After a very limited release in late June, the Adidas Adizero Adios Pro is set to go on general sale on 14th September in a new pink and light blue colourway.
The Adios Pro is the second carbon-boosted running shoe Adidas has released in 2020. The Adizero Pro was the first, but there are some key differences between the shoes that mark out the Adios Pro as preferable for longer races like the marathon, and more of a direct competitor to the Nike Vaporfly NEXT% (and now Alphafly).
For a start, the Adios Pro has a similarly massive stack of cushioning to the Nike shoes. The height of the shoe at the heel is 39mm, under the 40mm limit set by World Athletics in January. At the forefoot the stack is 30.5mm, giving the shoe an 8.5mm drop from heel-to-toe.
The cushioning used is a new LightstrikePRO material, which promises to be lightweight and responsive. It’s not the most lightweight, however, since the shoe weighs 246g for a UK size 8.5. For comparison, the UK size 9 Nike Alphafly and Saucony Endorphin Pro we tested both weigh around 230g.
Perhaps the most innovative feature in the shoe is found sandwiched in the middle of all that LightstrikePRO cushioning. Adidas has not gone for the increasingly standard full-length carbon plate, or even a half plate like the one used in the Asics Metaracer Tokyo. Instead there are five carbon-infused EnergyRods placed in line with the metatarsal bones of the foot, which are designed to improve your running economy so you can maintain your race pace for longer and recover faster after hard, long runs – just like the carbon plate in other shoes does.
At the launch of the Adios Pro we spoke to Harry Miles at Adidas, who has been closely involved in the creation of the Adios Pro. He picked out the energy rods as the most exciting innovation in the shoe.
“They [the rods] are so novel and so different,” says Miles. “We now have something that can move independently in the forefoot just like your toe structure would. The shoe is designed for road running, but not every footstep on the road is going to be the same.”
Along with the rods in the forefoot, Adidas has also popped a nylon and carbon-fibre heel plate on the top of the midsole. This will also help to promote better running economy, while providing stability at the ankle joint, which will be welcome given the chunky stack of cushioning you’re landing on.
We also spoke to Team GB runner Lily Partridge, who gave her thoughts on what it was like to go from a traditional low-profile racing shoe like the standard Adios or Takumi Sen to the high stack of the Adios Pro.
“I’ve grown! If everyone is wearing them I’ll still be one of the shortest on the start line, but I’ve gained a couple of inches so that’s good,” says Partridge.
“Initially it’s nerve-racking because distance runners are creatures of habit. When you put it on you can feel the sponginess but you can also feel it tilts you onto the ball of your foot, so it still feels like a performance shoe even with all that cushioning. Given the stack height you think it should feel clumpy and clumsy, but it doesn’t – it still feels very much like a performance shoe.”
Given the lack of races in 2020, Partridge has only used the Adios Pro in training, though she has the London Marathon and a half marathon in Northern Ireland coming up. She feels that the Adios Pro differs from a traditional racer in that it’s good for training as well as racing.
“No-one would ever go for a training run in their racing flats, because your legs would be beat up – you wouldn’t be able to run well tomorrow,” says Partridge. “These take that away, and from an injury prevention point of view I think they’re brilliant for training, but they are still a performance shoe. It’s a nice mix of the two.”
The Adizero Adios Pro will be available from 14th September via the Adidas app and will cost £169.95, which puts it at the cheaper end of the scale for racing shoes with carbon plates, or indeed carbon-infused EnergyRods.