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Road Running Shoes • August 23, 2022

Adidas 4DFWD: First Look | Fast Forward To The Future

adidas 4DFWD fire shot first thoughts
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What You Need To Know


Updated version of the Adidas 4DFWD line


3D-printed midsole designed for forward propulsion (obviously)


New Primeknit+ and engineered mesh upper provides a sock-like fit


All-new Continental rubber outsole for superior traction


Available September 1 for $200


We like going fast and we like going forward. So do most other runners. We are also lazy and always looking for ways in which the future can do everything for us.Is the Adidas 4DFWD, a running shoe with a 3D-printed midsole designed for forward propulsion, the perfect shoe for us?

Maybe. After all, we have been rocking the Asics 3D Actibreeze all summer long, and that footwear is a single piece of machine art. 

This isn’t Adidas’ first rodeo in the 3D-printed world. They’ve been doing 4D shoes for a few years now (yes, it’s super confusing to call a 3D-printed shoe a 4D), so this version of the shoe is essentially an updated version of past 4DFWD shoes. 

To create the shoe, Adidas collaborated with its global innovation partner, Carbon’s Digital Light Synthesis– a company that sounds like a hemp farm collective or twenty-person indie rock band dressed in all white robes– to create the fine-tuned midsole in the 4DFWD.

Is it that revolutionary? We’ll find out. For now, let’s see what this shoe is all about.

adidas 4dfwd shoe

Adidas 4DFWD, Women’s (Photo courtesy of Adidas)

What’s New

What’s different about this year’s version? The major change is an all-new Primeknit+ and engineered mesh upper, designed to give an extra-supportive and snug fit (an issue with last year’s version of this shoe). Combined with a new integrated heel counter, the upper provides sock-like fit and support in runner-specific areas.

Apparently, Adidas churned out 5 million variations on the lattice midsole, settling on one with a bowtie design that converts vertical force into forward motion. This newest version is supposed to deliver 23% more cushioning than previous 4D midsole generations (i.e. the 4D Run 1.0). According to Adidas, this midsole is scientifically proven to provide forward motion benefit, supported by partnerships with the MIT Sports Lab and University of Calgary Biomechanics. We’ll believe them since Will Hunting was a janitor at one of those places and he seemed to turn out okay.

Also new to this model is a Continental rubber outsole. If you know us, you know that we love Adidas’ Continental outsoles because they provide some of the best traction in the running world. So we love that it’s included in this version of the shoe.

Our Thoughts

Truth be told, we didn’t really enjoy the first version of the 4DFWD. In fact, we just didn’t review it because we found it to be more of a lifestyle shoe. Does this new version of the 4DFWD fall into the same range? We’re still waiting on our test pair to come in, but suffice it to say that we’re more optimistic about it.

For one, the improvements to the upper will go a long way. You also can’t go wrong with a Continental rubber outsole. Of course, the elephant in the room is whether or not the 3D lattice midsole can provide comfort and durability while still giving runners that forward motion and energy return that make running enjoyable.

At $200, the price is a bit steep, but we still haven’t crossed that threshold where 3D-printing is economically viable, though it’s certainly come down a lot over the past decade. We wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a loss leader, existing as more of a statement piece than a revenue generator. At the end of the day, almost any Adidas running shoe can be had for less and provide as much comfort and enjoyment on the run. Case in point: the high-performance Takumi Sen 8 retails for $180 and is one of our favorite shoes of the year.

If you’re buying this, you’re probably doing it because it’s a conversation piece, lifestyle shoe, and adequate runner in one package. We’re still waiting on our samples to come in, so will update with a full review if and when that happens, but at the very least, it’s an interesting-looking lifestyle shoe that should certainly turn some heads.

The all-new Adidas 4DFWD will be available September 1 for $200. You can pick it up at the link below.

Shop Adidas 4DFWD


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