In this product guide:
- 1. Factors to consider
- 2. Most comfortable sneaker for easy runs: adidas Ultraboost 22
- 3. Most comfortable for marathons: adidas adios Pro 3
- 4. Most comfortable for half-marathons: adidas Takumi Sen 8
- 5. Most comfortable for heavy runners: adidas Solarglide 5
- 6. Most comfortable for tempo runs: adidas SL20 V3
- 7. Most comfortable for speed training: adidas Boston 11
- 8. Most comfortable for short races: adidas adios 7
- 9. Most comfortable for trail running: adidas Terrex Two Ultra
adidas’s running shoe catalog has improved in the last couple of years, but there’s still a lot of room for improvement.
To their credit, they have a strong assortment of speed-training shoes and racers. The revamped versions of the adios, Boston, and Takumi-sen are fun to run in. And while the adios Pro 3 isn’t as exciting as the Nike Vaporfly Next% or Saucony Endorphin Pro, it does have a trick or two up its sleeve.
But as far as the rest of adidas’s running shoe category is concerned, there’s a huge void of go-to products. There aren’t any credible neutral trainers or stability trainers. To be clear, we refer to the 3-stripe equivalent of the Brooks Ghost, Nike Pegasus, and Saucony Ride.
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.
Flanking the Ultraboost 22 are other variants like the Ultraboost 4.0 DNA, Ultraboost 5.0 DNA, and Ultraboost Web DNA.
This is a problem that needs to be addressed.
If you were in the market for a comfortable long-distance cruiser, you are likely to try shoes like the Asics Nimbus 24, Brooks Glycerin, Saucony Triumph 20, 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’s improved stability comes at the cost of higher weight and low versatility. 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 standalone, do-everything trainers.
adidas does have a couple of redeeming qualities. The Lightstrike Pro foam is a competent cushioning platform, and so is the tried-and-tested Boost foam.
Except for the SL.20 V3, all the shoes on this guide 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.
On this list, the Lightstrike Pro foam is used on the adios Pro 3, adios 7, Boston 11, and Takumi-Sen 8.
1) Most comfortable sneaker for easy runs: adidas UltraBoost 22
The name ‘Ultraboost’ does give it away, doesn’t it? This model was the first adidas running shoe with a 100% Boost midsole, and that doesn’t change for 2023.
Under the elastic upper is a full-length and high-volume Boost midsole with plenty of ride comfort.
This is a shoe with a 10 mm heel offset, so most of the Boost is stacked under the heel. The forefoot is relatively thin with a noticeably snappy feel – thanks to the extended plastic (LEP) shank. Our detailed review is here.
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.
Also see: The adidas Pureboost 22.
2) Most comfortable for marathons: adidas adios Pro V3
While adidas sells other cushioned hyper-shoes like the PrimeX and Takumi 8, the adios Pro 3 continues to be the cornerstone of its high-end racing shoe catalog.
Adidas differentiates the Adios Pro 3 by combining a cushioned ‘Lightstrike Pro’ foam core with a set of Carbon tubes that act as a transition device.
The adios Pro 3’s 39 mm heel stack and 31.5 mm forefoot thickness add 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. The adios Pro 3 has an improved forefoot fit because of the internal ‘bands’ that the adios Pro V2 lacked.
adidas has updated the adios Pro 3 with a new upper and sole, but the ride quality is very similar to the last year’s adios Pro V2.
3) Most comfortable for half-marathons: adidas Takumi Sen 8
Do shoe names mean anything anymore? Regardless of the quality of the outcome, if a running shoe has completely changed, maybe it makes sense to rebrand the shoe, no?
The Takumi-Sen 8 is a case in point. Because if anybody remembers the Takumi-Sen 7, it was nothing like the V8. Not even close. The Takumi-Sen 7 was a racing flat with a harsh ride; the Takumi-Sen 8 is a cushioned trainer with stack heights of 33 mm and 27 mm.
Since the ‘Takumi’ name no longer means anything, we have to judge this shoe on its merits.
The Takumi-Sen 8 is akin to a lighter, softer, and more responsive version of the adidas Boston 11. It’s also got a shorter heel drop of 6 mm. As expected, the Takumi-Sen 8 delivers plenty of comfort during speed runs and race distances ranging from a 5K to a half-marathon.
It feels similar (in a diluted way) to the adios Pro 3, and that’s not surprising considering that both shoes use the Lightstrike Pro foam. The lightweight yet snug-fitting upper disappears over the foot during runs; the soft and breathable meshes help with interior comfort.
4) Most comfortable for heavy runners: 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 is 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.
5) Most comfortable for tempo runs: adidas SL20.3
Unlike the adizero adios 7 or Boston 11, the SL.20 3 doesn’t feature Boost or Lightstrike Pro. 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.
6) Most comfortable for speed runs: adidas adizero Boston 11
The adizero Boston isn’t what it used to be. A similar sentiment applies to the adizero adios and Takumi-Sen.
And do you what all three shoes have in common?
Cushioning – and lots of it. Not only is the midsole significantly thicker than before, but the softer layer of Lightstrike Pro makes the midsole less punishing on the feet than some of the earlier (V7, V8) Boston versions.
It’s worth mentioning that the stack heights are nearly as tall as the Adios Pro – and that makes the Boston 11 a very comfortable tempo trainer.
As a result, 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 yet breathable. Both the Boston 10 and 11 share an identical midsole, so the ride quality hasn’t changed. In that context, our review of the Boston 10 is still relevant and helpful.
7) Most comfortable for short races: adidas adizero adios 7
Just like the rest of the adizero line-up, the adios 7 has an upgraded midsole that’s made partially of the Lightstrike Pro foam. It has the same chassis as the adios 6, so how it feels under the foot hasn’t changed at all.
Even though the adios 7 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. It’s like the new adios is the old adizero Boston.
The upper keeps the insides comfortable through its lightweight and distraction-free design. The thin mesh shell has excellent ventilation, whereas the fused underlays secure the foot during speed runs.
The novel geometry of the Continental rubber outsole delivers confidence-inspiring traction on the road.
7) Most comfortable for trail runs: adidas Terrex Two Ultra
When a running shoe’s name has the word ‘Ultra’ in it, there’s a strong likelihood that the shoe in question has lots 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. A firmer EVA foam wedge wraps over the heel for off-road stability.
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.