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Extended Review: Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 3 Racing Shoe

We take a close look at a pair of triathlon racing shoes that’s best described as “Cybertruck-meets-super-shoe.”

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It may not be a pair of trail shoes, per se, but the Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 3’s dramatic look—one that harkens back to the brand’s trail shoes in the late 90s and their sculpted-out midsoles— actually saves weight and exposes the interesting carbon fiber rods that run the length of the shoe to provide rigidity to the super foam. That reduction of midsole/outsole is hardly noticeable because the base is a wide platform, giving the shoe a rather firm, steady and multi-pace-accommodating action. All of that is quite welcome off the bike.

RELATED: The Best Triathlon Racing Shoes of Fall 2022

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Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 3: The Basics

In lieu of a carbon fiber plate to stiffen the shoe’s Lightstrike Pro foam, Adidas realigned the lateral carbon fiber “Energyrods 2.0”—a super material that was also found in the Adios Pro 2. With a stack height of 39.5mm in the forefoot, the Adios Pro 3 is 2mm higher than its predecessor and brushes right up to the 40mm maximum thickness allowed for road races governed by World Athletics. The added foam does what one would expect, increasing the cushioning while also adding some minimal weight. The Lightstrike works with the rods for a relatively inelastic response of staccato compression—contrasting the observable recoil of Nike’s Alphafly Next% or Altra’s Vanish Carbon.

The updated Adios Pro felt very stable, even with more foam going into the shoe and the cutout under the arch, creating a wider forefoot for a broad, even platform. Compared to previous versions, the roll-through is more even and the toe off is from the center of the forefoot, whereas it used to favor a medial launch. Adidas finished the bottom unit with its favorite Continental rubber tread and the shoes handle well on wet pavement.

At least half the upper is made from recycled materials, and the entire upper is very breathable to allow quick drainage while water dousing at aid stations. The fit is true to size and, if anything, runs a tad long. There’s a convenient heel flap that you can flip up for a speedy entry at T2 and then fold quickly to keep them out of the way during your run.

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Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 3: What Works

The combination of lateral carbon rods to stabilize the Litestrike Pro foam—Adidas’ most resilient foam—gives the Adios Pro 3 a lot of range as far as being tuned to different paces, which is a vast improvement over the original. Unlike many super shoes, the Adios Pro 3 doesn’t demand a sub-six pace to reap its energy-returning performance benefits. This should make triathletes of all speeds very happy.

The bottom unit of the Adios Pro 3 makes it well suited for a half- or full-iron distance tri on tired legs. While not as bouncy as other mega-midsoled, rockered, and carbon-plated shoes, the Pro 3 functions well at a shuffle, making it prime for triathletes in varying degrees of tiredness. The sandwich of two layers of resilient Lightstrike Pro foam above and below the embedded – and exposed – carbon rods and lowered heel-toe differential of 6.5mm serve up a steady, stable amount of stiffness and energy return. 

RELATED: Race In This? Train In That: Triathlete’s Guide To Similar Supershoes And Trainers

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Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 3: What’s Just Fine

Unfortunately, the Pro 3 doesn’t have its foot hold dialed in completely, and the lacing configuration allows for slippage—exacerbated by the slightly abrasive qualities of the upper material. While the mesh does breathe well and doesn’t gain weight when wet (an undervalued bonus) it is a stiff enough fabric that it can rub, and that’s not a good thing at all.

The upper fit is roomy in the forefoot, allowing decent toe splay, but the lacing doesn’t secure the foot properly to prevent motion within the shoe, especially on inclines and declines, which can lead to blisters. Try running in the Adios Pro 3 barefooted ahead of time to determine whether you want to race sans socks. The lightweight tongue may create some of the discomfort because it doesn’t get settled easily or naturally—especially when donning the shoes in a rush—and can fold into itself or slide too much to one side of the other, and that can be aggravating rather quickly. A good run spoiled.

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The updates to the Adios Pro were almost entirely improvements—evening out the ride for the consistent, gently-rockered, tempo-encouraging racer that performs at a range of paces. These will help you increase your cadence and keep you comfortable at a high turnover, even when your legs are knackered. They roll quickly from heel to toe, and the new midsole geometry—with its wide stance of foam and carbon fiber rods—provides a welcoming cushion that quickly puts you right back into toe-off for an efficient gait.

RELATED: How to Pick the Right Running Shoe Today