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Road Running Shoes • June 18, 2021

Adidas Adizero Boston 10 Performance Review

adidas adizero boston 10 - feature

What You Need To Know

  • Weighs 10.4 oz. (294 g) for US M9.0 / 9.4 oz. (266 g) for US W8.0
  • Combination Lightstrike/Lightstrike Pro/non-carbon energyRODS midsole
  • Stack height: 38 heel/31 toe (8 mm drop)
  • Boston traditionalists may be left out to dry on their personal Heartbreak Hill
  • Out now for $140

ROBBE: Over the last decade, a lot has changed. Twitter went from a small spark of a startup to the world’s largest dumpster fire, GPS watches went from grandfather clocks on a wrist to half-dollar-sized life trackers, and shoe trends somehow went from gloves for toes to platform heels for racing. Throughout that time, the adidas Boston line has largely remained the same – one of the best shoes in the adidas lineup as a do-it-all, lightweight, uptempo trainer. For adidas fanbois and girls, it is beloved. If you’re one of them, you may want to take a chair. Because even though this is a Boston 10 review, it really isn’t.

Point being, if you’re used to the Boston trainer of old, this is a total revamp. For starters, the Boost midsole is gone, replaced by the most modern of adidas midsole materials, a combination of Lightstrike and Lightstrike Pro (plus some energyRODS, one word just to be cool). But most notably, this thing is no longer a lightweight daily trainer/tempo shoe. After gaining close to two ounces on last year’s version, this is now a mid-weight shoe that floats between daily trainer and tempo shoe, leaving the adizero adios as the cheese that stands alone in the adizero tempo category.

Now is that such a terrible thing? Maybe, maybe not. Let’s find out.

DAVE: I have got to say, this is a first for me today. This is my first shoe review written outside of the US. Kind of a milestone for all the years I’ve been rambling on. Sitting down here in Mexico, humid AF, it’s swamp ass city right now in our puebla. But I’m a true believer that shoes can be tested in all conditions, so having the Boston 10 on me down here has been nice (roads, jungle roads, hard packed singletrack, etc)

I’ve been a Boston fan for many years. Really, I’m a massive Boost fan. Boston 7 and 8 were arguably two of the best shoes ever created. Smooth, reliable, and never walked away feeling banged up by any means. Fast when you needed them, but could also be put on “cruise control” for an easy 75-90 minutes, mid week.

So then adidas started messing around with Lightstrike and Lightstrike Pro over the last 2 years. And while the Boston 9 was a good zapato, it was a little stale underfoot. Lightstrike was stale frankly. And although a ton of people loved it, for me, the Adizero Pro was straight garbage as well last year. My feet constantly fell asleep.

This leaves me a bit confused as to what exactly adidas is doing in the run line right now. Could too much creativity ruin the Boston 10?

Let’s tango.

THOMAS: These other fellas already covered the basics, let’s keep moving along.

adidas adizero boston 10 - reflectin

The Good

ROBBE: I will say this is one of the weirder shoes I’ve tested in recent memory. I just don’t know where I’m supposed to put it. First of all, I was expecting more of the traditional Boston feeling. Streamlined, stripped down, and looking to go fast. Instead, this looks like a mix between an ultra-performance racing shoe and a banger of a lifestyle shoe. (The colorway reminds me of the infrared Nike Air Max 90). And it feels like a mix between those two.

It’s very weird in that it is heavier on the foot (thanks in part to the various unnecessary-yet-very-cool overlays and design touches on the upper), yet has a firm feel that trends towards picking up the pace, and yet the firm feel is also weird because it has a monstrous 39 mm stack in the heel (31 mm in the front for an 8 mm drop). How can I even deal with these conflicting emotions? My bank account is tapped out on physical therapist co-pays, I have no time to address my shoe tester mental health.

Guess I’ll just have to run. Initially, I thought I was going to hate this shoe. It felt way too firm for its stack height (kind of a problem we’ve always had with Lightstrike foam). It felt heavy. But it also felt like it may just be a stubborn jackass that needed a long break-in period. Luckily we’re in a down period of shoes and my mileage is getting somewhat back to normal so I was able to put in close to 35 miles in the shoe, including one long run.

And I am happy to report that it really did grow on me. It’s not a stunner by any means, but it works as a solid daily trainer with a nice spring from the underfoot energyRODS when you want to pick it up. I also just found myself wanting to run in it. Hard to put a finger on it, but I kept coming back to it.

It actually reminded me a lot of the Nike Pegasus 38 in that it’s a shoe that is a daily trainer but can be used at faster paces if you really need it to, or even a marathon shoe for beginner marathoners.

The lightweight mesh upper is breathable and beautiful, despite the suede (faux suede?) toe cap and pillowed heel collar. No issues with grip on the outsole as this employs the always-trusty Continental rubber found on the Boston line. Stability is actually pretty solid thanks in part to the more firm feel of the midsole, coupled with a wider base for the high stack height.

And aside from the New Balance RC Elite 2, this has to be one of the prettier shoes of 2021. To be honest, I’m pretty stoked to rock it as a regular shoe.

DAVE: Lightstrike midsole, combined with a Lightstrike Pro topper. I’ll be honest, Lightstrike and I didn’t get off to the best start, but whatever they did in the Boston 10, it works nicely! When you’re sitting at 39 mm/31 mm in stacks, things can get weary, like a long run in a Bondi. But I find no issues with the ride feeling overly too marshmallow, or inefficient with my mechanics.

The ride is Very nice from heel, to midload to toe-off. And in fact, if they had just kept it like this, I may even like it better (more on that below).

Good fit for a stacked-up shoe, good toe splay, and the heel locks down a crap ton better than the Adios Adizero Pro from last year. That shoe was a blister factory for me.

It’s fast. And while the 10.4 oz vs. the 8.4 oz of the Boston 9 (including the new B.A.A. colorway) is clearly heavier, I was able to take it through a change of pace workout last week in Cali. 20 mins easy, 20 at Tempo, 20 fast finish (5:35-5:30 range). So it can move if you want it too. And in a daily trainer, that’s cool.

Continental rubber. I like it. Actually, I love it. Always been a big fan of this outsole on Adi products over the years. Down here south of the border the rain season is coming. The hard and dry-packed jungle roads, like this morning, had a bit of mud on them, and this thing gripped like gravy on Thanksgiving taters.

THOMAS: I have run in nearly all the previous adidas Boston models, and this is the biggest departure from the Boston formula. Pulling the shoe out of the box, I was instantly attracted to the design. Even now, I have a tough time deciding if I would like this shoe as much if I didn’t think it looked so rad. It’s the same with food: presentation makes a difference.

Like Robbe, my first run in the Boston 10 was a bit of a head-scratcher. I had a hard time telling if I liked the shoe or not. Robbe texted me after my first run to compare notes. It was weird how similar our reaction was to the shoe. The foams aren’t as soft as you would suspect with such a generous stack height. The energyRODS aren’t that noticeable to me. That could be a good thing. I don’t know what I expected, maybe more of a snap on toe-off?

The way the shoe moves through the stride reminds me of the Adios Pro. It is firm and rolls through the gait quickly. Even with uncertain feelings in the beginning, I found myself wanting to run in the shoe over and over. I suppose that is what you look for in a good trainer. I just enjoy running in the shoe despite it not having characteristics I typically lean towards. Boston 10’s cushioning doesn’t give a soft high rebound feeling, and there isn’t an exaggerated toe spring (to name a couple things that usually get me excited), but it works.

The Continental rubber gives the Boston 10 that signature adidas grip and durability. Usually, I wear a size 10.5, adidas sent a size 10 and while it has a little less room than I am used to, it fits nicely a half size down.

Shop Boston 10 – Men Shop Boston 10 – Women adidas adizero boston 10 - outsole

The Bad

ROBBE: So the bad, of course, is that this isn’t a Boston shoe in the traditional sense. If you’re used to that no-nonsense uptempo shoe from the past, that ship has left the tea party and is cruising the waters of Abaddon with the Nike Epic React and Peg Turbo 2. 

While, yes, you can pick up the speed in this (like pretty much any shoe), and the energyRODS help quicken that transition, this is a daily trainer. And that’s fine if you aren’t expecting a Boston. But it would’ve been better to just not call this a Boston. 

For such a mammoth stack of cushion, you’d probably expect something with more energy return or softness, neither of which are there. It’s just a firm shoe (though it seems to break in a bit once you get over 25 miles). I actually enjoyed the firmness, but I like a firm feeling shoe. I’m just saying that looks can be deceiving (similar to how the Saucony Endorphin Shift is also a pretty firm shoe). 

Sizing is a bit large, almost in-between for me though. So I did have some foot security issues, but I don’t want to say it’s a bad thing because if I went a half-size up I believe all of that would resolve itself. If you want a more secure fit, go down a half size.

DAVE: Damn. That’s a lot of decent stuff above, huh? So here we go. Energy rods. 

The first few runs, my right foot fell asleep. The rods are way too firm. I almost turned around two days in a row, completely pissed off that mechanically they made a good shoe, but “had to” follow the overused trend, and in my opinion – injury-producing –, “plate obsession.” I really don’t think the rods are needed. There is also a massive hole in the forefoot that exposed the rods; that could also get you in some “rock catching” trouble.

Now, all this said, after 63 miles, the shoe has woken up a bit. I had a great run in it this morning. But I have also not taken this up above 18 miles on a long run. A few of my athletes already have their hands on this shoe, and after some of their 2+ hour volume work on the weekends, they have reported some sensitive feet afterwards.

While 10.4 oz/295 g (US9) is heavy compared to previous Boston’s by 2oz or more, it works. But if the Boston series was always a lower profile fast daily trainer, why the change? Keep this stuff light!

THOMAS: My guess is that since the size 10 fits me, you may find that the sizing is off a little. You will want to try your size and a half size down. I do wish the foam had a little more give, I think it would help you feel the energyRODS a little more. Perhaps give the Boston 10 a little more of a snappy load and release feel.

Shop Boston 10 – Men Shop Boston 10 – Women adidas adizero boston 10 - side again again

Adidas Adizero Boston 10 Conclusion

ROBBE: As I said, this is one of the harder reviews I’ve done. I just can’t place the shoe as far as performance. Its looks speak to a high-performance racer, but its weight and actual on-the-run feel says otherwise. That said, I would have no problem racking up a ton of summer miles in this thing, and it looks good as hell which is half the battle of winning me over on any shoe. But if you think this is your ye olde Boston, think again, and reset your expectations. 

DAVE: Confused like Steve Harvey announcing Miss America. Adi had a great thing going! But I think they got a bit too fancy on this one. I really think the B10 has something nice going for it, even at the higher stacks and the LS/LSPRO combo. The energy rods create a bit of extra forefoot stiffness that is just not needed. I’ve been an Adi guy my whole life. Guess I’m just a little disappointed. Sometimes too much creativity can get you in trouble. In this case, it did.

Will I not run in it? Of course I will. But there are far better shoes in my arsenal that possess a bit more forefoot flex, and aren’t so harsh on my feet. My athlete, Paul Theiss said the same exact thing.

Word of advice to Adi? Be you. Stop chasing everyone else. Take the rods out. Hell, do you want me to get struck by lightning down here?

THOMAS: This isn’t the shoe I would design, but it turns out to be a shoe that I enjoy. Even though it is heavier than previous models, I like the way it runs. You can pick up the pace and for some runners, it will work for all your needs. Robbe mentioned it reminded him of the Peg 38. I would have to agree, but the Peg 38 is softer. The biggest compliment I can give to a shoe is to keep it in my rotation after a review. I look forward to putting more miles into the Boston 10 even after the review is posted. I have a feeling the Boston 10 might get better as the miles stack up.

You can pick up the adidas adizero Boston 10 for $140 at Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) by using the shop link below.

Shop Boston 10 – Men Shop Boston 10 – Women

Have something to say? Leave a Comment

  1. Darren says:

    So….. Puma Deviate Nitro vibes more than Alphafly?

  2. could this Boston 10 be an alternative to the Saucony Endorphin Shift?

  3. Werner says:

    Mmh. Helpful review, though. Thanks. Massive Boston addict. Looks like when the time has come I will have to replace my 8 with a plateless Adizero Adios 6 – 8.1 oz/231g – thoughts anyone?

    1. Gianluca says:

      I had the same thought, so I tried them both: the Shift has a greater support sole, greater stability and more lightness during the execution of the step. The Shift is easier to carry, and when you run … “it looks like it has batteries,” as a friend of mine said. The Boston does not have the same lightness and ease of pace. And then it’s tighter on the foot …

  4. Matt Baller says:

    How would you compare the Boston 10 to the Asics Glideride 1/2? Also, just how much does one notice the energy rods? I’ve been running in Newtons for 10+ years, so I’m used to odd sensations under my forefoot. Just wondering if was a similar feel. Thanks!

  5. Tim Vinson says:

    This is not the Boston that I’ve loved in previous versions. I can get a stiff, thick heeled shoe pretty much anywhere these days. So long Bostons.

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