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4.8 oz (138 g) for a US M9.5 (UK 8.5)
Reformulated Lightstrike Pro, more aggressive rocker, carbon-infused Energy Rods, ultra lightweight package
$500, limited to 521 pairs on first drop exclusively on the adidas app
It’s been almost six years since Nike dropped jaws and broke laws with a $250 race day shoe in the carbon-plated Vaporfly 4%. At the time, the price was remarkable, and so was the shoe. It literally changed running forever, enough to ponder the question: Was that shoe a bargain?
Since then, the steep playing field has more or less plateaued and that $250 mark has essentially become the de facto price tag for premium, plated race day shoes (like the Adidas Adios Pro 3). It’s not like things have become boring, but as shoe reviewers, we’d be lying if we weren’t wondering when the next leap was coming, both in performance and price. And how much will runners be willing to pay for the next phase of race day performance?
We’ll find out soon enough, because– ready or not– Adidas just dropped a $500 race day shoe in the Adidas Adizero Adios Pro Evo 1, an ultralight marathon racer that will be sure to rake records and break banks.
Yes, the price tag is stunning. I’ve literally bought a personal daily car for that amount (shout-out to my go kart disguised as a ‘92 Toyota Corolla). But equally shocking is how much the consumer will pay for almost nothing. By that, I mean it’s like the shoe isn’t there, because it barely is: it weighs a miniscule 4.8 ounces (138 grams). It weighs so little that when it was first placed in the hands of Adidas athletes in Kenya for testing, they thought it couldn’t be a real marathon shoe. (They changed their minds after running in it).
But before we go further into that, let’s talk about what this shoe is about. Because there are some truly groundbreaking details wrapped up in this stark, black and white package.
At first glance, the shoe is striking. And it was designed for that purpose. According to Adidas, the black and white design is a metaphor for zero weight. Adidas athletes have said they love the fast look of the shoe, the way it looks like a rocket on the foot. And it does. The design is essentially a stripped down, ultimate performance version of the Adios Pro 3.
The midsole is composed of newly formulated Lightstrike Pro; instead of compression-based foams like in the past, the non-compression molding of this version creates a bouncier foam. Since this is a marathon shoe, you’re still going to need comfort, so at 39 mm in heel and 33 mm in the forefoot (6 mm drop), it does retain the high stack height we’ve come to expect in race day shoes.
Another change to the midsole is the pivot point of the rocker geometry in the forefoot. In the Adios Pro, it was farther up in the shoe at 70% of the length. That has been moved back in the Evo 1 and now sits at the 60% mark. This creates a more aggressive toe-off through the transition phase at faster speeds.
As with the Adios Pro 3, the Evo 1 comes with carbon-infused Energy Rods, in the same design configuration. However, the geometry of the rods are slightly different to accommodate that updated rocker design.
As for the outsole, a new rubber replaces the traditional Continental rubber found in most Adizero shoes. This new formulation shaves 20 grams off the shoe in comparison to the Adios Pro 3, even though it covers the same surface area as the Adios Pro 3. In the presentation for the shoe, the standalone piece of rubber looks almost paper thin and skin-like, as if Venom went all symbiosis on the shoe. Combine that with a Strung upper and you have a shoe with Spiderman sponsorship written all over it. Adidas says it offers the same grip and durability, even in wet conditions.
More weight savings came from a new upper design as well. Aside from the heel counter, which is the same as the Adios Pro 3, everything has been stripped down to its bare minimum. What’s left is a translucent mesh that’s ultralight and breathable. Basically, it’s enough to keep a foot in a shoe and that’s about it.
The focus on the lightest materials in all its components means that Adidas has produced a marathon shoe that blows everything else out the water in terms of weight. It is in fact the same weight as the legendary Nike Mayfly, the ultra lightweight trainer that was only meant for 60 miles and certainly not marathons.
Oh, one more thing I should probably mention: included with every pair of Adios Pro Evo 1 is a disclaimer card. On that card, it lets the user know that their shoe’s optimal performance lifespan is one familiarization period and one marathon. So yeah, you should probably save them for the final boss level.
Of course, the first part of the game is trying to find the shoe in the first place (and hiding the purchase from your spouse). It is extremely, extremely limited and will be released in two hype drops.
From September 14 to September 26, runners will be able to sign up for a chance to get their hands on one of 521 release pairs. You must register through the Adidas app. The size pair ranges from UK 4 to UK 12 and each pair will be individually numbered on the midsole. On October 2, people that have been selected will be notified that they were selected and their purchase has been confirmed.
An additional drop will come in November (date to be determined).
As of now, there is no wide release planned for the shoe.Shop Adidas Adizero
I’m not sure how Adidas kept this shoe under wraps (I honestly think the Prime X 2 Strung was a red herring to distract people from this shoe), but it’s certainly going to make noise now that it’s out.
Five Adidas athletes will be racing the shoe at the Berlin Marathon in 10 days. With a track record of standing on podiums and breaking records in the Adizero line, you can guarantee that Adidas has its eyes on one prize: the reclamation of the marathon world record and the unseating of Nike from the most coveted throne of all. It will be interesting for sure, especially as things have heated up on the marathon front after Evans Chebet’s win over Kipchoge in Boston this past spring.
Clearly this is a shoe meant for the feet of Adidas elites and really nobody else. The only reason it’s seeing any release whatsoever is because Adidas needs to comply with the World Athletics ruling before fall marathon season. Since Adidas already has a pretty elite shoe in the Adios Pro 3 that both performs and sells well, there’s really no need for this shoe in the general marketplace.
The shoe went through several prototype testing phases over the course of two years and it’s only seeing a production run of about 1,000 pairs. It’s almost guaranteed that even at a price tag of $500, they’re still losing money on it or just breaking even on the shoe.
As for the lifespan of the shoe, we’ve seen the “one marathon” guideline used before, most notably in the Brooks Hyperion Elite 1, which should have been a “no marathon or any other distance for that matter” shoe. Even the first Vaporfly had something like 100 mile guidelines. As we’ve learned, while those guidelines are “optimal,” of course you can take them farther. While many marathon shoes lose their magic after 100 miles, they can easily double down as a tempo shoe for a couple hundred more. Hell, we’ve seen people take a Vaporfly to 2,000 miles (though we don’t recommend it).
All that to say, a shoe like the Adios Pro Evo 1 is just not meant for the masses. It serves one purpose only– getting the most advanced shoe possible on its athletes’ feet and giving those marathoners the best chance at standing atop the podium in every race they enter.
However, that doesn’t not make it a compelling story for all runners. Getting a legit marathon shoe down to 4.8 ounces and keeping (or elevating) the performance aspects of its design and materials is certainly a feat of footwear design.
And while we may not see this shoe on our own feet or yours in the next six months or even year, you can guarantee that sooner or later, all this performance will trickle down to the everyday consumer.
So have hope– we’re still running in a golden of age of shoes, and while the future light may be just out of reach, at least we know it’s bright.
You can register for you chance to purchase a pair of Adidas Adizero Adios Pro Evo 1 from September 14-26 at the link below.Shop Adidas Adizero
Robbe is the senior editor of Believe in the Run. He loves going on weird routes through Baltimore, finding trash on the ground, and running with the Faster Bastards. At home in the city, but country at heart. Loves his two boys more than anything. Has the weakest ankles in the game.More from Robbe