Adidas is digging back to the very beginning of its relationship with Kobe Bryant to re-release his first NBA shoe.
The EQT Elevation, later renamed the Crazy 97, is set to make a return next month in two color variants that harken back to Bryant’s victory in the 1997 Slam Dunk Competition. First is the very same purple, white, and yellow pair he wore while capturing the trophy during his rookie season. A brand-new color scheme will also make its debut in blue, orange, and silver — the same colors used in the logo for the 1997 All-Star Weekend. (In a deviation from prior years, players wore their respective team uniforms instead of All-Star jerseys).
Both versions of the Crazy 97 are expected to drop in February, and you can bet they’ll arrive in time for the All-Star Game on February 20. For Bryant fans, this will be an opportunity to indulge in the very genesis of his sneaker history — even before he switched allegiances to Nike and created a sneaker line with 11 models.
Feet He Wore — When it originally released, the EQT Elevation was one of the first sneakers from Adidas to boast “Feet You Wear” technology. The tech came from a third-party designer who decided to mimic the shape of a foot with a rounded sole instead of hard edges. With a wider, lower-to-the-base platform, Feet You Wear helped to prevent players from rolling their ankles — and Adidas would later bring back the shapes with newer Boost cushioning in the next decade as “Boost You Wear.”
The EQT Elevation itself also boasted non-marking soles and a rugged synthetic leather upper to provide further stability. Because a 17-year-old Bryant wore them during his rookie year, the silhouette has become associated with Bryant more than anyone else and was previously re-issued in 2013. At the time, no sneaker in the NBA looked quite like it — but now Feet You Wear has added to its legacy by inspiring Kanye West’s Yeezy 500. Even if you didn’t know it, the EQT Elevation or Crazy 97 is as much a part of Bryant’s history as some of his more famous sneakers.