In the last several years Adidas running shoes have come back to the forefront of state of the art of running shoe design, and this guide aims to highlight the line and what sets Adidas running shoes apart.
Skip to the bottom of this article if you want an overview of adidas' running shoe technologies and shoe families.
adidas introduced their Boost material in 2013 as a bouncy, responsive and durable compound to revolutionise running shoe cushioning.
The Ultra Boost line was the first one to feature the new technology and the shoes have quickly become an icon of street fashion. Here are the currently available models.
adidas groups their hyper popular competition running shoes under the "adizero" umbrella.
These shoes are lightweight, very responsive and usually with a lower heel drop. They all currently feature Boost technology, although not for the full lenght of the sole unit.
The Solar line was introduced in 2018 and quietly replaced the very popular Supernova collection.
The shoes in the Solar line are very similar to the ones in the Ultra Boost collection, but with uppers that focus more on performance rather than street-style looks.
Bounce is the name of the second tier midsole material from the German company.
Softer but less responsive than Boost, the AeroBounce shoes are a compromise between adidas engineering and product quality and a more affordable price.
Adidas first released its Boost technology in 2013 and its impact on running shoe technology was immediate. This TPU based technology made up of thousands of small foam pellets was first developed by a German chemical corporation. This technology led to a sea change in the way that running shoe companies conceptualized the capabilities of foam EVA, and directly led to the massive advances in EVA cushioning we see today.
Boost midsole cushioning is both soft and responsive, protective yet resilient, and highly durable. It works great in small amounts for firmer, faster feeling shoes, and the cushioning stays largely uncompressed throughout the life of the shoe.
In my own experience, I’ve been able to wear a single pair of Adizero Tempos for eight hundred miles and a Supernova Sequence for over one thousand miles due the properties of Boost foam. If you’re a regular runner and you haven’t tried out Boost cushioning I high recommend you do so. While the price may seem steeper than competing brands, the durability and resilience of this technology is worth every penny.
This is Adidas’ version of Nike’s Flyknit technology (sorry Adidas, Nike got there first) and there truly are very few differences in the fit, feel, and function of this upper technology.
Adidas’ promo materials state that “Primeknit is carefully engineered to naturally expand with your foot while you run to give you a more comfortable fit and help reduce irritation”.
While this technology is great in theory, there have been some issues with overall volume in the toe box of Adidas’ shoes using Primeknit, primarily the Ultra Boost. Think of Primeknit as a one piece upper of tightly knit synthetic material which flexes and comforms to the foot. The advantage here is that the fit feels customized to the wearers’ foot and it decreases the risk of blisters and hotspots.
Many runners find that Adidas’ excellent mesh used throughout their Adizero series shoes offer more than enough fit accommodations, breathability, and durability to justify the exorbitant prices of Primeknit shoes.
Since 1988 Adidas has employed their proprietary Torsion system on most of their performance running shoes.
The Torsion System involves “a thermoplastic arch support designed to allow the forefoot and rear of the foot to move independently and adapt to running surfaces without straining the foot through excess motion”.
This system works very well and I believe that it increases the durability of Adidas running shoes. Conversely, many of Adidas running shoes aimed at neutral wearers work very well for runners who experience a bit of pronation and need some structural support.
All of the Adidas running shoes featured here have rubber outsoles designed in cooperation with Continental Tires and actually feature Continental rubber compounds.
Adidas claims that their outsole rubber increases traction by 15-30% over competing models in both wet and dry conditions. These Continental rubber outsoles do wear very slowly and their durability over the life of the shoe is remarkable. They also seem to handle conditions well on easy to moderate trails despite being designed for the roads.
Adizero is Adidas’ designation for shoes that are more minimally designed for faster paced running. Often times Adidas pairs the Boost midsole foam with a firmer adiPRENE midsole material to give runners a snappier feel. The feel of these shoes is often a bit more firm and can take some getting used to for the uninitiated.
Many times the forefoot cushioning of Adizero shoes is a bit more firm which aids in a faster cadence and quicker toe-off during the running stride.
If you are a a runner that tends to enjoy faster paces or firmer cushioning, the Adizero line is definitely for you. Of special note is the fact that the Adidas Adizero Adios racing flat holds the world record and next three fastest times in the marathon.
The Supernova line has been around since the late 1990s and it represents Adidas’ more protective everyday training shoes. As the aforementioned Adizero line is focused around racing and faster paced training, the Supernova line is built to handle high mileage and they tend to feature a bit softer and more extensive cushioning than the Adizero shoes.
One of the problems that Adidas has encountered over the last decade among serious runners is legitimacy.
For many years they attempted to combine performance running with fashionable lifestyle designs with shoes such as the “Yeezy” co-designed by Kanye West.
While these shoes were laughable at best, they also undermined the performance aspects of the Boost technology and scared many lifelong runners away. This also impacts the resale of many Adidas shoes with Boost technology.
Unfortunately, resale sites like Ebay over value serious running shoes with “designer sneakers” which causes significant price increases. It is always your best bet to buy Adidas running shoes from your local running speciality store.
While it seems that Adidas has realized the error of their ways, the running shoe offerings of the last two years seem to be on par with the true heritage of this great company.
I will start by explaining that there are a whole lot of models in the Adidas line that won’t be profiled in this guide.
Why? Because the aim here is to only profile Adidas’ true performance running shoe offerings.
Many big box sporting goods stores have all kinds of low quality models aimed at enticing the bargain shopper, or high-price models aimed at the fashion conscious – but these are not shoes you should be running decent mileage in.
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