The science behind Adidas’ $500 single-use super shoe
Ethiopian athlete Tigist Assefa set a new women’s marathon world record in Berlin, finishing in 2 hours, 11 minutes, and 53 seconds, thanks in part to Adidas’ lightweight racing shoes, the ADIZERO Adios Pro Evo 1. The shoes played a role in her remarkable achievement.
Adidas’ new ADIZERO Adios Pro Evo 1 racing shoe weighs just 138g, which is remarkably light compared to the average high-top Converse shoe at 340g. It’s also 40% lighter than any other Adidas racing super shoe, providing improved running economy and energy return for runners. The shoe features a unique forefoot rocker that enhances forward momentum, contributing to record-breaking speed and better running economy, according to Adidas.
Adidas made several weight-saving innovations in the ADIZERO Adios Pro Evo 1 racing shoe. They eliminated the conventional sockliner and used a new version of the Lightstrike Pro foam in the midsole, created through a non-compression molding process. This reduced weight significantly and provided greater energy return for runners. The most significant weight reduction (70g) came from a new cutting-edge outsole, which is the thinnest and lightest Adidas has ever created. Despite its flat design without grooves, the grip remains effective, even in wet conditions, as tested with athletes and wear testers.
Adidas’ ADIZERO Adios Pro Evo 1 racing shoe is made with a lightweight, translucent mesh on top, emphasizing its lightness. While they provide an incredible experience for athletes like Tigist Assefa, these shoes come at a high price, costing £400 in the UK and $500 in the US. It’s worth noting that the shoes are designed for a single race, typically one marathon, along with some time for familiarization. Tigist Assefa is not the sole athlete benefiting from these shoes; others are also utilizing them for their races.
Elite runners, including Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir, have used the ADIZERO Adios Pro Evo 1. While the shoe is 1mm below World Athletics’ 40mm limit for road races, it has sparked debate in the running community about whether such advanced footwear amounts to “technological doping,” similar to the controversy surrounding Nike’s Vaporfly shoes in 2016. Despite its price tag of £400 in the UK and $500 in the US, the shoe is intended for a single marathon plus some familiarization time.
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