by Sandy Dover / @San_Dova

The adidas adiZero Rose 2 is a different variety of sneaker, at least one that Derrick Rose himself has worn in the NBA. It has a luxury feel and finish. It reminds of an Air Jordan, in terms of being a flagship product, specifically because of the adiZero Rose 2s mix of heavy-duty, premium materials. This shoe has a variety of attributes that make it a significant improvement from his first adiZero Rose shoe (per adidas):

• Synthetic leather upper for lightweight durability and performance
• Sprint Frame and Sprint Web construction for the perfect balance between light weight and stability
• PU insole for durable comfort
• EVA midsole for cushion, fit and comfort
• Comfortable textile lining

As far as comfort and fit are concerned, the adiZero Rose 2 is very plush. The collar and lining, the tongue, and the feel underfoot are worlds apart in the right direction from the original adiZero Rose, which was lacking (almost harshly) in cushioning, particularly under the forefoot. To say that the foam package of the new Rose is much improved compared to the prior incarnation is to say “understatement.” The sockliner is just as substantial as the original adiZero Rose, but because there is a great deal of EVA foam available in the forefoot area of the midsole, it only accentuates the high level of comfort.

The collar has an impressive fit quality, not only because of its stuffed lining, but because it dips into a V-shape that work with the anatomy of the structure of the ankle itself, and offsets the high Achilles’ Heel in the rear of the shoe. The tongue is wide, comfy, and is protective against lace pressure across the top of the foot. To add to the construct of foot fit are the elastic straps on each side of the shoe, which feature eyelets to act almost as a quasi-ankle brace from the outside of the shoe, which impressively are low-key and improve the fit of the shoe when laced. (The toebox was also accommodating in my wears of the adiZero Rose 2 and was very structurally sound for any moves I made near and around the hoop.)

In my wearings of the adiZero Rose 2 on the court, what truly impressed me was the traction; the traction of this shoe is made for the court, indoors or out. The outsole is thick and strong, and while the volcanic ash-like Splatter Traction Surface did a good job in my wears, what sold me was the concentric circle pattern on the medial forefoot of the sole. Those round grooves made spinning and sudden cutting significantly easier, far more so than that of a semi-hollow pivot point in the outsole. In tandem with both the brilliant Sprint Web and Sprint Frame keeping my foot locked in, the playability of the adiZero Rose 2 was elevated to a new level, more so than last year’s Rose or adiZero Infiltrate.

One true issue of the shoe, which adidas has also referred to as the “D Rose 2” is that it’s a bit heavier than many of the other adiZero footwear products within the past year. It was by design for the adiZero Rose 2 to be more substantial, per the player Rose’s instructions himself, because he wanted his shoe to be long-lasting, as he thought of the kids who might buy his shoes. Though admirable, there is a distinct difference in how the shoe plays, say if it paired up against the adiPure.

I believe the added foam in the midsole and the Sprint Frame are the culprits, but honestly, I’d prefer a slightly heavier shoe if the cushioning is there, and the cushioning is certainly present; the EVA and Sprint Frame actually keep the shoe from breaking down, making the MVP’s new shoe a near-perfect shoe for long-term use. The adiZero Rose 2 is still a competitor in lightweight footwear, as it’s not egregiously heavy and it only makes the shoe that much more durable and versatile—even forwards can play in this shoe and feel great.

All in all, the adiZero Rose 2 is a good pick-up for basketball, whether you play indoors, outdoors, or both. It can support players of varying weights and provide some of the best overall support across the board. Though not as light as its other adiZero brethren, it still performs quick and its plush qualities raise the standard of the shoe. The adiZero Rose 2 is the kind of shoe that’s easy to wear and easy to keep up in appearance, and its ability to withstand punishment from wear makes it a high-value purchase.

(For additional pics, go to Facebook.)

Sandy Dover is a published author, fitness & media professional, and SLAM web columnist & print contributor whose work has been featured and published by US News, Yahoo!, Robert Atwan’s “America Nowand ESPN. You can find Sandy frequently here at SLAMonline and via his website at About.Me/SandyDover.