Runners looking for a training shoe that can double as a mid/long distance racer may want to try the Boston 11 for faster-paced tempo runs and long runs along with 10k through marathon races. If you have a narrow foot throughout, try this shoe in a half size down; there is a wide option available in the men’s line while women looking for a wider shoe can try two sizes down in a regular men’s.
This is not the shoe for you if you like a soft or flexible upper; the heel is particularly low on padding as compared with an average running shoe. Do not go with Boston 11 if you expect a soft ride from its max midsole as it is more responsive than pillowy.
Adidas debuted its first “Boston” running shoe in 1982, and it was immediately loved for its top of the line comfort. In 2010 “Adizero” was added to the Boston’s name to signal a top-tier performance shoe with the latest tech geared for serious training and competition.
Soft suede overlays protecting the tip of the toebox and lace holes are the only part of this latest Boston that resembles the first edition, and I love this nod to nostalgia.
The Boston 11 is basically a remake of the 10 after its complete overhaul in 2021 but with less padding in the upper, making it .4 oz. lighter. Adidas maxed out the midsole, adding carbon-infused ENERGYRODS between layers of Lightstrike and Lightstrike Pro midsole.
So is this shoe plated? No—but close! Perhaps these rods that bring stiffness but allow some slight flexibility combine the best of plated and non-plated shoes.
Boston’s job is to take on training miles and provide a similar but more comfortable ride for those racing long distance in the Adizero Adios Pro. The Boston has a more sturdy heel counter than Adios Pro to support all of those training miles but less heel padding: choose your poison; choose your greatest need.
Adizero Boston 11 fits long, similar to the Adizero Adios 7 which is a fast, low-profile shoe that is great for speedwork.
Adizero SL is a softer version of the Boston and is especially good for easy recovery runs and daily training. With less Lightstrike Pro and lacking ENERGYRODS, this is an economical option at $40 USD lower than Boston and a light, comfortable ride.
The Adios Pro and Takumi Sen are Adizero’s racers similarly fitted with ENERGYRODS. Adizero RC 5 and PRIME X STRUNG are thrown in to cover the extreme opposite ends of the spectrum.
To keep all of these ADIZEROS straight I’ve created a hypothetical scenario to highlight their running glory:
TrueBlueRunner AZ buys the Adios Pro for her upcoming marathon and the Boston to put on most of the miles of her tempo and long runs. For speedwork, AZ wears the Adios 7 with the softer Adizero SL reserved for recovery runs and some longer runs here and there when her feet need a break.
As a thoughtful runner, TrueBlueRunner AZ buys the $100 USD Adizero RC5 for her friend who wants to start running a few times a week, in Solar Red / Cloud White / Coral Fusion, because – cute! Meanwhile she is saving up for the $300 Adizero PRIME X STRUNG for the ultimate experience of tailored fit, triple-layered Lightstrike Pro cushion, and propulsion.
That’s a lot to take in for Adizeros!
Moving into other brands, On Cloudflyer brings a bit wider—and 7 mm. shorter—fit in a half size bigger shoe, from the Boston, with a slightly quicker transition onto the toes.
Boston has the edge on higher stack height cushion with more protection underfoot and a final propulsive “blast” off the toes, at faster paces.
Other similar shoes are the NikeZoomX Invincible Fk 2, New Balance FuelCell SC Trainer, Nike Zoom Fly 5, and Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT%, Saucony Endorphin Pro, and Hoka One One Mach 4.
The official weight for men’s US9 comes in at 271g / 9.56oz and women’s US8 at 255g / 9 oz. It is as heavy as Brooks Glycerin GTS 20, which is 1.5 oz. more than Adizero SL and over an ounce more than the Adios Pro racer.
Official stack height is 39.5mm heel, 31mm forefoot for an 8.5mm
Opening the box I loved the first look of the Boston with its classy look, subtle upper details, and fantastic midsole.
Putting the shoe on was more of a challenge than I expected, with the fully gusseted tongue making it tough to get into without time loosening the top few laces quite a bit. It felt snug in the forefoot into midfoot but roomy in the heel due to little padding.
I tried a few lacing techniques during the first run to get that heel fit right, ending up with normal lacing up through the top hole. This puts more pressure on my ankle but keeps the heel (mostly) in place.
For this heel fit, I also have to knock my heel back in the shoe which makes the extra length even longer at the toes. The length is my least favorite feature.
The run was more responsive than I expected; this is the biggest difference between the ride of the Boston and the Adizero SL. The ENERGYRODS make a big difference in propulsion!
The thin mesh is stiff for stability and strategically layered for support surrounding the toebox yet breathability with a single layer center.
The tongue is fully gusseted, meaning it is attached to the forefoot upper down to the base moving into the early heel. Holes in the midfoot and a wide lateral space in the gusset aid breathability. This is a great move, remembering the warmer ISOFIT tech from Saucony.
For me this full-width tongue material bunched up between the first two lace ties near where the tongue attaches to the inner upper. A patch of cushion runs down the center of most of the tongue and cushions the foot well from laces UNTIL the very top.
Since I had to use the top lace holes to lock my heel in, the laces across my ankle land just after the padding strip stops, causing some discomfort.
The fully attached tongue makes putting on the shoe more of a chore than anyone wants it to be. A strategically placed heel blinker comes off the back of the heel. With neoprene pads on the underside it looks like it is supposed to be grabbed to help put the shoe on, but it is a bit too small to be of much use. I tried!
Small pads bordering the posterior ankle opening are not enough to lock my heel in without the tighter laces. A sufficient internal heel counter brings stability and could bother some runners (with wider heels?) over long runs due to low cushion. It was fine for me in my longest run in the shoes of 10 miles.
With my more narrow heel I have to tighten laces uncomfortably for heel fit. My guess is that a wider heel will fit this well but be more bothered by the stiffness without bumper inside the lower heel.
Like the Adizero Adios 7, this shoe fits long. Go with the smaller size if you are between sizes. Try a half size down if your normal fit is roomy and even a full size down if you have a narrow foot.
This is the same sole unit as in the previous version—for good reason! Carbon-infused fiberglass ENERGYRODS aid propulsion and sit between layers of Lightstrike for stability and Lightstrike Pro for extra cushion.
ENERGYRODS mimic the metatarsal bones of the foot to take pressure off of the foot and enhance performance.
The ride is impressively stable for this much cushion, due to the rods and firmer Lightstrike base, and the Continental rubber outsole brings the tried and true superb grip.
A rocker right near the toes makes for a very smooth, quick burst into toe-off, which is especially noticeable at higher speeds. The weight and stack height of the shoe make it most suited for longer tempo runs and long runs, however.
You can get a protected, responsive ride with a great sprint to close out your race from this sole unit.
The rods peak through a space in the midsole similar to the look of Adios Pro, Prime X Strung, and Takumi Sen.
This shoe is a mixed bad for me.
I love the slightly soft but mostly responsive ride of the well-cushioned and strategically designed midsole along with the grip. The breathability and tailored fit of the upper with gusseted tongue are superb!
The half to the full-size extra length of this shoe is puzzling to me and makes a snug heel fit even more difficult than it would be given its little padding to secure the heel. The attached tongue makes it annoying to put on.
I rank Boston 11 pretty high with its responsive, well-cushioned ride and pop into toe-off, but the upper fit needs some work. Make it shorter and add just a tough more padding to the heel!