Monday, July 01, 2024

adidas Supernova Prima Multi Tester Review: 7 Comparisons

Article by Matt Kolat and Sam Winebaum


adidas Supernova Prima ($170, !70EUR)


  • Deep, dense yet very forgiving and reactive supercritical foam cushioning (Sam)

  • Pace and run type versatile daily miles near max cushion trainer (Sam)

  • Easy rebounding toe off due to full Dreamstrike Plus at flex point (Sam)

  • Stable for a neutral shoe without overdoing stability elements (Matt/Sam)

  • Beautiful styling (Matt)

  • Feels fast for a daily trainer (Matt/Sam)

  • Very comfortable, secure and padded upper (Matt/Sam)


  • Hot upper (Matt)

  • Longevity might be limited for heel strikers (Matt)

  • Relatively heavy for a mostly supercritical foam shoe: due to upper? (Matt/Sam)


Approx Weight: men's 10 oz / 284g US9

Sample Weight:  men’s  11.85oz / 336g 11.5 US ,  9.8 oz / 278g US8.5

Stack Height: men’s 37.5mm heel /  29.5mm forefoot ( 8mm drop spec) 

Platform Width: 90 mm heel / 80 mm midfoot / 110 mm forefoot 


Sam: The Supernova Prima is adidas first entry into the everyday max cushion road trainer category. Thoroughly modern, it features  a mostly Dreamstrike Plus supercritical foam midsole (exact composition not disclosed) with below Support Rods which are a thin lower "layer" of rubberized EVA foam, and then, at the road a thin partial coverage "crystal " rubber type outsole.

I think all of these elements are well integrated, and taken together, Prima delivers copious quite reactive cushion, support (very mild), a friendly heel landing, and up front a flexible toe off with a distinct sensation of plunging down into the all Dreamstrike Plus area (shown above). So, a construction ideal for daily training of the more mellow to longer distances variety with some pizzaz and plenty of cushion.  

In the last year adidas has relaunched its everyday trainers with Supernova Rise (RTR Review) a neutral shoe with some stability and the somewhat more stability focused Solution (RTR Review). Both also featured Dreamstrike Plus and Support Rods but here we have less EVA as midsole at midfoot but broader Rods, thinner rubber and a most importantly a greater proportion of Dreamstrike Plus. 

Both were fine improvements over the stolid past Supernova but I found them quite rigid, firm at the heel and not that exciting. 

Not the case with Prima!  I found the ride pleasing and effective and along with the lighter more agile Adizero SL 2 (RTR Video Review) adi now has two very solid and fun to run modern daily trainer options. About time! Let's get into the details

Matt: There is something about Adidas that stands in direct contrast to Nike or other brands. Adidas never, at least in mind, goes for flare or swag but more for steel and reliability. And believe me when I say it - in my mind that’s a good thing. We need many great brands in the market, a bit of yin and yang. 

Having not run in Adidas for a few years, I was looking forward to giving the Supernova Prima a go. My last Adidas shoe was the notorious Boston 10. Why notorious? Because, it seemed, as if I was the only person in the world who absolutely loved the B10s - can’t help it - your boy loves a firm shoe. Without much further ado let’s have a closer look at Adidas’ newest offering. 

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

Matt: With regards to the fit, I would say that the shoe fits true to size and is quite accommodating although I would prefer the toe-box to be a tad wider. 

The color scheme I received is extremely eye-catching. At first I was hesitant if I would be able to confidently pull the orange/green/pink vibe but it was actually quite funny rocking the Primas in summer.

The upper of the shoe is very well designed with comfort in mind, everything is geared towards softness and comfort to help push you through long steady training runs, no complaints here. 

The tongue is gusseted, wafer thin on the sides with a strategic padding through the center, great design. The laces are nice and flat and unlike in the vast majority of the shoes I’ve reviewed recently they are an appropriate length - compared to the usual emergency rope at least.  

The overlays on both sides of the shoe combined with a sturdy, internal heel counter make for a very supportive experience broadening the audience of the shoe in my opinion. 

Sam: The upper is solid in its support and comfort. It follows this year’s pattern at many brands in the more premium (>$150) trainer using a quite dense, soft and supportive mesh. 

The toe box is moderately broad. The midfoot is very well held with the moderately padded gusset tongue providing extra support at midfoot. Never any lace bite here,

The collars are well padded. 

Overall we have a very comfortable plush upper that has zero compromises in terms of hold. I do wish the upper was slightly lighter as it does add to the weight of the shoe, although breathability has been surprisingly good.

I concur with Matt’s excellent description. The Prima has a plush comfortable upper that does not compromise support, from front to back while also not over constricting the foot anywhere. The fit is clearly true to size for my medium to narrow foot with plenty of toe box room, midfoot hold and rear collars and heel counter that lockdown the foot totally but with moderation in that they are neither over plush or over rigid.

Midsole & Platform

Sam: The Prima has an approximate weight of 10 oz / 284g in a US9 based on my sample US8.5 which weight  9.8 oz / 278g. 

The stack height is  37.5mm heel /  29.5mm forefoot, so an 8mm drop. This stack height is in the lower range of today’s more max cushioned trainers. The platform width is a for such shoes moderately broad : 90 mm heel / 80 mm midfoot / 110 mm forefoot. I especially like that adidas did not overdo the rear and midfoot width, so no blocky rear feel here.

I think it sits in a nice sweet spot, not excessively high in stack height especially up front on a broad but not excessively broad platform. 

The midsole is dual foam.  Dreamstrike + sits below the foot and a lower salomon colored EVA (or blend) which serves as the Support Rods, as well as lower stabilizing layer (thinner than in both Rise and Solutions). At the far rear we have a friendly initial landing, and friendlier than the rigid Rise and Solution landings on the EVA outrigger which I think is a rubberized and hardened foam.

We have 4mm (13%) more Dreamstrike+ than in the Rise. Dreamstrike + is a supercritical foam similar in feel to Lightstrike Pro but a bit denser, softer and bouncier. It is not an expanded beads type foam (Saucony PWRRUN Pb) and as such has a more pulled together feel and one suitable for a training shoe. 

The unique twist is the lower layer of adidas Support Rods, a somewhat hardened rubberized EVA foam array of rods which mimic the foot bones anatomy up front and serve as a lower stabilizing layer towards the rear. First seen in Ride and Solution, here the EVA layer is thinner overall with the rods wider and the outsole towards the rear less extensive with the hardened foam serving as the very initial landing area although I am landing on the rubber forward of the foam so far. 

The key highlight of the midsole is clearly a clear Dreamstrike+ foam experience whereas before in Rise and Solution, and in shoes from competitors such as the Vomero 17 also with lower EVA layers, the lower layer really made its presence  known in those shoes as a firm and stiffer supportive layer somewhat disconnected from supercritical foams above.

In the Prima, the Dreamstrike + comes to the fore as a consistent, deeply cushioned, dense but forgiving platform. The Support Rods are better integrated than in Rise and Solution, the rear of the shoe less rigid and firm than those shoes. 

I see that the rear rubber starts further forward than normal on the lateral side to soften landings and better decouple the heel. The rigid over done rubber and not as well decoupled heel area was my key knock of the Rise and Solution, now resolved with this design.

Yes, the rear of the shoe is stable at the ground with no arch pressures and transitions very well off the heel due to the use of softer yet durable foam at the very rear.


Very noticeable, effective and highlighted by the front “V” in the visual design of the midsole side walls is the toe off geometry. The flex point corresponds to the visual “V” side wall design so what you see is what you get. At that point all the midsole foam is Dreamstrike +.

There is a distinct gentle and well supported plunge forward from midfoot with an easy yet at the same time moderately snappy toe off at all paces, fast and slow. The Dreamstrike at this point extends all the way to the outsole and is key to the flex and rebound to toe off. Upfront of that the Support Rods layer broadens and rises higher for front stability and a moderately snappy response on toe off. 

While not super max max cushion at 29.5mm at the forefoot, achieving an easy toe off with big stack heights is not easy but here it is very well executed. Adding to the easy flex and flow is a relatively thin “crystal rubber” type outsole which does not over stiffen or harden the forefoot of the shoe.

Bottom line: Despite the complexity of Dreamstrike + main midsole and Support Rods lower layer, the midsole is very well integrated with a friendly rear landing, a touch of at the ground stability through the midfoot and a lively easy toe off. 

The cushioning is deep and vibration absorbing, friendly, reactive without being exaggerated or sloppyand without ever being mushy (Fresh Foam)  or over firm/rigid. This is a wonderfully effective “daily miles” midsole suitable for long runs, moderate pace daily runs, and recovery runs.

Matt: Very hard to follow up Sam super in-depth take on the midsole - can you tell he has been reviewing shoes for a while now? From a less advanced point of view (aka my point of view) the Prima provides a very friendly experience for both seasoned and beginner runners. Why is that? Because despite being an extremely complex beast (very modern foam blended with more traditional foam combined  into rods) it does not demand very much from the runner in terms of technique to get the most out of the shoe. Prima behaves in a very stable manner, even for heavy heel strikers without a wild rebound or out of control toe off.

The midsole gives an impression of the runner being in control of the shoe which I find very reassuring, especially on longer runs, where tiredness creeps in and certain shoes would demand more focus on technique - Prima does a lot of the work for you.

Being a borderline neutral / mild stability runner I often test shoes with my personal inserts as sometimes the shoe (be it the upper or midsole) will not work with inserts other than the ones provided by the brand. This is not the case with Prima, I have tested them with a couple of brands of inserts and they worked very well, gaining a bit of extra stability and becoming a full stable-neutral shoe, which I thought I’d mention in this part of a review just in case runners with similar gait to mine were wondering. 


Sam: The rubber part of the outsole features Light Traxxion, a new technology designed to provide traction in key areas while decreasing weight. The rubber, which appears to be of the “crystal” variety seen a few years ago in shoes, most notably at Saucony. Super durable, dull in response and appearing  similar gave me pause here at first look. 

What is different in the Prima is that the rubber is thinner than the usual outsole and relies on its expected durability (we’ll see with further running) to reduce thickness. It is also very strategically placed with a lateral tongue shaped area towards the heel with the rest upfront covering the entire forefoot.

The rear has an outrigger of the hardened rubberized Support Rods foam instead of rubber. I have about 20 miles on mine so far, and it is clear that while I am a heel striker,  my landing is on the extension of the rubber on the lateral side. I have no wear at all to the rear of the tongue but might want the rubber to extend out a bit more to the lateral side as I do have a tiny touch of scuffing at the edges.

As far as the durability too early to tell but the « crystal » type rubber is known for being durable and the salomon colored rubberized foam is hardened and said by adidas to be "outsole grade" so similar to the durable rubberized foam in shoes such as Hoka Mach 5.

Matt: The outsole of Prima grips very well, however I’ve not tested it in any extremely wet conditions, as we’ve recently not had that much rain where I live. That is no surprise because adidas tends to always have great grip without aggressive threads due to excellent quality materials. 

The only complaint I have is the design decision not to cover the medial side and back portion of the shoe with the transparent, grippy rubber. I understand that this might be a weight saving decision but the shoe is pretty heavy as it is. 0.5 ounce this or that way does not make much difference but can significantly increase the lifespan of the shoe especially for heel strikers. 

The specific reason why I mention this is because I am a heel striker and after my first run (10k road run) I could already see wear in the heel area of the outsole. I should mention here that I am on the heavier end of the running spectrum (6’ tall and 183 lbs / 13 st). I don’t think this issue will affect midfoot/forefoot strikers. 

Ride, Conclusions and Recommendations

Sam: Well done adidas! The Prima is for sure adidas first modern max cushion daily trainer and bonus one with an excellent supercritical foam midsole and a smooth, friendly non ponderous ride. No plate and none needed as the combination of Support Rods and deep Dreamstrike+ provides plenty of easy to find transition and toe off at all paces. Likely clear from the review but I much prefer it to Rise and Solution as it is more cushioned, easier to run and more fun!

Sorely lacking for the everyday and even more « elite » runner seeking an adidas full rotation, I see it as the easier days trainer with the new Adizero SL 2 as the lighter, softer more agile, fun and fast shorter distance trainer with the Boston 12 the tempo shoe and of course the Takumi Sen, Pro, and Pro EVO1 as the race shoes.

The Prima is a great option for very well cushioned daily training that is not boring, beginner runners, runners who are not sure how much stability control they really need and heavier runners. It also makes for a wonderfully comfortable walking shoe.

What might I like to see? Somewhat lower weight which I think could be found in a lighter upper. That said, the upper is superb in its comfort and support.

Sam’s Score: 9.5/10

Just the weight thing.


Matt: I really enjoyed this shoe! It’s good to see that Adidas is creating shoes for one of the most exciting segments of the market - super trainers. The ride of the shoe is soft but never wobbly making for a pleasant experience. The shoe also runs much faster than its weight would indicate and could potentially be used for more up-tempo efforts for bigger, heavier runners who require a bit more shoe for these kinds of training sessions. The only thing I would like changed in the shoe would be the extension of the outsole rubber all the way back to the heel area, but as I mentioned before this may only affect far rear heel strikers.

Matt’s Score: 9.5/10


7 Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE Roadtrailrun 

Adidas Supernova Rise (RTR Review) Adidas Supernova Solution (RTR Review)

Sam: Similar  shoes with the Solution having more extensive higher reaching lower Support Rods layer than the Rise. The higher stack and thus somewhat heavier Prima accomplishes everything the other two do with a far superior ride: less rigid heel-better transitions and an easier more dynamic toe off and with a superior more comfortable upper but is $30 more. All are true to size and similar in fit Go Prima!

Adizero SL 2 (RTR Review)

Sam: The SL 2 was a big surprise!  Softer, more flexible and more agile than the Prima, it weighs about 44g less and sits on a somewhat lower platform. Different in construction it features soft Lightstrike foam as an outer carrier with top end Lightstrike Pro as a central core. A true neutral shoe it is less stable than the Prima and as a $130 shoe has a more basic upper, I call it the fast fun daily trainer of the adidas line up with Prima the steady pace longer runs option. They make a great pairing.

Nike Vomero 17 (RTR Review)

Sam: Almost exactly the same weight with the Vomero slightly higher stack height both are the flagship more max cushioned trainers for their respective brands. Both feature supercritical foams but in a very different construction with the Nike having a quite substantial lower layer of Cushlon EVA type foam to the Prima’s more “minimal” Support Rods layer. In the Prima, the Dreamstrike+ foam is more prominent with a softer more consistent ride while in the Vomero we have more response if in a stiffer ride, so a bit more of a speed max cushion. The Vomero outsole has more rubber and superior traction suitable for dirt roads, The Prima upper is more comfortable and less rigid if slightly less supportive. Both are true to size. I prefer the Prima in this match up as it has asmoother more pleasant ride and superior upper.

ASICS GEL-Nimbus  25/26 (RTR Review)

Sam: The ASICS max cushion neutral flagship has a higher stack height and weighs 19g more sitting on a wider platform. It features a single slab of non supercritical  but excellent FlyteFoam Blast Plus. Somewhat more cushioned, it lags in the ride department to the Prima as its broad heel is not as well decoupled with transitions more lumbering and particularly at slower paces. Its thick forefoot is more rocker based to the Prima’s flexible toe off with some rocker, something I prefer. Both uppers are true to size with the Nimbus 25 thinner, stretchier and less supportive than Prima’s. For those who want a touch more support and an easier to move ride at any pace the Prima is a better choice. 

361 Eleos (RTR Review)

Sam: Similar stack height, weight and broad platform. The Eleos features a somewhat softer bouncier PEBA/EVA blend midsole, a simpler midsole construction (single foam type), a lighter and roomier upper and a price tag $25 less. The Prima is more stable, its upper is more secure, and overall ride to fit is smoother and more refined if not quite as exciting.

New Balance 880 v14 (RTR Review)

A narrower profile,more rigid, agile and responsive approach to the neutral daily trainer, the 880 weighs 36g less than the Prima. It has a slightly lower stack height. Not as pleasant to run, it shines best for faster work, Its upper is true to size but lower volume (wides available)  and while comfortable not nearly as comfortably if more secure than Prima’s. The choice will depend on the runner’s need and profile. I find the Prima more versatile as it ranges better to slower paces than 880 while losing somewhat as the pace picks up due to the weight difference and more snappy 880 ride.

Brooks Ghost Max (RTR Review)

Matt: The BGM was one of my favorite shoes of last year. No one was expecting such a modern, fun shoe from Brooks as they are a brand known primarily for reliability. The BGM compared to Prima is a step up in terms of firmness, width and control. It is not a stability shoe but is as stable as it gets without any traditional stability built in. If Prima seems too springy or soft for a runner the BGM could be a great alternative. 

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Tester Profiles

Maciej 'Matt' Kolat- 37 years old, hailing from Poland but pounding Scottish pavements and trails since 2007. Mainly runs shorter distances on pavement 5-10 km and reserves longer runs for beautiful Scottish Glens. Matt’s opinion sometimes may differ from other RTR testers as he is the slowest of the bunch (5k at 25:38). Matt also uses running as a way to stay healthy having shedded 100 lbs so far (and counting).

Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is in his 60’s  with 2024 Sam’s 52th year of running roads and trails. He has a decades old 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the just sub 1:40 range if he gets very, very lucky. Sam trains 30-40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah be it on the run, hiking or on 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'.

Comments and Questions Welcome Below! Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and current preferred shoes

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1 comment:

Peter said...

Good review, thanks. One drawback, and a serious one for me, is the weight. Too much for me. Apart from that, it will be good universal shoes for me.