Adidas has had a decent following of fans since its release of the first generation Barricade. With the Barricade now discontinued, the enormous German brand is looking to revolutionize the game again with a new, modern tennis shoe called the Stycon. Stycon’s meaning comes from the fusion of three simple terms: Stability, Style, and Icon. Stability is driven by the shoe’s laceless construction which locks down the midfoot for ultimate support and control during lateral movements. Stylecomes from the shoe’s innovative look that matches its uncompromised performance. Icon is derived from the fact that this shoe smashes conventional tennis shoe wisdom for a truly iconic experience. As a true fan of the adidas brand, I was excited to get this innovative shoe out on the court to test.
Fit & Breathability
At first glance, you will notice that this shoe literally has no shoe laces, which for me is very odd. I’m used to being able to adjust my fitting by tying the shoe laces either tight or loose. Adidas decided to add a midfoot elastic lock-down and internal support bootie so you can just stick your foot in and go. The elastic across the bridge of your foot adjusts like a shoe lace, but can stretch easily without give when you start moving around. At first it did feel very tight, but once my feet started moving, this elastic adjusted nicely to still keep me locked-in without feeling super loose. The internal knitted bootie construction makes it very flexible and more breathable than I was expecting. It naturally expanded to my foot shape over time as I played more in the shoe.
I enjoyed the “ski-boot” aspect of the Stycon, but the hardest part is taking them on and off your feet. Although the elastic is super stretchy, it can be fairly difficult at first to open wide enough to put your feet inside. The straps on the back heel and top bootie construction help open the hole, but it takes some time for the elastic to expand. Adidas also gives you a shoehorn to make it easier for sliding your feet into place. Once inside, it fits much like a normal tennis shoe. There’s a little bit of room on the sides and toe box so you can feel comfortable as you play. They felt more like armor to go to battle with than they did fancy tennis shoes. The look is very stylish, and I was reminded of Back to the Future Part II with Marty McFly's future automatic lacing shoes.
Cushioning & Stability
Stability and cushioning are definitely the best aspects about the Stycon. It’s hard to find another shoe on the market today that really will compare. The outer bootie construction has a fully feathered silhouette that adds exterior protection and support as I moved. The Bounce 2.0 drop-in foam, EVA rim and sockliner in the midsole did a superb job giving me a stable, supportive feel right away. Even when I was just sitting or resting, I could feel the sides of my feet getting extra protection and support unlike most other shoes. In the back of the heel, there is heat-pressed reinforced mesh that creates a heel cage to better secure my feet. This helped keep my feet in place during matches even as I started to sweat and the elastic started to loosen up. I thoroughly enjoyed the stability and support I got when running side to side or front to back. I was always able to plant my feet comfortably, and easily transition back to get my next shot. The only downside is that, over time, the shoe definitely feels heavy, so players may want to practice in them before jumping right into a match or tournament.
Movement, Responsiveness & Durability
Although it’s a heavier stability shoe, I did feel there was an increase in responsiveness on court. The Bounce 2.0 tech does an excellent job in providing energy return and receptive feedback to your feet, allowing for quick changes in direction. Even as you play in the shoe longer, the response is consistent throughout and doesn’t even give you any uncertainty about being able to get to defensive shots.
Similar to other adidas durability shoes, the Stycon did not disappoint in long-lasting durability. The updated adiWear rubber gives these shoes plenty of toughness for outdoor hard courts and frequent tennis players of all ages. Additionally, there’s RPU anti-abrasion reinforcement across the inner side of the foot for better protection against toe dragging. I personally liked this feature because I didn’t have to worry about the upper mesh getting wrecked after a few hours on court.
All in all, the adidas Stycon is trying to push the tennis shoe world forward, and I think it will only get better over time. For a first generation shoe, that’s very innovative, it brings a lot of great aspects to light for the tennis shoe market. No longer needing shoe laces, even better support/comfort, a truly unique feel, and incredible durability make this a tennis shoe worth trying. Although it’s a completely new shoe that most will feel uncomfortable with at first, I’d recommend putting them on and trying it out for yourself. Note: this shoe is best suited for players with narrow or medium width feet due to the tight elastic around the ankle.
About the Reviewer: Chris Virk-Brown currently works at Tennis Express on the Content Marketing team. He previously played at Neumann University and coached at the collegiate level for 3 years. He is an active USTA League and Tournament player at the 4.5 NTRP level.
Control the point and control the match. These laceless adidas tennis shoes have a radically new look and feature an internal system that locks in your foot for maximum security and confidence in your game. Lightweight cushioning in the midsole keeps you moving quickly, so you can fly from the baseline to the net and back again with ease.