The Adios Pro 2 is a terrific racing shoe for half marathons and marathons in particular, and offers a similar level of performance as other top super-shoes while being considerably cheaper than most of them.
- Relatively good value
- Propulsive ride from EnergyRods
- Bouncy Lightstrike Pro foam
- Can be unstable
- Not as good for short races as some carbon shoes
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The fact that my first thought when looking at the Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 2 was that £180 seems like a bargain is indicative of how carbon plate racing shoes have skewed the market.
Most super-shoes cost over £200, and some well over that. Only a few come in cheaper than the Adios Pro 2 – the Puma Deviate Nitro Elite, which never seems to be available, and the Hoka Rocket X and Carbon X 2, neither of which comes close to matching the benefits of something like the Nike Vaporfly.
If the Adios Pro 2 got close to the performance of Nike’s shoes it would be a relatively cheap route into the carbon super-shoe realm for runners. Currently the Vaporfly is £225 (though some colours were launched at £210), the Alphafly is £260, and other top options like the Asics Metaspeed Sky and New Balance RC Elite 2 also cost over £200.
The good news is that the Adios Pro 2 is a bona fide super-shoe, and one of the best running shoes out there, offering a tremendously fast but still cushioned ride that can help you shoot for PBs across pretty much any distance, though I would say it will be best for longer races like the marathon.
Adidas has made a number of significant updates to the previous Adios Pro, the most obvious being a large cut-out on the medial side of the midsole foam designed to reduce the weight of the shoe. Through this space you can also partly see the carbon-infused EnergyRods in the midsole.
These rods run the length of the forefoot of the shoe and broadly track the foot’s metatarsal bones. They are designed to mimic the benefits of a full carbon plate, and the Adios Pro 2 does show there is more than one way to skin a cat when it comes to whacking carbon into a midsole to produce a more efficient ride.
You’ll also find a small carbon plate under the heel of the shoe to increase stability, along with two layers of Adidas Lightstrike Pro foam in the midsole. Adidas is yet to reveal what this material is made of, but whatever it is, it does the job of delivering a comfortable and responsive ride.
The foam is not as bouncy and impressive as the PEBA-based ZoomX foam used in Nike’s super-shoes, and Asics’s FF Turbo foam, used in the Metaspeed Sky, also has a bit more pop to it. Lightstrike Pro still creates a pleasurable ride, though, and it’s a notable improvement on the firm EVA Lightstrike foam Adidas also uses in its line-up of shoes.
On the outsole of the shoe there is a thin layer of rubber, along with an additional section of Continental rubber on the toe for extra grip in your toe-off. A similarly thin rubber layer held up surprisingly well through a lot of miles on the original Adios Pro and the grip has been improved on the Pro 2, though it is clearly a shoe built for the road and the road alone.
Of the runs I’ve done in the Adios Pro 2 it performed best at around marathon pace – not all-out quick, but not slow. On easier runs the shoe felt unstable, and the cut-out in the foam made it a little precarious. I used it during a period when I was nursing an ankle injury and actually upped my pace on runs to increase the stability of the shoe and protect the ankle.
When you are at a steady or marathon pace, however, the shoe has a lovely ride, rolling through your foot strike and pushing you off your toes in a smooth and efficient manner. I didn’t find it as squishy and explosive as the Vaporfly, but you can feel the benefits of the foam and EnergyRods in helping you to push on and hold that kind of longer race pace.
On shorter, hard efforts I still found it worked well. I enjoyed blasting a parkrun and taking it to the track, but it doesn’t feel quite as nimble and speedy as other shoes. I used it alongside the Adios Pro 1 during one track session and actually felt the older shoe was a little speedier on 400m efforts, though I’d rate the Pro 2 as the more impressive option for longer events owing to the smoother ride and the softer overall feel.
When used for a hilly half marathon event the Adios Pro 2 exceeded expectations in how it felt underfoot, protecting the legs and providing plenty of propulsive pace in the latter half of the race. Even at the end of a hard race my legs felt fresh and I have no doubt it would be an impressive marathon racing shoe. I’d still say shoes like the Vaporfly and Metaspeed Sky are more versatile in how they feel for everything from short reps up to 30km-plus training sessions and races, but the Adios Pro 2 is up there with the best half marathon and marathon racers.
Given the choice, with money as no object, I’d still opt for the Vaporfly, Alphafly or Metaspeed Sky ahead of the Adios Pro 2 on race day. But it’s very close, and since the Adios Pro 2 is considerably cheaper it certainly bears considering if you’re looking for a carbon racing shoe, especially for longer distances. I would, however, be wary of it if you overpronate even a little since the midsole cut-out can make it feel less stable even when compared with other high-stack racers.
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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.