adidas Barricade V Tennis Shoe Review
Lighter, faster and more comfortable than its predecessor? Can it really be true?
You better believe it.
In one bold step, adidas has shed some weight, improved ventilation and increased comfort in this fifth version of their flagship tennis shoe, the Barricade V.
How'd they do it? Well, the answer resides in the redesigned upper of the Barricade. While similar looking to the Barricade IV at first glance, the upper of the Barricade V features more mesh throughout. From the heel to the toe, mesh is utilized to shed some weight, increase ventilation and, at the same time, offer improved flex and comfort.
But what about the stability players loved in the Barricade III and IV? Could this latest version still live up to "The Ultimate Hard Court Shoe" moniker that its predecessors had garnered?
To find out, read on for the results of our three-week playtest.
Even with the additional mesh in the Barricade V's upper, our playtest team felt that a break-in period was necessary - as we found in both of the previous Barricades. Once broken-in, they provided plenty of comfort.
Spencer found his fondness for the shoes to grow with each and every wear. "After a relatively light, yet necessary, break-in, the Barricade Vs fit my feet very well. The cushioning felt a bit boardy and stiff but caused no after effect pain. I tend to feel pain in my heels afterward when playing in shoes that lack cushioning. I will say that the more I wear them, the more comfortable they get." Jason also found the shoes to become more comfortable as the test wore on. "I found these shoes to be very comfortable, but not without a break-in period. They were stiff out of the box, especially in the upper lacing area. Each time I wore them, they got more supple. The extra mesh used in the uppers made a noticeable difference; my feet were supplied with plenty of ventilation."
Finding a solid blend of comfort and support was Chris. "After wearing the shoes for a couple of days to break them in, I found a comfortable ride. I was reminded most of the Barricade IVs when it came to fit and comfort, except this version felt lighter on the foot and a tad more flexible. This was evident early on, as the shoes broke-in after a couple of days. I wore the Barricade IVs for about a week until I felt they'd broken-in completely." Even though it didn't fit his foot perfectly, Paul still gave high marks. "I scored these shoes high for comfort, but I believe they are best suited for someone with a different width and arch than me. Just because the shoes didn't really work for me, I felt I couldn't hold that against them. Once I modified them with the SOFSOLE insert, their comfort felt as good as any other shoe I've worn. Without the modification, I would not have been able to continue the playtest."
Granville felt these shoes fit his foot better than the previous model. "These are very comfortable shoes with good padding in all the right places. Very consistent with earlier models but they seem to have a better contoured fit than the Barricade IV. Upon the initial playtest I found them to be rather stiff; it took a couple of matches before they softened up." Happy with adidas' constant refinement of the Barricade line was Danny "This shoe was surprisingly comfortable. Being that I tried the Barricade IV, I didn't think that Adidas could make a shoe more comfortable then that model. However, they did with this shoe. The heel area on the Barricade IV would dig into my Achilles, but Barricade 5 didn't. It felt like adidas changed the angle and stiffness of the heel to provide a more comfortable ride."
The majority of our playtest team had some minor issues with the Barricade V's arch support. Although a tad lower than some would've liked, the overall experience was not compromised because of it.
Danny was one of these players. "I thought the arch support was a little low. I don't think that it affected my court movement, but I felt the lower arch made my feet do more work." Paul also had some issues. "Although the arch felt pretty good out of the box, it was too low for me. I prefer a medium-to-high arch, and these felt pretty low to me. That compounded the problems I experienced with support and foot slippage."
Finding a good fit was Granville. "The arch support felt just right. I couldn't feel it on the court, which is a good thing." Chris found lots of support. "I continued to find excellent arch support in this version, as I did in both the previous versions of the Barricade. The contours of the inside of the shoes fit my feet perfectly. My feet felt very well supported both when pushing forward and when moving side to side." Enjoying the fit of the arch was Spencer. "I thought the medium height arch support did a fine job. No issues whatsoever in the arch."
Jason is the only playtester with a very low arch and these shoes fit his feet well. "Most of the time, I didn't notice the arch while on the court. But when I was playing for an extremely long time, I felt a little soreness in my arches. But, for the most part, great."
The Barricade V incorporates more mesh in the uppers than the previous model, which had our playtesters wondering if the support and stability would remain as world-class as the Barricade IV. Most of the playtesters loved the support they received from this version.
Granville truly enjoyed the fit and support of the shoe. "The Barricade V is a very solid and stable shoe. I still feel like I'm sitting low inside the shoe, as I did with earlier models. The fit seemed snug, which was a good thing - no heel sliding and room enough to wear ankle braces comfortably. No sliding around, stable and comfortable - what more can I say?" Finding the fit more forgiving thanks to the redesigned upper was Jason. "I went into this playtest with high expectations because this was a Barricade shoe. I was not disappointed. The fit felt wider than the IVs, therefore, fitting my feet a lot better. I had my shoes laced up all the way up to the top eyelet, and when they were laced, my feet weren't going anywhere! Playing singles is where I really appreciated the tank-like support. My ankles never rolled over, never got tweaked and felt very secure." Chris also moved with confidence, adding, "I felt very secure and stable in this version of the Barricade. I found them to flex a little more, but that additional flex only came in the right places. There was no loss in lateral stability, just better heel to toe transition and improved comfort. When it comes to feeling stable, safe and secure in tennis shoes, adidas has again put themselves way ahead of the competition. These were absolutely dynamite shoes for me when it came to support and stability."
Once the shoes were broken in, Spencer loved wearing the shoes during hard fought matches. "Though the Barricade V took a little time to break-in, it was well worth it. Once a little stiffness was worked out, the shoes laced up very nicely, hugging the contours of my feet. The stability was amazing. I'm not sure I've experienced better lateral stability in a shoe. Having to make some extreme changes of direction in the heat of battle, the Barricade V did not falter. This is a trustworthy shoe that can handle the pressure, and I can see why it is such a popular choice among tennis enthusiasts." Paul had a tougher time with these shoes than most. "I had to REALLY crank down the laces to try to get a snug fit with the stock sockliner. Even so, I still did not have enough support. My feet slipped all over the place inside the shoes, but especially the heel and heel collar area. The forefoot wasn't much better for me. I jammed my big toe into the end of the shoe after just a light sprint. After I removed the Adidas sockliner and installed the SOFSOLE, I was able to continue the playtest. I felt that I could not have continued otherwise. With the modification, my feet were well supported and I experienced no more slipping." Danny also found the fit too wide for an ideal level of support. "For the most part, I thought the foot support and stability was above average. I can't say that it is good, going by the score that I put. I thought the midfoot to forefoot was roomier than I would like. My foot was sliding slightly during movement. Don't get me wrong, I still think the foot support and stability was above average."
Overall Sole Durability
The Barricade V continues to impress on the durability front with its adiWEAR 6 outsole compound. Finding very little difference between the IVs and the Vs was Paul. "The Barricade V and IV have the same rubber compound. As a result, they held up much the same way. A month of hitting in them was not long enough to even put a dent in them."
Spencer said, "Once again, the Barricades have excelled at sole durability. There was minimal wear, much as one would expect from a durability-guaranteed sole." Jason was not able to put a dent in the outsoles either. "Except for some wear in the heel, the tread loss was very minimal. I was very impressed."Chris added, "Durability was excellent. As I found with the Barricade IIIs and IVs, these shoes are built to last. Most impressively, for such a durable shoe, they don't sacrifice any grip."
Needing a small break-in period before getting a true feel for the outsole was Granville. "The outsole seemed a bit beefier than I remembered, which may account for the initial stiffness. The herringbone pattern is 'flat-topped' so it has some good contact with the ground for 'stickiness.' Once they softened up after a few matches, it really seemed to bring out all the benefits of this performance shoe." Danny's shoes looked unscathed at the end of the test. "The Barricade models in general are some of the most durable shoes that I have ever tested. This version was true to form. The sole showed no signs of wear during my playtest."
Our playtesters found impressive durability from the toe areas of the shoes. Granville fully expects this shoe to hold up to the majority of players. "Unless you are one of the more extreme toe draggers that wears out the top of the shoe, I don't think anyone will have an issue with the beefed up toe material." Danny didn't find the toe guard to be good as he expected. "The toe durability was not surprisingly good. The toe was the area that showed the first signs of wear." Chris was more impressed by the durability of the toes. "Toe durability was excellent for me. I drag my toes from all areas of the court; on serve, on groundstrokes and even at net when I get down for low volleys, and I had no issues with the durability of these shoes. There is plenty of protection both at the tip of the shoe and down the medial side of the toe to protect the shoes when my trailing foot would drag on wide lateral stretches."
Our playtest team was blown away with the level of traction the Barricade Vs provided. The modified herringbone pattern and pivot point allowed for quick changes of direction without slippage issues.
Going all out was Spencer. "I loved the traction of these shoes! I had absolutely no slippage issues. I really put the Barricade Vs to the test on the hard courts with plenty of changes in direction, both east/west and north/south. I could turn on a dime with these shoes. (Well, at least as much as my body could handle.) These shoes have an excellent combination of traction and durability." Paul added, "I found great traction with the unscathed outsole. I liked the aggressive tread pattern and the modified pivot point as well."
Chris was moving to the best of his ability in the shoes. "I really felt like I was as fast as I can be in these shoes. The level of hard court traction was excellent. I was able to take very aggressive lateral cuts without fear of sliding out. Even when playing on dusty courts I found the outsoles to dig in and offer better than expected grip." Comparing the shoes to a race car was Jason. "There was not a single point or instance where I found myself losing traction on the court. Like with the foot support, it was the times I played singles when I could really put the shoe to the test, and like a Ferrari, they hugged the surface on every cut and every turn without breaking a sweat."
Putting the shoes to the test was Danny. "I thought the traction was really good. I can't recall any type of slipping or sliding during my test with these shoes. A couple of times, I even tested these shoes on some dirty tennis courts, and the traction still held up well." Granville offered, "I found good traction to be provided by the flat-topped herringbone pattern. Good traction and it seems to be very durable. I doubt this is a shoe that many can wear out quickly."
The main gripe about the Barricade line has always been the weight. The Barricade Vs looked to remedy that by adding more mesh, but it still came in at a hefty 17.1 ounces (size 10.5). Still, our playtest team didn't think this took away from the overall performance of the shoe.
Paul took notice of the lighter weight versus its predecessor. "The reduced weight compared to the Barricade IV was great. Even when I added the heavier insole, they still didn't seem heavy or bulky at all." Not minding the weight because of the other features was Chris. "I thought the performance-to-weight ratio was spot on. The shoes did not feel heavy at all during play, and as I said earlier, I felt like I was moving very well in them. I'll take a little extra weight for support and stability any day, and I didn't feel like I had to sacrifice any speed to get it in these shoes."
The weight didn't bother Spencer at all. "This is not the lightest shoe, though I didn't feel it hampered my movement whatsoever. I will gladly take a little more weight with a shoe that has tremendous stability and support, as does the Barricade V." Jason had similar feelings, adding, "Not light by most people's standards, but I don't think it matters. With the emphasis on durability, stability and traction, something had to give, and for me, it was worth it. These came in slightly lighter than the IVs, and I didn't mind the weight of those either." Not minding the weight when taking these shoes into battle on the court was Granville. "These shoes are light when you consider all the performance features. Walking onto the court with these shoes on your feet gives you a sense of protection, like armor. There is very little downside - other than the price." Danny felt Adidas did a great job improving this aspect from the Barricade IVs. "The lightweight feel that the Barricade V offers is one of the most improved qualities of the shoe. I think that the shoe plays lighter then its actual weight."
As with previous Barricades, we found this fifth version to require a brief break-in. Just as we did with the Barricade IV, our testers found the wait during break-in well worth the effort. Once the shoes were ready for play our testers found a light feeling shoe with improved ventilation. All of the usual Barricade support and stability was there, but we found this one to be a faster feeling shoe. Adidas continues to offer a six-month durability guarantee with this version. We put the shoes to the test with a lengthy hard court only test period - doubling our usual 3-weeks of testing. Most testers hardly put a dent in the outsoles and we'll wager not many players will wear these shoes out in a six-month period. Take that impressive durability and add it to all the other performance benefits of this shoe, and there's no doubt in our minds that this latest Barricade replaces its predecessor as the new, ultimate hard court shoe.