Monday, June 19, 2023

adidas Adizero Boston 12 Multi Tester Review 12 Comparisons

Article by Peter Stuart, Sam Winebaum, and Sally Reiley

adidas adizero Boston 12 ($160)


Sam: The adizero Boston 12 is a highly cushioned, EnergyRods plated daily to uptempo road trainer. While visually quite similar, it is a significant upgrade to the 11 with new midsole foams, a new EnergyRods system, a somewhat modified underfoot geometry and Continental rubber outsole, and a far more streamlined upper all leading to a giant 40g drop in weight.  

The stack height goes to 37.5mm heel / 30.5mm so 2mm less at the heel and 1mm less at the forefoot. It now has a new dual foam midsole featuring deeper front top of the line supercritical Lightstrike Pro and a new less dense, more resilient and energy returning Lightstrike 2.0. The original Lightstrike foam was in the  Boston 10/11, and other adizero was, I thought very firm if responsive and quite frankly not much “fun”. The basic EnergyRods design is shared with the Adios Pro 3 which means we no longer have the for some quite harsh feeling small carbon plate just under the lasting board at the heel 

Very significantly, the weight drops a big 1.4 oz / 40g  to 8.5 oz / 241g in my US8.5 sample due to the changes in the midsole and upper

The upper is also all new, a single layer engineered mesh with a thin, unpadded, free standing tongue and an unusual midfoot gusset that instead of being attached to the tongue attaches to stout lace loops. While a similar mesh to the 11, it is far less swathed in underlays and overlays, suede and otherwise, and has a considerably more streamlined less rigid now lower heel counter and rear collars. Less bulk, less stiffness from the upper to the ride will be a recurring theme here.

Adizero stands for more elite focused designs and even uses. The Boston 10/11 were clearly elite focused uptempo trainers with a firmer and rigid ride despite the big stack of foam. They required good forward striking form and for me faster paces limiting their use to more uptempo running.. Right away I could tell the 12 was softer at the heel, more flexible and pleasant at try on. Promising!

At $160, given its weight, stack height and tech it is reasonably priced and compete wells against the Endorphin Speed, SC Trainer v2, ASICS Magic Speed, and others we can’t yet discuss but coming soon. See our Comparisons section at the end of the review.

Peter: I’ll just add that, for me, the Boston 8 looms large as a fantastic and nearly perfect shoe. They lost me on the last couple of versions, but I’m happy to say that the Boston is Back! I love that Adidas felt free to convert a pretty typical daily trainer into a modern “super trainer”. 

Sally: I was a loyal Adidas fan back when I began defining myself as a runner (some dozen or so years ago), and I ran my first few Boston Marathons (2014 -2016) in the Energy Boost . But Adidas lost me some time ago when the Adios Boston began to feel like a wooden block underfoot. I was thus admittedly not too excited about testing the latest Boston trainer, but I am glad I did! The Boston 12 is a major departure/evolution from the more recent versions and is a giant step forward. Read on!


Well cushioned with no mush…stays energetic  Peter/Sam/Sally

Good forward propulsion and fun stable ride  Peter/Sally

Excellent grip:  Peter/Sam/Sally

Great, light upper: PeterSam

Giant 40g / 1.4 oz weight drop, very competitive 8.7 oz / 247g US9 for the stack & rubber coverage: Sam


Actually takes about 10 miles (or more per Sally who is lighter) to break in:  Peter/Sam/Sally

Can feel a little stiff/firm which seems to change over the run: PeterSam/Sally

Not as easy pace friendly as some of its direct competitors: Sam/Sally

Sizing is not true to size - fits large: Sally

Lacing system is challenging and makes it difficult to dial in the fit: Sally

See the testers full run bios at the end of the article after Comparisons as well as our video review with detailed comparisons to the Boston 11 including A/B test run.


Approx. Weight: men's 8.7 oz  / 247g (US9) 

  Samples: men’s  8.5 oz / 241 US8.5 

                       women’s 8.2 oz / 233 g (US W8)

Boston 11: 9.94 oz / 282g  US8.5 so 40g/ 1.4 oz  weight drop for 12

Stack Height: 37.5mm heel / 30.5mm forefoot, 6.5mm drop 

                             Boston 11: 39.5/31, 7.5mm drop

Available now including at Running Warehouse HERE

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

Peter: The upper is simple and fairly minimal, but provides all of the foot hold and support needed. The tongue is wafer thin and the laces are super skinny too. I haven’t had any problems with lace bite on the top of my foot, but you have to be mindful of how hard you cinch them down. The single layer woven mesh is breathable. There are three stripes of overlay on the lateral side of the foot which help give the mesh a bit more structure. Unlike some other minimal uppers, the upper on the Boston 12 holds the foot really well. 

There is minimal, but effective padding inside the shoe. There are two cushioned strips (one on each side of the ankle) and they do a great job of holding the foot in place. I’ve had no slippage at all. 

And, on the really important stuff: the pull tab on the back of the shoe is both unobtrusive and ACTUALLY useful. There’s not a conventional heel cup in the Boston 12 per se–really just a stiff low rigid semi-cup at the very rear of the shoe. This can make step-in a little tougher as it is more unstructured, but the pull tab solves the problem. 

Sam: Simple and with a stark optic with bold black Three Stripes, the upper announces that the Boston 12 is more streamlined and lighter (and it is) than 11 whose suede overlay laden upper practically screamed heavy duty support, and delivered it, but at a big weight penalty. Lifting each, the 40g difference in weight is immediately noticed.

The actual main mesh in the Boston 12 is very similar to the 11. It is a thin pliable but a bit plasticky feeling single layer with excellent breathability. I found only three overlay/underlays in the shoe whereas the 11 had many. 

A thin medial underlay reaching from last lace down and to the front, the rest of what is seen above the toes being engineered mesh. The 11 had an extensive white and blue underlay under the much of toe box.

The second overlay is the toe bumper which is pliable and provides excellent toe box height. In the 11 we had a lower firmer and suede like toe bumper which had strips extending over the toes plus a stitched on piece at the end of lace up..

There was lots of toe box structure in the 11 and a very secure and a bit suffocating front lockdown. We have a much more higher volume friendly toe box  in the 12 with more height and effective width.

The toe box is broad, unlined, and essentially unstructured and more open for ventilation. Broader feet will be happier here than in 11 while narrower feet may find it too roomy.

Moving to the midfoot we have no overlays beyond thin Three Stripes on the lateral side. There are no overlays or underlays on the medial side of the 12 and I think it could use some. The 11 had thicker Three Stripes overlays laterally plus some medially, plus the seam joining the upper,  plus a far more stout gusset tongue,

The tongue and gusset tongue construction is dramatically changed. The 11 had a very stout center padded gusset tongue which even has a medial overlay. I was clearly designed for maximum support as was the rest of the upper, leaning that version to stability. 

The 12 has an unusual gusset which instead of attaching to the tongue is attached to the lace loops with the thinner less padded tongue area free floating. 

Lace up is secure but as with the toe box narrow low volume feet may struggle a bit with lace bite from the thin laces and thin tongue. I was fine and appreciated the light but secure fit during my A/B test run with the 11 and as with the toe box the notably better breathability.

Moving to the heel  and as with other changes we have weight savings changes. We have a single external black overlay and, as Peter describes it, a lower semi heel cup with nice dense bolsters (denser than 11’s but less extensive with 12 having full soft lining inside.

The hold at the rear is not quite as secure as the frankly overbuilt 11’s rear construction which had not only a much bigger heel counter but more substantial ankle collars. For me the happy medium would be in between in terms of rear hold.

Overall, adidas pulls off a very light weight savings comfortable upper that as with the rest of the update leads to a more “relaxed” fitting Boston with far less structure, far less weight in grams and in feel. It's a fit that will lean more towards higher volume feet than before. Those who used the Boston 11 for its support and control characteristics including the upper may miss some of that here. 

I would say the fit is true to size for me but I might attempt a half size down in a next pair for my narrower lower volume feet. I also cannot find any reflective elements beyond potentially the heel strap branding. The Boston 11 had a reflective element at the heel. A daily trainer should have some reflective elements.

Sally: I was expecting a daily trainer, but the look of this shoe screams race day. It is a sleek looking lightweight shoe that is clearly in the same family as the competitive Adios Pro 3. My W8 pair, my usual size felt like a W8.5 or even W9 - fit was very large for size. 

I have a typical narrow woman’s foot, and the toe box and midfoot here are generous enough to accommodate a much wider foot, leading even more to an overly roomy fit for me. I laced them up with my heaviest socks, and played around with the unique lacing system to snug up the fit. That was the biggest challenge: securing a snug fit without getting the skinny laces too tight on the top of the foot. 

The tongue is nice and thin for weight reduction, but overly thin for any protection at all. And once I thought the midfoot was secure, the heel hold was still a bit lacking. My first run was a revelation that this shoe is much much improved, but still a bit firm with some leftover vestiges of the brick-like sensation. 

But patience pays off, as the ride got better and easier and smoother with each successive mile. So break-in periods still exist, and I would recommend expecting a need for it with this shoe. All in all I really like running in this shoe, but the funky (innovative?) lacing system and the large for size fit were challenging for me. I promise that the rest of my comments are more positive.


Sam: The midsole is made up of two foams: Lightstrike Pro below the foot and a new Lightstrike 2.0 foam below.  In between the two layers we have a new Energy Rods configuration similar to the Adios Pro’s 3 but with a wider array of rear Rods and skinnier front ones for more flexibility. 

The full stack height is 2mm lower at the heel and 1mm at the forefoot at 37.5mm heel / 30.5mm forefoot, 6.5mm drop. Bottom line:  There is still plenty of stack height but now we have  a less rigid, firm, almost punishing (for daily training) feeling midsole but still one true to adizero’s high performance lineage.

Gone is the harsh small carbon plate at the heel of the 10/11 and with below that Lightstrike Pro supercritical foam as in the Adios Pro 3 and Takumi Sen racers sitting as the top layer with a new Lightstrike 2.0 below the new EnergyRods configuration. To be charitable, Lightstrike 1.0 foam was firm, not exactly pleasant yet highly responsive.

Adidas describes the new Lightstrike 2.0 foam as follows to RTR:

LIGHTSTRIKE 1.0 was for a long time our most lightweight EVA foam. With the invention of new foaming techniques, we see an improvement in terms of .02 density, significantly reduced hardness, and improved resilience which gives higher energy return.

At step in, the new Lightstrike is clearly softer when compared to a fresh Boston 11 on the other foot. On the run, while still having that characteristic quick response of the LS1, I found it to perform exactly as described above by adidas. While still a firmer feeling not exactly bouncy foam, it is no longer downright firm and is now well suited to not only the uptempo training focus of the Boston but to more general daily training paces. 

The Lightstrike Pro layer changes from the 11 to the 12 with a deeper plunge of it upfront and it seems a slightly softer composition by measurements pressing and with a hardness gauge. 

The Pro foam changes are much appreciated as the midsole (in combination of course with the new Lightstrike 2.0 below) feels less punishingly responsive and somewhat more energetic and bouncy as a result and I hope they also move this change to the Adios Pro and Takumi Sen.  

Adidas describes the new EnergyRods as follows:

  • We don’t have any significant geometry differences in the ENERGRYRODS used in these two models as they are meant to complement each other. However, we do have a significantly reduced stiffness in the BOSTON 12 compared to the ADIOS PRO 3. It creates a nice balance of stiff & propulsive yet still flexible for a comfortable and smooth transition underfoot.

Adios Pro 3

For sure the Boston 12 is not as stiff as the Boston 11, and especially Adios Pro 3, or as prescriptive to mid to forefoot striking as those two are. After one run, my Boston 12 developed a snappy Adizero classic front flex point, a fresh pair of 11 tested in parallel A/B have less flex. 

The removal of the rear just under the foot and harsh feeling at slower paces carbon plate of the 10/12 with now a circular EnergyRods design also takes the overly sharp feel of the prior away yet there is still that quick fast response off the heel. I will note that it took more than one run for the EnergyRods and foam to settle in in terms of front flex and rear sharpness. 

During each run the shoe felt stiffer and firmer for the first few miles before “warming up”. I noticed the same warm up of foam and softening in Lightstrike 1.0 foam shoes and I can’t recall many shoes with this characteristic. 

Peter: The combination of LightStrike Pro and LightStrike 2.0 work well together to create a pretty harmonious ride. The softer Lightstrike Pro sits closest to the foot, which makes for a slightly softer feeling shoe. The LS Pro foam is less deep at the heel and pretty much triples in depth by the time you get to the forefoot. Therefore there’s more, softer, foam under the forefoot. 

As you would imagine, this means that the LS 2.0 foam is thinnest under the forefoot and gets thicker as you go towards the back of the shoe. This all works well to create a goldilocks “just right” mixture of softness and firm responsive ride. The Energy rods are visible through the outsole and seem to provide a nice snap–especially so when you speed up. 

Sally: The midsole of this shoe sets it apart. It is soft and yet not at all bouncy, with enough firmness for a nice responsive toe-off. Sam and Peter have summarized nicely how Adidas added Lightstrike Pro foam and softened the foam over the previous versions; I will simply add that it is an immense improvement! Especially after a break-in period, the midsole shines and the ride is enjoyable.


Peter: Rip it and grip it! The Continental rubber that covers nearly the entire forefoot is exactly what you’ve come to expect from Adidas. There are a few strips of exposed foam at the forefoot and a tiny sliver at the front lateral side of the shoe. The back of the shoe consists of the exposed energy rods and some exposed foam with two patches of raised rubber with the lateral side being just slightly longer patch. All in all a great, and just flexible enough, outsole on the Boston 12.

Sam: The outsole has plenty of rubber and of course Continental rubber among the best gripping and durable out there.

Left: Boston 12 outsole Right: Boston 11 outsole

The underfoot pattern is now more broadly decoupled at the rear which I could feel assisting as a crash pad and with transitions. 

The deeper carve out and crash pad is clearly seen from the rear.

Left: Boston 11 Right: Boston 12

The window to the Rods is smaller I assume to help with stability as the rear of the front rubber is now shorter while the lateral side rubber is more extensive I assume to protect and also stabilize for more supinating front landing runners. Again, as with the upper, there is a less of a focus on stability/control in the 12.

Upfront the rubber is thinner and continuous across the forefoot with well placed cross flex grooves through to the midsole and with lower bars across the forefoot. I can already tell fewer rocks and dirt accumulate. 

Finally we have as in the other adizero a front lateral notch to reduce weight and with another shallow uncovered by rubber area I assume to assist with toe off.

Sally: This is a typically functional Adidas outsole that works great. The large amount of Continental rubber provides great traction and will most likely mean great durability. It is relatively quiet underfoot, and has no gravel catchers. Somehow I did manage to lodge a good sized stone in the cutout that exposes the rods, but I don’t anticipate that to be a common occurence. Great outsole!


Peter:  I was a little concerned at the beginning of my first run in the Boston 12’s. They felt a bit stiff and it took some effort to roll through with my stride. About 6 miles in that seemed to soften, and I’m happy to report that once I got to 10 miles the Boston 12 just opened up and felt like a more broken-in version of itself. The ride is stable and cushioned to a degree that I don’t feel beat up after runs. Flexibility is decent and seems to be improving on every run. There’s definitely a pop that comes from the Energy Rods when you pick up the pace. I’ve found myself running faster daily miles in the Boston 12 without feeling as though I was expending more effort. 

Sam: The Boston 12 has the decisive responsive ride of the 11/12 but now with the “sharp” edges of firm Lightstrike 1.0 and stiff flex softened enough that for me it can be a more than just an uptempo trainer for faster days with plenty of more moderate daily training miles now possible. 

There is plenty of cushion even with a bit less stack than before and the speed gears are still all there but now those warm up miles or slower days in them were less of a “struggle.” This said as an adizero, an elite focused line, the Boston 12 ride is not about soft pillows of foam or sloppy bounce. It is about quick response and speed.

Sally: The ride improves after the initial 10 plus miles, so plan on a short break-in period when the shoes are new. The ride is smooth and quick with just enough softness , and no vertical bounce. There is enough stack to be cushioned from the road and yet you still have some ground feel. You can comfortably run easier miles, or push the pace to a fast tempo run. The versatility is there, but I found that faster comes easier with this shoe. 

Conclusions and Recommendations

Peter: A great iteration of the Boston! The 12 cleans up some of the issues of the 9, 10 and 11 and while it harkens back to the vibe of the Boston 7’s and 8’s, it does so in a thoroughly modern way. Overall it’s a really enjoyable uptempo daily trainer with a not too soft, not too firm ride and some snap.

Score 9.5/10

I think the Boston 12 could be just a hair softer and more flexible without losing any of its mojo. That said it has a really good fitting upper and a fun ride


Sam: adidas dramatically cut the weight of the Boston, softened the rough and harsh edges of the ride with foam and EnergyRods changes, and relaxed the upper. It is still totally an Adizero with a quick and responsive big stack ride that doesn’t stray into oversoft or bouncy bouncy so I would say it still favors faster paces over slower ones but considerably less so than in the 11. 

It is now a more practical and versatile daily trainer which at its decent weight of 8.7 oz for a 37.5 / 30.5mm stack os it can also be a distance racer for those who seek some flex in a plated max cushion shoe or are on a budget. At $160 e value is strong for the shoe’s weight to stack height ratio, versatility and totally up to date technologies. The Lightstrike Pro and LS 2.0 foams, EnergyRods and outsole are all well integrated in what is a complex design.  

It loses a bit of the massive upper support of the 11 which makes the fit more generous, breathable and relaxed so higher volume feet should be pleased. It loses some of the support that made it a light stability trainer option for some and narrower lower volume feet may struggle more with hold as Sally did. With a bit more heel to lace up area structure I would be super pleased with the upper. This said the upper simplification clearly is a big factor in the very noticeable weight drop.

While adidas does not return to the iconic earlier Bostons with their lower slung energetic Boost rides, the Boston 12 is a modern high stack shoe that re-captures that essence of a snappy faster training ride better than the rough riding and firmer earlier 10/11 versions. It is a solid option for runners seeking a quick responding firmer (but not in no way punishing) big stack near race type ride with, in the mix, some plate flexibility to accommodate more moderate paces, heel striking and to more generally make the Boston much more pleasant to run than before. 

Sam’s Score: 9.44 / 10

Ride 9.5 (50%): Fit 9.3 (30%): Value 9.6 (15%): Style 9.2 (5%):  


Sally: The Boston 6 was one of my all-time favorites - light, snappy, responsive. And remember the blue/yellow Boston Marathon Boston 7 with the unicorn logos? Classic. (2018?) Adidas has revived the Boston line with this 12th iteration. A perfect training partner for the Adios Pro racer, the Boston 12 features a soft yet still peppy Lightstrike 2.0 foam packaged in a lightweight sleek race-day looking upper. It is a solid do-it-all shoe that could even serve as a race day shoe for those on a budget

My pair was simply too big for my foot, leading me to conclude that they run quite large for the listed size, but runners with high-volume feet are going to love the roominess. It was initially a challenge for me to get the midfoot fit and the heel hold dialed in with that unique lacing system and overly thin tongue, but I am sure with time and patience that will work itself out. So welcome back to Boston! It promises to be a fun ride.

Sally’s Score: 9.42 / 10

Ride 9.6 (50%): Fit 9.1 (30%): Value 9.6 (15%): Style 9.0 (5%):  


12 Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

Adidas Adizero Boston 12  vs. Adidas Adizero Boston 11 (RTR Review)

Sam: Covered in detail in the review. The Boson 12 is 40g lighter, slightly lower stack, softer.

Watch my Boston 12 to Boston 11 in depth comparative review with A/B Run

Adidas Adizero Boston 12  vs. New Balance SC Trainer v1 (RTR Review)

Peter: While these shoes are seemingly similar, they actually have two very different ride profiles. The NB SC is almost impossibly soft but maintains a quick enough turnover and a somewhat responsive ride. The Boston 12 is more suited to uptempo days. It’s a firm but cushioned ride (rather than cushioned but firm). Overall I’d keep the SC trainer for easy days and long runs and I’d do more daily training and uptempo stuff in the Boston 12

Sally: The NB SC trainer  is a favorite of mine for longer runs as it is incredibly soft and yet peppy, with more bounce than the Boston 12. Interestingly enough, both of these shoes share the same unique characteristic for me that they were NOT love at first sight. NB SC had upper issues where I was literally rubbed raw at the top of the inside ankle, but perseverance paid off and they eventually felt great; the Boston 12 felt stiff and had fit issues where I could not get a secure lockdown with the lacing system, but with time and miles  that mostly resolved. The Boston 12 is more suited for uptempo training and speed work. 

Sam: Tall very tall the SC Trainer 1 has a dramatic plunge forward from its highly stacked somewhat shaky soft heel to an easy carbon plated roll. The Boston 12 ride is more "conservative" somewhat firmer and more responsive.

Adidas Adizero Boston 12  vs. New Balance SC Trainer v2 (RTR Review)

Sam: The SC Trainer v2 is a direct competitor to the Boston with a slightly higher stack ( but considerably less than its v1), full carbon plate and softer bouncier foam especially at the heel in combination with the big Energy Arc cavity.  Its upper is also of the more “relaxed” roomy up tempo daily trainer variety with somewhat better rear hold as it has more conventional collars.  The Boston 12 is more decisive running, more responsive and quick with the SC more pleasant at slower paces.

Adidas Adizero Boston 12  vs. Saucony Endorphin Speed 1 / 2 (RTR Review) and Speed 3 (RTR Review)

Sam: The Endo Speed 2 is closer in ride characteristics to the Boston 12 than the Endo Speed 3 as it has a firmer more responsive riding PB foam midsole, closer in feel to the Boston’s while the Endo Speed 3 is softer and bouncier. The Boston is a touch more stable at the rear. For more general daily training the Saucony’s more flexible nylon plate and foam is easier going than the more rigid and somewhat firmer if more responsive Boston 12’s ride. That said I raced a great hilly half in them. 

I prefer the Endo Speed’s more fun, more smiles ride. The Endo Speed 3’s upper, as with Boston 12’s could use a bit more midfoot to rear hold as while stable underfoot the upper does not quite keep up with the platform. That said, the RunShield more supportive weather resistant upper does and works like a charm for me.

Sally: The Endo Speeds have been go-to favorites of mine for marathon training, and seem to be made for my foot and my type of running. The Saucony definitely fits my narrow foot much better and holds my foot securely all around with no irritations, and it is somewhat more alive underfoot for me. 

Adidas Adizero Boston 12  vs. Deviate Nitro 1 or 2 (RTR Review)

Peter: Putting these two on side by side, the Puma feels a little harsher, a little less cushioned and somewhat more constraining around the midfoot. I prefer the Boston for sure.

Sam: While I slightly prefer Puma’s all Nitro foam midsole for its livelier bounce than the adidas combination, its front only carbon infused plate is more present in the mix requiring faster paces than the Boston 12 for the shoe to perform and feel of a piece. Similar in purpose and performance the Boston 12 is more pace versatile if a bit less joyous in ride. 

Adidas Adizero Boston 12  vs. Nike Invincible Run 3 (RTR Review)

Sam: The Nike is considerably heavier at 10.12 oz in my US8.5 vs. 8.5 oz for the Boston with 1.5mm more heel stack height. If an uptempo daily training shoe is your need, clearly the Boston wins in this match up. The Nike has a comparatively rough and heavy and heavy fitting upper but has more support, if a shaky heel hold than the adidas. As such, along with its now more stable underfoot platform it is a better choice for slower runners and for long easy runs.

Sally: I definitely would choose the Invincible 3 for mellow easy paced runs, and the Boston 12 for uptempo miles. The Invincible has a wide and stable base that is almost too much for me, but must be loved by larger runners. The Boston 12 is firmer with more ground feel. Both had some heel hold fit issues for me in the first few runs.

Adidas Adizero Boston 12  vs. ASICS Magic Speed 2 and  3 (RTR Review)

Sam: The Magic Speed 2 and yet more the Magic Speed 3 are lighter weight (7.7 oz vs 8.5 oz)  with similar stack heights to the Boston leaning more heavily towards racing and faster workouts. I prefer both Magic Speed uppers and especially Magic Speed 2’s for their superior hold to the Boston 12.  Depends on your needs. Priced the same as the Boston at $160, if you are seeking a “budget” carbon plated racer to uptempo trainer go Magic Speed. If you want a more all around faster daily trainer that can race long Boston 12.

Sally: I totally agree with Sam here.

Adidas Adizero Boston 12  vs. Topo Cyclone 2 (RTR Review)

Peter: The Cyclone 2 is a lower and softer shoe. It’s straight up Pebax and the ride, while on the verge of bottoming out sometimes, is really enjoyable and well cushioned. It’s a nice quick daily shoe. The Boston 12 is a more structured shoe and does well for tempo type paces.

Sam: Lots of structure rods, layers of foam and all for the Boston, a slab of super energetic PEBAX for the Cyclone 2 and a simple unstructured upper that works better than the Boston’s quite minimal upper. The Cyclone 2 leans quick, fast and shorter runs while the Boston is more a solid, light, highly cushioned and serious acting and riding daily trainer to tempo shoe.

Adidas Adizero Boston 12  vs. Hoka Mach 5 (RTR Review)

Peter: Somewhat similar to the contrast between the Topo Cyclone and the Boston 12, the Mach 5 is efficient and well padded while not feeling quite as structured and built up as the Boston 12. They are both efficient and good for daily training and uptempo runs. The one knock on the Mach 5 is that they only seem to last me about 200 miles before I notice a loss of cushion in the forefoot. 

Adidas Adizero Boston 12  vs. Hoka Clifton 9 (RTR Review)

Peter: The Boston 12 is snappier and quicker feeling than the Clifton 9, but the Clifton is noticeably more cushioned and therefore more enjoyable on easy or easy/long days. Clifton, great easy and recovery day shoe–Boston 12 great daily and uptempo daily shoe. 

Sam: Agree with Peter here. 

The Adizero Boston 12 is available now at our partners below


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Tester Profiles

Peter lives in Austin, Texas and has been a sub 3 hour marathoner as well as a 1:21 half marathoner in recent years.

Sally is a lifelong runner and mother of five who agreed against her better judgment to run her first marathon at age 54; she has since run the past ten Boston Marathons, two NYC Marathons, one Chicago, and one London with the WMM Six Star Medal now in her sights. With a Boston PR of 3:25:55 in 2022 (9th place in AG) and two consecutive 2nd place in Age Group awards in NYC, she competed in the Abbott World Marathon Majors Age Group World Championships at the 2022 London Marathon and ran an all-time PR of 3:24:02, placing 6th in the world in her women’s 60-64 age group.  She also competes in USATF races with the Greater Lowell Road Runners team. To add meaning to her Boston Marathon races she runs with Team Eye and Ear and has raised over $275,000 for Massachusetts Eye and Ear Hospital. Sally is 5’2’’ and 105 pounds and lives in Marblehead, MA, training outdoors year round. She blames her love of skiing out West for any and all Boston Marathon training challenges.

Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 66 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. 2022 was Sam’s 50th year of running. He has a decades old 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the just sub 1:40 range if he gets lucky.. training 30-40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah be it on the run or nordic skis. He is 5’9” tall and weighs about 164 lbs, if he is not enjoying too many fine New England IPA’s.

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

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Conroy said...

These shoes are extremely comfortable to walk on, without worrying about sweat. It looks cool too so I bought her to play splatoon 3 with my friends while practicing.

Carl said...

In terms of stability, which shoe would you say is the most stable between the Asics magic speed 2 and the Boston 12?

I am a bit uncertain regarding the heel fit of the Boston 12 (Just by trying them on in a store, have not tried running in them). Otherwise the Boston felt ok. Find the Endorphin speed 3 a bit too squishy for my liking. So therefore looking at other options for a speed shoe and the last years Magic Speed is on my shortlist.

However stability is important for me, not a heavy pronator but like a bit of guidance.

Sam Winebaum said...

Tend to agree with you about Endorphin Speed 3 is a bit squishy as a "speed" shoe but otherwise is fantastic. I think a part of the issue is the rear upper hold. I found the RunShield version more stable and more locked down due to its upper. Tough call on MS3 vs Boston 12. I find Boston 12 a bit more stable underfoot but not quite as supportive in upper especially at mid foot. MS3 is yet more of a speed day ride than Boston 12 whereas MS2 was a bit more mellow all around and more to my liking than either.
Sam, Editor

Jody said...

Thanks for this really comprehensive article. It was exactly what I was looking for about this shoe. I have trained and raced in Nikes for a while now. Invincible 2 for easy, Tempo.s for speed work and racing ( up to half marathons) and recently bought VF 2’s for some 5 and 10k races. I love my Tempos. They really work for me. However, next I would like to do my first marathon. I’ll probably only ever do one and it might as well be a good one, so making plans for NYC November 2024.i don’t think my Tempos are the right shoe for this race. My feet seem wider as I age (55) and Tempos are a little tight on hot long runs now.

I plan on running NYC at a moderate(survival) pace, goal is to finish and really enjoy it. Probably 6:30/k pace. So I’m thinkingg I love the Vaporfly but not at this pace.

The RSG group talk a lot about the Boston 12 and it reads like it might be my shoe for the Marathon. I want something that has some comfort at this pace but will also have some responsiveness too.

Would definitely value your opinion on this. Going to try on a pair today as well as MagicSpeeds.



Sam Winebaum said...

If Tempo Next work for you I would stick with them unless fit is a real big issue.Boston 12 could be a real fine option. Also look at Endorphin Speed 3 and also Saucony's upcoming Ride 17 both with some flex which at your pace I think you need for final miles as well as,Puma Deviate Nitro, and Scott Carbon RC. In ASICS not sure Magic Speed 3 will work but less rigid Speed 2 might.
Sam, Editor

Jody said...

Thanks Sam. I appreciate the feedback.

Pierre from France said...

Congratulations and thanks for your enlightening and essential articles for runners.
I really loved the Boston 8.The Boston 12 are getting closer to it ?
Is there so much stability? Possibility of speed?
In addition, are the Saucony speed 3 too soft and lack ground feel for uptempo?

Thanks a lot