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As a top running shoe brand, adidas is always at the forefront of technology that enhances your running experience. We put the brand’s new mid- to long-distance running sneaker to the test — here’s our honest review of adidas’ Adizero Boston 11 shoes.
Boston, a city rooted in history — Faneuil Hall, the tea party, the marathon — is also one of the world’s great bastions of technology and progress, home to some of the world’s top research universities and countless biotech and technology firms.
So it’s no small wonder that the adidas Adizero Boston 11 running shoe carries the same innovative legacy as its namesake city — and marathon. The adidas Boston has been beloved by distance runners since its introduction in 1982. Never content to rest on their laurels, adidas has made significant advances to this top adidas running shoe over the years to ensure that the runners who opt to wear it stay at the front of the pack.
Most recently, the shoe was completely overhauled in 2021, and the improvements to the adidas Boston 10 were significant. The brand replaced their Boost cushioning system with Lightstrike Pro — a much lighter EVA foam that provides improved energy return. They also replaced the traditional torsion system with innovative EnergyRods, which are glass fiber rods that provide comparable stiffness to the carbon fiber elements of the highest-end racer shoes. The result was a shoe that allows your foot to explode off the pavement with every stride. The brand continued the improvements with the introduction of the Boston 11 in 2022, maxing out the stack height for the feel of a cushioned running shoe.
With all the excitement around the redesign, the 2023 introduction of new colorways, the shoe’s namesake marathon rapidly approaching, and our springing training regimen kicking into gear, Footwear News decided it was high time to take the adidas Adizero Boston 11’s out for an extensive road test.
Keep reading to check out our testing review of the adidas Adizero Boston 11 shoes.
How We Tested & Reviewed the adidas Adizero Boston 11 Running Shoes
- Product Tested: adidas Adizero Boston 11 Running Shoe
- Testing Period: 3 weeks
- Testing Methods: Daily runs of distances varying from three to ten miles
- Testing Surfaces: Primarily pavement (not always dry) with small distances across dirt, gravel, and mud.
- Pros: Lightweight materials and especially the glass fiber EnergyRods bring race day features to a versatile everyday trainer. This is one snappy shoe.
- Cons: The rigidity of the upper and the slightly awkward tongue construction may make them difficult for some runners to put on. But that effort pays out in spades. Once your foot is inside, this shoe propels you forward.
- Best for: Mid- to long-distance running on flat, paved surfaces.
- Testing Verdict: An excellent lightweight mid-distance trainer that provides the feel of race day. Great for longer training runs, but especially long tempo runs.
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Design that Sparks Conversation
The adidas Adizero Boston 11 is almost too good looking. When I showed up wearing them to my local running club’s Friday Five, they were immediately a point of conversation. That was partially because I was wearing the new Court Green colorway and it was St. Patrick’s Day, but it was mostly due to the very attractive mesh upper that practically screams performance (and also happens to be made with recycled materials). My fellow runners wanted to know more about what I had on my feet, incredulous about a shoe this good looking.
A Fit that Puts Your Foot on Lockdown
Candidly, I struggled a bit getting this shoe onto my foot. (Full disclosure, I have problematically high arches that often cause me to struggle getting shoes on.) The upper, while very attractive, is also very stiff and the tongue construction is quite rigid and a bit awkward. However, once inside, my feet were totally locked in — the Adizero Boston 11 sneakers have the feel of a stability running shoe. Across all of my runs, I appreciated the excellent lock down in the forefoot that ramped up my energy transfer. And the surprisingly roomy toe box kept my foot feeling great across even my longest runs. The roomy toe box makes these a good pair of shoes for wide feet, too.
Related: The Best Walking Shoes for High Arches
Features That Leave You Fleet of Foot
Beauty is often said to be skin-deep, but I’m here to tell you that this shoe is a thoroughbred. This is a shoe built to race, but durable and practical enough for every day training. Despite adding substantial padding to the original Boston’s, adidas has managed to keep the weight of the shoe in check, thanks to the combination of Lightstrike Pro and Lighstrike cushioning. They feel nicely cushioned underfoot but remain firm, providing excellent energy return.
That energy return is only further enhanced by the glass fiber EnergyRods. I wasn’t sure what to make of how little flex this shoe has, but boy does that rigidity pay out transferring energy from your foot to the pavement. I’ve run in high-performance — and astronomically expensive — carbon fiber racers before, and the performance of the Adizero Boston 11’s is not that far off, and they’re at a price point that makes them much more palatable as my daily trainers and my new must-have for distance tempo runs.
An Outsole That Sticks to Pavement
As my spring training regimen ramped up, I tried the Adizero Boston 11’s across a range of distances, tempos, and surfaces. I was consistently impressed by the Continental rubber outsole: You can see the heritage of tire design in the tread pattern. On pavement, these shoes stick to the road. But ideal road conditions are not always guaranteed, and I generally find at least one variable surface on any of my courses. I lost minimal traction on gravel and dry dirt but mud was a very different story. I learned quickly to leave a wide shoulder around patches of mud that some of my other shoes would not have as much issue with. I’d recommend you stick to pavement with this outsole, and opt for an adidas trail shoe for muddy conditions instead.
Final Impressions of the adidas Adizero Boston 11 Shoes
The adidas Adizero Boston 11 is an excellent shoe for mid- to long-distance runners who want a training shoe that offers the performance of a carbon fiber racer without the price tag. There’s a reason why the Boston has been a beloved model for generations of runners. Adidas has done an excellent job as stewards of that legacy with great updates to the materials and construction.
Meet the Author
Peter Tittiger is a freelance journalist, content consultant, and avid runner. A firm believer in “No Days Off,” he regularly logs at least five runs a week and cross-trains in the pool or on a bike. He has trained for and run in nearly a hundred races, including the New York City Marathon, multiple completions of the full, 5-borough, NYRR half-marathon circuit, and annual completion of the Falmouth Road Race. For this review, Tittiger tested the adidas Adizero Boston 11 sneakers for three weeks, noting how the sneaker performs on different terrains and during runs of varying distances.
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