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Is Pharrell's New Basketball Sneaker Worth Picking Up?

Illustration for article titled Is Pharrells New Basketball Sneaker Worth Picking Up?
Image: Adidas

Runners and Kanye stans alike may argue otherwise but the fact remains: Basketball shoes are the axis upon which the sneaker world spins. Even as non-athletes like Virgil Abloh and Travis Scott continue to dominate the sneaker space and create unprecedented levels of hype, the roots of it all are still firmly embedded in basketball. The release of new signature sneakers for NBA superstars like LeBron James and James Harden remain reliable annual drops, as do new colorways and updates on old favorites (the last few months have seen the return of the beloved LeBron 7 a decade after its original release). They’re just as much for performance as they are style these days, and a new basketball sneaker is always cause for attention.

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Speaking of which, one of the biggest names in the sneaker space recently launched his first basketball shoe. Pharrell Williams, he of N.E.R.D, “Happy,” and, “Wait, does this guy age?!” fame has been the brains behind a crazy successful line of adidas sneakers over the last few years, with his work on the NMD silhouette making for some of the most coveted sneakers of the decade. While the NMD has always been at the center of his work with the Three Stripes, it’s never been limited to that model. Williams has also worked on silhouettes like the Crazy BYW and even created his own sneakers from the ground up. Case in point: the adidas 0 To 60, his first basketball shoe with the brand.

The 0 To 60 dropped back in March in anticipation of what would have been March Madness. With its cancellation we never got to see the shoe’s on-court debut on television, but there’s nothing stopping you from picking up a pair now and getting buckets (be them on a full-size hoop mounted in your driveway or a tiny one hanging off of your bedroom door).

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We’ve got to address the colorway first: Pharrell’s first adidas basketball shoe is loud as hell. It features a pastel tie-dye color scheme that you can’t help but notice, for better or worse. A shoe that looks like this isn’t going to be for everyone but if you’re down to hit the court in something this flashy you’ll be pleased with the performance tech that comes with it.

Illustration for article titled Is Pharrells New Basketball Sneaker Worth Picking Up?
Image: Adidas

The shoe is built around a bootie-style inner that provides a ton of stability in the ankle and foot, crucial in hooping as the sport revolves around sporadic acceleration and pivoting. A hefty strap around the ankle lends to this as well.

This silhouette also notably lacks laces, instead opting for a forefoot zipper that keeps your feet locked into the shoe. It’s unconventional for sure and some purists may be hesitant to hoop in a shoe that doesn’t feature laces, but those willing to go outside of their comfort zones will be rewarded. The zipper on the 0 to 60 proves super effective in keeping your feet secure during play.

If there’s a downside (and a highly subjective one) it’s the incorporation of adidas’s signature Boost material into the shoe’s sole. Boost is a sneaker revelation and has been since it was first introduced over five years ago. But while the ultra-lightweight material is great for lifestyle silhouettes or running, it’s never been my favorite on the court. Generally I find that Boost on the court doesn’t have the stability that denser, slightly weightier material like Nike’s Zoom cushioning does.

As I said though, that’s an entirely subjective opinion. And either way, the shoe looks great on foot and, like any great basketball shoe, works just as well as an everyday lifestyle sneaker. If you’re looking for a sneaker as eye-catching as it is functional, Pharrell’s first basketball sneaker is available now on FarFetch, StockX, and many other sneaker retailers.

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