Stepping Outside the Comfort Zone
adidas Elevation EQT (1997) &
adidas Crazy 8 (1997)
When Kobe Bryant entered the NBA out of high school in ‘96 everyone wanted to see what he could do. This was the Eddie Jones/Young Shaq Lakers, so minutes for Bryant early in the season were rare. Kevin Garnett, drafted out of high school the previous year, showed star potential at times and massive charisma. The internet hit mainstream via America Online (AOL), and I thought we had hit a new era in professional basketball where every kid would go straight from high school to the NBA.
By signing the right athlete, adidas broke the spell the Nike swoosh had over me. I had never seen anything in footwear like the Feet You Wear technology adidas was pushing. Later in the season Kobe wore the Crazy 8’s, which I think is one of adidas’s coolest basketball shoes. I loved the large radiuses and pods of the outsole, and the concept of mimicking the foot made anatomical sense to me. The first pair of adidas I wore were the Elevation EQT’s in white with reflective stripes.
I remember thinking the stripes looked cheap because they were wrinkled all the time due to the plastic covering over the 3M reflective beading. I also remember thinking the FYW logo—a face made out of a foot imprint, looked really corny, but it was small enough to ignore. I thought the slightly asymmetrical throat was cool, and I liked the overall silhouette of the shoe. Best of all: I got them for $30 on clearance. So far, everything was going great for adidas. I liked their athlete. I liked the look of their key technology. I strayed from Nike and bought their shoe.
Everything went wrong when I finally played in them. Within the first 15 minutes, I had to take them off. I remember checking the insole to see if there was a rock inside; my feet were killing me. I flipped the shoe upside down hypothesizing why my feet hurt so much. Eventually I had to run home from the court to switch sneakers. Equating adidas with pain, I regretfully left my Elevations on the shelf and stayed away from adidas performance shoes for years.
SIDE NOTE: Kobe Bryant defeated Chris Carr in the dunk contest. What’s really sad is if you look up Chris Carr, he’s not even the first hit on Google since there’s another Chris Carr in the NFL.