Best Adidas Shoes Reviewed for Style & Performance
Adidas shoes hold a special place in the world of sneakers thanks to their high quality make, superb design and excellent comfort features. Although today the brand has a fervent mass following, its beginnings were modest, having started in 1924 in a small Bavarian town. Nonetheless, a dedication to producing performance-driven footwear and Olympic medals for Lina Radke in Amsterdam (1928) and Jesse Owens in Berlin (1939) ensured that the small brand had a bright future ahead of it.
What makes Adidas stand out today is the fact that it’s a brand which stays true to the principles of German-engineering which are precision, performanc, and an unbeatable drive to be better than anyone else. With fun collaborations with artists such as Stella McCartney, Raf Simons, Pharrell Williams, RUN DMC and most famously Kanye West, fans are always looking forward to the latest releases, which have been known to sell out in record time.
Whether you are looking for a casual pair of street sneakers or a pair of high-tech running shoes, this list of the 15 best adidas sneakers will provide you with a great overview, helping you make the best possible choice. Featuring casual, running, exercise, basketball as well as fashion sneakers, this list features items from each category highlighting the distinctive features of each candidate, combined with detailed Criteria for Evaluation and Frequently Asked Questions sections which give plentiful information on adidas shoe technology, and construction.
15 Best Adidas Shoes
1. Adidas Superstar
Part of the reason for the Superstar’s popularity is attributed to sneaker styling and flawless Italian design. Featuring a classic rubber shell toe, these sneakers have a low cut that is comfortable for wear, and that lends itself to a minimalistic look that can either be toned down or kicked up, depending on the colors you choose. With almost endless options available, the Superstar really does work with anything, from jeans, to athletic wear, to even a suit or dress.
Leather Upper and Lining
The Superstar has been designed not only to look great but also to perform. With a full grain leather upper that is both durable and flexible, and an ultra soft leather lining designed to comfort the foot as well as impart a “heritage” vibe, you will find that all versions of the Adidas Superstar feel and wear exceptionally well. The herringbone patterned hard-wearing rubber outsole provides great traction on all surfaces and gives you a completed product that will last for quite some time.
Cost and Value
The Adidas Superstar ranks average on this list when it comes to price, and you’ll be happy to know that they sit beneath the $100 mark, making them an excellent investment. Made of high-quality leather, it will put up with quite a beating, which explains why it’s such a popular choice not just for street wear but also for skateboarding.
- Appealing retro design
- Full grain leather upper
- Various versions available
- Hard wearing rubber outsole
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Run big
- May need breaking in
2. Adidas Stan Smith
What makes the Stan Smith such a recognizable pair of sneakers is the smooth and clean leather upper which is all white with minimal embellishments (the only pop of color on these is at the heel tab). This is a low-cut sneaker, inspired by tennis playing, and it allows for easy foot movement which you will appreciate even if you only want to wear these to casual dates or the office.
These sneakers may look amazing, but they feel great on your feet, which is, in part, why they have been so popular for over 40 years. The tongue is padded in order to ensure you feel no pressure from the lacing, the collar is cut low so as not to irritate the ankle or Achilles, and the inside is lined with genuine leather to give you a soft and breathable feel.
Cost and Value
Costing just a little bit more than the Adidas Superstar, these shoes offer excellent value if you’re looking for a classic, retro-looking pair of sneakers. They come in a few color variations, most based on white with a pop of color at the heel, and can easily be paired with any outfit. They feature an OrthoLite sockliner which makes them a superior option regarding comfort, enabling you to have a pair of Adidas shoes you can wear almost anywhere.
- Smooth full-grain leather
- Padded tongue
- Perforated upper
- Easy-grip heel tab with logo
- OrthoLite sockliner
- Thin footbed
- Run big and narrow
3. Adidas Samba Classic
The upper of these shoes is made out of genuine leather which is perfect if you’re looking for a durable shoe. The suede toe overlay is there to improve your contact with the ball, but what you will find is that it will also prevent your shoes from showing too many scuff marks and other signs of wear. The extra long tongue can either be folded over the laces to give you a better feel of the ball, worn high or even cut to give you a more customized fit.
Gum Rubber Outsole
These shoes have a gum rubber outsole that is perfect for playing on indoor pitches, seeing that it is non-marking and will give you plenty of traction. Even more, thanks to this outsole, these shoes can be worn for more than just indoor soccer - you can use them for all types of indoor sports, but also outside for lighter activities such as walking or just as everyday shoes. The insole is lined with cushioned textile, and you will love these if you prefer a lot of arch support.
Cost and Value
These shoes rank lowest on this list when it comes to price. They are an excellent investment when it comes to Adidas shoes, seeing that for a little money you will be getting a pair of footwear that will do well at what they’re intended for, and will allow you the right amount of flexibility to wear them for other uses as well. Whether you opt for the white, black or special Russian edition which boasts red stripes, you will get a classic look with the Adidas Samba that will look great even as a pair of everyday shoes.
- Leather upper
- Cushioned textile lining
- Non-marking outsole
- Versatile long tongue
- Feature a lot of arch support
- Beware of counterfeit products
- Arch support is too much for some users
4. Adidas Gazelle
The Adidas Gazelle features a thick rubber outsole originally with non-slip and non-marking properties that were intended for maximizing performance during training and handball games. The sole that is found on the shoes today is thick enough to give you plenty of comfort and stability while walking or running errands and will do well on all types of surfaces.
Striking Color Combinations
The basic version of the Gazelle comes in three classic color choices - gray, black and royal blue with a contrasting white tongue, heel tab and the legendary Adidas stripes. However, if you prefer something a bit different, you can go with a mint green, white with blue or even all-red.
Cost and Value
The Gazelle ranks low on this list when it comes to price, costing the same as the more popular Superstar. With a pigskin leather upper and a synthetic leather lining, they are sure to provide you with a comfortable wearing experience whether you use them occasionally or as an everyday shoe.
- Leather upper
- Excellent for indoor use
- Classic, recognizable style
- Distinctive color patterns
- Great price
- Run slightly narrow
- Tongue will be squeaky until broken in
5. Adidas PW Tennis Hu
Using one of Adidas’ best technologies, this shoe features a full PrimeKnit upper. The material is woven in a way that allows for larger holes in the knit, giving ample airflow and breathability to this tennis shoe. The slip-on design is easy to wear and offers a sock-like feel as it conforms and shapes to your foot’s every move. This is a pair of shoes that will provide a snug and stable feel with a customized fit.
Vibrant Colors and Design
Pharrell really went all out in trying to represent the variety of hues that exist, and the Pharrell Williams Tennis Hu comes in a wide variety of colorways, with new iterations being released every season. There are monochrome options, along with designs that have a brightly colored upper and a contrasting marble midsole. The sockliner is equally exciting with its graphics, while still remaining functional when paired with the reflexology insole.
Cost and Value
Ranking average on this list when it comes to price, the Pharrell Williams Tennis Hu run at a pretty average price for an Adidas mash up, and the comfort combined with the vibrancy makes these a great pair of shoes to have in your rotation.
- Slip on tennis shoe
- Breathable PrimeKnit upper
- Neoprene lining
- OrthoLite insole
- Waffle textured EVA midsole
- Run narrow
- Doesn’t feature BOOST technology
6. Adidas Pro Model
The Adidas Pro Model continues in the tradition of using high-quality materials, namely full grain leather for an upper that is comfortable and stylish. It’s very easy to keep clean, as just a simple wipe down with a damp cloth is enough. Furthermore, it offers excellent protection and warmth, while still allowing for some air flow thanks to the perforations on the upper.
Herringbone Tread Pattern
The Pro Model features the same outsole that can be found on the Superstar, and it will provide you with the right amount of traction in all situations. The rubber sole will even stand up to shooting some hoops while handing out with your friends, which is no surprise seeing that these shoes were once worn by professional basketball players.
Cost and Value
The Pro Model has a price which is similar to the Stan Smith and still falls under the $100 mark, which is excellent value for a leather mid-top pair of sneakers. This is a pair of shoes that has a fine construction, and that will stand up to the test of time, no matter how you decide to use it. Although the color options in 2018 are limited, you will definitely be able to pair these with any outfit for a classic casual look.
- Added ankle stability
- Classic adidas styling
- Rubber shell toe and outsole
- Full grain leather upper
- Affordable price
- Will get very warm with strenuous activities
- Needs breaking in
7. Adidas Ultraboost
One of the best parts of these Adidas shoes is the fact that they will comfortably fit anyone. The upper is made out of breathable PrimeKnit, a material that will allow your foot to move in any specific way it needs to, while the supportive heel construction will allow a smooth and free movement of the Achilles tendon while still keeping you safe.
Best used for long and urban runs, these shoes are made with a special midsole that incorporates thousands of capsules in order to maximize energy return. Paired with the Continental stretchweb outsole which is flexible and provides excellent traction both in wet and dry conditions, you will be getting a pair of shoes that have plenty of features to make you fall in love with them.
Cost and Value
As any pair of flagship running shoes, the Ultraboost comes at a price which is quite high - in fact, they rank highest on this list when it comes to price, and that is just the basic model. If you decide to go with one of the special or upgraded editions, you can expect to pay more than $200 per pair. Nonetheless, these are not only high-performing and comfortable shoes, they also offer excellent durability which will ensure that you get the most bang out of your buck.
- Boost technology
- PrimeKnit upper
- Flexible stretchweb outsole
- Great traction in both dry and wet conditions
- Numerous editions and colors available
- Run narrow as most adidas shoes
8. Adidas X PLR
The upper of the X_PLR is made out of a perforated knit upper that allows excellent breathability to prevent overheating and sweaty feet that come with an active lifestyle. Flexible and easy to mold to any foot shape, these shoes will do great for almost any activity you set your mind to.
Insole and Outsole Innovation
The X_PLR features an innovative rubber outsole that is curved, sloping thinner towards the toe. This gives the shoe a profile that is distinctive, featuring a small toe guard for added durability, and offering excellent flexibility and range of movement. The inside of the shoe has an OrthoLite insole which not only cushions but is also removable in order to accommodate custom orthotics.
Cost and Value
The Adidas X_PLR is the cheapest pair of sneakers on this list, however, this should not be a surprise seeing that it is a model made for children. If you wear a small size, then these shoes are an excellent choice seeing that they offer excellent comfort levels as well as performance without the hefty price tag of flagship models.
- Perforated knit upper
- Textile lining
- Removable OrthoLite insole
- Flexible rubber outsole
- EVA foam cushioning
- Only kids sizes available
- Can be irritating in heel area
9. Adidas Alphabounce Beyond
These shoes feature an upper made out of Zoned Forgemesh which provides the right balance between flexibility and support. Though it’s bulkier than PrimeKnit, it is actually more suited for weightlifting and cross training thanks to the zones which provide support in key places. A molded heel cup is placed on the outside of the shoe in order to give you the support and secure feel you will need during your training sessions.
These shoes feature a flexible midsole that has Bounce cushioning, which makes them a great choice for running and walking. A 10mm heel drop ensures a better foot position for gaining speed, while the Continental rubber outsole provides great traction, whether you’re planning on wearing these inside or outside, in the sun or rain.
Cost and Value
With a price that is average on this list, and expected from a pair of high-performance shoes, the Adidas AlphaBounce Beyond is an excellent choice for anyone who needs an all-around pair of sneakers. You’ll find that they’re an excellent alternative to Yeezys, seeing that they look similar but cost just one-third of the price. You can wear them both as casual footwear, or for your training, and you’ll find that they do great for both uses.
- Molded heel cup
- Breathable Forgemesh upper
- Continental outsole
- Excellent energy return
- Great heel and midfoot stability
- Not suitable for squats or deadlifts
- Not enough arch support for some users
10. Adidas Harden Vol.2
One of the best things about the Harden Vol.2 is the fact that the BOOST cushioning is even thicker than that which was found in the original. With its excellent shock absorption abilities, it will prevent any joint or knee pain, no matter how long you play, and will offer comfort in the forefoot area that can take quite a beating when jumping and landing. Furthermore, thanks to the thicker Boost, you will find that these shoes offer more stability, making them perfect for anyone needing a more secure shoe.
TPU Coated ForgeFiber
The upper of these shoes is made out of reinforced mesh that has two functions. The first one is to instantly adapt to the foot, and it does great at this. The lacing system is excellently designed, allowing these shoes to be comfortable regardless of the width of your foot. The second function involves security and stability, and this is where the extra stitching and TPU coating come into play to ensure a better grip of the foot as well as more durability in the mesh upper.
Cost and Value
Ranking a bit above average on this list when it comes to price, the Harden Vol.2 is a great investment, regardless whether you plan on wearing them on the court or as a pair of fashion sneakers. You will find that they’re one of the most comfortable and stable shoes made by Adidas, and you are bound to find a color option that will allow you to show off your personal style.
- Very adaptive upper
- Excellent support
- Thick BOOST midsole
- Stylish color options available
- Wide platform
- Outsole collects dust easily, losing traction
- Not suitable for people with a high instep
11. Adidas Campus Vulc II ADV
This is the type of rubber that can be found on the soles of almost every great skate shoe to exist. It's strong, long lasting, and very durable which is exactly what you need when your foot is hitting the pavement over and over again. While vulcanized rubber does tend to be heavier than other materials, in a skate shoe this is actually optimal as it helps keep your feet firmly planted on your board. You should find this sole offers up better stability while having great traction and grip.
When you're hitting up a skate park or attempting new tricks, you know that the impact of your feet hitting the ground can get painful after a while. To help ease that shock impact and reduce any soreness or fatigue, these shoes are made with a comfortably molded sockliner which will absorb any shock and distribute it evenly across the foot. Made from PU foam, this is a sockliner that will mold nicely to your foot shape and give you support and protection where you need it most.
Cost and Value
The low price of these shoes is one of the features that make them such a favorite among skateboarders and sneakerheads alike. Even at regular price, they are under $100. Although they aren't as versatile as some of the other shoes on our list, these are a great everyday shoe as they have an attractive, low profile and look great on almost everybody.
- Suede upper
- Vulcanized rubber outsole
- Sturdy grip
- Molded PU sockliner
- No break in period
- Run narrow
- Heel lacks padding
12. Adidas EQT Support ADV
One of the major changes that the Adidas EQT Support ADV has is the newly designed upper which is made from a much more breathable and flexible fabric. The flat knit offers up enhanced breathability, giving you a lot more airflow and cool down ability in comparison to other running shoes on the market. The quarter panels are made of mesh, allowing for additional breathability, while also being contrast stitched for a pop of color and uniqueness. Synthetic overlays ensure that the upper is durable and long-lasting, making sure your toe doesn't pop through after a few wears.
To add extra comfort to this shoe, it is equipped with an OrthoLite sockliner that is soft and comfortable, easily molding to the shape of your foot. This specially designed foam contours to your foot, giving a more personalized fit over time. Not only is it comfortable, but it's water-resistant and antibacterial, meaning you don't have to worry about a build-up of sweat or odors over time. Any moisture and humidity will be wicked away so you have a breathable, cool, and dry shoe no matter what you're using it for.
Cost and Value
The Adidas EQT Support ADV ranks high on this list when it comes to price, seeing that it features high performing features coupled with a stylish design. It’s definitely an excellent pair of shoes to invest in if you are a runner, but also if you’re a fan of the unique look and striped outsole.
- Durable rubber outsole
- Flat knit upper
- Mesh lining
- OrthoLite sockliner
- Lightweight EVA midsole
- Can be difficult to put on
- Run small and narrow
13. Adidas Tubular Shadow
Although the nickname may sound silly, the burrito tongue is actually one of the top features that this shoe has to offer. Made to ensure an easier experience of getting your foot into a snugly knit upper, this double wrapped tongue allows for more space and an easier entry. The lace up closure allows for a more customized fit, enabling you to make these shoes fit perfect.
What made the 1993 Tubular so popular was the fact that it was very comfortable even for long-term wear. The midsole was thick and cushioned, and the same feeling has been replicated in the updated Adidas Tubular Shadow. Remaining extremely lightweight, the midsole will give you an added bounce to your step while ensuring your foot remains cushioned and supported throughout the day. This is a great shoe for walking or running in and can be worn for long days at work or while you're out exploring the city.
Cost and Value
These shoes rank average on this list when it comes to price, and are an excellent option for an all-around shoe which will perform just as well for casual wear as it will for active wear. The cushioning and support ensure all-day comfort, while the breathable upper has a unique look that’ll upgrade any outfit you may choose.
- Knit upper
- Snug sock like fit
- Burrito tongue
- OrthoLite insole
- EVA foam midsole
- Runs slightly large and wide
- Lack in durability
14. Adidas Deerupt Runner
These shoes boast excellent cushioning and shock absorbing capabilities, thanks to the high-performing materials used in the construction. An EVA midsole ensures you’ve got the right amount of support and impact reduction for both walking and running, while an OrthoLite cushioned sock liner with added foam pockets ensures you get a soft, springy feel with every step.
Flexible Mesh Upper
The upper of the Deerupt Runner is made with mesh covered in webbing, giving you a secure sock-like feel from the moment you put these on. Seeing that the lacing system doesn’t feature any metal eyelets, you’ll find that these have no parts which would cut into or irritate the foot, even with prolonged wear.
Cost and Value
For a pair of high-performance fashion conscious sneakers, the Deerupt Runner is quite affordable. Ranking average on this list when it comes to price, they are an excellent choice if you’re looking for something that will serve multiple purposes, will look awesome, and will feel great no matter how long you wear them during the day. The fact that they are lightweight and breathable makes them perfect for the upcoming summer months.
- Flexible but compression feel
- OrthoLite sockliner
- Rubber outsole
- Easy to slip on and off
- Very lightweight
- Mesh will easily let water in
- Hard to clean
15. Adidas NMD XR1
The PrimeKnit used to make the upper of these shoes is one of Adidas’ best materials, seeing that it is extremely flexible and breathable, allowing for a better, soft feeling fit. Furthermore, this is a material that snugly hugs the entire foot, allowing for a lightweight but stable wearing experience.
Excellent Arch Support
One of the best aspects of the Adidas NDM_XR1 is the level of comfort provided by its midsole. This is a molded EVA midsole that features a BOOST layer, and it responds to energy levels, minimizing fatigue by providing ample energy return. The heel is also cushioned, lessening the impact that is put on this part of the foot when landing during running movements.
Cost and Value
Ranking quite high on this list when it comes to price, the Adidas NDM_XR1 is a high-tech running shoe that is not just focused on performance but can even be considered a status symbol. It’s got plenty of excellent properties which work towards a comfortable wearing experience while still looking fresh and stylish due to its unique upper construction.
- BOOST cushioning
- Highly compressed EVA foam midsole
- TPU caged PrimeKnit upper
- Low-weight construction
- Highly breathable
- Limited color options
- Lacks traction due to thin outsole
There you have it, a list of the 15 best adidas sneakers available for purchase. Featuring a wide range of footwear, from street styles to running shoes, skate, tennis and even basketball shoes, adidas is an all-round brand that makes excellent products that have both excellent performance features as well as a stylish, modern look. Looking at the items listed in this article, you can see that adidas has a shoe for everyone, no matter whether they prefer a minimalistic white silhouette or a futuristic knit shoe with over-the-top soles.
With prices which are mostly affordable for the level of performance each of the shoe offers, it comes as no surprise that adidas is one of the world’s top two sneaker brands, working hard to bring innovation and style to a hardcore fan base who appreciate quality and comfort.
Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Adidas Shoes
Style and Appearance
One of the things adidas sneakers are known for is the fact that they are unique looking and appealing, greatly contributing to the image of the person wearing them. They transcend function and provide the wearer with a style that not only looks good, but reflects a dedication to quality, precision and high performance. You will find with a lot of adidas shoes that they feature limited edition releases, slowly rolled out colorways, and numerous collaborations with celebrities, companies, brands, and shops. What this means for you as the consumer is that you are investing in a shoe that has had a lot of thought put into its looks. These are shoes that speak more about your personality than just some regular run of the mill sneaker. And with so much to offer within the adidas shoe universe, you’re bound to find a pair of shoes that fits whatever look it is that you’re aiming for.
All adidas shoes, from classics to moderns feature the brand’s signature three stripes on the side, marking them as part of the adidas family. While this one feature will be the same across the board, everything else is frequently changing and being upgraded in order to give all of their shoes a very new and now appearance. adidas loves to be ahead of the trends, and you will find that the newer lines tend to have a more futuristic vibe, often featuring large midsoles and irregular shapes.
One thing that people love about adidas shoes is that they frequently pull out designs from their archive and breathe new life in to them by redesigning them to appeal to the more modern masses. This is a beautiful way of keeping their history alive, while allowing themselves to improve upon some of their best shoes. Usually keeping within the ’80’s and ’90’s feel, you will often see that these classic styles have new technological upgrades, such as the addition of PrimeKnit or BOOST to make the shoes more functional and attractive looking overall.
As mentioned previously, adidas colorways are one of the factors that make their shoes highly sought after, and give them a very unique and personalized feel. Often released months apart, you will find that an initial shoe drop tends to come in one color, then as the months pass more and more colors and patterns will be released. Brands and companies such as BAPE, Opening Ceremony, and even Disney have all collaborated with adidas to put their own spin and style on classic shoes like the Stan Smith.
Not only do collaborations change the colors and patterns, but some change the entire make of the shoe for a one of a kind choice that can’t be found elsewhere. When BAIT teamed up to have their go at the Stan Smith, they changed the fabric to an all hemp based, while also using a heat press to make for a very special shoe and vibe.
Celebrities have also gotten on board with adidas, Kanye West being one of the most notable with his line of Yeezys. These types of collaborations lead to a lot of hype, and end up with lines of shoes that are not only limited edition but also very exclusive. For those who want a pair of shoes that stand out and aren’t seen on the streets often, adidas has numerous options that, if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on, will definitely give you and fresh and prized appearance.
Depending on what you plan on using your shoes for, the type of material used on both the upper and the sole is going to have a significant impact. For those who want a more tight fitting shoe that feels secure yet personalized, the newer PrimeKnit models will meet your expectations. Then there are those who seek stability and durability,leaving them to opt for a leather design that will hold up better over time. With a variety of different material options available, it’s important to break each one down and look at where they excel versus where they may fall a bit short at.
For The Midsole
- PU (Polyurethane) – Polyurethane midsoles are one of the more expensive options, so you are only going to find this material used in higher end brands and models. With adidas being so reputable and recognized world wide, it is only natural that some of their models would feature a PU midsole. PU midsoles are highly sought after because they tend to be the most durable, and can be compressed over and over again without flattening. Even after multiple wears, shoes that have a PU midsole will still have the same amount of bounce, support, and comfort that they did when you first purchased them. For long distance runners, or other people who put a lot of mileage into their shoes, polyurethane is the way to go as it allows users to get more use out of their shoes than any of the other midsoles on the market. The downside with this choice is that it is more expensive to produce, and thus will drive up the cost of the shoes. For the everyday wearer, this isn’t going to be a necessary component to a pair of shoes, and you should find that other, cheaper midsoles are just as effective as PU ones.
- EVA (Ethyl Vinyl Acetate) – Easily the most common midsole that is around today, EVA is a standard foam choice that really stands up well and offers great results. Since the midsole is meant to absorb shock and distribute weight, compression EVA does an excellent job at this as it is fairly soft and very flexible. It is able to work with your foot’s natural movement so that you are given adequate protection where you need it most. When it comes to EVA there are two distinct types, white and grey, and each has its own benefits and uses. White EVA is the softer option, and is great for people who have specific foot conditions where they need a more flexible and cushioned shoe. White EVA will give you a far more softer landing with each step, and if you suffer from shin splints or other painful conditions you should find this makes your shoes a lot more comfortable. The downside to white EVA is that because it is softer it can be worn down more quickly, and your shoes may not last as long as their grey EVA counterparts. Grey EVA, on the other hand, is more firm and long lasting, great for people who tend to have issues like plantar fasciitis. The firmness of the grey EVA is going to give you a shoe that feels more stiff and will generally be a bit heavier, so it is more designed for sneakers and walking shoes versus running shoes. The stiffness and firmness of this midsole is a perfect choice for people who don’t have a natural rolling of the foot when they step, so overpronators should find that grey EVA gives them a more structured gait. The reason behind EVA being one of the most common midsole materials is that fact that it is far cheaper than a lot of the other materials available. While this helps keep the cost of the shoe down, the downside is that it tends to flatten fairly easily over time. You will notice that after a good number of miles, you shoe won’t have quite the same bounce or cushioning that you loved when you first bought them.
- Adidas BOOST – While we will be discussing this more in the “adidas Technology” section, it is important to mention it here as it is quickly becoming one of the most popular midsole choices when talking about adidas shoes. Using a material known as TPU, BOOST offers up a unique and enhanced midsole that really does give the wearer a much added boost. Similar in appearance to tiny, styrofoam pellets, BOOST midsoles have looked at the science behind the material in order to produce something that excels in a number of categories. From being better at absorbing shock, returning energy, and even more heat resistant, BOOST has changed the game for adidas. Originally only seen in running shoes, BOOST is now making an appearance in almost every faucet of the adidas world, and older models are now being redone to include this new styled midsole. A fan favourite, BOOST keeps being revamped every so often to make it better and more effective year after year. To read more about BOOST and how it impacts the wearer overall, please take a look at the next section where we really break down all of the different technologies that adidas is putting into their shoes.
For the Upper
- Leather – Many of the classic adidas sneakers featured a leather upper, which was buttery soft and timeless in appearance. Over time, the leather upper started to fade as adidas branched into newer materials and fabrics but some of the absolute staples still have this great design. There are many advantages to using leather (although there are obviously some disadvantages as well) and it will always remain one of the most iconic upper designs when it comes to shoes that have a retro feel.
Some of the key shoes that feature a leather upper are seen in the Originals line, like the Stan Smith, the Superstar, and Campus. With some of the most recent updates to the archives, we have also seen a leather revival when looking at the newer Yeezy Powerphase, Samba Millennium, Cloudfoam Advantage, and the Gosha Rubchinskiy x adidas Copa Trainer, which is an amazing collaboration with one of the top, high end Russian fashion designers. While newer models may see less and less of the real leather uppers, you can always opt for an older adidas if that’s the style you’re after. While adidas is always putting out new colorways, they also tend to put out limited edition styles and materials as well, so if you’re patient enough you may just find your favorite shoe redesigned with a leather upper for a one time drop.
One of the more common leathers that you will see is shoes that feature a suede upper. While some people may not know this, suede is actually a type of leather and is treated in a similar way as other leather shoes. Suede has the advantage of being durable like traditional leather while still remaining softer and more flexible. Many adidas models have a suede option, or limited release suede model, giving you the chance to have a leather shoe with far more ease than if you are seeking a traditional leather shoe. While suede is more soft and flexible, the downside with suede is that it is far more difficult to keep clean, and tricky to wash. Suede is soft and fuzzy in texture, and has less thickness than other types of leather. Suede generally should not get wet, and so you will be limited to what time of the year you are able to wear your suede shoes.
- Synthetic – While real leather certainly has its advantages, synthetic leather can be a cheaper and more attainable way to emulate the same look that a leather bound shoe offers. More lightweight, and oftentimes far easier to clean, synthetic materials are very commonly seen nowadays. While adidas may not have the largest line of synthetic uppers, they certainly do have some key styles that showcase how good it can look, as well as how reasonably priced it makes a shoe. Synthetic uppers are in no way just limited to faux leather, and when a shoe is classified as having this type of upper it can be referring to a number of different man made materials. What almost all synthetic materials have in common is that they tend to be far more lightweight and flexible than things like leather, which is a very stiff and rigid material to work with.
Some key shoes to note that are made from synthetic uppers are models like the Tubular Shadow which has a textile synthetic upper, and many of adidas’ cleats are made of kevlar. Not only will you find full synthetic uppers, but many times, adidas mesh shoes will feature a synthetic overlay. This is there to help protect the shoe from damage and to offer up more durability over time. Going the other direction, shoes like Infiltrate feature a full synthetic upper with a mesh overlay, a unique and fun way to play with materials to make a shoe have a more interesting appearance.
Another synthetic material that you may come across now and again is neoprene, although it is rarely featured as an entire upper and more frequently seen as an addition. Neoprene is a synthetic rubber that is most commonly seen in scuba diving suits, but it makes appearances in footwear from time to time. Stan Smith Zipped sees a neoprene enhanced upper, but more and more of their one of a kind shoes are made from a completely neoprene upper. The Y-3 Kozoko, a collaboration with one of Japan’s top designers is made from a single piece of neoprene which gives this shoe a fit that is similar to wearing a sock. Neoprene is known for shrinking against the body and giving a very snug fit, so you can leave off the laces and still have a very tight fitting shoe.
In 2017 we saw neoprene being used in a whole new way, as Daniel Arsham took a turn with adidas and found a way to mix neoprene with ultra BOOST in order to create a whole new shoe design that hadn’t been seen before. Using a stamping process, they molded the neoprene in to the exact shape the wanted, a method that ended up creating a smooth and seamless shoe. It is well known that adidas is always trying to push the boundaries when it comes to their shoe designs, and finding new materials to work with is one of their best traits. From 3D printed shoes, to a full hemp design, and even synthetic spider silk, adidas is often the brand to look to if you want something out of the ordinary and ahead of the game.
- Knit – Until more recently, shoes had always been sewn from different fabrics or materials, taking pieces to form an upper and then sewing them together before attaching them to the midsole. As footwear demands changed, and companies sought to do something different, the world of knit uppers was quickly born. The two major players in the knit game are adidas and Nike, with both claiming that their versions of the knit upper are superior. While there are many similarities between the two, there are a couple differences that people find they prefer. The focus here will be on the adidas PrimeKnit, as we look into what it is, how it works, and what it offers in terms of bettering a shoe.
Knit uppers are exactly what they sound like, an upper that is made of knitted material instead of a singular piece of fabric. What makes knit uppers interesting, is that they are more lightweight, have far more breathability and airflow, and can give the wearer a more customized and snug fit that other uppers might not be able to offer. Adidas refers to their knit uppers as PrimeKnit, not to be confused with Flyknit which is the Nike design. PrimeKnit began as something that was tested out on running shoes, as it held all of the characteristics that a runner really needed in their footwear. Ultra lightweight, flexible, and snug, PrimeKnit gave runners the shoe that they had been hoping for in order to perform better. With PrimeKnit being such a hit with runners, adidas slowly started moving this upper towards different types of shoes and found that the market loved it.
One of the big factors that separates PrimeKnit from Flyknit is that it has larger sized holes in the knit, offering up a bit more breathability and moisture wicking properties. While it may sound like a knit shoe would be significantly less durable, the knitting processes uses different styles of techniques in order to create a shoe that is still supportive and durable, as no one wants a toe popping through on their first run. With more people seeking shoes that are lightweight, not just runners, PrimeKnit has taken lightweight to a whole new level. Weighing in at just 5.2oz, Primeknit has been able to help create shoes that are so light you would barely know they are there. If you spend long hours on your feet, or run, or have foot issues, PrimeKnit uppers can help reduce foot fatigue as you aren’t lugging around heavy shoes on your feet all day.
When selecting the best of the best of adidas shoes, one of the main components has to be the technology that’s been implemented in to the footwear. Patented and unique technologies is what makes each shoe stand out, and what separates adidas from the crowd. To not look at what these technologies are and how they impact the shoes would be a complete disservice to the brand, and would not fully explain why each shoe made our top list.
Each technology developed is meant to enhance the footwear, either making it more comfortable, breathable, orthotic, supportive, or any number of factors that people want when they put a pair of shoes on their feet. While adidas is always coming out with new things and ideas, there are a few key technologies that we will look at that have really revolutionized their footwear.
Back when we looked at the different materials used, under midsoles there was a section that looked at BOOST. While we covered what exactly it was, we didn’t go too deep into what it does, so that’s what we will talk about now. BOOST has been around for a very long time, but it has gone through many generations and upgrades to get it to what it is today. While very few models saw the addition of BOOST in the past, we can see this technology being added to shoes more often today, mainly thanks to its energy returning properties.
Originally designed for runners, BOOST has one of the highest energy returns of any midsole on the market, a fact that has made it such a desired feature for both runners and everyone else alike. Energy return is how much bounce a shoe gives you when you step down, helping propel you into your next step. For a runner, this is essential as it can make for an easier and more comfortable run. For everyday wearers, energy return simply gives you a much more cushioned step and allows you to walk more easily.
Not only is BOOST better at energy return, but it is also significantly more heat resistant than any other midsole material currently being used. The benefit here is that it will stay consistent no matter how much you use it, giving you much more return and long lasting results comparably.
With a very high degree of impact absorption, adiPrene is one of adidas’ top technologies for the midsole and footbed of a lot of their casual, everyday sneakers. With the ability to provide exceptional comfort and support, adiPrene cushions the heel as well as the forefoot, with the majority of the padding located in the heel area.
While many different materials are good at impact absorption, what makes adiPrene stand out is that it is able to absorb up to as much as five times the weight of your body. Regardless of how much pressure you are bearing down on your foot and shoe, adiPrene has the ability to remain supportive and offers up a more energy efficient take off with each and every stride.
For those who overpronate or have supination, you know what it means to not have your foot fall in the most natural of positions. Some people may find that their feet tend to roll inwards or outwards when landing. This can cause a lot of issues over time, especially for runners, so being able to adjust the foot each time you land is extremely beneficial.
adidas has developed the Formotion technology to address this very issue, and it has been effective at helping runners and everyday wearers have a more natural gait and smoother step every time. By incorporating horizontal plates in the midsole, they have managed to achieve a system that repositions your foot after every strike down.
These metal plates slide when your foot touches the ground, slowly adjusting your step so that your foot is returned to its natural position. It doesn’t matter how, or which part of your foot touches down first, the dual plates are able to immediately begin moving so that your gait is adjusted as you go.
While this is not one of adidas’ creations, it was a certainly a feature that was looked at when selecting the best shoes for this list. Many adidas shoes feature either an OrthoLite sockliner or footbed, and the reasoning behind this is pretty essential.
When you run, or jog, or walk, or even stand still your feet can get hot and sweaty inside your shoes. The friction and movement ends up creating moisture, and that moisture can lead to some pretty bad outcomes. From smelly feet, to stinky shoes, and even a break down of the interior, moisture is not something you want building up over time.
OrthoLite is a master at moisture management, and has the ability to wick it away with ease. All of the heat and sweat that your foot produces is countered by a OrthoLite liner, as it works by moving any moisture away from your foot and towards the exterior of the shoe. In breathable shoes, this means that none of the moisture will stay, and your foot will remain cool, dry, and odor free all day long.
Back up in the Materials section, under Uppers, we looked at Primeknit, a material that has become so popular in running shoes, sport shoes, and even casual everyday shoes. From an economical and environmental standpoint, PrimeKnit is doing wonders as it is less costly to produce and the finished product has zero waste in comparison to other materials which you must cut and leave scraps from. A machine weaves together the fabric, making for a lower cost of labor, and a quicker shoe production process overall. This is a good reason as to why more and more shoes are starting to feature a Primeknit upper, as it benefits both the consumer and the manufacturer.
But the benefits to PrimeKnit don’t just end at less waste and lower costs, as no one would purchase a shoe for those reasons alone. No, the reasoning behind why PrimeKnit has become such a sought after upper is because of how breathable, lightweight, and comfortable it is on the foot. While synthetic fabrics can offer a lightweight upper, none of it compares to how light a PrimeKnit upper truly is. For runners, this is the ideal shoe material, and it has extended far beyond sports, reaching a global market.
The material stretches perfectly, and it offers up a very snug fit that is almost sock like. When you put on a pair of shoes with this upper, you will find the fabric molds to the shape of your foot, and you feel quite secure with or without any lacing. No matter how you use your shoes, they should not slip, slide, or fall off your foot as this material will hold them securely in place.
Now, you may be wondering how durable is a bunch of knitted fibers really going to be? Well, the answer is surprisingly, very. In order to double down on highly used areas, such as the toe region, the Primeknit is heated to the point where the fibers actually meld together, creating a very tight and solid bond. This doesn’t mean that these shoes are indestructible, but it does mean that they will hold up while you run or play sports, and you don’t need to worry about ripping a hole in them.
One of the downsides to Primeknit, and other knits in general, is that they tend to be harder to clean and easily get stained. You have to remember you are dealing with a fabric, and just as a sweater will stain when you spill your coffee on it, so will you knit shoes. That doesn’t mean you can’t clean them, just know that it will take a bit more work and they may not come out as clean as other types of uppers, like leather, will.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are adidas shoes washable?
A: Because adidas shoes feature a variety of different uppers, the way you clean them is going to be very dependent on what type of shoe you have. For leather shoes, it is recommended that you use a shoe leather protector in order to keep them in better condition and to help keep them cleaner. For non leather shoes, you should only be washing them using warm soapy water, and this must be done by hand. An old toothbrush or a small shoe brush can be used to scrub away dirt, but make sure you aren’t scrubbing hard enough to damage the material. Once clean, leave them to dry with some paper towels placed inside to help soak up any extra water. It is never recommended to put shoes in the washer or dryer as it can warp the shoe and lead to damage.
Q: Will adidas shoes stretch?
A: This is going to come down to the fabric used, but in most cases, you can stretch them to some degree if you put in enough time and patience. With that said, leather and suede uppers are going to be harder to stretch than neoprene or Primeknit, as they are designed to be more sturdy, stiff, and inflexible. With neoprene or Primeknit uppers, the material is extremely stretchy, and it is able to fit to most foot sizes. This won’t affect the length or width of the shoe, but it will affect how your foot feels in it overall.
Q: Are adidas shoes vegan?
A: adidas shoes are not guaranteed vegan, and a lot of models are made out of leather or suede. adidas also cannot definitively say whether the glue or other components are 100% vegan, so if you are seeking a vegan shoe adidas is most likely not the brand you should be looking at. While synthetic and knit uppers are available, it doesn’t mean that there are no animal byproducts used in other parts of the shoe.
Q: How do adidas shoes fit?
A: Adidas typically run pretty true to size, with most wearers finding that their usual size is what they end up purchasing when they buy a new pair of adidas. Their shoe tend to have a pretty standard width, neither too narrow or wide, but some of their models will have a smaller toe box area that some wearers with wider feet may not find comfortable. With the leather shoes, some people do find that going up a half size offers a more comfortable fit, as the leather is more stiff and won’t adapt to your foot as well as other materials.
Q: Are adidas shoes unisex?
A: This comes down more to personal taste more than anything, but a majority of the Adidas models are unisex in style. While Adidas does offer both men’s and women’s models of most shoes, for older models that may only come in one unisex design. Newer models have been crafted more with male and female foot differences in mind, so those with smaller and more narrow feet may find the women’s version to be more comfortable than the men’s. Many of the limited edition and collaboration models that come out are unisex, with no reference to gender anywhere in the shoe name or description.
- How Primeknit was born, Article, Aug 10, 2012 ,
- What is the Difference Between EVA and Polyurethane Midsoles?, Article, Dec 31, 2017 ,
- ADIDAS shoe technologies, Article, Dec 31, 2017 ,