When we talk about the best running shoes, the part that most people are interested in is the midsole. How tall is it? What's the drop? What material is it made of? How does it compare to X or Y foam? And while midsoles are super important in terms of performance, let's not forget that other parts of the running shoe are equally as important, including the outsole and upper, the latter of which is the biggest update of the Adidas ADIZERO Prime X Strung.
"We picked the Prime X because it's our North Star innovation at the top of the Adizero line", says Simon Lockett, Global Category Director of Running Footwear at Adidas, "It's the outside-of-the-rule-book kind of shoe – we're always testing the waters of what can we throw at it and how fast can we make it?" This approach is evident by looking at the three layers (!) of LIGHTSTRIKE PRO foam underfoot.
However, the ADIZERO Prime X Strung is not about the chunky midsole; as a matter of fact, it's practically unchanged since the last iteration of the shoes. No, the key update is the data-driven X Strung upper, coded thread by thread, that provides a "seamless, lightweight cocoon" around the foot, providing runners comfort and support.
And cocoon-y the X Strung looks, with crisscrossing yarns covering every inch of the upper. This seamless approach can be altered almost instantly, Simon explains, by loading a different code on the String machine that assembles the yarn. "We need to make sure the design is thoroughly tested, but once we pass these tests, the new design is ready to go", he adds.
The launch of the shoe also marks the first time Strung has been commercially available following the announcement of FUTURECRAFT.STRUNG two years ago. Back then, it was only a design concept, an idea of what could be achieved if the technology could be scaled up. The original photos of the upper (opens in new tab) featured a 3D-printed midsole design similar to the Adidas 4DFWD and Adidas 4DFWD 2.
Will we see the Strung upper on the 4DFWD or any other Adidas running shoes in the future? It's not impossible, although Simon airs on the side of caution by taking only one step at a time: "Once the shoes are launched to the public, we'll start gathering feedback from a larger group of people to see how the new upper fits and where we need to change things", he adds, "We're trying to be as runner-centric as possible."
The shoe features a number of colours, including Off White, Wonder Steel and Solar Orange. It will be available from 29 September 2022 at Adidas UK (opens in new tab) and priced at €275/£275/$295/AU$455. [PLEASE NOTE: UK/US/AUS prices are based on the EU price, which was the only official price communicated by Adidas at the time of writing.]
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