DAVE: You ever have those favorite bands or artists that drop some massive hits? You know, straight crankers. But then album to album it was hit or miss? For me, that’s Foreigner and Jay-Z. Or in the running world, let’s call it adidas right now.
I’ve said it here before: I’m an adidas type of dude. They fit well with my narrow feet, and have worked extremely well for me over the years. From the Boston series to the SL 20, UltraBoost PB to the Adizero Pro, my relationship with adidas running has been all over the map. The Adizero Pro put my right foot to sleep and was possibly defective, the PB solid, and while the SL 20 was smooth, it was damn loud!
As a running shoe reviewer, we have to keep our bodies healthy enough to stay on the roads so we can actually review shoes. Trust me, a hell of a lot harder than you think. Even if we blister, we must power through. For we must continue to spit some truth about running in 2020.
It’s all well and good until that shoe shows you the whole new meaning of blister. Introducing the all-new adidas Adizero Adios Pro.
DAVE: The Lightstrike Pro midsole has been kind of iffy in the adidas lineup this year, but in this Adios Pro it shines. Heads up Nike fan clubbers, if you’re looking for that Zoom X pop, you won’t find it here. In comparison to the Adizero Pro, the Adios Pro is much firmer via the carbon rods but doesn’t put your foot to sleep. If you are on the Nike train, this rides firmer and has more snap off the forefoot than either Vaporfly. I like that sensation, and my legs feel far fresher in this shoe. The 8 mm drop sits well with my mechanics, too.
I’m not the biggest fan of the shredded and lowered tongue, but it does sit well on the top of my foot, allowing the lacing to be creative with all the eyelet options. Lacing can get as funky as you want with this shoe, and I dig that. I wish more companies would follow suit on this because not every runner laces a shoe the same.
The Adios Pro sits well for me in the 5K to half marathon category. Anything beyond and it feels forced at slower speeds like 30K, 20-mile or marathon ranges.
BEN: Technically this is a new shoe, but the upper has been seen before. The Celermesh upper is thin and plasticky, but it’s super breathable and the fit works great. The shoe uses a neoprene, gusseted tongue as a midfoot band. It wraps around to the midsole on the medial side and is attached to the upper on the lateral side. This provides a good hold and some support and structure. For a racer, the fit is not overly tight. With plenty of toe room, it’s one of the more comfortable step-in feelings of any super shoe.
The Lightstrike Pro midsole is completely new. It’s thick and soft, but not too soft. The massive stack height feels just right in its firmness. If it were pillow-like it would just tip over. Hidden inside this new foam is a half plate in the heel, which helps stabilize the foam and five “energy rods” running from midfoot to forefoot. The rods are curved and function like a carbon plate in other modern race shoes. The difference is that there are five of them, and they align with the metatarsals.
So, there are 5 rods. Why would that matter? The theory is that this allows the foot to roll naturally in the lateral direction during footstrike. The plate locks everything together, but independent rods have the benefits of stiffness, allowing for more freedom from side-to-side. The rods are super stiff compared to a thin plate, so the “toe spring” feeling is there.
Another interesting design feature is the completely flat and smooth outsole. It’s only about 1 mm thick and it’s basically just a thin sheet of rubber. It is definitely intended to be a weight-saving measure, but it looks like it would have extremely poor grip. Thankfully, that’s not the case at all. It’s made from a similar compound to rock climbing shoes and I found the traction was great on dry and wet pavement. Definitely not a trail or wintertime shoe, but for normal road races, it will handle any conditions.
Put it all together and it’s a pretty enjoyable package. There’s plenty of cushion and it can pick up the pace nicely due to the stiff rods. In fact, I find it definitely prefers to go a little quicker. The comfort is top-notch and I feel it is good or better than any other race day super shoe in that regard. The legs feel fresh afterward and it’s well suited for the longer efforts.Shop Adios Pro
DAVE: The heel cup is awful. I really would like to see the post-race feet of some of the world’s best after they raced in this shoe. The heel cup gave me the worst blood blister I’ve had in almost 30 years of running. So bad to the point that I had to take a few days off from running because I did not want it to get ripped and infected. Normally I can tape over, grease up, but this thing had the height of Dikembe Mutombo.
Any Jonathan Bon Jovi fans here? It’s just like the album says: Slippery When Wet. As I told Ben the other day, this thing is like me trying to cross an ice skating rink looped on London Dry Gin. I’ve literally had some close calls/banana splits on wet sidewalks.
Lastly, in other super shoes, I’m able to run almost all paces in the shoe. However, this one tells you ‘no’ from the get-go. If I dip down to easy day paces it’s a complete mechanical disaster. Makes me wonder if slower runners (not a jab!) will even be able to figure this thing out. If you’re not efficient enough to be on that knee drive/lift game all run, this isn’t going to work. The forefoot is so pitched, that just standing in these babies I feel like I’m walking on my heels.
BEN: The weight is the most obvious point here. It’s basically an 8-ounce race shoe. That puts it alongside the Alphafly as the heaviest of the current crop of top tier marathon shoes. Yes, they are both ridiculously cushioned, and honestly, it doesn’t feel too heavy on foot, but it’s definitely something to keep in mind.
The last thing I’d call out isn’t very obvious, but watch out for the minimal heel counter. It has some stiffness right along the vertical seam, but not an actual heel cup. It really relies on that midfoot band being snug to hold the foot in place. When laced up properly it does this, and does it well, but if your foot isn’t secure you’ll be left floating around on a massive chunk of foam. To make matters worse the midsole is quite narrow in the heel. If your foot isn’t locked in there’s really nothing keeping you from toppling off of 39 mm of stack height.Shop Adios Pro
DAVE: That was a good amount of bad above, eh? Are you ready for the kicker? It’s not a bad shoe. The negatives definitely suck, but when you do find the sweet spot in this shoe, it returns the favor with some really rad running. As long as I can keep my feet as pretty as a George Costanza hand model shoot, I’ll keep lacing this thing up.
This is a rarity for me to write a review with more bad than good and still want to train in the shoe. But I guess this is 2020 and this is my relationship status with adidas Running. Maybe someday I’ll get invited to stay the night, not kicked out after dinner.
BEN: Adidas took their sweet time with this one, and I think it was worth it. A true long-distance option that works for someone who likes a thick stack height and doesn’t mind a little more weight. Does it dethrone the Alphafly or Vaporfly? I don’t think so, but it’s a top tier competitor, and something I’d highly consider for the full marathon distance. For shorter races, I think lighter and more nimble options are aplenty.
You can pick up the adizero Adios Pro at Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) by using the shop link below.Shop Adios Pro