When it comes to gear reviews, you often find yourself asked to test products that challenge personal biases. My opportunity came in the form of the new and soon to be released Adidas Adipure Trainer ($90). Simply put, I couldn’t see myself wearing, liking or even needing a barefoot trainer — despite being convinced it’s a trend worth looking into.

I’ve trained in bio-metrically correct, natural footwear for a while now, but the Adipure Trainer (Available November) is on an entirely different level. Think of it as a glove for your foot — which is exactly how they fit. Engineered specifically for the gym, with only a quarter-inch profile and a sock-like stretch upper, the Adipure trainer is virtually molded to your foot. The combination of independent toe separation and a highly flexible sole allows your foot to move, bend and flex to engage muscles in your toes, feet, calves and even your hips that you didn’t know you had. An EVA midsole provides cushion and traction and makes the trainers surprisingly comfortable (weighing in at merely 5.8 ounces). The toe separation takes a little getting used to, otherwise the fit and feel were perfect. For me, the soles were the deciding factor. They provide just enough cushioning for running, jumping, lunging or whatever you can throw at them, so you never feel any hesitation about going full throttle. That’s often the difference between a good workout and a great one.

With several weeks of training in the Adipure Trainer I have to concede that my preexisting bias has been demolished, alongside the bonus of some of the best workouts I’ve had all year. When used for strength training, high intensity circuit work or even intervals, the Adipure trainer made an immediate difference in both the feel of the workout and the impact on my body. These aren’t just like working out in bare feet, they’re better. No sliding, no shifting, no movement at all — just security. That’s impressive for a stretchy shoe with no laces. Turns out your body is pretty adept at stabilizing itself when given the chance.

Editor’s Note: Some tips from my experience with these trainers: start slow and ramp up as your legs and feet adjust. Your muscles will need time to adapt and strengthen, no matter what kind of shape you’re in. They’re also machine washable (cold/hang dry) which will keep them from getting too manky.

Buy Now: $90 (November)
Also available at Dick’s Sporting Goods, Finish Line, Foot Locker, Sports Authority