adidas Alphabounce leather shoe review

OUTSOLE

The outsole on this shoe per Adidas is a “grippy rubber outsole” which you can see in the image below.  I found the nubs to actually feel pretty unstable at first.  I live in Fargo, ND and I got these shoes in January.  They weren’t great on snow or ice.  As I broke in the soles the nubs became less slippery and more tacky or grippy.  The nubs or lugs are rounded and maybe this is why they don’t delivery great traction out of the box.  Or maybe they just aren’t made to tackle snow or ice.  Regardless they aren’t amazing when water in any form has been involved.

When you run in these shoes periodically I’ve found myself land on a stone or a rock right on one of the lugs and that doesn’t feel great.  There isn’t a rock plate so clearly I shouldn’t be running through rocky patches but I also don’t sweep the path before I run.  The traction when running was fine as long as I didn’t run through mud or puddles.  Then the shoe never felt secure but that could be more of a fit issue.  In my daily use at work I’ve never had a traction issue outside of the snow/ice being slippery but that’s just what snow/ice are.

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MIDSOLE

The entire reason I purchased this shoe was to try out the Bounce midsole.  Right out of the box (again middle of January) I put it to the test on an elliptical and a treadmill.  It felt great.  After my first run I told my wife I was good getting rid of a pair of older shoes and just working these into the primary rotation.  The cushion felt great.

One of the words that the adidas Terrex Agravic Speed brings to mind is simplicity. The outsole mentioned above isn’t very complicated and just uses a simple design and good materials to get the job done. Likewise, the midsole of this shoe is one that eschews much complexity and opts instead for a simple layout with really only one nod to embedded technology. Made from a simple, lightweight EVA the midsole of the Terrex Agravic Speed has no rock plate in place, simply the foam covered by the outsole. Hidden in the mid foot there is adidas’ Torsion Bar which is meant to keep the foot supported while still allowing the front and rear of the shoe/foot to move independently.

I will get more into this in the RIDE section below in a second but for now I want to remind everyone that this shoe is something of a racer (or at least, that’s what myself and others think). As such, light and fast is the name of the game so some may find the lack of midsole protection a bit lacking for their taste in an every day trail shoe. To be honest, I wasn’t THAT put off by the lack of a rock plate though I do think that an offering with a minimal addition in that area would go a long way toward making this a more “daily driver” trail shoe. The Torsion Bar in the midfoot isn’t really something that stood out to me very much and I have to wonder if that’s not the point; having a subtle support for forward motion without being too intrusive. Ground feel in this is excellent to the point of likely being harsh to some people who look for more cushioning. For the stack and drop nerds in the crowd (like myself) this shoe comes in with a stack of 25mm in the heel and 17mm in the forefoot for a net drop of 8mm.

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UPPER

There are a few different variations of the upper for this shoe.  The construction is an internal booty with an overlay.  In my specific pair the overlay is leather.  That’s where the Alphbounce Leather name comes from I’m guessing.  The other ones are EM for engineered mesh.  I’m guessing the EM are cooler than the leather just because I assume they’d breather better.  These breath just fine.  The uppers and the booty are great.  I thought the leather might stretch and I haven’t noticed that at all.  The fit and ride aren’t perfect for me because the heel is too wide.  The lock-down in the midsole via the upper and the laces feels fine.  The leather is tooled and styled to add a pop appearance-wise but it doesn’t apparently effect the technical aspects of the shoe.  There is a seam inside the shoes right at the cuff of the ankle.  The booty is fused to the outlay here.  The booty inside the shoe is seamless per my feeling.  The booty really does feel nice on the foot, even if you go sockless.

I’ve worn these for about eight months and pretty much five days a week for the past three months.  The uppers are showing hardly any wear.  The shoes are pretty easy to clean-up if I get them muddy or dirty in general but they are this olive green color that doesn’t really show grime.  I thought the laces might show dirt as they have a reflective material woven into them but that hasn’t been the case of yet.  Pretty stoked to be able to wear these on the daily within my office and still pull off going and viewing industrial sites for work.  SO far they’ve been pretty sturdy.  They are easy to get on and off too due to the internal booty.

FIT

What I had experienced with Adidas shoes in the past was based on a number of pairs of Sambas, a few pairs of Superstars my brother had sent me while he was in Germany.  The shoes were always narrow and my only knock was they weren’t super cushiony.  Those specific shoes had that minimalistic design and were pre-boost or bounce.  I was expecting a narrow and possibly tight shoe.

Instead, I got a pretty narrow tow-box which I was good with but the heel is just a smidge too wide.  There isn’t anything with the laces or the booty to correct this outside of a heel cup or additional socks.  As I transitioned off the elliptical (at home) to the treadmill (at the gym) I noticed this right away.  On the elliptical, there is not heel strike because I’m not lifting my foot off the pedal.  I realized that the heel wasn’t tight but it didn’t feel loose.  As soon as I had half a dozen heel-strikes in I knew this shoe wasn’t going to be great.  I still wanted to give it a shot at least on the elliptical.

Adidas says the fit for this shoe is supposed to be for daily runs and allow for multiple directional motions.  When I read their descriptions on their website I typically assume things weren’t written in English and then they were translated because I’ve never spoken to anyone who says “yeah these shoes are great for multidirectional movements, you know running for your sport if you need stable training movements” but that’s their description.  I’ve got a narrow heel so anything that doesn’t run narrow in the heel isn’t great for me.  This shoe might be perfect for some but for me, this was relegated to an office/walking shoe almost immediately.  The only time I used it for a run was when I was taking my daughter in the running stroller, had her loaded up already and these were the shoes by the door.  This was also when I stepped on the rock and thought I might have hit a freaking nail in the middle of the road because I felt said rock all the way through the top of my head.  The length on my size 14s was spot on but the heel just was a C to a D+ for me.

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RIDE

The ride on this shoe was initially great.  I loved the Bounce and how it left my feet feeling alive after indoor training runs.  The outdoor runs and extended walks I’ve taken this shoe didn’t live up to my expectations.  I don’t know maybe the bounce already bounced and I need new shoes but I can’t imagine I’ve put 500 miles on these yet by the time they got outside.  The outsole is still in fine shape, the uppers look great and the booty is fully intact.  Its just the bounce isn’t that bouncy anymore.  On the treadmill, these felt pretty solid.  On a 5k they felt fine and the ride was fun but that night my feet were sore.  Thought it might’ve just been me or the route.  I wore different shoes on the same track the following day with no pain.  Then went back to these on day three and I had the same soreness.  The reveal for me is the bounce isn’t what I thought it’d be.  That threw the whole ride off for me.  To me this is a daily trainer that is best suited for light use or within the gym.  This isn’t something I’d plan on using for extended use outdoors or plan on putting into a training rotation.

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OVERALL

Heel fit was rough for me.  I still like wearing these shoes.  I wear them almost daily.  Instead of being a running shoe they are work shoes that don’t look super Dad or boring officy.  I think this shoe is marketed towards serious runners but I think it is more of a backup shoe, a gym shoe or a casual runners shoe.  I’d still take the Boost over the Bounce in this model and that might make it smooth enough to warrant throwing on an extra pair of socks to get that heel fit to a usable place.  For now and going forward this is going to be my goto shoe in the morning as I head to the office.  At least until there is a half foot of snow on the ground.

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