We have to say this – adidas has the weakest running shoe line it’s ever had in years.
That’s quite the fall from grace for a brand that dominated the 2014 to 2016 era with the original Ultraboost, a sharp adizero assortment, and different variants of the Supernova. It was not very long ago that Solereview crowned the Supernova Glide as the best running shoe of the year.
Some of our readers may disagree with what we just said.
‘Woah, Solereview, slow down. Isn’t that a sweeping generalization? adidas does have a strong line-up of running shoes. For example, it has the adidas Ultraboost 22, Ultraboost 4.0 DNA, Ultraboost 5.0 DNA, and the Ultraboost Web DNA.’
And there lies the problem.
The entire adidas running shoe line has been reduced to a single product family, and the Ultraboost 22 isn’t even a serious running shoe. It’s a casual sneaker disguised as a running shoe.
If you were in the market looking for a plush long-distance cruiser, you are likely to try shoes like the Asics Nimbus 24, Brooks Glycerin, Saucony Triumph, and Nike Invincible Run before considering the adidas Ultraboost.
Until recently, the Solarglide used to be a versatile everyday trainer that balanced cushioning comfort with supportive transitions.
But now, it’s a different shoe – the Solarglide 5 is a lot more stable but that comes at the cost of higher weight and sensory bulk. It’s almost as if the Solarglide 5 is a laced-up version of the Ultraboost.
And sure, while the adizero assortment is excellent, none of the shoes are versatile enough to be everyday trainers. The adizero products are best used in rotation with other shoes, rather than being do-everything trainers.
Not all is lost, though. Despite the gaps in adidas’s product line, there are several comfort-oriented options worth considering.
Except for the SL.20 V3, all of these products either have the Boost or Lightstrike Pro foam. That makes sense, considering that these cushioning materials are the best that adidas has to offer.
The adidas Boost foam is a resilient and comfortable platform that’s based on expanded Polyurethane. While it’s not the lightest of all new-age foam, it’s extremely durable as well as weather-resistant.
For example, unlike ordinary EVA foam-based midsoles, Boost doesn’t stiffen in freezing temperatures.
At the time of publishing this guide, the Lightstrike Pro cushioning material is found on performance racers like the adios Pro 2, adios 6, and Boston 10.
1) For easy runs: adidas UltraBoost 22
The name ‘Ultraboost’ does give it away, doesn’t it? This model was the first adidas running shoe to be based on a 100% Boost midsole, and that doesn’t change for 2022.
Under the elastic upper is a full-length and high-volume Boost midsole with plenty of ride comfort.
Of course, this being a shoe with a 10 heel offset, most of the Boost is found under the heel. The forefoot is relatively thin with a noticeably snappy feel – courtesy of the extended plastic (LEP) shank.
The ultra-snug upper and shallow toe-box takes getting used to. At no point does the fit become uncomfortable, but then, the adidas Primeknit design has always been an acquired taste.
2) Cushioned and stable trainer for easy runs: adidas SolarGlide 5
Is the Solarglide 5 an excellent running shoe? According to our review, we don’t think so.
The Solarglide 5 weighs nearly 13-ounces, and the upper design feels like a work in progress. As a result, the Solarglide 5 lacks the versatility for different running speeds and use cases.
However, there’s no taking away the fact that the Solarglide offers a comfortable underfoot running experience. Copious amounts of the resilient Boost foam in the midsole create a cushioned foundation.
And unlike the Ultraboost with rearfoot-focused cushioning, the SG 5’s midsole has plenty of foam under the forefoot as well.
Even though we had a dim view of the tongue design, the rest of the upper breathes well and has an accommodating fit.
3) Cushioned low-profile trainer for speed runs: adidas SL20.3
Unlike the adizero adios 6 or Boston 10, the SL.20 3 doesn’t feature Boost or Lightstrike. Behind its speed-friendly cushioning is an EVA blend foam that adidas calls Lightstrike.
The term ‘comfort’ should be viewed in the right context, so what makes a speed trainer ‘comfortable’ doesn’t necessarily apply to a neutral trainer like the Solarglide or Ultraboost.
In the SL20’s case, we refer to the EVA foam midsole that makes tempo runs less grueling. The foam stack creates a healthy separation between the foot and the ground, thus preventing the feet from getting beat down during sub-4:30 min/km (7 min/mile) runs.
The lightweight racing upper keeps the interior ventilated and locks the foot down during speed runs and races.
4) Cushioned long-distance racer: adidas adios Pro V2
Today, the Carbon-infused racer segment is crowded with different variants of the Nike Vaporfly, Asics Metaspeed, Saucony Endorphin, and countless other running shoes.
adidas also sells other cushioned hyper-shoes like the PrimeX and Takumi 8, but the adios Pro continues to be the cornerstone of its high-end racing shoe catalog.
Adidas tries to differentiate the Adios Pro V2 by combining a cushioned ‘Lightstrike Pro’ foam core with a set of Carbon-blended tubes that act as a transition device.
The adios Pro 2’s 39 mm heel stack and 31.5 mm forefoot thickness adds a lot of ride comfort. Though the adios Pro lacks the springy responsiveness of Carbon-plated shoes like the VF Next%, the ‘Energy Rods’ infuse the comfortable midsole with an element of quickness.
The lightweight upper is surprisingly roomy for a racing shoe. Our detailed review contains everything that you need to know about this model.
5) Cushioned speed trainer/pacer: adidas adizero Boston 10
In our in-depth review, we pointed out that the Boston 10 is nothing like the Boston 9 because of the comprehensive do-over.
To be specific, the midsole is significantly thicker than before. The stack heights are nearly as tall as the Adios Pro – and that makes the new Boston a very comfortable Boston.
Unlike the low-profile Boston 9, there’s ample cushioning under the foot for long-distance runs, be it half-marathons or longer. Just like the adios Pro, the stiff Energy rods help make the transitions and turnovers quick.
The synthetic suede and mesh upper is secure as well as ventilated.
6) Comfortable road racer: adidas adizero adios 6
Just like the rest of the adizero line-up, the adios 6 is now equipped with an upgraded midsole that’s made partially of the Lightstrike Pro foam.
Even though the adios 6 excels at its role as a racing shoe, the 27 mm tall rear and 19 mm thick forefoot ensure sufficient comfort during high-cadence runs.
The upper keeps the insides comfortable through its lightweight and distraction-free design. The thin mesh shell is great at letting the air circulate, while a network of fused underlays keeps the foot secure during speedwork.
The novel geometry of the Continental rubber outsole delivers confidence-inspiring traction on the road. Learn all about the adios 6 in our detailed review.
7) For high-mileage trail comfort: adidas Terrex Two Ultra
When a running shoe’s name has the word ‘Ultra’ in it, that usually means that the shoe being discussed offers a high level of mileage-friendly comfort.
The Terrex Two Ultra doesn’t disappoint. Its full-length Boost foam midsole is 29 mm (rear) and 23 mm (front) tall, so there’s no dearth of ride comfort under the foot. A firmer EVA foam wedge wraps over the heel for stability on off-road terrain.
This isn’t a trail shoe for technical terrain, but an uber-cushioned running shoe that’s like the Ultraboost – but for the trail.
The elastic knit upper (Primeknit) keeps the foot locked over the midsole in secure comfort. The toe-box is reinforced with a protective bumper, and the tongue has a molded ‘bar’ on top to reduce the top-down lacing pressure. Clever.