Nike has dominated in the marathon department for the past two years thanks to its record-breaking Zoom Next% series. The sneakers faced accusations of working too well, after 31 of 36 podium positions in the six major marathons went to runners wearing the Zoom Vaporfly Next%, but avoided a ban. A year prior, Eliud Kipchoge wore a version of the shoe as he set the world record at 2:01:39. Kipchoge also completed the first sub-two-hour marathon in 2019, although not in an official capacity.
Now, Adidas has unveiled its answer in the form of the new Adizero Adios Pro. The marathon sneaker's design breakthrough comes in the form of EnergyRods, a series of five tuned carbon-infused rods that mimic the metatarsal bones of the foot. These will allow runners to maintain their speed for longer, as well as reducing impact on the body.
Adidas has its own history of breaking records — The Adizero series began in 2008, and that year Haile Gebrselassie broke his own world record and become the first runner to finish the marathon at under 2:04 while wearing the Adizero Adios 1. While Adidas says its goal was to create its own fastest running shoe, everyone else knows what the real goal is: To topple Nike.
The two brands will be forever competing with each other, but we may not find out this year if Adidas is able to overtake Nike because of the coronavirus. Three of the remaining five major marathons have been canceled, and the London and Chicago Marathons may very well suffer the same fate. Both are tentatively slated for October, but their organizers have admitted they're uncertain if they'll be able to follow through. One thing is certain, though: Nike's Air Zoom Alphafly Next% looks much cooler.
What else is the Adios Pro packin'? — In addition to the EnergyRods, the Adizero Adios Pro contains two layers of LightstrikePRO, Adidas' lightest and most responsive foam to date. The material maximizes cushioning and stores energy. The EnergyRods sit in between the two layers and atop them is a carbon-fiber heel plate intended to stabilize the ankle joint and correct any bending behavior of the runners' foot.
Also new is the Celermesh material used for the upper. It's Adidas' thinnest mesh material yet and is at once lightweight but durable. Consider it an advanced version of the brands' signature Primeknit.
Register for a chance to buy — The Adizero Adios Pro will go on sale on June 30 through Adidas' app, but those interested in buying can register now for a chance at winning the draw. This first color variant consists of signal coral and white, but we'll be sure to see more in the future. Adidas will have to get these on as many runners' feet as possible to take back the conversation from Nike.