adidas Adizero SL Running Shoe Review

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The adidas Adizero SL is a lightweight running shoe, designed to be an entry-level daily trainer with a nice spring for a touch of responsiveness. The SL means “super light,” and that’s exactly what this shoe is, in both weight and price.

It’s a good-looking shoe, and comes in a number of colorways for both men and women. Keep reading if you’re in the market for a new everyday trainer that can double as a race shoe.

Pros and Cons

PROS:

  • Lightweight, at just over 8 ounces
  • Very breathable yet supportive upper
  • Lightstrike midsole foam offers excellent shock absorption
  • Lightstrike Pro in the forefoot adds some bounce
  • Unique rubber outsole design offers superb grip
  • Decently affordable for a daily trainer

CONS:

  • Tiny eyelets and stretchy laces can be finicky
  • Some bunching of wide tongue and large toe box
 

Who Should Run in This Shoe?

The adidas Adizero SL is ideal for runners looking for a lively everyday trainer that can comfortably pick up the pace. It’s designed for neutral runners – so not ideal if you overpronate or need added support.

It’s a great option if you want a lightweight shoe that’s good for speed work or longer runs. The shoe is fairly supportive with a zippy ride thanks to the Lightstrike Pro cushioning.

Who Should Not Run in This Shoe?

Because it’s a neutral shoe, runners who need stability to manage overpronation should look for another option.

Also, runners with narrow feet might feel like there’s too much room in the upper for their liking. On the other hand, those with wide feet may feel a little squished.

They might also not be the best choice for runners who are hard on their shoes. Although there’s a nice chunk of foam in the sole, the shoe is lightweight and might flatten quickly with heavy use.

If you’re looking for a lightweight racing shoe, this one might fit the bill for casual runners but not for more serious runners. Although light, it’s more of an everyday trainer and less of a full-time racing shoe.

Upper

The Adizero SL features an engineered mesh upper that’s soft and made with 50% recycled material. We found it a tad big, making it hard to lock your foot in.

It’s easy to spot the ventilation holes in the material, so you can expect this shoe to be highly breathable. Your foot will be well-supported by a thick, comfortable ankle collar and tongue.

Some more dense sections of material and visible overlays in the adidas logo add light support to the upper. There’s an internal heel counter which helps reduce any chance of heel slip.

The lacing system can be a little finicky. Tiny eyelets make it tricky to lace the shoes quickly.

Midsole

The Adizero SL’s midsole consists of a strategic combination of two different foams: Lightstrike and Lightstrike Pro.

In the heel, you’ll find the firmer Lightstrike, which does a great job of absorbing shock and making your runs comfortable without adding weight.

The heel rises to 35 mm, which is a nice comfortable platform. There’s 8.5 mm heel drop with 26.5 mm of foam in the forefoot.

Speaking of the forefoot, you’ll find Lightstrike Pro foam here, of a lighter density than the heel and with a surprising but welcome bit of bounce on the toe-off. It might wear out faster if you’re a midfoot striker, as it’s quite light.

Outsole

The Adizero SL doesn’t have the same Continental rubber on the outsole that the other adidas shoes have. However, it does feature sticky rubber that provides an excellent grip on all kinds of surfaces, with a unique four-zoned split outsole that features varying angles for the best traction.

The split down the middle also serves as a gait guiding line, encouraging an efficient toe off and limiting medial torque during the heel-to-toe transition.

Other Features

The Adizero SL is a well-rounded shoe. If it’s looking like an option as your next daily trainer, here are more specifics you may like to know.

Heel-to-Toe Drop

Both the men’s and the women’s running shoes feature a heel height of 35 mm, a forefoot height of 26.5 mm, and a heel drop of 8.5 mm.

This is a bit of an in-between drop, so runners used to the conventional 12 mm or a lower drop like Saucony’s 4 mm might find that it takes some time to adjust to this shoe.

Weight

A men’s size 9 shoe weighs just 8.6 ounces, and a women’s size 9 comes in at 8.29 ounces. It’s a noticeably lighter shoe than many others in its general category.

Durability

The durability of this shoe is surprisingly good. The outsole might not be the robust Continental rubber that other adidas shoes feature, but it’s still top quality and will last a good long while for those who aren’t excessively hard on their shoes.

Price

The Adizero SL retails for $120 on the adidas website, which is a nice deal for an everyday trainer.

Real World Testing

We had a chance to try out the Adizero SLs on some runs to get some first-hand thoughts.

First off, we found the SL much like the Adizero Adios. The Adios are great for running on paved roads including long runs, tempo runs, and speed workouts. The SL served the same purpose but were all-round better.

The SL, like the Adios, offers the same successful formula – light, firm and responsive ride, comfortable fit, breathability, and great quality.

Compared to other running shoes, we liked that the adidas SL have a harder-wearing outer sole and more stable ride, especially at pace. On the first few runs the SL felt much like the Adios only more comfortable. The first run was a 12 miler on paved and gravel path in perfect dry warm conditions. The running shoes offered the perfect combination of lightweight and stable ride with cushioning.

The shoes are especially good on faster-paced runs on paved roads, offering the right degree of stable foot plant and firm ride. After several runs, the midsole started to show some compression lines but no obvious erosion in cushioning and bounce back.

This shoe is a great go-to road shoe. It offers great value for money and ideal combination of stability, firm ride, and cushioning.

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AUTHOR

Ben is an avid road and trail runner, and has completed multiple marathons and ultras. A former running store owner, he now shares his knowledge and experience writing these articles.