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 Adios Pro Review

While Adidas released their recent (there are previous ones from many years ago) carbon fiber shoe, the Adidas Adizero Pro (REVIEW), the release of their "Super Shoe" has been hotly anticipated. The small initial release came through a lottery system, which I failed to be selected for. Determined to get my hands on a pair as a gift to myself for finishing the first year of a full time PhD program, I managed to get one through StockX. After almost a month of waiting, they arrived. As a lover of the Adizero Pro, I was hoping this shoe would redeem the disappointment of the Adios 5 (REVIEW). For those wondering, the Adios Pro does not redeem the series as it is such a different shoe now. What you see is a uniquely plated training shoe companion to the Adizero Pro unless you are an elite athlete. The Adios Pro is a high stack height, super stable (almost feels like it belongs in a stability shoe category), but still adequately cushioned (unlike the Brooks Hyperion Elite) lightweight trainer/marathon racing shoe with a very unique plate(s) design.


Specifications (per Adidas)
Weight: 7.9 oz (men's size 9)
Measured Weight: 9.4 oz (Men's size 10)
Stack Height: 39 mm / 31.5 mm
Drop: 8.5 mm
Classification: Marathon Racing Shoe / Carbon Fiber Plated Training Shoe


FIT

Matt: The Adidas Adizero Adios Pro fits me true to size in my normal size 10. The upper is a full Celermesh upper that is thin, breathable and see through. The fit is fairly snug in the heel and getting these on can be a little challenging. The midfoot is also slightly snug, but thanks to extra lace holes can actually be adjusted with different lacing! I have never seen this before and think it is a really cool addition. So depending on how much room you want, you can modify the laces.


     The forefoot actually fits a little wide, with plenty of room for the toes. The mesh sits low, so it still feels very secure up front. There is a super small heel counter in the very rearmost portion of the heel. It is even smaller than the one in the Adizero Pro, so those with sensitive heels should definitely check this shoe out. The tongue is stitched in, so does not slide at all. I had some bunching initially as it fits just a bit short, but it totally disappears on the run. Of all the recent marathon racing shoes, this upper is my favorite.


RIDE

Matt: The Adidas Adizero Adios Pro has a super smooth beveled ride with one of the strongest posterior lateral bevels I have seen. The heel is super smooth that transitions into a stable midfoot. As someone with a bit extra ankle motion, the heel does feel very stable and guided as you roll forward (see the stability section for more on this). The forefoot is where things are a little rocky. The toespring occurs very late and sharply, which combined with the carbon fiber energy rods makes for a very stiff forefoot. The stiffness is so high and the toespring is so late it feels like the drop is lower than the listed 8.5mm and like you are going over a speed bump. This sensation goes away at faster paces, but during easy to moderate paces the sensation is a little odd. At faster paces this actually feels really good to hit, but those that are sensitive to low drop shoes should be aware of this. Like the Adizero Pro, you need to run faster and put a large amount of force into the forefoot to engage the energy rods. The more force you put, the faster you will go. Like many of these shoes, there is a optimal technique to best utilize the shoe, so there is a learning curve. The Lightstrike Pro is on the firmer side and feels like a less dense Lightstrike foam. This was immediately familiar to me and reminded me of (as mentioned) a less dense form than the SL20. There is give to the sole, but the ride is definitely firmer than PEBA or PEBAX foams. This certainly is not either of those. It is still a good foam, but do not expect as much bounce. This is more a smooth and efficient ride that almost reminds me of a higher stack and more aggressive Hoka Carbon X or New Balance FuelCell TC.


SPEED

Matt: The Adidas Adizero Adios Pro is a marathon racer at most. While the heel bevel, toe spring and plates make for a super smooth and efficient ride that feels lighter than the measured weight, the Adios Pro is too bulky and the Lightstrike Pro foam is not responsive enough for anything below half marathon pace. This is more of a lightweight trainer than a true racing flat in my opinion as it comes in at 9.4 oz for my men's size 10. This again puts it in the realm of the Hoka Carbon X and New Balance FuelCell TC. As mentioned earlier, Lightstrike Pro feels like a less dense version of Lightstrike foam. It is a bit firmer and still has some give, but the rockered design and plates are what give this shoe a kick when you push it. That kick though tops out at steady paces and is difficult to push faster.  For marathon pace runs, uptempo long runs, long runs and fartleks, the Adios Pro shines. For anything else or faster, I would reach for the Adizero Pro or Takumi Sen.

https://assets.adidas.com/images/w_600,f_auto,q_auto/051d9d0de7904e648b11abd701160ed5_9366/Adizero_Adios_Pro_Running_Shoes_White_FX1765.jpg
Image from Adidas

STABILITY

Matt: The Adidas Adizero Adios Pro may be the most stable plated trainer I have tried without being uncomfortable like the Brooks Hyperion Elite. The strong posterior lateral bevel guides the foot during heel strike, the carbon plate in the rearfoot almost acts like an post/wedge (especially combined with that super strong lateral bevel). For those that are sensitive to wedging or posted shoes, you may want to approach this shoe with a bit of caution. For those looking for a high cushioned marathon racer with stability, this is your shoe. The carbon plate in the rearfoot almost feels like a medial wedge, which combined with the strong posterior lateral heel wedge gives rearfoot landings a lateral pitch. For someone like myself with extra motion toward the medial direction (pronation), this feels great and like a mild stability shoe. If you are sensitive to this, be careful. 
 
 
     The carbon fiber plate runs from the heel into the midfoot, while carbon infused rods follow the metatarsal and phalangeal bones of each of the 5 rays of the foot. This may allow the heel and forefoot to work a bit independently (although given how thick the sole is, that gap between the rods and plate may not matter) and follows the anatomy of the foot to facilitate forward motion. The midfoot does not narrow and instead follows through into a very wide forefoot. The energy rods and toe spring in the forefoot really push a forward progression. The combination of the rods with the wider forefoot and strong toe spring again make for a very stable front and toe off. The sole, while having some give to it, is fairly stable. This is firmer foam than PEBA/PEBAX foams and is far more stable. So again, those looking for a borderline stability marathon racer should take a look at the Adidas Adizero Adios Pro.

 
DURABILITY

Matt: I currently have 60 miles on my pair and while the forefoot and upper look good, I am chewing through the outsole on the heel. The upper looks great and Celermesh tends to last a long time. I am not seeing any issues with the upper or laces and the fit continues to be consistent. Despite not appearing to have any traction on the outsole, the material used acts like sand paper. The grip is actually really good, even over wet pavement. So for those concerned, do not worry about that. For those that are rough on outsoles, you will chew through this. After less than 50 miles, I have a considerable amount of wear at the posterior lateral heel section where I land. There is some abrasion at the forefoot but I have not yet worn through the outsole. For those who strike hard at the forefoot though, this may be a problem. The Lightstrike Pro sole has not lost any pop and the shoe still feels similar to how it did initially. The stiffness has not broken in, so expect a consistent ride. However, know the outsole may go quickly. There is plenty of midsole that the people will still get plenty of miles out of them, just watch the outsole. 



THOUGHTS AS A DPT

I discuss toe spring and its effect on the human body frequently on here. What I don't usually cover is how to design this appropriately into a shoe. I have to give full credit to Dr. Geoffrey Gray of Heelux for teaching me this. Toe spring is the upward curve at the front of a shoe. It facilitates forward motion of the foot and imitiates/facilitates the forefoot rocker of the foot. A quick review: the foot/ankle has 3 rocker systems that improve efficiency and forward translation of the foot/body. The forefoot rocker normally occurs at the metatarsophalangeal joints, ie toe joints. Those bend and transition the body forward. When the sole of a shoe is too stiff or lacks appropriate flexibility in the forefoot, you have to use toe spring to facilitate that forward motion. Otherwise the ride will be too stiff and uncomfortable because you will hit something that doesn't want to bend or let you transition forward. This is particularly important in max cushion or carbon fiber plated shoes where there is not normally enough flexibility in the forefoot. How stiff/thick the sole is will determine how early the toe spring needs to start in order to begin that forward transition at the correct time. In max cushion shoes like the Hoka Rincon 2 (REVIEW), this starts so early it even facilitates forward motion at the midfoot! The worst thing you can do though is start this too late. This is the problem with the Adizero Adios Pro. The energy rods and thick sole provide very little flexibility at the front. Unfortunately for Adidas, the toe spring occurs far too late to provide a smooth ride. Instead, you hit the stiffness early and it feels like you are going over a speed bump. If you are transitioning forward really fast, you may miss this, but for many people not going at the pace of elite athletes, that transition does not occur fast enough. So far the fastest athletes out there, this design might be fine, but for the consumer, there needs to be an adjustment period to learn how to use this shoe.


RECOMMENDATIONS

The biggest recommendation I can make is to modify the toe spring. If the front of the shoe can be smoothed out, the Adios Pro will feel far more efficient and smooth over a variety of paces. Another major suggestion is that if this shoe is to compete with footwear like the Nike Alphafly or Saucony Endorphin Pro, it needs to lose some serious weight. I strongly disagree with the 7.9 oz listed weight and believe the true size 9 weight is far heavier. The Lightstrike Pro foam is not responsive enough to justify the present weight (again, 9.4 oz in a men's size 10). So either there needs to be less midsole or the foam needs a major upgrade. 


COMPARISON TO ADIDAS ADIZERO PRO

While sharing similar names, the Adidas Adizero Adios Pro and Adizero Pro are very different shoes. The Adios Pro fits true to size while the Adizero Pro fits a little long. Both shoes feel very stable and have unique elements that provide that. The Adios Pro wins on the stability front and again feels like a it almost fits in a stability shoe category. There is more room in the forefoot in the Celermesh upper of the Adios Pro, while the Adizero Pro fits a little more snug. Ride wise, the Adizero Pro is more versatile as a lightweight trainer/workout shoe combo due to the less aggressive toe spring and a little more bounce from the Boost. The Adizero Pro feels better as a lightweight trainer and hammering 10k pace. The Adios Pro has a pretty unique stack height and rocker that makes it best for long runs and marathon paces. Both shoes do need a little push to engage the plates, but the Boost/Lightstrike combo in the Adizero Pro does give it a bit more kick at faster paces, while the smoother design of the Adios Pro make it better for steady marathon paces. Essentially, the Adios Pro is more specialized.

CONCLUSION

Matt: The Adidas Adizero Adios Pro is like a concept car. It looks really cool and may work well for a small portion of the population. However, for most of us in terms of practicality, a learning curve is present. Although the upper fits extremely well, the the Adios Pro is heavier, stiffer, more stable tool than many of the other options out there. The bulkiness and lack of extra pop from the Lighstrike Pro does limit this shoe to paces above marathon pace unless you are extremely strong and put enough force into the ground to fully engage the energy rods. The Lightstrike Pro foam is a little on the heavier side, but is still fun to run in. While the heel is super stable and smooth, the forefoot is too stiff and feels like you are hitting a speed bump unless you going fast enough. While the Adios Pro fits in the max cushion category, it is more of a max cushion performance shoe than a true racing shoe. This shoe fits alongside footwear like the Nike Zoom Fly, Hoka Carbon X, New Balance FuelCell TC and a really cool upcoming Reebok shoe. For those looking for a max cushion, stiff and stable shoe that will work well as a carbon fiber trainer or a marathon shoe for those who need more stability, the Adidas Adizero Adios Pro may be a good fit. The lack of PEBA/PEBAX makes the shoe more stable and the stability elements are numerous. I do like many things about this shoe and it does work well for someone like me who needs stability. The forefoot does hold this shoe back a bit and if Adidas can update that toe spring placement by the time they are ready for a larger scale release, the Adios Pro may be a bit more accessible. For now, it will serve many as a uptempo/marathon shoe or as a protective racing shoe for those hard striking forefoot strikers.


GRADING

Fit/Upper       9.5 /10 (Awesome adjustable upper. Plenty of forefoot room, yet really secure fit)
Ride/Midsole  8.5 /10 (Smooth rear, but overly stiff forefoot, toe spring too late.)
Stability          9.5 /10 (Most stable without being dead firm of carbon fiber racers. Set up acts like a wedge and plates create high level of stability. -.5 for excessive lateral pitch)
Speed              8.5 /10 (Feels best at uptempo to marathon pace. Fine for fartleks and speedwork, but not the best. Heavy for a racing shoe)
Durability       7.5 /10 (-2.5 for excessive and early outsole wear)

TOTAL: 87%

TESTER PROFILES

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 shoes and close to the ground shoes, but can handle a little cushion when he gets beat up.  IG handle: @kleinrunsdpt

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 for above their full retail price from StockX.  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 publishing a full review. Currently I have 60 miles on my pair.. Our 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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