Adidas Switch FWD: Medium Distance Running

Last updated on February 16th, 2024

Adidas Switch FWD quarter
Adidas Switch FWDPriceReleaseStyleRetailer
medium Distance Run$70 (50% off)YesFZ5621adidas

The Adidas Switch FWD offers a distinct, robust training experience. With its elevated 45 mm heel stack height, the shoe maintains a secure and balanced feel. Although it may not provide the exact forward propulsion as advertised, it still delivers a remarkably comfortable and immersive ride. This model is particularly well-suited for moderate speeds and runs of shorter to medium distances.

ProsCons
Stable rideLow versatility
Durable outsoleOutsole picks up stones
Highly cushionedCan’t feel the forward propulsion like advertised
Excellent traction
Unique transitions
Adidas Switch FWD heel

If you're in the market for an Adidas everyday running shoe and you desire a more exhilarating experience than what the current Adidas Boost/Lightstrike collection offers, the Switch FWD presents itself as a viable choice.

If you prefer a smooth and connected driving experience, the Switch FWD may not be the best choice for you.

Adidas has always embraced the exploration of groundbreaking technology in their running footwear. With its unconventional design, the 2013 release of the Adidas Springblade shoe captured attention as one of the most intriguing running shoes ever crafted. However, despite its visually captivating appearance, the shoe failed to meet performance expectations and was ultimately discontinued after a few years due to poor sales.

Adidas Switch FWD topline/cuff

The 4D FWD, an Adidas sneaker with an audacious design, is positioned as a running shoe but disappoints with its weightiness and lack of energy rebound. Instead, it excels as a fashionable, everyday sneaker.

The Switch FWD is an innovative trainer that boasts the ability to convert gravity into propulsive movement. Its EVA midsole features gaps, akin to the design of the On Cloudsurfer 7. I am skeptical about Adidas replicating On's design, considering the Cloudsurfer 7 was introduced only a few months prior. Developing a new running shoe typically takes a span of 18 months, from conception to completion.

The Switch FWD and the On Cloudsurfer differ significantly in a notable aspect. Unlike the Cloudsurfer, the Switch FWD boasts an imposing 45mm heel stack height, rendering it ineligible for participation in official World Athletics races. Moreover, the Switch FWD incorporates a TPU plate in its midsole to enhance stability, a feature absent in the Cloudsurfer.

The Switch FWD, a running shoe that boasts ample midsole foam and a substantial plate, carries a weight that aligns with contemporary standards - a hefty 11.8 ounces (335 grams) for a men's US 9. Its price tag of $140 falls within the typical range for a daily trainer in the current market.

Adidas Switch FWD toebox and outsole

Until I experienced the Switch FWD firsthand at the store, my enthusiasm for it was rather lackluster. Anticipating a rigid, unwieldy shoe, I was pleasantly surprised by its comfortable and lively feel as I strolled about. Contrary to its appearance in photographs, the midsole proved to be much more substantial.

During my initial jog, I maintained a relaxed pace. The Switch FWD exhibited a sturdy and secure feel, leaning towards the firmer side. I detected a slight discomfort in my right foot's midfoot area, caused by the firm TPU plate, but it was not unbearable. Interestingly, this sensation vanished after my inaugural run.

The journey was far from smooth, as I could distinctly sense the presence of gaps within the midsole. Certain areas of the midsole seemed to compress more readily than others. The experience was truly one-of-a-kind, unlike any other running shoe I have ever worn. It emitted a cacophony with each footstrike, the midsole audibly creaking as it compressed.

the Adidas Switch FWD Vamp/upper

The Switch FWD boasts an upper composed of an inflexible, coarse fabric that lacks elasticity or adaptability to your foot shape. It brings to mind the Adios Pro 3 upper, albeit with added thickness. Personally, I would opt for a more supple upper material, as the current one tends to cause discomfort when the forefoot bends, resulting in the toe box pressing into the upper part of the foot.

The tongue of the shoe lies flat and has a partial gusset. In its center, there is a loop designed to secure the laces, preventing the tongue from shifting while running.

the Adidas Switch FWD tongue

The Switch FWD offers excellent foot lockdown with its internal heel counter and runner's knot. Additionally, the midfoot's reflective 3 stripes provide optimal visibility in low light conditions.

The shoes are accurately sized, slightly longer than the average shoe. However, they have a slim fit, so I advise against choosing a smaller size or purchasing them if you have wide feet. I experimented with a half size down, but found that it was too tight around the middle of the foot and the toe area.

Adidas Switch FWD sole part

The Switch FWD may not offer a plush ride, but it also doesn't sacrifice comfort with an overly firm feel. This can be attributed to a key element: the inclusion of a sturdy TPU plate positioned above the midsole, serving as Adidas' take on the Speedboard commonly found in On Running footwear. This plate brings stability to the shoe, preventing any wobbling when the midsole is under pressure.

Positioned directly beneath the strobel lining, the plate provides a sensation of your foot resting directly on the solid surface. Personally, I would opt for a thinner plate that is positioned closer to the ground, as this would yield a more cushioned and comfortable experience.

The primary purpose of the Switch FWD is to convert the force of gravity into a forward movement. In order to achieve this, the angles of the empty spaces within the midsole are positioned diagonally, allowing for a shift in the midsole when compressed. However, in my personal experience, I do not perceive a significant forward motion when my foot strikes the ground. This lack of perception can be attributed to the thickness and rigidity of the plate. Consequently, the overall ride feels rather mechanical and does not provide much feedback from the ground.

Adidas Switch FWD Sole Part

I find little pleasure in utilizing the Switch FWD for my easy or recovery runs due to its lack of cushioning in the midsole. Similarly, I refrain from employing it during speed workouts such as intervals or tempo runs, as its weight and bulkiness prove to be too cumbersome. The Switch FWD truly excels when utilized for steady or moderate paces.

In my experience with the Switch FWD, I once embarked on a run that stretched for an impressive 39 kilometers. However, as I reached the 30-kilometer mark, an unsettling discomfort began to creep into my feet. The firmness of the ride proved to be a tad overwhelming. Thus, I would recommend reserving this particular model for distances no longer than a half marathon.

The Switch FWD stands out from other Adidas running shoes as one of only two with a midsole stack height above 40 mm (the Prime X being the other). This unique characteristic provides the shoe with extra cushioning and a more pronounced heel-to-toe rocker. Although the rocker in the Switch FWD isn't immediately obvious, I can definitely feel it supporting me as I transition from heel to toe.

The shoe boasts a generous 45 mm of foam in the heel, positioning it as a taller option among its competitors. Surprisingly, once you slip it on, you hardly notice its height compared to the Prime X. This is thanks to the remarkable compression of the midsole foam under pressure, creating a sensation of being enveloped within the shoe rather than perched atop it.

Adidas Switch FWD sole part

Unlike On Running shoes, the holes in the midsole of these shoes do not extend all the way through, resulting in less compression. While heavier runners may experience a softer ride due to their ability to compress the midsole more during footstrikes, as a 60-kilo (132-pound) individual, I find the ride to be well-balanced, though slightly firmer.

The shoe's outsole boasts a series of triangular openings that span its entire length, ensuring a ride that is not overly seamless. These strategically placed cutouts result in a lighter midsole that can compress more effectively under pressure. However, it is worth noting that the larger cutouts may occasionally trap small stones, causing a minor inconvenience.

The midsole of the Switch FWD boasts a robust, long-lasting sensation thanks to the protective layer of sturdy Continental rubber. Rest assured, the durability of the outsole is not a concern with this shoe. The exceptional grip is a result of the intricate pattern etched onto the surface of the Continental rubber, allowing you to truly feel its tenacious hold on the ground.

Adidas Switch FWD heelcap

Is the Switch FWD just another running shoe gimmick, similar to the Adidas Springblade and the 4D FWD? Personally, I don't think so. The Switch FWD offers a distinct and enjoyable running experience with its engaging ride.

After a few attempts, I grew accustomed to the sturdy sensation while running, and the more I continued, the more my affinity for it grew. However, its weight and unyielding nature (especially for those who prefer a lighter step) are the only downsides, making it less adaptable as a training shoe.

The Switch FWD may initially resemble an imitation of the On Cloudsurfer, but these two trainers offer distinct running experiences. While the Cloudsurfer provides a gentle and cushioned ride, ideal for leisurely runs, the Switch FWD delivers a quicker pace akin to the On Cloudmonster.

Adidas Switch FWD midsole

Despite being a debut running shoe, it doesn't give off a prototype vibe, although there are aspects I would modify. The mesh on its upper is inflexible, failing to mold to the shape of your feet, and the TPU plate feels excessively bulky and stiff, making it overly conspicuous. Additionally, the ride would benefit from being approximately 20 percent more cushioned.

At a price of $140, it offers good value and is a much more affordable option compared to the extravagant $190 Adidas Ultraboost Light.

I prefer to train in the Switch FWD over other daily trainers within the same price range, such as the Brooks Ghost 15 or the Nike InfinityRN 4. Unlike those ordinary and unexciting rides, the Switch FWD offers a much more contemporary experience.

Adidas Switch FWD heel and quarter