Friday, January 06, 2017

adidas Supernova Glide 9 Review: Rebounding, Steady Daily Trainer. With Comparisons to Energy Boost, Ultra Boost and Supernova Glide 8

adidas Supernova Glide 9

The adidas Supernova is a well cushioned, Boost based neutral daily trainer with a snug foot hold, front of the shoe comfort, and softer forefoot feel. It weighs 10.7 oz/ 303 g in a men's 9, 8.9 oz/252 g women's 8. Stack height is 26mm heel/16mm toe, 10mm drop. $130. Available now.
adidas Supernova

The Supernova has been a very comfortable shoe to run in, very smooth and soft, maybe a bit too soft and comfortable upfront, from underfoot feel to soft toe box upper for uptempo running. The upper hold is impeccable if best suited to those with narrow heels and lower volume feet. The front of the upper at the toes is a very soft engineered mesh similar to the Boston 6 and while not a wide, wide shoe should accommodate many foot types,

Upper and Fit
The Supernova fits me true to size.  It is generally a narrow, snug fitting shoe except at the toe box.
adidas Supernova

The heel opening is narrow and heavily padded. The mid foot saddle area is heavily supported but has no pressure points except a touch just above the arch in the location of the rear silver band where the band meets the heavily padded lower part of the heel collar.
adidas Supernova

The sock liner is of adidas's usual substantial, well cupped and thick flavor. Those seeking a bit more mid foot volume could easily swap in a thinner one and I may do so.
adidas Supernova
The front toe box is very soft and accommodating with minimal structure to the mesh beyond a very well executed, softer toe bumper which gives the toes plenty of headroom. The soft mesh extends back to the first silver band past the metatarsals avoiding any overlays in that area which can be a source of irritation and also which can impede flex.
adidas Supernova

Midsole and Outsole
adidas Supernova

The Supernova has a combination of Boost TPU (white) and adiPRENE EVA cushioning (lime color).
Embedded in the midsole at mid foot and running up the media side wall is Torsion plastic to provide some structure  and mid foot stablity to the soft Boost midsole.
adidas Supernova

The outsole is Contintental rubber in what adidas calls a Stretch Web, a continuous relatively thin, soft, single density layer. The road feel upfront is soft but not sloppilyso with feet sinking into the Boost but then also not encountering on toe off a particularly  firm platform as for example  its cousin Energy Boost  Toe off is not unstable but it lacks a bit of snap. I have not run enough miles to determine the durability of the thin outsole but in my experience Continental rubber outsoles on other adidas models have been incredibly durable.

The ride is very pleasant. The Supernova is a shoe designed for long easier miles in great comfort. The weight of the shoe at 10.7 oz is quite frankly noticeable.  This is not a light trainer. Shock is well absorbed particularly at the heel. The upper support and stability at the rear of the shoe is impeccable if snug. Upfront, as stated above, the combination of  soft upper toe box, Boost, and soft outsole makes the toe off not particularly snappy or energetic as say in a Saucony Ride 9  at 1.5 oz  lighter, with similar stack heights. or the Energy Boost but the whole Supernova experience sure is comfortable and smooth!

Comparisons to Energy Boost, Ultra Boost, and Supernova Glide 8
The adidas Supernova replaces the Supernova Glide 8 in the adidas line up and shares almost identical stats with its predecessor and  also with the Energy Boost 3, and Ultra Boost. So what changed and what are the differences between these 3 models?

  • All three get most of their cushion from adidas Boost TPU midsole but the Energy Boost and Supernova have a collar of firmer adiPRENE resilient EVA (lime color) on both the medial and lateral side to provide some stability to the otherwise soft Boost. The Ultra is 100% Boost.
  • The Ultra Boost and Supernova share a more minimal narrower adidas Torsion system at mid foot and no Torsion plastic forward of mid foot as the Energy and for that matter Boston 6 and adios Boost 3 have. The result for the Supernova is a somewhat less energetic and more relaxed transitioning shoe.
  • The Supernova has the rear near the heel plastic Torsion plastic vertical wall up the midsole on the medial side as the Energy Boost has  It is shorter on the Supernova again likely contributing to the more relaxed ride, a touch less directed, than the Energy,
  • The Supernova and Ultra share an adidas Stretch Web outsole, a relatively thin yet durable Continental rubber of a single firmness and in a single sheet from heel to toe. The Energy Boost has a more conventional lugged and thicker outsole of AdiWear rubber, with distinct rear and front areas separated by Torsion System plastic as well as bit of a heel outrider . I prefer the lugged thicker firmer outsole of the Boost and for that matter Boston and adios as  sitting below Boost it contributes to a firm more stable toe off but also a bit less cushion feel.
Supernova to Supernova Glide 8, its predecessor (a shoe I did not run in) :
adidas Supernova Glide 8

  • the adiPRENE EVA collar no longer extends to the heel
  • the Torsion System system which the Glide shared with Energy Boost and Boston, particularly at mid foot, is replaced with the Ultra's embedded less substantial approach
  • the outsole is now the Stretch Web and no longer the segmented square lugged AdiWear
  • there is no EVA collar in the rear of the Supernova and what looks like a thinner EVA layer going forward, and a quicker end to the EVA layer at the very front, so more Boost in the Supernova.
adidas Supernova Glide 8

The result when comparing Supernova to Glide 8 should be a softer more cushioned overall ride for the Supernova with more flexibility upfront and a bit less of a snappy transition.

Supernova to Energy Boost (the last Energy Boost I ran in was version 1), the Supernova overall should be
adidas Energy Boost 3
  • Supernova should be more cushioned, and
  • a bit more relaxed in transition and a bit less energetic due to its softer thinner continuous Strech Web outsole and less extensive Torsion plastic at mid foot and extending forward.  It also lacks the outrigger bevel heel outsole of the Energy Boost,
adidas Energy Boost 3

The uppers while similar have some differences with the Supernova having a butterfly wings heel counter, soft central area over the achilles with hard plastic wings on either side, The Energy Boost has a more conventional wrap around heel counter.

The front toe box engineered upper of the Energy 3 is more structured, with denser mesh and somewhat more secure and likely less friendly for wider feet.
adidas Supenova
adidas Energy Boost 3

We hear changes are planned to the Energy to better differentiate it. I hope in particular it gets back to the sub 10 oz shoe the Energy Boost was so that it slots between the Boston and Supernova.

When comparing Supernova to the Ultra Boost and I have run in the Ultra Boost, 
  • the EVA collar in the Supernova adds considerable support and toe off direction to what I found to be the overly soft mushy forefoot of the Ultra Boost, which for me was comfortable under foot that's for sure but an "energy" sink when running anything other than very slowly.
Bottom line:
Supernova if you want a secure, very well cushioned, smooth running daily trainer with an accommodating soft toe box.
Energy Boost 3 if you want a bit more snap and spring in transition to toe off and a more secure forefoot upper hold. I raced many marathons, including BQ's, in the original Energy Boost. 
Ultra Boost if you want a soft somewhat more natural ,unstructured underfoot feel from heel to toe with more relaxed fit and if most of your running is slow and easy.

Sam's Score 9.6 out of 10
-0.25 for not particularly responsive forefoot, soft due to thin Stretch Web outsole under Boost.
-0.1 for weight, difficult to avoid as Boost is a heavier midsole material than EVA but the upper is overbuilt from mid foot back compared to many modern shoes.
-0.05 for snug somewhat tight mid foot saddle, a potential issue for higher volume feet.

The Supernova was provided at no charge, The opinions herein are entirely the author's.

Shop adidas Boost at Running Warehouse
Men's Supernova HERE  Women's Energy Boost 3 and Ultra Boost HERE 

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Anonymous said...

Much narrower than the 8. Causes pain in forefoot. Too bad because the 8 was the only Boost shoe relaxed enough in the forefoot forefoot for me to wear. Http://

Anonymous said...

Almost an entitely different shoe than the Glide 8. The heel counter and collar is far stiffer and more built up. Ride is much stiffer out of the box: requires a good 100 miles to break in, but will likely last well over 600 like its predecessor.

Different lacing, too. This is an inprovement.

But, overall, a departure from the Glide 8. The 8's upper felt surprisingly light, flexible, and comfortable, despite the external midfoot and heel features. The Supernova (Glide 9) is a lot more "shoe."

Forefoot strikers looking for a flexible, Boost-cushioned ride may enjoy the far less expensive Response LT.

Sam Winebaum said...

Anonymous, Thanks for your comparative perspective. Very helpful for those familiar with the Glide 8 which I was not. Thanks! Sam, Editor.

Anonymous said...

I haven't tried this new one, but if you want a relaxed forefoot, ultra boost ST has a more roomy forefoot fore sure.

demian said...

Hi All,

Great review as usual and late to the party. I just picked these up for a relaxed, recovery shoe and really like them except it might be a tad too soft in the heal making it hard to get back to toe. Do they make an insole that might offer a bit firmer heal feel? If so, which company and model?

Thanks Guys!