There are shoes that look like they’re going to be amazing from the moment you see them – shoes you can’t wait to wear and run in. It’s fair to say that Adidas Adistar is not among those shoes.
When I took it out of the box, it looked impossibly large and weighed in at 336g in a UK9. The foam used for the heels also seemed hard and unforgiving to the touch. Overall, I wasn’t expecting a great deal from Adistar, and was worried that it would be some kind of clunker, just like the Ultraboost 21.
I’m not sure the shoe felt more different on the run than I expected. The Adistar is almost impossibly smooth given its size, and it also operates much lighter than its weight. I’ve run 75 kilometers in this pair now, including a few long runs, and I’ve enjoyed every step I took in the shoe at an easy pace.
Adidas rates the shoe as ideal for long, slow runs, and this is definitely where Adistar excels. It obviously offers a great deal of protection with all of these pads, but the obvious rocker geometry means you don’t notice the high pile at all because you’re moving through your steps with ease.
The cushioning consists of two types of foam: under the middle and forefoot is the Repetitor, then there is a section of Repetitor + under the heel. The latter is a stiffer material that is placed at the heel to provide more stability when hitting the heel.
There are other elements in the Adistar that focus on stability as well, like the angled heel that combats excessive arching, the “bucket seat” design which means your foot sits in the cushion at the back instead of at the top, and reinforced sections at the top to help limit lateral movement. These features are always welcome in a high-stack shoe like this, and may make the Adistar a better choice over softer shoes like the Nike Invincible or Asics Novablast 2 for runners who need a little more stability.
Overall, the shoe has a stronger ride than many extreme cushioning options, although the way the rocker provides a smooth transition from heel to toe meant the Adistar never felt harsh underfoot for me, even when running 20+ distances. kilometres. The feeling of comfort is enhanced by the plush pillow around the collar and on the tongue, although the amount of padding here might make the Adistar feel a little snug on summer rides.
Adistar’s size and weight become an issue when running fast in the shoe. I took it to the track for a session where I ran 20,400 meters of repetitions and used it for the first five of them to see how the speed of 75 seconds on a lap felt. Unsurprisingly, the results weren’t great. The Adistar is really only built for one type of running, and while you can get through gears somewhat on longer courses and progress to steady strides, it’s really only built for easy sessions.
This lack of variety doesn’t count against it given the number of great all-round options available. There are many shoes with enough cushioning to feel comfortable on easy runs that still have enough pop to run faster, too, including the Puma Velocity Nitro, Nike Invincible, Adidas Boston 10 and Asics Novablast 2.
The Adistar is a cushioned maximal shoe designed to provide a comfortable, stable ride for easy running, and it does the job well. It also seems likely to be a permanent option and costs less than many competing shoes at £120 – although that still isn’t exactly cheap. If you have a shoe that spins with room for an easy option that’s not overly soft and springy, but is smooth and stable, it will fill in that spot.
If you’re looking for a more versatile or bouncy option in general, the Adistar falls short of other shoes, and while it does run lighter, some runners will inevitably be swayed by the big numbers on the scales here.
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