The next phase of the adidas Futurecraft series was unveiled in October with the launch of the adidas Made For London (AM4LDN) shoe. Built in the company's Speedfactory in Germany, it was the facility’s first major project launch. Adidas released an extremely limited run of the adidas Futurecraft M.F.G. (Made for Germany) last year, and you can see a lot of its influence in the AM4LDN.
Adidas worked in conjunction with runners in London to create the AM4LDN. The intent was to design a shoe built for the culture of commuter runners in the city. Many runners in London often commute to and from work early in the morning or later in the evening, so the idea was to have a shoe that was easily visible in low-light conditions and able to withstand rainy conditions. The blue colors that adorn the sides of the shoe are meant to represent the lights from buildings reflected in the wet surfaces of city streets after rain in London.
Adidas followed the launch of the AM4LDN with the adidas Made For Paris (AM4PAR) shoe. The two shoes are identical in design, with the only difference being the color. A spokesperson for adidas told SI "the AM4PAR [muted urban camo print] is designed to work for a diverse group of women, who may have different styles but are united by running. It is supposed to be versatile enough to fit into the woman’s everyday life, going from run to work. Last but not least, the muted pink palette takes queues from the city—the marbled statues and textures from buildings.”
The crown jewel of the adidas empire, the Boost midsole, is present in the shoe to give that familiar and comfortable feel. We named the adidas UltraBoost our favorite running shoe, which is due in large part to the pillow-like Boost midsole. Instead of the Primeknit material you find on their UltraBoost line, they use a thin engineered knit with a scale-like pattern for the upper here. Patch reinforcement strips criss-cross along the upper and line up with the lacelets to help with support, and those same strips are built into the heel counter to help with stability. Aiding in the stability department is a special floating Torsion bar built at the Speedfactory in the sole. Another departure here is the use of a special TPU outsole that was made specifically for the Speedfactory instead of Continental rubber.
Running in the AM4LDN was reminiscent of running in the adidas PureBoost DPR, which is one of the more underrated running shoe releases in recent memory. Extremely light on your feet—the AM4LDN weighs in at only 8.9 oz.—yet cushioned enough to get you through a long run, I felt as if I could easily set a personal record running in them. Toe off felt great as you launched into every step and transitions were very smooth. The AM4LDN offers minimal support and stability, so if you tend to underpronate or overpronate, these may not be the shoes for you. (Although, I suspect that most people that were able to grab a pair of these shoes won’t be running in them all that much.)
The adidas Speedfactory offers a lot of promise. With a second location of opening soon in Atlanta, Ga., production capabilities will be increased dramatically, allowing them to create products at a faster pace and larger scale. “It’s a high-speed, hyper-flexible and ever-evolving production line of our latest breakthrough technology and material: BOOST, patch reinforcement, engineered knit, fused bonding, and soon Digital Light Synthesis and Parley Ocean Plastic,” a spokesperson for adidas told SI. The work adidas has done with Carbon and their Digital Light Synthesis process to create the adidas Futurecraft 4D is nothing short of impressive, and its integration with their Speedfactory is promising as it gets them one step closer to making these hyper-limited products more widely available (the adidas Futurecraft 4D was an extremely limited run with only 300 pairs made available to a select group).
“The AM4LDN and AM4PAR demonstrates the potential of adidas Speedfactory to create products that are tailored through a data-driven co-creation process,” says Ben Herath, VP of design for adidas running. “Both shoes have been designed with input from local running communities of London and Paris—delivering what they want, when and where they want it.” Expect to see several more iterations of the AM4 line, with versions lined up for Los Angeles (AM4LA), New York (AM4NYC), Tokyo (AM4TKY) and Shanghai (AM4SHA) in 2018.