Shoe giant adidas is about to release three new shoes in what it is referring to as its “natural running collection.” The shoes are the Adapt, Gazelle, and Motion, and the three shoes allow for a step-down approach to running in less shoe.
According to Running Warehouse, the Motion is a 7.5oz, 8mm drop shoe (stack height = 23mm heel, 15mm forefoot) targeted as a first step toward less shoe:
Running Warehouse lists the the adidas Gazelle as a 6.0oz, 6mm drop shoe (stack height = 17mm heel, 11mm forefoot) that would seem to fit squarely in the transitional category:
Running Warehouse lists the adidas adipure Adapt as a 4.8oz, 4mm drop shoe (stack height = 15mm heel, 11mm forefoot) – this is the most minimal of the three shoes:
I believe in being brutally honest when I write reviews, and this review is a good example. I’ve had the adidas Adapts since early this year, but will openly admit that I have not run in them very much. My reason is a rather silly one, but it’s one that I think is going to cause a lot of problems for this shoe: it’s really ugly. In fact, I ran in them yesterday so I could at least provide a few comments on fit and feel on the run, and before I left the house my wife caught sight of me and asked what the heck the things on my feet were. She said they looked like superhero shoes (she also told me Saucony Hattoris looked like prison loafers – she keeps it real!). I have to admit she’s right – pair them up with some blue tights and I could be fighting crime in no-time!
The other major problem is that others who have seen the Adapts have commented that they look like water shoes. And yes, they do. $90 water shoes to be exact. I think adidas is going to have a very difficult time finding a market for these shoes for these two reasons: aesthetics are a problem (at least put some white adidas stripes on them!), and they look like shoes you could buy for 5 bucks at Target.
Now, I know plenty of people who could care less what their shoes look like (I personally like a more traditional looking shoe), so I do feel it’s warranted to make a few comments about how these shoes feel. The stretchy upper of the Adapt is actually pretty cool. It feels like the material compression shorts are made of, and it has PU overlays that are spaced to allow stretch in some areas moreso than others. However, a drawback to the material and to the form-fitting nature of the upper is that the shoe runs pretty warm (though it was raining hard when I ran in them yesterday and splashing through puddles felt great!). The shoe is reasonably foot-shaped (seems like a strange thing to say about a shoe), but the stretchy upper does compress my little toe a bit.
The best part about the adidas Adapt is the sole. It’s not a barefoot style sole, and is actually pretty well cushioned. There is rubber in all of the right places for a forefoot striker, so I expect sole durability will be quite good. The sole actually feels as if it’s curved a bit so that the center of the forefoot sits a bit lower than the medial and lateral edges, probably due to the stretch upper pulling up a bit at the sides – I actually found this to feel really good when forefoot running in them – allowed for a nice lateral to medial role as the sole compressed (note: the U-shaped sole in side-profile is also due to the stretch upper pulling up at the heel and toe – it flattens once you put your foot in it). The sole is plenty flexible, and felt really comfortable on the run.
Now, the big issue is that even though they feel good on the run, I would not buy this shoe myself. I simply could not stomach paying $90 for what looks and feels like a high-quality water sock. When I first got them I didn’t know about the other two shoes in the adidas natural running line, and I’m pleased to see that the Gazelle retains many of the features I like about the Adapt, and vastly improves on the aesthetics. I’m very much looking forward to trying out that shoe.
If I were adidas, I’d add some stripes and laces to the Adapt for round two, or at least a more pleasing design on the upper along with a lower price tag. But, nobody would have predicted that the Vibram Fivefingers would have been such a hit, so maybe my personal concerns are unwarranted. However, if I were a betting man, I’d bet the market for the adidas Adapt will be very small.
Curious to hear your thoughts – would you buy this shoe?