Adidas Barricade II Mid Tennis Shoe Review
When we reviewed the adidas Barricade IIs back in 2002 we were very impressed with the way the shoes performed. We found adidas had successfully followed the popular Equipment Barricade (the original Barricade I), and created an excellent performance shoe. For many players, the Barricade II rewrote the book on what to expect from a performance tennis shoe.
The Barricade II was an instant hit on the pro tour, as well as at clubs and on public courts the world over. Available in only a low-cut version to the general public, the Mid version tested here was born out of necessity rather than original design.
Because pro players Nicolas Kiefer and Jonas Bjorkman were experiencing some fit issues due to their use of thick orthotic inserts, adidas produced a special "pro only" version of the Barricade II with a mid-cut upper. With a higher fit around the ankle collar, the Barricade II Mid offered Kiefer and Bjorkman the security they needed to compete with the world's best. Now available to the general public, we put the Barricade II Mid to the test. Would the subtle differences of the Mid transfer in a big way to the courts? Our playtest team proudly strapped on these mid-cut shoes and hit the courts. These are our findings.
Our playtest team was in total agreement; the Barricade II Mids had plenty of cushioning that provided a very comfortable ride. Chris really enjoyed the overall comfort of the shoes right out of the box. "I found these shoes very comfortable. I especially liked the feel around the ankle collar. I found the shoes to be not so much of a mid, just more padded around the ankle. They felt extremely comfortable in that area. The rest of the shoes also felt very supple. These shoes did not require a break-in for me. I was able to play in them comfortably on my first wear. I found a fair bit of flex in the shoes, which made them very comfortable both on and off the court." Also noticing that these shoes needed no break-in was Jon. "The shoes were very comfortable right out of the box. They were an instant favorite with this tester. The cushioning was soft, but it didn't affect stability, nor did it appear to have signs of early breakdown, which I find common with softer midsoles."
Ryan S was also very impressed with the comfort from the shoes. "Overall, really good cushioning, and by far the best mid shoe I've worn in a long time. There was a little bit of rubbing around the top of the tongue and my ankle. But I think that this is more a result of me not being used to mid shoes rather than the shoe itself. Besides this, the comfort was top notch. I found the fit more on the narrow side, which is great for my slightly narrow feet." Enjoying how the shoe accommodated his wide foot width was Jason. "These shoes were quite cushioned and comfortable right out of the box. I would describe the ride as firm yet comfortable. The overall fit of the shoe really suited my foot shape. The toe box was a bit wider so my toes didn't feel pinched."
Most of our playtesters had no problems with the arch of the Barricade II Mids, although players with a higher arch would've appreciated a bit more support. Finding no drawbacks to the arch support was Ryan S. "Arch support was awesome. Perfect for my arch. I had no problems whatsoever." Jason added, "The arch support was good; it was something that I didn't have to think about when I stepped out on the court. I experienced no discomfort at all."
Noticing a slight lack of arch support was Chris. "The arch support was a little low for me. I would have liked a higher support as well as more lateral stiffness under my arches. The shoe has a very thin shank under the midfoot, but I would have liked more substantial support to stiffen up the shoe." Jon found the arch support to be acceptable. "Arch support was fair. I would have liked a little more support. Luckily, arch support is easily remedied with quality after-market insoles such as Superfeet."
Our playtest team had no problems running around the court with these shoes and our entire team found a good level of support. The shoes had no problems handling Jon's bigger frame. "These shoes felt very stable. I didn't experience any sliding or any ankle roll. I carry a little more weight than the average tennis player (at least compared to my circle of tennis playing friends), and the shoes handled starting/stopping with relative ease. Quick lateral movements proved no problems either." Finding the support to be the icing on the cake for these shoes was Ryan S. "This is one feature that makes the Barricade II Mid one my favorite mid-cut shoes. My feet never slid around inside them. I never had any ankle issues, and I actually was really impressed with these shoes because the stability was so good."
Chris would've liked a stiffer shoe. "The fit in the forefoot stretched out on me in these shoes. What started out as a snug but comfortable fit, turned into a tad too much room for my narrow feet. I was able to adjust my sock choices to fill the shoes out a little, but never found that same, snug and secure feeling I had at the start of the test. The shoes also flexed more than recent Barricades. When I was really pushing hard in these shoes, I missed the lateral stability I found in both the Barricade 3s and IVs." Jason found that he could rely on the shoes to support his feet during hard-fought rallies. "The stability I found was great. I was very confident about making abrupt cuts and quick changes of direction. The foot support was good, though I would've liked the collar to be a bit snugger. I felt I couldn't cinch up the shoe as tight as I would have liked because the collar was so open and soft."
We were very impressed with how well the Barricade II Mids held up through our rigorous playtest. Jason was in awe of how well the rubber held up. "I've spent more time on court with this shoe than most other playtest shoes, and the durability of the outsole is very impressive. The only signs I saw of the tread balding was on the inner toes, and even that was minimal." Jon was also amazed by the durability. "I was surprised the outsoles held up so well considering the traction I was getting. I thought the high traction would surely translate to a softer, shorter-lived outsole. This was not the case with these shoes. I typically see a lot of wear at the toe/ball of the foot area. These shoes did not seem to wear nearly as quickly as some of the more recent shoes I have tried."
Chris would recommend these shoes for playing on hard courts. "While these shoes didn't feel as substantial as the Barricade 3s or IVs, the outsoles held up very well. I would recommend these for a player seeking a durable shoe for hard court play as they offered impressive durability in a light feeling ride." The Barricade II Mids met the durability expectations of Ryan S. "The sole durability was very good. I found the wear similar to the Barricade II in the low-cut. There was no difference here, and the shoes had good durability."
Just like our first playtest with the Barricade IIs, we found that the toe guard of the Barricade II Mids held up remarkably well. Chris did his best to put the toe guard to the test. "I drag my toes when I play, but had no issues with these shoes. The outsole material comes up over the toe tip and did a good job of protecting the front of the shoe. When dragging higher up, over the top of the toe, I found the abrasion resistant material there to be very durable. Top marks from me."
Not much of a toe dragger, Jason said, "adidas went with a rubber toe guard as opposed to a cloth-like material. The durability of the rubber was quite impressive, as it didn't even show signs of scuffing or scratches. Even though I am not a chronic toe dragger, I was still amazed to see how effective the toe guard was." Jon found more than enough toe protection. "I experienced some wear on the toe, but not anything unusual. The toe didn't look to have the beefiness to them of other Barricades so I expected this to be a weakness for my play style. To my surprise the toe held up great. It appears to have just enough outsole overlap to keep the toe area protected."
With a combination of the herringbone pattern and pivot point pattern on the outsoles, our playtest team found the Barricade II Mids to grip the hard courts very well. Chris felt these shoes helped him move easily on the court. "I was moving well in these shoes. I never lost grip, no matter how hard I pushed off or stopped. When playing both singles and doubles, I felt like I was moving very well and enjoyed a high level of traction. I only played on hard courts in these shoes, and thought the level of traction was excellent." Jason felt the same way. "The traction was fantastic with these shoes. The rubber gripped the court well, and the pivot point allowed me to make turns and cuts without having slippage issues. There were only a handful of times during the whole playtest that I felt the shoe not maintain its traction."
Experiencing no slippage issues was Ryan S. "The traction was top notch. I didn't slip one time in all my playing in these shoes. That is something!" These shoes really helped Jon sprint from sideline to sideline. "For me, quick lateral movements are usually a good indication of how well the show will grip the court. I was impressed with the BIIs ability to smother the court, providing ample traction and response to change in direction. If I couldn't get to a drop shot, it was no fault of the shoe."
Surprisingly, both the low-cut version and the mid have the same average 16 ounce weight. Although not the lightest of shoes, the weight of the Barricade II Mids was not an issue with our testers. Finding the weight to be just right was Chris. "I liked the overall weight of these shoes. They never felt heavy and clunky, nor did they feel too light and sloppy. All in all, I thought the weight and feel was a good match for the durability and comfort the shoes offered."
Jason and Jon didn't give the weight of the shoe a second thought, which was a good thing. According to Jason, "The weight of the shoe was something that pretty much went unnoticed, which is a good thing. These shoes still seemed to have a substantial amount of support, even though they're more than an ounce lighter than the Barricade IVs." Added Jon, "The Mid felt light compared to other mids I have tried. The shoe has good balance and maneuverability. I like it when I don't notice the shoes on my feet while I play. Some shoes are too light, too heavy or poorly balanced. These shoes did not suffer from any of the above." Finding the shoes to feel substantial was Ryan S. "To meet they felt kind of heavy, but then what mid-cut shoe isn't? However, it wasn't a bad heavy, where I felt like I had a huge bulky shoe on."
We had high expectations of the adidas Barricade II Mid for two reasons: one being that the low cut Barricade II tested so well when it debuted, and second, it bore the famous "Barricade" name on its tongue. When it was all said and done, the Barricade II Mid lived up to that name. Not surprisingly, we found many similar characteristics between the mid and the low, but the mid did provide more support. A standout characteristic of the shoe had to be the traction; the shoe gripped the court exceptionally well across the board for the playtesters. We could see why this was such a popular shoe on the ATP Tour. This is certainly another hit for both adidas and its Barricade line. adidas has really done it again. By raising the ankle collar from the Barricade IIs, it also raised the bar for the industry when it comes to mid-cut shoes.