Monday, September 19, 2022

adidas Solar Control X Tinman Elite Review

Article by Sam Winebaum

adidas Solar Control  X Tinman Elite ($140)


Introduction

The adidas Solar Control at first glance sends many contradictory messages. In the livery of the adidas sponsored Tinman Elite team it joins other Tinman special editions, which are, let's just say, on the more obviously fast side of things. It is a very heavy shoe at 11.9 oz / 336g US9.


Clearly by its name “Control” it appears to be a heavy duty pronation control shoe with a heavily reinforced upper,  all kinds of underfoot structures and massive amounts of Continental rubber above a healthy layer of Boost.  Finally, its visual vibe and overall look and feel also says lifestyle shoe. 

Heading into this test I sort of dreaded even running them.  I know elites when they go easy, be it second run of the day or easy days, often go real easy, And often, no matter now light and minimal their track spikes are or how cushioned and edgy their road race shoes are, many often reach for more support and “control” oriented shoes for those days. So after wearing them around town and getting nice compliments I decided to take them to the roads.


Specs and Features::

  • Weight: 336g / 11.8 oz US9 sample

  • Stack Height: heel: 33 mm / forefoot: 23 mm/ 10mm drop

  • Linear Energy Push 2.0 plastic plate system, the drive train if you will

  • Dual-density EVA platform (support and top cushion

  • BOOST lower midsole

  • Continental Rubber outsole

  • Upper contains a minimum of 50% recycled content

Pros:

Very, very solid support top to bottom 

More support shoe than control shoe: Unobtrusive support elements, and there are many, hardly noticed as in the way by this neutral shoe runner.

Surprisingly smooth flowing at any pace due to Linear Energy Push despite  their bulk and with a nice flexible toe off

Comfortable and comforting (support standpoint) upper with at least 50% recycled content

Tremendous expected durability from all components: upper, midsole, outsole

Great aesthetics as a lifestyle shoe and to highlight the “control” features.

Ideal keep your pace under control easy days shoe that is not boring

Good trainer for heavier runners, runners with real pronation issues, and beginners

Versatile and a great value in its own way as it is also an excellent walking, travel and lifestyle option


Cons:

Heavy! Wow! 336g / 11.8 oz US9. Why not deliver the upper security, geometry and support features with lighter materials?

While comfortable and supportive the upper is overbuilt and overly heavy. Why a gusset tongue here and the massive yet attractive toe bumper given the  heel counter, mesh and overlays there are already so supportive?


First Impressions, Fit and Upper

The Tinman edition is very classy looking with many visual highlights from the Tinman logo on the thick topped puffy but not super soft tongue, ”Chop Wood, Carry Water” printed on one of the sock liners with End Plastic Waste printed on the other.

It has a muted gold color set off by black support medial overlays, white reflective “Three Stripes” on the lateral side, dark gray medial support EVA midsole, black LEP plastic peaking through, and finally a gum rubber colored substantial toe bumper. 

Alot going on with the visual design and it all seems to work well together with a striking look that does not shout in neons.

The fit is true to size with a decently generous and high toe box that is somewhat restricted and over done in over the toes hold by the stout toe bumper that for my tastes wraps too rigidly over the toes. Thinner materials would be in order there but for sure the hold is total up front as is toe bump protection superior to many trail runners!


The upper mesh is dense, somewhat pliable and well ventilated. Not only does the mid foot have a densely and quite thickly padded top of tongue but we also have a gusset tongue in the mix and the extensive overlays. Lockdown is total to the platform, relatively comfortable but as with that toe bumper a bit overdone in support for my tastes. 

The heel counter is rigid, well padded and as with all of the parts of the rest of the upper delivers fantastic foot hold. It is my favorite part of the upper.


Bottom line: A heavy and heavy duty upper that supports the foot incredibly well but which adds to weight and could be toned down a bit. Durability should be outstanding.


Midsole

The midsole is highly elaborate and highly engineered. It seems the goal was to provide total support rather than overt control on the medial side. We have a dual density upper EVA midsole which extends lower on the medial side as a frame for support with below a healthy layer of Boost.  The lateral light gray EVA is slightly softer than the medial dark gray with the medial providing the pronation support. 


The Boost layer keeps the firmness of the EVA elements and massive outsole for sure tempered with some moderate bounce and softness in the mix. Not to say this is a soft and bouncy midsole, that is for sure, but it is not harsh giving off a stolid sense of dense quite firm cushion with the layer of Boost  delivering some softer rebounding excitement or really hints of excitement in the the sandwich of firm EVA and firm outsole

Embedded within the midsole is the adidas Linear Energy Push, a black plastic plate system that even in this massive shoe does exactly that, pushes you forward to the relatively flexible toe off. I find it more effective (in combination with the other elements) than in the Ultraboost overly soft rear as all Boost back there has me bogged down at slower paces. 


The Solar is not a rigid rocker plated type shoe as say the Boston 10 but more akin and can be considered a successor to adidas more mid foot located Torsion system with here the LEP having a strong focus on the pronation support and then flow from the heel to transition. 


There is no real sense of “more” support on the medial side of the rear of the shoe. The support and stability is consistent across the entire rear of the shoes with no “seams” or over prescriptive sensation as almost all support/control shoes are. I found it highly effective and while not a fan of pronation control shoes it is not really noticed beyond that consistent very stable rear of the shoe with no or very little “additional” support felt on the medial side. .


Outsole

So much Continental Rubber! It is very firm but does not cause an overly slappy, rigid, or rough feeling to the ride but for sure is noticed in the ride mix. The coverage is extensive and should prove very durable.


Ride, Conclusions, and Recommendations

Sam: I went into evaluating the ride for what it is intended- daily training with pronation support in the mix. The support is for sure there and there is tons of it from upper, to midsole, down to outsole. We have rock solid support, a quite firm ride with a touch of Boost rebound, a smooth any pace flow and as stated above everything works very well together. 


Despite first impressions this neutral shoe focused runner came away pleased with the all of a piece no sharp edges support here.  


I was surprised that while the weight is way way up there at 336g / 11.8 oz in my US9 sample it felt unlike many “heavy” shoes as things moved along quite well at moderate paces. The LEP plastic, Boost layer, and front flexibility  I think are the key elements delivering a well aligned ride and some rebound. 


The Solar Control is for sure not a speed shoe for me and not what  I would prefer for an all round daily trainer. As a recovery run shoe and for long and  easy,  no agenda no worry about pace when tired runs,  it delivers a solid (that is for sure) forgiving enough ride for  both neutral and pronation control trainer fans.


The elephant in the room with the Solar Control is its weight. Yes, the massive amounts of rubber, dense midsole, and stout, somewhat overbuilt but comfortable upper should deliver outstanding durability making the Solar a good value. 


This said its 11.9 oz weight is way, way up there. Reducing weight to below 11 oz would make the Solar far more practical for more core runners and widen its range of utility to more types of runs and paces. I am sure that a reduced weight Solar Control would also be yet more appreciated by the Tinman Elite!


As a moderate paces trainer for pronation support requiring runners, neutral runners seeking a very supportive easier days shoe, walkers, for on your feet all day at work or for travel, as a lifestyle shoe and maybe all uses and users combined the Solar Control is a solid choice. 

Sam’s Score: 8.9 /10

-0.8 for weight, -0.3 for overbuilt upper (also adding to weight)

😊😊😊



Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

Note: I have not run prior adidas control/support shoes to compare


Adidas Ultraboost (RTR Review)

Close to an ounce heavier at 12.7 oz / 360g, the iconic all Boost midsole Ultraboost is for sure the modern looker to the more classic Solar Control.  As an all Boost midsole shoe, the UltraBoost is heavier, softer, bouncier and for me more ponderous.  Both share the LEP plastic system with the UltraBoost having a more dynamic rebounding forefoot but..on a wider less agile platform and with a softer heel.


While comfortable, the complex construction Ultra’s upper is less all of piece than the more traditional Solar's, if a bit roomier, and less well held in its stretch knit toe area. For day to day running I pick the Solar Control. For looks on the lifestyle, sneaker side of the equation it  is up to you the reader to decide what you prefer. I prefer the classy looks of the Solar Control for $40 less.


Mizuno Wave Horizon 6 (RTR Review)

The Horizon 6 is very close in weight (0.3 oz lighter) and non prescriptive approach to support. Both are massively cushioned with the Mizuno a bit softer at the rear and both transition very well off the heel.  The adidas transitions to toe off easier and is less slappy  and is more flexible but is a bit thinner and firmer feeling up front. Both are true to size for me and both have outstanding upper support and both should prove very durable. I could flip a coin here as far as run pick given I like the rear cushion of the Mizuno but also the front more flexible and agile ride of the adidas but for looks for sure the adidas.


adidas Supernova 2 (RTR Review)

The $100 Supernova is one heck of a bargain and fine running and fitting shoe. Clearly a more neutral focused shoe it is still quite stable but more focused on the neutral runner. A full 2 oz / 57 g lighter it is more practical as an all around trainer and especially if you like a softer ride. It has a Boost rear and Bounce (soft) midsole and not quite the outsole coverage of the Solar. It has a wonderful also true to size but more mellow fitting upper with a notably fine and secure heel counter and stable heel.


The Solar Control  X Tinman Elite is available from Tinman Elite HERE and adidas HERE

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

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