The Adidas Adizero Adios would have to take the prize as the most versatile, and over a period of about two years, my favorite pair of running shoes. It’s also probably the best marathon racing shoe on the market. The Adios was one of my first purchases when I initially started wearing lighter, neutral and less cushioned minimalist running shoes. Hardcore minimalist and zero-drop shoes fans wouldn’t probably agree that the Adios is a minimal shoe, but as I’ve written before, it depends on where you are coming from.
My favorite running shoe
As a self-confessed running shoe addict I’ve worn quite a few different shoe makes and models over the past few years, but I keep coming back to the Adios as the shoe consistently provides comfort, speed and protection for many types of training and racing. The Adidas Adios has also been the shoe on the feet of numerous super fast, record breaking marathon performers (men and women), including Haile Gebrselassie’s for whom the shoe was in-part designed.
But the real strength of this shoe is its versatility to be able to suit a range of runners with varying abilities and foot-striking patterns. Not every runner would be able to wear this shoe in the full marathon, but those who don’t land too hard and are intending to run sub 3.30 could probably give it a shot if they feel good in some longer training runs. The reason for the versatility is the fact that the Adios does have a drop of something approaching 10mm from heel to toe, so if you do habitually heel-strike or begin heel-striking as you tire, then there is still some level of forgiveness available to protect you late in the race.
There is also a bit of gradient in the forefoot itself, which is not a feature in every shoe, but is, for reasons I don’t fully understand, comfortable for me when I find it. The Nike Free 3.0 has a similar type of forefoot taper which I enjoy. I suspect it helps counteract weakness through the full length of my foot, but the jury is still out on that theory. If that is true, I’d suspect a wider variety of flatter shoes will feel more comfortable for me as my feet continue to strengthen over time. For now that gradient is no bad thing as it does feel like it helps stimulate some drive through the forefoot.
A racing flat for regular runners
However, the Adios is not just good for the marathon, runners who are not super fast and are looking for a regular runner’s racing flat should consider the Adios for road racing and cross country events (provided the course is not too rough or slippery). I even used the Adios on the track in the last two seasons where its firm springy performance worked well when racing 1500m to 5000m.
I’m hoping this coming track season to make the transition into spikes for the first time since I was 15, but if that goes awry I’ll know my Adios are there as a solid back-up plan. There’s also plenty of elite runners who still wear the Adios for shorter road racing too because they’re such a comfortable, light and fast shoe.
In this photo you can see the author in a pair of blue trusty Adios about to run a 6.2km road relay. My team-mate Tyson (a talented runner) who is wearing a true racing flat, gave me the unusual experience of leading a race, well for about a minute before I was chased down by speedier competitors!
Photo courtesy of Athletics Victoria.
Minimalist shoe transition stepping-on point
In terms of a transition plan from wearing traditional running shoes the Adios is a good next step down if you’ve been wearing a neutral shoe. I introduced the Adios first with some easy jogging of no more than 20 minutes. It’s always a good idea to test new shoes with some easy runs before you wear them in a race, hard training session or really long run. One of the reasons the Adios is a good stepping stone to minimalist shoe wearing is it’s more or less just a lighter, less cushioned version of the shoe you’ve been wearing, so it doesn’t feel too far removed from what you may have been used to.
Fast, slow, tempo runs, whatever
While the Adios is a forgiving shoe and feels comfortable for slower running (I use them on long runs too), the faster you run, the better they feel and if you’re transitioning away from heel-striking to a more neutral foot-strike you’ll notice they feel quite zippy as more of your weight moves forward over your foot. This is another reason why they are a good transition training shoe as you can run easy in them, but switching to speed is rewarding. Probably the best example of this is during an occasional fartlek training session I do where harder efforts of 1,2,3 and 4 minutes and then back down are split up with 1 minute jogs. The Adios is the perfect partner for this type of training.
In terms of fit, they would not suit someone with a very wide forefoot, I just sneak into them, but the design of the shoe does allow for a bit of stretch if you need it. If in doubt try them on and have a jog prior to purchasing. Longevity wise I’m still going on the blue Adios model, probably about two years old, so they do last the distance, however I rotate my shoes frequently. They get a bit spongy as they age and become less appropriate for taking onto rocky ground as stones tend to poke through the cushioning once it softens. However, I don’t mind rolling out an older pair for the odd easy run on a flat surface.
Adidas made a commemorative version of the Adios that features many of his world record marks over various distances. Haile’s shoe might now be more of a collector’s item especially as he approached the end of his running days and now that his world record mark has been eclipsed.
So what do you think? Are the Adios your all time favorite shoes or do you run in another shoe that provides similar versatility?
Written by Brian Martin
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