Before the VaporFly, there was the Adios. The Adios was one of the most popular racers and the weapon of choice for many of the elite marathoners in the world.
What made the Adios so popular is the fact that it isn’t a true racing flat. In cushioning terms, it’s one step above true racing flats, and people loved that it didn’t beat up their feet over long distances while still managing to maintain its feather-light weight.
Previous versions of the Adios paired Boost foam with a firmer layer of traditional EVA on top of the Boost for more responsiveness and a firmer toe off needed for fast paces.
This year, the Adios 5 is the first version to replace the EVA layer with a TPU layer called Lightstrike. Boost is still used but more conservatively.
Lightstrike is supposed to be Adidas’ new, next generation super foam, but I wasn’t impressed with Lightstrike when I reviewed the Adidas SL20. The SL20 has a midsole consisting of 100% Lightstrike. To me, Lightstrike felt too firm, lifeless, and stiff.
Perhaps Lightstrike needs to be paired with a softer, more forgiving foam to get the best out of it? So does the Adidas Adios 5 with Lightstrike make it a better shoe?
Upper & fit
The upper of the Adios 5 is made from single-layer Celermesh, which is lightweight and breathable. The tongue is thin and flat and is connected on the sides, so no sliding occurs.
The tongue of the Adios 5 has holes in it, which act as air vents to increase breathability and cool the foot down.
The upper is free from plastic cages and any additional stitching to provide midfoot structure. The three stripes are fused onto the sides to save weight.
The heel counter is padded and does a good job of keeping the foot locked in. I’m glad Adidas has not switched to a flared “elf heel” counter for the Adios 5.
The overall fit of the Adios 5 is what can be best described as a snug, racing fit. It’s by no means tight anywhere, but there isn’t much room for your feet to move around inside the shoe, which is what you want in a racing shoe.
The upper of the Adios 5 is extremely polished with no rough edges. It does its job well and has no major flaws.
An interesting design choice that I noticed is that on the back of the shoes, the seam is not symmetrical but tapers off to the side. This doesn’t make any functional difference but is an interesting design choice.
Midsole & ride
A thick slab of Boost foam is located in the rearfoot underneath a layer of Lightstrike. A thin layer of Boost is in the forefoot but is encapsulated inside Lightstrike.
The Adios 5 feels firm but is padded enough to protect your feet for short distances. I felt like 10 km was the perfect distance in the Adios. Anything longer and my legs and feet felt uncomfortable.
The Boost in the midsole adds a soft and bouncy dynamic to the Adios 5. The all-Lightstrike midsole of the SL20 feels flat and dead in comparison.
What makes the Adios 5 so special is that it makes me want to run fast. When I put them on and start running, I automatically speed up and increase my cadence like in no other shoe in my rotation.
Durable Continental rubber is used on the forefoot of the Adios 5, with less durable Adiwear rubber on the heel.
This setup makes sense as you should be spending more time on your forefoot than your rearfoot when racing or doing tempo runs.
Under the midfoot, is where the plastic Torsion shank sits. This is a trademark of Adidas shoes.
It adds midfoot structure, makes the shoe snap quickly back into place, and helps the shoe bend in the correct place in the forefoot.
The midsole is dual-density with the heel having most of the Boost, making the heel much softer than the forefoot.
This big difference in densities prevents the ride transitions from being smooth. The middle of the outsole where the Torsion System lies does not touch the ground, which also adds to the disjointed transitions.
The Adios 5’s insole has a furry layer of fabric glued to the top of it, which is soft to the touch but gathers pieces of sock over time- a characteristic of all Adidas insoles.
The insole is thin and doesn’t add much cushioning, so there isn’t any step-in softness. All of the cushioning is contained in the midsole, which makes the shoe super responsive and perfect for racing or tempo runs.
The Adios 5 reminds me of a precise surgical tool that has a very specific purpose: you have to know exactly how and when to use it.
It’s a fantastic tempo day or race day shoe if your ankles, feet, and calves are strong enough.
The upper provides a secure lockdown and is light and breathable. The Boost in its midsole provides cushioning and bounce, while the Lightstrike provides the snappiness.
At $140, the Adios 5 is excellent value for money compared to all the carbon fibre plated shoes on the market.
For the average person, it might lack the cushioning for a full marathon but if the Kenyans and Ethiopians can use the Adios and set world records in them, it IS possible.
Good to know
The Adidas Adizero Adios 5 is made for those who enjoy effortless and speedy performances on the asphalt. The overall configuration is optimized for optimum flexibility and lightweight support that doesn’t sacrifice speed and durability. The Lightstrike foam compound works with the Boost™ heel layer to deliver lightweight yet reactive performance. Continental™ rubber graces the forefoot section while AdiWear is found at the heel.
Runners are welcome to get a pair with their usual sizing expectations in mind because the Adidas Adizero Adios 5 uses the standard sizing scheme. It can be helpful, however, to personally try the shoe before purchasing it to fully appreciate an in-shoe feel that is not restrictive or uncannily loose.
The sideways fit is affected by the natural shape of this running shoe, which is a sleek performance fit style that is prominent in marathon-format running shoes. The heel and midfoot provide snug coverage while the forefoot section is slightly wide to put an emphasis on the speed-oriented forefoot striking method.
The forefoot section of the outsole unit is made of Continental™ rubber. This technology is commonly used in vehicle tires. The traction is touted to be precise and reliable, as its capacity to resist wear-and-tear. The brand is a frequent collaborator of Adidas, so it has solidified its position as a dependable partner in shoe design.
The heel part has the proprietary AdiWear compound, a durable and grip-ready layer that doesn’t add much weight to the Adizero Adios 5. It can last long, even after many running sessions.
Flex grooves are fashioned in the forefoot section to help the runner when it comes to bending the toe joints and tendons during the toe-off phase of the gait cycle. More flexion means more propelling capacity, which, in turn, would result in a snappy and speedy step.
Underfoot cushioning is a responsibility that is primarily placed on the Lightstrike cushioning unit, a full-length foam piece that is touted to be lightweight, responsive, and flexible. It is also meant to have a more cohesive structure that doesn’t sag quickly. It is not lavishly added to the midsole to maintain the race-ready facade of the Adidas Adizero Adios 5.
The Boost™ technology is added to the heel section as a bolstering piece to ease the landing phase of the step. This well-known feature is made of amalgamated thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) pellets. The resulting unit offers bounciness, reliable shock-attenuation, as well as heightened springiness. Boost™ is an Adidas staple that is fully featured in series like the Pure Boost.
A thin sockliner is placed right above the main cushioning unit, and its purpose is to offer a soft surface on which the foot can rest. It has a fabric top to simulate a luxurious area for the foot to enjoy.
The upper unit is made of a mesh that is light and flexible. The material maintains a silhouette that does not restrict the natural movement capacity of the foot. It has breathing holes to permit air through the interior compartment, thus ensuring a ventilated in-shoe feel.
There are zones of breathability (visible ventilation holes at the front and sides of the fabric upper) to heighten the breathable purpose of the Adizero Adios 5.
Synthetic prints are added to the sides of the facade. These overlays help the fabrics when it comes to securing the foot and keeping it in place. They also maintain the upright structure of the shoe, saving it from slumping or sagging over time.
Some stitching reinforces the collar and the eyestays. These elements bolster the structural integrity of the upper, preventing tears from cropping up.
A traditional lacing system is used for the roof of this Adizero Adios 5. Flat shoelaces snake through discreet eyelets that are armored by synthetic prints. The runner can adjust the tightness or looseness of the cover system, thus enabling a customized wrap that follows personal preference.
The lightly padded collar of this running gear cushions the ankles and the Achilles tendon. It also prevents the foot from slipping off the interior chamber during the running session.
The compression tongue is a thin and smooth tongue unit that contours itself to the shape of the roof of the foot. The smoothness prevents hot spots brought about by material bunching. There are holes on its surface for breathability.