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Adidas’ Harden Vol. 5 Sneaker Built for a Baller ‘Unlike Any Other’

Adidas says it latest footwear innovation is inspired by one of the NBA’s greats.

The Futurenatural design will debut early next year on the Harden Vol. 5­­, the fifth signature basketball sneaker from Houston Rockets superstar James Harden. “Designed to mirror an athlete’s speed and quick change of direction,” the shoe mold will feature seamless design and 360-degree fit system, Adidas said.

“Futurenatural is a new process for the creation of shoes, and is a perfect technology for Harden Vol. 5 with James’ dynamic style of play and moves on the court being unlike any other player,” Rashad Williams, senior director of footwear at Adidas Basketball, said in a statement. “James offers feedback from a design and feel standpoint, which is extremely important during our creative process and it ultimately led us to develop the Futurenatural technology to match his game.”

Adidas looked at the foot scans of thousands of basketball athletes worldwide to create what it described as an anatomically correct representation of an athlete’s foot. The resulting “revolutionary fit,” it said, closely represents the shape of an actual foot and acts as an extension of the body.

Adidas' Futurenatural design will debut on the Harden Vol. 5

The design features the company’s Boost insert for added comfort. Underneath, the Lightstrike midsole technology “provides super-light cushioning while still retaining superb responsiveness,” Adidas said. A traction pattern on the bottom informed by athlete data rounds things out, delivering better grip for quicker cuts and dynamic movement.

Meanwhile, Under Armour rolled out a new basketball shoe design of its own Friday. The first release from Steph Curry’s eponymous brand, the Curry Flow 8 does away entirely with the traditional rubber outsole, instead employing a “unisole” design made from a proprietary foam compound.

The sneakers—described by Curry as “hands down the grippiest shoe” he’s ever worn—underwent 13 rounds of wear-testing on the court, as well as 10 rounds of biomechanical trials with more than 100 athletes. The development process took more than three years, Under Armour said.