For some shoes, the first impression is all you need. You get them on your feet, take a few steps and can immediately tell if it’s a keeper or a miss. Others need more of a trial period to earn their grades. When I slid my foot into the Adidas SoleMatch Bounce, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. It looked sharp and felt reasonably comfortable, yet had the same initial wide feel of other recent Adidas shoes that I didn’t find supportive enough. But after several spending several week on court together, the shoes have definitely grown on me.
As mentioned, the fit was rather roomy through the forefoot. Which was no surprise as it’s something I’ve come to expect from Adidas lately. I’d prefer a slightly snugger approach, but unwanted movement inside the shoe in side-to-side situations wasn’t too much of an issue. The arch support is satisfactory for high-archers, something I appreciated, but should be minimal enough for players with flatter feet. The tongue is protective and soft, but a little bulbous—it protrudes noticeably out of the shoe and against the top of the foot. Not a big deal, but could bother players who wear no-show socks.
The lacing system on the shoe proved a bit tricky. Because the eyelets have an over-under design, the laces don’t slide all that smoothly; meaning you have to work harder than usual to get a cinched-in feel. And since there are only 4.5 sets of eyelets in total—both sides share a top eyelet in the middle of the shoe—a tight pull is necessary. Untying and removing the shoe can even be more difficult as the laces maintain their resistance.
However, I did find a payoff for all my trouble. The design of the eyelets created a poor man’s runner’s knot on the final one, which helped get more rear foot and ankle security out of the shoe than I found from other Adidas models such as the SoleCourt Boost and Adizero Ubersonic 3. A mixed blessing to be sure, but ultimately a check in the plus column.
Shock absorption and padding come courtesy of the Bounce cushioning in the midsole. It’s not as springy or plush as Adidas’s Boost technology—yes, the names of these shoes and their tech can be confusing—but depending on your requirements that doesn’t necessarily equate to a negative. It still does a solid job of providing comfort on aggressive movement and hard stops, yet there’s more court feel and responsiveness. The lower profile also encouraged easier changes of directions.
Support for the shoe was solid, particularly for this weight class. The upper is a mesh/synthetic combo for breathability and stability. It was flexible with limited break-in period and shaped well to my foot while still feeling sturdy. No issues with toe-jamming, either. The outrigger on the lateral side of the shoe amplifies the wide base. I keep expecting it to stick into the court at some point, but it lives up to its intention of enhanced side-to-side movement. The new TPU Chassis is also constructed for confident lateral court coverage. Overall, I felt quick and assertive.
The Adiwear 6 outsole features an all-court herringbone design. It wraps around high wear areas like the toe cap and medial forefoot for increased durability. I found it to have good grip and give on hard courts, but preferred it on clay—it had dependable traction and promoted controlled slides. I did lose a small piece of the outsole on the top edge of the toe cap—probably caused by some dragging on rough clay—but otherwise it held up well.
And I haven’t abandoned the shoe since completing the playtest. While still roomier in forefoot than I prefer, it offered a more supportive ride than I received from the SoleCourt Boost and Ubersonic 3. The cushioning was plentiful enough to provide comfort and protect my feet, while still affording a good connection to the court. The tongue and lacing system could probably use some streamlining, and I’d personally want a narrower profile. The shoe has its warts, but the SoleMatch Bounce provided me one of the better experiences with a current Adidas shoe. Even if it took some convincing.