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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Brian Martin