Upon receiving the adidas Switch FWD, my mind immediately went back to other crazy or futuristic-looking adidas running shoes from the past. Specifically, the A3 Megaride and the Springblade. But I asked adidas if the Switch FWD was inspired by those futuristic adidas models and they said no. Possibly because they didn’t want the Switch FWD associated with those flops. And who could blame them?
Instead, they told me the adidas Switch FWD was designed to highlight forward motion with every element on the shoe slanted forward or made to look like arrows pointing forward. So the FWD in the shoe’s name isn’t just random. The idea (like it was with the Springblade) is that the shoe pushes you forward with every step. So does that actually happen when running in the shoe? That’s why we tested it.
adidas Switch FWD
Release Date: July 20, 2023
Weight: Men’s 11.8 oz., Women’s 10.8 oz.
Sizing: Typical adidas (1/2 size down)
- Rundown: The adidas Switch FWD is a squishy, comfortable, and fun shoe that’s best categorized as a casual shoe you can run in.
When I found out the adidas Switch FWD was only packing EVA in the midsole, I was underwhelmed. Then I tried it. This formulation of EVA is much squishier and bouncier than I expected. The squishiness likely comes from the large cavities in the midsole but the bounciness reminded me of this year’s revamped Hoka Clifton 9.
I’d call this spicy EVA or EVA with a kick. Sure you can get more bounce or plush cushioning from eTPU, Pebax, or Nitro foams, but this is as good as EVA gets. EVA is good enough for a daily running shoe, especially when done like this. It’s also surprisingly stable as all the midsole ridges act like outriggers and ensure the high stack foam midsole doesn’t give too much around corners or on uneven ground.
Even with that unexpected stability, it’s not going to be quite enough cushion for runners that regularly put in 40+ miles per week. But for someone that runs 3-6 miles (5-10k) several times a week, the Switch FWD will perform well. It’s a midsole that works for casual wear and short distances. And that’s exactly what a casual or beginning runner needs.
The engineered mesh upper fits great. It conforms to your foot thanks in large part to the comfy, gusseted tongue and the large pads around the heel collar. Your foot will sink into the heel and it’s easy to get great lockdown.
There are also plenty of perforations in the upper that make the adidas Switch FWD fairly breathable. It works well as a summer running shoe. It will also work as a theme park or vacation shoe for any summer fun you have lined up.
Continental rubber, an adidas staple, appears on the outsole of the adidas Switch FWD. But you’ll notice that with all the forward-facing triangles, there’s just not much of it. I found the rubber that was there gripped well, but there wasn’t enough rubber surface area to continue gripping well as the foot transitioned from heel to toe on slippery surfaces.
Basically, the grip is inconsistent and I wouldn’t recommend it in wet or wintry conditions. However, the Continental rubber is durable. It hardly showed any wear during the extra-long test period (adidas sent us these very, very early). That’s typical of my previous experience with Continental rubber outsoles so it’s nothing new, but it’s always appreciated.
Is the adidas Switch FWD wide foot friendly?
Yes, the Switch FWD’s upper has plenty of room in the midfoot and forefoot for wide footers. The heel features a lot of internal padding, so take note if you’ve got a wide heel. Most wide footers will be able to go with their normal adidas size and get the room they need.
Is the adidas Switch FWD worth $140?
The $140 price point in running shoes is the sweet spot for a solid daily trainer. The Switch FWD doesn’t warrant that price for its running features as it falls a bit short of what should be included at that price. It’s more of a short-distance runner that works just as well as a casual/lifestyle shoe.
Casual or lifestyle shoes with fun new technology often command $140. The price makes sense from that angle. As a running shoe alone, it should be less expensive. But as a casual runner hybrid, it’s easier to justify the $140 price point.
As you can see in the image from the outsole section, the adidas Switch FWD is a rockcatcher. An outsole with big cutouts will collect larger rocks on occasion. It can be annoying. It just depends on where you usually run. This isn’t a big issue to worry about, it’ll just require some attention and double-checking if your route takes you through any rocky sections.
The only other con is what I mentioned in the midsole section. Despite its enormous stack height, the Switch FWD just isn’t built for runs above 6 miles. Nowadays, runners expect high stack shoes to bring bouncy, plush cushion that can go the distance (upwards of 20 miles). I had higher hopes regarding long run ability for a shoe with such a tall and prominent foam midsole.
adidas Switch FWD Summary
The adidas Switch FWD is the quintessential fun running shoe for beginners or occasional runners. It can do 3-6 miles without issue and is even better as a good-looking casual shoe. It’s the kind of shoe that people enjoy wearing both for the underfoot comfort and the comments on the street.
So, maybe it’s best classified as a casual shoe you can run in, but shoes like this can be fun and useful to a huge portion of the running shoe market.