Adidas Barricade II
You've most likely heard the story about the importance of owning the little black dress that's perfect for almost any occasion. The beauty of that dress is its versatility. It's the one item that can take you from a business meeting to a dinner and then on to a night on the town. More than likely, you've got a special black dress hanging in your closet.
For the tennis player, the equivalent of that good-for-any-occasion little black dress comes in the form of a shoe. The shoe in question is the Adidas Barricade II. No matter if you're heading to the courts for a grueling practice session, going into the final of the club tournament or competing at the college or pro level, the Barricade II is the shoe for the job. Built on a last that offers a glove-like fit without being too confining, a midsole that's cushioned without being too elevated and an outsole that'll grip any surface while still being durable, the Barricade II really is the shoe for all tennis occasions.
First released in the fall of 2001, the Barricade II continues to be a popular choice for women tennis players. To see how it matched up against today's offerings, we hit the courts for a three-week playtest.
Our team found the Barricade IIs to offer a glove-like, performance oriented fit. Enjoying the shoes both on and off the court was Catherine. "I thought they were very comfortable. I chose to wear them to work as well, where I stand a lot, and they were very comfortable. I had no problems with the shoes poking or pinching my feet during play or casual wear." When out on the courts Eileen would have liked a little more forefoot cushioning in the Barricade IIs. "I've noticed the ball of my foot would feel a little sore by the end of a long match and the shoes could have more cushioning, but other than that these shoes offered good comfort. These are my first choice in performance shoes. I think they're extremely comfortable overall. The only areas to improve comfort would be more cushioning in the forefoot and perhaps make them lighter."
Kana preferred to wear her Barricade IIs on the courts rather than casually. "I would not use them off the court. For some reason, without running around or doing some other physical activity they felt a little uncomfortable. I could feel where the plastic lace holes start on the shoes because it felt like they dug into the top of my feet. The lace system pressure seemed to be caused by the glove-like fit."
Both Kim and Wendi found the Barricade IIs to require a brief break-in. Kim said, "at first the back of the shoes rubbed uncomfortably on my Achilles, but after about an hour of play they broke in and softened up. Other than that, they were very comfortable." Wendi offered, "the first time I wore them I did not like the fit. My feet were pinched and I got pins and needles while I was playing. I was tempted to just take them off and never wear them again. But every time I wore them they got better. I don't experience any pinching now that I've worn them for awhile. I will say that the tongue still seems to be too big going up the laces. I can feel the place where the tongue begins and ends along the top of my foot. I don't like that my foot is a little tight across the laces. The cushioning is good along the sole, especially in the heel box."
The Barricade IIs offer a slightly lower than medium height arch support. Our entire team was in agreement that the arch area was both comfortable and supportive. Finding a good fit was Wendi. "I didn't notice any problems with the arch support. In fact I have worn them all day and my arches feel fine at the end of the day." Kana also found a good fit for her foot type. "I have low arches and I had no problem with it at all." Eileen found a perfect fit in the Barricade IIs and Kim found the fit up to her expectations of an Adidas shoe. Kim said, "I have medium height arches and Adidas shoes almost always provide the perfect arch support. The Barricade IIs fit perfectly." Finding the fit a little low, but still supportive, was Catherine. "The arch was a little low for my foot when I consciously thought about it, but I didn't actually notice it when I wasn't specifically paying attention to it. I've never had arch problems in the past so arch support isn't really a big deal for me."
The Barricade IIs feature increased stability via an Extended TORSION bar through the midfoot area of the midsole. The Extended TORSION bar not only makes the shoes stiffer and less likely to twist due to lateral loads, but it also pushes the flex point forward, protecting the player's arch and midfoot. For the most part our team found the Barricade IIs to be very supportive. Finding great fit and support was Eileen. "Another perfect fit. I feel complete support throughout the shoe and my ankles also felt well supported." With some adjustment to the lace system, Catherine also found a supportive fit. "My narrow feet slid around in them at first, but this was easily solved by lacing them tighter than usual. Once I laced them tighter, I felt well supported. I never felt like I was going to roll an ankle or lose support on lateral cuts."
Like Catherine, Kim found the Barricade IIs to fit a little wide for her feet. "If you are looking for a lot of ankle support, these shoes aren't the best due to their low cut. My ankle did roll once during play. The shoes fit a bit wide so there was some room for my feet to slide around which also lessened lateral stability." Finding a more supportive fit was Kana. "Because these shoes fit like a glove, they provided incredible support while I was playing. They are very snug so my feet did not slide around. I liked the support around my heels and Achilles tendons. The shoes cupped my heels and I never felt like I was going to roll an ankle." Also finding great support was Wendi. "The foot support was great. My feet felt very solid and stable when playing in the Barricade IIs. I didn't feel that my ankles were ever going to roll or that I was going to lose stability."
Overall Sole Durability
The adiWEAR tough rubber compound outsole of the Barricade IIs is backed by a six-month durability guarantee. Our team agreed that the outsoles offered excellent durability on hard courts. Still finding her shoes to be in great shape at the end of the playtest was Eileen. "The soles were very durable. I had a hard time wearing them down. If there was any wear, it was in the ball of the shoe, after LOTS of play." Kim was in agreement. "The soles are very durable, and not very easy to wear down. What little wear I noticed was most visible towards the forefoot of the outsoles." Finding some slight wear was Catherine. "I found some wear towards the forefoot areas of the outsoles, with only a little around the heel. I had hardly any wear along the rest of the soles."
Kana found the Barricade IIs to live up to their durability claims. "The outsoles were very durable. I could tell the first time I played with them that these shoes were meant to last." Also impressed by the durability was Wendi. "The Barricade IIs are very durable. Besides being a little dirty and scuffed up, they are as good as new. The tread at the toe and heel is still almost perfect."
Toe Durability The Barricade IIs feature a rubber toe bumper and double stitching on the uppers. Out team found this combination created impressive durability. Finding some minor scuffing at the toe area was Catherine. "I drag my toe on my volleys and a little on some groundstrokes, and there is some beginning of wear on the toes, more so than any other part of the shoe. However, with the length of this playtest I'm not able to tell how quickly I may wear through them." Kim would have liked a beefier toe bumper to protect the uppers. "The toe bumper does not wrap very high on the front of the shoe, so the toe areas became pretty badly scuffed during my playtest." Our three other playtesters, Eileen, Kana and Wendi, do not drag their toes and had no issues with toe durability.
Traction The Barricade IIs feature a traditional herringbone outsole pattern with a pivot point under the forefoot. Our team found the outsole to offer excellent hard court traction. Finding just the right amount of traction was Kana. "These shoes had awesome grip on hard courts, but not so much grip where I'd feel like I would fall when I stopped. There was just enough grip to allow me to be fast and swift whenever changing directions, starting, and stopping." Catherine uses her foot speed as a weapon on the courts and found the level of traction to meet her needs. "The traction was great. I had no problems with them at all. I move fast on the court and go after every drop shot, short ball and angle, so I need traction in my shoes. The Barricade IIs met to my needs. The level of traction was awesome."
Eileen was moving with confidence in the Barricade IIs. "I play on hard courts and these shoes are great when it comes to grip and traction. I felt like I could take off for every shot without a second thought." Finding good traction for both changing direction and sprinting for a short ball was Wendi. "Traction was good. I didn't experience any slipping and the shoes never stuck or hung-up on the surface. Changing directions was fine as well. My feet also felt well protected even on quick directional changes." Kim was very impressed with the traction offered by the Barricade IIs. "I only played on hard courts and found the level of traction on these shoes to be awesome. There was never any sliding around on the court in these shoes."
Our team was somewhat divided when it came to the weight of the Barricade IIs. Finding the shoes a little on the heavy side were Eileen and Kana. Eileen said, "I would like the shoe to be lighter. The balance is great, but I'd like the shoes to be a little lighter overall and a little more cushioned around the ball of the foot." Kana found the Barricade IIs to feel heavy compared to her regular shoes. "To me, the shoes did feel a little on the heavy side. I am used to the K-Swiss Ultrascendor, which is a very light feeling shoe."
Kim liked the solid feel of the Barricade IIs. "I found the weight of these shoes to be perfect. They aren't the lightest shoes out there, but I prefer to have shoes that have some weight. They felt very stable. Catherine offered, "I've never had issues with the weight of shoes, and these were no different." Wendi found the weight of the shoes fitting considering the level of stability and durability they offered. "I didn't notice the weight much, but if anything they felt a little bulky. They seemed to be really big. With such a durable shoe, the added weight is a tradeoff."
Never before has a shoe been so embraced at every level of play as the Barricade II. From the weekend warrior, to the club league player and all the way to the top echelons of the WTA Tour, the Barricade II has graced the feet of many a champion. For fans of the Barricade II, the good news is that this popular model is being continued through 2006. It's also good news for those who've never tried this model, as there's still plenty of time to find out why the Barricade II is such a popular choice.