At first glance, there seems to be a lot going on with the Adidas Solar Glide, external heel counter, high tag at the back, rails down each side, stripes and various textures on the upper.
It’s easy to look at the shoe and think “wow, it looks like someone got carried away with their scrapbooking materials in the design lab”.
This leads to the big question, what is it all for?
I’m going to break it all down by the components of the shoe and discuss each feature, hopefully by the end it will be clear exactly how incredibly well designed this shoe really is.
The upper of this shoe looks busy indeed, stripes across the toe-box, the iconic 3 Adidas stripes emblazoned on each side, beneath the stripes there is a stiffer almost clear midfoot saddle, the classic flexible, plastic heel counter we have seen on many Adidas runners now and a funny little area on the right side of the toe box with yet a different pattern. Each of these features has a purpose.
The heel counter which I will delve into later is external primarily I believe because that way it doesn’t rub, and they don’t need to add another layer of material between it and your sock. The clear material forming the midfoot saddle adds more support to that region hugging your foot and adding strength to the upper.
The stripes across the toe box are there to add flex where you want and need it to the upper material but to allow stretch for a more generously sized forefoot.
The patterned area over the big toe is a tougher area that will help to reduce the chances of a hole being worn in the upper by the big toenail of those who have a tendency lift their big toe when the lift their foot.
Having sold shoes for the past 2.5 years, I can tell you this last feature is very clever, one of the most common complaints I hear from runners and walkers alike is that there is a hole about an inch back from the tip of the big toe. Most people fail to realize that it is a biological issue in most cases rather than a manufacturing flaw.
Overall, it has enough stretch for those of us who have a slightly wider foot, but it is still just a regular D width so if you need a solid 2E or 4E width it’s probably too narrow for you.
Many runners and walkers need to be able to put an orthotic in their shoe, in this case, I would approach with caution and try before you buy because although the upper is generous enough you may run into issues if you have a high instep and a thick orthotic.
The midsole of this shoe is remarkable. It is comprised of 85% Ultra boost capsules and 15% EVA in the form of the guide rails situated on both the medial and lateral side.
The shoe comes in both a neutral and stability version with a denser area of Ultraboost midsole along the medial longitudinal arch for those who pronate more heavily in the stability version. The guide rails in the neutral version, however, are in my opinion enough stability for a light to moderate pronator.
To touch on these rails a little, my view is that they are an evolution of stability technology and I feel they will supersede the more traditional dual-density EVA medial posting system we see in some of your more traditional stability runners.
The guide rails tend to help reduce excess movement and provide motion control to either the medial or lateral side which makes the shoe more versatile and able to be used by runners who tend to roll either in or out (pronate or supinate for those of you more down with the lingo).
I have noticed however that like all EVA midsoles it is starting to wear and develop creases, though this does not concern me because the real cushioning comes from the other component of the midsole, the Ultraboost component.
This is in my view the most responsive midsole material that I have tested. It is beautifully soft but not gluggy, it provides exceptional energy return as well as cushioning. Overall, I find this to be supportive, flexible enough to conform to terrain and exceptionally cushioned.
One criticism though is that if you are a toe striker, you may notice the Ultraboost component ends about 2 inches before the EVA rails and you may notice that during your runs.
The Heel Counter
The heel counter is split and flexible, this means that those of you who find that you tear up your inner lining around the heel in shoes with a full wrap around rigid heel counter will likely not experience that in this style of shoe.
It is stable enough to give heel control and prevent your rear foot slipping off of the midsole but doesn’t attempt to lock your heel tight and prevent motion. This, in my opinion, is all you need, research has shown that the more rigid hell counters fail to prevent calcaneal eversion anyway.
Overall its perfect, there's room for your Achilles tendon to move, not too heavy and gives all the support you will need.
The one piece stretched web outsole is going great so far. I have only put about 60km through these, so I can’t say for sure.
One thing I can tell you though is that over the 2.5years I have sold shoes I’ve never had one of these outsoles returned due to excessive wear.
Adidas uses it prolifically and it seems to work well for my customers. Other styles of the outsole that have multiple small pieces can tend to peel off here and there especially if used on gravel or off-road.
I have tested these on grass, gravel, and pavement and they offer great traction on all surfaces and the flared forefoot gives an optimal ground contact for traction and propulsion.
Some ladies who like their foot to look narrow complain that it makes their foot look wide however as I explain to them no one else looks down on their foot the way they do and thus no one else will even notice.
The inner hugs the foot comfortably but does not have a great deal of plush cushioning. It has, however, what it needs and I never put on these shoes and feel that it is missing anything, also the lack of superfluous padding keeps the weight down.
Weighing in at 306g, it's not super heavy compared to some of the other cushioned and stable running shoes, the 10mm drop keeps the pressure off of your Achilles and the size is generous and true in comparison to other brands.
From beginning to end of every run, this shoe offers a smooth effortless ride that makes you want to go back for more. Coming in at just under $200AUD, it is batting way out of its league.
Whether running, walking, functional training or weights training, I’d recommend this shoe for any activity you would expect a running shoe to be appropriate for.
At 90kg, I find it easy on my knees and sublime on my feet. I will buy more of these when these ones are done.
Adidas Solar Glide adheres to its name - it makes you glide on road while running. It is a neutral shoe and updated version of Supernova, making this shoe more sleek in look and able to reduce a few grams from it.
Solar Glide weighs around 305g, while Supernova was around 323g (9UK).
Size & fit
Adidas solar glide fits true to size and midfoot is wide enough for normal width of the foot. Those who have wide feet have to look for other options.
The upper of the shoe uses an engineered mesh upper, which is fairly breathable. Upper is not as stretchy as Primeknit on Ultraboost but will not cause any issue in terms of flexibility.
The upper provides enough support for long runs. The tongue is also padded and does not cause any issue like slipping or rubbing. Back of the heel has low height for the free movement of Achilles.
Adidas used molded heel cup for the heel support which did a great job while running and kept the heel in place. The heel is not overly padded and does not cause any rubbing.
Adidas solar glide uses very responsive boost midsole. Boost midsole comes in a variety of feels like Pureboost and Ultraboost gives a soft feeling, but the boost midsole used in Solar Glide is firm and provide a very responsive ride and good protection from impact, Solar Glide can be used for tempo runs as well.
Boost can be little heavy as compared to its competitors, but I think it is unnoticeable because of the smooth ride it provided. I have used this shoe for approximately 110 miles, and the boost midsole is as responsive when it was new.
At the lateral side, Adidas provided lateral propulsion rail system for additional support on longer runs. Adidas also used torsion system for better stability, which can be seen as molded plastic infused into the midsole.
The outsole features Continental sole. It uses stretch web pattern which provides flexibility and does not alter the natural running gait. It provided great traction on road and grass.
It has small circular patterns to increase the surface area of contact to provide a great grip. The outsole is very durable it does not show any kind of wear and tear after putting 110miles.
- Good versatile daily trainer
- Good built quality
- Responsive midsole
- Stability version is also available
- Not overpriced
- Available in normal width only
- Midsole may be to firm for those who love plush feeling while running
Adidas Solar Glide is a neutral running shoe. A daily trainer for any kind of run, be it long or tempo run. Solar Glide will not let you down. Adidas upgraded Supernova to Solar Glide and made it even better.
In the last five years, I have run in numerous shoe brands: New Balance, Brooks, Mizuno and Adidas. Let me start by saying that when people have issues with running shoes especially in the beginning of its life, we can’t necessarily blame the particular shoe.
We often need to check out the athlete’s current body alignment. If there are issues in that area, it is usually advisable to sort the alignment out before ditching the shoes.
Sometimes—and I emphasize that word—the shoes get an incorrect reputation when it is actually the athlete’s body that needs to be treated no matter how much of a niggle it might be.
In another review, I can perhaps explore what to look for in assessing your alignment.
Regarding the Adidas Solar Glide, my review won't focus too much on the “tech specs”. I would rather write about my actual running experience in these shoes. I will, however, say the drop is 10mm, so it may not appeal to those wanting a lower drop.
I feel there have been some myths written about this shoe on other websites. I took to the shoe like the proverbial duck to water. From the first run, the shoes were comfortable.
The first myth I found is that some reviews feel the shoe is for heavier runners. While it certainly may suit heavier runners, I am evidence that it works for lighter runners too.
I weigh at my heaviest 131 pounds or close to 60kg. I have never found the shoes heavy at all. The weight of the shoe is 309 grams, and therefore the shoe can work for both a heavier and a lighter runner.
A second myth I read on other websites was that the shoe was not suited to faster-paced interval runs. Again, I have done all my high-intensity workouts in the Solar Glide and have not found myself running any slower than in other brands of shoes that were more race-oriented shoes.
At the top end, my intervals can get to 3min/km using the Solar Glide. I feel this is due to the sole of the shoe returning energy very well. I have also done almost all my races in the Solar Glide.
In the past two years, I have won over five races using this shoe. I can add that I have also got top 3 places in trail races in the same shoe. Thus, I feel it suggests the Solar Glide is a very versatile shoe.
For me, another very noticeable and impressive feature of the shoe is its longevity. In each of the pairs, I have used in the last two years, I have logged 1000+ miles in the same shoe!
In this day and age, that is quite an incredible bonus. Admittedly, I am a lighter runner so heavier runners may not get the same return on miles.
The upper wears out. Let me elaborate on this point a little. It is my observation and indeed experience that numerous shoe brands are interested in making light shoes and in their quest often use a material that wears out.
I feel this is not an issue that only pertains to this shoe. I have definitely experienced the big toe area wearing a hole after a few months in some brands of Asics and New Balance in the last few years.
This did not happen anywhere near as much as, say, 10 years ago. So, I feel it is perhaps an industry issue rather than peculiar to this shoe. The upper of the Solar Glide is light and breathable.
In perspective, as mentioned earlier, despite this observation I have still managed to log a serious amount of mileage on them.
Another aspect to be aware of is the upper gets wet quite easily during a run in the rain. It definitely runs smoothly on rainy days but can get wet but not overly heavy.
For me, these are minor complaints compared to the overall value the shoe offers.
In conclusion, I feel the Adidas Solar Glide is a shoe that is versatile and efficient. If I could coin a phrase, I feel the Adidas Solar Glide is a hybrid of a workhorse and thoroughbred.
If you want a shoe that loves to work both fast and long, this shoe is extremely willing.
The Solar Glide is a good-not-great model by Adidas. After 300 miles of road running and around 40 miles of trail running, the upper of the right shoe has torn in half. I have never experienced this kind of tear before.
I did not notice the tear while running, so it may have happened because of some outside force, but that seems unlikely as a parallel tear has started further down the toe.
Up to this point, the Solar Glides have been a consistent, responsive trainer with only minor issues with the fit and ride.
Comparison with Adidas models
I trained for and ran the 2018 Twin Cities marathon in the Adidas Ultraboost. By comparison, the Solar Glide model feels lighter but less stable underfoot than the Ultraboost.
After two months of running with the Solar Glide, I bought insoles to correct the pain I was feeling in my knee (possibly a strain in my patellar tendon?).
This solved the problem, but the insole I chose added substantial weight to the shoe. I never had this same issue with the Bostons or the Ultraboosts.
My half marathon time in the Solar Glides fell substantially compared to the Boston model. I trained for and ran the same race, the Hyannis Half Marathon in both shoes: the Bostons in 2018 and the Solar Glides in 2020.
For both races at the end of February, I started training at the beginning of January with very similar baseline fitness. In 2018, my time was 1:26:22 while in 2020, my time was 1:30:35.
I would not recommend these shoes for racing, or even tempo runs. The Boston model felt fast and made me want to train fast. The Solar Glides feel like an average responsive trainer.
For longer runs (of 13 miles+), I would rank the three shoes: 1. Ultraboost 2. Solar Glide 3. Boston. For tempo runs, I would rank the shoes in reverse order.
I bought the Solar Glides for the adiboost midsole. The adiboost material feels more responsive underfoot than any other I have trained with, and the Solar Glide is no exception. I immediately feel faster when I switch to the shoe from my Brooks Ravenna.
The older model of Solar Glides (which I purchased in early 2019) had a stretchable heel fabric that began to fall apart after only 100 miles. The new model (purchased in January 2020) has corrected this issue.
The wear on the Continental outsole is slightly more than I would have expected given the mileage. The grip was very consistent on the road. I never slipped, even on wet pavement and in slushy conditions.
My only issues came on mountain trails. I lost grip occasionally on descents studded with big rocks, which should be expected given the design on the shoe.
Still, I was able to put three trail runs of 4000+ feet of elevation gain and 15+ miles on these shoes without a real issue.
The upper is very breathable but still offered enough protection to keep my toes from getting cold on freezing days.
The fit of the shoes is near-ideal. My heel feels locked in, but not over-tight. The toe box feels form-fitting, and the material stretches substantially to accommodate wider feet. The footbed provided appropriate support for my high arches.
The only issue I had with the toe box was while descending ~2,000 feet in the span of two miles on a trail as my foot slipped forward and put pressure on my toenails. Even after this, my toenails were only slightly sore, and none bent or blackened.
My only real complaint is that the footbed is not wider. I have wide feet, and these shoes would consistently give me small blisters on the inside of both feet. This is a persistent problem with most shoes I wear.
The sole of the shoes seems appropriately wide. But, the orange guide rails on each side of the shoe cut the width of the footbed by as much as a centimeter on each side.
Aesthetically, this looks good to me, but it hurts the fit of the shoe.
Adidas Solar Glides after 300 miles
The Solar Glide is a solid trainer to have in rotation, durable to ~300 miles (and probably more if used only on the road). As far as Adidas models go: Ultraboost is a better distance trainer, and the Adizero Boston is a better tempo trainer.
I thought I could save money by going the middle ground with the Solar Glide, but the shoe made me feel slightly slower and more injury-prone.
Good to know
- The Adidas Solar Glide is a running shoe that’s designed for those who have neutral pronation. It makes use of an engineered mesh upper for flexible and breathable support. Printed overlays bolster the façade, ensuring secure coverage.
- The well-known boost™ foam serves as the primary cushioning unit of this road footwear. It is responsible for carrying the foot throughout the running session. A supportive sidewall called the Solar Propulsion Rail keeps the foot locked in place.
- Continental™ rubber is utilized for the outsole unit of the Solar Glide. It is a racing-car grade material that aims to provide protection against wear and tear. The Stretchweb design makes the platform more flexible because of its pods-and-grooves configuration.
The outsole unit of the Adidas Solar Glide makes use of a Continental™ rubber layer. This material covers the entire length of the platform, shielding it from the abrasive nature of the surfaces. It is also the one that doles out traction.
Same with the popular Adidas Ultraboost, the Solar Glide uses the Stretchweb design which involves the level distribution of the rubber compound across the surface of the outsole. Such a configuration forms a grid that has circular traction pods and flex grooves.
Boost™ is a cushioning unit that is born out of the amalgamation of thousands of thermoplastic polyurethane pellets. This full-length technology is the one that’s responsible for cushioning each step and keeping the foot comfortable.
The Solar Propulsion Rail is a raised sidewall that holds the foot in place. It works in conjunction with the main midsole foam, guiding and supporting the foot as it goes through the gait cycle, potentially smoothening the heel-to-toe transitions in the process.
A thermoplastic unit in the midfoot section called the Torsion System bolsters the structure of the midsole. It also supports the underside of the foot, keeping the muscles and tendons engaged and energized throughout the running session.
The upper unit of the Adidas Solar Glide is mainly comprised of engineered mesh. It is a stretchy, cloth-like fabric that offers a next-to-skin feel. It has been updated with a Flex Fold structure, which means that it has indented sections in the forefoot for flexibility.
Synthetic overlays are printed onto the sides of this running shoe. These seamless add-ons bolster the eyelets of the lacing system while also holding the foot in place.
Semi-flat shoelaces help the wearer in maintaining a secure yet customizable fit.
The FitCounter is made of an externally placed molded piece that secures and locks the heel in the foot-chamber. Its purpose is to prevent wobbling and accidental shoe removals.
The cushioned collar and tongue are components on the upper unit that support the dimensions of the wearer’s foot. These padded sections also ward off in-shoe quavering and irregular movements.
How Solar Glide compares
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