Adidas Solar Drive Intro
The Adidas Solar Drive is a neutral trainer designed to provide support and comfort for daily training. This is the first year for this model and Inspiration for the shoes design comes from the world of aerospace engineering.
It features and Adidas Boost midsole, a Solar propulsion rail, an engineered mesh upper, and a blown rubber outsole. The shoe weighs in at 10.9 ounces, has a 10mm heel to toe drop and retails for $120.00.
Adidas Solar Drive First Impressions
I like the way the solar drive looks. The first thing I noticed about the shoe is the heel of the upper. It flares out similar to the way a lot of Nike shoes do these days.
I don’t notice much of a difference in the heel area when first putting them on. My initial impressions is that they feel comfortable and slightly heavy. This is the first Adidas road shoe I’ve had the opportunity to test.
Adidas Solar Drive Sole Unit
The Adidas Solar Drive features a boost midsole and a simple rubber outsole. Boost cushioning in simple terms is made of little pieces of TPU cushioning rolled up into tiny little spheres and then compressed together.
It’s designed to compress upon foot strike and spring back immediately to its original shape. When it originally debuted it was said to have the most energy return of any foam on the market.
Boost made waves in the running shoe world. While the foam may spring back to its form quicker than any other foam, that doesn’t necessarily translate to responsiveness or bounce while running in the shoe.
I found that out when running in the Solar Drive.
The ride of the Solar Drive feels clunky. There are a few reasons for this. The first is that the shoe feels heavy on your foot.
In general I expect a shoe of this weight to have a nice soft and springy layer of cushioning. That is not the case here. It doesn’t have a very soft feel.
The second is that the cushioning feels firm and unresponsive. With each footfall i can feel my downward energy being absorbed by the boost cushioning and then completely disappearing. There is nothing but absorption.
I have experienced this before in other shoes but they’ve all had softness to compensate for that lack of responsiveness. The Solar Drive does not, which makes it hard for me to recommend.
The rubber in the outsole is less durable than I am used to running in. I am seeing slightly more wear than I usually do after 50 miles.
Underfoot the rubber feels fine in dry conditions and leans more toward the slippery side than usual when the ground is wet. It is advertised as a simple rubber outsole, so this is to be expected.
Adidas Solar Drive Upper Unit
The upper of the Solar Drive is made up of an engineered mesh material. It has a slightly loose mid foot feel, fits true to size and leaves enough room in the toe area.
There is also a thickly padded tongue that sits nicely on top of your foot to protect it from the laces. The material and padding inside are a little on the rougher side. Don’t expect a soft and plush feel with this upper.
The mesh used in this upper is on the thicker side. I found it to work very well for me running in colder temperatures but as temperatures got warmer I could notice that it was lacking in terms of breathability.
Overall I would rate this upper as average in terms of comfort. The fit and feel did not blow me away but I also did not experience any rubbing or hot spots.
One unique feature of this upper is the heel notch. It flares out which is a fairly recent trend with many companies.
I think the idea behind this is that the upper can grip your heel tighter while avoiding digging into the back of your achilles.
In the Solar Drive, the heel notch flares outward and splits in two little sections with each going at a small angle away from each other. This basically leaves a 1 inch tab on the back of the shoe above the heel.
I am all for innovation but in this case I really have trouble understanding the advantage. I was unable to feel anything different in the heel area in terms of lock down and security.
What I did notice is that this 1 inch tab above my heel would basically act as a gravel scoop and filter gravel/salt from the road down into my shoe.
In my opinion this type of design, at least the way it’s done in the Solar Drive provides a major disadvantage rather than an advantage.
Adidas Solar Drive Conclusion
I have heard and read very good things about boost cushioning, but the Solar Drive misses the mark.
In general I think the shoe feels like a budget version of the Solar Glide, just to have a shoe in a certain category at a certain price point.
Perhaps the Solar Glide has found a better fit/feel combination and is worth the additional $20. I have not run in that shoe.
I would have a hard time recommending this shoe to anyone over others in its category. There are too many great options at this price point.
The first and most obvious would be any version of the pegasus over the last few years. You will find a much smoother,cushioned and responsive ride in that shoe. Another great option would be the Skechers Go Run series.
In that shoe you will find a lighter package that is softer, more comfortable and more responsive at a lower price point.
We purchased a pair of Adidas Solar Drive from runningwarehouse using our own money. This did not influence the outcome of this review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.