adidas Barricade 8 Men's Shoe Review
- Toe Jamming
Our TW playtesters couldn’t wait to get their hands on the brand new Barricade 8s from adidas. Having spent a lot of time with previous versions of this ever so popular shoe, our playtest team had a great perspective on how the newest addition to the Barricade line stacked up compared to previous models. One thing our playtesters knew for sure after spending several hours on the court in the Barricade 8; this line of adidas shoes just keeps getting better! Durability and stability continue to be the strongest attributes of this shoe, but as you will soon discover, there were plenty of other features for our playtesters to enjoy.
Comfort - Score: 3.3
Improved comfort was noticed as soon as our team laced up their Barricade 8s. Chris was impressed with the faster break-in, saying, "I was amazed at how this latest Barricade felt when I put it on and walked down to the TW indoor court. Whereas every version of this shoe since the Barricade 3 has required a several day break-in, the Barricade 8 felt good to go on the first wear. The upper is noticeably softer and more pliable, and it flexes in all the right places. That flex remained consistent after the break-in period and the feel of the uppers was comfortable from the first wear to the last. As usual, fit was spot on with a perfect length and a medium width. I didn't get enough hold from the lace system to stop my feet from sliding forwards inside the shoe on a quick stop. That issue lead to my one area of discomfort -- toe jamming. On both feet I experienced painful toe jamming into the ends of the shoe, which is something prevalent in the Barricade line since the Barricade 6. Aside from that, the cushioning was perfect and the comfort was very good."
Enjoying the comfort of this shoe because of its secure fit was Mark, who said, "A somewhat spartan feel to the inside of this shoe (all business). I did not need as much cushioning since there is virtually no lateral sliding around inside the shoe. However, I did experience some jamming on my big toes, especially when I was sprinting forward to cover drop shots and had to come to a quick stop."
Andy was reminded of the classic "Barricade feel" as soon as he slipped these shoes on. He agreed with Chris that the shoe felt softer and more comfortable out of the box than the previous version, but also added, "Once we took the shoe to the court (and after a few sessions), I felt it never really softened up like the 7s. So, after the break-in period, I found the upper of the 8 to be more rigid and stiff than the 7. Another issue I had was my toe jamming into the end of the shoe whenever I had to make an abrupt stop, causing quite a bit of pain. I had the same issue in the 7."
Ventilation - Score: 4.5
Continuing to see improvements with this updated Barricade, our playtest team was happy to see improved ventilation. "For as heavy duty as the upper is, it had surprisingly good ventilation," said Andy. "My feet never felt hot at all. This is a priority for me when looking at shoes because my feet do tend to sweat a lot, and these passed the test!"
Mark said, "The ventilation is definitely improved, and reminds me a bit of the Barricade 5."
"By far the best vented Barricade yet," Chris added. "The new upper really allowed my feet to breathe. My feet never got too hot in this shoe and I was comfortable even on the hotter days."
Arch Support - Score: 4.6
adidas always does a solid job when it comes to arch support in the Barricades, and this latest offering proved to be spot on for Chris, who said, "The support felt medium height and the level of support was excellent. One of the best built shoes through the shank area of the chassis, this shoe did an excellent job of protecting my arches. The flex point was right where it needs to be and I never had to worry about the shoe twisting or flexing in the wrong area. Perfect!"
The arch support in the Barricade 8 was exactly what Andy expected from the Barricade series – great support in the arch area of the shoe. Andy stated, "In typical Barricade fashion, the arch support felt great and there was plenty of it. My slightly lower than medium arches were comfortable for the duration of the test."
For Mark’s average arches the amount of arch height provided in the Barricade 8 was just about a "perfect fit."
Foot Support/Stability - Score: 4.5
The Barricade 8 shone when it came to stability. The Barricade has a history of being a stable shoe, and adidas has continued to improve on this in the 8. Chris said, "Lateral support in this shoe was exceptional. My feet felt locked in and safe from any rolling over, sliding or any other issue when moving laterally. Also, when pushing off for a sprint the shoes felt locked in around my heel and I did not experience any heel slip. However, as I mentioned in comfort, my feet did slide forward inside the shoes. The result was very uncomfortable toe jamming. In all other areas this shoe was perfect in its support, and I would have scored it a 5, but the toe jamming issue knocked it down a bit."
Echoing what Chris said was Andy, "Once again, in typical Barricade fashion the 8 had exceptional support and stability for all kinds of movements. My foot felt locked in the whole time, and I was feeling confident enough to use aggressive slides even on a hard court. There was great support around the ankle, allowing me to cut easily without worrying about rolling over. If there was a slightly lower to the ground feel I would have given a perfect score."
Mark agreed that the Barricade 8 has a great heritage of stability and support, and this model of the Barricade personifies these traits. He said, "I felt very confident when making quick changes of direction. My feet never once rolled over the side of the shoe on lateral stops, which isn't always the case with some of the shoes that attempt to compete with the Barricade."
Overall Sole Durability - Score: 5.0
One of everyone’s favorite characteristic of the Barricade line of shoes has been their amazing durability, and the 8s did not disappoint. "The Barricade 8 is one of the most durable high performance tennis shoes I have ever worn," Mark said with complete confidence. "If you depend on foot speed to be competitive in matches then this is a top notch choice. Parents that are subsidizing their young junior players' equipment needs will definitely see this shoe as a high value purchase. The sole still has plenty of wear left even after a solid twelve hours of play."
"Excellent, simply excellent," said Chris. "Nothing comes close to the durability adidas offers in the Barricade. This version doesn't miss a beat and is the most durable shoe I've worn since my last pair of Barricade 7s. After more than 20 hours of testing on the abrasive TW court the outsoles are still in great shape. I have some slight wear under the big toe area of my right shoe, but that is it. Plenty of other shoes would be toast right now, but not these. Top marks from me here."
Andy didn't want to sound like a broken record, but for him, the 8 falls right in the line with the rest of the Barricades' unmatched durability. He added, "There's barely even a sign of wear after this playtest. Almost all the tread is still intact, and it's going to take me a lot longer to wear through these. Truly exceptional durability!"
Toe Durability - Score: 5.0
Chris is one of our playtesters that really puts his shoes to the limits with his intense footwork on the court. After spending over 20 hours grinding away on the court in these shoes, he said, "The toes on these shoes resist drag damage extremely well. Again, I put in a lot of hitting sessions with these shoes and the toes have held up very, very well. Just as with the outsoles, if you are looking for the best in durability, this is it."
Mark agreed, saying, "In every aspect of durability, including the toe area, the Barricade 8 is resistant to even a high level player's demands."
Traction - Score: 4.8
These Barricades feature just the right amount of give and the right amount of stick when it comes to traction. Andy commented on this, saying, "That's the key with hard court traction and these Barricade 8s have it. I like a little more give and a little less stick personally, but adidas pretty much has that right balance dialed in."
Mark compared his traction experience with the Barricade 8s and hard courts to the combination of chocolate and peanut butter, saying, "Who knew they would go that well together?! Traction was just right; enough grip to stop on a dime, but enough give to allow for a little bit of sliding, which is easier on my older joints."
The level of grip and give from the outsole was just right for Chris. He said, "The level of grip and give from the outsole was perfect, and I scored it top marks. I was able to move aggressively and with the utmost confidence in this shoe. Whether I was stopping, starting or making an aggressive lateral cut, the shoes gripped perfectly. I can't think of another outsole which is better suited to hard court play."
Weight - Score: 3.9
While our playtesters agreed that the Barricades have never been known for their lightweight feel, no one really seemed to mind because of the performance that was offered. Mark said, "It is a sole warranty shoe, so I did not expect them to wear like a pair of the CC Feathers. The weight is very comparable to all the other sole warranty shoes."
These are not the lightest shoes out there, but the weight didn’t bother Chris once he considered all that he was getting from this shoe. "The durability on the outsole and toe, plus the excellent stability have to come from a solid build, and this shoe definitely has that. The shoes never felt clunky or heavy on my feet and they hid their weight well. The fit was good and I found the shoe to roll well from heel to toe, so I actually felt very fast in them."
"Being lightweight is never a strength of the Barricade," added Andy, "but the 8 does feel just a touch lighter than previous versions. They are a bit clunky, but it's kind of what you expect when you put on a Barricade."
Overall - Score: 4.0
Chris – "I loved the no break-in comfort, the new look, the support, the durability, the traction, the cushioning and the fit."
Mark – "The secure feel with my feet strapped in, the great traction and the first rate durability. They are extremely stable during lateral movements."
Andy – "I loved the support, stability and durability that we've come to expect from a Barricade. I also thought they improved the ventilation and weight."
Chris – "The toe jamming issue still persists. Both big toes are not looking so pretty at the end of this test. These shoes aren't the best if you're in the hunt for a foot modeling contract."
Mark – "The out of the box comfort, so to speak, was not there for me, and I did get some toe jamming from scrambling after Chris and Andy's drop shots."
Andy – "Though they are softer right out of the box, the uppers never softened up enough for my liking. Also, I kept jamming my big toe into the end of the shoe, which was causing some pretty significant comfort issues."
Comparing this shoe to other shoes they've worn our testers said:
Chris – "The fit and feel is classic Barricade. If you have worn any Barricade from the third version on, then you'll find a similar fit and feel from this shoe. Other than an adidas shoe, the Nike Air Courtballistec 4.3 comes the closest in terms of support, durability, fit and feel."
Mark – "I'd compare new Barricade 8 to the very popular, sought after feel of the Barricade 5. The Barricades sort of stand by themselves with their fit, feel, stability, and durability, which makes it hard to compare them to non-adidas shoes."
Andy – "It's a Barricade. It feels like a Barricade when you put it on, and it performs like one when you get it on the court. adidas seems to have taken some material off the upper to make it softer out of the box and more breathable, but the material they used never softened up like previous versions. If you are a fan of the Barricade line, this is a very nice update and you'll have to give it a try!"
Playtester Foot Types:
Chris - Narrow width / Medium arch
Mark - Medium width / Medium arch
Andy - Medium width / Low arch
Review date: June 2013. If you found this review interesting or have further questions or comments please contact us.
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