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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 UltraBoost Running Shoes

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.

The first shoe released sporting a full lenght Boost material. Runners appreciate the soft but responsive cushioning combined with the light weight of the shoe. The upper might be too unstructured for some runners. Read full review »

Pros

  • Full length Boost midsole provides incredibly responsive cushioning.
  • Primeknit upper provides a customized fit for runners with narrow feet.
  • Despite the price, this Boost midsole will likely hold up well past 500 miles.

Cons

  • $180 (MSRP) is a ridiculous amount of money for a running shoe of any type.
  • Primeknit upper is fairly constricting for anyone other than narrow footed runners.
  • The combination of a rigid frame and prime knit in the upper proved to be a sloppy fit, especially during faster paced runs.
Adidas Ultra Boost ST - Pair
The Adidas Ultra Boost ST is a daily stability trainer with a very springy midsole and a comfortable cloth upper. It’s heavier than most trainers, but offers a comfortable and stable ride. Read full review »

Pros

  • Noticeable springiness from the Boost midsole
  • Thin, yet durable outsole
  • Smooth fitting cloth upper

Cons

  • Unconventional heel pull tab might bother some
  • High cost
Adidas UltraBoost X - Pair
The Adidas Ultraboost X combines customized arch support in their experimental design, with plenty of their stellar Boost foam to create a "hugged by supportive clouds" feel, in this breakthrough women's-only model. Read full review »

Pros

  • Snug wrap-around arch design-love this!
  • Cushioned midsole with hints of stability and responsiveness
  • Solid heel counter with Achilles groove, best fit for med-wide heels

Cons

  • Hot
  • Awkward fit and wear issues
  • No men's option

adidas AdiZero Running Shoes

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.

Adidas Adizero Sub 2 - Pair
While the Adidas Sub2 manages to be an amazingly well made, well cushioned, racing flat, it does little to innovate on the traditional racing flat construction or underfoot feel/ performance.

Adidas has managed to design a beautiful racing flat, but those runners expecting technological innovation that will allow them to run faster will be sorely disappointed. Read full review »

Pros

  • Incredible weight to cushion ratio at 5.5 ounces.
  • Very smooth transition provided by TPU Boost material.
  • So far, this seems to be a fairly durable racing flat that will earn its worth in racing mileage.
  • Well designed and artistic aesthetics that will please any runner. The design of the Adidas Sub2 will please old school and new school runners alike.
  • The forefoot fit is locked in like a racing flat, but just wide enough to allow for marathon distance comfort.

Cons

  • Nothing new here.... the overall feel and performance just feels like a marathon racing flat.
  • For $180, I think innovation is in order.
  • Its a $180 racing flat.
Adizero Adios Boost 3 - Pair
The Adidas Adizero Adios Boost 3 is a neutral, lightweight performance shoe designed with one thing in mind – Speed!

The shoe provides a smooth, quick ride thanks to the comfortable Boost Midsole and is perfect for racing and fast training workouts. The shoe is a bit pricey compared to its competitors. Read full review »

Pros

  • Lightweight & designed for speed
  • Comfortable Boost Midsole Foam
  • Smooth & quick transition
  • Outsole delivers durable & reliable traction

Cons

  • Higher price than comparable racers
  • Slightly heavier than competitors
  • Limited Colorways
Adidas Adizero Boston 7 - Pair
The Boston 7 is a solid racing or up-tempo training shoe with a superb fit and faster transition, smooth for those runners needing a little extra stability during races especially marathons. Read full review »

Pros

  • Lightweight trainer racer
  • Comfortable and breathable mesh upper
  • Smooth ride and transition

Cons

  • Lack some responsiveness.
Adidas Adizero Tempo 9 - Medial Side
The adidas adizero tempo 9 is a phenomenal shoe modeled after an original, proven racer from adidas yet with updates of the latest technology in sole cushion and stability.

It's a beefed up racer or a minimal stability trainer, however you want to view and use it (or both!) for speed and distance running. Read full review »

Pros

  • Lightweight with stability features
  • Streamlined design
  • Durable, responsive sole unit
  • Excellent cushion with maintained road feel
  • Breathable

Cons

  • Upper fit could be more secure (but that's being picky, and its lack aids the light ride)

adidas Solar Running Shoes

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.

Adidas Solarboost - Medial Side
The Adidas Solar Boost is a highly cushioned daily trainer with a accommodating fit for most foot types. While this isn't a shoe for faster paced running, most runners will appreciate its plush ride and fit for recreational runners to high mileage hogs. Read full review »

Pros

  • Full length Boost midsole roam provides excellent cushioning and energy return with good durability.
  • Improved stability over past Boost models, and Adidas returns to the feel of the Energy Boost.
  • Upper is locked down through an elasticized fit, especially in the forefoot.
  • Flexibility throughout heel to toe transition gives the Solar Boost a natural feel.

Cons

  • Heel cup is fairly unstructured with a lot of flexibility. Runners will either love it or hate it.
  • At $160, the Solar Boost has yet to truly demonstrate its value as compared to other shoes in its class.
  • Forefoot cushioning seems to disperse at footstrike which proves unforgiving at distances over ten miles.
Adidas SolarGlide - Pair
The adidas Solar Glide is a daily trainer for the urban runner who splits time across the gym and long outdoor runs who doesn’t mind a few quirks for a stylish shoe. Read full review »

Pros

  • Boost Foam
  • Stylish design

Cons

  • Loose heel is inefficient while running
  • Uncomfortable upper lacing system
  • High price point
Adidas Solarglide ST - Pair
The Adidas Solar Glide ST is the workhorse in your shoe rotation. It is a reliable trainer that offers a bouncy, stable ride. Read full review »

Pros

  • Comfortable and fast ride.
  • Durable sole.
  • Unique heel design.

Cons

  • Upper material is not breathable.

adidas AeroBounce Running Shoes

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.

The Adidas Aerobounce 2 provides a solid amount of comfort and cushioning which makes for a good daily training shoe. The shoe is firm, yet stable, to keep you from overpronating. It offers enough cushioning that the shoe doesn't feel stiff.
The Adidas Aerobounce ST2 is a stability shoe designed for those who overpronate. They are firmer than other Adidas shoes and are good for a variety of activities or just wearing around town. The shoe features an internal fit system that helps keep your feet in place as you run or walk.

Adidas Running Shoes Technology

Adidas Boost

adidas-boost-midsole-material
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.

Primeknit

adidas-primeknit

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.

Adidas Torsion System

adidas-boost-sole-deconstruct-1

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.

Continental Rubber Outsole

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.

Adidas Running Shoes “Families”

Adidas Adizero

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.

Adidas Supernova

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.

Lifestyle vs Performance

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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