The retro versions of the Adidas Dragon combine synthetic material and suede overlays in the upper to provide a snug fit and reduce bulkiness. This year’s edition features a light padded nylon instead of the traditional mesh. This adds more cushions to the upper and it does not take away much of its breathability. The reinforced front and the heel counter help to add sturdiness to the shoe. This is a classic piece of design that is specific to soccer shoes and one that we find in many of adidas classics such as the Gazelle or Samoa. However, the Dragon has a significant lower profile than the others. Additionally, the sneaker has an interior textile lining to enhance comfort and absorb moisture.
Looking at the shoe, you can tell that a lot of thought went into its design, much like other Adidas classics. It’s little wonder why it is such a favorite for people who just want a fashionable sneaker. For me, the standout elements of the upper, such as the trademark three-stripes on the side, traditional style lacing, the slightly raised, padded tongue with the Adidas logo, and the detailed stitching, means that I will mostly be using these for casual wear rather than for running or gym.
Among the trademark features of the Adidas Originals Dragon is its saw-like, gum outsole, which offers great traction on most surfaces. The outsole still has the marks of a soccer cleat, given by the spots where the crampons used to be, left in place as a signature piece of design. Some colorways come in colored outsoles to match the shoes themselves, but there is something special about that traditional gum rubber look, which is why I chose the colors that I did.
With that said, the bottom of these shoes isn’t all that thick. The compact EVA midsole does add some amount of girth to ensure there is a good amount of shock absorbance when running or walking, but it won’t provide the greatest level of cushioning if that’s what you are looking for in your trainers. It is the same EVA type you find on retros like the Nike Air Pegasus 83 or the New Balance 574. This is where the addition of the new insoles comes in. Adidas have partnered with Ortholite to add some major features to these classics and many others. In addition to long term cushioning, these are more breathable than traditional insoles and they feature moisture management and anti-microbial properties. Along with the lightly padded upper, this new insole makes them more comfortable than before.
All in all the design of the outsole offers a high degree of flexibility, so there is a high range of foot movement. It is the outsole that best shows the slim profile of this shoe, one designed for maximum traction with as little friction as possible. It makes it a light sneaker but it lacks arch support, reason why I will continue to use these just casually for shorts periods of time.
The Adidas Originals Dragon is a true retro-style shoe that will turn heads for a relatively low price compared to other classics from the brand. It offers a high fun factor for people looking to get it as a lifestyle piece being that it is available in numerous colors and can easily be paired with a variety of casual wear. And while it isn’t the most supportive in terms of cushioning, there is a community of Dragon lovers, including myself, who hope that Adidas continues to make these available.