Adidas Adizero Adios 2 Review

One of the more eagerly awaited recent running shoe releases has been the Adidas Adizero Adios 2. The original having been a hugely successful and brilliant marathon racing shoe that had the versatility to perform well on the feet of everyone from Haile Gebrselassie through to mortals completing the marathon in 3.30 or less. Because of its low profile, flexibility and versatility to perform well in all types of training and short racing it was also a great shoe for regular runners such as myself to wear as a racing flat for shorter road and even track races. These properties and the fact it retained some heel-toe drop also made it an excellent minimalist transition shoe and a good option for tempo running and even some speed work away from the track.

So it was with some trepidation that I removed my Christmas present to myself from the box and inspected what the technicians at Adidas had come up with. Redesigning a classic is always a risky business and I began to get a sinking feeling when turning the shoes over in my hands that these geniuses may well have stuffed it up!

You can read my review of the original here – yes I was in love with that shoe! Trying not to rush to judgment was difficult as while they’d come up with a rocking bright color scheme the shoe itself, on first examination, appeared to have bulked up and become much much stiffer than the previous incarnation of the Adios.

The resultant changes had made the Adizero Adios 2 a slightly heavier and very different shoe to the original. While the increase in weight is marginal, 7.4 to 7.8 ounces (210 to 221 grams) it’s where this weight comes from that is probably the clue to where the biggest changes have been made. There is now more cushioning in the forefoot and perhaps even a little more in the heel – the overall profile in terms of heel-toe drop also seems to have flattened a little compared to the original.

Adios 2 – a stiffer shoe with less ‘feel’ for the road

While some of the additional stiffness comes from the extra cushioning material, most of it arises from the insertion of three separate plastic strips through the forefoot of the shoe. I’ve highlighted where these strips run through the shoe in the image below, they ultimately connect to the visible torsion plate under the arch.

This shoe carries much more forefoot stiffness than your average racing flat. I can imagine why Adidas have done this; plantaflexion fatigue (the inability to continue to stiffen your foot) can become a factor during long races like the marathon. As discussed in Pete Larson’s study on marathon foot-strike this can lead (amongst other factors) to some runners starting the marathon as forefoot strikers and finishing it as heel strikers.

The addition of stiffness into shoes is also in my opinion a performance enhancer – many spike models are built around or over stiff springy material from forefoot to mid-foot. This delivers a slight spring loading effect – as you push down the spring loads and then releases as the foot comes off the ground, giving you a little extra spring from each stride. One study I looked at when researching my book showed sprint performance improved in runners who added Kevlar plates into their spikes, so there is some evidence around to support this notion.

My contention however, is that you need to be quite a strong and well coordinated runner to push through the ground with sufficient force to load the spring and enjoy the resultant benefits. This is where I think the Adios 2 is probably now suited to a narrower group of more talented runners than the original model.

I also believe the versatility afforded in the original design is somewhat lost because of the changes that have been made. Where I could comfortably use the old model for easy long runs at 5min km pace through tempo running and also speed work, I think the new version is better suited to racing the marathon  and half marathon and also faster tempo work only.

In short the Adios 2 performs and feels best when you start moving a bit quicker.

For these reasons I’d also be less inclined to recommend the Adios 2 to a runner looking to make a transition to minimalist running – the loss of flexibility in the forefoot mean there is less feel for and connection to the running surface. There is also little foot strengthening benefit for runners to be had in this shoe – it’s so stiff that it does most of the work for you. This stiffness is a good thing for racing a fast marathon, but not a great idea for developing strength and working on good running technique.

Breaking them in

So I’ve now done something approach 100km in the Adios 2, most of which has been easy runs in an attempt to break the shoe in. Like most Adidas shoes using the adiPrene cushioning the Adios 2 takes a bit of wearing in, and mine are probably still a little way from being completely broken into the shape of my foot. I wouldn’t suggest throwing these on out of the box and doing a long run, race or faster tempo work, give them at least 100km of wear before getting serious. Some of this should be probably off road as they feel a bit unyielding on the harder surface to begin.

Slower running

It was while jogging around at 5 minute kilometer pace that I formed my initial negative views about the Adios 2. They do not feel great when running slow, the stiffness and harder cushioning makes for an uncomfortable experience.

Heel to toe drop and profile

The Adios 2 does feel like they have more drop from heel to toe than the Adizero Ace, for example, which I’m also currently reviewing. Despite this I found it easy to maintain my new forefoot oriented strike. Moderate faster heel strikers should find the shoe relatively comfortable – please leave a comment if you don’t.

Forefoot fit

The forefoot and toe box is less narrow than the original Adios, but still a narrow shoe in comparison to a regular trainer. I could feel my little toes getting a bit of annoying rubbing in the later stages of my weekend long run. Like the original though they will stretch a bit with wear, just be cautious of this shoe if you have a very wide forefoot.

Durability

The addition of the forefoot stiffness and extra cushioning leads me to think the Adios 2 will be more durable than the original which tended to go a bit spongy in the forefoot towards the later stage of their lifespan. However I did notice that my Adios 2 has begun to shed the little black nodules on the forefoot. This may have been because part of my weekend run included some moderately rocky gravel roads in addition to black-top asphalt. It’s probabaly not a major issue as the strips of rubber that cover the edges and middle of the shoe look pretty hard wearing.

Wear test

So I didn’t want to review this shoe until I’d had a chance to take them on a longer run, yesterday I was able to do that and can now report back how it felt. Keep in mind I’m running relatively low mileage and not training for a marathon so my long run is probably about 17km at the moment. So what I did yesterday was complete this run at a slightly faster pace 5.00 – 4.30 km pace and then do a up tempo segment towards the end of the run to get a feel for how the shoes would feel at about and faster than my theoretical marathon pace. It pretty much played out as I thought it would, the faster I ran the better the Adios 2 felt.

After about 50 minutes of solid running I completed a 3km uphill section on the road in about 13 minutes, the last kilometer flattened out and was probably done in about 4 minutes and felt the best of all. As I’ve indicated before I’m no superstar when it comes to running, if I did the training I’d probably look to run a marathon somewhere in the 3.10 to 2.59 range. I previously indicated the original Adios as being a good marathon option for anyone capable of sub 3.30. I think that range has now narrowed and I would probably suggest it as being better for those looking to run closer to or under 3 hours.

Alternative marathon race day shoes 3.00 to 3.45 runners

I’m actually not sure whether I’d wear it myself and would have to do some longer running and tempo work to get more comfortable in the shoes. There are now many other good shoes around for the marathon so if you’re in the 3.45 to 3.00 hour range it might pay to shop around for an alternative or at least have another option up your sleeve if the Adios 2 model does not suit you as well as the old. Some suggestions (no particular order of preference) of shoes that I’ve either run in or tried on include the following:

Adidas Adizero Ace

Nike Lunarspider R2

Nike Zoom Speed Lite ST+ 3

Mizuno Wave Ronin 3 or 4

Mizuno Wave Precision 12

Mizuno Wave Elixir 6

Saucony Grid Fastwitch 5

Saucony Kinvara 2 or 3

Saucony Cortana

 

An alternative view

As I’ve written before shoe reviewing is very much a personal opinion, Mark is very keen on the new Adios 2, but it probably matches my hypothesis that they’d suit faster stronger runners that he holds this opinion. His taste in spikes is exactly the same, the stiffer and springier the better.

Conclusion

I’m sure there will be many runners who love the new Adios 2, but I must admit I’m not head over heels at this stage of our relationship! I believe the Adios shoe will suit faster, stronger runners more so than for those of us who occupy the mid-pack. But what do you think? Fast or slow runners please leave your impressions as a comment below.

Written by

Image credit – Haile at Vienna

Alex

42 Responses to Adidas Adizero Adios 2 Review

  1. Mike January 23, 2014 at 2:37 am #

    Hi, I just found a good deal on the Adios 2.
    I’m currently running on some Asics GT3000, they’re very comfortable but also quite heavy.
    I’ve got the GT3000 recommended as I’am over pronator, would the Adios 2 work for over pronators? I’m running half marathons at an average of 7min x mile, and training for my first marathon, which I’m expecting to do in 3:30-3:35.

    Thanks,

    Mike

    • Brian January 25, 2014 at 8:04 am #

      Hi Mike, best to go with what feels best on your foot and lets you run without getting injured. The only way to know if that Adios 2 will work for you is to try it on and do some shorter test runs in it.

  2. Eric December 30, 2013 at 8:12 am #

    Excellent review Brain! Sounds like the Adios 2.0 may be pretty ideal for me. I’ve yet to run a Marathon but plan to in the near future. I’m hoping for a time around 2:35 – 2:40 seeing as I’ve raced 5 miles or ~ 8K in 28:00 / 5:35 mile average pace. Next stop is to try them on and see how they feel on my feet.

    • Brian January 18, 2014 at 8:56 pm #

      Good luck, 2.35 is really moving!

  3. Rohan Armstrong August 21, 2013 at 9:31 pm #

    Great review thanks Brian. I have been training and racing in the Hagio for most of this year, and produced my best 10 km time at the end of the Great Ocean Road half (23km) in May. Now preparing for the Melb marathon and hoping to better my previous best of 3:07 with something closer to 3hrs ( under preferably). I’ve been toying with the idea of racing the marathon in my Hagios as they really force me to be very sharp with every step and hence quick, which gets the best out of them and my races. Your article here and link to Pete Larsons on end race fatigue was naturally my only concern as to whether I could go the distance in them. I’m less inclined to wear them for longer training runs due to keeping a slower pace ( around 5:00m/km) so it’s very hard to gauge. However, having read this article, you’ve convinced me to order a pair of Adios 2 which might prove to be a better shoe for the marathon in October. What do you think my best approach is with these two shoes, only 9 weeks out?

    • Brian August 21, 2013 at 9:57 pm #

      Hi Rohan, it’s going to be a personal decision for you. If it were me I’d choose the Adios. If you’re struggling to decide it might be worth trying each shoe under fatigue, might mean a shoe change on a loop course where you pop on the Hagio for a few kms at marathon pace at end of a long run. As a final note many elite marathoners wear either the Nike Lunar Racer or Adios – both shoes with more cushion and heel to toe drop than the Hagio. Whatever you choose make sure they are well worn in and don’t give you any grief.

      • Rohan August 26, 2013 at 9:20 pm #

        Thanks Brian,
        Sounds like good advice & just the nudge i needed and I look forward to receiving them. Having just done a 32k run on the weekend in the Hagios, with the last 8k at race pace I was happy with my form throughout the run under some fatigue, however I did feel quite sore in my feet and lower legs in general. Whilst i am expecting this to a degree given the stage of my program, I will be looking forward to seeing what the Adios feels like in some more upcoming 30km+ runs. Besides, I’m sure the elite guys wear them for a good reason! Will let you know how they go.

        • Brian August 27, 2013 at 6:30 am #

          Cheers Rohan, yes keep me update on how you go.

  4. jeff millich February 14, 2013 at 3:59 am #

    just took my adios 2 out for the first time and really loved them. i could definitely notice the springboard effect you referred to and my mile pace was nearly 15 seconds faster at the same average HR in my trainers (asics gel kayano). finished the day with 11 miles at a 6:32 pace. I just hope they retain their rigidiity, considering i will only be using them for races and felt a significant benefit from the forefoot stiffness.

    • Brian February 14, 2013 at 8:14 am #

      Thanks for the feedback Jeff they are definitely a go fast shoe. I think you’ll find they hold the stiffness and extra pop pretty well. Good call also to save them for racing and faster training runs.

  5. Sam January 16, 2013 at 8:48 am #

    Hello Brian-

    I have always been Adidas customer, however, I purchased Brooks Ravenna 3 and I was on the verge of buying Adidas Adizero Adios 2 before the Chicago marathon. Someone suggested that I stick with same brand until I complete the marathon. Ravenna 3 was a great shoes but I felt like it’s heavy. I started running last year and finished my first marathon recently October. I will start my training within a week or 2 and aiming to do 2 marathons this year.

    I have always felt comfortable with lighter shoes but question is… would Adidas Adizero Adios 2 be the one that I should get? I run about 8:30-8:45 and aiming to finish 3:15-3:30 on my next marathon.

    Hope to hear your recommendation soon.

    Thanks,

    Sam

    • Brian January 16, 2013 at 8:56 am #

      Hi Sam,

      Adidas Adios 2 would be worth a look, but also don’t rule out Adidas Boston and/or Adidas Adios Ace 4. The Ace 4 is a quite similar shoe to the original Adios – a review on this coming up soon. As an alternative choice have a look at the Saucony Cortana 2 and/ Kinvara 3. Bottom line you need to try them on and preferably have a jog around before deciding what suits you best.

  6. Robert October 29, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

    Hi Brian,

    I’m about 150 miles into a pair of Adios 2. All pavement….are they still fresh enough for the ING NYC next weekend ?

    I ran the San Fran Marathon end of July and did some training in them; rotated with the Boston 3.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated .

    -robert

    • Brian October 29, 2012 at 3:31 pm #

      Hi Robert, They should be fine with only 150 miles on them, so long as they still feel like they are giving you a little zip then go for it. Boston three would also be a good option, but the Adios is a faster and lighter shoe. Good luck in NYC!

  7. vlain16 September 18, 2012 at 1:35 pm #

    Hi there, i would like to ask if adios 2 is true to size fit?Many thanks and great review by the way!

    • Brian September 18, 2012 at 2:01 pm #

      Thanks. Yes the Adios 2 is true to size in my experience.

  8. tim March 22, 2012 at 9:14 am #

    Hi Brian, great stuff here. Ive recently had to make the decision wether to buy the adios2 or the kinvara. Ive been transitioning down for about 18 months, and, with a much better city to surf, 2 half marathons and some serious training i can finally admit to myself im ready for the Canberra marathon in April. Ultimatley I chose the Kinvara2. manily becasue of fit, the adios were not wide enough for me and the kinvara2 give me that touch more comfort. after a quick 2k’s I decided to do a longer run. I decided to do laps of the Bay Run in Drummoyne Sydney and decided to stop if the shoe started to hurt etc. I ended up doing 21ks! I have been transitioning down from the old New Balance, to Saucony Triumph8 and now the Kinvara2. When i started to run i was amazed at how fast i was going, in fact in danger of going too fast and blowing up. while i got some new pain in my calves and hamstrings it was nothing a few days couldnt fix.
    Im intersted in wether you will review he Kinvaras, you done seem to mention them much and I think as a guy in transition like me the 4mm drop could be the way to go? many thanks again, love your site. tim.

    • Brian March 22, 2012 at 9:22 am #

      G’day Tim, Thanks for the feedback. Yep I will be reviewing the Kinvara 2, but I’ve only recently been running in them. I maybe just do a quick overview of them because the Kinvara 3 has now been released. I agree they’ve got a good place in the transition pathway or are a good end point or marathon shoe for many runners. Pete Larson from Runblogger has worn them in his last two marathons and loves them. Keep up the good running work! Brian

  9. ursula March 9, 2012 at 5:19 am #

    Hi Brian,im running an ultra marathon(56km) in April,7th.i would like to know,can i run in the Adidas adizero adios 2,or in the saucony progrid nivara,just a bit concern,thanx.ursula frans,both new shoes i got as a gift(being unemployed)

    • Brian March 9, 2012 at 7:04 am #

      Hi Ursula, that’s a long way! I’m not an expert on Ultra running so it might be worth a visit to http://www.irunfar.com/ and drop a note to Bryon for a recommendation. I’m not sure I’d pick the Adios 2 for a 56km race, might become a bit unforgiving. Brian

  10. runoldboyrun March 6, 2012 at 1:31 am #

    I love the adidas adios but they go flat really fast. Their lifespan is about 250 miles tops. I have gone through 3 pairs since July and am a pretty efficient runner. Kind of tough when you are training for a marathon and you need to buy 4 pairs of shoes per 16 week cycle.

    • Brian March 6, 2012 at 8:00 am #

      Thanks for the comment. Have you compared the new Adios 2 to the original model? My sense is they will last a bit longer. I got a bit more out of the old model than you but I didn’t mind running in them as training shoes once the cushion had compressed a bit.

  11. Robert M February 29, 2012 at 2:43 pm #

    I entered the ING Miami Jan 29, 2012 my first Marathon or race for that matter, 4:09.20 and wore the adidos 2 practically right out of the box. Did a few tempo runs 3-4 miles a few days before the race.

    Bottom line:

    The author’s review of the shoe is spot on. It’s a stiff shoe for efficient runners (forefoot strikers) or minimal heel strikers- exactly as I tend to do in late stages of a long run as my legs get tired.

    The biggest draw back to the shoe is exactly what you need for a full marathon, a bit more support than a super lightweight racing flat.

    If you typically train in a lightweight racing flat, such as a 6 ounce shoe that allows you really feel the ground than the Adios 2 shoe will feel the complete opposite. However, that is probabaly the reason you would want to wear this shoe for a full marathon.

    Again, the author has mentioned this in his summary and I agree 100% with his review.

    As a sidebar, I use a 6 ounce shoe to train up to 14 miles (Brooks T-7) great shoe for me. The adjustment to the Adios 2 for race day is a completely different feel and a bit of an adjustment especially starting the race, but, as you get up in the miles, it helps to absorb some of the pounding, unlike the T-7.

    I’m a light weight person -only 145 pounds- so, not a heavy foot striker. I believe this shoe can work for a light or moderate heavy foot striker, because of extra support in the heel and forefoot, which does feel very very stiff as the author has mentioned. Again, as you continue to break the shoe in the stiff forefoot becomes a secondary thought, but, hardly not forgotton.

    I echo the authors review in regard to using the shoe strictly for half and full marathons…not an enjoyable daily training shoe.

    -Robert

    • Brian February 29, 2012 at 2:48 pm #

      G’day Robert, thanks very much for sharing your experience of the Adios 2 in the Marathon. Nothing like some real world experience to add into the discussion. Regards Brian

  12. Michael Thorson February 10, 2012 at 8:50 am #

    Have you had a chance to run in the new Adidas Hagio, which are lighter than the Adios…I am curious how these compare.

    • Brian February 10, 2012 at 10:12 am #

      Hi Michael, Have not run in them yet, about to order. Adidas in their wisdom have not brought the Hagio into Australia. They have had good reviews from Pete Larson at Runblogger and they look similar in profile to the old Adidas Pro and Rockets but should be a bit wider in the forefoot. Brian

      • Michael Thorson February 14, 2012 at 7:57 am #

        Thanks! How about the Boston 3? I have purchased the Hagio but I am thinking of using that shoe for races and some longer runs while training – I am debating between the Adios 2 and Boston 3 — what is your opinion?

        • Brian February 14, 2012 at 8:38 am #

          Hi Michael, no worries. The Boston 3 is a fair bit of shoe and appears to have grown compared to the old model. It’s 2 oz or 57 grams heavier than the Adios, I’ve had a run in them on the treadmill but not out on the road so can’t give a definitive answer other than to say if you’re used to very minimal shoes you might find the Boston too much. However, it is slightly more flexible through the forefoot than the Adios, that combined with the additional support could make it a good choice for many marathoners. Cheers Brian

          • Michael Thorson February 14, 2012 at 8:55 am #

            I basically want something light that is durable and won’t wear out after a couple of hundred miles of use. I like to get minimum of 500-700 miles out of a shoe before hanging them up. I am newer to minimalist shoes and was thinking of the Adios 2 or Boston 3 as a transition to the much lighter Hagio and Newtons (Distance and MV2) that I currently own (but haven’t run in yet).

          • Brian February 14, 2012 at 8:59 am #

            Adios 2 and Boston 3 would both be good choices for what you have described. Can’t imagine either wearing out too quickly.

  13. George February 9, 2012 at 8:57 am #

    Thanks for the review. I’m targeting a 3:15 marathon in May which will be a big PR. I’m a recent convert to Adidas. I alternate between Bostons and Saucony Kinvaras mostly but will run in my old Wave Rider 13s for an easy recovery jog. How would the Adios be as a marathon shoe with much of my training have been in the Bostons? I don’t feel like the Kinvaras are quite enough shoe for me for a marathon. I thought working in the Adios for some late tempo and MP runs would be a nice transition into using them as my marathon shoe.

    • Brian February 9, 2012 at 9:04 am #

      Hi George, no problem, glad to be of help. I think the new model Boston’s have a fair bit in common with the Adios, I had a bit of a run in them on the treadmill but not out on the road. So I think the step down from Boston to Adios would not be huge, however wear them in with some easy runs, then try a shorter tempo run as you suggest before taking them out on a longer marathon pace effort. If you find them ok on a 30k+ run with a chunk of it done at marathon pace you might have found your marathon race day shoe. But as always take note of how your body reacts, any problems revert back to the shoe you’re comfortable running in. If the race is getting real close it may pay to wait until your next marathon – you don’t want to risk injury with big changes too late in your build up. Cheers Brian

      • George February 14, 2012 at 2:35 am #

        Just a quick follow-up. I took a new pair of Adios out for a 9 mile easy run with 10×100 meter strides this morning. Your review was pretty much spot on. The easy portion felt OK but I could definitely feel the energy return and responsiveness during the strides. I do find that Adidas shoes need a little breaking in. I expect they’ll be even better after 50-100 miles.

        • Brian February 14, 2012 at 7:08 am #

          Hi George, thanks for reporting back in. I agree they’ll need to break down a bit after a few runs before they’ll really begin to feel comfortable. I know it’s early days but do you think you’ll wear them in the marathon? Brian

          • George February 16, 2012 at 10:07 am #

            Hey Brian. They’re a possibility for the marathon but I need more runs in them before deciding. I may take them for another easy run in the next 2 days and try them for my half marathon this weekend. I ran my last half marathon in Kinvara 2s. Quite a different feel!

          • Brian February 16, 2012 at 10:19 am #

            Sounds like a good plan George, getting comfortable in them before you decide is a great idea – be interesting how you find the Adios 2 towards the end of the half. The Kinvara is extremely different, soft and flexible – almost complete opposites! Many people like running the marathon in the Kinvara as you have done.

          • George April 27, 2012 at 6:26 am #

            I thought I’d give you an update. LOVE the Adios 2. Put 100 miles on them using them for tempo, speed and MP workouts. They will be my marathon shoe in 3 1/2 weeks. Felt a little stiff at first but don’t feel that way at all now. I’ve also put over 460 miles on some Boston 2s and they’re still going. Have put about 90 miles on some new Boston 3s and they are a fantastic update. I could run in either for the marathon but will go with the Adios 2s to save some weight and feel a little faster. Cheers!

          • Brian April 27, 2012 at 6:45 am #

            Thanks George, that’s really valuable feedback on the Adios 2 and the Boston 3. Good to hear you’re finding the Adios 2 has loosened up a bit. Good luck in the marathon, let us know how you go. Brian

  14. Adrian February 7, 2012 at 6:45 pm #

    Thanks Brian,

    Have been looking forward to this review. I’m still slightly confused about what I’m going to do, but it’s likely I’ll get the adios 2 and the hagio to rotate.

    I’m in the 3:45 – 3:00 marathon range, and would like to push further into ‘minimal’ territory, but am not sure I have the biomechanics for it. Only one way to find out I guess!

    • Brian February 7, 2012 at 8:28 pm #

      No worries Adrian, some of the other shoes I mention in the review might also be worth a look. If you’re stepping down, take it gradual and rotate back to your regular trainers as needed. Good luck. Brian

  15. CCCC February 7, 2012 at 1:49 pm #

    Thanks for the review. I run track and XC. Although in track I tend to run 800 meters or less, I still have loved the “fast” feel my original adios’ gave me for speedwork. Hoping the adios 2 don’t feel too much different than the previous. I am worried about the extra stiffness but am glad to hear they are more durable/last longer

    • Brian February 7, 2012 at 1:59 pm #

      Hi Cassie, thanks for the comment. The Adios 2 to me still feels like a fast shoe, but it will probably come down to a personal preference – if you like more ground feel in the forefoot you may not like the new version as much because of the additional stiffness. If you get the chance to try on and run in a pair before you buy that’d probably tell you what you need to know. But happy days, there’s plenty of other cool racing flats around that you can try out for speed work, the new Adidas Hagio, Nike Lunarspider R2 to name two with a flatter profile than the Adios. Brian

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