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Friday, March 9th, 2012 at 10:00 am  |  no responses

The FIT: adidas CLIMACOOL Freshride

The evolution of a standard Ride.

by Sandy Dover / @San_Dova

In the basketball world, athletes are subject to physical rigors that most other athletes cannot rival. For the elite basketball player of any level, his/her body is a literal temple and principal livelihood, and while the roughly 400 players in the NBA put their bodies and minds to the test daily and yearly, those outside of that realm also have become just as conscious about their fitness and health. The FIT is a series that will concentrate on the Fuel, Information and Training (F.I.T.) that it takes for both professional and amateur players to be at their very best in the world, as well as focusing on the literal Food, Intelligence and Technology that also comes into play in our physical fine-tuning—because after all, without having the vital sustenance, guidelines and tech advancements to feed our bodies, help us better absorb and process what’s necessary, and make the labor efficient and effective, we don’t have much to advance our collective health and performance. The FIT is here to bring to light what can make us all the best uniquely tuned creatures who we presently are and can continue or aspire to be.

Basketball as we all know it is a game of running, and basically, outside of the half-court nature of the game, it’s a game of sprints and jogs, literally. Basketball shoes as they are constructed are meant for protection of the body because of the game’s dynamic nature and drastic levels of force exerted and absorbed by the body…but the shoes are crucial in running; for that, the running part of basketball is why a running shoe for basketball players is relevant to the sport…

…As is the case for the adidas CLIMACOOL Freshride.

Per adidas:

With a lightweight, comfortable design and a bold look, these men’s adidas CC Freshride shoes are perfect for summer running. CLIMACOOL® ventilation maximizes air flow to the foot.

- Weight: 8.3 oz. (size 9)

- CLIMACOOL® provides 360-degree cooling for the entire foot; Mesh-on-mesh upper for flexible, breathable fit; Synthetic overlays for support and durability

- Coolever mesh lining for comfort

- Perforated sockliner for increased breathability

- adiWEAR® outsole offers the ultimate in high-wear durability

The first thing about the CLIMACOOL Freshride that’s apparent is that it’s a classic CLIMACOOL product, in the sense of its stance, sole, and overall styling. It’s bonafide in the true sense of the word. The mesh upper, the perforated insole, and the segmented flex sole (unofficially dubbed the SoftTech sole) all give the CC Freshride its distinct appearance, but what the shoe itself is more importantly about performance.

It’s important to understand that with the CC Freshride, the shoe itself isn’t making any brand new statements relative its already existing technology from the CLIMACOOL division of adidas. It is a performance product, that is hitting its mark on its flash appearance, and yet it still holds its own as a running shoe in the market. Though there isn’t any brand new technology that has been introduced into the shoe, there has been some evolution of certain attributes that were carried over into the CC Freshride that affect (and enhance) the shoe’s strength.

Because the CC Freshride is an evolved version of 2011’s premier running shoe, the CLIMACOOL Ride (a.k.a. David Beckham’s shoe), it matches up clearly with the parent shoe. The CC Ride was a brilliant shoe because its flexibility and soundness was unseen in that particular form. No one had debuted a shoe that could be rolled into a ball before with that zig-zap flex sole that the CC Ride had – but it was very soft, and didn’t necessarily absorb and distribute shock as evenly as I assumed it would; the CC Ride’s upper, though attractive and fairly strong, wasn’t as supportive as I needed for it to be as ideal a running shoe I wanted it to be – there were some minor things that kept it from realizing its full potential, as good a shoe as it was.

In the case of the CC Freshride, it’s a much stronger product. The textile materials alone are better – the upper is a combination of faux suede and micro mesh that work together to deliver a well-ventilated product. The upper also features an evolutionary attribute that I alluded to in its use of an endo-cage; transparent through the mesh upper, the cage sits directly beneath the micro mesh as a kind of support lining for the preservation of the shoe’s shape, but also is kind of a pseudo-Sprint Web that adidas uses prevalently in the adizero products—that endo-cage brings forth a discernible amount of support and improved fit that was not found in the CC Ride. In addition, the CC Freshride uses wide, weaved laces in a low-eyelet setup that makes lacing the shoe a cinch. Immediately giving the CC Freshride a better feel underfoot is its use of denser foam in the midsole, which is still low to the ground, but less forgiving and more supportive.

Comfort is the other big defining aspect of the CC Freshride. Because of the mesh upper, the shoe breathes extremely well, so well that as my microfiber, moisture-wicking socks became dry, my feet actually became chilly, which speaks the wonderful ventilation of the CC Freshride. The lacing system is minimal in eyelet count and simple to tighten, which enforces the emphasis on the shoe’s comfort. The tongue has a synthetic satin finish and distinctly defined (and not part of an attached inner bootie) making the CC Freshride easy to put on and wear, and because the SoftTech sole is ergonomically engineered, the transition of the shoe is top-notch – all of my training and evaluations of the CC Freshride yielded promising findings, though with all of that said, there are some weaknesses that could be improved in future models of the CC Freshride.

(And it’s 8.3 oz! It’s very lightweight.)

One weakness is found in the cushioning of the shoe – the CC Freshride has a really good foundation in the sole, particularly in the midsole, but because the midsole is firmer, it requires a softer landing to counteract the density. The former CC Ride employed adiPRENE+ in the forefoot and adiPRENE in the heel to enhance comfort; the CC Freshride employs no use of adiPRENE of any kind, and while it’s not needed in the heel necessarily, the forefoot would be greatly served by an additional cushioning insert – the EVA midsole alone is hard to break in. A good thing about the CC Freshride is that the sockliner is removable; the stock sockliner, though perforated for additional ventilation, is quite thin and is more of a buffer between the foot and the strobe board underneath than a shock absorber—inserting a thicker, cushioned insole and/or orthotics can make your own CC Freshride a custom running shoe for you.

The other lesser aspect of the CC Freshride is that it is a shoe that best fits feet with more slender profiles. It’s not a shoe that is particularly wide, and that can cause some problems, specifically in the toebox, which is narrow even for my slender feet. A wider toebox in the shoe would bring more comfort and deliver better toe spread while running, which itself would enhance the stress management of the foot and shoe together; because of the narrower fit of the CC Freshride, it may be a deal-breaker for some people to wear it.

(For people with weak arches that are familiar with adidas running shoes, it’s important to know that the CC Freshride does not use the Torsion System for arch support, so the increased flexibility may give more underneath the bridge of the foot. If your arches are sensitive, it’s important to try on the shoe before you make any decisions on it to be certain of fit.)

Altogether, the CC Freshride is a very competent running shoe. It’s best for spring and summer weather when the shoe can take advantage of the warmer climate and a solid performer. If you liked the CC Ride, the CC Freshride is a slightly better version, and its minimalist undertone actually can help in making your feet stronger, but it doesn’t overexpose your feet either. The CC Freshride is a stylish performer that can ably meet the demands of a runner looking to enjoy casual to fairly substantive running workouts.

Sandy Dover is a published author, media consultant, and web & print magazine columnist in the world of publishing, while acting as a sports product evaluator and as a wellness & training consultant, advocate, and journalist in the fitness industry (with the two worlds often colliding). You can find Sandy frequently here at SLAMonline, as well as at About Me, Facebook and Twitter.

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