Racing to win? Here's why you should wear Adidas' Adizero Adios Pro 3 for your next race

adizero adios pro 3
Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 3: Tried and testedRunner's World

The shoe

The Adizero Adios Pro 3 is a world-record-breaking race-day shoe, designed primarily for speed across the marathon (and half marathon) distance. Featuring Adidas’ Lightstrike Pro foam cushioning and full-length energy rods (which you can see from the bottom), the Adios Pro 3 is becoming something of an icon – and a go-to shoe for PB chasers come race day.

How is the Adios Pro 3 different to the Adios Pro 2?

The Adios Pro 1 was worn by athlete Peres Jepchirchir, when she broke the half marathon World Record in 2020. She then wore the Adios Pro 2 when she won gold in the 2021 Olympic marathon. But it’s the Adios Pro 3 that has scooped the most world records.

The Adios Pro 3 was worn by Kenyan runner Amos Kipruto when he won the London Marathon 2022; by Evans Chebet, the winner of the New York Marathon 2022; by Benson Kipruto, the winner of the Chicago Marathon 2022; and by Peres Jepchirchir, who won the Boston Marathon 2022. The list of accolades goes on and on.

The biggest difference between the Pro 3 and the previous iterations is that this is a race-day shoe without a full-length carbon plate. Charlotte Heidmann, Adidas running senior product manager, says, ‘We moved away from using the carbon plate in the Pro 3 and focused instead on using the energy rods. A few years ago, the market was focused on plates, plates, plates, but the nice thing about the rods is that the energy return is better (they don’t feel as slappy), and you save weight. A full-length carbon plate is heavier than if you just have the rod system – and on the Adizero, every gram is important.’

While all the chat on super shoes tends to be focused on the plate (or energy rods in this case), the real MVP with this shoe is the development work put into the foam, the Lightstrike Pro technology. It's a great feeling foam; lively and progressive, with a sense of firmness that give the shoe a feeling of pop, rather than feeling very cushioned. When combined with the rods (which provide stability and propulsion), it's a potent mix.

The mesh upper on the Pro 3 has also been adapted from pervious verions, as has the tongue construction – so it feels pretty different to the Pro 1 and Pro 2. More on this below. Even the stack height has changed to 39.5mm (to cohere with the new regulations from World Athletics, which state that running shoes over 40mm tall are illegal).

adizero adios pro 3
Hearst Owned

What is the Adios Pro 3 like to run in?

When we first slipped these on, we immediately noticed that they felt a little wobbly and unstable to walk around in, but aside from tottering to the start line, these shoes come into their own when you start to run.

From the get-go the adidas Pro 3 feel very responsive; the ride is on the firmer side compared to other high stack, carbon plate/rod shoes and you can feel them rocking you onto your toes and jetting you forward with a magnified toe-off feeling.

This magnified sensation of toe-off comes from shoes profile, the transition from the forefoot to the toes is more aggressive than some race shoes out there, but it suits the style of running the shoes are designed for. These are not for shuffling about it in.

When speed was required, the shoe impressed. For quicker sessions, races, long runs, the Pro 3 was confidence boosting. One of our testers, who raced in the shoe over the half-marathon distance was 'seriously impressed by the comfort and energy return; the Pro 3 seems to keep your legs feeling fresher for longer, allowing you to sustain a quicker pace.’

They’re pretty lightweight, too. And incredibly breathable.

How does the Adios Pro 3 fit?

The advice from adidas is to wear your normal shoe size or only go up half a size, but most of our testers would naturally go half a size in up adidas and the fit of the shoe seemed to match with the rest of the range.

There is zero give in the upper, which will appeal to some, but there were a few issues with this, especially with the lacing. Across the top the foot, the thinness of the upper and tongue offers little padding and some testers found that tightening the laces to a 'normal' level produced hotspots on the top of the foot. After some adjustment and loosening, these hotspots were not a problem, but if you like the feeling of really tying your foot down into a shoe, then you'll need to have a play about with what feels right.

Once feeling good, they felt secure around the arch of our feet, but again due to the laces there were a few issues with locking the heel in place, but nothing to seriously complain about.

One tester did find however find that the lower lace eyelets (the laces are threaded through loops of cord rather than holes at the bottom of the shoe) rubbed the bone at the base of their big toe quite badly. So if you have bunions or bony lumps on your feet, do try these in person before hitting that ‘buy now’ button, as there’s really nothing worse than a shoe that rubs on race day.

adizero adios pro 3
Hearst Owned

RW verdict

There is no denying the winning credentials of this shoe at elite level and for many, that validation with proven results will be enough to convince it's the shoe du jour. However, to cement that position, the Adios Pro 3 boasts impressive energy return, sleek looks and the latest in go-faster technology (whichever way it's branded up), something that translates to quicker miles underfoot, for elites and non-elites alike.

We found the minor fit issues didn't impact on performance once accustomed to how the shoe behaves on the move and if you are a fan of the brand or prefer a shoe that feels positively firm and responsive (rather than squishy and bouncy), then the Adios Pro 3 is a shoe to rival the best out there.

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