Our verdict

The Adidas 4DFWD impressed us from the start with its jaw-dropping midsole. Although moulded as running footwear, we believe that it wins the lifestyle category for its all-day cosy steps and striking looks. With its overall performance and admirable eco-friendly make-up, this kick is a real treat for our feet. At the same time, this innovative approach to cushioning can also work for moderate running.

Pros

  • Bouncier than most 4D shoes
  • Comfortable in-shoe feel
  • Wider-than-average sole
  • Very flexible
  • Durable outsole
  • Innovative cushioning tech
  • Attention grabber
  • Sustainable

Cons

  • Upper stretches a lot over time
  • Lacks breathability
  • Rather heavy

Audience verdict

90
Superb!

Who should buy the Adidas 4DFWD

A successor to Adidas' 3D midsole saga, the 4DFWD wears its innovative 3D-printed cushioning on its dreamy knit sleeve. Add this shoe to your shopping cart if:

  • you want a pair that catches the eyes of many, whether in a casual or running setting
  • futuristic trainers are your thing

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Who should NOT buy the shoe

If you prefer a lighter and more affordable pair of Adidas running shoes, we recommend considering the Adizero Boston 11.

And if you are concerned about the upper stretching out too much over time, we urge you to have a look at the 4DFWD v2. It comes with a more structured upper.

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Springy strides in the 4DFWD

We thoroughly enjoyed the soft, springy ride of the Adidas 4DFWD. It was really surprising to find out that the shoe was even bouncier than the previous 4D generations.

The secret here might be the bowtie-shaped lattice, which provides more cushioning and better rebound. Instead of bouncing upwards, the lattices propel the runner forward for faster and smoother strides.

There is a distinct sensation of forward motion in this Adidas shoe. Running in it is a very unique experience - there is no foam and yet the ride feels really soft and well-cushioned.

Not the best summer shoe

The Primeknit upper of this Adidas shoe falls short in the breathability department. Despite having a lot of ventilation pores, they don't seem to be working well in letting the air pass through.

Assessing the shoe's breathability using a smoke-pumping machine, we rated it as 2 out of 5 where 1 is the least breathable.

Adidas 4DFWD (left), Adidas Runfalcon (right) - the least breathable shoe in our roster

Even its astonishingly thin tongue (1 mm) couldn't help to improve breathability.

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Cranked-up level of comfort

The "softness" of this 4D kind of midsole is so remarkably comfortable, that it can compete with the Adidas Boost itself.

Measuring the shoe's cushioning softness was quite a challenge. Please take our durometer measurement with a grain of salt given that this is not a foam. Our measurement shows that the 4DFWD is 33% firmer than average.

However, when the lattice construction comes to life on the run, it creates a very plush underfoot sensation.

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But keep in mind that in cold weather, the midsole will get firmer. After 20 minutes in the freezer, we found that this Adidas shoe firmed up by 21%.

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Measuring stack height is also tricky with the 4DFWD. But based on our calliper measurements, the midsole is 33.3 mm thick in the heel...

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...and 24.4 mm in the forefoot. This is right at the average of daily running shoes.

As for the heel-to-toe drop, we measured it at 8.9 mm, which is also typical for this category.

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Disclaimer: All of our stack measurements are taken with the insole included.

Checking the insole thickness in the heel area, we found that it is well-cushioned at 4.7 mm. The average among running shoes is 4.5 mm.

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Stability is not compromised in the 4DFWD

Given the shoe's tricky midsole design, having a wide and stable base is essential to prevent the runner from wobbling. We found that the outriggers on the sole really help in making the shoe feel more stable.

Using a calliper, we measured the widest part of the shoe's forefoot at 116.2 mm, which is 3 mm wider than the average.

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Back in the heel, the widest part measures at 95 mm. This is 5 mm wider than average.

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Nice and flexible

The shoe's 4D setup turned out to be very pliable too.

Our resistance test shows that the Adidas 4DFWD is 22% more flexible than the average among road running shoes.

In a manual assessment, we also rated the shoe as 1 out of 5 (where 1 is the most flexible) for both longitudinal and torsional flexibility.

Weighty on both feet and wallet

With a weight of 11.9 oz (336g) in a men's US size 9, this running shoe falls on the heavier side, making it somewhat of a drag for daily training sessions.

Its weightiness in the area of pricing is a valid cause for concern too. An MSRP of £200 is significantly more expensive than the average £130 for Adidas running shoes.

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Expect well over 500 miles from the Adidas 4DFWD

The shoe is lined with a generous layer of rubber that instils confidence. Even though it is not the famous Continental rubber that is often used by the brand, the outsole still delivered.

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Indeed, we measured the rubber layer at 4 mm while the average for road shoes is 3.4 mm.

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The rubber compound also turned out to be impressively firm. Based on our durometer measurement, it is 9% harder than average. In our experience, the outsole's firmness is proportional to its durability. It means that the Adidas 4DFWD has promising durability.

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Size down: the upper might stretch

Because of its stretchy knit upper, this kick can become too loose over time. On its official product page, Adidas actually recommends that you grab a half-size down for a snugger fit.

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One more point in favour of sizing down is the shoe's highly flexible heel. We rated it 1 out of 5, where 1 is the most flexible. Because there is no structure to it, your heel might end up floating around if the size is too big.

We also measured the widest area of the toebox and it turned out to be medium at 97.6 mm.

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Striking visuals

It is impossible to walk around in a pair of Adidas 4DFWD in stealth mode.

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The futuristic midsole design paired with flashy colour options and an exaggerated pull tab draws plenty of attention.

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The eco-friendly Adidas 4DFWD

If you are a go-green warrior, you'll be glad to know that the 4DFWD comes with sustainable parts. The nitty-gritty of its pro-Earth construction is detailed below:

  • Its single-piece Primeknit+ upper is made with 50% recycled materials. It provides breathability and extra support in strategic areas.
  • This sneaker is also made with Adidas Primegreen, an innovative performance fabric made with recycled plastic.

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Reflective elements for runners by night

The eyestays around the laces light up when you hit the road at a darker time of day.