Aug 12, 2021
by Austin Jung
The adidas 4DFWD Is Designed to Move You Forward
by Austin Jung
Aug 12, 2021

adidas has just released a brand new running shoe model: the 4DFWD. 

The cushioning is formed from its patented 4D foam, which was developed in collaboration with California-based firm Carbon. Carbon’s digital light synthesis technology uses light and oxygen permeable optics and programmable liquid resins to create a model that is free of traditional prototyping and molding. In this process, liquid resin is cured into solid plastic with the help of ultraviolet light (UV). As the UV images are overlaid, the part solidifies as the scanner rises. 

According to Sam Handy, VP of Design at adidas, “Working closely with Carbon …  identified one perfect midsole that … [delivers] a unique gliding sensation.” In contrast, traditional 3D printing has inconsistent gaps that results in brittle productions. With Carbon’s formula, the material is nearly fifteen times denser compared to lesser 3D printing.

The 4DFWD’s design philosophy is centered around the runner’s experience. adidas analyzed the gait cycle of various runners with the help of the University of Calgary. Multiple factors, such as forward motion, braking force, and running economy were all considered to make a more efficient runner. A key aspect of the shoe is in its supportive lattice structures. The midsole’s distinctive bowtie-shaped construction helps to absorb shock and impact, as well as creating more forward motion and braking.

In regards to the environmental aspect, the 4DFWD has a Primegreen upper, which is made from recycled materials; 50% of the upper is said to be recycled content. The specific details are unclear, but adidas has stated that its Primeblue and Primegreen fabrics are sourced from reused polyester. It also has no virgin plastic.

Furthermore, Carbon’s 3D printing is sourced from 39% bio-based material. While the construction is not completely recycled or biodegradable, it is good news to see that such a large company is embracing eco-friendly initiatives.


The adidas 4DFWD is available in three colorways, and went on sale for $200 USD today at The brand also launched the 4DFWD Pulse, which is a cheaper version — at $160 USD — that features a hybrid 4D and foam sole unit, rather than the full length 4D in the aforementioned model. 

In other footwear news, Jordan Brand just dropped a pair of Air Jordan 1s made from recycled materials.