adidas Barricade 8+ Shoe Review
- Toe Durability
- Some toe jamming
adidas listened to the feedback from their loyal Barricade fan base before designing their newest Barricade, the Barricade 8+, and this subtle update to the Barricade line features a softer upper, providing a more comfortable and flexible feel right out of the box. Everything else about this shoe is relatively unchanged, so the hallmark support, stability and durability that we've come to know and love from the Barricade line is still there. While the Barricade 8+ isn't significantly different from other Barricades, it certainly gives avid tennis players a good reason to get their feet back into the most stable and durable tennis shoe line on the market.
Comfort - Score: 3.3
Our playtesters had mixed feelings when it came to the comfort of the Barricade 8+, but they all agreed that it was improved over the previous version. Mark was taken aback by the comfort of the shoe. "Out of the box comfort from a high-end Barricade╔what?!" he exclaimed. "This is the most comfort-oriented Barricade I have tried to date. I felt like I had 360 degrees of comfort around my feet from this latest version."
Andy was a little less enthusiastic but he still felt the softer and more flexible upper made the Barricade 8+ more comfortable than the Barricade 8. He said, "While comfort isn't necessarily the strength of these shoes, it certainly wasn't an issue like it was in the previous version. The cushioning isn't extremely plush, but the upper is softer and more flexible, making them quite pleasant on court. I had a bit of an issue with 'toe-jamming' when I came to an abrupt stop, but it's not as bad as it was with the Barricade 8s."
Like the rest of the group, Jason noted the more supple material in the upper. However, he didn't feel like the biggest comfort problem he had with the Barricade 8 was solved. He explained, "Is it more comfortable than the previous model? Yes and no. Yes, because the uppers are softer so the break-in time is minimized and the flex and feel are improved. No, because the main problem with the Barricade 8, the painful toe jamming, was not addressed. This is such a key point for me because it happens so often with these shoes, and it's the main reason for my low score."
Ventilation - Score: 4.1
Breathability was never an issue for our team throughout our playtest of the Barricade 8+. Jason had no complaints, saying, "The new upper and mesh pattern didn't really change the breathability for me. I thought it was fine in the Barricade 8, and it continued to be fine in the Barricade 8+."
Andy also had no problems, saying, "Breathability was never an issue during play. My feet never got unusually hot or sweaty during the playtest. Even during our hot summer months my feet remained at a tolerable temperature during play."
Agreeing with the others was Mark, who said, "My feet never overheated in 85-90 degree heat. For sole warranty shoes, they had good ventilation."
Arch Support - Score: 4.3
Arch support has always been a strong feature in the Barricade line, and it was no different with the Barricade 8+. Andy likes having a lot of support through the arch, so it was no surprise that these worked well for him. He offered, "I really enjoy the arch support the Barricade line typically offers, and this iteration was no different. A strong lift under my arch really helps keep my knees and back comfortable during long hours on court, and these shoes certainly delivered that. If you're bothered by a lot of arch support in your shoes then these may not be the best option for you, but they definitely worked well in that area for me."
Jason struggled a bit with his flatter feet, but after a lengthy break-in period the support through the arch worked out fine for him. He explained, "The arch definitely took some time to break in for me. With most shoes it only takes a couple of trips to the court before the arches flatten out a bit and mold to my feet, but in these shoes it took about five trips to the court before that happened. They did break-in, though, and once that happened the soreness was gone."
The support through the arch worked well for Mark. He said, "I prefer a slightly higher arch, but I never felt like my feet were flattening or my arches were being stretched out during play."
Foot Support/Stability - Score: 4.3
Our playtesters noted the exceptional lateral stability of the Barricade 8+, but they found their feet slipping up and back when coming to an abrupt stop. Mark explained, "I would have given the Barricade 8+ a perfect score if I only moved side-to-side on the tennis court because the lateral stability is absolutely top notch. The reason I did not give it a 5 is that when I slammed on the brakes during forward motion to the net my feet slid to the front of the shoes a little more than I would like."
Jason had a similar experience. He shared, "If we're strictly talking about the stability, I probably would've given this shoe a perfect 5. It is built like a tank and about as stable as one. I really felt like I could aggressively move side to side without any hesitation. The deduction in the score came from the lack of support. Like I mentioned in my comfort comments, the toe jamming was a major issue. One of the reasons for that was that my feet would slide forward inside the shoes. I was unable to truly lock in my feet no matter how tightly I laced my shoes."
Andy thought highly of the overall support and stability of the Barricade 8+. He raved, "A hallmark of the Barricade line, the stability once again didn't disappoint. The shoes are ultra stable and provided more than enough protection in all areas -- from the forefoot, midfoot and ankle collar. I did notice a little bit of heel slippage during play (just a little bit), but I never felt in danger of rolling over during an aggressive lateral move."
Overall Sole Durability - Score: 4.8
The durability of the Barricade 8+ outsole certainly lived up to the extremely high expectation that the Barricade name warrants. Jason couldn't put a dent in his pair, saying, "The Barricade 8+ continues the legacy of the Barricade name. I've worn my pair for over 18 hours, and the outsole looks untouched. There are no signs of balding anywhere."
Andy felt that the Barricade 8+ may be the most durable tennis shoes around. He raved, "I don't want to sound like a broken record, but durability is always impressive with Barricades, and once again, the 8+ is no exception. After the duration of the playtest there is still plenty of tread left and very little signs of wear. I don't know how adidas does it, but it's very impressive how well the outsole holds up. The durability got top marks from me, and these shoes may be the best the market has to offer in this category."
Mark concurred, saying, "I have over 25 hours of play on my Barricade 8+ so far, and I am certain that I have more than another 25 hours left. The outsole of the shoe has not been worn down at all, which is really good news for parents of junior players."
Toe Durability - Score: 4.5
While not as bullet-proof as the outsole, the toe area of the Barricade 8+ still held up extremely well throughout the playtest. Mark, our lone toe dragger on this test, once again praised how well these shoes hold up to even the most aggressive movements. He said, "The toe wore down faster than other parts of the shoe, but it is still durable enough to be the standard to which other durability shoes are compared."
Traction - Score: 4.4
The Barricade 8+ offered excellent traction for our playtesters for the entire playtest. They worked well for Andy, who said, "The traction is extremely good and quite sticky. These shoes may offer a bit too much stick for you if you like to slide aggressively on hard courts. However, I often use the slide, and by the time I finished the playtest I had a good enough feel for the shoes that I could make them work for me. This shoe would be an excellent choice for players who don't slide."
Mark agreed, adding, "The traction on all of the hard courts I played on was great. I prefer just a bit of slip when I put the brakes on, and the rubber compound/tread pattern of the Barricade 8+ provided the right amount of stick versus slip."
Echoing the others was Jason, who raved, "In a word, excellent! In two words, top notch! The traction on these shoes was second to none. I was able to move and start and stop, all without any slippage issues. I had to dock them slightly because they seem to be squeakier than most shoes."
Weight - Score: 3.5
There's no hiding the fact that the Barricade 8+ is in a heavier weight class, but our playtesters didn't feel the weight hampered their performance all that much on court. Jason felt that the extra weight was worth what it provided in performance. He explained, "This is a Barricade shoe after all, so I didn't expect anything less than a tank-like feel. The shoes offered so much durability, traction and stability that the positives outweighed the negatives. Pun intended."
Andy was able to get comfortable with the heft of the Barricade 8+ as the playtest wore on. He explained, "The durability and stability these shoes offer came at a cost, and it's no secret that the Barricades are heavy shoes. However, they didn't feel as clunky as I expected. After a bit of an adjustment period I felt I was able to move at close to top speed without the weight of the shoes slowing me down."
Mark felt quick in the Barricade 8+. He said, "The new Barricade 8+ is just a bit heavier than the standard 8, but lighter than the Barricade V. They have an average weight for a sole warranty shoe, but unlike some other warranty shoes I have played in, these did not feel clunky on the court. They still felt like fast shoes."
Overall - Score: 4.0
Jason - "Very stable and the traction and durability are the best in the business. The Barricade 8+ broke in more easily than the Barricade 8."
Andy - "Top notch durability, stability and arch support. Improved comfort over the previous version."
Mark - "The Barricade 8+ exhibited a good blend of comfort, ventilation, durability and stability -- all in a package that looks great."
Jason - "The toe jamming issue continued with this update."
Andy - "Still not the most comfortable shoe out there, and they're quite heavy."
Mark - "The heel sat a bit too high above the ball of my foot for my liking, causing my foot to slide forward in the shoe during a quick stop."
Comparing the Barricade 8+ to other shoes they've worn, our testers said:
Jason - "Subtle updates to the Barricade 8 gives the Barricade 8+ a softer feel, but its DNA is pure Barricade."
Andy - "It's VERY similar in its fit and feel to the Barricade 8, but the new upper is softer and more flexible, making the Barricade 8+ more comfortable than its predecessor. I'd still have to give the edge to the 7's and V's overall, but the 8+ is a step in the right direction for the Barricade line. If you weren't too turned off by the Barricade 8, and you enjoy that signature feel, give the Barricade 8+ a try."
Mark - "For me, the Barricade 8+ is a step in the right direction because all of the performance facets associated with the older models are present, but with improved comfort. Durability/performance wise, the Barricade 8+ is comparable to the Lotto Raptors, the older Nike Court Ballistic 4.3s, the Asics Gel Resolution 5 and the Nike Air Max Cage. The width of the Barricade 8+ is still narrow, but it does stretch out much more than prior models."
Playtester Foot Types:
Jason - Wide width / Low arch
Andy - Medium width / Low arch
Mark - Medium width / Medium arch
Review date: August 2014. If you found this review interesting or have further questions or comments please contact us.
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