, as the design of the shoe may suggest.  Up front, the toe box area does have some wiggle room.  Wider foot players will find that the toe box is also very accommodating.  Moving to the back end, heel lock down is good, but not tight.  The ankles have comfortable support, but are also not locked down too tight.  In all, the theme of comfort continues to be prominent through the ankles and Achilles.  What puts the 2000 over the top is the “Feet You Wear” foundation.  Cushioning is comfortable, with the softness of the midsole felt through out.  Arch support is good, but again, not too tight and precise.  The foot sits with the sections of the outsole felt around it, bringing a sense of movement even standing still.  From the toes, to the forefoot, and down to the heels, the shoe feels just as uniques as it looks.   Balanced and comfortable accurately describe the fit of the Top Ten 2000.

Adidas Top Ten 2000 (2012 Reissue) - Infrared

The Top Ten 2000 is one of the most comfortable basketball shoes ever made

Performance

Initially, standing in place may feel awkward, bulky, and blocky, most notably with the front toe portion of the outsole/toe cap feeling really thick.  But after all, basketball is played in motion with movement & balance being the key- and this is where the Top Ten shines bright.  The shoe pushes for movement, and getting right up to a running start is interesting at first, but one will quickly notice the extreme ease and flow of the shoe.  No break in period needed, performance for the Top Ten is comfortable, balanced, and responsive.  Even though the shoe is not light weight, moving around the court feels like a breeze.  Moving forward, laterally, or backwards the sense of balance and responsiveness is always there.  Flexibility is excellent, with the heavy tongue padding and elastic bands doing little to restrict natural flex of the foot.  Players who play on their forefoot will find the outsole sections excellent for getting around the court.  Fast, methodical, big, or small, there are plenty of advantages that the shoe brings to the table.  From the harshest of movements, including jab steps to abrupt lateral stops, to simply sliding along the court on defense, the shoe is just natural and responsive.  It almost feels as though the shoe can anticipate the next step or movement the player will make.  This is evident when jumping and landing.  Getting into the air, the player can almost feel their feet touching the court.  Launching off the outsole may not feel quick or fast, but feels extremely natural.  The shoe takes impact with great comfort, and landing in a bad position is negated again by the design on the sole.  Transitioning from a rebound to a sprint down the court feels like one motion.  For any player looking for comfort and balance, the Top Ten 2000 is simply a pleasure to play in.

If there was one area where the Top Ten 2000 has a slight downfall it would be in the stability department.  This is not to say that the shoe eliminates any advantages for stability, but more so that it highlights the shift towards comfortable play and flexibility over rigid stability.  With this established, the upper focuses in on flexibility, without sacrificing comfort.  The lacing system is more lenient than precise, and the elastic bands do a good job of not only keeping the tongue in place, but keeping the foot in one position.  Sliding on the inside is slight especially when playing very aggressively, or constantly stopping and starting.  Luckily, the “Feet You Wear” based technology used does well to keep the player balanced.  In the end, stability performance is not precise and tight, but nothing is really lost in the shuffle.

Often times, traction is perceived as being based on what pattern is molded into the rubber.  While this may be true, it is not the determining factor when put in use.  Herringbone will give you the grip needed to plant confidently and stop on a dime, but what does it sacrifice when it comes to comfortability and reaction time?  The Top Ten is a prime example of design meeting excellent function, with the shape and pattern working to provide comfortable and responsive traction.  With the herringbone pattern molded into the outsole sections and extending up the sidewalls, traction is found for every step, but in a natural context.  That is, the shoe will hold instead of stick on the court, more ready to push the player naturally to a next step or keeping the player balanced rather than preparing for a stop or launch.  In terms of responsiveness and balance, traction does not get any better.  Ventilation performance for the Top Ten is great.  The design would lend one to the conclusion that heat build up and sweat would be a problem, but that is not entirely the case.  Free flowing air in and out is not what the shoe provides, but any uncomfortable foot incidents would be more of an anomaly than the norm.

Conclusion

These days, the amount of releases during a given season can be overwhelming.  From signature shoes, to special editions, and holiday themed releases, marketing has taken a whole new direction.  Because of this, the main emphasis on pure performance based sneakers seems lost in an attempt to push new technology solely for marketing purposes, rather than actual function.  The Adidas Top Ten 2000 represents a design that puts together bold aesthetics, unique design, and high performance in one package.  These are the kind of reissues that are welcomed in the basketball shoe industry because performance simply stands the test of time.  For any player looking for comfort, balance, and responsiveness in one package, the Top Ten 2000 should be a priority.  Basketball players would be doing themselves an injustice if they do not step on the court into a pair of these exceptionally performing Adidas.  Reissued early this year, the Adidas Top Ten 2000 is currently available at select Adidas retailers.

This shoe is comparable to:

Adidas Crazy 8 (KB8)