Why the New Adidas Adios 8 Is My Favorite Speedy Shoe

The latest update from the Adidas Adios line restores the franchise’s snappy, dependable ride and makes it one of the highest performing, non-carbon-plated trainers on the market today

the adidas adios 8 shoe is gray with green stripes

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I’ve been an ardent fan of the Adidas Adios for over a decade. I bought my first pair in 2012, four years after Halie Gebreselassie broke the 2:04 barrier in the marathon in the original Adios. I can still picture him flying to a world record on a moody day in Berlin while wearing a fluorescent yellow prototype.

His whiplash finishing time of 2:03:59 shattered everyone’s conception of fast, and, every time I laced them up, I held confidence that I, too, could be speedy. Since then, I’ve worn several versions of the top-shelf racing shoe throughout its lifecycle, thousands of miles clocked on road workouts and light trails.

I love this shoe.

Which is why the recently released Adios 8 arrived at a particularly interesting time, a time of leaps and bounds in high performance footwear, where supershoes and carbon plates have stolen the show, and often for good reason. I wondered: What role does a shoe like the Adidas Adios 8 fill today? What role does a non-carbon-plated, high-performance flat like the Adios play in a shoe ecosystem full of Alphaflys and Endorphin Elites and Rocket Xs?

I took the latest version of my beloved Adios out for a spin to find out.

A running shoe with green stripes in front of red flowers in the background
(Photo: Nicholas Triolo)

The Adidas Adios: A Quick History

Before we look under the hood, it might be helpful to contextualize the Adidas Adios. Adidas started making performance shoes in the 1920s—the three stripes have been on the feet of Olympic athletes since Amsterdam in 1928—which means that, for nearly a century, the company has been refining footwear for some of the fastest running performances…ever.

The Adidas Adios shoe first emerged on the scene in 2008, following Gebreselassie’s aforementioned marathon record and alongside Adidas’ launch of the “Adizero” line, a proprietary innovation led by Japanese shoe designer Toshiaki Omori. The Adizero group sought to obsessively reengineer shoes and apparel to be as lightweight as possible, while still hitting the highest performance marks. Cult classics like the Adidas’ Boston, first debuted in 1982, got pulled into the Adizero vortex in 2010, and the franchise grew with shoes like the Takumi-Sen, the Adios and its carbon-plated version, the Adios Pro—we’ll get to these later—the Prime X, and others.

The Supershoe Revolution Will Be Televised

For nearly a decade, the Adidas Adios dominated road racing podiums before Nike’s 2016 introduction of supershoes to the market, demanding responses from other players to stay competitive. In June 2020, Adidas launched the Adios Pro, but the non-carbon-plated Adios continued to live on, by that time living into its sixth incarnation.

Interestingly, the Adios 6 was the first version in which I ever noticed any significant change in the Adios quality and durability. The Adios 6 didn’t quite work for me. Sure, I wore them for hundreds of miles, but they felt narrow and unstable. They blew out faster. And, forgive me, all those technocrat shoe reviewers out there, but the outsole rubber felt slappy and flat, offering less responsiveness than previous versions.

Last summer’s Adios 7 saw minor updates to its upper, and a few ounces shaved, but concerns about durability and overall comfort remained. Was this non-supershoe getting ignored, at risk of being phased out? Finally, this June, Adidas introduced the Adios 8, with the promise of a significant overhaul.

The results? Maybe the best Adios yet.

A two panel look at the adidas shoe
(Photo: Courtesy Adidas)

Adidas Adios 8: The Specs

The Adios 8 features a 28mm stack height in the heel with 20mm in the forefoot—both 1mm higher than the Adios 7—with the same 8mm drop. Under the forefoot is a layer of the brand’s top-end, bouncy Lightstrike Pro foam while softer, lighter Lightstrike 2.0 cushions under the heel and midfoot.

The pink Energy Torsion Rod 2.0 system follows the outsole from heel to toe for wobble prevention, with a new, third rod running down the middle to provide more snap (the flexible material acting more like a rebounding spike plate than the curved, rigid, rocker plates in supershoes). On the outside, you’ll find Continental rubber, mainly under the forefoot.

But you’ll find the most significant update in the Adios 8 in the upper, a fine mesh made from 50 percent recycled materials. You can nearly see through the upper to whatever color socks you’re wearing, which makes for a highly breathable yet comfortable ride that holds the foot securely for confident, powerful turns and push-offs. In addition, the shoe has a very thin, partially gusseted tongue, adding up to less than 200 grams (7 ounces!), the lightest Adios that’s ever been. (Chef’s kiss.)

the adidas adios 8 shoe is gray with green stripes
(Photo: Courtesy Adidas)

Where Does the Adidas Adios 8 Shine?

Unlike the trend of high stacks which need to be moderated by carbon plates, the Adidas Adios 8 commits to a reasonably low stack (for comparison: the Adios Pro 3 has 39.5 mm in the heel, opposed to 28 mm in the Adios 8), which keeps your foot closer to the ground and makes your stance more stable and agile.

The ride, however, is still propulsive and protective. I found this shoe performs exceptionally well for fast workouts and tempos—its lightweight, breathable pop tempted me to try and replicate Gebreslessie’s kick in Berlin—but less so when moving slower—as soon I backed off the pace, its minimal cushion resulted in a subtly less smooth ride.

Another of the Adidas Adios 8’s main appeals is the price. For $130, you are getting a lightweight, high-performance racing shoe that will endure hundreds of miles of workouts and racing at a fraction of the cost of supershoes.

A shoe with green stripe in the grass
(Photo: Nicholas Triolo)

The Bottom Line

After a decade-long love affair with the Adidas Adios, I’m happy to report that my involvement with this shoe will remain unabashed. And though I still reminisce about some of the more robust earlier models of the Adios, this new Adios 8 is winning me over as a cool-kid streamlined trainer that is extremely fun to wear.

I look forward to lacing them up each time for two main reasons: First, call me shallow but they look sleek and wrap perfectly around the foot, without being too narrow. Second, when I pull out the Adios, I just know I’ll be going fast. They will now undoubtedly be my go-to shoe for tempos, progressions, and track work.

So if you’re a seasoned Adios lover, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. And if you’ve never owned a stripped down, race-ready road flat but are looking for a speedy shoe and aren’t willing to take a loan out for a $300 pair of supershoes—or have some and find them too squishy or controlling—the Adios 8 might just be the perfect addition to your lineup.

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