Adidas Adizero Boston 3 Review

The Adidas Boston has a good heritage of being a go-to marathon racing shoe that many runners have turned to over the years. The Boston 3 is no exception and is a good option for marathon runners expecting to run in the 3.00 to 3.30 range. I’ve probably run about 150km+ sporadically in the Boston 3s over the past four months and my general impressions would be they are shoes more suited to running a bit quicker than for cruising around on your easy days or slow long runs.

In fact, the final run before writing this review was a perfect case in point: 55 minutes of plodding on tired legs felt pretty awful before upping the pace for a twelve minute effort near the end of my run. The thickness of the mid-sole makes them feel a bit planky when moving slowly. I’d put them on because I planned to finish off the run with 12 minutes or so of tempo paced effort. Once this part of the run got underway the slow plodding fell away and it felt really good to push the pace over the last segment of my run.

Cushion and ride

The Boston is typical of the cushioning used in the Adizero range of Adidas shoes. It’s firm over the first 100 miles and then begins to soften a little and adapt to your foot after a few weeks of running. There’s plenty of cushion in these shoes, but in spite of this they still feel more at home running faster that 5 minute kilometer pace. If I were running a marathon I’d use a well broken in pair.

In terms of stiffness they are not in the league of the Adios 2, but have enough pop for tempo paced running.

Adidas Boston 3 Review


As I’ve indicated the Bostons seem well suited to marathon racing and tempo style running, they encourage the kind of rolling gait that can eat up the miles at a decent but perhaps not break-neck pace. They also help you to keep your weight a bit more forward.

A few runners have indicated they are using them for daily trainers and they could probably fulfill this role once that have softened and adapted to your foot shape. Mine are about to start softening up I think but are still a few runs away from feeling fully comfortable for easy running.

The Boston 3 are also not the lightest shoes going around but I don’t find that to be noticeable out on the run. Personally I wouldn’t use them for speed work but I do know runners who do.

Good for heel-strikers?

It’s speculation but I’m not sure I’d enjoy running in the Bostons if I were touching down on the heel. The decoupled section at the rear of the shoe to me seems to promote instability and collect rocks rather than serve any useful purpose. I’ll leave that as an open question to be answered by readers of this review.

Adidas Adizero Boston 3 ReviewLongevity

I’ve had one anecdote from a fast marathon runner who destroyed his Bostons inside a month. So far this doesn’t look to be happening to my pair or those of a few other runners I know who enjoy using the shoe. I’d be interested to hear from anyone who has had a similar experience of their Bostons wearing quickly.

Adidas Boston WidthFit

The Boston 3 fits pretty snugly but is able to accommodate a wide variety of foot shapes. My wide forefoot gets into this shoe fine whereas it doesn’t get into the Boston’s closest cousin the Adizero Tempo 5. The Tempo 5 feels like a cracking shoe, a bit lighter and stiffer than the Boston but just be aware that up front there isn’t much room. Another good candidate for marathons, half-marathons and other road racing if you have the right foot shape.

Adidas Boston 3 Marathon Racing Shoe


For me I’d be happy to recommend the Boston 3  for the specific purpose of marathon and tempo paced running. As a daily trainer however, I’d be more inclined to get into something a bit more flexible and with better feel for the ground. How do you use your Bostons and have they propelled you to marathon glory?

Words and images by

6 Responses to Adidas Adizero Boston 3 Review

  1. jole September 28, 2013 at 6:11 pm #

    Hi there

    I’m looking to buy a faster model to go with my everyday trainers. Right now I’m using Adidas Boston 1 for faster workouts and racing and they fit perfectly given that I have a size 14 but also quite low and narrow foot. I’m thinking about getting either Boston 3 (have heard that Boston 4 is wide in front so that’s out of the question) or Ace 4 which you both tested. My question is: which of the two models (Boston 3 or Ace 4) is narrower in front according to your observation?
    Comment: One might be surprised that I use Bostons for speed work and 10k to half marathon races (don’t do full marathon ’cause I’m a bit lazy 🙂 ) but they really feel snug and stiff enough to sustain quite a strong tempo (10k and 21k are at 3:45 to 3:50min/km whereas speed work on the track would be at 2:50min/km). But here’s more: I do my longer intervals (5-8 km at about 3:40min/km) in Mizuno Wave Riders and have never felt as if they were wobbly or too soft (Wave Rider 15 was probably the only narrow shoe from Mizuno they ever produced). I feel that at my 75kg to have a fast shoe it’s much more important to have a snug fit in the upper than to have a flat shoe with hardly any cushioning. So I was a bit surprised while reading some of the posts from runners with speeds above 4:00min/km using Bostons for daily training and even contemplating about getting Adios. Based on my experience unless you’re an elite or very light runner Adios is I think going to be way above your head.
    By the way great site with useful shoe reviews.

    • Brian September 29, 2013 at 1:40 pm #

      Hi Jole, I think the Boston 3 would be good for you, but also consider the Adios as you’re plenty fast enough to wear that. You could also look at the Nike Zoom Elite 6 and maybe even try on the Nike Lunar Racer. All those options are better than the Ace I think and give a range of different shoes with reasonably snug fits to try out. Pick the one(s) you like best.

  2. Anand June 27, 2013 at 2:12 am #

    Hi Brian,
    perhaps you can give a bit of advice. I’ve been training for 7,5 months now (from scratch), according to the rungroup instructors have a pretty good technique and generally traveling between 4:20 and 4:50 m/km (5 – 12 km). I’m training for the ‘Zevenheuvelenloop’ in november in Holland. That’s a 15 km run. I’ve been using de Adidas Supernova Glide 4 since starting. Due to increasing speed and better technique I’m considering the boston 3 or adios 2. Just had them on a few hours ago and the boston feels great but looks a lot like the supernova in a way. Salesmen told me 12mm heel-to-toe (I thought it was 8). Adios 2 felt superlight (comparing the supernova’s 345 grams…), but also quite stiff. Can you give me advice on what to buy…? Thanks in advance and I really like your posts/site. Just recently bought your technique book. No suchs blogs/sites in Holland…just webstores with minimal ‘information’. Keep up the good work!

    • Brian June 27, 2013 at 10:15 am #

      Hi Jansen, Thanks for the feedback, much appreciated. The Boston 3 could be a good choice for you, another one to try is the Tempo 5 if Adidas is your preferred brand. The Tempo is stiffer than the Boston but not so much as the Adios – also a very light shoe I’d probably avoid the Adios 2 until you looking to run at or faster than 4.00 km pace.

  3. Andrew H April 29, 2013 at 3:08 pm #

    Hi Brian
    I have beeing running in the Nike Free Run plus 3, then the Kinvaras and have enjoyed them both. Have run a couple of half mararthons and a few longer runs/walks. Am thinking of having a crack at the Marathon later this year. Would the Boston be a good choice to blend in with the shoes I mentioned above for training and running the marathon? I am no minimalist zealot, but wondering if these are a logical progression or not?

    • Brian April 29, 2013 at 5:53 pm #

      Hi Andrew, it depends on what you’re goal time for the marathon might be and what impact taking away some feel for the ground will have on your running. You’re going pretty well at present so I’d be cautious about big departures from your current mix. The Kinvara could be your Marathon shoe – especially the next version 4 which looks a good update. We’ve also had a few runners complete marathons in Frees, even the 3.0 so it depends a bit on how you react to each shoe on your longer training runs. As a general rule the faster and stronger you are you can take on a shoe with a bit more stiffness.