Tuesday, August 03, 2021

Quick Strides 11: Adios Pro 2 Half Marathon Test Conclusions, Super Shoe Trail Durability, Speedland SL:PDX Initial Thoughts, ON Cloudstratus 2

 Article by Cheng Chen, Derek Li, and Sam Winebaum

Quick Strides 11: Adios Pro 2 Half Marathon Test Conclusions, Super Shoe Trail Durability, Speedland SL:PDX Initial Thoughts, ON Cloudstratus 

Cheng (Michigan)

Supershoe Trail Durability Issues, a Feature Not a Problem

I seem to have a penchant for wrecking supershoes shoes on the trail, especially shoes that aren’t meant for harsh conditions…

Previously in Quick Strides #9 (RTR Link), I described how the trails did all sorts of damage to the outsole and midsole of my New Balance RC Elite v1. This time, I managed to tear a hole in the outsole of the Tempo NEXT% after running an 8-mile tempo run on a light trail (Strava Link).

Many of us in the shoe review space have postulated that the Tempo NEXT% could have durability issues. We heard horror stories with folks wearing through their outsoles or popping their Air Zoom pods before 100 miles. I now confirm this, somewhat...

I currently have 150 miles in my pair, with the vast majority performed on the road at faster-than 7:00 minutes/mile. Thus far, the midsole and even insole (also ZoomX) have held up fairly well. Other shoes at this point would have seen insole pancaking along with decent midsole depressions around the forefoot area. Neither are significant in the Tempo NEXT%.

However, the achilles heel of this platform is its outsole, especially around the area where it bridges the gaps around the Air Zoom pods. Along with regular fatigue, it would seem that this area is liable to be punctured should a shard of gravel happen to impact the exact location during a high-force landing. This is what I believe caused the damage to my pair.

Overall, my view is that this, along with many other reported outsole issues, should not significantly affect the overall ride quality. In fact, I’d go as far to say that the durability issue is actually a feature built into the shoe: now you get to run around at tempo pace, thinking that you’re as badass as the East African runners wearing their shoes down to the nub.

In other running news, the Detroit Free Press Marathon has been confirmed to be domestic-only this year (no border-crossing Canadian route). I am an ambassador for this race so please reach out to me with any questions or concerns (Instagram: @MrChengChen). Use my code CHENGROCKS for 10% off your race entry! 

Sam (New Hampshire and this week Park City, Utah) 

ON Cloudstratus 2 

I completed my video review of  the Cloudstratus 2. In the video I take the Cloudstratus out on the roads in New Hampshire and include  several comparisons and especially to the Cloudstratus 1 a considerably firmer and heavier shoe. The new Cloudstratus is a significant new direction for ON towards softer and friendlier as well as lighter. 

It has softer Helion foam (than any ON I have tested) in a completely redesigned bottom unit with CloudTec Elements now in connected layers and an outsole midsole with more flex transforming along with the Speedboard the ride to a far less prescriptive and rigid affair than previous ON, except for the also relatively new Cloudswift  (RTR Review) which while on the firm side has a very effective rocker.  ON, in addition to all the rest they are doing in lifestyle shoes is clearly also doubling down with a new and promising take on "modernizing" their approach to run shoe rides here, largely ditching the prescriptive, stiff, and firm with the Cloudstratus.

It is topped with a far lighter upper than usual from them that carries forward ON Swiss styling but in a simpler more functional fashion.

The result is the smoothest running ON to date for me with a forgiving, softer and energetic ride from the foam and the geometry with a weight of 10.1 oz /286 g in a US9 so a big drop of 29g / 1oz plus from the first edition. I measure the heel stack at 30mm with an 8mm drop. 

$170. Available now at our partner REI HERE

Speedland SL:PDX ($375)

I now have 3 runs in the SL including two with its removable Carbitex plate in one shoe leaving it out of the other. 

With the plate in there is for sure a clear propulsive effect particularly felt on smoother trail and hard pack road base. I was amazed how fast they were on rolling road base bike paths here in Park City's Round Valley during my first run here.  The plate and shoe is noticeably more flexible than road super shoes and there is that spring feel characteristic of such shoes. 

Without the plate we get a somewhat softer, more flexible agile ride as the removable PEBA foam midsole can shine on its own. Not to worry about protection without the plate as below the main midsole we have 4mm of a hardened EVA and then the 6mm lug outsole, so plenty of rock protection and stability to go with super shoe friendly PEBA foam, a foam here that reminds more of PWRRUN PB from Saucony than Zoom X. 

What I am finding neat about this shoe is the ability to tune the ride and fit:  run with and without plate, trim the lugs, adjust the BOA instantly.

The upper continues to amaze with its dual BOA which makes even minute adjustments super easy (tighten one way, loosen the other way). The foothold from the straps linked to the BOA is secure and very comfortable and of course adjustable zonally: top of foot vs front of foot.  The low, very broad toe box has plenty of room, there is plenty of foot splay, and plenty of hold, a difficult combination to pull off. 

The somewhat soft Michelin textile rubber outsole (It wraps up the sides and is stitched with Dyneemx thread a super strong fiber) is comfortable on harder surfaces and I think adds to the cushion. My fellow tester Jeff Valliere’s runs on wet technical rock indicate that is not this outsole’s ideal terrain.

$375 is a steep price of admission for this marvel.  The removable carbon plate, Dyneemx fiber upper and stitching, dual BOA, Michelin outsole, and complexity of construction for sure say no corners were cut on technology, materials, or quality of construction.

I do wonder about the need for a carbon plate and its expense here, except I am thinking for fast racing hard pack, non super technical terrain, and this despite the clear versatility the plate delivers. A model with a removable nylon/plastic plate or none at all might make the shoe more accessible from a cost standpoint, soften the plate ride and make that option more agile.

Jeff and my multi tester review is coming very soon!

Derek (Singapore) 

Not really a wear testing activity, but I had a half marathon solo effort penciled for 8/1 coming off many many weeks of high mileage dating back to mid-March. I thought long and hard about what to wear for it and it came down to NB RC Elite 2 (RTR Review) vs ASICS Metaspeed Sky (RTR Review) vs Adidas Adios Pro 2 (RTR Review). 

Ultimately I settled on the Adios Pro 2, because it was still frustratingly sitting in the box after multiple race postponements for me, and I had already tested the RC and the Sky for some long tempos before. I really wanted to see how the AP2 would perform. 

The good: 

  • more dynamic transition, 

  • less stable landing (good to me as a racer),

  • less chance of heel slippage with this upper. 

The bad: 

  • rocker still feels quite far forward so you need to load the forefoot to benefit, 

  • midfoot hold is not as good as AP1 for me. I like that elastic midfoot band a lot! 

The shoe can definitely fly if you have the fitness. 

My aim for the opening miles of my tempo was 6:10/mile and I went through mile 1 in 5:45/mile and had to consciously slow down. That said, the geometry really benefits forefoot loading, and my calves were quite sore towards the end. I got this as well with the Metaspeed Sky. 

My final conclusion is that for heel-midfoot strikers, the RC Elite 2 is still the most user-friendly model, alongside the now defunct OG 4%. 

Some tested samples were provided at no charge for review purposes others were personal purchases. 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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