Adidas Handball SPZL Review

8.7
8.7 score
[Editors rating (8.7)] = (WalkJogRun) score (8.7)/10


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Editor rating: 8.7 / 10
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Handball is one of the best and most popular sports on the planet. Played predominantly in Europe, Handball is exciting, dynamic and fun. Oh, and so are the shoes that are designed for this sport.

But although the modern version of this sport codified at the end of the 19th century in northern Europe, a version of handball was played in ancient Rome. The women of ancient Rome played a version of handball called „expulsim ludere“. Yup, that’s the correct Latin term for the early version of the sport in case you were wondering. And there are records that handball was even played in medieval France. The Denmark handball national team the reigning world champion in the male part of the competition, while France has the World champions title in the ladies’ department.

Adidas is one of the leading manufactures of sportswear specifically designed for handball. The Adidas Handball SPZL model is the topic of this review. Hope you’ll like it.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros

Pigskin Suede Upper

Trefoil Branding

Webbed 3-Stripes

Rubber Cupsole

Cons

Runs a size smaller

Outsole

Outsole

The first interesting and very different feature that the Handball SPZL sneaker has is the outsole. The official Adidas website states that it’s actually a cup sole. Made out of the good fashioned rubber, the cup sole is near black in color (although depending on the model in question, can come in nude). But what is a cup sole you might ask? Well, it’s basically is a rubber outsole that has a tall "side-wall". The tall side-wall of the sole cradles or "cups" the upper of the shoe. Hence the name "cup sole" is derived from it. Cup soles are always made of easily moldable materials like rubber or PU, and they look amazing.

But why is cup sole a great choice in this particular sneaker? Well, because due to the high sidewall, the cup soles provide the protection for the heel, toes, and sides of the sneakers. And protection is a key thing in the handball style sneakers like these. Seriously. Handball is one of the most dynamic and rough sports in the world, and it’s not only played on hard surfaces, but it’s also played with close proximity to the other players. Also, the outsole is molded in such a way that it has columns on the sides and on the back of the sneaker. They offer a lot more stability and protection than you can imagine. Yes, protection is much needed and it’s great if it comes from the outsole as well.
Midsole

Midsole

The outsole was made out of rubber, and the midsole is as well. The rubber midsole ensures the grip of the shoe is better, and the textile lining on top of the midsole adds to the comfort. The midsole, however, doesn’t require much padding, which can be a problem since the cushioning in the midsole would give the arches their much needed support, and it would provide the foot with better positioning within the sneaker. It’s unfortunate that the midsole isn’t re-enforced with a high dose of padding, but the lack of cushioning could mean more room for insertion on sock liner of your choosing.
Upper

Upper

If you thought that outsole of the Handball SPZL and beautiful and exciting, think again. The upper is always the first thing that caught the eye of the buyer, and Adidas have been perfecting the look of their footwear for decades now. The Handball SPZL is not an exception to that. Made out of textile, suede pigskin and smooth leather, the upper is a sight to behold.

The three separate materials are strategically placed in the upper’s surface in order not to interfere with the style and the practicality of the sneaker. The famous Adidas trefoil branding is visible on the sides of the sneaker, while the full Adidas logo can be seen on the back of the sneaker, just above the heel. The smooth leather is the base on which the logo is inserted and the tongue of the sneaker is made from the exact smooth leather material. Everything else is made out of the fantastic pigskin suede. The lacing system is classical and complementary to the entire upper, while the shoelaces come with the same color found in the upper. Minimalistic but very noticeable dark stitching is done on the entire surface of the upper, making the shoe very durable.
Comfort

Comfort

In terms of comfort, the Adidas Handball SPZL is one comfortable shoe. The rubber cup sole adds volumes to the stability of the sneaker, and the gorgeous suede upper helps a lot. But not having padding in the midsole really creates a small but noticeable flaw in the sneakers design. A big portion of the comfort comes from the midsole, and not having a padded cushioning really can have a worrying effect on the person that’s wearing the sneakers.
Durability

Durability

If you’re able to find a flaw in the durability portion of the sneakers, take it up with Adidas. Seriously. We couldn’t find any. Yes, the sneakers do have some flaws but the durability is one flawless section. What makes it flawless you might ask? Well, the fact that only the best and high-quality materials were chosen in the making of the shoe first comes to mind. Secondly, how the shoes were made is of importance to the durability factor. The suede, smooth leather, rubber and textile found on various areas of the shoe really amp up the durability of the sneaker, and let’s not forget the small details that really attribute to the longevity. Details like the dark firm stitching that’s been done on the shoes upper and details like the fact that this sneaker has a cup sole. No, not the classic outsole but very firm and protective molded cup sole. The tall sidewall of the sole cradles the upper, which only brings the durability to a whole another level.
Flexibility

Flexibility

The lack of padding in the Handball SPZL surprisingly works in favor of the flexibility of the sneaker. Yes, the lack of padding can really be detrimental to the wellbeing of the person that’s wearing the sneakers, but there’s no denying that the flat and unimpressive midsole is helping the flexibility factor. The shoes are a lot more flexible than the usual sneakers because of the fact that there isn’t any padding in them, and because rubber can be found not only in the outsole but in the insole as well. The rubber is known to be one of the most flexible materials out there, and the fact that there is twice as much of the rubber in this sneaker, amps up the flexibility in those two areas.
Stability

Stability

Like mentioned before, the Handball SPZL sneakers do have some flaws in them, but the stability is also not one of them. And it makes sense actually. Since this is a handball style sneaker, stability is a serious concern. Handball requires a lot of movement, a lot of running on firm surfaces and the stability that’s required from the footwear is quite high. The rubber cup sole and the rubber midsole do wonder for the stability of the sneakers, but the classic lacing system shouldn’t be ignored here. Although insignificant, the lacing system (along with the stitching), really take the stability to a whole another level.
Airflow

Airflow

Besides the lack of padding in the midsole, the Handball SPZL lacks mesh or any other type of vent system that could filtrate the sneakers better. Sports type of shoes (and especially handball style shoes) can cause a lot of sweating and plenty of moisture will form in the sneakers. It would be nice if the sneakers would have any aeration in form filtration areas on the upper, but the suede upper helps with the aeration quite a bit. Suede leather has natural moisture-wicking properties, and despite not having a mesh, the upper is equipped to handle the airflow and to keep your feet moist and odor free.
Price

Price

Ranging from 99 dollars up to 120 dollars, the Adidas Handball SPZL are a little bit pricey but when you think about the high-quality shoes that you get for that purchase, the cost-per-wear will well justify the price tag. The shoes are noted for being comfortable, well made and stylish, so don’t sweat it about the price and just buy them. The returns of the investment will come years and years after the initial purchase of the sneakers. You’ll be wearing the Handball SPZL sneakers for quite some time.
Shock absorption

Shock absorption

Designed to be worn during high tense handball matches, the shock absorption property of the Adidas Handball SPZL is quite high. And why wouldn’t it be? The sneakers are designed to be worn on hard surfaces, and with speedy motions. The sport itself requires a lot of jumping, running so the high shock absorption that is required from a handball style sneaker is well satisfied here in this particular model. You’ll find the shock absorption to be quite high in this particular model, which only will make the sneakers more comfortable and more durable in the long run.
Style

Style

Developed and curated by long-time Adidas fanatic from the UK called Gary Aspden, Spezial is a line of shoes reminiscent of the brand’s archives and nostalgic association with the UK’s “casual” culture. The line is also inspired by the subculture of soccer fans in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s that would later travel across Europe and of course the many sports that dominate on the „Old Continent“. Yes, soccer is one of them, but as the name of the sneaker suggests, handball is also quite an important part of the inspiration. The clean lines that dominate on the sneakers upper are paired beautifully with the darker rubber cup sole on the bottom of the sneaker. More often than not, sports style sneakers and running style sneaker have white outsoles, but not this one. No, the dark molded outsole makes the wearing of the sneakers much easier, as the dirt and dust that sticks to the outsole are barely noticeable to the naked eye. But the retro-inspired style has found its way back in the new fashionable design of the Handball SPZL which only proves that some things are timeless, classic and will always make a comeback.

Bottom line

Handball SPZL by Adidas is a practical, comfy and stable shoe almost as much as it’s beautiful. The rubber is not only present in the shoe’s cup sole, but it can also be found in the shoe’s midsole for an added balance, stability and better fit. Made with suede, smooth pigskin leather, and textile, the upper is probably one of the most beautiful parts of the sneaker.

One of the few flaws that can be written about the sneaker is the lack of visible padding in the midsole, which can cause problems to the arches. However, if your personal preference requires, you can choose to insert a removable external sock liner in order to improve the arch support. All in all, this is a fantastic shoe that deserves more love and respect from the customers. It may be on the pricier side, but making that purchase, will benefit you greatly in terms of having great shoes on your feet that you can depend on in every moment that you’re in action on the playing court. Made from great and high-quality materials, the Handball SPZL is one of the best offerings from Adidas. It will not only last you a very long time, but it will also be a great source of comfort and support during that whole time. It’s worth purchasing. You'll be surprised by the high-quality and high-durability that this sneaker has to offer, and time will be the best judge on both sides.