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I have slowly transformed over the last couple of years from being generally apathetic towards shoes and fashion to an unabashed lover of all things sneaker. I can't really explain why this renaissance of sorts came to fruition, but here I am, an owner of far too many pairs of shoes (I would own more, but family members and loved ones have claimed they would disown me if I spent any more money on shoes).
I bring this up because I want to discuss Andrew Wiggins' reported new shoe that he will be wearing next season. Wiggins, who is signed with Adidas, will be wearing the shoe giant's Crazy Explosive model, a high-top variation of the Crazylight Boost shoe he has worn since entering the league two seasons ago. Much like the Curry Two Low's before them, people had a hay-day ripping them to shreds after this news was revealed on Twitter by shoe websites such as SneakerNews.com.
I must admit, upon first glance, I wasn't too enamored with them either (it should be noted that the images that were released are the catalog images, which rarely do a shoe proper justice). Though, after having a few days to separate myself from the moment and to chew on everything that is known about the shoe, I would like to share a few thoughts I have on them and on what could be done to make the shoe more appealing to consumers.
To get straight to the point: Adidas' Crazy Explosive model is basically their version of Nike's popular Hyperdunk model. Both shoes feature high-top ankle support with the Crazy Explosive model perhaps being a little wider in the toe and mid-foot based on the few images that are available (the shoe won't be released until August or so). Wiggins' shoe features a body constructed of a mesh material known as Primeknit, which allows for a more breathable and light-weight sneaker. It also features the Adidas three-bar logo just below the ankle as well as a gap in the back of the shoe that features the same Canadian and Timberwolves inspired pattern as seen on the tongue (more on this in a bit).
I don't have much issue with the body of the shoe; obviously, this shoe is being aimed more towards being a performance sneaker than a lifestyle one. It will be a good option for people looking for a sturdy shoe that is also light-weight. My only concern with the mesh material centers around if it will be more prone to tears and, thus, wear out more quickly. It would be nice to see this offered with the firmer material as seen in these images.
The Tongue and Laces
This is where the shoe starts to lose me a little. I get the angle the designers were going with here; the pattern on the tongue consists of maple leaves donning the colors of the Minnesota Timberwolves to embrace Wiggins' Canadian and NBA roots. However, I think it makes the shoe look a little busier than it ought too. It's a cool design idea, but it is one that is pulled off much better in Wiggins' Crazylight Boost model. I think it is a combination of the maple leaves being slightly oversized and the number of colors that turn me off a bit. The tongue itself isn't a fatal flaw for the shoe, but the combination of the tongue, the Adidas symbol, and the sole is just too much.
As for the laces, I'm not a big fan of their rope-like structure as well as, how do I say this...the few times they cross? These are pretty nitpicky details, I realize, but I think the shoe would be vastly improved with more tradition, flat laces, and more crosses. I do really like the pattern and color scheme of the laces, however. It really appeals to the "the Wolves need more green in their jerseys" side of me.
This is where the shoe really loses me (and I assume pretty much everyone who made fun of the shoe) completely. It's not really the color that is the issue, though I think a lighter blue would have looked a little better rather than the deep navy, but it's the jagged ridge and the weird ovals on the heel that have me shaking my head. These features serve no purpose other than to resemble the outside of the hull of a cruise ship, a job they do remarkably well. I think this shoe would be improved drastically if the entire sole of the shoe more resembled the inner mid-foot. Replace the white color of the cushioning (known as Boost cushioning, where Wiggins' previous model and many other adidas shoes get their name from) with the navy blue or some other variation and have that wrap around the entire shoe and get rid of the white circles and you're looking at a pretty solid shoe.
Along with Wiggins' Crazy Explosive model, another model simply known as the Wiggins PEs were also revealed. This second model is essentially the same as the Crazy Explosive, but with an alternate black and green colorway. I have very similar thoughts and feelings towards the PEs, so I'll spare you from another 800 words on them.
When it gets down to it, colorways are one of, if not the most, important feature of a shoe. It is what initially draws the eye to the shoe and is the first determinate if a person will ultimately make the purchase, at least it is for me anyway. Neither colorway really does much for me; neither one really catches the eye in a positive way. As I stated before, I think turning the deep navy sole into a lighter blue for the Crazy Explosives and maybe even green for the PEs would be a good start towards improving both shoes' colorway. This simple change would make the shoes pop in a more appealing way and would also blend in better with the wild tongues.
All in all, Wiggins' two new shoes are not great, but they do have potential. A few simple changes to the sole, the laces, and the colorway and Andrew Wiggins' new shoes would be critically acclaimed. But, as they stand now, they just are not that appealing to the eye, which will prevent me from snagging a pair myself. Overall, I'd give these shoes a 6.5/10.