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Shoe Preview: The Adidas Barricade is back
After a brief retirement, the iconic shoe is making a comeback and it's worth the wait.
Published Aug 18, 2021
It was just about three years ago at the US Open. Adidas reps were holding a gathering in a suite in Arthur Ashe Stadium announcing the launch of their upcoming SoleCourt shoe. The presentation was coming to a close, and the conversation shifted to where the shoe will be positioned in the Adidas lineup. The revelation caused most to do a double-take. To paraphrase, it went something like:
“The SoleCourt is replacing the Barricade.”
What? The Barricade is being mothballed?
Since its debut in 2000, the high-performance shoe had attracted legions of players who depended on its stability, durability and support. Some generations of the shoe surpassed others, but the Barricade remained a consistent favorite at public parks, country clubs and Grand Slams.
After extolling all the virtues of the SoleCourt, and perhaps sensing some of the dismay in the room, the Adidas rep finished with this parting shot:
“Who knows…maybe we’ll see the Barricade again.”
Those words proved prophetic as Adidas now welcomes an updated version of the seminal shoe—its 12th iteration—back into its lineup. Drawing from design elements from its past models, as well as feedback from its athletes, the relaunch looks to amplify the shoe’s best features, while refining its shortcomings.
“The new Barricade is about recognizing what was missing from the iconic Barricade franchise and addressing it,” said Carly Tatibouet, Adidas Vice President of Specialist Sports. “With the relaunch of the new iteration, we have taken the shoe to the next level to ensure that our players can move with control and confidence, without compromising on comfort and durability, as they play on the courts this summer.”
Being a Barricade, stability will remain its defining feature. A 3D TPU shank centers the shoe and provides backbone to prevent twisting through the midfoot during explosive cuts and changes of direction. An asymmetrical lacing system helps lock the foot in the shoe with a more streamlined, adaptive fit that also promotes assured movement.
To improve durability, abrasion resistant material has been placed in the forefoot and eye stay areas, as well as a new Adiwear rubber compound in the outsole, all to increase the performance life of the shoe. The split herringbone pattern of the outsole helps with the structure of the shoe, and deliver an effective combination of grip and give.
However, if there was one area previous Barricades fell short, it was in the comfort department. Sturdy and solid to be sure, but generally not a cushy ride. So several steps were taken to elevate this facet of the shoe. The tongue has been designed with foam to cradle the forefoot as well as perforations for better cooling. Full-length Bounce 2.0 cushioning in the midsole softens court impact, and the heel is engineered with Geofit sense pods that promote a glove-like fit. And to keep up with the increasing speed of the game, the shoe has trimmed down in the hopes of shedding its cumbersome label.
The new Barricade is currently on the feet of Adidas touring pros—including Stefanos Tsitsipas, Maria Sakkari and Dominic Thiem—and available for purchase ($140) at tennis specialty retailers. Check back in the coming weeks for more detailed reviews.