Taking the adidas AlphaBOUNCE for a Test Spin

Is this the beginning of a new era for adidas Running?

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Within the sneaker community, there’s little doubt that adidas has found a new lane. Between the explosion of their Boost technology, collaborations with style luminaries like Pharrell, and the general overall presence of some guy named Kanye, the 3-Stripes brand spent much of the past few years solidifying their status as a premier luxury centerpiece for anyone looking to up their Instagram and style aesthetic, in general, to hypebeast levels. Complex even went so far as to name it the top men’s style brand of 2015, beating out iconic labels like Gucci and Supreme.

And as adidas builds on their lifestyle formula, merging star turns with athletes like James Harden with even more designs for cornerstone silhouettes like the Ultra Boost and NMD, the brand is showing it won’t be resting on laurels anytime soon.

Next up is the AlphaBOUNCE, the latest runner that wants to innovate without isolating. Designer George Robusti spent over a year working on this new shoe, in part because, as he explained to us recently, this isn’t your typical runner. Robusti explained that adidas had “the opportunity to allow the process and the technology and the innovation to look fresh and work in the right way.” 

The finished product features an entirely unique upper, with a push to be expansive in all of the right regions of the foot. Perhaps most importantly, the branding is kept to a minimum, making this yet another potential banger that can not only keep you fit as a performance shoe but can also work in a lifestyle capacity. In the 2016 landscape, that’s a major key.

The AlphaBOUNCE is available now for $100. If you’re still on the fence, read on for a breakdown of everything you need to know about this new shoe.

CHAPTER 1: FIT

A true-to-size shoe that sports a new mesh upper without the inclusion of seams? I can dig it. Perhaps one of the most intriguing aspects of the AlphaBOUNCE was the creation of FORGEDMESH for the upper, which is all about simplifying the running shoe down to its purest form. You can really feel it too. There is incredible range of motion for the foot on virtually any surface–street, rock, hill, grass–and yet it feels secure enough that it won’t cause issues should you, as the brand hopes, take it through varying degrees of performance. The designers at adidas also added just enough give within the shoe to allow for expansion in key areas.

CHAPTER 2: ANKLE SUPPORT

The sneaker doesn’t provide much in ankle support, but does feature a padded collar for cushioning within the lower cut, as well as a pull-tab on the heel and branding on the tongue (one of the few areas of the shoe that actually features any adidas logo).

CHAPTER 3: CUSHIONING

This is perhaps my favorite part of the shoe. The full-length Bounce midsole offers many of the same benefits as the game-changing Boost tech—specifically that bounce-back that makes you feel like you’re almost floating on air. Foam-crafted, it offers just enough give on the arch of the foot so that when you’re flexing you barely notice that you’re wearing shoes at all. Part of the appeal behind this new franchise is the “get in the zone” storyline, where runners can feel like they’re transported to somewhere that almost feels like an out-of-body experience. That aspect shines through here.

CHAPTER 4: TRACTION

As with most multifunctional running shoes, this outsole is designed to help you withstand daily use on just about any surface. I took this pair into Central Park in New York City to test out whether the shoe worked as well as advertised on a number of different surfaces. It came through. The ADIWEAR outsole, a staple for many modern adidas running shoes like the Energy Boost, is a flexible rubber that offers durable protection. That’s a must for anyone looking to seriously charge up their workouts this summer.

The adidas AlphaBOUNCE will be hard-pressed to match the success of something like the Ultra Boost–a silhouette that was originally marketed as a performance shoe but quickly became something else entirely–but it does promise unique innovations for the consumer, all while still keeping the appeal of something that can work in a variety of situations. And after a strong launch that saw this sneaker sell out in just 24 hours, don’t be surprised if the AlphaBOUNCE becomes one of this summer’s MVPs.