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 Adidas Adistar Review
By Chief Editor Matthew Klein

The Adidas Adistar series was a staple stability shoe within the Adidas line a few years ago. It has been 6-7 years since the Adistar Boost, which was classified as a stability shoe and was the introduction of boost into the line. The new Adistar, like many running shoes today, has transitioned away from being a stability shoe to a neutral shoe with geometric guidance and a maximal stack height. With no medial post, the geometry of the outsole and midsole are used to facilitate forward motion. With all these new features, the Adidas Adistar is a completely new shoe that carries some small hints of its past.

Adidas Adistar 2021

Adidas Adistar Review
Price: $129.95 at Running Warehouse

Weight: 11.2 oz / 317 g (men's size 9) 10.0 oz / 283 g (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 36 mm / 30 mm
Drop: 6 mm
Classification: Long Run / Recovery Run Shoe

Adidas Adistar

RUNNING SHOE SUMMARY

The Adidas Adistar is a max cushion, structured shoe for those who want rearfoot guidance, a firm heel, a soft forefoot in a shoe best for easy and long runs. Part of the new age of stability, the Adidas Adistar is technically a neutral shoe that provides a high level of non-traditional stability mostly in the rearfoot. A firmer, cupped rearfoot sole design keeps the heel stable while a softer midfoot and forefoot provide a protective ride upfront. A well-rocketed midsole keeps the body rolling along while a comfortable low volume upper keeps the feet locked on the platform. Best for recovery, easy and long runs, the Adidas Adistar has a bit of extra weight but will help carry you through long miles.





FIT 

The Adidas Adistar fits me true to size if slightly long (similar to many Adidas racing models recently) in my normal US men's size 10. This is made up for by a low-volume toe box that makes it feel more true to size. The overall fit is fairly normal in width if just slightly wide, which may make going a half size down possible for those with narrower feet. The upper is a thicker engineered mesh with a thick tongue that is secured by the laces. Additional arch wraps on both sides of the foot, called an internal support cage, securing the foot well in the midfoot. This creates an effective midfoot lockdown and I did not have to lace lock the shoe at all. The heel collar mesh is a little thicker and offsets a fairly tall and long heel counter. I did not have any issue with the heel counter due to the cushioning and it does wrap the heel on both the medial and lateral sides almost to the midfoot. Due to the reinforcements/overlays in the forefoot, I would not go sockless in this shoe. However, with socks this is a fairly comfortable upper that I had no issues with even over longer runs. So those who want a normal to slightly wide fit with a lower volume in the forefoot and a thicker upper will enjoy the Adidas Adistar.




PERFORMANCE 

The Adidas AdiStar is a max stack height, rockered recovery/long run shoe. There are two different foams in the midsole. A firmer foam sits in the heel, called REPETITOR +. This provides a clunky, but stable landing for those that land farther back. The softer foam, REPETITOR (no plus) runs from posterior midfoot through the rest of the forefoot. The REPETITOR foam has a nice bounce to it and provides a comfortable cushioned ride from the midfoot through the forefoot. The sole has a significant rocker to it. There is very little flex in the sole, although there is a large amount of toe spring and a large posterior lateral heel bevel.

While the forefoot transition is smooth up front, the rearfoot transition is clunky due to a significant amount of posterior flare. This is offset somewhat by the large posterior lateral heel bevel, but combined with the firmer foam makes for a better ride if you land farther forward. There is a 6mm drop listed, but this feels higher due to the contrast in durometer between the heel and the rest of the shoe. It isn't a bad feeling and may be a unique way for people to transition to lower drop shoes even with Achilles sensitivity or ankle issues. The significant rocker also does a great job of unloading the foot and ankle, so those interested in this shoe should be ready to do more work at their knees and hips. The weight at over 12 ounces in my size 10 (11.2 oz size 9) is noticeable. It took me 20 miles to get comfortable with the weight and get my hips used to lifting these shoes. If you are used this, the transition into the Adistar will be fine. I tend to prefer lighter shoes, so it took me some time. For that reason as well as the large geometry of the shoe, the Adidas Adistar is best for recovery runs, easy runs and long runs. The cushioning and rocker are protective over longer miles or when your feet are beat up. The REPETITOR foam is responsive as I have done strides and uptempo finishes in this shoe without too much issue. The weight is offset by the fact that this shoe is a tank. I have over 30 miles in these shoes and have not made a dent in the outsole. This makes the Adidas Adistar a perfect training/recovery shoe to hammer mileage over long runs, particularly for those who land a bit farther forward and like max stack height, rockered shoes. 



STABILITY 

Although a stability shoe in the past, the Adistar is now considered a neutral shoe. However, there are a ton of methods of new-age stability that provide a highly guided ride, particularly in the heel. The heel sits deeply into the midsole, which elevates high around all sides. These sidewalls continue into the midfoot, which combined with the outsole flare on both sides provides resistance to medial and lateral motion. The midfoot does not narrow and there is a fairly straight last, making for a stable midfoot transition. The forefoot has flare on the medial and lateral side, which combined with the toe spring makes for a stable transition forward. There is a deep guidance line in the outsole, which gently guides the foot forward. The large lateral heel bevel also creates some lateral bias at the posterior-most aspect of the heel, providing a guided transition at initial contact. The firmer REPETITOR + foam at the heel also creates a firmer place to land, that although clunky, creates more inherent stability. This is an extremely stable shoe with no traditional methods of stability. However, I would not call this a neutral shoe as the level of stability is high enough to be considered a guidance shoe. Those with sensitivity to certain directions stability will likely do fine in this shoe as the guidance is on the medial and lateral side.

THOUGHTS AS A DPT / FOOTWEAR SCIENCE

The design of the Adistar is different from many conventional shoes, which usually focus on a softer heel for cushioned landings. Adidas went the opposite way, creating a firmer heel that combined with the elevated midsole provides stable landings. Combined with a significant lateral heel bevel, this is effective. There is no posting in this shoe and the stability/guidance in the heel is high. However, a heel bevel can only do so much for a large posterior flare. Posterior flare refers to when the midsole extends back beyond where the calcaneus sits. The challenge with it is that it can cause an early initial contact or landing phase of gait. This is problematic due to the fact that from a coordination standpoint, the hip extensors (glutes), quadriceps and the ankle dorsiflexors (anterior tibialis) need to turn on before landing to prepare for shock absorption. If someone lands too early, they will hit the ground before their muscles are ready, leading to more shock going through passive structures like the bones, ligaments and joints rather than active structures like muscles. A significant heel bevel can offset this, but if the runner has a high foot inclination angle (the angle of difference between the ground and the foot), they will still hit that part of the shoe early.

There are several things that decrease foot inclination angle, although increasing step rate (cadence) is one of the more impactful things. Increasing this rate has been shown to decrease foot inclination angle, which may be more important than foot strike in regards to impact loading (Allen et al., 2018; Heiderscheit et al., 2011). This tends to shorter the runner's stride length, which can also reduce the risk of overstriding. The is assuming you are running normal speeds as high-speed mechanics may differ.

For that reason, those with a higher step rate and shorter stride may do better in the Adidas Adistar given their predisposition to land with a lower foot inclination angle. This may reduce the impact of the posterior flare and may lead them to land farther forward on the softer REPETITOR foam. The posterior flare is not completely bad as it is a common thing I prescribe for older individuals who tend to lose their balance in the posterior direction while walking or standing. It can also increase ground contact time, which for those with balance deficits can be helpful. For runners, however, this may have different effects given the higher loads and impact forces compared to walking.  Adidas has certainly succeeded in creating a stable and stiff rearfoot, which will work well for some people searching for that, but not for others who want a smooth heel transition.

References


Allen, D. J., Heisler, H., Mooney, J., & Kring, R. (2016). The effect of step rate manipulation on foot strike pattern of long-distance runners. 
International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy11(1), 54.

Heiderscheit, B. C., Chumanov, E. S., Michalski, M. P., Wille, C. M., & Ryan, M. B. (2011). Effects of step rate manipulation on joint mechanics during running. 
Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise43(2), 296.


RECOMMENDATIONS

My two major recommendations touch on the heel design and weight. Adidas did a good job creating a guided and stable shoe without using traditional methods. As mentioned the stability is great without being noticeable. Despite the amount of heel bevel, I think the heel is flared too far posterior. This creates a clunky heel transition until the shoe breaks in or until your body figures out it needs to land a little farther forward. The heel bevel is done very well, but if Adidas could shave down some of the posterior flare, it would improve the transition, reduce the weight and balance the shoe out. This would also address the weight issue as the Adistar is a tank. It is extremely durable and will last much longer than other shoes, but it carries more weight than necessary.

WHO THE ADIDAS ADISTAR IS FOR 

The Adidas Adistar is a neutral shoe with a high level of guidance for those who want a rockered ride, a maximal stack height, and a softer midfoot and forefoot for easy and longer miles. The thick midsole is highly durable and matches the thick upper that features a secure fit with an equally durable mesh. Those who want a stiffer and stable rearfoot will like this shoe as the REPETITOR + foam provides a firmer ride and cups the heel well for a stable transition. The heel is clunky though due to some significant posterior flare, so those who have a shorter stride/higher cadence or land farther forward may like this shoe more. The rockered ride does transition the foot smoothly through the midfoot and forefoot, making for an enjoyable front 2/3 of the shoe for easy miles and long runs. The Adidas Adistar joins the current trend of maximal, rockered shoes that provide a high level of guidance without being traditional stability shoes. Some kinks need to be worked out at the back, but overall this is a solid revival of the Adistar line.
 


GRADING 

Matt
Fit: B+ (Normal width with a solid level of upper security without being overbearing. A little thick overall and forefoot is a little low volume, but keeps the foot secure)
Performance: 
B-/C+ (Extremely clunky heel, but good transition with softer cushioning from midfoot to forefoot. Rockered ride that becomes more efficient over long and easy mileage. Extremely heavy, which requires some break-in time)
Stability: A- (Excellent integration of multiple methods of guidance without being a biased stability shoe. )
DPT/Footwear Science: B (Great use of non-traditional stability methods, but posterior flare makes for early initial contact. May work well for some that land farther forward or may facilitate a shorter stride/more forward foot strike. )
Personal:  B- (I want to like this shoe more given the well-integrated stability, but the heel is extremely clunky. Great ride from midfoot forward though)
Overall: (A heavy training/recovery shoe for those who want a high level of guidance, but not traditional stability).
   
VIDEO REVIEW OF THE ADISTAR



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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 provided free of charge in exchange for a review. We thank the  people at Running Warehouse and Adidas US for sending us a pair.  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.

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Contact us at doctorsofrunning@gmail.com

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