adidas adiZero Feather Men's Tennis Shoe Shoe Review
- Awkward Arch Support
- Tough Break-in Period
|AdiZero Feather Scores|
|Overall Sole Durability||3.9|
The Feather has been very popular with Touring Professionals in years past because at the top level of the sport, speed is of the essence. The latest Feather, the adizero Feather, offers not only the speed of past iterations, but improved all court performance. Whereas the CC Feathers were best suited to soft court surfaces such as clay (due to the aggressively pimpled outsole pattern), the adiZero Feather features a herringbone pattern in the durable adiwear 6 rubber compound for longer lasting traction on hard courts. Clay specific versions of the adiZero Feather will feature a different outsole pattern specifically suited to clay. From the midfoot through the heel of the shoe the extended torsion system adds more support and stability. With these changes comes a new, sleek look as well.
How would the adizero Feather perform for our playtest team? We took these adiZero Feathers off their perch for a month-long test to see how well they'd fly . . .
Comfort - Score: 2.1
With a narrow last and an awkward arch support, all of our playtesters had to endure a break-in period in the adiZero Feathers. Chris had to work out the kinks before finding comfort, saying, "These shoes definitely required a break-in. On the first few wears the arch was uncomfortable and made my feet ache after play. The support seemed to break-in and the footbed conformed to the shape of my feet on about the fifth wear. From then on I had no arch issues. The ankle collar also pinched throughout the test. To counter the pinching, I had to tie the lower laces tightly and keep the last two eyelets strung loosely, that way I could get some support without discomfort. I liked the cushioning of the shoes and the rest of the uppers felt supple and comfortable. If I paid close attention to how I laced the shoes, I was playing in comfort for the rest of the test."
Finding the use of two pairs of socks to be beneficial during the break-in period was Jackson. He said, "The shoe was not lacking in comfort, it just needed a little love - and two pairs of socks. If you can suck it up and deal with the stiffness of the materials out of the box, youÕll be left with a high performing, yet cushioned shoe. The upper is what caused most of the problems (high ankle collar, unyielding material); the insole was cushioned nicely, and once my foot molded into the shoe the bottoms of my feet thanked me and my opponents loathed me. The insole was soft and offered the perfect amount of rebound and support to make changing directions a breeze. IÕd definitely wear two pairs of socks for the break-in period if I were to get these shoes again."
Jose had some initial discomfort. He offered, "I felt a pinch on the lateral side of the shoe toward my pinky on each shoe. I didn't get any blisters, but there was enough irritation for me to notice during play. I definitely had to go through a break-in period with this shoe."
Spencer felt the break-in to be a bit harsh. He stated, "The one aspect in comfort I can say was good was the underside of the tongue. The thin, perforated padding of the tongue that contacts the top of the foot, once in place, offers excellent comfort. Getting the tongue in place and comfortable did take some effort, though. The rubber compound of the padding would grab my sock, bunching it up toward the ankle when I was trying to slide the shoe on. I would loosen the shoe as much as possible to limit the bunching as best I could. Other than that, comfort in this Feather left much to be desired. Though light weight, this latest version of the Feather feels a bit stiff and runs a bit narrow. Unlike the previous Feather, there doesn't seem to be as much give in the upper, making break-in a bear. I also felt the arches were a tad out of place, as the support was positioned forward of my arches. There was also a lack of precision in the lacing system, making it tough to 'fine tune' the laces. I didn't feel I could cinch the laces in the places where I needed the shoe to conform to my foot shape. When I played at full speed (on my third outing) it took just over a set to develop dime size blisters on both pinky toes, both tearing and bleeding. Finally, it took about 5 hours of court time to get to a point that I could play in them without damage to my feet. I was excited to wear test this shoe because of the great aesthetics, but I must say I was extremely disappointed in the harsh break-in period."
Ventilation - Score: 3.2
In the adiZero Feathers there was enough breathability to keep feet cool. Jackson felt the ventilation was sufficient for his feet. He explained, "I didnÕt really notice anything fantastic in the way of vents. Walking around in the rain and puddles didnÕt pose a threat, as my socks stayed dry, but despite the seemingly waterproof upper I didnÕt have a problem with my feet overheating. The material of the shoe might be the key to this phenomenon. The tongue was thin and had perforations, and even though it didnÕt feel like a summer breeze on my feet, the vents in the toebox (although small) seemed to aid in the evacuation of the swamp gasses."
Chris agreed, stating, "I didn't have issues with my feet getting hot in these shoes. The uppers are well perforated, and I liked the way the perforations were subtle so as not to hinder the lines and style of the shoe. The perforations are not noticeable from just a few feet away. However, closer inspection shows perforations running all around the shoes."
Jose had hoped for better ventilation. He said, "The ventilation wasn't as good as it is in most performance shoes. The design of the shoe didn't provide much ventilation as my feet got hot pretty quickly."
Having no issues on this front was Spencer, who said, "Though it seems there was room for better breathability, I never felt my feet were hot, or were in need of air. They aren't as ventilated as the previous version, but suffice just the same."
Arch Support - Score: 2.1
All of the playtesters felt the arch support to be a bit of an issue until the shoes were broken-in. Experiencing a bit of deja vu was Spencer. He said, "Reminiscent of the adidas CC Genius, the arch tended to sit forward in the shoe, more toward the toe. Though not as severe as the Genius, I still found irritation on both feet, losing skin on the first wear in the location forward of my arches. After the first couple of wears, they conformed better to my feet, and I didn't notice it as much."
Chris also had to deal with some support issues, stating, "I had a lot of discomfort in my arches for about the first five wears of these shoes. It was almost as if there was a raised area on the lateral side of the shoe and I felt a lot of pressure on the outside edge of my arch and the lateral side of my foot. The arch support was also in a very forward position in the shoe and not really under the arch of my foot. Once the support was broken-in, everything felt fine. Torsionally the shoes felt very rigid and stable. After the first week I was good to go and that lateral rigidity made the shoes very supportive."
Questioning if he had the right size was Jackson. He said, "At first I thought the feeling I was experiencing from the arch was due to the fact that the shoes mightÕve fit a bit large, but more wear confirmed that the arch seemed to be situated further up towards the toebox than what IÕm accustomed to. The high arch forced my foot forward against the lateral wall of the shoe. This caused me problems when changing directions laterally. Since my toes had nowhere to go but up, I experienced blistering on the top of the ŌknucklesĶ on my two outside toes."
Jose felt the support was not ideal, saying, "The arch support felt average, as I did get some support. Since I have semi flat feet I can feel the support on most shoes. With the adizero Feather I felt some support, but it was a little out of place."
Foot Support/Stability - Score: 4.2
For the lightness of the shoes, the support and stability offered by the adiZero Feather was excellent. Jose said, "I would say the stability was great. My feet didn't slide around on any lateral movement. On top of that, I didn't feel my ankles were going to roll over, which is always good."
Chris agreed, saying, "I found the ride to be very stable and supportive. My feet didn't slide around inside the shoes and I felt confident moving very aggressively in them. I liked the way the uppers supported my feet without being stiff or heavy. The rear of the shoe felt very locked in and I felt very safe, with no worries about rolling an ankle, etc. Again, I thought the ride was similar to the Genius line rather than previous versions of the CC Feathers."
Comparing the ride to the Barricade was Jackson. He remarked, "For having such a thin upper and narrow fit, I thought this shoe offered great stability. The outsole felt like a less clunky Barricade, which IÕve always praised for the stability I get from the extended torsion design. The thin, lightweight upper with reinforced plastic helped to keep my feet from moving around inside the shoe too much."
Spencer enjoyed the lateral support and stability. He stated, "I felt secure during lateral movements. I could plant and change direction with a solid, secure feeling. It was moving forward and having to stop abruptly where my feet slid a little bit inside the shoes. I attribute this to the lacing system, as I felt I couldn't properly cinch the shoes in the most favorable way."
Sole Durability - Score: 3.9
With an updated herringbone pattern outsole, most of our testers felt the durability was increased from previous versions of the Feather. Spencer was impressed with the weight to durability ratio. He said, "Considering the weight of the shoe, I felt it held up rather well. I noticed a normal amount of wear in the usual places, but nothing premature."
Jackson was amazed by the enduring outsole. He stated, "I ran a lot in these shoes and I barely saw any wear. The grooves on the outsole run deep, and even the high-wear areas I normally wear out first seemed like they were barely scratched. It seems like in lieu of a guarantee they decided to put a durable armor on the outsole of these kicks."
Jose felt this latest version of Feather offered the most durability. He raved, "The adiZero Feather seems to be a lot more durable than any of the previous Feather models. I think the new outsole pattern with adiwear 6 was a good move."
Feeling the durability to be in line with a speed shoe was Chris. He said, "The outsoles wore down quickly. I wore through the outsole material under the big toe of my right foot. Being as this is a speed oriented shoe, I didn't expect great durability. I would say the level of durability would be on par with other speed oriented shoes I've tested."
Toe Durability - Score: 4.1
The toe bumpers proved to hold up well with our toe dragging testers. Chris put the toe bumpers to the test, and they passed. He said, "I drag my toes a lot and the tips of the shoes held up well. The material at the toe really got marked up from contact with the courts, but it proved to be durable. Cosmetically, the toes looked bad after the first hit as the shiny toe piece quickly showed wear. However, the material proved to be durable and lasted the length of the test."
Feeling the toes were impenetrable was Jackson, stating, "Just by looking at the shoe you can tell it could stand up to some serious scraping. Not only does the shoe have a sturdy toe guard, but the material the upper is made from seems unlikely to be worn through. Even more than that, thereÕs a studded armor plate on the medial side, just short of the big toe, for those that do some hardcore dragging."
Traction - Score: 4.6
The combination of the updated tread (herringbone pattern) and adiwear 6 rubber had the adizero Feather impressing our testers with traction for the duration of the test. Chris felt this was the shoe's best feature. He said, "The most impressive part of the test for me was the traction I found in them. I was able to quickly stop, start and change directions without fear of slipping too much. When the shoes did break loose, slippage was minimal and I was able to quickly gather up my footwork and get back in the point."
Jose agreed, saying, "Traction was good and I didn't have any problems stopping or getting started. The sole of the shoe, in my opinion, is the best overall part of the adiZero Feather."
Thrilled with the performance was Jackson. He stated, "Again, this area seemed to keep in line with the adidas tradition of being a high-performance shoe. The outsole design could be utilized on a variety of different court surfaces. On hard courts I found the traction to be superb. Stopping, starting, and changing directions were all effortless. Add the lightweight factor to that and you have a shoe that really panders to the retrievers out there."
Spencer was impressed as well, saying, "I thought the traction was pretty good. I liked the change in outsole from the previous version, as the herringbone works much better on hard courts. The adiwear 6 compound impresses yet again."
Weight - Score: 4.6
Offering a light weight feel, yet providing a supportive ride, the adiZero Feathers impressed our testers. Spencer said, "Though they are almost an ounce heavier than the CC Feather IV's, they still felt very fast. I was very happy with the combination of support, stability and lightness of these shoes."
Jackson also liked the ride in the adiZero Feathers, saying, "I really enjoyed the way this shoe felt on my foot as far as weight goes. If it werenÕt for the narrowness in the toebox, I could run all day in this shoe and feel like a million bucks when my feet finally decided to stop."
Chris was moving at full speed. He said, "I really liked the light feel I found in these shoes. They definitely felt fast and I was moving well in them. The uppers felt especially light and flexible, which added to the fast feel. Most impressive though, was the fact they were so supportive while being light."
Jose offered, "It was definitely a light weight shoe compared the rest of the adidas line up, and it offered excellent performance."
Overall - Score: 2.9
If one thing was clear, it was that this was an entirely new Feather. Improvements included a great new look, enhanced stability and a new, more durable outsole. Our testers were impressed with this new found stability, while most also noticed better durability. On the flip side, the adiZero Feather came in almost an ounce heavier than the previous version. The added support and stability was the benefit of that added weight. Along with that support and stability came a stiffer feel. This, along with a narrow fit and awkward arch, made for a tough break-in for our testers. When eventually broken in, the adiZero Feather proved to perform extremely well.
Chris - "I liked the cosmetics, traction, support and weight. I got a lot of compliments when wearing these shoes."
Jackson - "The light weight and traction made running down balls effortless. It reinforced my confidence in my stamina and court movement. The shoe also looks pretty wizard."
Jose - "I liked the durability and the traction. I would say it's pretty durable for a shoe that doesn't have a 6 month warranty."
Spencer - "The aesthetics and weight."
Chris - "Arch support during break in was uncomfortable. Also the ankle collar pinched my ankle if I laced the shoes tightly."
Jackson - "Probably the first thing I noticed before anything else, and the most rued aspect, was the lacing system. The materials, coupled with the way the shoe was laced, made tying them a chore, however, overtightening your shoes would be near impossible. The long break-in period and stiff materials were also difficult to get past at first. The arch also posed a problem, and there definitely needed to be an adjustment period in order to get used to its positioning."
Jose - "The comfort of the shoe was not great by any means. Tennis is a hard enough sport without having to worry about my feet hurting."
Spencer - "Lack of comfort, the lacing system, and the horrendous break-in."
Compared to other shoes or brands
Chris - "This shoe reminded me a lot of the CC Genius. The fit and feel felt very similar, as I also had issues with the arch support in the CC Genius."
Jackson - "I really felt like I was wearing a shoe born from the loins of the Barricade and Genius that was raised by a pack of wild Feathers."
Jose - "The best shoe to compare it to would be the adidas CC Genius II. If the CC Genius II was a shoe you enjoyed then this one should be a shoe that you will enjoy as well."
Spencer - "For me this was a downgrade in many ways to previous Feathers, as it lacked the pliability in the upper for comfort. It seems they used the same last as the CC Genius, which did not work well for my feet, either."
Playtester Foot Types:
Chris - Narrow width/low arch
Jackson - Medium Width / Medium arch
Jose - Medium Width / Medium arch
Spencer - Medium width/Medium arch
Review date: January 2011. If you found this review interesting or have further questions or comments please contact us.
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