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Adidas 4DFWD Review

by iRUN Singapore on August 20, 2021

Adidas 4DFWD Shoes

When it comes to 3D printed midsoles, Adidas is light-years ahead of any other brand. They clearly see 3D printing as the future of running shoes by the amount of money and effort they have invested in this technology.

Adidas partnered with Carbon back in 2016 to develop their 4D range of 3D printed midsoles. Carbon is a 3D printing technology company based in Redwood City, California.

Together, the two companies produced the first 3D printed shoe, the 4D Futurecraft in 2017. In 2018, the AlphaEDGE was launched which was tuned for more versatile performance. It had thicker struts directly under the strike of the runner's heel.

The 4DFWD is the third generation in the 4D product line. The 4DFWD is different to its predecessors in that it uses a bowtie-shaped cell that compresses forward upon vertical impact. In other words, the midsole redirects vertical impact forces into horizontal forward motion.

Compared to the previous version, the AlphaEDGE 4D, the 4DFWD weighs 37 g more. It also has a 10 mm higher heel stack height and a 9 mm higher forefoot stack. 

Adidas 4DFWD Shoes


Specifications

  • Price: $280
  • Weight: 337g (men's US 9)
  • Drop: 11 mm (heel: 34 mm / forefoot: 23 mm)
  • Surface: Road
  • Pronation control: Neutral
Adidas 4DFWD Shoes


Upper

The 4DFWD has a relaxed, sock-like knitted upper made from Primeknit. It's soft to the touch and very stretchy with an extremely comfortable, slipper-like fit.

Adidas 4DFWD Shoes

The heel has an internal counter which locks your heel in place and provides support. There are soft foam pods on the inside of the heel designed to grip onto your ankle and prevent heel slippage.

Adidas 4DFWD Shoes

The heel tab flares upwards to create a modern “elf heel” look. The heel tab is also made from a stretchy knit with a soft inner lining to not irritate the Achilles.

Adidas 4DFWD Shoes

Being a full bootie construction, the lace loops are attached on the outside of the vamp so there are no double last row eyelets to do a runner's knot.

Adidas 4DFWD Shoes

The 3 stripes on both the lateral and medial sides of the midfoot are reflective for low-light training.

Adidas 4DFWD Shoes

The fit of the 4DFWD runs a half size large because of how stretchy the Primeknit is, so you need to get it a half size down from your normal Adidas size for the perfect fit.

There is plenty of space in the midfoot and forefoot while the knit is also super stretchy so the 4DFWD is suitable for wide footed runners and runners with voluminous feet.

 

Midsole

The midsole of the 4DFWD consists of no foam but a full-length, 3D printed lattice. The lattice is produced by using a chemical process using light and oxygen which transitions a liquid to a solid.  Adidas 4DFWD Shoes

The 4DFWD lattice is made of 39% bio-based material and it also offers 23% more cushioning than the previous 4D midsole in the AlphaEDGE. 

The other new feature of the 4DFWD midsole is that its lattice comprises of bow-tie shapes. During foot strikes, the lattice compresses and pushes your foot forward horizontally, as seen in the diagram below.

The lattice has a rubbery feel to it and it compresses easily when pushed downwards. There is only a very thin piece of material between the midsole and the insole, so your foot sits directly on top of the lattice. This results in a slight sinking-in feeling during foot strikes.

Adidas 4DFWD Shoes

The 4DFWD has a stack height of 34 mm in the heel which is relatively high for a training shoe. There is plenty of foam in the heel to cushioning heel strikes while the high drop of 11 mm makes it easy to transition from heel to toe.

Adidas 4DFWD Shoes

The midsole lattice bulges outwards in order to create a more stable platform for your foot to rest on so stability is good in the 4DFWD.

Adidas 4DFWD Shoes


Outsole

Adidas 4DFWD Shoes

A thick, hard sheet of rubber protects the midsole and forms the outsole of the 4DFWD. The outsole pattern consists of small squares on the rearfoot and midfoot with larger squares on the forefoot. 

Adidas 4DFWD Shoes

The thick rubber outsole is extremely hard-wearing and more abrasion resistant than most outsole rubbers so you should be able to get at least 800 kilometres of running out of the 4DFWD. 

Due to how hard the rubber is, the outsole feels slippery on wet surfaces, especially smooth surfaces. Grip is good on all types of surfaces when they are dry.

Adidas 4DFWD Shoes

The shoe flexes near the front with flexibility increased by the thin, arrow-shaped groove.



Ride

Adidas 4DFWD Shoes

Running in the 4DFWD is a very unique experience. The ride feels soft but also well cushioned at the same time.

Imagine the sensation of running on a wire grid or on top of a collection of tiny wire coils placed alongside each other, where each coil works independently of one another. That's what running in the 4DFWD feels like. 

The 4DFWD is best suited to slow, relaxed efforts such as recovery or easy runs slower than 5 minutes 30 per kilometer. There's no snappiness in the forefoot or fast bounce-back from the 3D midsole upon foot strikes but it offers lots of “padded” cushioning.

On foot, the 4DFWD feels much lighter than its 337 g weight (for a US 9) suggests. The midsole has an airy feel to it so the shoe isn't bottom heavy. 

Transitions in the 4DFWD feel consistent from heel to toe-off, with the entire midsole being the same density. With the lattice midsole being so close to your foot, you can clearly feel the individual cells of the lattice compressing with each foot strike so transitions are not as smooth as in a foam midsole shoe.

Similar to a mattress with individual coils to support your mass, only the central part of the midsole lattice that your foot rests on compresses downwards. The outer sections of the 3D lattice are undisturbed so you get a clear “foot cupping” sensation and this increases ride stability.


Adidas 4DFWD Shoes

 

Conclusion

Adidas 4DFWD Shoes

With the 4DFWD, Adidas pushes the boundaries of innovation and technology. Adidas is now even further ahead of the competition when it comes to 3D printed midsoles.

The 4DFWD blurs the line between casual/lifestyle trainer and performance running shoe. It has a pleasant, cushioned ride suitable for relaxed runs with an extremely soft, comfortable upper.

The 4DFWD clearly has a more performance-oriented feel than previous 4D versions. The ride is more cushioned and the shoe converts downward force into forward propulsion for a more efficient ride.

As for the price, $280 is a lot to pay for a running shoe but in the 4DFWD, you're getting a truly unique, novel running experience which feels futuristic and engaging.

The 4DFWD is the type of running shoe that makes an impression and that people stop to take a second look at.

Adidas 4DFWD Shoes

Reviewed by Brandon Law

See the full Adidas 4DFWD collection here.

 

1 comment
by Muhammad Faiz on September 01, 2021

How would the ride and comfort differ between this and the RC elite v2? I’m more of a midfoot/heel striker. Wanna use for casual as well as runs. Thanks!

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