Let’s be real– the price of running shoes these days seems to be going up and to the right in a parabolic hockey-stick style. Footwear just isn’t cheap anymore. So, we’re always on the lookout for something that can provide a comfortable ride and solid durability without breaking the bank. Something like the Adidas Supernova.
We last reviewed the Supernova when it debuted in 2017. At the time, it was a comfort cruiser set atop a big ol’ bed of Boost (in the heel section to the midfoot, anyway). The general formula remains the same, except for one remarkable difference– what was a $130 shoe five years ago is a $100 shoe today. Our theory is that the cost of Boost has either gone way down or Adidas made like Tyrion Lannister and paid off its debt to BASF (the chemical company that initially developed Boost). Either way, while other shoes are going up, the Supernova came down and we’re quite okay with that.
With a greater emphasis on comfort this time around, the goal of the new Supernova is to help runners discover the joys of running and to make it a long-term habit by embracing their comfort zones.
Setting out to challenge the “no pain, no gain” attitude, the Supernova incorporates advancements in technology and sustainability, with a 12% lower carbon footprint for the female version and a 10% lower carbon footprint for the male version, compared to the previous model. This marks the first time that Adidas has created an entry-level product with such a low carbon footprint at scale.
We see some big updates in this latest iteration of the Supernova that will help runners of all levels feel comfortable and secure as they look to develop confidence in their running and themselves. We sat down with Charlotte Heidmann, Adidas Running Product Manager, and Dr. Stephen Seiler, professor of sport science at the University of Agder, to learn more about this update to the Supernova, as well as to talk more about the benefits of embracing our comfort zone.Shop Adidas Supernova – Men Shop Adidas Supernova – Women
BITR: We’ve heard you’re a true believer in debunking the “no pain, no gain” mindset. How does this new iteration of the Supernova and its encouragement to help runners embrace their comfort zones align with this message?
Dr. Seiler: You can’t go out every day and go hard to the point of pain, because then you become susceptible to injury, or you get burnt out. It’s just not a sustainable long-term solution to the training process. What we’re trying to do here is to connect the product to a process in the sense that the process is about being able to form a good habit, and the Supernova is set to help support that habit. We want a shoe that’s pretty neutral if you’re a beginner, and that’s not going to push you in one direction or another away from your natural stride. The Supernova is going to allow you to run comfortably, and get into the habit of running.
In order to help runners feel comfortable in embracing their comfort zones, Adidas has given the Supernova a serious revamp. We spoke with Charlotte about what we can expect out of this newest version.
BITR: While the Adidas Supernova is centered around helping runners to embrace their comfort zone, how has working on this shoe for so long helped you to challenge yours, and what has the design process been like?
Charlotte: For fall/winter 2022, I’ve undertaken some consumer insights with a lot of female runners from around the world not necessarily tied to Adidas, just random running groups. One thing we’ve identified is that a lot of times women are looking for a better running routine but when it comes to the product, they just don’t know which shoe to choose. A lot of feedback we received revolved around having a shoe that is simple, easy to digest, but most importantly that the first step is comfortable! That’s exactly what this iteration of the Supernova delivers. There’s a lot more padding, but not in an aggressive way that feels like too much, but just enough to provide an extra layer of comfort.
BITR: The Supernova showcases a blend of Adidas’ Boost and Bounce cushioning systems. Could you share more with us about how both of these foams play an important role in the design of this latest iteration of the Supernova?
Charlotte: Yeah! so as you can maybe tell, we’ve kept the identity of Supernova by having this hybrid midsole. Boost cushioning is featured in the heel for great energy return once you land. The shoe is geared toward heel strikers, which is why we’ve kept the Boost foam focused in the heel. Then, we utilize bounce in the forefoot like we had in the past. The difference visually that we see now is that the Boost bubble is more emphasized, and it speaks more comfort from the minute you see the shoe on shelf. It doesn’t have more Boost foam, but even visually it looks a lot more comfortable.Shop Adidas Supernova – Men Shop Adidas Supernova – Women
BITR: The weight of the Supernova has commonly been commented on by runners in the past. In this newest rendition of the Supernova, we see a pretty significant weight drop in the shoe, from 11 oz (men’s 9) to 9.7 oz (men’s 9). Can you speak on this change and its potential relation to lowering the Supernova’s carbon footprint (10-12%)?
Charlotte: One of the main stories we want to tell about the Supernova is that it’s the first in-line model made with a lower carbon footprint. Reducing the carbon footprint is a very big topic and is one that really helped us save weight on the outsole. Previous versions of the Supernova and lots of other models just use a rubber outsole which has a lot of traction but can unfortunately produce a lot of waste during the production process. So in this update we’ve created a new outsole composed of a TPU material that is being directly injected into a mold. This process ensures that we don’t have any excess waste during production. Also, this new outsole is lighter than normal rubber. You’ll also see that the upper is very clean; it’s an engineered mesh and doesn’t have any overlays anymore. Eliminating these overlays has also helped us cut back on weight, lowering the carbon footprint of the shoe.
BITR: We’re really impressed with Adidas’ commitment to sustainability and are excited to see continued progress in your commitment to lowering your carbon footprint. Could you speak on how this works during the design process; are you looking to hit a certain % in carbon reduction? Essentially, how do you set out to develop a quality product while keeping sustainability at the forefront of your mind?
Charlotte: In order to share the carbon footprint story, we set out to reduce the carbon footprint by 10%. If you have 12%, 14%, 15%, that’s amazing; but we at least aim to hit a 10% carbon reduction. With this version of the Supernova we reduced it by 12% compared to the previous fall/winter 2020 model. This doesn’t only include the product itself, it also includes the packaging. We have a completely new box which is much smaller; the smaller the boxes the more boxes you can fit in a bigger box, and the more boxes you can fit on a boat. There’s a lot to consider, and really the whole life cycle has been taken into consideration when we’re looking at reducing the carbon footprint.
BITR: We’ve seen other Adidas models like the Ultraboost 22 create women-specific fits, using metrics and models of the female foot. Does the Supernova take a similar approach?
Charlotte: The Supernova is actually female-first, so it’s created from a female lens. This means that females have worked on it, including myself, and we also did testing first with women, incorporating testing for men later in the creation process. It was really important for us to first meet the needs of the female runner, then allow the guys to adapt. It’s a different concept from UB22 because on UB22 we have two completely different models. The thing that differentiates the two shoes between the men’s and women’s versions of the Supernova is the last. The tooling is built differently between the genders, as women usually tend to have a more narrow foot. That being said, the upper is the same for both.
BITR: We want to make sure we’re telling our readers everything they need to know; from your perspective is there anything else that you want to make sure we share with our followers?
Charlotte: I think what is really important to emphasize about the Supernova is this updated comfort aspect. For someone running in their comfort zone, they won’t have to worry about injuries, blisters, and those pain points that you might have on other running shoes. That has been taken care of with this iteration of the Supernova!
After getting some good insight into how this updated Supernova looks to prioritize the comfort of runners, we posed another question to Dr. Seiler as we wrapped up.
BITR: Here at BITR, we’re big on the principle of grit. How can runners still embody this “grit” mindset while continuing to stay in tune with their bodies during the training process?
Dr. Seiler: Oh I think they’re both super compatible! You achieve more miles by being able to run more often. You don’t necessarily have to run faster; but you achieve more miles by being healthy enough to start extending your workouts. As a beginner you first build up to just establishing the habit of running and then end up finding a frequency that’s comfortable. Whether it’s three days a week, four days, whatever it might be, you’re establishing this grit, and getting more miles in before you ever think about the intensity. Consider intensity as the icing on the cake!
The Supernova will retail for $100 and will be available to Creators Club members on June 29, with the global release set for July 7 in store and online.Shop Adidas Supernova – Men Shop Adidas Supernova – Women
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