Adidas ZX-4000 4D “Easy Mint”: 100 Wears Review
- Price: $350 MSRP [No Longer Available on Adidas]
- Pros: Nails the 80’s retrofuturism design, Great support after some wears
- Cons: Too expensive at MSRP, Odd shaped last
Adidas’ Boost technology was completely revolutionary. Boost is comfortable, and everyone agreed it looked wild when it first came out. Further, there was a time when anything with boost sold out in minutes. Unfortunately, this left Adidas in a tough position: what do you do next? How do you build upon something that changed the industry? The answer was the introduction of what Adidas calls “4D”.
Initially released in very limited numbers and in extremely limited sizing, Adidas said that 4D was the end of needing different tooling for every sole. Instead, you would be able to go into an Adidas store and have a shoe custom made for the contours of your foot, made while you waited.
Three years later, Adidas hasn’t found a way to get the custom-made products into our hands, but 4D has become far more available using normal methods. Attached to the sole we’ve seen running-style uppers, ultraboost-style uppers, collaborations, and 80’s inspired uppers such as the one seen here.
With the various options now available with this sole, is this something that can be a successor to Boost? Or should Adidas go back to the drawing board to find what’s next?
As crazy as the 4D sole is, the upper is what you notice first on the Adidas ZX-4000. Starting at the toe, you have a tighter-knit neon green primeknit upper, flanked on the interior side with a blue primeknit panel and on the exterior by a suede panel – held on with orange stitching – at the flex point.
Moving back to the midfoot, bule suede panels run along the eyelets and frame the majority of the upper, where it features the wavy ZX Logo that Adidas has used on various ZX models. In between the blue panels, a mint green and blue primeknit pattern makes up the majority of the rest of the upper, broken up by grey padded areas along the heel. The only real adidas branding is the cloudy three stripes logo along the side. The rear of the shoe features a stiff panel that curves back away from your foot.
The laces – a third green somewhere between the other two – runs through a grey faux leather panel with the shoe’s name at the bottom and alternate over the teal tongue before reaching a grey panel with the Adidas Originals logo at the top. Inside, the bottom of that tongue is a bright orange, a color that is shared with the insole.
The 4D midsole, again in a different shade of green, is made of thousands of small individual strands. The density of the strands changes in different areas of the midsole, creating a variety of patterns depending on where you look at the midsole.
Finally, the outsole rocks a mostly black 80’s inspired pattern. Of course, Adidas couldn’t help themselves, and added another green. The designer threw some hits of teal here and there as well.
Overall, the materials have held up incredibly well. After being pulled out of the closet 100 times, the only real area of wear apart from the outsole is some loose threads on the orange stitching. With these at the flexpoint of the shoe, that can really be expected. Most impressive to me is that the suede has held up well and resisted stains.
Fit, Break-In, & Comfort:
This shoe has one of the weirdest fits of anything I own. The shoe is incredibly narrow, meaning most people will need to go up in size from what they normally wear. Unfortunately, Adidas decided to use a last that is extremely long compared to most other silhouettes. These two items combined means that many people will have a lot of dead space at the front of the shoe. For a lot of people, this would be a deal killer, though if you have more narrow feet that might not bother you as much.
The upper of the shoe is very comfortable. With the heavily padded tongue, and a primeknit that is a tighter weave and featuring a liner, there is a more stability in this compared to most of the Adidas runner. That doesn’t mean it constrains your foot. Rather, the weave provides stability and comfort better than most of the primeknit-based shoes you may be used to.
Out of the box, the 4D sole is very hard. There are Jordan retros that are more comfortable. The one thing the Adidas ZX 4000 has going for it when it comes to the midsole is the contoured shape. These shoes provide arch support that you normally need to get from orthopedic shoes.
Thankfully, the sole tends to break in over time and becomes way more comfortable. After about 50 wears, the midsole softens in the areas that are regularly impacting the ground. While I appreciate that the hardness is going away, what is really interesting is that the sole remains supportive in the places that count.
These two features give you a combination that is fairly unique. It still isn’t anywhere near boost, but if I was going to be standing for hours, I would pick this pair over an Ultraboost every time – though this still isn’t as comfortable as something like the New Balance 992 under the same scenario.
As mentioned above, the materials in this shoe are high quality. The primeknit on the upper is thicker than the usual stuff Adidas uses. It also features a lining that helps the shoe from feeling too lose. The suede is thinner than what is used on some other products, but has held up extraordinarily well.
The construction of the midsole is very different that pretty much anything else. The 4D midsole is constructed from a light-activated polymer. In other words, think of a 3D printer but instead of a nozzle it uses a super bright LED bulb.
The outsole has been incredibly hard wearing as well. I’ve worn these shoes on concrete, asphalt, and brick. Even with that, the outsole shows basically no heel drag at all.
Ease of Care:
While the materials used are substantial, they are also nearly impossible to keep clean. The light and bright colors mean that every speck of dirt is immediately visible. While all the materials in the upper can be cleaned, you’ll need to do each one in a different way. Expect cleaning to take a while.
The midsole initially appears like it would be very difficult to keep clean – if you had to wipe down each of the strands individually you would go insane – however thankfully you can dip the midsole in water and easily clean it off without damaging the material.
Unfortunately, if the midsoles get really dirty then it’s nearly impossible to clean the middle. Hes Kicks has a great video where he filled a 4D sneaker with mud and tries to clean it out. It’s worth knowing that on this pair you couldn’t get the suede on top as wet as he gets the upper on that shoe.
When the ZX-4000 4D originally came out the price was in line with other 4D models, but that doesn’t mean it was cheap. It’s a good thing that Adidas used high quality materials on these things. The MSRP of this and other non-collaboration ZX 4000 models was $350 dollars. This retail pricing lines up with the most Yeezy Adidas ever sold. And, it’s similar to shoes like Nike’s self-lacing sneakers with entire motors in them.
After launch, however, the pricing on the shoes dropped significantly. There are no sales on StockX within $50 dollars of the retail price, and the average sale price as of writing is $160. Adidas themselves put the shoe on sale after just a short period of time, and it wasn’t difficult to get them directly from Adidas for under $175 dollars with free shipping.
Deals can get even better if you’re able to make a few things align. I was able to pick this pair up for $140 after stacking a 20% off coupon on top of the $175 sale price.
While the review focuses on the ZX 4000 4D specifically, the real question is right up there at the top. Is 4D Adidas’ future? When I first received the shoe, I would have had a certain answer of no. They were expensive and uncomfortable.
Over time, however, both of those have changed. You can go out and buy pretty much any 4D sneaker for under $200 today. More importantly, with wear I’ve found that the comfort has changed too. It won’t knock your socks off in the way that Boost did the first time you felt it, but it is something that can be better.
Do you agree? Do you disagree? Let me know in the comments below.