The FIT: adidas adiZero Speed Wraps
Support + light weight + three stripes = “Great success!”
In the NBA world, athletes in that particular universe are subject to physical rigors that most laypeople cannot comprehend. For the elite basketball player, his/her body is his/her literal temple and principal livelihood, and while the roughly 400 players in the NBA put their bodies and minds to the test daily and yearly, those outside of that realm (in the so-called real world) also have become just as conscious about their fitness and health. The FIT is a series that will concentrate on the Fuel, Information and Training (F.I.T.) that it takes for both NBAers and laypersons to be at their very best in the world, as well as focusing on the literal Food, Intelligence and Technology that also comes into play in our physical fine-tuning – because after all, without having the vital fuel, guidelines and tech advancements to feed our bodies, help us better absorb and process what’s necessary, and make the labor efficient and effective, we don’t have much to advance our collective health and performance. The FIT is here to bring to light what can make us all the uniquely tuned creatures that we presently are and can continue or aspire to be.
When Derrick Rose first came on the NBA scene in 2008 as the No. 1 overall pick of the Chicago Bulls, there was a lot of excitement and anticipation about what he’d be able to do in the league. As dynamic as he was in high school and college, DRose was looking like a can’t-miss sort of rookie (and indeed he was). Part of what made him such an interesting guy for me was that he signed with adidas; for a guy that was known for wearing Nike and Jordan Brand product up until he went to the University of Memphis (which was an adidas school at the time of his enrollment in 2007), seeing him in stripes was a little bit of a surprise. Even more of a surprise was that he was wearing these very cool-looking ankle brace-like wraps that extended up his lower leg from his adidas TS Creator shoes. I asked about them heavily. I e-mailed the famed Bulls.com writer Sam Smith about them; I e-mailed ESPN’s David Thorpe about them; I didn’t get any answers, because no one seemingly knew what they were or even bothered to notice the extra set of stripes halfway up his lower leg. But…thanks to adidas, I was able to get an up-close and personal look and feel for what are known as adidas’ adiZero Speed Wraps.
Part of adidas’ adiZero product line, which places an emphasis on performance maximization coupled with lightweight features, the Speed Wraps are basically feet exoskeletons that feature neoprene-like material, Velcro closure, and dense shells on the outside part of the ankles to help dissuade ankle rollovers. They’re further described by Eastbay in this way:
This equipment features a lateral spare to protect against ankle rollover under stress. The weight-reduction technology keeps you light on your feet while receiving optimal support on the court. There are nonslip zones incorporated into the design in high impact areas. Antimicrobial material woven into the brace protects you from odor, fungus, bacteria and other micro organisms. Just play in the adidas adiZero Speed Wrap Ankle Brace.
Simply for me in my testing, the Speed Wraps were great; they were easy to wear, they wicked away moisture in my activity, and they were comfortable and provided the sort of support that you can’t get in a standard ankle brace. I was reminded of Nike’s “Monkey Paws” technology that was used prominently in the Nike Air Zoom Flight ’98 and other shoes, but I feel like the Speed Wraps were actually more supportive.
In my testing, I used two of adidas’ best model sneakers in the brand to date, with this season’s adiZero Rose and adiZero Infiltrate, and they both yielded similar, but slightly different results. With the Rose, the Speed Wraps were seemingly made for each other; the coupling of the Wraps with the Rose’s uniquely shaped GeoFit collar made for great ankle support, but also improved the heel fit of the shoe; my arches were supported sufficiently with the Speed Wrap-Rose combination, and the Wraps themselves didn’t interfere with the Rose’s good forefoot flexibility.
In the case of the coupling of the Infiltrate with the Speed Wraps, the compression of my feet from being fitted in the Wraps actually created a roomier fit in the shoe that was noticeable, but didn’t affect the shoe’s performance at all; however, there was some ankle flexion restriction in wearing the Wraps with the Infiltrate, but it wasn’t so much a problem that was because of a flaw of the Wraps — it was because the Infiltrate’s own GeoFit collar (and higher eyelets) are so good (and significantly better than the Rose’s GeoFit). In all honesty, the Infiltrate is so good on ankle support that I doubt anyone would actually need any sort of additional ankle protection, but the Speed Wraps didn’t deter my performance in them. In addition, where the Rose was very good on arch support with its Speed Frame features, the Infiltrate lacked somewhat in that sector, so the Speed Wraps actually helped to sure up the arch protection that I needed in my testing.
Basically, at the end of it all, the adidas adiZero Speed Wraps are a great investment if you want reliable, easy-to-wear ankle braces that do their job in supporting your foot, and it helps that they’re machine-washable. They’ll set you back several dozen Washingtons for a pair, but they’ll pay for themselves if you use regular athletic tape and such.
(Much thanks again to Paul and adidas for the valued contribution to my testing.)
Sandy Dover is a novelist/writer, artist, and fitness enthusiast, currently working toward getting board certification as a fitness trainer. You can find Sandy frequently here at SLAMonline, as well as at Facebook and Twitter.