One of the most successful tennis shoes of the past decade, the adidas Barricade, has announced its eighth edition will hit stores this July.
The most notable difference is perhaps the mesh used on the upper, can you talk us through this new material and how it will benefit players?
We actually were inspired by an unlikely source – outdoor furniture! DCore6 is a material we developed together in conjunction with a German manufacturer and we created a TPU material that encases a woven core. The result is a strong material that doesn’t stretch in biaxial directions – side to side and forward and backward. This provides the stability in those directions, but also allows for a more conformed fit and breathability that hasn’t been fully realized in previous Barricades. What this means for the player is that the DCore6 gives the latest Barricade the same hallmark stability found in previous iterations, but now with reduced break in time and improved breathability.
"We actually were inspired by an unlikely source – outdoor furniture!"
How did the weight of the shoe factor into the design?
Weight is always a consideration. When we take a look at performance attributes of what the Barricade provides, we won’t sacrifice on the stability and durability that the Barricade player is seeking. I guess you could say that we’re not looking for the lightest weight here (like in our adizero footwear), but more the “right” weight that optimizes and finds the right balance.
The iconic “Barricade Claws” seems to be a bit more aesthetically incorporated into the look of the 8, can you talk a bit about the importance of this technology and its evolution over time or why it is so pronounced in the latest model?
The Barricade Claws have visually and aesthetically evolved, but the primary function is the same. To support and lock down the forefoot during aggressive lateral movements. It’s an iconic element that is rooted in function. The Barricade 8 claw utilizes more of a midsole wrap that cradles the foot on both the lateral and medial side. The new design intuitively provides insight into what the claw does. Like you mention, it’s a bit more pronounced and noticeable with this latest design. You want to take into account how the shoe looks, not only from an arm’s length distance, but also how it looks from 30 meters, say the distance from the 10th row to center court.
The Barricade attracts an intense type of tennis player, what was your inspiration or goals as you set out to create the 8?
From a briefing perspective, it was pretty simple. One, retain all the hallmarks of the Barricade franchise, and two, improve comfort. We approached comfort by improving break in time and breathability. In our minds, Barricade players are no nonsense players. “Give me pure function and performance and let me focus on my game.” They are extremely technical and obsess over racquet and footwear details, but we intentionally kept it subtle and toned down. The details are there and discoverable and it’s a whole that’s greater than the sum of its parts.
What is your favorite aspect of the 8?
The Barricade 8 has a slightly different design language compared to its predecessors. The lines are a bit more straight and angular. From the 90 degree lines of the DCore6 to the facets on the torsion system, we took inspiration from the Lamborghini Aventador. The Aventador has elements of surfaces and lines under tension and we interpreted and incorporated some of this into the Barricade 8.
What are the most important functions of a tennis shoe to adidas?
Tennis is the most demanding sport to design for. All players are looking for attributes of stability, durability, cushioning, breathability, fit, comfort, traction, and flexibility. Some are more important depending on playing style, and some are non-negotiable. You know what? The Barricade 8 is not for everyone. And that statement is reassuring for us, because if we try to compromise too much and make a shoe for everyone, we will end up pleasing no one. It allows us to be laser focused on the Barricade player. If you’re seeking the ultimate lightweight and fast shoe because your tennis game is predicated on speed, then we’ve created our adizero silo for you.
And finally, we’re super happy to see the Stella McCartney x adidas Barricade matchup. Did the collaboration bring anything new to the table to the women’s shoe? Can you talk a bit about any technical changes that will benefit players?
The collaboration with Stella McCartney has brought a breath of fresh air to adidas tennis as well as the tennis industry. The original concept was to provide women with the ultimate fusion of style and performance and the combination of these two industry giants was a natural fit.
The aSMC Barricade for 2013 will provide the support and durability that Barricade players demand, and we’ve fine-tuned it for improved comfort and breathability. Stella brings a unique eye for colors and materials that are truly unexpected on the tennis court. Look for some amazing colors for 2014 and with the beautiful matching apparel collection, the tennis courts are going to be a catwalk for these strong, empowered, and bold players!
Find the adidas Barricade Claws at adidas.com this July, stay tuned for release updates and where to find.