Adidas’ latest running shoe comes with a superhero cape on the back. Or, at least that’s how I like to think of it. A tiny triangular piece of fabric, Adidas officially calls it a “heel blinker.” For the life of me, I can’t figure out any functional purpose it could possibly serve. But in my mind, it helps me go fast—which comes fairly easily in these kicks.
The Adizero SL ($120) is the latest launch in Adidas’ Adizero franchise. This line’s claim to fame is that pro runners have broken seven world records over the past two years while wearing Adizeros. This new model is made with the same technology that’s used in those pro shoes, namely the Lightstrike Pro foam in the forefoot. But the Adizero SLs are designed as a daily training shoe for the everyday runner (meaning they’re meant to carry you through a few hundred miles rather than perform for just one race). And at $120, they’re on the wallet-friendly side for top-notch trainers.
- Weight: 7.4 ounces
- Heel to toe drop: 8.5 mm
- Midsole: Lightstrike EVA midsole frame
- Upper: Mesh
- Colors: 3
What they feel like on a run
I first laced up my pair for a few miles the day after a light snowstorm. The sidewalks were still slippery with some patches of ice and snow. Honestly, I would have put on trail shoes if I’d realized how much had stuck around. But I quickly learned that the grip on the bottoms of the Adizero SL soles keeps my footing surprisingly secure.
I’ve now run with these on concrete sidewalks, asphalt roads, dirt and gravel paths, and cobblestones in sunshine, rain, snow, and ice. The only times I’ve felt that I have to slow down my pace is on super slippery wet stones or icy patches. Although these soles don’t have the exaggerated lugs of a trail runner, their traction is meant for a variety of surfaces and conditions, and I’ve found they hold up on wet roads or packed dirt terrain far better than your typical running shoe. While the light mesh upper won’t keep your feet dry in the rain or snow, the grippy rubber sole will help to keep you upright.
As a recovering mega-cushion lover, I’ve found there’s plenty of give in the Lightstrike EVA midsole for a comfortable, stable ride without feeling like I’m sinking into the shoe. I’m not so far off the ground that I can’t feel it, but there’s enough foam that my metatarsals aren’t going to get cranky after just a few miles. The heel-to-toe drop is a pleasant 8.5 mm, just a little less than the average of 10 mm for running shoes.
I can understand why this model has a reputation as a fast trainer: The push-off is satisfyingly springy, thanks to that Lightstrike Pro foam in the forefoot. Though there’s no trampoline-like carbon-fiber plate, I can feel these shoes gently propel my stride forward with each step.
I will say that the Adizero SLs run big. On the treadmill especially, I feel like there’s a lot of shoe in front of my toes. Not that they’re heavy, just roomy. (In fact, these sneaks are fairly lightweight, clocking in at just 7.4 ounces.) Once the shoes started to get a bit worn in after a few runs, my heel began slipping out the back. Luckily, pulling the laces through the extra eyelet near my ankle is enough to help lock the shoe in place, but if I were to get this model again, I’d probably size down.
Who they’re best for
Runners looking for a high-performing, versatile daily trainer without breaking the bank might enjoy the Adizero SL—particularly if you’re someone whose runs take you from concrete sidewalks to packed dirt trails, or you’re often getting your miles in on wet roads.
Adidas recommends these for everyday running, up to half-marathon distances. I can see why: Comfortable and quick, they’ve become my go-to for easy runs. Who wouldn’t want some daily superhero energy?
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