Adidas 4DFWD Running Shoe Review — Gimmick or Gamechanging?

We tried Adidas’ new 3D-printed running shoes; here’s what we thought!

Despite the jumbled name, Adidas 4DFWD (pronounced, 4D-forward) running shoes are a notable step-up in comfort, design, and technology from Adidas’ already-beloved Ultraboost range. But what makes this new entry into the German brand’s line different?

Firstly, the 4DFWD shoes utilising 3D printing in order to build its sole, which, in itself, is a marvel, and an element we’ll get to in a minute. The 3D printing technology not only helped with making the design and production of the shoe more sustainable, but has also allowed Adidas to implement more nuanced technology, all without sacrificing durability.

Thanks to the 3D printed ‘honeycomb-like’ design of the midsole, Adidas has been able to use an intricate system, whereby the soft and springy structure actually collapses (albeit slightly) into a forward motion, much like pushing down an already-cascading deck of cards. This not only softens each step with some suspension-like physics, but also naturally propels you forward, which, of course is what you want your running shoes to do.

The sole is obviously the real highlight of the 4DFWD, but it also comes packed with an ulta-soft knitted upper, and interesting lace-loop design, making it arguably the most snug and comfortable running shoe around. You get the lockdown you need, while still being flexible enough to bend easily with your stride thanks to the knitted construction.

The sole itself is quite large and wide, and may make certain exercises, such as tip-toe balancing or side planks quite tricky, but this is a thoroughbred running shoe after all, and anyone who wants a firm landing base, along with some compression, should definitely consider the 4DFWD, if you can absorb the price.

They do retail for R3,999, and are available on Adidas’ online store, so if you’re willing to fit them into your budget, you will be getting arguably the most ambitious release in 2021 (so far), which will undoubtedly provide your joints with some reprive and help you hit those PBs this season.

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