Clinical Analysis of Running, Running Footwear, and Injury Prevention/Performance. The Doctor(s) of Running, using knowledge of human movement, clinical biomechanics and performance to bring you cutting edge reviews, science and knowledge.

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Adidas Adizero RC 2 Review

     The Adidas Adizero RC 2 provides a ton of quality for the price. The shoe is lighter than the renowned Adios racing line (7.1 ounces) with a 10mm drop and featuring the new foam LIGHTSTRIKE from Adidas. The RC 2 provides great ground feel with a snappy finish. It is not quite as plush as boost, but gives you nice push when the pace picks up. It will work well for those who like the ride to be a little more firm. In a world where racing flats easily pass $100, this shoe is definitely worth looking at for $85.


Specifications (per various sources)
Weight: 7.1 ounces
Stack Height: 24mm/14mm
Drop: 10mm
Classification: Racing Flat


HIGHLIGHTS

     The Adidas RC 2 is a lightweight racing flat with great traction, ground feel, and durability for its price range. The shoe ran well over road, dirt, and even grass. For the those who like close to the ground, firm riding soles with some snappiness, this is a shoe worth looking into. The traction also plays to some versatility on varying terrains when a lot of other racing flats are road only.


FIT

     The RC 2 fits true to size for me very well. The Celermesh upper is one of the lightest and thinnest uppers I have experienced. Even in the picture above you can see through it. The upper is surprisingly well reinforced and holds its shape through turns. For a racing flat, the forefoot is slightly wide while the midfoot and heel are both normal width. The tongue is lightly padded. The shoe does a great job of holding itself down on its own, even though the laces don't seem to lace down the shoe overly well. My only criticism of the upper and fit is the laces being soft without much lock down over the tongue when applied. That's me knit picking. It's a great upper.


RIDE

     The Adidas Adizero RC 2 features the new LIGHTSTRIKE foam that is also featured in the SL20, Adios 5, and the upcoming Adizero Pro. For some, the gradual move away from Boost may tug at the heart strings of those who loved the former plush midsole. LIGHTSTRIKE is more firm than Boost but not so firm it is a deal breaker. The foam actually feels better to my personal tastes with more ground feel and snappiness at toe off. This shoe is fast and aggressive, but actually gives the calves a little bit of a break with the 10mm drop. When running it feels more like 6mm thanks to the torsion system in the midfoot creating more rigidity to the shoe. I think this is a shoe that will lean more toward the midfoot strikers, since the firm LIGHTSTRIKE midsole may not feel the best when landing on the back of the heel. I will give Adidas some credit though, as they beveled the heel in a posterior lateral direction to smooth out initial contact upon landing and I did feel it served its purpose. Nonetheless, it was smooth for me at nearly all paces. I am actually considering using it for shorter shakeout days as well.



SPEED

     The Adidas RC 2 is fast, but not so much so that I'm only going to pull it out for those special all out occasions. It felt good at 5:00/mile pace and also at 5:45/mile pace. This is a racing flat and thanks to the traction and ground feel I felt comfortable taking it out onto dirt and grass as well. The low to ground feel actually never made the shoe feel like "too much shoe" even though it still weighs 7.1 ounces. It felt okay at warm up and cool down paces as well, but is definitely going to agree more with those who like a firmer ride at daily paces if used for that purpose. For me, I'm looking at the RC 2 as a 5k to Half Marathon shoe, and depending on the course potentially even cross county.


STABILITY

     The RC 2 features average stability on most fronts for a racing flat. The firm nature of the shoe, traction from the outsole, and overall rigidity all contribute to a stable ride. The torsion system is a little narrow however with exposed midsole on both the medial and lateral sides of it. It is also on the thin side. I would like to see the torsion system thickened a little or extended slightly medially and laterally to help further stabilize the shoe, as I did notice a little bit of give in the midfoot torsionally. It isn't unstable, but not as stable as it could be with the current build of the shoe.

DURABILITY

     Arguably the best trait of the RC 2 and many of the other Adidas shoes is the durability. It is important to note that they use two different outsoles. In this specific shoe it is a little unclear. On the Adidas site it is noted that the forefoot is Continental and the heel is Adiwear. On the racing flat itself though, the Continental is not branded anywhere and just has a generic "blown rubber" and Adidas logo with an Adiwear heel. Regardless, this outsole is durable. I've taken it through all terrains and it has come out unphased. The Adiwear heel has mild wear but nothing crazy at all. The midsole has creased a little bit but has maintained its ride. It might have softened a little bit but nothing overly noticeable. With other models, the Continental outsole never seems to die and is one of my favorite outsoles.


THOUGHTS AS A DPT

     In a world of carbon fiber, nylon, PEBAX, and other types of plates comes a budget racing shoe in many aspects not featuring any of the above. I do not know the exact components of the torsion system, but it essentially acts as a rigid shank through the midfoot. This is normally created to stabilize the midfoot in the gait cycle when transferring from initial contact/loading response into the latter stance phases of gait while also creating some rigidity to spring from. This specific shank does a good job in some ways but falls short in others. I love its placement in the heel/midfoot junction through the very distal portion of the midfoot/forefoot junction (outsole is also slightly curved to smooth this out as well). When the pace picks up the transition really does feel smooth, but in unstable conditions, the narrowness of the shank is noticed a little bit, for the exposed midsole has some give to torsional forces.


RECOMMENDATIONS

     I was pleasantly surprised by the Adidas RC 2. I didn't expect to like it as much as I did. Some areas the shoe can improve on is the torsion system/midfoot and in the lacing. I would like to see the torsion system thickened or extended slightly both medially and laterally. It wouldn't add much weight and make the shoe more trustworthy on uneven and unstable terrain. The laces don't lock down overly well, but the upper is so good the RC 2 gets away with it. If the lacing had a little more pull on the upper and maybe a lighter lace with texture it could really lock down the shoe. The tongue is already padded nicely so no concerns there.

CONCLUSION

     If you are balling on a budget and want a racer that can pretty much tackle everything from workouts, 5k, half marathon, or even cross country on select courses this is a good option! There are some shoes out there that are faster, or more plush, or better for specific distances but this is a jack of all trades. For $85 this shoe is definitely worth looking at. If you like a firmer ride and a snappy finish this is a shoe that feels like the racing flats of old with some modern age blends.

GRADING

David: Price is taken into consideration

Fit/Upper        9.75/10 (-0.25 for soft laces that don't lock down very well. Otherwise beautiful)
Ride/Midsole  9.25/10 (could be clunky at contact for some, otherwise smooth through toe off)
Stability           8.75/10 (Midfoot gives to torsional forces, traction and forefoot platform save)
Speed               9.25/10 (Fast enough to race, but drop and weight slow down at TOP speeds)
Durability        10/10 (Great outsole, midsole is durable, traction and ground feel, this will last)

TOTAL: 94%

TESTER PROFILES

Dr. Salas is a 135 lb male with notable PRs of 3:54 1500m, 14:56 5k, 31:06 10k, 1:08 for half marathon. He typically runs 40 to 50 miles per week and trains from about 7:30 recovery runs to fast shorter efforts at 4:30 pace. He normally prefers neutral shoes with a firmer ride, but is completely open to other types of shoes.  He is a footwear enthusiast at heart and will always appreciate a high quality shoe when it comes around. For updates on training or testing, IG handle: @docsofrundavid

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
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 purchased at full price for the purposes of doing this review.  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 15 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.


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