The Berlin Marathon 2024 was billed as a battle of two of the best carbon plate running shoes yet to be launched to the public, and both came out winners. Eliud Kipchoge romped to his fifth Berlin Marathon victory in the Nike Alphafly 3 prototype, but even the GOAT was outshone by Tigist Assefa’s world-record run in the new Adidas Adizero Pro Evo 1 to win the women’s race.
Assefa ran 2hr 11min 53sec to not just break the women’s marathon record, but completely obliterate it—the Ethiopian was 2min 11sec faster than Brigid Kosgei’s previous record, set in 2019.
This was exactly the debut the Adidas Adizero Pro Evo 1 needed, because it was launched with an unprecedented level of hype based on both its incredibly lightweight design—it weighs just 138g in a UK 8.5, according to Adidas—and its absurdly high price—it costs $500 in the US and £400 in the UK.
Adidas also suggests that the Pro Evo 1 is not going to be durable, essentially marketing it as a shoe you pull on to give you the best chance in your goal race. That makes it more of a tool for pros like Assefa aiming to log wins and world records, but that won’t stop amateur runners trying to get hold of the Pro Evo 1.
You have your first chance to do that on Tuesday 26th September, when the Adidas Pro Evo 1 will be exclusively available in the Adidas app. On the Adidas US website the launch time is listed as 3pm UTC, while in the UK it says 9am.
It’s not as simple as being on the app at that time though. You need to sign up for the draw beforehand, since very few pairs of the shoe will be available. To enter the draw you first have to become an Adidas member, which is free, then you have to commit to buying the shoe if you are successful in the draw, which takes place at the launch time. You can enter the draw up until half an hour before it happens.
It’s fair to question whether any running shoe could ever be worth $500/£400, but the Pro Evo 1 could represent the biggest advance in racing shoe tech since the launch of the original Nike Vaporfly. Despite its light design the shoe still has a 39mm stack height at the heel, which drops to 33mm at the forefoot, and the midsole is made from a new version of Adidas’s Lightstrike Pro foam.
The shoe also has Adidas’s EnergyRods in the midsole to add extra propulsion and stabilize the soft and springy foam. The Pro Evo 1 has a very lightweight upper and a thin rubber outsole, with the forefoot mostly covered and two strips at the heel.
Interestingly, Assefa ran in a version of the Pro Evo 1 with a Continental rubber outsole built for wet conditions, which were feared in Berlin. The Pro Evo 1 listed on the Adidas app and websites seems to have a slicker rubber outsole. It looks like Adidas has different versions of the shoe for pros to use in different conditions.
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Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.