There was no doubt among our playtesters that the Stella Barricade Boosts are the most comfortable Barricades to date. Michelle, whose favorite shoes of 2015 were the Stella Barricade 2015s, loves how adidas keeps evolving this line of shoes. She said, "The Stella Barricade 2015s were my favorites because they were so soft and comfortable, and now this update has Boost technology, which takes the comfort levels even higher. They have an all around plush feel, and I lived in these shoes through the playtest. I wore them on my warm-up runs, wore them on the court, wore them in the gym and even wore them at my desk. It is worth noting that adidas didn't have my size for this playtest so I squeezed my size 10 feet into a size 9 (I was really excited about this playtest and determined to fit in the shoes!). Fortunately for me, these shoes fit just fine! The knit material definitely opened up quickly, and the shoes run long, so a full size down worked out surprisingly well for me. I would definitely recommend players size down a half to a full size smaller than their normal size."
Because Boost technology was added to men's tennis shoes a season before the women's, Brittany was itching to try this update. She said, "I definitely was not disappointed. From the moment I put these shoes on I found them to be extremely comfortable, with plush cushioning underfoot. There was no break-in period or any spots on my feet that were being rubbed or pinched. In past Stella Barricade playtests I have had issues with the arch support. I definitely think that was improved in this update, and although I still felt the arch support, I didn't have any issues with it. adidas shoes typically fit slightly wide for me, and these shoes were no exception. I had to really focus on tying my shoes tighter, especially toward the forefoot. I would recommend sizing down a half-size due to how much the shoes stretched out towards the end of the test. My pair in my regular size have now become too big for me to play in."
Karly absolutely loved the comfort of these shoes. She commented, "It's amazing how much of a difference adidas' Boost technology made with the cushioning. The impact of each step was softened enormously. I've never worn shoes with midsoles as cushioned as the Stella Barricade Boost. They also had the fully knit uppers, which were very breathable and felt so soft wrapped around my feet. The material reminded me a lot of neoprene; it was sturdy yet flexible and moved with my feet. I appreciated the wider fit, too, but I wore a half-size smaller than my normal size because they fit big. The longer the playtest went on, the more the knit uppers loosened up, to the point that I debated whether I should have gone down a full size. Although that loose fit didn't cause any discomfort, it was a bit of an annoyance that the shoes didn't hold my feet well at the end of the playtest."
As mentioned, the knit uppers of the Stella Barricade Boosts provide a super soft feel, but they feel much more flexible than other materials typically used to make tennis shoes. The knit uppers opened up and stretch out a bit during the playtest, which left some of our team yearning for a bit more support and security. For Brittany, the support started off as a high point, even though the fit was a little wide for her. She explained, "At the start of the playtest the shoes held my feet in place when I was making aggressive cuts. The ankle collars were a good height and my ankles were secure. After about two weeks of playtesting (10-plus hours) the uppers started loosening up. At first I thought this wasn't a big deal since many shoes' uppers loosen up. However, the uppers loosened up to a point where the support did decrease for my narrow width feet. My feet began to move around inside the shoes, which slightly compromised my aggressive movements. I was a little more tentative in my movements toward the end of the four-week playtest and used the Stella Barricade Boosts more for doubles."
Since the uppers were so soft most of the support for Karly came from how the Primeknit wrapped around her feet. She said, "I relied more on the glove-like fit for support rather than traditional stiff uppers. In the beginning of the playtest the tight-fitting support and stability worked out well. The Stella Barricade Boosts were very soft, lightweight shoes that provided a stable feel. Once the uppers loosened up the shoes didn't hold my feet as well, and I was sliding around within the shoes. I never rolled an ankle or hurt myself, but I was moving a little more cautiously the longer the test went on."
"Again, it's important to note here that I sized down a full size for this playtest," explained Michelle. "That actually worked out quite well for me, and I didn't have any support issues like Karly and Brittany experienced. The knit uppers did loosen up, but they still held my feet securely. Although I can't say how these shoes would have performed stability-wise if I had worn my true size 10, I can say that I had no problems at all with support or stability in the size 9s. I felt comfortable moving aggressively and never worried about slipping or sliding around inside the shoes."
Barricades have always been known for their durability. However, as Barricade shoes have gotten lighter has some of the legendary durability been lost? Our long-term Barricade player, Karly, was ready to put them to the test. She said, "I tested the last four versions, and they all had exceptional durability, so I was expecting these Barricades to be very durable as well. After about seven hours I noticed the outsoles were smoothing down a lot faster than previous models. However, if I put the comparison of other Barricades aside, I thought the durability of the Stella Barricade Boosts was good. I have yet to tear through the outsole after 20-plus hours, and I'm not a toe-dragger so I didn't have any issues with the fully knit uppers. They had about average durability for most shoes, but I wouldn't say they met my Barricade standards."
"I playtested these shoes for a solid month, and as I mentioned earlier, I wore them practically everywhere," said Michelle. "I'm pretty happy with the outsole durability of these shoes. I am seeing some decent wear, but that is to be expected. I didn't find them to be as durable as the Barricade Vs, and I am pretty confident I would take advantage of the six-month outsole guarantee. I am also seeing a bit of wear in the knit uppers and toe guards, but nothing is falling apart. However, you can definitely tell I've been putting these shoes to work on the court."
Brittany had a similar experience, saying, "Don't be fooled by the Barricade name. The last couple iterations of the Barricade have been lighter and less durable than the classics, like the IIs or Vs that I have worn in the past. I would rate the durability as average compared to other shoes. However, the weight of the Stella Barricade Boosts is on the lighter side, so I don't expect high levels of durability. I loved these shoes, so I was wearing them a lot and definitely started to smooth the outsole out under my right big toe. The toe durability was average; I had some smoothing on the top of the bumper guard (on the upper) but still had plenty of time left in these shoes at the end of the test."
The modified herringbone tread pattern on the Stella Barricade Boosts left our playtesters pretty content with traction. Michelle said, "The best traction is when I'm not concerned about slipping, sliding or sticking to the court. These shoes offered the perfect blend of what I like. I don't like feeling like I'm on ice, but I do like a tiny bit of give. I always felt comfortable and confident when I was moving aggressively and recovering fast."
Brittany found some solid traction. She said, "The traction seemed right on point, and I was comfortable changing directions. The shoes gave when they needed to give but still gripped when I needed traction. There were no surprises, and I thought the traction stayed consistent throughout the playtest."
The traction was good but not great for Karly. She explained, "As the playtest went on the outsoles became more slippery. However, because of their low-to-the-ground feel, I still felt connected to the court and never had any issues with slippage. I could pivot easily and move aggressively without feeling stuck to the court. In general, I prefer slightly tackier traction, but the Stella Barricade Boosts allowed for quick changes in direction and had some give when I was making hard plants."
If you have ever worn Barricades you know they can feel pretty hefty. As the game of tennis gets even faster, any extra weight in your shoes becomes a liability. adidas has done a great job taking weight out of the Stella Barricade Boosts to make quick, light shoes. Brittany loved the weight of these shoes. She said, "Sometimes I even forgot I was wearing them, and I would continue to wear them off the court as well. adidas did a good job of making streamlined, comfortable shoes that aren't bulky. No complaints on the weight from me!"
"adidas continues to impress me with how light the Barricades have become," said Karly. "The Stella Barricade Boosts not only felt like the lightest Barricades yet, but they were also one of the lightest tennis shoes I've ever worn on the court. They could even compete with light training shoes. I felt light on my feet and could chase down balls quickly. The only thing that slowed me down was the loose fit toward the end of the playtest. I wasn't moving as aggressively the more they loosened up, and I had to be more cautious with my movements. I wish they held my feet more securely because I thought their lightweight feel was outstanding."
Michelle playtested these shoes without knowing their weight. She was surprised they weren't lighter when they hit the scale because they felt super light to her. She said, "There were many days that I wore them before I played tennis, and then they were still on my feet hours later because they were so comfortable. Sometimes light shoes feel like they are flimsy or unsupportive, but that wasn't the case here. These shoes were loaded with support and stability while still maintaining a lightweight feel. The size 9 I wore weighed just under 12 ounces."
Brittany - "I loved the comfort, weight, traction and look. I could wear the Stella Barricade Boosts just about anywhere."
Karly - "Who says 'beauty is pain'? I loved the cosmetics and their super comfortable feel. They were both stylish and soft!"
Michelle - "Super comfortable, lightweight, simple style -- they look great on and off the court and perform awesomely."
Brittany - "My one knock was the uppers stretched out toward the end of the playtest and I lost some stability."
Karly - "The soft knit uppers loosened up too much over time. They didn't hold my feet securely by the time the playtest was over."
Michelle - "The only thing worth noting was the fit -- I sized down a full size and had no issues with fit. Ideally, I think a half-size down would be adequate since the length ran just a tad tight for my feet at a full size down."
Brittany - "This is my favorite update of the Stella Barricades so far. I loved the comfort, weight and traction. The Stella Barricade Boosts are also, by far, the best-looking Barricades. They have similar durability as the previous Stellas but nowhere near the durability of the Barricade V Classics. They also lost support toward the end of the playtest while the other versions didn't."
Karly - "Compared to the Stella Barricade 2015s, I thought the Boost technology made all the difference in cushioning, especially in the heels. The Stella Barricade Boosts had softer uppers and great shock-absorbing cushioning, while the previous version offered a little more stability and durability."
Michelle - "I am a big fan of the 2015 Stella Barricades, and the Stella Barricade Boosts are an awesome update because they're even lighter and more cushioned. The Stella Barricade Boosts have the cushioning of the KSwiss Hypercourt Expresses and the speed and quickness of the Asics Solution Speed 2s."
(Scores are determined by averaging individual play test scores)
|Overall Comfort||4.8||Overall Sole Durability||3.5|
|Overall Comfort||4.8||Overall Sole Durability||3.9|
|Overall Comfort||4.8||Overall Sole Durability||3.7|