Monday, April 04, 2016

adidas adizero adios Boost 3 Review: World Record Holder Relaxes..

Review by Sam Winebaum, Editor Road Trail Run

The adidas adizero adios Boost 3 is the latest iteration of the shoe worn by Dennis Kimetto to the marathon world record of 2:02.57 in 2014. Don't be scared! You can wear this fantastic shoe and have that world record snap, stability, and cushion at whatever pace you run.
Dennis Kimetto WR Photo Credit: adidas
The Adios Boost 3 is not a stripped down race flat but a well cushioned, very durable shoe closer to a trainer than a pure race shoe in features and weight.  According the Running Warehouse at 7.9 oz/224 g men's size 9, 7.3 oz/ 207 g women's size 8 it is  0.1 oz lighter than version 2 and 0.2 oz lighter than version 1 with the same 23mm heel/ 13mm forefoot stack as previous editions.
Running Warehouse was kind enough to provide Road Trail Run with a pair of the Adios Boost at no cost for testing and review.
The adios Boost 1 (review) was my 2014 shoe of the year. I ran all my half marathons and road races in them and even easily handled a 25K trail race. A fantastically versatile shoe with a great upper and wear like iron Continental rubber outsole, I have 2 pairs each pushing 200 miles with only minor outsole or upper wear.

First Impressions
The adios Boost 3 when compared to the AB1 is more relaxed all around, well a bit more relaxed as after all this is the top adidas marathon racing shoe! The new fuller coverage Continental outsole is slightly softer on landing in the forefoot. The reconfigured heel outsole with a thinner central bridge of firm material, now adiwear vs the AB1 and 2's EVA "boost" labeled plug, makes the landing there a touch softer as well. Torsionally the AB3 is not as stiff and the toe spring longer and slightly less stiff. The upper is a different fit, still very well held but  wider in the fore and mid foot with fewer and softer overlays and a lighter less stiff mesh upper. Bottom line, whereas the AB1 was not only an incredible road racer AND trail racer the AB3 for me anyway will stay on the road and is still a 10K to 30K max distance shoe for me.

adios Boost 1 left, adios Boost 3 right
The Adios Boost 3's upper when compared to the Adios Boost 1 immediately says more comfort and more relaxed. Running Warehouse recommended I size up half a size, a good call for longer races but for a half or under I would be fine at true to size. While I did not run in the AB2, Peter Stuart, one of Road Trail Run's reviewers has tried AB2 and says AB3 is roomier even though both share a similar looking upper.  While I had zero issues with my true to size AB1, they were a very dialed in supportive fit due to the many seamless overlays, fairly heavy "3 Stripes" at mid foot and all of this over a fairly stiff, dense mesh. The AB 3 goes old school with very soft stitched on suede overlays, including the white 3 Stripe, over a soft single layer of mesh. There is no stiff material in the toe bumper area as there was in version 1.

adios Boost 1 left, adios Boost 3 right

They are roomier in the fore and mid foot and higher volume,  the upper is least softer and easier to push with the toes. The lacing eye stay is straight vs. AB1 notched approach and is noticeably wider after the lace lace hole, providing noticeably more room at the ball of the foot. The tongue is particularly well executed: a bit more padded and longer than AB1's which was a bit short and tended to rotate.

adios Boost 3 left, adios Boost 1 right
The AB3 heel counter is far simpler in design than AB1's . Both are firm and substantial with the AB3 having a hard shell around the bottom third of the heel counter. Those world record holders must land hard on the heels or more likely when they do want all their force directed straight ahead! There is a less pronounced, wider Achilles rise on the AB3


No big changes that I can see or have heard of to the midsole. The same sandwich of EVA under foot and at the toe with TPU based Boost and its high rebound and energy return characteristics below. Boost is less temperature sensitive than EVA and thus does not get brick firm in cold, an issue with conventional race flats for me. The ride is consistent regardless of temperature. You know what to expect. The thin black EVA layer underfoot feels firmer than in AB1.

Torsion System
The secret to "controlling" the soft Boost material and aligning the foot in direction of travel is the adidas Torsion System of TPU plastic plates. Starting with a very effective vertical piece on the medial side of the heel to reduce early pronation, continuing with at truss at mid foot to improve mid stance stability and then running with 2 long strips laterally and medially under the outer rows of lugs with a shorter center of the fore foot strip Torsion is what keeps the foot aligned and moving to toe off spring board, even when tired.  All of this is designed to break world records but I can say it sure works for me as well. There is a sense of stability, forward direction, alignment, and snap not felt in many other lighter racing shoes. No apparent changes from previous models.
Outsole: adios Boost 3 left, adios Boost 1 right
The outsole is where the significant changes between AB1/AB2 and AB3 occurred. Gone is the Quick Strike plate with nubs of firm plastic glued to a sheet in the center of the forefoot of both the AB1 and AB2. Quick Strike is replaced by a fuller coverage, and thus slightly softer more cushioned layer of hard wearing Continental rubber arrayed in pods.

If I had a knock on the AB1 is that the forefoot was a bit thin and the upper narrow up front and after 20 miles my toes started to feel it with some cramping- keeping me from attempting... a marathon in them. But hey, I am no world record holder either!
This fuller coverage rubber should help dissipate shock a touch better and it sure feels that way when I compare the two on the road. Generally the outsole pattern changes from the tire tread like set of grooves on the AB1 and AB2  to pods, which leads to a more personalized somewhat softer feel on contact for me.
Outsole: adios Boost 3 top, adios Boost 1 bottom
The outsole of the adios Boost 2 (below) is identical in appearance to the adios Boost 1. The only changes, colors.

adios Boost 2 outsole Photo Credit: Running Warehouse

The heel bridge or center plug changes from a thick and firm EVA "boost" labeled piece to a soft thin piece of adiwear outsole giving me a slightly smoother less jarring but a none the less decently firm and very stable landing. The decoupled heel bevel remains about the same but forward of that we see 2 new carve outs on the medial side, which give the shoe slightly more bend and give around the vertical plastic torsion piece just above.

Outsole: adios Boost 3 left, adios Boost 1 right

Ride and Recomendations
Don't be scared that this is the world record setting marathon shoe! 
Unlike many racing "flats" the adios Boost is well mannered, protective and fun at any speed. It can easily be a single quiver shoe for lighter faster runners or a speed and any distance race shoe for most. Even a fine choice for casual runners wanting a low profile light shoe with great road feel.

While the forefoot cushioning is thinner than most trainer at 13mm, the rebound of the Boost midsole and the relatively soft yet durable Continental rubber, now with fuller coverage, make the ride firm yet still very comfortable. The heel is fantastic, well cushioned yet also firm and stable and easy to move off of at even moderate speeds. This said I have found the adios Boost really comes into its own in terms of a smooth transition at paces faster than 10 minute per mile.

If you have never tried a Boost midsole shoe the rebound and energy return is noticeable. True to its purpose as a race shoe, the adios has a distinct toe spring but unlike many race shoes it is stable, well cushioned and directed due to the Boost and Torsion System.

While I prefer the original AB1's more fitted upper for its support, which when combined with the Torsion system made the adios not only a great road shoe but a very able trail racer, the new upper is just fine, more relaxed and comfortable particularly for those with wider feet and for longer run road use.

Not an in expensive shoe at $140, the durable outsole will last as long or longer than those on many trainers and its versatility can eliminate the need for several other shoes. We do wonder about the relative durability of the upper.
Highly Recommended.

Adios Boost 3 to Boston Boost- The Boston Boost has 3mm more cushioning at the heel and forefoot and 0.6 oz more weight. It is stiffer at the very front of the shoe where the EVA midsole layer is longer than adios. The Boston fits snugger at the ball of the foot than the adios Boost 3. It lacks the adios medial plastic Torsion piece and as a result, as a heel striker, I found Boston's heel soft and a bit less stable than the Adios. Boston leans more towards being a trainer.
Adios Boost 3 to Salming Distance 3- The Salming Distance 3 (review soon)  is most similar to the Adios Boost of the shoes I have run in recently. It also has a Torsion Efficiency Unit similar to adios Torsion plastic under the mid foot and very similar outsole configuration. Its upper has a generally  similar relaxed fit. The ride is similar with a very decent rebound effect from the RunLite midsole and a noticeable and directed toe spring. It has 4mm of additional cushion at the forefoot with 1mm less at the heel for a 5mm drop and weights 0.7 oz more.
Adios Boost 3 to Saucony Kinvara 7 (review). Very different rides from these 2 shoes. The 4mm drop Kinvara is stiffer overall with more forefoot cushion, 6mm more of it, for a shoe weighing and having the same heel height as the adios. While not as snappy a ride, it is stable and forgiving, the Everun (a TPU similar to Boost)  in the heel providing a heel cushion similar to the adios. The Kinvara upper's Pro Lock mid foot system and narrower toe box with overlays is snugger overall. Kinvara may be a better marathon choice for most mere mortals when sized up a half, adios a better short race choice.
Adios Boost 3 to Hoka One One Tracer (review)
The Tracer is firmer and stiffer overall. Tracer has 7mm more forefoot stack but the forefoot foam is considerably firmer than Boost. Nod to the Tracer's upper, the best fitting of any 2016 race shoe for me. I would run a marathon in the adios Boost 3 before the Tracer.

Sam's Score: 4.8 out of 5
-0.05 for weight
-0.05 for lighter wider upper, a bit less of a dialed supportive fit which made it AB1 a great trail racer.
-0.1 for thin forefoot for marathon purpose.

If you would like to try the adios Boost they are available from Running Warehouse
Men's hereWomen's here

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Anonymous said...

Great review...but you say no more trails on the new adios. Though it sounds like Adios 3 would be better for trails -- sole, wider forefoot, cushion. Is it only the upper material that has you not wanting to hit the trails with the new one?

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Anonymous, underfoot they will be slightly better for trail for sure. The new upper is more slipper like, no longitudinal overlays, the toe bumper super soft vs decently substantial although not rubber reinforced in AB1. Some will run AB3 on trail and do fine. I am not particularly agile so would be hesitant. Further it feels to me like the new upper and all the soft suede may be more prone to wear and tear on trails than AB1's
Thanks for reading!
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Brandt Kurowski said...

Hey Sam, just wanted to let you know your links to Running Warehouse are broken.

Sam Winebaum said...

Thanks for letting me know Brandt! Fixed now. Thanks for reading!