Thursday, June 24, 2021

adidas adizero Adios Pro 2 Review: Does 2020's Favorite Racer Improve?

Article by Ivan Luca Corda, Jamie Hershfang, and Jacob Brady

adidas adizero Adios Pro 2 ($220)

Introduction

Ivan: The Adidas Adizero Adios Pro was my favorite racer of 2020 and it’s a shoe that has been used to break several world records this past year. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance myself to actually participate in an official race, but I had a lot of race specific workouts and the shoe has really excelled at around half marathon pace. 

The Lightstrike Pro midsole combined with carbon-infused rods has created just the right balance of cushion and snappy ride. Despite having very few complaints about the original, I could see some minor changes improving both the ride and fit. The ride has felt somewhat clunky to me at anything slower than marathon pace and I would have preferred a tighter race fit. Based on past experiences, I have been eager to test out if Adidas has made a few tweaks to retain the Adios Pro’s position among the best long distance racers.


Sam: Not that I ran many races last year but when I wound things up for mile or 2 mile repeats or a 10K time trial the adios Pro 1 (RTR Review) was the fastest shoe I tested last year for short and fast. As an elite racer designed for elites and world records one must not assume it was ideal for every runner, every pace, and every distance. I found it effective for me below 8 minute miles and super effective below 7 but required to much concentration (stability, getting forward onto the Energy Rods when slower or tired). It lacked the easy to find "groove" of the very original baby blue Vaporfly where a slight tilt forward easily engaged some front pronation onto the plate and towards the big toe and toe off.

The adios Pro 2 with its deep medial side cut out immediately had bells ringing... The Pro 1 had very vertical side walls and no cut out and as such was more arrow like. You had to get forward straight and true to engage the propulsion. The cutout and relatively broad unstructured upper at mid foot had me wondering if there might be some of that magic VF groove effect here too. I not only saw that cavity but upon measuring found that the heel area platform was 5mm wider and the forefoot 1-2 millimeters wider with more flared side walls all around. it also appears (see above) the front toe spring is accentuated. 


In combination with medial cut out these changes hinted at a different more forgiving easier to maintain flow and ride for non elites such as old me. With its 39.5 mm IAAF max height limit heel, lighter more spacious upper, and new geometry I wondered if the Pro 2 was the marathon to half shoe with the Pro 1 the shorter distance racer for me and most.


Pros:

Ivan: Secure and comfortable fit

Ivan/Jamie/Sam: Smooth and more natural ride at various paces

Jamie/Sam: very accommodating upper

Sam: Stable, somewhat softer cushioned, easier to get forward than adios Pro 1

Sam: Accommodates a wide range of racing and training paces without awkwardness or harshness

Jacob: Easy to run fast and feel relaxed; softly bounces me into the next stride effortlessly

Jacob: Excellent upper



Cons:

Ivan/Jamie: Shoe runs a bit long

Ivan: Slightly unstable

Jamie: not a very secure lockdown

Sam: While overall upper hold and comfort is marathon ideal ankle collars and lace up area is overly broad and looser than ideal


Tester Profiles

Ivan Luca Corda: Copenhagen, Denmark.

Current age group: 45+. Height: 5’11 Weight: 140 lbs

Began running in 2012 (age 36). Weekly mileage: 50-80 miles (mostly roads and light paths/trails) Favorite distance: Marathon. Memorable running experiences: Tromsø Midnight Sun Marathon ‘17 (above Arctic Circle starting at midnight in full daylight), Valencia Marathon PB in 2019 in 2:39:28, First Ultramarathon in 2020 (100 km) and 3rd at Danish National Championship, and 3d again in 2021.

Passionate about analyzing all sort of data by using every possible gadget. This also includes comparing running shoes by measuring running mechanics.


Jamie is 29 years old and currently running 100+ miles per week. She has run many marathons, with a PR of 2:49 and has recently moved up to the ultra distances. She completed a solo 100k in 7:36:40 and set the Chicago Lakefront Trail FKT. She is training to qualify to represent team USA at a world championship. Outside of training, she is the store manager at Fleet Feet Lakeview in Chicago.


Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 64 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. Sam has been running for over 48 years and has a 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the just sub 1:40 range training 30-40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah. He is 5’9” tall and weighs about 164 lbs if he is not enjoying to many fine New England IPA.


Jacob is a runner and general endurance sports enthusiast. He runs a mix of roads and trails in the Portland, Maine area. He has been running every day for the past 3 years and averages around 50 miles per week. Jacob races on road and trail at a variety of distances. In the past two race seasons has done several marathons and shorter (≤ 50km) ultras and mountain races. He has a PR of 2:51 in the marathon and a recent half TT PR of 1:18. In addition to running, he does hiking, biking (mountain/gravel/road), surfing, and nordic skiing. He is 26 years old, 6 ft / 182 cm tall and 155 lbs / 70 kg. You can check out Jacob’s recent activities on Strava here.


Stats

Estimated Weight: men's (US9)  232g / 8.2 oz 

Samples: men’s US8.5  7.97 oz / 226g, US12 9.7 oz / 274 g

In a US8.5 Pro 2 weighs 226g, the Pro 1 weighed 214g.

Stack Height (official): 39.5 mm / 29.5mm, 10 mm drop

As measured Sam’s US8.5: the Pro 2 is about 5mm wider at the heel and 1-2mm wider at the forefoot than Pro 1.

Available June 2021


Available now including at our partner Running Warehouse US here


First Impressions and Fit

Ivan: The design of the Adizero Adios Pro 2 is quite different from the original, which I personally think is the best looking shoe I’ve ever had. This also looks absolutely amazing. I’ve always been a fan of white running shoes and I think the splash of orange/red stands out and gives it a fast and sporty vibe. Like with the rest of the new lineup from Adidas, I definitely wouldn't mind also wearing this as an everyday sneaker some day.

It fits true to size for me but I probably could also go down half a size. After playing around a bit with the lacing I’ve managed to get a really pleasant and secure fit, but length wise there is plenty of space and maybe also too much for my liking. It’s not that noticeable on the run and maybe I’m nitpicking, but I have to admit that I prefer racers that fit like a glove. However, compared to the first version, it is immediately noticeable that both the heel cup, midfoot and toe box has been dialed in and has created a better and more structured fit. 


Jamie: Without being able to compare to the first version, my first impressions are based on competitor brands. Out of the box, I immediately noticed the spacious toebox, a much wider fit than other such race shoes I’ve tried. It fits about a half size long, with a deep toebox and plenty of space, almost too much. After lacing with a heel lock, I didn’t have any issues with heel slippage, but they definitely run big. As a racing shoe, I prefer something a little more streamlined and secure, I could really tell I was wearing a shoe with this one. Step in feel is firm and the roll forward is significantly noticeable. It has that sneaker like vibe in a fast, lightweight package.


Sam: The fit is true to size and generous for a racing shoe. You will have room for foot swelling during a marathon for sure and given the breathability of the very thin mono mesh upper "cool" feet and lots of drainage. Make sure you coordinate your socks with your shoes as they will show through or go white as Ivan did above.

With very thin socks like Ivan I think I could go down half a size. As with Jamie I had some heel slippage, both looseness and also some forward slip on downhills. 

I think this comes mainly from the loose, broader unstructured lace up area (despite side panels), some seemingly add on rear pads of a blueish material and a thinner but broader tongue than adios Pro 1 which is now also without the Pro 1's rubbery narrow gusset. It is clear that some slight compromises were made to keep weight down (the broader platform) through the use of the thinner upper, fewer and thinner overlays and thinner tongue materials. On balance the upper works for intended marathon purpose as it provides such a generous soft volume and adequate hold.


Jacob: I really like the visual design of the Adios Pro 2. It is unique and striking without using bright colors. The thin, translucent upper with opaque underlays looks really interesting, especially with the red accents (and gold!) and well-placed branding. Of course, Adidas also managed to show the carbon rods. 


It is excellent in fit as well: for my medium-width foot the fit is secure but overly snug and with no lace bite. I could have run a marathon with the initial lacing tightness I did, it was comfortable, as tight as I’d want it, and locked-in. It has a wide-ish toebox for a racer and the upper materials are all soft and pliable so it feels unrestricted on the foot. However the laces are static, the semi-rigid heel well designed, and the underlays provide structure to the lightweight mesh, so the foothold is very secure. Fantastic first impressions.


I am surprised that Ivan and Jamie commented on it being long, as I did not feel this at all. It is spacious, but not overly so and for me, definitely not long in length. I would not size down and do not think the relative roominess of the forefoot is at all a negative for my foot shape, even at fast paces.


Upper

Ivan: Adidas has kept the ultra light and breathable Cellermesh upper made of partially recycled polyester. It’s now named the ‘Cellermesh 2.0’ and while the material itself seems to be the same, larger cut outs have been made for more flexibility and breathability. The structure of the overlays and even internal reinforcements seem well thought out. A lot of small details help with breathability, such as tiny perforations around the heel cup and the toe cap. Same can be said for the new simplified semi-gusseted tongue compared to the fully attached/wrapped tongue in the first version, leaving the waist more open for air to pass through. 

All these thinned out areas - or cutouts - are almost transparent and depending on the choice of sock color, it also changes the overall look quite a bit. 

Both when it comes to the heel counter, waist and toe box, I like what Adidas has done with the fit in this update. The heel cup has been narrowed and soft interior pads have been added for a more secure fit and for avoiding any heel slippage.  As already mentioned the tongue no longer wraps around the waist and gone are also the additional eyelets. However, Adidas has still managed to dial in the upper in such a way, that the midfoot hold is better now. 

The whole platform just seems a bit narrower and this is especially noticeable in the toe tox. Gone is the overly roomy fit in the first version. 


I personally like the tighter fit in racers, without my toes getting squeezed of course. The toe cap is also well executed and the toe box height is adequate. I just wish I didn’t have some extra spacing length wise. I had the same issue with the first version, but it’s less noticeable this time. Probably because the upper in general is better dialed in. 


Jamie: Super lightweight and breathable, especially for the humid, sweaty summer runs. Noticeable amount of room, not a very tight fitting upper compared to some competitors. I think I definitely prefer a snug fit over an overly spacious upper. I found it difficult to get a secure lockdown, however lacing a bit differently seemed to help. The flexible heel counter felt a little flimsy when putting on the shoe, but didn’t have any issues on the run. 


Sam: I don't have much to add to my colleagues comments and agree with Jamie that this is a super breathable, roomy upper that could use a touch more rear to lace up lockdown, maybe a return of a gusset to the tongue something which a half size down and lace lock may cure. Overall I would call it a supremely comfortable marathon upper with the Pro 1's a bit more dialed in shorter distance focused for most of us.


Jacob: The upper is excellent: sleek and unique in construction. The upper is composed of a single piece of Adidas's very thin, breathable, Celermesh 2.0 which is supported by stylish underlays and other minimal structural elements. The tongue is thin but the densest part of the shoe and even with the static, thin laces, I have had no issue with lace pressure on any run. There is some structure in the heel and it is moderately rigid down low with pads on the collar to hold the foot. 


On the run the upper feels like it is barely there with no pressure points and my foot doesn’t slide around at all. There is higher than average room in the toebox for a racer but I don’t feel like security is compromised at all from this. I love the fit and for my medium-width foot the Adios Pro 2 is both very comfortable and locked in. 


Midsole

Ivan: The Lightstrike Pro used in the Adizero Adios Pro 2 seems identical in terms of density. To me the Lightstrike Pro has a very unique and pleasant combination of feeling both dampening and energetic, but without that extreme softness and squish found in some competing types of foam. The stack height of the midsole has officially been changed slightly from 39mm/31.5mm to 39.5mm/29.5mm making it a 10 mm drop instead of 8.5 mm. Adidas has kept the carbon infused nylon plate in the rear for added stability and the 5 carbon infused ‘EnergyRods’ in front for a so-called anatomical driven transition. However, the most noticeable changes have been made to the very design of the midsole. 

A visually striking cutout on the medial side is now exposing 3 of the rods

with on the lateral side some carvings have been made too. 

This gives the midsole a very different appearance compared to the clean and almost unfinished look of the original. It definitely makes the midsole look much slimmer and I think it also gives it more of a racer look. 


Furthermore, Adidas has shaved off about 5 mm of elevated midsole surrounding the top edge. It’s hard to say if these fairly minimal midsole sidewalls actually added stability, but it made the original look taller than this new version. 


Jamie: An interesting combination of responsiveness without being overly soft. My initial impression of the Pro 2 was that it felt overly aggressive. After some miles in them, I found they felt better. A nice bounce without being too plush. From an easy pace to something a little faster, this shoe feels great for everything, but preferable for workouts. Very smooth transition.


Sam: Let's just say Lightstrike Pro has a touch more serious deliberate feel than springy and silky Zoom X or the bouncy energetic Fuel Cell compound in the RC Elite 2. Shock absorption is outstanding with a quicker, shorter sensation of energy return and slightly firmer feel than those competitors.  
By making the heel 5mm wider and the central groove shallower and narrower and biased higher laterally than the Pro 1 the landings are more stable and with the cutout on the medial side transitions are easier. 
The increase in heel width and mass is likely contributing to the 12g increase in weight over my Pro 1 in a US8.5

The weight at about 232g / 8.2 oz for a US9, is an increase of about 12g and puts the Pro 2 at the upper edge of super shoes. Looking at the construction and materials (other than the midsole/outsole) it seems clear that Lightstrike Pro, whatever it is, is not as light as Zoom X or FuelCell. The Next % while on a slightly lower stack weighs 6.5 oz / 184 g for a US9 while the equivalent stack Fuel Cell Elite 2 weighs 7.8 oz/ 221g (US9) but has a more substantial upper.  What you get for this tradeoff is I think plenty of energy return but in an easier to control more deliberate feeling ride that is a touch denser and more stable than those others at the midsole level with a great sense of consistency.

I found both rear midsole stability and ease of transition and toe off (the wider heel, the cutout and side wall geometry changes) improved at all paces especially slower with a touch softer overall feel, a smoother flow but not quite the explosive front pop of the adios Pro 1.  For a half runner such as me just under 1:40 these days and a marathon I would hope in the 8:20 per mile pace, the combination of the max stack, stability from now broader heel, flow (from the cut out and side wall geometry) and natural feeling impulse from the Energy Rods is just about ideal for me. 

Jacob: The Adios Pro 2 midsole is composed of Adidas Lightstrike Pro, a soft, low-density, high-rebound superfoam. It is denser than airy, explosively energetic PEBA midsoles but is also smoother and more natural. The Adios Pro 2 is a “plated-racer”, but rather than a full-length plate, it uses five carbon-infused rods (Adidas’s EnergyRods) in the forefoot and a shorter plate in the heel. The result is a similar directed, propulsive effect as a traditional plated shoe but with increased flexibility and in turn a more natural ride. On the run the midsole is very smooth underfoot with a balanced softness and level of cushion that isn’t overdone or too dramatic. It has excellent energy return but not in an explosive way. It is smooth and forgiving.

Outsole


Ivan: Adidas has kept the thin and tacky rubber outsole with a texture reminding me of sandpaper, which is actually inspired by rock climbing shoes. It’s a bit rougher to the touch this time and despite having no real outsole tread, it still got a high level of traction on the roads. It’s obviously not suited to any kind of trail running, but as a road race shoe it handles both dry and wet conditions really well. Also, some small holes/cutouts have been made to create an even better grip, but probably also for saving a tiny bit of weight. The two rubber strips in the heel section now cover a larger area which is welcoming for especially heel strikers. Forefoot runners will also be happy to still see a fully covered forefoot and at the very front a thicker piece of reinforced Continental rubber ensures longer durability in the toe-off area. Regarding durability I have personally been surprised by how well this thin layer of rubber has held up in the first version. However, I’m a fairly light runner only tapping the heel slightly, so I can't guarantee that heavier heel strikers will experience the same. Worth mentioning is also a new carving/split of the outsole at the front resulting in some flex and creating a more natural take off from the stronger big toe.


Jamie: I would have to agree with Ivan that the outsole generally feels like sandpaper. Fairly decent traction on dry roads, but not so great on soft surfaces like turf or dirt. After running along the lakefront, on wet, sandy pavement, I found them to feel very unstable. They were very slick and didn’t provide much grip. However, the fully covered forefoot, rather than just the heel, made them feel better at faster paces without worrying about sliding around. Didn’t feel great on turns, but for a point to point kind of run, traction feels like just enough.


Sam: Jamie and Ivan have described the outsole well. An amazing compound that for sure ain't the usual rubber. Reminds of race car tire textures. Grip and durability are excellent for such a thin layer. I would echo Jamie that grip on loose sand over pavement or even quite hard pack gravel sand is not the best as after all there is zero profile to the outsole in the form of lugs.


Jacob: The Adios Pro 2 outsole is a variation of the typical racer rubber configuration with rubber in the forefoot and heel and exposed midsole in the forefoot. 

Adios Pro 2 (top) compared to Adios Pro 1 (bottom)

There is much more complexity to the Adios Pro 2 outsole than the Adios Pro 1, which seemed like it could have been a prototype with its thin, textureless rubber and smooth midsole which looked unfinished. The Adios Pro 2 uses the same thin rubber but adds small holes, more texture, and supplements it with a patch of Continental-branded rubber in the high-wear area in the medial toe which the runner uses to toe off. Additionally, there is the striking midsole cutout exposing the energy rods. There is a recent trend of midsole cutouts (Alphafly comes to mind) which lower weight and can increase bounce and flexibility as it is easier to compress the area with less foam.


The outsole changes don’t have a large effect on the performance but contribute to the refinement of version 2. It is quiet and smooth with excellent traction on wet or dry asphalt. Surprisingly, it runs well even on smooth dirt paths, even when damp. I’ve only noticed it lacking when there is debris on the pavement, such as sand, dirt, or leaves.


Ride


Ivan: As mentioned shortly in the introduction, my biggest challenge with the first version was the transition at slower paces. It just didn’t feel smooth and while this is a race shoe, most runners also take out their racers for workouts at varying pace including tempoblocks and fartlek. Those types of workouts are not that fun if the shoe isn't comfortable during the easier parts. The first version almost demands that I run at the very front of the aggressive rocker for a snappy and efficient stride. The rocker is still there now, but it has become easier for me to get into a relaxed flow and gate cycle during runs. I think both the medial cut out, lateral carvings and the split outsole in front improves midsole flex, creates less of a clunky transition and a more natural toe off. The ride is not completely different and the overall level of cushion is the same, but it has become a much more pleasant and natural ride at various paces. 


The tradeoff might be less of a stable ride. Despite the fact that the shoe looks lower visually, I do experience some instability. The typical lateral angled heel bevel from Adidas makes for a secure initial contact point. However, I notice a bit of wobbling when weight is distributed to the midfoot, which makes sense considering the cutout/carvings and perhaps also the lack of the midsole sidewalls. It’s by no means unstable compared to most other shoes in this race category, but just something to keep in mind if having greater challenges with pronation and stability.



Jamie: For a carbon plated racer, this shoe felt great at all different kinds of paces. A very smooth ride, a little stiffer than an Alphafly, but much softer than the Endorphin Pro. I think it feels the best at a steady pace, rather than for speedwork or slower runs. I’m not the biggest fan of the upper or the heel counter, which generally makes it feel unstable around turns and uneven surfaces. If you’re looking for stability, it probably wouldn’t be my top recommendation. However, if you’re looking for a shoe you can train in up until race day, and don’t want something super aggressive, the Adios Pro 2 is a great candidate.

Sam: A near ideal half to marathon ride for me here. I found the underfoot platform plenty stable, easy to control and maintain just about any pace with as stated above a more deliberate consistent return of energy than some of the competitors where sensations are more extreme both from their foam but also from their geometry. And on the geometry side that also includes the adios Pro 1 which I found really only worked for me a 10K type paces and shorter distances where I got stay forward and on its explosive forefoot. There is the same forefoot feel here as the Pro 1, a touch less dramatic but easier to find and stay there as paces vary. 


The medial cut out and roomy upper allowed me to pronate past midfoot to drop into the big toe and toe off instead of relying as much on knee drive as the Pro 1 required. The sensation and effect of drop in medially is more subtle than the original Vapor Fly but similar, serving as a kind of "helper" to tame and drive a super shoe forward for the non elite: namely most of us and me for sure! 


Jacob: I found the Adios Pro 2 ride to be smooth and cruiseable at faster paces (nearing marathon pace and above)—very easy to run fast in—but not as enjoyable going slow. My recovery pace during workouts I ran in the Adios Pro 2 was faster than I would have run in other shoes because I did not find the ride smooth or that the geometry was activating well when I was running slowly. On multiple runs, I could not stop kicking my opposite ankle when warming up, but once at pace (half marathon to 3k) the shoe felt wonderfully smooth, cushioned, and propulsive.


There is great forefoot cushion with a nice amount of sink-in softness that both rolls forward with the forefoot rocker and rebounds from the foam’s bounce. If I midfoot/heel strike, the position of the heel plate and energy rods moves me forward to the rocker quickly and it runs quite well.


It is a more reserved ride than the ultra-energetic, airy, PEBA midsoles, being a bit denser and smoother. It is more similar to NB’s autoclaved FuelCell used in the RC Elite than the PEBA shoes, but less soft and more springy. It has a consistent feel and is not overly dramatic. The forefoot rocker makes it an aggressive feeling shoe, better for faster paces, but the forgiving geometry and ample cushion extends its versatility. I feel relaxed running fast in it, and like that the pace my watch shows seems much faster than I feel like I am running. I think it has the most such sensation of any shoe I’ve ever run. Some racers like the Saucony Endorphin Pro or ASICS Metaspeed Sky feel and are very fast, like they are popping my foot off the ground and blasting forward with explosive energy. The Adios Pro 2 is smoother and doesn’t seem as fast, but for me ends up being easier to run fast than both the Endo Pro and Metaspeed Sky.


Overall, when running fast, the ride is quiet, smooth, comfortable, and makes running fast easy, which is just what I want from a carbon-plated racing shoe.


Conclusions and Recommendations


Ivan: So, did Adidas manage to improve my favorite racer of last year?

Absolutely. The fit has been significantly improved for a more secure fit and it has become a much more versatile shoe without losing that great snappy ride at race paces. Maybe the shoe runs a tad too long and perhaps slight instability could be an issue for some, but I definitely think the improvements clearly outweigh these minor issues. Not only am I absolutely sure that even more world records will be set in Adidas Adios Adizero Pro 2. I am also convinced that a greater number of more “casual” runners will benefit from the tweaks of the midsole, as they create a smoother transition at different paces. 

Ivan’s Score 9.6/10

Ride: 9.7 (50%) Fit 9.5 (30%) Value 9.4 (15%) Style 9.7


Jamie: The Adios Pro 2 was the last addition to my carbon plated race collection. Without trying the first version, I am pretty impressed with this one. It does run a bit long, but fits perfectly width wise. As someone with a wider foot, this shoe may feel a little roomy for someone looking for a snug, narrow fit. The upper contributes to some stability issues, but I just wouldn’t recommend them for the track. I enjoy the versatility of all paces, it’s quite responsive at faster paces, and has a smooth transition for runs a little slower. The heel counter could use a little more security, but lacing seems to help with that. I would wear this shoe for long run workouts, or steady miles, where I want to feel fast, but smooth. I think it leaves a little more to be desired for someone looking to be at their top racing speed, but it is pretty much ideal for a half marathon distance or above.

Jamie’s score: 9.2/10

Ride: 9.5 (50%) Fit: 8.5 (30%) Value: 9.5 (15%) Style: 9.0 (5%)


Sam: adidas made the Pro a more accessible super shoe with this update. I agree with Ivan. More accessible and versatile for the mid pack and faster. Many of the 2nd generation super shoes adios Pro 1, Rocket X, Endorphin Pro, and Alphafly were let's just say "opinionated" and un forgiving of anything but a fast pace and good elite or near elite form and a specific way of running them to achieve their advantages, but once form slips...  


I suspect adidas elites will be split between this version and the Pro 1 with the decision coming down to how much rear stability and smooth assist forward from landing (the wider heel landing, the cutout and new sidewall geometry) is preferred vs. a more arrow like mid to forefoot consistent strike pattern as the Pro 1 I think favors. 


As a now slower and somewhat of a heel striker, that rear stability and especially flow forward are what I look for in a long race shoe. With the changes, and understanding its unique outsole is thin, it also becomes a more versatile shoe as a trainer. For those purposes I actually much prefer it to the firmer, duller and stiffer feeling Boston 10 which includes both Lightstrike Pro and denser firmer Lightstrike. 


As with the Pro 1 the Energy Rods are a different and more natural feeling experience than monolithic or forked plates found elsewhere.  Your toes and forefoot are sensed as in the action and not merely relying on a monolithic plate to drive to toe off.


The weight at about 8.2 oz / 232 g is at the upper limit of its competition and it seems Lightstrike Pro, while it has great consistency, stability, and energy may be the culprit. Adidas should find a way to drop about an ounce here. The weight affects my score more than anything else.


The upper while it has some issues with rear lockdown is about as comfy as has ever been created in a race shoe. I am actually amazed the upper works as well as it does once you are underway. This said I do prefer the first version upper and its more secure lockdown if awkward to adjust rubbery tongue.


Overall the adios Pro 2 sets a high bar for its versatility, comfort, cushion, well measured energy return and accessibility to a wide range of runner paces without being over radical it what it requires of the runner to enjoy its ride. Is it the fastest or lightest super shoe, maybe yes maybe no. It all depends in the end on what you are seeking from such a shoe. 

Sam's Score: 9.54 /10

Ride: 9.8 (50%) Fit: 9.3 (30%) Value: 9 (15%) Style: 10 (5%)


Jacob: The Adios Pro 2 is a wonderful racing shoe. It is a refinement of its predecessor and has top-tier performance with a design and ride unlike any other shoe. For me, it has excellent fit, being comfortable, easy to find the right lace tightness, and secure. I’ve had zero fit issues, which is amazing. The ride is unique out of all plated racers due to the stiff, curved rods which allow for different more individual runner flex characteristics than the typical wide plate. It has a moderately soft, energetic, springy, but not overly extreme midsole. Together this leads to a ride that is very smooth, naturally propulsive, and easy to run fast. The Adios Pro 2 is one my top three picks for racers, alongside with the VF NEXT% and NB RC Elite v2. It is my choice for my next race of any distance, so I can assess it based on the race experience.


I would recommend it for most runners looking for a maximum performance modern racing shoe for any distance. Those who like a snappier, more explosive ride or who prioritize low weight may prefer a different shoe. I think it works better with a midfoot-to-forefoot strike and at faster paces (I do not feel nearly as smooth running easy in it than at 10k pace), but I think it is forgiving enough to be accessible to a range of runners. Overall it is worth trying and may be the fastest (for me) shoe I’ve ever run in—it just needs a successful race experience to best the longstanding VF NEXT%. It is definitely the smoothest fast shoe I’ve ever run. Currently, by score in each category (note I always score with 0.5 increments), it is the best racing shoe I’ve ever tested.

Jacob’s Score 9.92/10

Ride: 10 (50%), Fit: 10 (30%), Value: 9.5 (15%), Style: 10 (5%)

Near 10/10 shoe, fit and ride are top-notch for a racer, but 9.5 in value due to the highest weight of all plated racers—only 0.5 off as it is at the mid-range of pricing.


Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE


Adidas Adizero Adios Pro (v1) (RTR Review)

Ivan (US8.5 in both): I think that I’ve pretty much covered all the differences in the review, but most significant is the smoother ride and better lockdown. In particular the heel-toe transition feels more natural at easier paces making the new version more suitable for not only racing but also a variety of workouts. 

Sam: I agree with Ivan on the smoother ride and increased versatility but the Pro 1 upper, while more difficult to dial in had a better rear lock down for me.

Adios Pro 2 (left) vs Adios Pro 1 (right)

Jacob: Pro 2 has a similar ride and the same usage but is more refined, riding smoother with a less blocky feel, slightly less soft forefoot (for the better), and more open upper with also improved heel hold. It is a great update, retaining the vibe and effortless speed of the original but with small changes to increase comfort and performance.


Watch Sam's A/B Test of  Adios Pro 2 vs. Adios Pro 1 and Video Review (11:46)


Saucony Endorphin Pro 2  (RTR Review)

Ivan (US8.5 in both): Completely different approaches as long distance racers. The Endorphin Pro v2 utilizes the Speedroll technology combined with full length carbon plate and a somewhat firm forefoot. This results in a very snappy, rolling kind of transition best exploited by heel landing to take advantage of the rocker and plate. However, you don’t get that same damping effect and energetic push off that the rods provide.

Sam: Clear preference for me for the less aggressive smoother overall flow of the Pro 2 and its more forgiving ride.


Brooks Hyperion Elite 2  (RTR Review)

Ivan (US8.5 in both): The Adios Pro 2 is a much more cushioned shoe with a higher level of energy return. The Hyperion Elite 2 is the most stable of the two with an extremely broad platform and a rocker and overall ride more similar to the Endorphin Pro than the Adios Pro. Grip is not on par with the Continental rubber outsole of the Adios Pro 2 and the upper doesn’t create that same secure lockdown.


Jacob: I think the Adios Pro 2 is a vastly superior shoe. The HE2 does not capture the effortless speed that a well-executed plated shoe can provide. I have raced the HE2 and for my pace and form it is more difficult to run and less leg saving than the Adios Pro 2 and much of the competition. The HE2 is lower and more stable, but it feels pedestrian compared to the Adios Pro 2 as it has less rebound, lower stack height, worse traction, a more rigid/less natural ride, and comparatively plain styling.


New Balance Fuelcell RC Elite 2  (RTR Review)

Ivan (US8.5 in both): Two quite different racers. The RC Elite 2 has more of a max/super shoe vibe to it. The midsole is softer and more squishy. Putting a lot of force into the ride will make it feel bouncier. Everything about the shoe feels more substantial and the fit is roomier. However, for racing and fast workouts,  I personally definitely prefer the snappier, efficient transition and tighter fit of the Adios Pro 2. Despite the changes to the Adios Pro I still think that the RC Elite 2 is the best for those easier runs.


Jamie: Women’s 7.5 in RC Elite 2, Men’s 6.5 in Adios Pro 2. The New Balance RC Elite 2 has a much softer, bouncier FuelCell midsole. It fits a little more true to size, although both have a spacious toebox. I think in a half size smaller in the Adios Pro 2, it would fit more similarly, but I still prefer the lockdown of the RC Elite 2. Both have great versatility at different paces, however I prefer the bouncy, responsiveness of the RC Elite 2. Both would be great options for people looking for less aggressive carbon plated shoes. For racing and workouts, I would choose the RC Elite 2 over the Adios Pro 2, although this could be mainly due to sizing issues. 


Sam: The RC Elite 2 has a superior and more substantial upper with impeccable lockdown but not quite the airy breathability of the Pro 2. It has a far bouncier ride, almost to much for me, as I sometimes wonder if the softness is sapping energy more than the more taut Lightstrike Pro. More testing to determine reality but the Pro 2 feels more purposeful and snappy with a somewhat smoother overall flow and energetic front feel from the Energy Rods while the RC Elite has a softer bouncier heel. While both are very versatile and can also be used for training I think the RC Elite's somewhat more mellow feel and more extensive rubber and upper gives it the advantage in versatility.


Nike Vaporfly Next%  (RTR Review)

Ivan (US8.5 in both): I get an efficient, cushioned and dynamic ride from both and they would both be among my favorite race choices all the way from 10K to the full marathon. The Vaporfly Next% is the lighter of the two and has an almost perfect balance between cushion and energy return. It feels a bit less aggressive to me and would be an obvious choice for the marathon while I like the snappier ride of the Adios Pro 2 for the 10k and half marathon distance. It’s a close call though.


Jamie: Men’s 6 in Vaporfly Next%, Men’s 6.5 in Adios Pro 2. The OG Vaporfly was the first carbon plated shoe I wore, and the Adios Pro 2 is the latest one in my collection. Upon my first run in the Next%, it immediately became my favorite shoe, and it’s the shoe I have run all my PRs in, from the 5k to the 100k distance. It has a lighter, snappier ride, and fits like a glove. As Ivan mentioned, it has the perfect balance of cushion and energy return. It’s a shoe that makes me want to run all day when I put it on. The Adios Pro 2 feels slightly more aggressive in comparison, with a looser fitting upper, and more flexible heel counter. I could see myself wearing the Adios Pro 2, but would want a little more cushion for anything longer. 


Jacob: As of right now the VF NEXT% is the only racing shoe that may best the Adios Pro 2 for any distance for me. Together they are my top two favorite any-distance racers, with the RC Elite v2 a close third and in the mix for the marathon. 


The NEXT% is lighter, snugger, more delicate in feel, lower stack, and thus has a more of a typical racer feel. The narrower platform and airy PEBA-based midsole of the VF NEXT% feels more dramatic and energetic underfoot. The upper is less comfortable than the Adios Pro 2 with less toebox space and an oddly loose-feeling heel hold, but its security is excellent while on the run. 


The Adios Pro 2 is more forgiving and denser with a smoother ride that feels less fast, but ends up being as easy to run fast (or at least very similar) to the NEXT %. For the marathon, and I have one upcoming, I am leaning towards the Adios Pro 2 at this point as I have already raced the VF NEXT% so I want to give the Adios Pro 2 a shot as the ultimate test. Only a race experience will tell if it can best the NEXT% for me.


Nike Alphafly Next % (RTR Review)

Ivan (US8.5 in both): The Alphafly feels more substantial on foot and almost a bit clumsy compared to the Adios Pro 2. It is actually not even heavier. Just so “built up” in many ways and even sounding very noisy on the run. But don’t get me wrong. I actually really like it. It has so much bouncy without feeling mushy and is really leg saving on those longest runs, but it is probably not a shoe everyone will enjoy. 


Jamie: Men’s 6 in Nike Alphafly Next%, Men’s 6.5 in Adios Pro 2. Both the Alphafly and Adios Pro 2 feel more substantial than most carbon plated competitors, but have a pretty different ride. The airpod in the forefoot of the Alphafly feels super bouncy and propulsive, making it much more comfortable over longer runs. The Adios Pro 2 is slightly stiffer, but has a very smooth ride. The Pro 2 is run at all paces, while I prefer the Alphafly for those harder efforts. Both fit a bit spacious in the upper, and both uppers are super lightweight and breathable. I tend to prefer the bouncier feel of the Alphafly and would be my preference between the two for anything above a half marathon distance. 


Asics Metaspeed Sky  (RTR Review)

Ivan (US8.5 in both): I have only tried the Metaspeed Sky on the treadmill but it definitely should also be included in the realm of super shoes. From my limited experiences the ride of the Metaspeed Sky and the Adios Pro 2 actually has some similarities. They both deliver a snappy and efficient ride at race paces exploding the very aggressive rockers. However, the Adios Pro might feel a bit more damping when striking the ground compared to more of a springy sensation in the Metaspeed Sky.


Jamie: Women’s 7.5 in Asics Metaspeed Sky, Men’s 6.5 in Adios Pro 2. I’ve really enjoyed the propulsive rocker in the Metaspeed Sky, from track workouts to tempo runs. While I enjoy the versatility of the Adios Pro 2, I would definitely only wear the Metaspeed Sky for faster paces over any easy runs. It has a much snugger fit than the Adios Pro 2, and I would even say they’re a bit short and narrow. I would choose them for distances under a half marathon, and the Adios Pro 2 for anything longer.


Sam: The Metaspeed Sky is as Jamie says a far more short and fast run focused shoe. it is not much fun to train in at anything other than fast reminding more of the Pro 1 than the Pro 2. I would choose them for 5K to 10K max over the Pro 2 but anything beyond it would easily be the adidas.


Tested samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased through affiliate links. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

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