It’s literally the coolest shoe around.
Written by: Mario Fraioli
I get sent running shoes to run in and review all the time. It’s a nice perk of my job, even when I don’t get first choice of style or color. When I arrived at work a few weeks ago to find a pair of bright green ClimaCool Rides from adidas on my desk, I put them on without a care for color, walked around the office for a bit and went for a run at lunch a couple hours later. After a few strides I wasn’t too concerned about the crazy color of the shoes on my feet but was instead impressed with the smooth ride and plentiful forefoot protection this sub-10 ounce shoe had to offer.
Now, first things first, I wouldn’t classify this as a minimalist shoe, but rather a protective lightweight trainer. There’s a fair amount of midsole to it (more than other lightweight trainers and most racing flats) albeit a very flexible one. Deep flex grooves on the bottom of the shoe (see photo) provide maximum front-to-back flexibility, which allows your foot to move naturally, regardless of your running style. Unlike a lot of other lightweight trainers, however, this shoe offers a surprising amount of protection underfoot. As a midfoot/forefoot striker, I found the cushioning in the ClimaCool Ride to be firm but forgiving. This is a versatile shoe which is responsive enough to go fast when you want to go fast, but soft enough to absorb impact when you’re just cruising along at an easy effort.
True to its name, the ClimaCool is extremely well ventilated. It’s minimal and extremely unintrusive upper allows your foot to do what it wants to do while optimizing airflow and keeping your feet cool when the weather gets warm. Case in point, last week during an unseasonably warm spell here in San Diego (near 90 degrees) my feet stayed fairly dry while the rest of my running clothes (all technical fabrics, by the way) soaked up a fair amount of sweat. As a lifelong sufferer of Squishy Foot (thanks to Running Times editor Scott Douglas for coining this hilariously accurate term), I was impressed with how much less moisture my socks, and the shoes, retained. Also, at no point did my feet feel like they were heating up, a common issue when pounding the pavement around noon time on a warm day in southern California.
While this is a great new running shoe, with surprisingly tremendous versatility, it’s not for everyone. If you’re a runner who needs a less flexible shoe with additional medial protection in the midsole and/or upper, the ClimaCool Ride just won’t do it for you. If you like to go off-road, I would refrain from taking these guys on the trail. But if you’re a fairly efficient runner, or simply want to experiment with a more flexible, lightweight shoe for training and racing this summer, then I suggest taking this shoe for a Ride.
Toebox: Generous. I have fairly fat feet (thanks to a larger-than-life bunions) and I have plenty of toe clearance, as well as side to side room, in these shoes.
Midfoot: Average. Neither tight nor overly loose, the upper wraps my foot well while providing a secure fit.
Heel: Secure. For an overall flexible shoe the ClimaCool Ride had a rigid heel counter (i.e. not easily collapsable) that held my foot well in the shoe.
In-Shoe Security: Secure. While my foot has plenty of room to do what it wants to do, the shoe doesn’t feel sloppy. When I run my foot can do as it pleases, but it’s not going anywhere.
Perceived Weight: Light. Weighing in at 9 ounces in a men’s 9.5, this shoe felt light on my feet. While it looks like more shoe than others in its category, there’s nothing bulky about it.
Transition: Smooth. No clunk or awkward transition here. The deep flex grooves throughout the shoe allow for a smooth transition, whether you’re a slight heel striker or mostly up on your midfoot or forefoot.
Responsiveness: Firm, but forgiving. This shoe definitely isn’t plush, but it’s fast enough for a tempo run and there’s also enough cushioning underfoot that I felt protected when running at a slower pace.