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Adidas Adistar CS: Max Cushion, Max Stability
By Matthew Klein

As running shoes continue to increase in stack heights (sole height), some are getting lighter while others are staying surprisingly heavy. Most of these maximalist shoes are inherently stable thanks to the wider shapes, stiffer soles and rockered geometries. Despite the slow improvements in inherent stability across most footwear (but not all), there have been a decrease in the number of true stability shoes. This is particularly true from brands like Nike and Adidas, where true stability shoes have almost completely disappeared (the Nike Structure is a "Stable Neutral" shoe now technically). The Adidas Adistar CS was a surprise to see from Adidas, given the Adistar was already inherently stable. Those faithful to this brand now have something to rejoice as the CS is a true stability shoe combining new-age concepts of stability with a maximalist design. 

Adidas Adistar CS
Price: $160 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 12 oz, 340 g (men's size 9), 10.7 oz, 303g  (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 38 mm / 32 mm
Drop: 6mm
Classification: High Stability Maximal Trainer


The Adidas Adistar CS is a maximal stability shoe that is best described as a tank. This huge shoe features a wider fit. Despite a thicker upper, the fit is wide and slightly long. The stack height is high, requiring a highly rockered ride in the heel and forefoot. Despite so much height, the ride is fairly firm thanks to a large amount of Repetitor foam. This adds to the stability, which is completed by extensive sidewalls and additional firm Repetitor+ foam that wraps the lateral heel into the medial midfoot. A rare stability shoe from Adidas, the Adistar CS is for those who don't mind a heavy shoe and want a firmer, wider, rockered shoe for easy miles.

SIMILAR SHOES: On Cloudace, Mizuno Wave Horizon 6


The Adidas Adistar CS fits me slightly long in my normal men's US size 10. Those who are between sizes should consider going down a half size. The fit is on the wider side throughout the length of the shoe. The volume is lower, especially in the midfoot. This is due to an extremely thick tongue that reduces the height of the upper. The tongue is not gusseted and runs asymmetrically. While the security is good despite the wider fit, the tongue tends to slide laterally and I have had a large amount of pinching on the top (dorsum) of my foot. I have had to stop many times to readjust the tongue and laces to stop the top of my foot from getting irritated. The forefoot fits slightly wider with some taper at the toes. The volume is also low here, so it doesn't feel as wide as it looks. The heel also fits slightly wide, but thanks to extremely high sidewalls, my foot has been secure. I have had some mile slippage front to back, but never had any heel slippage (this is likely due to the thick tongue). There is a full heel counter sitting on the inner side of the sidewalls. I did not this despite the heel collar cushioning, so those sensitive to them may not do well in this shoe. Due to the hard (but flexible) inner material of the toe guard, I would highly recommend socks. I have had some mild blistering on the inner (medial) side of my big toes, so with the sizing issue, thicker socks may be warranted. Overall, the fit is slightly wider but lower volume, so those with normal to wider feet will do well here if volume is not a requirement. 


The Adidas Adistar CS is a heavy shoe meant for recovery, easy and longer efforts. The 12 oz weight (men's size 9. My size 10 is over 13 oz) is noticeable and makes anything above an easy effort extremely difficult. The stack height is high at 38mm/33mm, but the midsole material feels hard/firm underfoot. This is a protective ride, but it not soft. The 6mm is not noticeable thanks to the massive rocker of this shoe. The rocker however is clunky thanks to how stiff the ride is. There is a plastic plate called "Energy Drive" that adds stiffness along with the thick outsole providing no flexibility. Despite the large rockers, the heel bevel is somewhat sharp despite how tall the heel stack height is. This makes extremely posterior/rear landings comfortable, but more forward heel or midfoot landings clunky and uncomfortable. Landing forefoot is difficult due to the majority of the shoe's weight being centered at the rearfoot. This makes this shoe best for those who land farther back and want a rockered firm ride. The weight makes this shoe only tolerable for easy and slow runs. Those who can take advantage of the rockered profile may be able to use these for long runs, but I found the weight to be too much for longer miles. Although I would not use them for long runs, the Adistar CS will last in the long run. The extensive outsole coverage has made durability extremely high. I have 35 miles on my pair and no wear on the outsole. However, these shoes will only do well on road. The large guide line in the midfoot and forefoot easily pick up large rocks. Fortunately, the traction is extremely good on both wet and dry roads, but that may be due to the weight keeping the shoe on the ground. Thus, those looking for a heavy-duty, aggressively rockered and stiff ride for slow road miles and significant heel strikers may do well in the Adistar CS.


The Adidas Adistar CS is a moderate to high-level stability shoe with several methods of stability. The most prominently advertised is the REPETITOR+ support frame that wraps around the lateral heel, medial heel and medial midfoot. This harder form is combined with extremely high sidewalls that provide noticeable support on both the medial and lateral sides of the foot. The pressure from the support frame is also noticeable on both sides of the foot, adding to this being a stability and guidance shoe. An internal plastic plate called "Energy Drive" sits in and runs the width of the midsole. It is visible underneath from the midfoot to forefoot, but we are unsure how far it truly runs. Regardless, there is no torsional or longitudinal flexibility. Combined with the extremely wide platform (the midfoot does not narrow) and massive guide line through the outsole/midsole, there is no other direction but forward to go. This shoe is noticeably rockered, with a huge posterior lateral heel bevel that guides (forces) the foot in and a large forefoot rocker that roles you forward. The fore is moderately stable due to the stiffness, width and plate, but for those looking for a high stability level in the midfoot and heel, the Adistar CS will do the job.

Thoughts as a DPT: A Disappearing Field
By Matt Klein

While stability has changed a great deal over the last few years, the number of stability shoes has decreased. The largest decrease has come from high-level stability and motion-control shoes. Years ago, the Adistar series were usually higher-level stability shoes, with the last version (that I can recall) being the Adistar Boost. Adidas has had few stability shoes since that time, so for Adidas lovers to have a high stability option is great.

That being said, 12 oz is not a great weight for running shoes today. While the ride is rockered and the Adistar CS is not marketed as anything but a slow pace shoe, excessive weight can put stress on a few structures. The most common area that can become irritated are the hip flexors. The major hip flexors include the psoas (major primarily) and the iliacus. The psoas starts from the spine while the iliacus begins from the inner part of the pelvis (iliac fossa). Both insert onto a small prominence on the inner side of the femur in the groin/hip area. Heavy shoes can result in some individuals having to work extra hard to lift their legs during the swing phase of gait to advance their foot forward. The rocker may facilitate the roll forward through toe-off, but the hip flexors and hamstrings still have to pull the leg forward after that. This point in the gait cycle where the leg transitions from supporting the body and pushing forward to swing the leg back in front of the body is the most active the hip flexors are. They have to work hardest when they are in a lengthened position (hip extended, so the hip flexors are stretched out), which is even more challenging for this muscle group.

It is for the above reasons and more that the Adistar CS will work best for those with a short stride. A shorter stride means the hip extends less, the hip flexor muscles are not as lengthened and have a better angle to pull forward. They don't have to pull as much as the shorter stride means they have less distance to travel. The sharp rocker angles also make it better to have a shorter cyclic stride. Those with a longer stride may not do as well here and instead should consider a lighter shoe or one with a longer bevel.


I am excited to see a true stability shoe, especially a high-level stability shoe from Adidas after seeing stability be so weak for this company for years. This is a rare shoe to see that does new-age stability extremely well. The concepts of guidance that we discuss are exemplified in this shoe. However, it continues to old tradition of making stability shoes extremely heavy and clunky. The ride is incredibly firm, which is surprising given the stack height. The rocker is aggressive and often clunky, which may be due to the firmness and excessive stiffness from the plate. The Adistar CS needs an foam update. To make it more attractive to current consumers, I would highly suggest using lighter and newer foams to provide additional softness/comfort. I would love to see Lightstrike Pro in this to soften the ride and if combined with current geometry, would still maintain the higher level of stability. I would also like to see the upper redone. The asymmetrical lacing is a great idea, but the tongue sliding makes it uncomfortable. I would still gusset the tongue and provide additional reinforcement on the medial side as this will improve both comfort and upper stability.


The Adidas Adistar CS is for those who do not mind a heavy shoe and want a high stability, maximal, aggressively rockered ride with a wider, low volume fit. The stability is borderline motion control with the large support frame, high sidewalls, stiff plastic plate, wide sole and aggressively rockered ride. It provides guidance on both sides of the foot with noticeable pressure but well-integrated pressure. The fit is on the wider side, although the volume is low. The tongue requires some readjustment, but those with wider feet may do well here. The ride is quite firm and rockered, so those who want a high stack height that still feels grounded will do well here. The Adidas Adistar CS is the first high-stability shoe from Adidas in a long time. While it integrates all the new concepts on stability well, there is still work to be done in order to move away from the old concept of stability shoes being heavy and clunky.


Fit: B- (Fits wider but low volume. Tongue is thick and slides, creating pressure on top of foot. Some sliding due to almost half size long)
Performance: B-/C+
 (Heavy, Clunky, stiff ride that can only handle recovery and easy runs)
Stability: A [High Stability] (Extremely stable. High sidewalls, medial and lateral support frame, massive guidance line, wide and rockered sole.)
DPT/Footwear Science: B (Excellent integration of current concepts in stability, but falls short in weight and excessively firm ride)
Personal: C (I want to like this shoe as I have not seen a true moderate to high stability shoe from Adidas for years, but the heavy and clunky ride means I will be heading back to lighter performance stability shoes and not turning back. )
Overall: C+/B-


Price: $160 at Running Warehouse (on sale for $78 today)

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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 on sale with personal funds. 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 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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