We at Soletron were privileged to talk to the designer of one of our favorite new kicks: the new adiZero Rose 2 from adidas – Robbie Fuller. This adidas designer has been in the game for a while and is world renowned, having designed the Rose 1 and the Crazy Light. Let’s check out this Soletron exclusive below and how Robbie broke down what went into the design of the Rose 2.
So what was your inspiration?
“Derrick. At adidas basketball we are always striving to be one step faster and one step higher. With Derrick, he symbolizes the one step faster. Building him this adiZero Rose product, instead of starting at Zero, it was starting with Rose.
We have been working with Derrick for a few years now and to get his feedback, not just on the technical part, but the style, we would meet up with him throughout the year at All-Star games and in the summer. During the summer, we have a lot of the guys come in for what we call ‘Super Shoot’, where we get the commercials and images to tease what we have for the year. We also met up with him when he is here in town playing the Blazers. We try to get as much time with him as possible, and bounce ideas off him, and see how he’s feeling that day and at that time.
When we first met, he reiterated the point that growing up, he didn’t have the money to buy multiple pairs of shoes, so he could only buy one. He needed it to cover his performance needs, as well as his off court style. So, we took that as a launching pad to take a trip over to Europe to search out the latest in silhouettes, fashion, materials, and executions. The first part of the trip we were in Germany, and they had an adidas sneaker called the Kazuhiri from our Y-3 collection. It had this really simple gore strap closure system that made a light bulb go off for me because it was the perfect example of what I wanted. It was the unique fashion forward execution that I was looking for in terms of silhouette. Also, Derrick always wears an ankle brace, which most people don’t, and the gore strap stretched, so it was the perfect solution for the Rose 2. After that, we got news that the Icelandic volcano had erupted, and it cancelled all air travel, so we were stuck for 6 days in Europe. We wound up having to drive to Amsterdam to complete the rest of our trip.
While we were in Amsterdam, staying in a hotel, I walked into the entrance and saw this TV that gave updates on flights and it showed all the cities and said they were all cancelled. Another light bulb went off because that is exactly the same as Derrick. His plans are to win every championship, so everyone else’s plans are cancelled. That got worked into the shoe in a label on the tongue top, that says ‘all flight cancelled’, and inside on the sock liner that lists some NBA cities that have had their plans for a championship cancelled… and Chicago is cleared for takeoff.
The other component was the performance side. We did all this work with the Crazy Light to make sure it was the lightest shoe of all time and we worked those solutions into the Rose 2. At the end of the day you have a product that is built to his style, has the competitive advantage of having components from the lightest shoe of all time, and all that goes into the Rose 2.”
What cities made the cut to be named inside the shoe?
“LA, Miami, Boston, Miami, Denver, Charlotte, Oklahoma, and New York all got cancelled and Chicago got cleared for takeoff.”
“It wasn’t random. [laughs] I am from Charlotte, so there was a little personal detail in there. I want Charlotte to be good. We saw all the teams as the biggest challengers in the present and the future for Derrick. Clearly, each one has a young, upcoming squad, like Oklahoma… or the other teams who likely would face him the most in the playoffs.”
How many years would you say you worked on this from start to finish?
“The product cycle for a shoe like this is usually from a year and a half, to two and a half years. This one was a really quick process. We planned the trip and were able to design the shoe during the trip. We sketched during lunch and constantly worked with the marketing team. I would say we touched pen to paper about a year and four months ago.”
A lot of the emphasis on the shoe’s performance seems to be on how light it is, but the toe is patent leather. What was the reason behind the patent leather?
“It is such a clean look. With all of his shoes, we make sure it has all the tech built into them to give him a competitive advantage. So that is why the SprintWeb is in the heel. That has been expanded from where the Rose 1 and 1.5 were, for the added stability, and with the transition, there is extra support. Also, we put in the SprintWeb, which we brought over from the Crazy Light. This gives you all the support and breath-ability you want. Then you get to the toe; we felt at this point, lifestyle wise, the toe is so important to look clean and simple, so each of the shoes have a unique toe material.
For instance, there is full grain leather which is the most luxurious in terms of appearance. From there, the black sheer you will see launch around Christmas time, is the material from a high end luxury product. The red colorway, ‘the L’ has a brushed aluminum finish that is modeled after the L train in Chicago. And the white one has a patent finish on it to be a bit more ridged and have a bit more shine that a traditional white. That’s something we had on the 1.5 that worked really well.”
Would you classify it as a low top or a mid top? I know you said it was adjustable because of the ankle brace, but how did that play into the look of the shoe, not just flexibility and fabric?
“It’s the best of both worlds. You get the ankle flexibility of a low top, but we have gone back and supported it with the SprintFrame and the gore closure system. It is really unique. You can feel how tight it is when you put it on,as it feels like it is always under tension. It is already stretched, and wants to stay stretched, so it gives you that immediate feedback, or “appropriate reception” when it can sense your body and your movement.”
What do you do differently for a shoe for Derrick, who relies on quickness, as opposed to a big man like Dwight Howard?
“If you watch their style of play you can see what you would do. Derrick spends 99.9% of his time in the forefoot, which is the middle to the front of the shoe. We have to think how to keep him efficient there and to make sure there is plenty of traction. For someone like Dwight, he runs down the court and waits for the point guard to come down while moving back and forth across the lane. So, we made sure the support is off the charts for this, and the cushioning can take a 6’11’, 280 pound guy banging in the lane.”
The shoe just went on sale. Where can people get it at?
Foot Locker, Eastbay and Adidas retail shops.
Thanks for taking the time to talk to Soletron.
Read the full article along with photos at Soletron.com.