The Adidas Spring Blade is one of the coolest running shoe designs to date.
If you were going to do a lot of running — think zombie apocalypse or, you know, getting in shape… for the zombie apocalypse — this would be an excellent shoe to choose. They definitely look worthy of a test run.
When I was younger, I had quite the shoe habit. I would go through a pair of athletic shoes like a college kid going through cheap beer. I enjoyed putting them to the test, and I wouldn’t hesitate to return them if they didn’t perform.
I was such a shoe geek, I’d draw up ideas for various performance shoes and send them off to companies, suggesting how they could make their shoes better. I didn’t quite understand design patents and intellectual property back then, so I’d just like to say that the modern Nike Triple Jump shoes look very similar to what I suggested as a teen.
As I grew up and moved on and out, I found it quite fitting that I landed at Ralph Lauren Footwear for a short employment stint during my days in New York City. Mind you, I was answering phones, prepping paperwork and greeting clients — a far cry from designing shoes. Though I was of peon status, I’d still ask questions and make suggestions.
When it comes to building footwear, there has always been a fine balance between design meeting technology and available technology providing for design.
Nike Air offered the first modern, jaw-dropping design in the realm of athletic shoes with Air Max. Since then, we’ve seen others follow suit with a variety of gimmicks and poorly executed concepts, none of which have reliably helped boost performance. Remember Nike and Reebok “pump” shoes? Sweet mercy, they were awesomely terrible.
In the world of running, follow-ups like Nike Shox were (and arguably still are) crap — a good walking shoe for arthritics, but heavy as a horseshoe for legit runners. The recent Reebok ZigZag attempted to be something of a groundbreaker, but the shoe’s durability sucked and Reebok contracted Chad “Ocho Cinco” Johnson to be a model and spokesperson. Bad mojo.
New Balance, Asics, Brooks, Mizuno and Saucony have all remained consistent in providing excellent shoes for logging miles and racing, but none have really begged for the spotlight.
It’s completely appropriate that the sci-fi shoe you see here has been produced by the original innovator in athletic shoes, Adidas. The company founded by Adolph “Adi” Dassler and his brother, Rudolph Dassler, provided the shoes to Jesse Owens in the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games. That’s not to say Owens won four gold medals because of his shoes, but rather that he chose to run in the shoes from Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory, often referred to as “the brand with three stripes.”
It’ll cost a bit ($180) to ride the Adidas Spring Blades, but the design technology seems rooted in some solid physics: a nice payoff of potential to kinetic energy return. Here’s hoping they’re a little bit lighter than they look.