Adidas ‘super shoe’ that obliterated records back on sale after price hike

Details of the Adidas Running Shoes Adizero Adios Pro Evo 1 Lightstrike Pro ahead of the 2023 BMW Berlin-Marathon on September 21, 2023 in Berlin, Germany
Tigst Assefa smashed the women's marathon record wearing the new adidas shoes - Getty Images/Luciano Lima

The world’s most expensive carbon-boosted running ‘super shoes’ have just got even more costly, with Adidas upping the list price of their new ultra-light design to £450.

That represents a £50 increase on when the Adizero Adios Pro Evo 1 went on general sale in September and sold out within hours, sparking auctions on eBay with ‘buy it now’ prices still today of £2,500.

A message on the Adidas website simply says ‘sold out … catch it next time’ alongside the £450 price and the manufacturer is encouraging runners to sign up to a newsletter in order to hear about future releases of a trainer that has become the talk of the running world.

The further increase in price, however, is likely to be controversial, especially as the first 521 pairs also contained a disclaimer inside the box, according to Runner’s World, which stated that it is designed only for “one race – so one marathon – plus familiarisation time”.

Weighing just 138 grams, the Adizero Adios Pro Evo 1 is significantly lighter than any comparable previous shoe and is boosted by flexible carbon rods inside a foam midsole that stands at 39 millimeters in height.

The shoe was worn by Ethiopia’s Tigst Assefa when she took more than two minutes off the women’s world record in September’s Berlin marathon shortly before the first publicly available batch were sold on the Adidas website for £400.

The new Nike ‘super shoe’ that was worn to shatter the world men’s marathon record last year also sold out last week almost immediately after going on sale, albeit at the cheaper price of £284.99.

A detai of Kelvin Kiptum of Kenya shoes after winning the 2023 Chicago Marathon professional men's division and setting a world record marathon time of 2:00.35 at Grant Park on October 08, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois
Nike have released their own shoes that challenge adidas's new release - Getty Images/Michael Reaves

The Nike Alphafly 3 shoe is reinforced by a carbon plate and, as with the Adidas version, a special super-responsive foam that is designed to retain energy and help propel the runner forward.

It has all represented a major new twist in the arms race that has developed between manufacturers after Nike’s invention in 2016 of the first ‘super shoe’ and then the release of their best-selling Vaporfly and Alphafly models.

The early Nike shoes were said to boost running economy by around four per cent and every distance world record above 5,000 metres has been beaten since 2020 in some version of ‘super shoes’ or ‘super spikes’.

All of the shoe companies now employ vast teams of engineers and scientists and the race to create faster shoes has become a highly secretive multi-million pound industry that has prompted World Athletics to form a special evaluation team to work with manufacturers on their innovations.

The rules for innovation were most recently updated at the start of 2022 and they must all conform to a 40mm maximum stack height on the road and 25mm on the track.

Shoes must also be generally available, although special dispensation can be granted for a year to ‘developmental’ shoes provided that they meet the guidelines and have been checked by World Athletics, as was the case in 2023 with the newest Adidas and Nike versions that are both currently sold out. Adidas has not responded to a request to explain the price increase or confirm when the next batch will go on sale.

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