Adidas Real Deal (2013 Reissue)

The Adidas Real Deal (2013 Reissue)


The “Feet You Wear” era for Adidas Basketball yielded some of the most interesting and iconic basketball shoes ever made – including the KB 8/Crazy 8 and Top Ten 2000.  These past few seasons have seen a flood of reissues for these 90s performers.  Giving old fans new color schemes and a chance to get a fresh new pair of their possibly aging originals, one of the great aspects of reissues is to also give younger players the opportunity to step into the past.  For 2013, Adidas continues the retro trend with another “Feet You Wear” era shoe.  Continuing our look at reissues this season, the Adidas Real Deal makes a comeback for this Performance Review.

Back for 2013, the Real Deal 2013 reissue is another outstanding Adidas performer from the “Feet You Wear” era.  The features include the following:

  • Synthetic leather upper with overlay portions
  • Cushioning provided by Adiprene+ and oversize midsole
  • Non-marking rubber outsole with “Feet You Wear” inspired technology
  • Asymmetrical lacing set up
  • 2013 Reissue of the 1997 release

Aesthetics and Styling

A time for daring designs, the 1990s was the turning point for the basketball sneaker industry, and would ultimately shape the market we see today.  The Real Deal looks like a blend of the Top Ten 2000 and KB8/Crazy 8.  A bulky look and wavy midsole bring the outgoing aesthetics, while “Feet You Wear” inspired technology and Adiprene+ are the main technological features.  The Real Deal had an impact on the NBA courts in 1997 and was made popular by Celtics star Antoine Walker.  Adidas pulled out all the stops with the 2013 reissue of the Real Deal, releasing a multitude of color schemes around All-Star Weekend.  The choice for this Performance Review is the grey with blue & red.

Adidas Real Deal (2013 Reissue)

1990s style and design is every present with the bold midsole and asymmetrical lacing system

A side profile of the Real Deal shows of the unique design.  The lines of the shoe slope down and the shoe has a rounded overall look.  Giving a sense of flow is the oversized wavy midsole.  Beginning our look at the underside, the non-marking thick rubber sole is molded with a fine herringbone pattern, broken into three areas.  The forefoot pod forms a toe cap with the herringbone traction pattern coming up the medial side.  There are no flex grooves here, only a deep canyon molded into the rubber to keep it from being flat.  The mid foot pod is shaped like a boomerang, while the heel cuts diagonally with a bright red Adidas logo creeping up the heel counter.  Both the midfoot & heel pods have a rounded shape for natural movement.  The soft EVA midsole acts as a cage around the base.  A wavy design has a textured feel and lines for style, with the lateral side having openings and the medial side completely covered for arch support.

The leather based upper for the Real Deal comes in stitched layers.  At the toe box, the two-toned Adidas three stripe logo is stitched on from the lateral side.  The stripes sweep through the toe box for added support.  On the medial side, a leather panel is stitched along the base.  The metallic silver has a tiger stripe pattern, done in 3M.    Above this panel, towards the eyestay, is a smoother base layer of leather (feels like nubuck).  Finishing off the upper is the lateral side which also has the metallic silver leather stitched on.  Rows of stitching create a quilted look and an embroidered Adidas logo on the collar adds branding.

Supporting the heel is the rubber sole and wavy midsole, which comes to a point at the back end.  The tiger strip pattern is seen on the leather panel above the midsole.  Two smaller panels of leather are stitched up the sides of the Achilles for support, looking like pillars around the Adidas branded hang tab.  The collar is almost inline with the Achilles, with a very slight rise.  Padding is soft and dense, while the lining is a textured synthetic.

Round braided laces travel through seven eyelets.  The concept design is clearly evident with the asymmetrical lacing system, which runs along the medial side.  A stitched strip that runs down through the center of the tongue includes three pointed lace holders.  This keeps the padded mesh tongue in place.  The top of the tongue is finished off with an Adidas patch with five strips in the background.  Rounding out the Real Deal is a high quality PU insole.  The insole is contoured with a textured base and an Adidas logo on the heel.

Comfort and Fit

The bulky look and asymmetrical lacing system does not prove to be any problems when getting into the shoe.  Most of the lace pressure is felt right around the ankles, as the lacing system naturally shifts the tightness to the medial side.  Fit may be a half size large and can be considered relaxed as the leather material has a soft feel.  The upper covers and protects over molding to the contours of the foot.  Up front, the toe box has comfortable wiggle room.  The shape is a good balance of being rounded but not too high, which helps with overall flexibility.  At the rear, heel lock down is very tight and ankle support & protection is great.  The collar simply covers the ankles, through the Achilles, with the tongue riding above the height of the collar.  Overall the wrap is tight and comfortable without feeling too restrictive.  Moving to cushioning, the EVA midsole is thick and contoured.  Cushioning is comfortable with a slight bounce and a responsive feel.  Arch support is provided by the fullness of the leather and the midsole rising up the medial side.  Comfortable and contoured, the Real Deal is one of those shoes that would feel natural not only on the court, but in a casual setting.

Adidas Real Deal (2013 Reissue)

Fit has a comfortable and natural feel


Like most “Feet You Wear” based shoes, the most immediate aspect felt is court feel.  Those who have not played in a shoe of this style may feel a bit awkward at first, but there is no denying that the shoe just pushes the player to want to move.  The midsole might be thick and high off the court surface, but the forefoot portion of the outsole feels slammed to the court.  Needless to say, heel to toe transitions do not get any better.  The shoe has a natural feel when running.  Flexing through the leather toe box is easy and the asymmetrical lacing set up allows for the center of the shoe to bend easy.  Most of the weight of the shoe is felt on the thick foundation, but the shoe feels very fluid.  On court performance is fit for the active player.  Getting up and down the court has a natural and fluid feel.  Lateral transitions are done in the flow of action and feel fast without any restrictions.  Quick and agile players can perform all their moves in the half court from crossovers, to cuts, to step backs.  The feeling is very responsive and natural.  Power players will get a great sense of the court whether playing in the post or on the perimeter.  All in all the shoe just feels very natural on the court.  For jumps the wavy midsole and Adiprene+ bring a good balance of bounce and responsiveness.  Jumping in stride, for a pull up, and from a static position feels very consistent, while impacts for landings are dispersed well.  Versatile and fit for a number of playing styles, the natural feel of the Real Deal makes it a pleasure to play with on the court.

Stability performance is very good.  The leather based upper does the job of providing security and protection.  Starting with ankle support, the shoe is just solid.  The collar keeps the ankles stable and protected without a restricted feel.  This makes is great for quicker players as well as power players, showing versatility for abrupt moves on the fly or in a methodical context.  The upper does a good job holding the foot in place, with good arch support.  It does not grip mold to the foot, but because of the leather base, it does not feel flimsy – especially felt for those harsh cuts and lateral slides.  Last, the wavy midsole has a solid and protective feel.  The midsole can be felt on the sides on the foot, serving as a protective barrier.  There is no stability plate to keep the shoe from bending awkwardly, but the thickness of the midsole keeps the shoe from fully collapsing and can take heavy impacts with comfort.  In the end, stability performance is very good.

With the “Feet You Wear” style technology, traction has a very natural feel.  Segmented in three rounded portions, the rubber outsole is molded with herringbone, serving as the foundation for court grip.  However, the herringbone surface does not have the sticky grip due to the fact that the rubber is segmented and rounded.  The player is able to stop comfortably from high speeds, jabs, and abruptly, but what the shoe pushes towards is allowing the player to transition with good balance.  This creates a fluid feel on the court, very evident when simply moving forward and laterally.  Players that play hard and fast will find the pod set up excellent for gaining traction on the fly.  The shoe was designed with movement in mind, so missteps are a rare occurrence, even with the bulky build.  In the end, traction is just natural and fluid.  For ventilation, the Real Deal does show some chinks in the armor.  The nubuck base has multiple layers of leather stitched on top with no ventilation holes.  Heat and moisture can build up, as the only relief is the fact that the upper does not completely crowd the foot.


Still impressive today, the Real Deal lives up to the name on the court.  Those who have played in “Feet You Wear” inspired shoes will find no surprises here.  The shoe brings a natural feel, great for those players who like to be very active on the court and value freedom of movement & great court feel.  Simply put, the shoe brings an enjoyable experience on the court and there are very few shoes on the market that have this kind of feel.  Adidas Basketball seems to be going strong on all fronts.  The Spring/Summer will bring new technology for the current line, while the reissue line will continue with the reintroduction to the Mutombo this fall.  For now, fans can enjoy the latest Adidas Basketball reissue, which is truly the Real Deal.  Available in multiple color schemes, the Real Deal was released earlier this year at the Official Adidas Online Store.

This shoe is comparable to:

Adidas Top Ten 2000
Adidas Crazy 8