adidas / August 2022


Combining years of athlete data with the unique technology of 3D printing, adidas 4DFWD is created to provide runners with a future forward running experience.


So what makes the adidas 4DFWD so unique and how has adidas achieved such a pioneering technology? We spoke with some key stakeholders in the design process of the shoe along with a biomechanical expert and an adidas runner who tried out the shoe, to find out how adidas has opened up a whole new world of possibilities in running technology.
“It might be surprising, but humans have a biomechanical problem when running. Every time our foot hits the ground, we get interrupted in our forward motion as opposing braking forces take hold, pushing back on our step and forcing a subtle stop-start motion between strides,” says Charlotte Heidmann, Global Senior Product Manager at adidas.
“At adidas, we’re always looking at the ways technology and data can intersect to produce the best possible products for our runners. And with the new adidas 4DFWD 2, we found a way to make the impossible, possible, and defy the laws of motion, by using a unique technique designed to move you forward. With every stride, the adidas 4DFWD 2 turns impact energy into forward motion for an unstoppable smooth forward transition," she says.

At adidas, we’re always looking at the ways technology and data can intersect to produce the best possible products for our runners.

- Charlotte Heidmann, Senior Product Manager, adidas

The challenge of harnessing these braking forces seemed impossible in the world of running shoe technology. Determined to challenge the status quo, adidas explored 5 million different lattice structures to reach to the one that was used to create 4DFWD and used state-of-the–art 3D printing to delve deep into a journey of discovery of the laws of motion, creating a new benchmark for the future of running.

Charlotte Heidmann went on to explain that “Science and athlete insights are at the forefront of our creation process for the new adidas 4DFWD. In order to change the game for our runners around the world, we have created one of the most technologically advanced running shoes to date. How did we do that? We have evaluated over 5 million lattice variations and collected 18 years of athlete science and data. The result? Our new adidas 4DFWD. This running shoe doesn’t just reduce braking forces, it harnesses them - creating smooth, uninterrupted forward motion.”


Bob Kirk, Senior Director of Footwear Concepts in the adidas Innovation team in Portland, Oregon was keen to affirm the brand's commitment to deliver top innovative products to all runners.
"At adidas, we’re always looking for ways in which data and technology can intercept to solve runners' problems. By challenging the laws of running science, we create a new performance benefit and experience of running. With every stride, the 4DFWD midsole takes vertical impact and translates it into forward motion. This provides a seamless transition and smooth under foot experience.”

By challenging the laws of running science, we create a new performance benefit and experience of running.

- Bob Kirk, Senior Director Footwear Concepts, adidas Innovation team


But how does this happen? What is actually taking place in the shoe when a runner experiences this unparalleled feeling?
The adidas 4DFWD is created with three key components, that work together to provide a smooth transition and a unique running experience:
- A revolutionary 3D printed lattice midsole, that compresses forward, reducing braking forces and transforming the impact energy into forward motion
- A new upper construction combining the sock-like comfort of Primeknit+ with the zoned support of engineered mesh
- A Continental outsole for extra grip in all weather conditions supporting movement.

Iain Hannah, Senior Manager of Engineering in adidas Innovation in Portland explains "We evaluated over 5 million lattice variations. This lattice converts downward pressure into forward motion, turning your weight into forward motion and pushing a runner forward every time their feet touch the ground, in order to deliver a smoother running experience. We collaborated with our innovation partners at Carbon, using a cutting-edge 3D printing technology, to create a finely-tuned midsole, with a scientifically-proven forward motion benefit."


We spoke with biomechanical expert Dr. Srdan Popovic from BeMoved running lab at Charite in Berlin to find out what impact these technological breakthroughs have in this pioneering design.

The vertical pressure applied by the runner's foot transforms into horizontal force to create forward motion.

- Dr. Srdan Popovic, BeMoved running lab

The 4DFWD 3D printed lattice midsole is a unique cell design coded with forward motion at the centerstage. The vertical pressure applied by the runner's foot transforms into horizontal force to create forward motion. This creates a constant smooth forward transition for the runner and a unique sensation with every step to help drive continual forward motion.” Dr. Popovic explained before elaborating on some of the shoe’s other features.


The creation of this groundbreaking technology and the innovation behind it do not only offer a unique running experience but also project to the runner who is looking to run in the top latest trends in running and wants to keep progressing. The innovation behind the adidas 4DFWD 2 can help create this sense of progress for the runner. It can inspire and enable every runner to pursue their possibilities, whether they are physical, mental or emotional through a continual forward motion.


Theo, a teenage runner from Berlin tried out the adidas 4DFWD 2 and gave some personal insights on his experience running in the shoe:

“In terms of the spring in my step, I must say this was a very different sensation to anything I have experienced before. It’s hard to put into words; you really need to try this shoe on to understand what it is about and how it feels."
Theo elaborated on the importance of forward motion not only in his running, but in life in general.

“There are so many interruptions we might face on a run in the form of friction from the ground, different weather conditions and terrain - to have a shoe that helps harness these to my advantage is really encouraging. I also face plenty of interruptions in my daily life in general ! In the age of social media and constant communication it’s sometimes hard to find time to even run. I’m definitely drawn to the mentality behind 4DFWD 2 that is aligned with trying to overcome braking forces and move forward - that’s something I aim for in all aspects of my life”.

Theo was also keen to point out that the scientific approach behind the adidas 4DFWD 2 shoe was something that is very important for him and further aligns with his values.


I’m someone who really believes in the power of technology to make the world a better place. That’s one of my passions in general, so I’m very drawn to the innovative spirit that has driven the creation of the 4DFWD 2 shoe. I’m all about a pioneer spirit that is future facing.

- Theo, Berlin-based runner


The adidas 4DFWD 2 is the link between running culture and product innovation, shaping its future one step at a time. The groundbreaking technology it has utilized in regards to forward movement challenges the rules of running and encapsulates an innovative and progressive spirit that can resonate deeply with runners worldwide. As the adidas 4DFWD 2 enters into the running world, we move boldly into previously unchartered territory. Welcome to the future of running.

adidas / August 2022