Our verdict

The Adidas Supernova 3 is a value-oriented daily trainer that nails quite a few things. We found in the lab that it's a stable choice, clearly designed for heel strikers, coupled with a well-ventilated engineered mesh and a spacious upper that easily accommodates wide feet. On the flip side, it might not win over advanced runners due to its limited energy return and relatively high heel-to-toe drop. We also observed that the outsole's durability leaves room for improvement, which is an important factor for those who typically wear down shoes quickly.

Pros

  • Highly stable
  • Excellent cushioning for heel strikers
  • Impressively durable upper
  • Outstanding ventilation
  • Roomy upper for comfortable fit
  • Fantastic value
  • Versatile enough for everyday wear and gym use

Cons

  • Midsole is firm and provides low energy return
  • Outsole shows limited durability
  • Not suitable for forefoot strikers

Audience verdict

82
Good!

Who should buy

We highly recommend the Adidas Supernova 3 for:

  • New runners seeking a first shoe with exceptional ventilation, ideal for summer jogs.
  • Heel strikers in need of a shoe with a high heel-to-toe drop and a moderately firm midsole.
  • Budget-conscious athletes aiming for a running shoe that can 2/3 runs a week without breaking the bank.

Adidas Supernova 3

Who should NOT buy

Based on our lab tests, we do not recommend the Adidas Supernova 3 for those seeking comfort in long runs or for forefoot and midfoot strikers. Its lack of forefoot cushioning makes it a less-than-ideal choice for more than 10 miles, and even short runs may be uncomfortable for certain running styles. We suggest the Saucony Axon 3 instead.

Additionally, we found that the outsole's durability is really subpar, which is a major concern for those who wear out the rubber quickly. 

Adidas Supernova 3

If that's crucial to you, and you're willing to invest more, the Adidas Ultraboost 1.0 features a Continental outsole offering a similar ride and drop, though at a higher price point. Alternatively, we believe that the similarly-priced Nike Downshifter 12 could also be a worthy option.

Breathability

Breathability is often a concern with value-oriented shoes. At first glance, the Supernova 3's upper appeared super-thin, but black shoes can be deceiving when guessing airflow. So, we decided to move beyond guesses and start testing.

The first test, crucial for assessing breathability, involves our smoke-pumping machine. The Supernova 3 excelled here, earning a perfect 5/5.

Using our light, we pinpointed areas with more airflow. It's clear that the toebox and the lateral side of the forefoot are thinner, featuring a carefully structured mesh that balances ventilation and support—a smart move by Adidas.

Adidas Supernova 3 Microscope

Examining the mesh under our microscope, it's evident that Adidas uses two different layers. There's an outer layer covering the entire shoe and a second one adding structure and support in specific areas.

Adidas Supernova 3 mesh

However, not everything is perfect, which makes sense because this is a shoe that aims to a lower price point. Thus, the trade-off is that the upper doesn't feel cozy or stretchy at all.

Test results
Supernova 3 5
Average 3.8
Compared to 234 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Toebox durability

The great thing about rough uppers is their impressive durability. Typically, the softer the material, the greater the damage it suffers. And the Supernova 3 offers actually the opposite experience.

That's why, under our rigorous Dremel test, we found that it delivered a good performance, scoring a fantastic 4 out of 5.

Adidas Supernova 3 Toebox durability
Test results
Supernova 3 4
Average 2.4
Compared to 168 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Toebox durability
5

Heel padding durability

Next, we focused on the heel area and conducted the same test—5000 revolutions per minute and 3.2N of force with the Dremel.

The outcome was identical—4/5!

Adidas Supernova 3 Heel padding durability
Test results
Supernova 3 4
Average 3.2
Compared to 164 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel padding durability
5

Outsole hardness

Curious to see if this trend continued, we turned the shoe over to inspect the outsole. We didn't find any Continental rubber, which wasn't surprising since it's a value-oriented shoe from Adidas. That feature is typically reserved for their pricier models.

Adidas Supernova 3 Outsole

The outsole features a large central cutout to reduce weight and several smaller gaps that we think are there to enhance flexibility.

In terms of hardness, we measured 81.0 HC, which is pretty much average. This suggests the shoe should have at least decent durability.

Adidas Supernova 3 Outsole hardness
Test results
Supernova 3 81.0 HC
Average 80.5 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 285 running shoes
Number of shoes
52.1 HC
Outsole hardness
93.0 HC

Outsole durability

For our third Dremel test, we aimed to assess the durability of the non-Continental outsole.

Regrettably, it showed one of the poorest performances we've seen in our lab for this test. The 3.4 mm indentation left by the Dremel, compared to other running shoes we've tested, was frankly disappointing.

Adidas Supernova 3 Outsole durability
Test results
Supernova 3 3.4 mm
Average 0.9 mm
Compared to 146 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole wear
2.0 mm

Outsole thickness

The situation worsens because, rather than adding thickness to compensate for the poor durability, Adidas opted for just 2.5 mm, which falls below average.

Adidas Supernova 3 rubber

This thinness could result in early wear and tear for runners who typically cause damage in this area.

Adidas Supernova 3 Outsole thickness
Test results
Supernova 3 2.5 mm
Average 3.2 mm
Compared to 304 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole thickness
6.6 mm

Weight

Weighing in at 9.7 oz (274g), the Supernova 3 does a good job on the scales.

However, it has a subtle trick—it clearly packs less foam than its competitors, which is something we plan to measure in our next lab tests.

Adidas Supernova 3 Weight
Test results
Supernova 3 9.67 oz (274g)
Average 9.38 oz (266g)
Compared to 305 running shoes
Number of shoes
5.26 oz (149g)
Weight
12.56 oz (356g)

Cushioning

Heel stack

The heel has a moderate stack height. In today's standards, it might be considered slightly thin, but a few years back, it would have been viewed as a max-stack shoe. This just shows how road running shoes are evolving.

At 30.7 mm, we think it offers enough cushioning for heel strikers, even heavier ones. However, if you're accustomed to maximalist shoes, the Supernova 3 might feel a bit thin, and you might prefer something like the Adidas Adistar 2.0.

Adidas Supernova 3 Heel stack
Test results
Supernova 3 30.7 mm
Average 33.7 mm
Compared to 304 running shoes
Number of shoes
7.6 mm
Heel stack
45.7 mm

Forefoot stack

The forefoot presents a contrasting scenario. With a mere 18.2 mm thickness, it offers minimal cushioning. In fact, once you remove the insole and outsole, there's hardly 1 cm of foam left.

This low cushioning is a key reason why we advise against the Supernova 3 for forefoot strikers, as we mentioned at the beginning of this lab review.

Adidas Supernova 3 Forefoot stack
Test results
Supernova 3 18.2 mm
Average 25.0 mm
Compared to 304 running shoes
Number of shoes
7.6 mm
Forefoot stack
36.9 mm

Drop

The significant difference between the heel and forefoot heights hinted at a massive heel-to-toe drop, and indeed, it's 12.5 mm.

While they work wonderfully for extreme heel strikers, anyone with a forefoot or midfoot strike technique should steer clear of the Supernova 3.

Adidas Supernova 3 Drop
Test results
Supernova 3 12.5 mm
Average 8.7 mm
Compared to 304 running shoes
Number of shoes
-0.8 mm
Drop
16.1 mm

Insole thickness

The insole, measuring at 5.0 mm, is a bit thicker than what we typically find in our lab tests, though it's nothing extraordinary.

Adidas Supernova 3 Insole thickness
Test results
Supernova 3 5.0 mm
Average 4.5 mm
Compared to 300 running shoes
Number of shoes
1.5 mm
Insole thickness
7.3 mm

Midsole softness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

The Supernova 3 sports a dual-foam midsole. In the forefoot, midfoot, and upper heel, it uses Bounce (27.0 HA), an EVA foam by Adidas commonly found in their entry-level daily trainers.

Let's just say it doesn't quite live up to its name.

It leans towards the firmer side, and you shouldn't expect much energy return from it at all. If you're looking for a plush midsole experience, this isn't the one.

In the lower part of the heel, there's a chunk of Boost (secondary foam). We'll delve deeper into this secondary foam in the next section.

Adidas Supernova 3 Midsole softness
Test results
Supernova 3 27.0 HA
Average 21.4 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 232 running shoes
Number of shoes
8.5 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
41.5 HA

Secondary foam softness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

As we mentioned earlier, the lower part of the heel features Boost, Adidas's well-known foam. It's a bit softer than Bounce (24.4 HA) and feels noticeably better since it's made from TPU pellets, not EVA.

However, Boost's major downside is its weight. We believe this is why Adidas only used a small chunk of it, aiming to add extra cushioning for heel strikers without adding too much heft overall.

Adidas Supernova 3 Secondary foam softness
Test results
Supernova 3 24.4 HA
Average 24.9 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.

Difference in midsole softness in cold

To gauge how the Bounce foam performs in cold conditions, we chilled it in the freezer for 20 minutes before testing it again.

Impressively, we observed only a 9.7% difference from the room temperature reading, which is fantastic for an EVA-based foam.

Adidas Supernova 3 Difference in midsole softness in cold
Test results
Supernova 3 9.7%
Average 25.5%
Compared to 231 running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in midsole softness in cold
100%

Stability

Lateral stability test

If you're okay with a midsole that's on the firmer side, you'll enjoy some inherent perks, like enhanced stability.

We can confidently say that in the world of budget-friendly daily trainers, there aren't many neutral shoes that offer more stability than the Supernova 3.

Torsional rigidity

As we tried to bend and twist the Supernova 3 by hand, we encountered a bit of resistance. This led us to rate its torsional rigidity at 3 out of 5.

Test results
Supernova 3 3
Average 3.2
Compared to 283 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

We had a similar experience with the heel counter. Adidas played it safe, opting for a moderate approach that we also rated 3 out of 5.

Test results
Supernova 3 3
Average 2.8
Compared to 267 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

Now, let's discuss the shoe's dimensions. In the forefoot, we measured 114.8 mm, providing enough stability without making the shoe too large.

Since we've already ruled out the Supernova 3 for forefoot strikers, this seems like a smart approach. Most people wearing this shoe will likely land on their heels, needing stability in the rear rather than a lot of support in the front.

Adidas Supernova 3 Midsole width in the forefoot
Test results
Supernova 3 114.8 mm
Average 113.7 mm
Compared to 305 running shoes
Number of shoes
100.5 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
126.5 mm

Midsole width in the heel

For that formula to be effective, a wider-than-usual heel is essential, and luckily, that's exactly what we have here.

Adidas has almost designed a heel reminiscent of a stability shoe, measuring an impressive 98.6 mm on our caliper. That's why, during our tests, we felt confident that heel strikers would absolutely love this one!

Adidas Supernova 3 Midsole width in the heel
Test results
Supernova 3 98.6 mm
Average 90.5 mm
Compared to 305 running shoes
Number of shoes
74.9 mm
Midsole width in the heel
106.6 mm

Flexibility

Stiffness

We were thrilled to see how effortlessly the Adistar 2.0 bent in the lab, requiring only 17.6N of force to hit the 90-degree mark. That's remarkably low, making perfect sense considering its minimal foam in the forefoot and strategic outsole cutouts to boost flexibility.

This outcome is crucial because a stiffer shoe tends to be less appealing for everyday, all-day wear. However, the Supernova 3 is versatile enough for a walks, gym sessions, or even a shopping evening.

Test results
Supernova 3 17.6N
Average 29.2N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 287 running shoes
Number of shoes
2.2N
Stiffness
94.4N

Difference in stiffness in cold

In colder temperatures—after 20 minutes in the freezer—the Bounce foam once again showed remarkable performance, becoming only 21.3% stiffer.

Test results
Supernova 3 21.3%
Average 35.9%
Compared to 287 running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in stiffness in cold
148%

Size and fit

Toebox width at the widest part

Now, let's examine the upper. We measured 102.3 mm at its widest part, making it suitable for those with wide feet.

Adidas Supernova 3 upper

It's also a great fit for runners with average-sized feet, but might feel a bit wobbly for those with narrow feet.

Adidas Supernova 3 Toebox width at the widest part
Test results
Supernova 3 102.3 mm
Average 98.4 mm
Compared to 305 running shoes
Number of shoes
89.5 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
109.1 mm

Toebox width at the big toe

In the big toe area, we took another measurement and found it to be 78.9 mm. This is more in line with a regular-sized shoe, not as wide as the previous measurement, but still roomy!

Adidas Supernova 3 Toebox width at the big toe
Test results
Supernova 3 78.9 mm
Average 78.2 mm
Compared to 179 running shoes
Number of shoes
60.4 mm
Toebox width at the big toe
92.5 mm

Tongue: gusset type

The Supernova 3 mainly targets beginners or those seeking a reasonably-priced shoe, which means sacrificing some premium features. One such compromise is the lack of a gusseted tongue, as it isn't attached to the sides.

Adidas Supernova 3 Tongue: gusset type
Test results
Supernova 3 None

Comfort

Tongue padding

The tongue is extremely padded, with two full slabs of foam totaling 10.0 mm.

Adidas Supernova 3 tongue

We believe this might be a bit excessive and Adidas could probably reduce it by a few millimeters, maintaining the same comfort while cutting down on weight. However, if all that matters to you is comfort, the Supernova 3 really delivers.

Adidas Supernova 3 Tongue padding
Test results
Supernova 3 10.0 mm
Average 5.6 mm
Compared to 302 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.5 mm
Tongue padding
14.2 mm

Heel tab

We noticed the lack of a heel tab, which would have made slipping on the shoes easier.

Instead, Adidas chose to place the model's name (Supernova) in this area, which, frankly, doesn't look very appealing to us.

Adidas Supernova 3 Heel tab
Test results
Supernova 3 None

Removable insole

The insole is removable since it isn't glued down. Also, thanks to the regular shape of the last, you can fit nearly any third-party orthotic into the Supernova 3.

Adidas Supernova 3 Removable insole
Test results
Supernova 3 Yes

Misc

Reflective elements

Sadly, we noticed that Adidas overlooked adding reflective elements, making you less visible at night, particularly in this black colorway.

Adidas Supernova 3 Reflective elements
Test results
Supernova 3 No