Adidas Adizero Pro Intro
Japanese designer Yoshitori Omori is the mastermind and craftsman behind the Adizero last (3D mold of a foot) upon which adidas builds the shoes that I love.
Adizero models are designed with runners’ feet and top performance in mind. This is especially true for the Pro, which is built for support, cushion, and function for half and full marathon races.
The Adizero Pro is adidas’ carbon plated shoe, competing directly with the ASICS MetaRacer, Carbon X from HOKA, Saucony’s Endorphin Pro, and the Vaporfly & Alphafly shoes from Nike.
I used to work in purchasing for a company that manufactures equipment for cancer treatment, and carbon fiber is used to make extremely strong, light treatment tables.
Carbon is also the go-to material for the aerospace industry, so you can rightly say you’re flying in these shoes!
Adizero Pro looks like a more streamlined version of the Adios 5, with a thinner upper and more tech in the sole. The similar print and colorways take a second look to tell apart!
Metaracer has a flat outsole, not putting weight into lugs for grip. In contrast Adizero Pro has a thin but functional outsole pattern that handles wet road conditions… like a pro.
Saucony Endorphin Pro is a direct competitor with a carbon fiber plate, with its sister shoe Endorphin Speed coming as a tamer version with a more flexible nylon plate.
Endorphin Pro has a heel counter and 5.5 mm. more cushion under the forefoot (3.5 mm. increase in the heel).
The carbon fiber shoes from Nike also have thicker midsoles than this adidas. Again, I thought I’d need more of this cushion but was shocked by how good my feet felt after two weeks plus an 18 mile run in Adizero Pro!
Miles 38-55 in the shoe were an 18-miler to test out the feel and function of the shoe for long runs, as Adizero Pro is designed to be a half marathon and marathon racing shoe.
About halfway into the run I switched up the lacing to utilize the holes furthest out on the lateral upper. This made the fit more uniform, with a steady hold as opposed to a tighter feel directly over the lacing.
There had been some light sprinkles earlier, but the (only Northwest Iowa downpour of the summer) heavy rain hit from miles 12-16.
First, I expected the shoes to feel heavy, like when I ran the Twin Cities Marathon in 2008 in similar conditions: Nope!
Pleasantly, I didn’t notice a difference in weight or feel and no change at all in pace—which was, by the way, hitting faster splits than I’d planned on running.
The longest I’d run in the past three months was 10, so I was only planning on running 14-15 mediocre miles: again, Nope!
I felt the best in these shoes at half marathon to marathon pace (7:10-7:40 on a good day) and ran under 8 min miles for many of the rest.
Next, I expected more movement with the fit after the rain hit: Nope! It wasn’t long after I’d custom tied the laces of both shoes that the rain (and puddles) bombarded me.
I had no problems—none—with water logged shoes or altered fit: phenomenal! Turns at pace on wet asphalt, concrete, and little pebbles handled just like on dry surfaces!
I was thrilled with the surprise in pace and feel underfoot. According to my podiatrist I have “prominent metatarsal heads.” Read: the bottoms of the balls of my feet hurt after long runs if the cushion isn’t top notch.
I was expecting to rate this shoe 4.5 (9/10) stars up until this long run, but with the custom fit via lacing, rain performance, fast paces hit on fatigued legs.
As a clincher, less pain underfoot than normal the rest of the day after a long run, Adizero Pro fought hard to win a TOP NOTCH rating from me!
I thought I’d rather take a carbon fiber plated shoe with higher stack height (Nike Alphafly or Vaporfly, HOKA Carbon X, Saucony Endorophin Pro), and though I haven’t tried these others out.
The performance of Adizero Pro blew me away; I don’t need more sole getting between me and a connected, yet cushioned, feel while racing.
Besides a generally springy feel to the forefoot, I did not notice the carbon plate outright.
The difference that the plate makes stands out when running in the SL20, a shoe with similar Lightstrike midsole, absent the Carbitex plate and boost.
The carbon plate adds to a quicker transition into toe-off than I notice with SL20. I’ve run 12 miles wearing one of each shoe to test their feel real time, side-by-side.
Both shoes are at their best with fast-pace running, but the Pro is more versatile for any type of run. (The SL20 feels flat when slowing down for recovery runs.) No matter the pace, the Pro is soft yet springy and quick to toe-off.
Test method: Run 8 miles in Adizero Pro followed by 1 mile wearing Adizero tempo 9 left, Pro right, then 1 mile Adizero Pro left, SL20 right.
Results: Hit with a BIG SURPRISE right off the bat, I found the snug fit of the Pro to offer a similar feel as Tempo’s, despite no heel counter!
The Pro’s upper hugs the foot above the arch as well, for a similar fit with Tempo; SL20 fits snug everywhere else but has a loose feel just above the arch.
The Pro’s arch height hits about halfway between Tempo’s medium height and SL20’s lower arch.
Adidas Adizero Pro First Impressions
Right off the bat I loved the soft feel underfoot of the Adizero Pro. The ulta-thin Celermesh was captivating with its tight lock-down, sharp print, and translucent view of my sparkly toenails underneath.
I liked it right away, but it wasn’t until I ran 18 miles in a downpour that I loved the shoe enough to give it a higher rating than my long-time racing favorite, Adizero Tempo 9—more on that later.
The light and breathable mesh is deceptively strong as I run. The upper looks like it’s been attacked by a haphazard mini hole-puncher.
But once I discovered that these holes were actually strategically placed to allow custom lacing options, I was intrigued; once I tried it, I was hooked.
Anyone who’s read my reviews knows I like a snug fit. With regular lacing, yep, check the box on a great fit.
With my own custom use of the holes, choosing the furthest out option for each hole and then cutting back in from the top, though to cross above the foot and tie, OH MY!
It feels like a soft, custom blanket gently hugging the width of my foot, eliminating the remnants of movement and tight feel midfoot that I had before changing the lacing.
Adidas Adizero Pro Sole Unit
Adizero Pro’s midsole consists of TPU Lightstrike material with the fused TPU pellets of Boost in the center, moving back to more Boost in the heel.
The foam is topped by a full length Carbitex carbon fiber plate under an (attached) sockliner, with Continental rubber below the forefoot, for a springy ride and awesome grip!
I don’t notice the carbon plate directly, but its effects of a faster transition and toe-off along with springy cushion (with the Lightstrike and Boost) stand out in side-by-side testing and in happy feet after long miles.
Boost shows through below the center of the shoe’s midfoot, with Lightstrike on each side, moving back to round out the heel.
The addition of softer Boost in the heel of the Pro is a great touch in a marathon shoe. I aim for a midfoot strike, but I know that when I get fatigued, I revert to a heel strike.
For those last four-six miles of a marathon, I know that a cushioned yet responsive heel is just what I need.
The Boost under the center of the shoe might be why I was surprised by my feet not aching after a long run in a thinner midsole. A thin layer of Boost is why I love the Tempo 9 for the same purpose.
Most competing carbon-plated shoes have thicker stack heights; try the Pro if you want cushion without running so far off the ground.
Peppering the back half of the bottom of the Pro we find Quickstripe DSP Outsole nodules for traction, protection (of the Boost), and durability in a lightweight design.
The outer heel is capped by Adiwear rubber for the same reasons. You’ll get better grip and be more prepared for wet conditions in this shoe over the ASICS MetaRacer.
Adidas Adizero Pro Upper Unit
There’s only a thin strip of heel counter in this marathon racer—what? It’s about 4 cm. wide at the base tapering up to 1/3 the size as it moves up directly behind the heel.
Is this normal, running friends, or is it just new to me? A good heel counter is one of my podiatrist’s top items to look for in a shoe, so I was ready to dock my rating.
Despite expectations, once again this shoe proved me wrong!
The fit granted by the Celermesh upper is tight and firm enough that I noticed better heel support from the Pro than from the SL20, which has an average heel counter sown into the liner.
Adizero Pro fits true-to-size.
The firm hold of this see-through casing caught me off guard. It reminds me of celery: light but strong and crunchy. (I don’t think the Pro would be crunchy, just tough as nails to bite through, I mean, if that’s your thing 😉) Moving on…
I do wonder if the name “celermesh” for this upper came from its likeness to celery, or if it is meant to mimic the multifunctional wonder of a semipermeable cell membrane: strong.
Flexible where it needs to be, and permeable to suit its function, in this case to release heat, sweat, and water in a rain storm!
Thin, soft padding surrounds the ankle opening, with an Achilles notch at the top to reduce rubbing from the high back. If you only want to walk around sockless in them, the Pro feels phenomenal.
That’s an expensive brunch shoe though 😉 I did a few short runs sockless and felt fine.
On my sockless five-miler in I developed blisters on the back of both heels about halfway down in the shoe where there’s light stitching to tie the padding in with the Celermesh.
(Now with the blisters developed, I’d probably be fine.) The only other issue I had sockless over distance were some cuts to my left big toe area caused by stitching at the tip of the laces.
The heel irritation is a break-in annoyance that can be overcome. If you’re looking for a good shoe to put your bare feet into, try this one out.
It’s soft enough that a light break-in should be all you need to run happy, if the stitching by the laces leaves you alone.
Thin but dense, two neoprene-like pads side by side at the top of the tongue protect the foot surprisingly well from laces digging in.
The tongue attaches to the upper on the outside, two holes down, and wraps the foot in a soft hug down to the inner midsole, reminding me of an inner bootie but ending as the cut angles back from the end of lacing.
A support strip running diagonally in the center midfoot draws the arch in to cut the slack that I noticed here in SL20 and keeps the arch supported and the cut, streamlined.
Adidas Adizero Pro Conclusion
The Adizero Pro blew way past my expectations.
I’ve been doing long runs for twenty years, and my legs felt better the rest of the day than they ever have after an 18+ mile run, I kid you not!
The customized lacing option is easily missed—so don’t miss it. The fit and performance in the rain sealed the deal on a top rating for this shoe.
All around, with fit, rain performance, feel underfoot, and upper performance, Adizero Pro surpassed all of my expectations going in. Every ounce of this shoe is well-placed and not wasted.
The subtle effect from the carbon plate each step resulted in dramatic performance enhancement over the long haul.
I will confidently wear Adizero Pro for any race 5k-marathon in the heat or rain and will hold onto my Adizero Tempo 9 for long races in the cold.
We purchased a pair of Adidas Adizero Pro from runningwarehouse using our own money. This did not influence the outcome of this review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.
Adidas Adizero Pro Price Comparison
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