As a new runner, I have made some stupid mistakes. Haven’t we all!? Thankfully, I’ve survived them, mostly unscathed. I’ve run into poles, stumbled off curbs, and tripped over my own two feet. I have over trained, under hydrated, and never stretched. During races, I’ve gone out too fast with no race plan, wearing all the wrong gear (cotton, from head to toe). I have ignored pain and denied injury. I often ran when I should have walked, and walked when I should have rested. While it’s liberating to admit my foibles, there’s one particular mistake I made with every run, and I’m embarrassed to admit it took nearly two years to discover.
For two long years as a running newb, I was a minimalist, running barefoot, and I never even knew it. How can that be? Take a look at the shoes I retired in August, after 500 miles of training and 6 competitive races.
At just 9 ounces, these barely-there shoes were all I wore on my feet for every single run. Typically reserved for more mature runners who seek an alternative to traditional treads, training as a minimalist–in shoes like these Nike Free Runs–takes discipline, and strong, well-developed calves and ankles. As a rookie, I had no business training in these light-as-a-feather barefoot shoes, never mind racing in them. It wasn’t until I was chastised by my Fleet Feet FIT Specialist “Brittni with an I,” that I knew I had even done anything wrong. “You’re totally lucky you can even still run, guy” she whispered while chomping neon green gum and vacantly bobbing her head up and down, as if to agree with herself. “You can do a lot better; I’m going to show you what you really need.” She left momentarily and came back with Adidas SuperNova Boost Glide. Long story short, I bought them. Was this my next stupid mistake?
Adidas SuperNova Boost Glide
I ran 50 miles on them before writing a review, so I wouldn’t be influenced during the break-in period. Because heel strike influences choice of running shoe, I’ll disclose that I have a midfoot strike that becomes a heel strike at the end of my longer runs.
As the hallmark of the Boost line, cushion technology is what sells this shoe. They claim “unmatched energy return,” thanks to technology that incorporates thousands of individual capsules that expand and contract like a springboard with every step. Out of the box, the shoe’s midsole felt stiff, and the heel struck hard while running. Now, 50-miles later, I am indeed experiencing a more gel-like strike and comfortable energy return, albeit underwhelming. While I don’t believe it lives up to the hype, I think the cushion technology is helpful and contributes to a better run.
Fit and Feel
The website claims that it is a “true fit,” which means the shoe fits neither smaller nor larger than the stated size… it is what it is. I agree, I’m a size 11 in any other running shoe, and so too in the SuperNova. The FORMOTION® mesh upper is very comfortable, and breathes well, dissipating heat. Once I’m all laced up, there is a sock-like snugness to the middle part of the shoe and I love the support of the arch. At 10.6 ounces, it’s heavier than my old barefoot Nike’s, and that took some getting used to.
Function and Fashion
As a kid, I once loved the way my Adidas looked, or more correctly, I loved the way I looked in my Adidas. That signature triple-stripe was the Swoosh of the late 60’s. Truth-be-told, today I think the stripes are tired and the shoe looks dated. They look good, like a ’74 Camaro looks good. I noticed that there is pressure on the nerve bundle on the top of my foot where the laces and tongue rest, once I’m all tied up. My shoe has to perform just as well on wet, slippery roads as it does on the dry pavement. While the midfoot performs well, I find the heel and toe strike to be somewhat unstable on wet concrete. And this, with only 50 miles on the shoe. I admit, I’m concerned how the shoe will perform in the miles to come.
As a running shoe, I feel compelled to measure value by answering this two-part question, “For the money ($130), does this shoe contribute to a better running experience, and does it meet my expectations based on my research?” I suppose, value can ultimately be measured by whether or not I would buy them again and recommend them to a friend. All things considered, I feel like I have been oversold. The marketing, while somewhat accurate, is lofty and makes some big promises that just don’t hold up with the miles.
At the end of the day, Brittni with an I was right when she said, ” You can do a lot better.” I can indeed– the Adidas SuperNova Boost Glide are a marginal performer in the highly competitive running shoe market.
Do you own a pair of Boost Glides? What is your favorite brand of running shoe, and why?