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 Adidas Adizero Avanti TYO Track Spike Review

By Chief Editor Matthew Klein

While track spikes are often a staple for younger athletes in high school/college cross country and track, those of us past those ages may get a little nervous thinking about putting track spikes on. The firm, low to the ground, aggressive rides can be a bit concerning, especially as many of us have become used to high stack height, carbon fiber shoes. The Adidas Adizero Avanti TYO brings some of that road stuff to the track with a healthy amount of Lightstrike Pro. While not a maximal shoe, there is far more cushioning here than most track spikes, which for those interested may provide an easier transition for runners wanting to get back to an aggressive grippy ride on the track or cross country course. 

Chief Editor Matt Klein holding the Avanti in hand.

Specifications for Adidas Adizero Avanti Tokyo (per Running Warehouse)
Weight: 5.6 oz / 159 g (men's size 9) Not Provided (women's size 8)
Stack Height: Not Provided
Drop: Not Provided
Classification: Distance Track Spike

Medial side of the Avanti. Adidas written over midfoot with logo above.

RUNNING SHOE SUMMARY

The Adidas Adizero Avanti TYO is for those wanting a track spike with extra protection. Designed with inspiration from Adidas's road racing shoes, the Avanti TYO features a full length Lightstrike Pro midsole and glass fiber rods. A thin but secure upper sits up top, providing a solid fit that drains well enough to handle both dry and wet track events. Best for distance races from 3k-10k, the Avanti TYO is both snappy and protective for a track spike.

Upper of the Avanti. Three stripes seen on both sides. Minimal construction.

FIT (LENGTH / WIDTH / COMFORT)

The Adidas Adizero Avanti TYO fits me true to size if not very slightly long in my normal men's US size 10. Sizing wise I would stick to true to size if wearing socks, but if going sockless you may be able to try a half size down (I fluctuate between size 9.5 and 10 for track spikes). The fit is snug, although there is more volume than I expected from a track spike. I have a fairly normal width foot, but had to cinch down the laces to get a secure fit. The heel fits snug, as does the midfoot. The forefoot opens up a little from there, with the lightweight mesh provide a some stretch.

The mesh is very ventilated and is see through. I did get the chance to run through some water and found that the upper drains very well, so those looking for a steeple spike may enjoy this shoe. There are several reinforcements in the upper, particularly at the forward midfoot. There is a thin tongue that does fold a little, so make sure it lays flat before you lace the shoe up. With the laces tied down, the upper locks in well enough that I did not have to lace lock this shoe.

There is a small heel counter at the rearmost part of the upper but it did not bother me. The Achilles tab does come up really high and this did initially rub up against my skin. For this reason, I would suggest wearing longer socks with this spike. You may be able to wear this spike sockless, but the inner mesh is a little scratchy. For shorter races you should be fine (and may want to go a half size down), but for longer track races I would definitely wear socks. 

adidas Adizero Avanti Tokyo from the rear. Taller heel seen.

PERFORMANCE (RIDE / SPEED)

The Adidas Adizero Avanti TYO features a 6 spike design with glass fiber rods in a Lightstrike Pro midsole on top of a sharkskin plate in the forefoot outsole. For a track spike the ride is fairly cushioned. The Lightstrike Pro midsole provides bounce while feeling almost like a road flat (with way better traction). It is firmer than the road shoes that use it due to the lower stack, but that classic feeling is still there. The rods are noticeable mostly in the forefoot, but there is more flexibility than the carbon fiber plated road shoes that are increasing in number. The heel is a little more flexibility and soft than the forefoot, providing a slightly softer ride when landing more posterior. The forefoot is firmer, thanks to the sharkskin plate and rods. This still provides a firm and snappy toe off, but is not as aggressive as a fully plated or carbon fiber shoe. As with many track spikes, there is some toe spring at the front. When running at speed, this offsets the very low heel drop. Although I do not have measurements of this, I would estimate the drop to be in the realm of 2-3 mm. With the heel compressed than may go lower. So make sure you have adequate calf strength and length before running in these.

As mentioned, there is enough heel cushioning for longer distance races (5k to 10k) but the forefoot is aggressive enough that running fast in this spike down to even the mile is a great option. Durability wise it is holding up well for a spike over 17 miles of use (4 workouts). While the exposed Lightstrike Pro has a tiny bit of wear, the sharkskin plate in the forefoot and heel sharkskin outsole have no wear even with use on dirt tracks. Thus, I expect several seasons worth of use out of this spike. Traction wise, the sharkskin outsole grips on track and dirt well. This is not a shoe I would use on muddy or aggressive terrain, but grass, dirt and track should be fine.

Overall the Avanti is a cushioned track that still has an aggressive six spike set up for running fast over a variety of distances.  

Outsole of the Avanti. Energy rods seen through midfoot cutout. Six spikes, three on each side of forefoot.

STABILITY 

The Adidas Adizero Avanti TYO is a neutral spike with no additional stability methods. As a track spike, there is going to be better ground feel, which may improve proprioceptive input (body awareness). The glass fiber rods from the midfoot to the forefoot create additional stability. The Lightstrike Pro foam does come up in the midfoot, creating a little extra arch. It does seem to work well with the rods in the midfoot as it does feel lightly stable. The raised foam in the arch is soft however, so this is more proprioceptive input than physical stability. The rods and sharkskin plate together create a rigid and stable forefoot. It still has a little flex, but forefoot pushes you forward quickly.

The Lightstrike Pro midsole does mute the proprioception from the ground a little (although not nearly as much as the super stack road shoes) and is fairly soft in the heel. I cannot tell if there is a plate in the heel like the Adios Pro 1 and 2, but there is more flexibility back there. The heel counter in the rear does provide a good lockdown, but the softer sole doesn't add stability. The heel isn't unstable, but is not the same as the midfoot and forefoot. Overall, this is a neutral spike that does have a stable forefoot thanks to the plate and rods.

Rear of the Avanti. Adizero seen written diagonally. Slight bevel.

THOUGHTS AS A DPT / FOOTWEAR SCIENCE

Track spikes are very aggressive shoes. We have discussed carefully transitioning into lower drop road or minimalist shoes on this website, but track spikes are even more aggressive. Despite many having toe spring, the drop is usually close to zero (depending on where you land and the cushioning) in most of these shoes. Their use is limited to tracks and cross country courses, which means many athletes are not spending a ton of time in them or have never tried them. The aggressive nature means that the transition into them needs to be slower and there are more perquisites. Not everyone needs to have spikes, particularly if you are not racing on the track or even on cross country courses. However, for those wanting to the lightest possible shoe for those events, a track or cross country spike may be worth considering. However, there are some things you should be able to do before getting one.

I have discussed previously that when it comes to transitioning to minimalist shoes, I have a criteria for patients/athletes that they be able to do at least 25 single leg heel raises (without stopping), have at least 20 degrees of ankle dorsiflexion (I suggest using the weight bearing lunge test) and be able to balance for at least 20-30 seconds with your eyes closed on each leg (without losing balance). The position that track spikes put your ankle in means that this requirement gets upped in a few ways. The most significant change I suggest athletes/runners be able to do the 25 single leg heel raises off a step. This forces the calf to work into those deep ranges of ankle dorsiflexion that spikes require you to utilize. Although my requirement is to be able to do 25 of those off the step, during strength training I highly suggest you add weight to this exercise to build further resiliency in the calf and Achilles tendon. The other suggestion I make is the ability to perform both side to side single leg hopping and forward/backward single leg hopping over a small line.

You should be able to do a significant number of these comfortable back and forth on both legs barefoot (eventually, not immediately), which demonstrates elasticity and the ability of the Achilles and calf to handle high level plyometric motion. Most athletes usually put on spikes when they are running fast, shorter events the require high amounts of force output with little protection. Being able to handle both the amount of force that comes into and out of the lower extremity is important for reducing running injury risk. The above are suggestions, but I would encourage even those that are running in spikes to assess themselves with the tasks above and start working on them if you cannot complete them.

The final word of wisdom I have on using track spikes is to transition into the slowly. Your first run in them should NOT be a hard workout or a race. I suggest that most athletes slip them on after a run and do some gentle strides to get used to them. These strides can eventually turn into 1-2 repeats during a workout with the eventual progression to an entire workout. Only then would I suggest using them in a race. These seems very conservative, however I seen a large number of injuries from athletes both young and old transitioning too quickly into this footwear type. While they are amazing to run fast in, the aggressive nature means there are extra requirements to use these tools successfully.

- Matthew Klein PT DPT OCS FAAOMPT

High heel seen on the Avanti

RECOMMENDATIONS

My major recommendations revolve around the heel. Although the upper locks the heel in well, I would see if the Achilles notch could be lowered or smooth out. It has caused some rubbing on either side of my Achilles that fortunately socks have kept at bay from getting worse. However, it has kept me from wearing these sockless or for long workouts. Thus I would either lower this or smooth it out as it digs in particularly during toe off.

Lateral frontal view of the Avanti.

WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR (Conclusion)

The Adidas Adizero Avanti TYO is for those who want a more cushioned long distance track spike for 3k-10k races. The sharkskin plate and outsole grip well enough to be used on less aggressive dirt/grass XC courses but feel best when ripping around the track. The rods and plate together create a very snappy and stable forefoot with the rods adding some stability to the midfoot. The upper is slightly higher volume with a well ventilated mesh and easily adjustable/secure laces. The high Achilles notch means that most people should wear these with socks, particularly with the true to size/slightly long fit. This shoe reminds me of my previous all time favorite track spike, the Adizero Cadence.

Like the cadence, for those coming from road flats and wanting a little extra cushioning while still going fast, the Adidas Adizero Avanti TYO track spike is worth a look. Since many people, whether it be high school/college athletes or none scholastic based runners are putting on spikes for the first time in a while (since XC and track races are happening for the first time since the onset of COVID), please transition conservatively and consider spending a little extra time on your calf strength/length and plyometric abilities. 

The Matt Shot: Stacked Avanti in one hand.

GRADING (SHOE CATEGORY)

Matt
Fit: B+ (Slightly higher volume for a track spike with adjustable upper. Comfortable fit except for tall Achilles notch)
Performance: 
A- (Highly cushioned, responsive track spike that can handle both long and short track distances. Better for longer stuff due to extra LightstrikePro)
Stability: B (Neutral track spike. Solid stability up front, mild in midfoot. Softer heel with less structure makes it a little less stable for those who land farther back. However closer to the ground feel gives good proprioceptive feedback. )
DPT/Footwear Science: B (Toespring and rods into the midfoot provide better transition over stiff plate at toe off and a little more stability at the midfoot. May want to have a bit more LightstrikePro at the heel to offset potential for shoe to become negative drop for heel strikers)
Personal:  A- (Reminds me of a faster Adizero Cadence. Love that this spike has a little extra cushioning and the fit, outside of a little chaffing from the Achilles notch, fits me really well)
Overall: B+ (Solid long distance track spike for those who want more protection for longer track/XC races)
      
SHOP | SUPPORT DOR

Find the Adidas Adizero Avanti TYO at Running Warehouse here. Using the link to purchase helps support Doctors of Running. Thanks so much!

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TESTER PROFILES:


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

Dr. Matthew Klein is a 150 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.  The stability guy of the group, he also prefers a little stability in his footwear. However, as a researcher, clinician and running shoe aficionado, he will run in anything. 

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.

***Disclaimer: These shoes were purchased with a discount in exchange for a review.  We thank the  people at Running Warehouse for this.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 20-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run run as well as a warm up and cool down in each pair prior to review. This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. Our views are based on our 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.

Please feel free to reach out, comment and ask questions!
Contact us at doctorsofrunning@gmail.com

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XTEP 160x 2.0 Review

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