Adidas became a leader in the sportswear and footwear markets by remaining committed to what originally inspired its founder, Adi Dassler, nearly a century ago: focusing on the wants and needs of athletes. In 1924, Dassler founded a shoe factory in Herzogenaurach, Germany, and soon after, Olympic champions Lina Radke (1928) and Jesse Owens (1936) wore his running shoes to victory. The dedication to innovation and performance that Dassler instilled in his company (which he renamed Adidas in 1949) is what made the iconic three-stripe logo so popular.
The Top-Rated Adidas Athletic Shoes
In 2013, Adidas's Boost foam caused a revolution in the design of running shoes. The new padding material ditched the use of EVA in favor of thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) capsules, a creation of the German chemical firm BASF. Innovating on previous cushioning systems, Adidas' new Boost foam outperformed them in terms of responsive support, durability, and energy return. The foam first appeared on the Energy Boost shoe in 2013 and immediately raised the bar for lightweight, durable cushioning. Competing shoe companies quickly developed their own proprietary foam cushioning materials, officially launching the current foam craze.
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However, Boost isn't Adidas' only EVA foam option. The Adizero Pro, which debuted in 2020 and featured the company's proprietary Lightstrike cushioning, was the first product of this new line. Designed initially for use in Adidas basketball shoes, this TPU-based foam proved to be an excellent option for lightweight, high-energy return running shoes. Currently, you can get it in any Adidas shoe, from the Adizero Adios Pro to the SL20. 3
Among the many foams tested at the RW Shoe Lab, Boost stands out as having one of the highest energy returns thanks to its construction from resilient fused TPU pellets.Gambill, Lakota
Above and Beyond the Role of Shock Absorption
Adidas' foams are constantly being improved, but the company also has other technologies that are noteworthy. In 2018, the Solarboost introduced a new design technique called Tailored Fiber Placement, which involves individually placing each fiber of the upper to create a snugger fit around the foot. Adidas Torsion System, introduced in 1988, is another defining feature of the brand. An arch support made of lightweight plastic that separates the foot's hind and forefoot joints. It can be found in many of the brand's shoes, including the Ultraboost, and it helps reduce pain in the arch by allowing the foot to move more freely and adapt to the surface you're running on.
Energyrods, first seen on the Adizero Adios Pro in 2020, are another recent development. To align with the metatarsal bones in the forefoot, this technology uses five rods made of carbon fiber that are embedded in the sole. Energyrods, like carbon fiber plates in competing brands' shoes, increase running efficiency and provide a snappier, more propellant feel, allowing for faster, more sustained speeds. The Prime X and the Adizero Boston 10 are just two examples of recent footwear models to feature them.
The external heel counter is a common feature on many Adidas shoes, including the Ultraboost.Dr. Trevor Raab
The Torsion System in the midsole of Adidas' shoes offers support without sacrificing flexibility.Raab, Trevor
Methods of Analysis
We have over 350 wear testers from all over the United States, including many runners right here in Pennsylvania. S The Runner's World team and our testers have put many of the Adidas models below through their paces. For the shoes we haven't tried on ourselves, we draw from our knowledge of running and the running shoe industry as a whole in addition to the input of experts in the field, as well as from extensive research, consultation with brand representatives, user feedback, and reviews. In addition, we double-check the results from our RW Shoe Lab, where we measured the elasticity of Adidas's stabilizing Torsion System and the traction of its Continental rubber outsoles, and compared the results to the energy return of Boost foam. You can buy any Adidas shoe with confidence knowing that we've scoured the market for the finest examples.
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- Superbly pliant and padded
- Rubber outsole that lasts and grips well
The Ultraboost, released by Adidas in 2015, has been their most popular running shoe for quite some time. It does its job well, especially if you need a shoe with a lot of padding. The shoe has a stiffer torsion system for increased responsiveness and the Boost foam midsole makes for a cushioned, responsive ride. The full Continental rubber outsole makes the shoe more long-lasting and provides reliable traction in wet or dry conditions. A new last designed after extensive research on the shape of women's feet was used to create the women's version of the 22, so female runners can anticipate a better fit.
You can browse the women's section or the men's section.
DAILY TRAINING WITH THE BEST PROGRAM
- The comfortable upper and padded heel collar earned high marks from the testing community.
- Some participants in the study preferred a more snug midfoot fit.
For the company's Supernova line specifically, and the $100 sneaker market as a whole, the new Supernova is a revelation. Previous iterations were bulky and heavy underfoot, but they were well-cushioned and protective for long runs. With its Boost heel cushioning that absorbs braking forces and its smooth transition to a soft EVA foam forefoot, this shoe is now among the smoothest on the market. You can feel the Supernova's brilliance and increased vitality underfoot whether you're running for 10 minutes or 5 minutes. The mesh upper is equally impressive, with no hotspots or irritating seams and a snug midfoot fit that gradually opens up to a roomy toe box.
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TOP-RATED RUNNING SHOE
The Adizero Adios Pro 2 0
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- Compared to Nike's Vaporfly, the ride is firmer, but more responsive at toe-off.
- The outsole does not perform well in wet or slick conditions.
The Adios Adizero Pro eliminates the need for a plate by utilizing five carbon-fiber rods that are aligned with the metatarsal bones. As a result, the ride is slightly more predictable than it would be in a full-plate shoe. The unisex shoe felt quick, responsive, and dependable despite its thick 39-millimeter midsole of Adidas' LightstrikePro foam. (Additionally, a carbon fiber and nylon heel plate improves ankle joint stability, which can be helpful as your form weakens in the later miles of a marathon.) The outsole lacks the traction of, say, Continental rubber, and will only do for dry roads.
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Men's Adidas SL20 3
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- Lightstrike protection that can adapt to different situations
In 2020, Adidas debuted the SL20 series, and the focus from the start was on making speed training shoes. Most recently, we have the SL20. Lightstrike midsole, first introduced in the 3, provides the same excellent responsiveness, low weight, and firm base for explosive toe-offs as previous iterations. The upper is designed to be as supportive and snug as previous models, and the high-coverage outsole should hold up well during rigorous workouts. The SL20 is cheap, compact, and quick. If you're a runner who does a lot of speedwork, I'd recommend going with the number 3.
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SG4 ST Solarglide
- Supple, long-lasting outsole
If you're a runner in need of a bit more support from your footwear, look no further than the SolarGlide. The latest SolarGlide, like its predecessors, is equipped with a wedge of Boost foam along its three-quarters. Along with helping prevent overpronation, the Adidas Stable Frame uses firmer foam around the shoe's perimeter to help guide the wearer's foot. The Continental rubber outsole adds a layer of durability and traction.
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- Ten of the Finest Stability Shoes for Jogging
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- Flexible athletic shoe
- It's not the best option for long trips.
The Adizero Adios Pro 2 is a racing-specific shoe, while the Adizero Boston 10 is a training shoe. It shares some of the technology of its racing sibling, such as the Lightstrike TPU and EVA-based foams and carbon fiber rods in the midsole. With this, you get a lively ride that's also cushioned enough to keep your feet safe. Continental rubber in the outsole provides excellent traction and also adds to the shoe's durability.
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SUPERIOR IN THE LONG RUN
Fourth Solar Boost
- Extended Boost cushioning system
- Just a tad cumbersome for sprinting
The Solarboost is built to last and perform admirably in high-mileage training situations. The EVA rail and the torsion system help keep your feet in place, and the full-length Boost midsole provides cushioning without compromising responsiveness, which is especially useful when you're tired and your form starts to suffer. Continental rubber provides excellent traction, while a mesh upper provides a snug but airy fit.
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Dr. Michael Charboneau
With years of experience writing about outdoor gear and activities for Runner's World and other publications, Michael is a freelance writer who spends his time biking, hiking, and running in the mountains near his current Los Angeles residence when he's not putting pen to paper.