Each year, functional fitness enthusiasts eagerly look forward to new iterations of their favorite shoes from big brands. Think the Nike Metcon, Reebok Nano, Under Armour Project Rock, or NoBull Trainer.
It’s even a joke in the WearTesters’ (digital) offices that when Under Armour sends us the new Project Rock shoes, it’s like Christmas comes early for one of the staff (Editors Note: It’s Arune. He’s watched Black Adam more than any human, even The Rock himself).
However despite its success with both running and basketball, adidas isn’t a name that immediately comes to mind for functional fitness training needs. It’s also not one readers mention often. But when Jake Boly, better known as That Fit Friend and a (fit) friend of WearTesters, says adidas has the next awesome training shoe, we definitely have to find out if he’s right.
Today I’m taking a look at the Adidas Dropset 2 Trainer, the second entry in the Dropset line, to see how it stacks up against its more popular competition.
In celebration of trying something new in our training, we’re going to try something new with the format of our review. We’ll mark each category heading with either a pro or a con. This allows you to quickly scan the pluses and minuses before you start reading. Let us know what you think about this new way of organizing our reviews.
Please note that we purchased the adidas Dropset 2 Trainer independently of adidas and the company had no involvement in this review, didn’t receive an advance look at it, and has not attempted to influence this review in any way.
adidas Dropset 2 Trainer
Weight: 12.6 oz.
Sizing: True to size
How do the Authors Train?
Arune Singh (age 41, 5’11”, 215lbs): Trains daily with functional fitness programming provided by Deadboys Fitness, founded by Colby “Seth Rollins” Lopez and Josh Gallegos, along with logging 30-40 miles of running per week. He also has a medical history of Sleep Apnea and Myasthenia Gravis, meaning Arune’s focus is on lean muscle mass.
What is the adidas Dropset 2 Trainer?
adidas describes it as:
SHOES FOR STRENGTH TRAINING, MADE IN PART WITH RECYCLED MATERIALS.
The feel of the barbell in your hands, the clang of the plates, the ring of the PR bell. Nothing beats a great lifting day, and these adidas training shoes provide outstanding performance during your Strength Training sessions. The 6 mm midsole drop gives you a flat and stable platform and helps you find proper alignment in all your lifts. The dual-density midsole provides comfort and controlled stability, and a grippy Traxion outsole keeps your footing secure.
Made with a series of recycled materials, this upper features at least 50% recycled content. This product represents just one of our solutions to help end plastic waste.
This is certainly a broad category, but every functional fitness shoe has to perform well under heavy weight and frequent repetition. So, how does the adidas Dropset 2 Trainer perform?
So many modern training shoes feel over-engineered and over-cushioned, negatively affecting your lifts by removing any real ground feel. That’s not to say that every training shoe needs to feel like a barefoot shoe, but there are training shoes that have been tweaked so much that they look like Hollywood plastic surgeries gone wrong.
The adidas Dropset 2 Trainer avoids these pitfalls by delivering just the right amount of cushion (which we’ll discuss more in Comfort) so that you get all the benefits of a 6mm drop in your heavy lifts without ever feeling disconnected from the ground.
Some of that is because of the surprisingly (but not overly) wide toe box that really reminded me of a Vivobarefoot or Xero shape. Some of it is the dual-density midsole, with a soft EVA in the forefoot that immediately cradles your foot but provides support with firmer EVA in the heel.
I also need to call out the Traxion outsole that absolutely grips the floor, whether it’s hardwood, rubber, or even carpet (not my normal workout surface, but one I used to test the Dropset 2 a surprising amount). I’m not sure any other modern trainer has delivered this level of stability, which I also partially credit to the TPU sidewalls.
There wasn’t any lift where the adidas Dropset 2 Trainer ever felt uncomfortable – to the point that I didn’t even think about the shoes most of the time. It probably won’t come as a surprise that this shoe is excellent for plyometrics, passing the all-important “can I do skaters without feeling wobbly” test without fail.
Let’s start with the area in which most functional fitness shoes fail – running.
And, surprisingly, the adidas Dropset 2 Trainer performs much better than the rest. I wouldn’t run more than a mile in these, but I’m surprised how relatively comfortable they were for functional fitness shoes (and for chasing the dog around the house). There’s not a lot of energy return, but I also imagine shoes like this will be used for the sprints in a CrossFit workout or for some kind of warm-up on the treadmill, both of which will work with the cushion setup of the adidas Dropset 2 Trainer.
The dual-density midsole is also surprisingly effective with rowing. I felt like the shoe helped me correct my form, forcing me to really push more confidently because of the aforementioned firm EVA foam in the heel.
It won’t come as a surprise that I think the comfort of the adidas Dropset 2 Trainer is on point.
But the most incredible aspect is that adidas has managed to deliver the necessary comfort without sacrificing function.
A big part of that is the shape of the shoe, something I usually struggle with due to my wider forefoot but slightly more average midfoot. That aforementioned toe splay and dual-density foam make this a dream on foot in every activity and even for casual usage.
The one challenge I’ve found is some pressure on the medial side of my right foot. That’s something I find common across training shoes, so either it’s something in my pronation or in the shape of my foot.
I purchased the red pair because this is exactly the kind of shoe I would wear with my typical outfit as someone who lives in Los Angeles – slim black joggers and a black shirt.
All of the colorways seem like something that will translate well from the gym to casual usage given how much the adidas Dropset 2 Trainer reminds me of the original Adidas NMD. For some, that familiarity means it isn’t as exciting of a shoe but to me, that means it’s a training shoe that doesn’t immediately look like a training shoe.
Much in the same way that the fit of modern training shoes is often over-engineered, the same applies to their looks too. Like the On Cloud X 3, the adidas Dropset 2 Trainer might not have the trendy couture look we expect from Nike but it does look like the shoes we see much of middle America wearing, so I think it’ll appeal to a broad audience.
If you’ve read any of my other recent cross training shoe reviews, like the Under Armour Project Rock 6 (which I didn’t love) or the On Cloud X 3 (which I loved and then bought two pairs for my wife), you know that I’m especially sensitive about this subject.
As a middle-class kid who never owned a name-brand shoe till he was 23 and working at Nordstrom (where I bought the Nike VC II Vince Carter shoe on clearance), I am always looking at price through the lens of how hard it was for me to afford that shoe, even with an employee discount.
And I always want people to feel like they got their money’s worth because it’s an awful feeling when you get something that doesn’t live up to the promises.
But at $130 (the red colorway has been frequently discounted at 20% off), the adidas Dropset 2 Trainer is at least $20 less than many of its contemporaries and has a perfect PRO score (no CONs), so it’s a near impossible value to beat given it’s got modern technology.
adidas Dropset 2 Trainer Final Verdict
The Reebok Nano 2.0 is still my favorite training shoe of all time, but the Adidas Dropset 2 Trainer is one of the best training shoes of the decade.
This is a shoe that will work for weekend warriors, functional fitness athletes, and those folks who just wanna clang and bang.
I’ve considered buying a second pair and that’s the highest compliment I can give. I can see the adidas Dropset 2 Trainer being the kind of shoe we want Reebok to retro if the next iterations don’t perform as well as this model.
If you’re looking for a new training shoe that captures the joy of trying those early Reebok Nano and Nike Metcons along with some modern technology, this is the shoe for you.