We pounded the pavement in Adidas’ 3D-printed Futurecraft 4D shoes. For science!

Sneakers aren’t just rubber and fabric anymore, and a new type of swoosh or logo can only take you so far. These days, shoes lace themselves at the press of a button, and some are even crafted out of liquid. Now, Adidas is joining the high-tech fray with footwear that’s literally chiseled by light and oxygen, dubbed the Futurecraft 4D.

Futurecraft 4D is the first piece of footwear made with an innovative manufacturing technique called Digital Light Synthesis (DLS). Adidas partnered with 3D printing upstart Carbon who pioneered the new method. DLS allowed Adidas to manipulate a host of small details, which let the legendary footwear company craft a running shoe wholly different than anything it’s ever manufactured. With the help of 17 years of running data and roughly 50 different prototypes, Adidas is ready to show the world what it’s cooked up.

After Adidas officially unveiled the Futurecraft 4D, Digital Trends got its hands on one of the 300 pairs the company doled out ahead of its upcoming fall release. To give them a true run for their money, we decided to lace them up and run through the streets of New York City to see how far into the future these kicks go.

What are those shoes?

The Futurecraft 4D owes a lot of its look to its technological predecessor, last year’s Futurecraft 3D. Both shoes sport a slick mesh upper made with Adidas’ Primeknit technology, which gives it that handwoven aesthetic and feel. The black and green colorway is accentuated by the reflective shine of its 3D-printed midsole.

future sneakers technology nike hyperadapt opinion adidas futurecraft 4d 6

The midsole is where both shoes derive their respective monikers. The Futurecraft 4D’s intricate midsole gives the shoe an abstract aesthetic people couldn’t help but ask about while we wore them around the city. Onlookers easily spotted the midsole springing into action with every step — essentially, it looks like a shoe with a cool, elastic hydraulic system.

Taking a ‘4D’ run

It’s no secret Adidas crafted these shoes for running. Slipping them on your feet makes this immediately clear. You instantly feel a noticeable bounce upon running thanks to its intricate, elastomeric midsole crafted with DLS. Even on a light jog, it’s easy to feel the heel spring up and physically push you forward. When testing out the shoes, we were often amazed at how much faster they made us feel.

It’s no secret Adidas crafted these shoes for running. Slipping them on your feet makes this immediately clear.

The sole may be the star of the Futurecraft 4D, but the perforated upper end left the biggest impression on us. The holes are wide enough to allow for a pleasantly cool breeze to circulate through the shoe, cooling down your feet. In other words, you won’t stop running because of foot discomfort or overheating. Adidas tabbed tire manufacturer Continental to make the durable outer sole, which let us run on rocky terrain without trouble. Though we didn’t scale any mountains, it seemed apparent the Futurecraft 4D would handle running on rugged dirt roads with ease.

Running aside, anyone looking to wear these as their everyday shoes should take pause. The extra bounce it offers for running tended to get annoying after prolonged walking and even started to hurt our calves a bit. A softer inner sole might rectify this issue but could take away from running performance — at the end of the day, Adidas did craft these for running, so this solution seems unlikely.

Are they worth the price?

As of right now, Adidas has yet to announce an official price for its Futurecraft 4D, though considering the Futurecraft 3D ran for $333, we assume this model’s price won’t be terribly far off. Gerd Manz, Adidas’ vice president of technology innovation, told Digital Trends the Futurecraft 4D plans to boast a price categorized as a “premium level offer.”

adidas futurecraft 4d hands on 4

Aesthetically unique, the Futurecraft 4D’s midsole gave us a delightful bounce for running. However, many running shoes on the market come standard with a similar running performance for roughly $150 – $200. If the Futurecraft does indeed cost an extra $100 — all for a little extra pep in your step and an innovative design — it will be tough to justify purchasing a pair. This pair of shoes seems destined only for those into novelty and hardcore running.

Should you run to the future with Adidas?

For those who already use running shoes for specific conditions and surfaces, the Futurecraft 4D seems like a great addition to their closet. Where it lacks in versatility, it more than makes up for with its durable outsole capable of expanding the type of surfaces wearers feel comfortable running on. If you’ve got the dough, we recommend picking up (and reserving) a pair if you’re lucky enough to snag one of the 10,000 pairs Adidas plans to release this upcoming fall and winter.

Emerging Tech

Capture app saves money by 3D scanning objects using iPhone’s TrueDepth camera

Capture is a new iPhone app created by the Y Combinator-backed startup Standard Cyborg. It allows anyone to perform 3D scans of objects and share them with buddies. Here's how it works.
Emerging Tech

The best 3D printers of 2018

On the hunt for a new 3D printer? We've got your back. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned veteran, this list of the best 3D printers has what you're looking for.
Mobile

Want to watch Netflix in bed or browse the web? We have a tablet for everyone

There’s so much choice when shopping for a new tablet that it can be hard to pick the right one. From iPads to Android, these are our picks for the best tablets you can buy right now whatever your budget.
Emerging Tech

Makerbot is back with a new 3D printer that’s faster and more precise than ever

MakerBot's new Method 3D printer aims to bridge the gap between home 3D printers and more industrial 3D printing tech. Here are a few of the tantalizing things you can expect from it.
Outdoors

Forget pumps. This innovative filter purifies H2O in 8 seconds flat

The Grayl Geopress water purification system removes more than 99 percent of all bacteria, cysts, and viruses from water in just eight seconds, providing clean drinking water to travelers and outdoor adventurers.
Outdoors

Conquer the cold season with the best heated clothing and outdoor apparel

If you're thinking about going outside this winter, heated apparel is a must. Luckily, we've rounded up some of the best heated clothing, whether you're looking for battery-powered gloves or heated insoles.
Emerging Tech

Warm ski beanie instantly hardens into a head-protecting helmet upon impact

Wool hats are way more comfortable than hard helmets. You know what they're not? Safer. That could soon change, thanks to an innovative new ski beanie which instantly hardens upon impact.
Outdoors

Crush your next workout with the best Fitbit for every activity

Fitbits are amazingly helpful tools for setting fitness goals and tracking progress. However, different activities require different metrics. We've gathered a list of the best Fitbits for running, swimming, biking, and other activities.
Smart Home

Tired of running outdoors? Check out the best treadmills of 2018

Running can burn up to 900 calories per hour, melting away fat and strengthening your muscles.  Compared to running outdoors, you're safer staying indoors on a cushioned track. We've rounded up the best treadmills on the market
Outdoors

Need gift ideas? Here’s what to get the skiers and snowboarders in your life

You can't purchase snow, but you can grab your favorite skier or snowboarder some sweet gear this holiday season. We've hand-picked some of the best available that'll wow even the most well-equipped terrain park junkie we know.
Outdoors

Puma revives its classic 1986 smart shoe, complete with high-tech heel hump

More marketing stunt than serious effort to dominate the smart shoe space, Puma is about to re-release its classic RS-Computer Shoe. The high-tech footwear from 1986 was a breakthrough at the time, despite its unsightly heel hump.
Photography

These are the best action cameras money can buy

Action cameras are great tools for capturing videos of your everyday activities, whether it's a birthday party or the steepest slope you've ever descended on your snowboard. These are the best money can buy.
Outdoors

Drink what nature provides with the best water purifiers

Looking for reliable water purification? Staying hydrated is important, especially when you are hiking or camping far from civilization. Check out our picks of the best water purifiers for your camp, backpack, or pocket.
Wearables

Our favorite fitness trackers make it fun to keep moving

Looking for your first fitness tracker, or an upgrade to the one you're already wearing? There are plenty of the wrist-worn gadgets available. Here are our picks for the best fitness trackers available right now.