Will Adidas Help You Keep Up the Tempo in the Adizero Tempo 9?

91 / 100 by Joseph Arellano • Level 4 expert

The Adidas Adizero Tempo 9, according to Running Warehouse, is a shoe offering “A responsive ride with a hint of support… best suited for tempo runs, but [it] has sufficient cushioning for daily runs as well.”

Do we agree?

See the verdict below, as well as a rewrite of this statement.

 

 

An Opening Comment

You don’t have to say it. I understand that this review is a bit late to the party due to factors and circumstances beyond our control. But sometimes there’s an advantage to not being an early adopter.

In this case, it’s that Adidas is currently offering the original colorway versions of the Tempo 9 at 40% off of the list price of $120. That’s just $72.00 and some online retailers are offering it for $71.88.

 

The Shoe

The Tempo 9 is a lightweight mild stability shoe. These shoes happen to be among my favorites. They don’t all work, but when they do it is certainly good news.

The Tempo 9 weighs 8.9 ounces in the men’s version, is semi-curved and slip lasted, and offers a 10mm drop. On the road, the drop feels like 6mm. The fit of the shoe is snug and tight, like a racing flat.

Most runners will want to go up a half-size over their walking shoe size. I went up a full size and was glad I did. But it should be noted that the upper on the Tempo 9, like a well-worn slipper, does expand over time.

The laces on the Tempo 9 are not elastic, but they stay tied. It takes some practice to perfect the proper lacing system. Tie the laces too tightly and you may feel some pressure on the top of your feet.

The supplied insole is attractive and relatively thin, but I decided that I wanted more space in this racing flat-performance trainer hybrid. So I substituted an extremely thin Ortholite sock liner which seemed to be a better match for the shoe’s true character.

The Tempo 9 sits on an ultra-responsive BOOST midsole, which is said to use “zones of deeper BOOST material to create added support.” Had I named the shoe, I would have labeled it the Adidas Adizero BOOST Tempo 9.

 

 

The Tempo 9 provides a modicum of stability for slight pronators by utilizing three engineered components: Dual-density BOOST on the medial side, a midfoot torsion brace on the sole, and a strip of applied reinforcement under the heel on the medial side.

These features work well in a non-obtrusive way. The Torsion System brace is quite effective in providing a welcome feel of the structure at the midfoot. (I’m not a fan of running shoes that feel formless; like there’s no there-there.)

You do not need to be a pronator to run in the Tempo 9. Because the support provided is minimal, it is unlikely that neutral runners will feel the anti-pronation mechanics built into the shoe.

And the Tempo 9 will accommodate forefoot and midfoot landers, as well as heel strikers.

 

The Grades

 

Stability: A

The Tempo 9 turns a mild pronator into a neutral runner but does not turn him/her into a supinator.

 

Cushioning: B- to B

The cushioning in the Tempo 9 is fine. However, it is not going to blow one away with pogo stick-like springiness. The shoe is not as springy as, for example, the Adidas Supernova or the Reebok Floatride.

 

Responsiveness/Speed: B+ to A-

The BOOST cushioning allows one to quickly put one’s feet down and pick them up on medium to fast-paced runs.

The bounce back on each foot fall is enough to propel you on to the next step. But there’s not so much bounce that it produces wasted energy.

The semi-firm ride may remind some of the Adidas Adios racing flat. Adidas has dialed in the midsole to the “just right” setting.

The Tempo 9 is not the fastest-feeling shoe on the market, but it offers the low-end torque of a roadster. And it definitely feels speedier than a mainstream trainer.

 

Flexibility: C-

The forefoot on the Tempo 9 is surprisingly inflexible.

This may enhance the responsiveness for faster runners, but I’m hopeful that Adidas will improve the shoe in future editions with one or more deep flex grooves up front.

 

Protection: A

My feel felt fully protected in this shoe as if I were wearing a more substantial model like the Brooks Adrenaline 15, the Mizuno Wave Sky, the New Balance 860 v7, or 880 v7.

 

Ride: B

The ride in the Tempo 9 is similar to that of the Brooks Asteria - another minimal support shoe but is firmer in nature.

The firmness present in the Tempo 9 means that it is not as smooth-riding as the Adidas PureBOOST DPR (deconstructed performance runner) trainer. I give an edge to the DPR in ride quality, but the Tempo 9 and DPR models together would make for a great two-shoe rotation.

 

 

Grip: A- to A

The Continental Rubber sole does an excellent job of holding on to and gripping anything on a running surface.

The downside is that the sole also picks up strange and unwanted items – like wild berries that will discolor the sole.

 

Durability: A to A+

The Tempo 9 shows virtually no wear on its sole after many weeks.

I have little doubt that this shoe’s sole and midsole will hold up for 700 or so miles; about twice the mileage expected out of an average trainer.

 

Style: A- to A

The grey-neon green-black upper on the Tempo 9 is sharp, and Adidas has been out front in producing “24/7” shoes that can be worn for sport, for work, and play.

The shoe definitely gets noticed by younger runner-consumers, perhaps because they relate to its retro 90s appearance. (It’s in the eye of the beholder; however, as some look at the Tempo 9 and see the look of running shoes from the 1970s and 80s.)

 

 

Verdict

I would rewrite the opening statement about the Adidas Adizero Tempo 9 as follows: “This is a responsive, light stability performance trainer. It can be used for daily tempo training runs and also as a protective yet fast-feeling race day shoe.” And this would pretty much sum up why this shoe gets an “A” grade and score overall.

The Tempo 9 gets the job done in almost every respect and is a very good option for someone who can train in a racing flat but prefers more cushioning underfoot.

It would work well for the majority of runners as a trainer, keeping in mind that attention should be paid to getting the proper fit in this somewhat snug and narrow model.

Well done, Adidas!


Joseph Arellano

Joseph Arellano • Level 4 expert

Joseph Arellano has run in running shoes produced by around 20 different manufacturers. When he finds a "perfect" running shoe, he picks up about six pairs. He believes that most problems can be solved though the purchase of a new pair of running shoes.


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