I'm wearing the new Adidas adipure Trainers right now. They're barefoot shoes. My toes are spread apart (which is good), my feet are closer to the ground (which is great) and I feel like an ass (which is normal). Adidas says it'll make me a better athlete.
Though the popularity of barefoot running shoes has been well documented, these Adidas barefoot shoes aren't like those. They're the first barefoot models exclusively targeted for the gym.
So how do they feel? Actually good. The shoe's upper is similar to low profile water shoes (better quality, natch)—elastic, stretchy and hardly noticeable around the top part of your foot. I do, however, feel a bit of restriction around my toes. The ethylene and vinyl acetate midsoles—essentially a ton of foam cells that contain air—are perfect though. When your foot lands, the foam compresses and the air gets pushed out, then sucked back in. Unlike Nike Frees which focus on re-creating a barefoot (read: less shock absorbent) feel, the Adidas Adipures provide a cushion so you don't feel every jagged edge of the ground. But it doesn't try to overcompensate on that cushioning, so when you're doing exercises like box jumps you'll feel your toes and feet searching for balance, trying to grab the ground. It's like doing brand new core exercises for your feet—working the important little muscles that mean more than the big swooping ones.
But even with all these athlete-approved, trainer-recommended benefits, they're still unabashedly weird. Beyond all possibilities of weird, really. And to that end I say who cares? It's the gym, form follows function. They fit a specific purpose: attempting to improve your posture and alignment so you can get more out of your workouts. You'll find yourself searching for balance and using muscles you never knew existed. One thing: probably not ideal for those who predominantly run.
They're out on November 1st for 90 bucks. [Adidas]