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Adidas Adizero Adios 5 Review

The Adidas Adizero Adios series has been one of the most consistent marathon racing shoes.  Little has changed over the last 5 years since the introduction of the Adidas Adizero Adios Boost with the exception of upper and mild outsole changes.  The Adidas Adizero Adios 5 is the first to showcase complete upper and sole redesigns, with a new open mesh upper, a combination Lightstrike and Boost midsole and FINALLY a return of the extended torsion system.


Specifications (per Running Warehouse)
Weight: 7.8 oz men's size 9 (8.4 oz men's size 10)
Stack Height: 23mm / 13 mm
Drop: 10mm
Classification: Lightweight Trainer / Marathon Racer



HOW DOES IT FIT?

     The new open mesh upper, inspired by the design of the Sub2, provides a more relaxed fit than previous versions.  Gone is the stiff mesh and in its place is a breathable and slightly more flexible material. This provides a little more room in the forefoot and midfoot while the heel fit remains similar (snug.  It should be clear that the Adios 5 still has a snug fit as it is a racing shoe, particularly in the midfoot and forefoot. The fit is secure enough through the midfoot that I did not have to lace lock the shoe.  With the increased upper flexibility, the Adios 5 fit me just slightly long compared to the previous version, but I still went with my normal size 10. Despite the increased flexibility, the upper is very stable/sturdy and does a great job of locking the foot on the platform. There are a high number of eyelets in the lacing system, which may or may not contribute to this stable feeling.


    The heel counter is still fairly rigid like previous versions (except the Adios Boost 1). There is some very mild padding between the calcaneus (heel bone) and the counter, but it is minimal. Those with sensitive heels may have some issues with this so try before you buy.


HOW CUSHIONED IS IT?

     The cushioning level of the Adios 5 is firmer than previous versions through the forefoot.  While a layer of Boost travels the entire length of the shoe, most of the mid and forefoot are made of the new Lightstrike compound. This is a lighter and firmer compound that Boost, and provides a firm and stable ride in the front half of the shoe. The heel retains a large portion of Boost and the contrast in softness of the materials makes the heel feel even softer than previous versions. Landing on the heel of the Adios 5 provides a nice light cushioned and responsive feel while landing or transitioning farther forward creates a firmer, faster and differently but also responsive feel. So depending on where you land, you may experience a very different ride.


HOW DOES IT RIDE (TRANSITION)?

     The ride of the Adios 5 is fairly smooth.  A prominent posterior lateral heel bevel provides a quick roll forward for those that land posterior. The ride is softer in the heel as mentioned, but the positioning of the heel bevel still biases the foot laterally. The newly designed torsion system features a far more stable and prominent midfoot torsion system that FINALLY extends into the forefoot (not seen since the Adios Boost 2). Due to the lack of full ground contact, the initial few feels had me feeling a little give in the midfoot (downward) but that disappeared after 15 miles. Transitioning into the forefoot demonstrates a very stable, firmer and responsive ride. Boost is located only in the center of the forefoot and is surrounded on all sides by Lightstrike. The Lightstrike and extended forefoot torsion system creates a nice propulsive feel when the pace picks up.


HOW FAST IS IT?

The Adios 5 is best described as a steady cruiser.  The current version, with the improved stability, works very well as a lightweight trainer and would be a great choice for racing half to full marathons. The ride is not the fastest and for me doesn't have the pop for intervals or shorter races. However, the upgrades and 7.8oz weight make it great for tempo runs, steady states and long runs. The heel is soft and bouncy due to the Boost and will keep you going for miles. The new Lightstrike provides a stable, firm and protective landing, but isn't the most responsive. The Adios 5 is again not the best choice for shorter races unless you train in very heavy shoes, but is still a top long distance racer with an outsole is versatile enough to tackle some light trail racing.


HOW STABLE IS IT?

The addition of Lightstrike, especially in the forefoot, combined with a new midfoot torsion system along with the return of the extended forefoot torsion system has dramatically increased the stability of the Adios 5. The forefoot lightstrike and torsion system make for a very stable forefoot and toe off.  The midfoot, with the classic narrowing, isn't the most stable but the aggressive torsion system improves the stability. The heel, although soft from Boost, has a lateral pitch thanks to the aggressive posterior lateral heel bevel, which biases the foot toward the outside at heel contact (if you land there). The heel counter also locks the heel in well and prevents too much motion. Overall this is a pretty stable lightweight trainer/racing shoe without using any posting. For those that need light stability, the Adios 5 should work fairly well. 


HOW DURABLE IS IT?

     For a racing shoe, the Adidas Adizero Adios 5 is very durable. I currently have 140 miles on my pair and am only beginning to see wear at the posterior lateral heel. The upper (although dirty) has shown no signs of loose seams. Despite a decent amount of trail use, the forefoot has remained in good shape. The ride has remained very consistent with the Boost still feeling bouncy and the Lightstrike continuing to provide firmer but responsive cushioning. While I do not plan to use this shoe for more than 250-300 miles, now that the Adios 5 has a training shoe level of durability in a lighter weight package.


THOUGHTS AS A DPT 

     I was very excited to see the return of the extended forefoot torsion system. Although not specifically listed, it is very evident with an examination of the sole. Both Lightstrike and the torsion system in the forefoot surround the Boost in the forefoot. This encapsulation is what I believe contributes to improved forefoot stability. A softer core with firmer lateral and medial edges of the shoe may provide some subtle guidance forward. Posting, as used in traditional shoes, is simply a firmer wedge of midsole (usually). The idea is that the foot will take the path of least resistance, ie along the softer aspect of the sole. That is one of the many methods of stability. Although it should be noted in Dr. Benno Nigg's Preferred Movement Paradigm that posting does not work for everyone since some individuals will continue to move through the same foot motion regardless of any outside intervention (Nigg et al., 2017).


     The midfoot torsion system is much thicker and broader than previous versions, should also provide additional rigidity and stability of the midfoot. However, I have discussed previously that a lack of a full ground contact outsole may contribute to decreased stability. This used to be very prevalent in footwear design and it was though that a midfoot torsion system would compensate for this nicely. Unfortunately, when that torsion system wears out, you now have a significant break in the sole where a joint in the sagittal (front to back). A research article from Arndt et al., (2013) investigated the effect of a midfoot cut into the sole of a Puma shoe (similar in style to most Vans, so much more simple than most current day running shoes). The results found a decrease in bending stiffness from 23-38% and torsional stiffness from 23-28%. It should be noted that no significant changes were noted in foot kinematics, however the authors acknowledge this was only assessed in the short term. Long term intrinsic foot kinematic changes could not be accounted for given the short term analysis. Even with the addition of a midfoot torsion system, that seems like a waste of time to have a split midfoot given the decrease in torsional and bending stiffness, two things you would likely want in a racing shoe. Given how much it increases stability, it is unlikely the torsion system would contribute that much more once it compensates for the loss. This is why you are seeing the split midfoot designs go the way of the past for the most part in racing shoes, trainers and everything in between. Fortunately this appears to have been addressed in the upcoming Adidas Adizero Pro, but I highly suggest modifying this for the Adios 6.


RECOMMENDATIONS/WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR (Conclusion)

   The Adidas Adizero Adios 5 is for those looking for a stable but neural lightweight trainer or longer distance racing shoe. With a firm but protective forefoot and a soft bouncy heel, this shoe will carry you for both long and uptempo miles. Although some of the speed of previous versions is lost, the Adios 5 is far more sturdy and will carry you for many miles. I have enjoyed using this shoe as a lightweight trainer and appreciate the new upper and sole design. The return of the extended forefoot torsion system is great and improves the stability of the forefoot. The Lightstrike midsole is firm and protective but hasn't won me over yet due to not being as responsive as Boost or other foams on the market. I highly suggest that Adidas consider making the outsole full ground contact and see if there is a way to lighten the shoe up just a little (I am aware the RC 2 is a lighter alternative). As a lighter shoe that can handle long runs or impromptu workouts, the Adios 5 is a great shoe that should work for a variety of people.


GRADING

Fit/Upper        9 /10 (-1 for slightly long fit and too many eyelets)
Ride/Midsole  9 /10 (-1 for lack of full ground contact at midfoot)
Stability           9.5/10 ( -.5 for lack of full ground contact at midfoot)
Speed               8/10 (-2 for lack of spring in racing shoe, particularly in forefoot)
Durability        10/10 

TOTAL: 91%

TESTER PROFILE

Dr. Klein is a 140 lb male with notable PRs of 14:45 for 5k and 2:32:44 for the full marathon.  He typically runs 70-100 miles per week and trains at a variety of paces from 8min per mile recovery runs to 4:40 per mile 1k repeats.  He prefers firmer and responsive shoes with snug heels and medium to wide toe boxes.  He is particular to less cushioned and close to the ground shoes, but can handle a little cushion when he gets beat up.  IG handle: @kleinrundpt

Thanks for reading!

Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

Matthew Klein, PT DPT OCS FAAOMPT CSCS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists

Nathan Brown PT DPT MS
Doctor of Physical Therapy 
Masters in Anatomy and Clinical Health Science
Movement Performance Institute Certified in Advanced Functional Biomechanics 

David Salas PT DPT CSCS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the  people at Adidas (thanks Nick!) for sending us a pair.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We put at least 35-75 miles on trainers and 10-25 miles on racing flats prior to reviewing them. Currently I have 143 miles on my pair. My views are based on my extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

References

1. Arndt, A., Lundgren., P., Liu, A., Nester, C., Maiwald, C., Jones, R... & Wolf, P (2013). The effect of a midfoot cut in the outer sole of a shoe on intrinsic foot kinematics during walking. Footwear Science, 5(1), 63-69.

2. Nigg, B., Vienneau, J., Smith, A., Trudeau, M,. Mohr, M., Nigg, S. (2017). The Preferred Movement Path Paradigm: Influence of Running Shoes on Joint Movement. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 49(8): 1641-1648.

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