Saturday, January 25, 2020

adidas adizero Adios 5 Multi Tester Review

Article by Peter Stuart, Derek Li, and Hope Wilkes


adidas adizero adios ($140)

Introduction
Peter: Back before the Vaporfly existed, way back in the 2010’s, the world record marathon shoe was the Adidas Adios. This was, like, even before Boost. Yeah, there was a time before Boost. For real. So the Adios 5 is the latest Adios. There’ve been some magical versions--and I’m still partial to the OG non boost version of the Adios--but how does the Adios 5 stack up? 


Hope: The Adidas Adios 2 was the first running shoe I absolutely had to have. Both the men’s and women’s winners of the 2014 NYC Marathon wore the Adios 2, so I had to try some of that magic for myself. Since those heady days, there have been some changes to Boost and some changes to the Adios, but the model has generally retained its reputation as a reliable racer even as its popularity has been dwarfed by another model I won’t name here (but you know what shoe I’m talking about). The Adios 4 made my list of best shoes of 2019, so I approached the Adios 5 with excitement. How does an airier mesh upper and the addition of Lightstrike foam up front change this shoe?


Derek: Counting the pre-Boost era, The Adios 5, is actually the 7th version of the shoe, with 2 pre-Boost models, and 4 Boost models before the current Boost-LightStrike hybrid. 
I think it’s fair to say it has been a cult favourite especially in the non-carbon plated arena for a long long time. I actually own quite a few pairs of the Adios in various iterations, come to think of it. 2 pairs of non-Boost Adios 1, 3 pairs of Adios Boost 2, 2 pairs of Adios Boost 1, 1 pair of Adios Boost 3, and now the Adios 5. I should point out that I paid full retail for all the previous pairs. I skipped on Adios 4 because I was pretty happy with the Adios 3’s upper and saw no reason to change it. How does Lightstrike change the equation?


Pros
Hope: Smooth interior, comfortable, another snappy application of Boost -- not mushy at all!
Peter: Much smoother interior, great looking.
Derek: Softer upper with fewer seams. Still very breathable. The new torsion system generates a smoother transition. Wider fit compared to older models.


Cons:
Hope: Too roomy, too long, tricky lace adjustment, tongue bunches up, previously excellent outsole durability has declined, torsion plate should be recessed somewhat more
Peter Not super fun. Firm. 
Derek: Outsole durability might be an issue.


Stats
Weight: 7.8 oz / 221 g men's US9 
 Samples:US9.5 226g / 7.97oz
Stack Height: 23mm heel / 13mm forefoot, 10m drop
Available $140



Tester Profiles
Peter lives in Austin, Texas and has been a sub 3 hour marathoner as well as a 1:25 half marathoner in recent years
Derek is in his 30’s and trains 70-80 miles per week at 7 to 8 minute pace in mostly tropical conditions in Singapore. He has a 2:41 marathon PR.
Hope is in her 20’s and after several ultras is now more on the road. She has a marathon PR of 3:47. She trains about 50 miles per week with many of her runs in the (broad) 8:00-10:00/mile range. She is happy to hit 7:30 miles on tempo days.


First Impressions and Fit
Hope: I won’t sugarcoat this: my first impression was not great. The color I received is not my taste: a grayish offwhite that looks like a white shoe that’s gotten dirty. I’d prefer higher contrast between the mesh color and the stark white of Adidas’s signature stripes -- this shoe gets style points in other colorways (both the black and orange versions look snazzy), but not this one. Things did not improve as I struggled with the fit of the Adios 5. For me (usually a true-to-size US Women’s 9.5B or US Men’s 8D), this shoe felt maybe a half size too long. Relative to the Adios 4, it is much roomier, especially up front.
 
Peter: I really like the look. The stripes are big and have migrated to the front of the shoe and the materials are clearly improved. Step-in is nice and the fit is true-to-size for me. My first impression was really positive. 
Derek: The gray colour is admittedly somewhat bland by modern racer standards. I had a great first step-in for this shoe actually. I usually have to use heel-lock lacing to prevent slippage in the Adios as the stiffness of the shoe tends to cause heel slippage when i run, but with this model, i managed to get a very good fit and lockdown without much fuss. Fit is true to size for me, and works well for both thin and medium thickness socks. I liked that the new upper had very few seams and i think it may well work sockless for some people.  


Upper
Hope: The shoe’s last might be to blame here for fit issues, but without another 9.5 to compare against, I’m going to treat the upper as the source of the issues I had. Right away I identified the tongue as an issue. 
A supposed upgrade from the mesh tongue of the Adios 4, the neoprene-esque tongue doesn’t want to lay flat. I found myself wanting to crank down the upper to achieve the locked-down feel I crave from a racer. Any time I did that, not only did I have to contend with laces that barely wanted to move in their eyelets (lots of fiddling to adjust each row of laces to where I wanted it to be), I struggled to keep the tongue from folding over too much -- a potential irritation hazard. While the upper was comfortable when I got everything dialed in to my liking, the fit up front still felt too imprecise. I’d prefer a much easier “tie a bow and go” set up. I am happy that Adidas gave us some reflectivity.


Peter: The upper is the best part of this shoe for me. Gone are the scratchy materials in the previous versions. I had no tongue issues. I agree with Hope that the lacing is too labored. 
There are a lot of eyelets and they’re a struggle to pull laces through to get foot totally locked down. Other than that, the fit is good for me and the upper holds my foot well. 


Derek: I really like the overall fit of the upper. The volume, foot wrap and lace placement are all spot on for me, and it was very easy to get the fit working in this shoe. I hear what you guys are saying about the number of eyelets, but the Adios has always had a boatload of eyelets, so it wasn’t a big surprise to me. Adidas seem to do this with all their racers. The Taukumi range has lots of eyelets too. I had no tongue issues. If anything, the new suede material makes the tongue stay put more easily than the older fabric thinly padded tongues. 

Midsole
Hope: The biggest change here is the substitution of Ligthtstrike EVA foam instead of the previous no-name EVA -- and there’s more of it. The Adios 5 appears to have a wider platform relative to last year’s version and thicker foam in the forefoot (but hard to verify without calipers). The apparent updates have changed the profile of the Adios from a shoe that looked barely wide enough for my feet into something closer to an uptempo trainer, at least profile-wise. Adidas seems to have sacrificed some snappiness in favor of a more forgiving feel. I have been easing myself back into training following injury, so I haven’t pushed the pace enough to see how perceptible this change is during a speed workout.


Peter: It’s hard to say what’s going on here for me. I agree that this feels less like a race shoe and more like a tempo trainer. At 7.8 ounces it is considerably heavier than the Vaporfly or my current favorite the Skechers Speed 6. I don’t find the Lightstrike EVA to be particularly inspiring. It’s firm, but a little bit clunky for me. The Boost in the heel doesn’t really affect me one way or another--as I don’t really land there. Boost has never really been exciting to me and that trend continues here. The midsole is fine, but it feels like a holdover from the 2010’s and isn’t as responsive or as fun to run in as the original Adios models. 
Derek: The underfoot difference in feel between the older Adios Boost models and the Adios 5 is, i have to admit, subtler than i expected from my initial squeeze testing of the Lightstrike foam. The foam is softer than Boost, but it is more noticeable at slower paces. I will get more into that under the ride section, but overall, the material is softer in the forefoot though the amount of cushioning is about the same since stack heights are identical. To be fair, if you give a shoe, any shoe, a 13mm forefoot stack, and if you don’t weigh like a Kenyan, you will find the forefoot firm no matter what the underfoot material is made of! I want to talk a bit about the torsion system configuration here as it is a big difference from what was used in the older Adios models. 
The torsion plate is a lot more substantial through the arch is even the forefoot flanges are wider. All these lend to a more energetic rebound when you flex the shoe. This is definitely a step in the right direction as it’s almost halfway to a full carbon plate!


Outsole
Hope: There’s both Continental and Adiwear branding on the outsole. Given the multiple colors of rubber, it’s unclear to me if the entire forefoot is Continental (as I suspect) and the entire heel is Adiwear (as I suspect) or if there’s something else afoot (pun intended). Continental rubber is extremely hard-wearing. People joke that you can give a Camry to your great-grandkids since it’ll last that long -- the Camry might wear out before the Continental rubber on your Adidas shoes! That said, I was disappointed with the durability of the heel rubber on the Adios 5. After just two runs I noticed some wear. Typically, Adidas outsoles look like new for weeks, if not longer for me. I have a pair of the Boston Boost 6 that is in astoundingly good condition for how many miles I’ve run in it. My assumption is that the durable Continental rubber is harder and Adiwear was swapped in to lend a softer feel. If it’s a production cost issue -- I think an informed consumer would find that an extremely durable outsole coupled with a midsole material as durable as Boost is well worth the price.


Peter: The Continental rubber up front has always been one of my favorite aspects of the Adios and the Boston. The pattern of the web on the forefoot rubber changes here. It used to be one color and one continuous web of interlaced rubber--now it’s two colors and broken up by a white material (is that boost or lightstrike). I think this contributes to the shoe feeling a little bit clunky to me. It just doesn’t flow the way older models seemed to. 


Derek: The Adios outsole has gotten progressively softer for a few years now, and in the Adios 5, it is the softest yet! I do worry a bit about the durability here and i don’t have enough miles in mine to make a good judgement on the durability, but I  will say the material is at least more durable than say the Nike Streak 6, and nobody seemed to complain too much about the outsole of that shoe. The upside is of course a softer underfoot feel than its predecessors, plus a bit more outsole grip.


Ride
Hope: As I said above, I haven’t used the Adios 5 for all-out speed, so I want to caveat my impression here. I think it’s acceptable for a racer to be designed for speed and to therefore be less dazzling at easy paces. In order for it to excel at racing, there’s not a requirement that it excel at training too. The Adios 5 is just okay for easy paces. I enjoy a firm shoe and the Adios 5 is firm without being overly harsh. It’s just not inspiring for slower efforts, so were I not testing the shoe, I would’ve picked something else. It’s neither bouncy nor totally dead, just somewhere in the boring middle. The shoe feels light, so I noticed myself getting less fatigued relative to when I wore heavier shoes for the same route at the same approximate fitness level.


Peter: I wish I had better news here. The ride is fine. It’s okay at slow speeds, okay at middle paces and fine at speed. It never really wakes up and thrills. It’s not a light or sleek enough shoe to enable super quick turnover and it’s not forgiving and bouncy enough to feel like a great marathon racer. It traffics in similar territory to the Boston 7, but the Boston 7 feels better to me in every way. I agree with Hope, it’s not harsh or unpleasant to run in, but it’s not that fun either. 
Derek: The ride is interesting in this shoe. At warm-up and moderate paces, shoe, forefoot in particular, is noticeably softer than any previous version of the Adios; there’s even a little spring in the shoe from where you can feel the new torsion system springing into action. I think the combination of the new Lightstrike, and the redesigned torsion system have improved the whole transition of the shoe, and you really notice this once you get rolling into the faster paces. I’m talking half-marathon to 5k-pace efforts. The shoe just rolls. But, and here’s the catch, once you get to the fast paces, the underfoot feel changes completely to a relatively firm one and i don’t detect any bounce from the shoe, despite playing with varying levels of heel, mid-foot, and forefoot strike patterns. The Adios has always been more of a 10k-21k racer for me. I used the Adios Boost 2 once for the Frankfurt marathon in 2015, and in that race i went out in 1:18 and limped home, legs completely smashed, in 2:51. So with that in mind, i think the Adios has more or less stayed true to its heritage of being a responsive road racer. 


Conclusions and Recommendations
Peter: This is a solid 7.5. If you love the Adios, you’ll probably be happy with the improved materials in the upper and happy that it hasn’t changed too much. If you want a dazzling race day shoe, I think there are better options out there. 


Derek: I think in this day and age, if you want to command $140 for a shoe, you need to back it up by something a bit special in the ride. The fit of the shoe is as close to perfect as i’ve ever had in a racing flat, but the ride just stops short of being a bit special to command that price tag. The overall ride at race pace is still fairly similar to the older Adios, and it is only at medium paces that you find the bounce and softness to shine through a bit more, and that’s just not working for me for a racer. In the era of NB FF Rebels and Skechers Razor 3’s, this one is a tough sell. 
Derek: 8.7 / 10
Ride 40% 8.5, Fit 40% 9.5, Value 10% 8, Style 10% 7


Hope: My feelings are fairly close to Derek’s, although I’m less enthusiastic about the fit. I’m glad to see Adidas moving to more modern materials and construction, but the upper didn’t quite land for me. The big stopper here is that the midsole lacks wow factor. To compete with “super foams” from other brands and do so at this price point, the Adios would need a more memorable snap and/or bounce. Even without taking the shoe to the speeds it’s designed for, I noticed a distinct lack of snap relative to last year’s Adios, possibly attributable to the new Lightstrike foam in the forefoot. Also, the outsole rubber seems to have taken a step back from its legendary durability. I think if this style flat works for you or your loved a previous version of the Adios, you’ll be happy, but if you’re brand agnostic or new to racing flats, the Adios hasn’t made a strong case for your $140. 
Hope’s Score: 6.7/10
Ride (40%): 7 Fit (40%): 6 Value (10%): 7 Style (10%): 8


Comparisons Index to all RTR reviews: HERE


Adios 5 vs. Vaporfly Next %  (RTR Review)
Peter: No comparison here. The Adios feels like the slightly heavier, less fun version of a previously great racer and the Next % feels like you’re running on the moon. I’d race in the Nex %. But the Continental rubber is the best on rainy mornings!
Derek: I wear US9.5 for both these models. They are so different in underfoot feel! I think the Adios is so minimal in stack by comparison that it is just not a fair comparison. The Next% wins out for anything 5k and over for me.
Hope: No contest. The Vaporfly Next% has greater versatility (it’s a marathon shoe and a track workout shoe for me) and a far better fit. I’ll note that it’s far more expensive than the less techy Adios 5, but I think it’s worth the money if you can make it work for your budget.


Adios 5 vs. Skechers Performance GoMeb Speed 6 Hyper (RTR Review)
Peter:The Speed 6 is a rocket. It’s so light, so fun and so good to race in. I’d stay with the Adios for slower days, but the Speed is great. Did I say how much I love the Speed 6? 
Derek: I wear US9.5 for both models, though i could probably use US10 in the Skechers Speed 6 if it were a long race. I prefer the upper and fit of the Adios. The Speed 6 is a bit narrow and has a trickier fit by comparison. Underfoot, i think both are actually quite similar with the Speed 6 having the slightly bouncier and more enjoyable ride, especially at race paces. Both shoes excellent outsole rubber coverage, so that’s a wash for me.
Hope: Another model that fit me a touch long. I still prefer it over the Adios since it’s plain fun. Feels so much lighter and more dynamic on my feet, too. That said, if doing something longer than 10k, I’d go for the more supportive Adios. Lighter or more efficient runners than me might be able to make the Speed 6 work for longer distances.


Adios 5 vs. Skechers Razor 3 Hyper (RTR Review)
Peter: Again, Skechers and Hyperburst makes for a more fun, more forgiving, more versatile shoe. 
Derek: I wear US9.5 for both models. The Razor 3 is the bouncier and more versatile shoe for sure. The Razor 3 incidentally has an even roomier fit than the Adios 5.
Hope: Peter said it. I’ll go a bit further: the R3 is a GREAT shoe while the Adios is a merely decent shoe. If you don’t like the bouncy feel (and some people don’t), you won’t relish the R3, but I think everyone else would happily choose the more dynamic feel over the less-inspiring Adios 5.


Adios 5 vs. Adidas Boston 8 (RTR Review
Peter: I like the Boston 8. It’s got a vibe to it that the Adios doesn’t seem to have. What kind of vibe you ask? For me the Boston 8 has a flow to the ride that the Adios just doesn’t have. The parts all work together to form a  smooth, quick ride. The Adios feels a little less fluid. 


Adios 5 vs. New Balance Fuel Cell Rebel (RTR Review)
Derek: I wear US9.5 for both models. The Rebel has better underfoot cushioning and vibration dampening by a ton, but the lower heel to toe drop means the turnover is a bit more sluggish in the Rebel, compared to the Adios 5. Both are great at fast paced runs, and I have no issues doing sub-80s lap pace in either shoe. I think the lateral fin of the Rebel is a big plus navigating the curve on the track, but otherwise it’s pretty much a wash from a performance standpoint. 


Adios 5 vs. Reebok Run Fast (RTR Review)
Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes. This is an interesting comparison. The Run Fast has stacks of 25.5/17.5 vs 23/13 for the Adios. The little extra padding is noticeable on the road and you do feel a bit more cushioning when you run in the Run Fast. Overall, from a ride perspective, it is hard to recommend the Adios over the Run Fast, but that’s more of a testament to what an excellent long distance racer the Reebok Run Fast is. The only area the Adios wins is in the transition, because of the 10mm drop and the torsion system. The decision is made all the harder because although they have about the same retail price, the Reebok is often on sale on their website!

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