Adidas Springblade- Innovation or Gimmick?
With the launch of the Adidas Energy Boost earlier in the year, they promised a second shoe silo in line with their energy return series. This was to be called the Springblade, and all we were offered were a few pictures of the outsole. They certainly looked intriguing, and in my opinion, was definitely the ight choice to go second, after the Boost brought along the idea of energy return. The Boost was almost a stepping stone to get here; introduce the idea of energy return, then bring along something completely out there and different. With the Boost, you had a slight tweak on a classic, however there's not really been a shoe so drasitically different to everthing else since Nike came out with the Shox series. However, the idea behind these makes sense. You waste a lot of energy through landing, so why not turn that energy into something you can use? They are basically springs that have prelaced the traditional foam midsole. After 6 years of development, the Springblde is the result of numerous tests, and trials.
The blades are made of a plastic polymer that is hard enough for the springs to actually spring, but soft enough that they don't become brittle. the properties of the springs are different for each sise of shoe as well, takng into account the average weight of someone in each size. A mens size 11 will be completely different to a mens size 7. Which makes a lot of sense. Aside from the obvious cosmetic differences, the Boost and the Springblade differ in a few more subtle ways. The Boost is more for 'unlimited energy' and is a more suitable long distance shoe, however with the Adidas Springblade, you feel the 'explosive energy' response with every stride (or so we're told). Adidas' Head of Innovation has cleared up who they're suitable for too. 'A heel striker will probably get a little more out of it'. Which again, makes sense. If you're using all of the spings, you'll get more energy return than if you only use the front ones. Howver, he goes on to say 'it will return energy for any style of runner'.
The outsole is also modular; the springs at the back are are thicker than those at the front, designed to give the most energy return from the area you are hitting the ground hardest, another good idea. The blades are said to cope with all weather, however, I'd avoid going off road in them, as the outsole does not look like it would cope ith mud, and there is physical space between the sole and your feet, leaving an area for mud and dirt to accumulate. My main reservation about these shoes is how stable they will be, and how they will cope under extreme pressures/people who sit well outside the averge weight:shoe size ratio.
Aside from the outsole, the upper is nothing special, however I think that this is the right call. Using Techfit four way sretch fabric, the springblade is designed to fit snuggly to your foot. In terms of design, due to how striking the Springblades are, the upper has been kept simple. There were originlly plans for them to have stripes following each blade, however they were scrapped for fear of the blades becoming lost to the shoe. In terms of all round appeal, they look great.
Adidas has become one of the great innovators in the running market, first with the Boost, which has gone down extremely well. I can see the Springblades working, and all the ideas are there, but I would have to try them before coming to a proper conclusion. They are however onto something. I wouldn't write these off as a gimmick just yet, and may well shape the future of running shoes.
Due for release on August 1st, they will be retailing for around £150