If you come across someone on the street wearing an all-black running shoe, the chances are, the person isn’t using them for running per se.
More often than not, black running shoes are a substitute for casual footwear. Unlike stiff leather shoes with firm PU or rubber soles, the soft cushioning of running shoes make spending long hours on the feet extremely comfortable.
A black running shoe doesn’t soil easily – at least visually, and is easy to wipe clean. They also blend well with casual pants and work uniforms.
Black shoes usually don’t work very well for running, since they aren’t as visible as light-colored footwear. Sure, some black trainers include high-visibility elements on the upper, but such specimens are far and between.
This isn’t to say that runners stay away from all-black colors, but you’ll have to agree when we say that the athleisure market is the mass adopter of black-on-black running shoes.
Besides the style versatility, one of the factors that make black sneakers popular is their use in the service industry. The foam midsole packs ample comfort for long shifts, whereas the rubber outsole offers a confidence-inspiring grip on smooth floors.
Anyone who has worked in the retail, healthcare, supply-chain, or hospitality industry will attest that modern running shoes are far easier on the feet than leather casual shoes.
adidas and Nike know this trend very well, so they offer a black-on-black color on most of their popular running shoe models. To kick things off, here are our top two recommendations – one at $130, and another at below $100.
(Related read: The best black Nike running shoes.)
Solereview recommends: adidas Solarglide 5
We recently reviewed a pair of Solarglide 5 (not in black, though), and the extent of updates took us by surprise. The Solarglide 5 is nothing like the Solarglide 4.
The new Solarglide 5 is like an ‘Ultraboost Lite’. It’s 13-ounces heavy, and has a much wider midsole with more Boost in it. It’s a much heavier and bulky running shoe. A comparable shoe from another brand would be the Brooks Addiction GTS 15.
The LEP (aka the Torsion) shank has been redesigned, and extends upwards to form a ‘wing’ under the heel and forefoot.
As a result, the Solarglide 5 is exceptionally supportive, yet generously cushioned. The EVA frame doesn’t cover the Boost core on top, so only a molded footbed separates the foot from the Boost.
The Continental rubber outsole has large windows exposing the Boost foam, so that reduces the stiffness during footstrike and transitions.
Even though the newly-added bulk reduces the Solarglide 5’s versatility to an easy-cruising running shoe, the same ride properties make it an excellent athleisure shoe.
The high-volume midsole is comfortable enough for standing all day, and the molded insole creates a nice layer of step-in softness. The upper is plush too; the heel is generously padded and uses a soft lining. Even though the upper is non-stretchy, the interiors have a secure fit.
A word of caution – the Solarglide 5 fits small, so you need to buy a half size larger than your regular adidas size.
For example, if you wear a size US 11, then get a US 11.5 for the Solarglide 5. Strangely, the tongue has no sleeve, so the raw edges tend to fold over the foot. Not a deal-breaker, but still.
Our in-depth review will follow soon.
Solereview recommends: adidas Duramo 10
The 10th version of the Duramo continues to be an excellent value proposition. adidas has stepped up its affordable running shoe of late, and that shows on the newest Duramo.
This budget trainer is kitted with an EVA midsole for all-day comfort, and there’s even a full rubber outsole for traction and durability. If the side profile looks familiar, that’s because the Boston 10 has a similar midsole aesthetic. But here, it’s regular EVA and not Lightstrike Pro.
The mesh upper is very well put together. The breathable exterior is reinforced with fused overlays and faux padding, and the dense lacing setup creates a secure fit.
Even though the Duramo has a very basic spec level, it’s sufficiently comfortable for short runs and everyday casual wear.
1) adidas Supernova
There are several reasons why the Supernova is one of our favorite adidas running shoes. It’s a no-nonsense running shoe that doesn’t cost the earth, and yet is packed with reliable tech from the adidas arsenal.
The soft and responsive Boost foam core of the dual-density midsole is supported by an EVA frame. Consequently, the ride is cushioned yet versatile enough for various pace and mileage ranges. The Supernova can be used as a daily trainer or work shoe – take your pick.
Though the outsole is not Continental rubber, it delivers satisfactory grip and durability.
2) adidas Ultraboost 22
Barring a few improvements, the Ultraboost 22 is nearly identical to the 21. In other words, this shoe works better as a lifestyle sneaker than a running shoe. The all Boost foam stack makes walking and other mild-intensity activities very comfortable.
Sure, you can run in them – the thick Boost midsole has plenty of cushioning for long-distance runs, and the Continental rubber outsole is durable and grippy. The snug and stretchy Primeknit upper pins the foot to the midsole, and helps make the power delivery smooth.
The exaggerated sidewall design also makes the Ultraboost 22 very supportive. Our detailed review is available here.
3) adidas EQ21 Run
The sensibly-priced EQ21 Run is inspired by the Ultraboost – its floating midfoot cage and plastic heel clip show the strong design influence.
However, this being an $80 running shoe, the upper does not use Primeknit but a standard engineered mesh that delivers a smooth and secure fit. The midsole also isn’t made of Boost, but of Bounce EVA foam over a standard rubber outsole.
Nonetheless, the EQ21 gets its running shoe basics right. The EVA midsole is adequately comfortable, and the mesh upper locks the foot down in comfort. Use this as your everyday running shoe or casual wear- the EQ21 Run is capable of both.
4) adidas Ultraboost 4.0 DNA
To be honest, the first iteration of the Ultraboost wasn’t a bad running shoe at all – our 2015 review is proof.
It was a simpler time back then, and the Ultraboost was a softer shoe without the exaggerated sidewall that the UB 22 has. Even the latticed ‘Stretchweb’ outsole helped increase the cushioning sensation.
The Ultraboost 4.0 DNA is almost a replica of the 2015 Ultraboost (except for the outsole), so the ride and fit character is the same. The single-density Boost midsole provides excellent comfort for long-distance runs or regular casual use.
Even though we (still) have a low opinion of the plastic cage, it does support the midfoot while providing a basic level of lacing security.
5) adidas Fluidflow 2.0
There’s not much to write about the Fluidflow 2.0, and we don’t say that in a negative sense.
The $80 Fluidflow lacks any fancy footwear tech or design language. A breathable upper with clean aesthetics offers a snug yet smooth fit; it’s also helped by a unique lacing system that loops through a pair of stitched-on TPU bars.
Under the mesh upper is a cushioned stack of EVA foam that makes short-distance runs and everyday casual use comfortable.
6) adidas Runfalcon 2.0
On this buyer’s guide, the Duramo 10 isn’t the least expensive adidas running shoe. That honor goes to the RunFalcon 2.0.
The fact that adidas hasn’t omitted the rubber outsole is a pleasant surprise. Besides the obvious traction benefit, a rubber outsole makes a shoe more durable, thus delivering more miles per dollar spent. And the rubber compound is non-marking too.
In the RunFalcon’s case, the total dollar amount is $60. So while we can’t expect the ride comfort of a $130 shoe, the fundamentals aren’t lacking. The firm EVA midsole provides the necessary levels of everyday cushioning, and the breathable mesh upper is reinforced in high-wear areas.