The adidas SL20 is the latest from the Three Stripes and its prolific running department. Through the years, the brand has pushed the envelope on technology and performance to create a division of performance sneakers that stand tall at the top of the running shoe chain.
We had a chance to speak to Sam Handy, adidas Running’s Creative Director, about the adidas SL20, the adidas “Faster Than” campaign, and more. You can find an in-depth review of the pair below as well.
Interview with Sam Handy
Nice Kicks: The Faster Than campaign aims to redefine the definition of fast in different ways. How and why is that so important, especially for runners or people who want to get into running?
Sam Handy: We wanted to break the stigma and show that running isn’t always about racing. We wanted to reflect this democratization of the sport and champion the fact that ‘fast’ isn’t just about speed – it’s a personal feeling. It doesn’t matter if you are leading a run or trailing it, as long as you are a part of it, because ‘fast’ means something different to everyone.
Nice Kicks: The campaign focuses on expectations, inequality, and running alone. How did these main pillars come about? And what makes them so important?
Sam Handy: The social aspect of running was also a key theme. Traditionally, many may think of running as a solo activity, but in 2020, for many it is a social event.
What makes these pillars so important is that they demonstrate the transformative power of running above and beyond just getting fit. Take Noah Lyles’ for example, who overcame severe asthma as a child to become the Men’s 200m world champion, or the story of Katherine Switzer, who became the first female numbered entrant to complete in the Boston Marathon back in 1967. Of course, your own story doesn’t need to be as ground-breaking or revolutionary as theirs – what’s important is that it transforms your life for the better in a way that is unique to you.
Nice Kicks: How does the SL20 and the rest of the adidas Running line complement the Faster Than campaign?
Sam Handy: As part of the campaign, we designed a range of new shoes that enable all runners to achieve their personal feeling of ‘fast,’ whatever their goal may be. We think of each new shoe as a supporting cast member of this ‘democratization of running.’
From the new lightweight SL20 design, with a cutting-edge Lightstrike midsole for explosive movements and enduring speed, to UltraBoost 2.0 which provides maximum energy return in every step, and even a new 4D 1.0 shoe with a uniquely designed and ultra-supportive 3D-printed midsole, adidas has the perfect pair of running shoes for every type of runner.
The adidas SL20‘s mission is clear—creating a running shoe that allows you to focus on your running rather than the pair itself. The shoe’s components create an experience that is both enriching and smooth.
The shoe follows suit with most running shoes as the pair is created with a 10MM midsole drop for extended support. However, it blows by the competition with a lightweight upper that offers a perfect balance of breathability and functionality. Unlike a running shoe crafted with knit, a mesh build provides more structure and cushioning on the upper. It boils down on the runner’s preference. For me, mesh is the way to go.
The heart of the shoe is found in the midsole. The adidas SL20 is built with its innovative Lightsrike technology. The midsole accomplishes its goal of being responsive enough for an energetic run while being sturdy enough for longevity. The shoe is also ahead of the curve thanks to its aerodynamic design. The SL20 is inspired by Japanese calligraphy as its slim and detailed approach perfectly captures the aesthetic that a running shoe needs in the modern world of running.
The adidas SL20 also builds around the signature Continental outsole that is renowned for its impact on the UltraBoost line. The implementation of the rubber outsole on the forefoot ensures grip to the highest degree, which is excellent for any running surface for any runner. The midsole embeds adidas’ signature Torsion system that has been prominent for decades. The system is essentially a conduit from the toe to the heel for a fluid running motion.
Overall, the sneaker is a blend of the necessities for an ideal performance shoe. And it’s evident in practice. After a jog (15 minutes), recovery run (3 miles), and a mid-distance run (5 miles), the shoe is as versatile as a running shoe can get.
You can experience the adidas SL20 for yourself as pairs are available at select retailers and adidas.com. Let us know how you like the adidas SL20. Stay tuned for more adidas Running content here at Nice Kicks.