The Adidas D Howard 4 – Black Lotus Performance Reviews
Two years of drama finally ended this summer with Dwight Howard signing a long term contract with the Houston Rockets. With his team secure for the coming years, Howard looks to bring a title with James Harden by his side. The move away from Los Angeles might not be the most ideal for Adidas from a commercial stand point, but nonetheless, they still have the best big man in the league on their roster. This Fall Howard is granted with another signature shoe built around the Crazyquick platform introduced this past Spring. In our latest Performance Review we take on the only signature shoe on the market dedicated to the big man – the Adidas D Howard 4.
To start off the Houston Rockets era in his career, Dwight Howard will lace up the Adidas D Howard 4 for the Fall. The features include the following:
- Light weight synthetic leather upper with Sprintweb and Techfit technologies for stability and fit
- Cushioning provided by low profile, segmented EVA midsole
- Segmented Crazyquick rubber outsole with herringbone traction pattern
- Padded collar with textile lining
- miCoach compatible
Aesthetics and Styling
3 years have past since the BEAST Commander was released as the first Howard signature shoe. There have been 6 Howard shoes released since, with the 4 being the 7th. Each release sees the line move in a light weight direction – away from being a true big man shoe. Aesthetically, the 4 brings some changes from the Crazyquick/Crazy Ghost platform. A synthetic leather upper is standard for a big man shoe while spiral pattern on the upper gives the shoe some flare and distinction from other Adidas performers this season. The main technological features, besides the Crazyquick foundation, include the Sprintweb and Techfit support. There has not been a lot of hype & hoopla surrounding any of the Howard models, and the 4 is no exception. The spiral design gives the shoe some style on the court and does open it up for special color schemes. Released under the radar, the first and only color scheme for the initial run is the black/white speckled upper with a touch of green – the choice for this Performance Review.
Spirals all over the upper catch the eye from a side shot of the shoe. The segmented Crazyquick sole creeps up the side of the shoe while the three stripe logo flows diagonally across the middle. A padded circular lobe at the collar is the last part of the side. We start our look at the Howard 4 with a familiar outsole. Just like the Crazyquick, segments run all over the forefoot and mid foot. The heel, however, takes a page from the Rose 773 II, with the three stripe design. An EVA midsole completes the foundation which also has the miCoach housing.
Synthetic leather covers the shoe from the collar to the toe box. There are two layers for the upper. The spiral pattern effect starts at the front where the curves are pasted on to the speckled designed leather in a smooth plastic material. Part of the top layer, the toe box leads to the three stripe logo on the sides. Each stripe is made of shiny patent leather, corresponding to a lace hoop. Completing the sides is the under layer where the spiral pattern continues.
At the rear, more of the speckled leather is found. A stitched strip goes down the center with a bright Adidas logo glued on. Next is another stitched layer of material that outlines the collar. But before the collar is reached, there is an Achilles notch. The padded mesh notch ensures support for the back end. It has a stitched hang tab to help with fitting. For the collar, each side has a mesh bubble on the outside. “SPRINT WEB” text lies underneath the lateral side bubble in the bright Electricity color. On the inside, padding is ample and plush. The textile lining also has a soft, comfortable feel.
Dual colored oval laces pass through eyelets and lace hoops. The lacing system is reinforced with a stitched eyestay to accommodate very tight lacing. As mentioned earlier, the middle of the shoe has the lace hoops connected to the three stripe logo, while the final two eyelets are punctured through the collar. For the tongue, the Techfit system forms an inner sleeve. The tongue is amply padded and has a mesh covering. A lace hoop lies in the center of the tongue just below the textile material which has the “techfit” branding. Then, a patent leather patch has the “dh” logo with the Electricity color coming through on the back side. Wrapping up the Howard 4 is a contoured PU insole. The high quality insole stands out, colored in Electricity with a red Adidas logo printed on the heel.
Comfort and Fit
Light weigh and relaxed, it is easy for the foot to enter through the Sprintweb and synthetic leather upper through the padded collar. The Howard 4 is easy to widen and fit through, unlike the very tight, form fitting uppers of the other Crazyquick like performers released this Fall. Fit is a tight but comfortable true to size. The upper strikes a balance between stiffness and flexibility. It is very supportive with out a heavy, overbearing feel. Most of the lace pressure is felt around the middle lace hoops which are on the outside of the upper. They provide a tight, but not too close feel. For the toe box, the synthetic leather is both comfortable with ample room. Width is good, keeping the toes from feeling too crowded. At the rear, the collar and Achilles notch brings comfortable support. The wrap around the ankles is not very tight and restrictive but padded. Both the ankles and Achilles have some protection, with heel lock down on the tight side. Just as the upper brings a balance between stiffness and flexibility, the Crazyquick contoured foundation does with stiffness and plush comfort. The EVA midsole has a low profile feel with the foot sitting comfortably on the contoured footbed. Needless to say, there is plenty of side and very pronounced arch support, which is a plus for all those flat footed players. With a good balance of support, comfort, and flexibility, the D Howard 4 looks to provide versatility on the court.
Steeping on the hardwood, the Howard 4 is ready to break out. There are no real issues with fit, comfort, and cushioning – the shoe is ready to perform out of the box. Court feel is excellent with the foundation bringing a low profile feel. This shoe does not feel like it was made for the bigger player as it feels more minimal than bulky. Just like all Crazyquick based shoes, the shoe pushes for motion. Running is free, flexible, and smooth over solid & tight. It is easy for the player to move all around the court as the flexibility allows for the shoe to adapt to the foot. Even though the shoe was built for a big man, performance is versatile for all positions and playing styles. First off, the Crazyquick based foundation pushes for movement. Whether it is front to back, side to side, the balance that the foundation brings is excellent. And since the segments help with flexibility, the player will always want to push forward. Here, all the aspects from responsiveness to flexibility to balance are highlighted. Driving forward, planting & cutting, and stoping have a fluid feel. The shoe has no issues with letting the player feel free to move and play in any style, in any direction. This is where the versatility is shown. Normally, a big man shoe would not be as fluid and movement friendly on the court, but this shoe has no real problems accommodating a speedy guard or a lumbering power forward. Jumps are easily performed through the segmented foundation. There is a good balance of responsiveness and comfort (albeit on the stiff side) when pushing off the sole. Because flexibility is excellent here, the shoe is great for explosive jumpers and those who tend to play below the rim. Another solid performer from the Howard line, the 4 brings versatility with responsiveness, comfort, and flexibility.
Stability performance leans more towards light weight support. First, the collar and Achilles notch bring good support, comfort, and protection. Although it may not be the most ideal for hard and aggressive play, it is ample enough to support the active player while adding an element of good comfort with the plush cushioning. The basis of stability revolves around the Sprintweb/Techfit technologies on the upper. To keep the weight of the shoe down and keep performance nimble, the designers have decided against the use of a stability plate (the miCoach housing serves as the mid foot plate). This leaves most of the stability to rely on the fit of the shoe. Here, the Techfit first brings a barrier around the foot through the tongue. The trusty Sprintweb tightens the leather upper around the foot. Also, the contoured foundation keeps the foot from sitting flat. The result is very little slippage during play. Cuts, changes of directions, and lateral movements have the foot in place. There is little to no slippage on the inside which is very important for the active player. The use of synthetic leather for the upper makes it applicable for the power player who requires a more thicker layer of support. It does add a more protective layer than the very minimal synthetics used for other performers such as the Crazyquick and Crazy Light 3. In the end, stability performance keeps the player comfortable with the foot locked in place.
Traction performance with the segmented sole pushes more for movement than stick. Again, the Crazyquick sole allows for the player to have more control by using the herringbone traction pattern on each segment. Abrupt stops are handled more fluid than jagged. The player will get traction as the pressure placed on each pod will dictate how much the rubber will grip the court. Those looking for control, fluidity, and traction performance based on movement will find it in the Howard 4. Ventilation performance is very good. Since the upper lacks perforations of any kind (aside from the mesh from the spirals on the collar), the lining of the shoe is left to control heat and moisture. Long games sessions, and double sock set ups may result in heat and moisture build up, but for the normal court run, the shoe should hold up fine for many.
The Crazyquick platform dominates the Fall 2013 line up. What the Howard 4 brings is a more sturdy and comfortable build that still plays light weight. This goes along with excellent flexibility, court feel, and responsiveness to be a versatile shoe fit for all positions and playing styles. Even though it was designed for a big man it does not stay pigeon-holed for the pure power player. In other words, it is just a solid basketball performer with little weaknesses. Dwight Howard now has the pressure off of him in terms of his current and future team. Charisma and athleticism have defined Howard so far, but now the focus turns to his quest to be great and the promise of Championships for the Houston Rockets. It remains to be seen whether the move will be a complete success. In any case, the D Howard 4 is available now at the Official Adidas Online Store.
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