For the past few years, adidas has had an unimpeachable line of super shoes, racers and high-tempo trainers with their Adizero line. Their daily mileage munchers have been lacking. Does this change now?
adidas Supernova Rise – Beyond Boost
Once upon a time, adidas revolutionised the feel of a daily trainer with Boost. Promising much better energy return, greater cushioning and offering your running a, well, boost! However, a decade later, the eTPU of Boost feels a little long in the tooth. Heavier than its competitors and still commanding a mighty price, runners were looking for something more from the German giants. Whilst their elite, raceday focussed super (and hyper) shoes continue to prove their calibre on podiums worldwide, the daily trainer market has been left wanting.
Enter TRE. The Supernova line, which had been a budget beginner focussed shoe, got a mighty makeover. From a mix of Boost and Bounce to a new compound. Dreamsrike+. Based on slightly denser formulation of Lightstrike Pro, it is a new PEBA based formula which is designed to liven the daily distance. The first of the revolutionised shoes from adidas is the Supernova Rise. A full length Dreamstrike+ midsole takes the Supernova to new heights. Whilst all this sounds amazing on paper, these claims do not always translate into the real world. Here, at Meta Endurance, we have been lucky enough to receive some to put to the test. Does the Rise announce the resurgence of adidas daily trainer line?
I’ll add to Andy’s funeral eulogy of Boost a bit more context about adidas’ training shoes. What many people call daily trainers are shoes that are meant to be no-brainers, easy-to-grab-off-the-shelf shoes for those daily runs at easy up to moderate intensities. These shoes are very important because a proper training regimen should incorporate a lot of easy mileage, and therefore runners should spend a lot of time in their daily trainers.
Yet some brands, like adidas, have focused so much on their performance line these past years that they almost forgot what a good daily trainer should be. Yes adidas had boost – and it is still around in shoes like the Ultraboost 23 Light. A shoe I wouldn’t recommend for running given all the other options that are available on the market. They also had the Adistar 1 and 2, a stable but clunky shoe coming with foams from the EVA-based Repetitor family. Anything else? Oh yes, the 4DFWD 1 and 2. A model that should exit adidas’ running range and remain only available in the lifestyle category. Long story short, adidas had no decent daily trainer in their range until now (to the extent many runners were using the Boston 12 for their easy miles). Let’s see if the Supernova fixes this.
Stack: From 36mm in the heel to 26mm in the forefoot for a 10mm drop.
Weight in adidas’ sample size: 277g/9.8oz
Supernova Rise Upper – Plush Padding Prevails
As soon as I took the Supernova Rise out of the box, the level of upper padding was apparent. Firstly, a thick, non gusseted tongue protects the top of the foot from any lace pressure. Furthermore, the heel collar has a decent level of padding which helps keep the foot locked into place. A fairly low rise heel cup which is relatively stout does an unobtrusive job of keeping things as they should. From my experience, I would say that the Supernova Rise runs true to size (although it is narrower in the forefoot) and gives a very comfortable step in feel and is very pleasant on the run. People with higher volume feet may want to explore moving half a size up.
One caveat to the upper would be breathability. It has been mainly very cold, the temperatures hovering around 0 while I have been testing the shoe so far. Despite this, I have found that my foot has been a little warm on some runs. Consequently, I wonder how this shoe will perform when the summer months eventually roll around. The sandwich mesh is designed with comfort in mind and does the job well overall. On runs from my daily 9.3km up to about 24km I have felt no hotspots, rubbing or achilles ache from the upper.
Completing the upper, we have a fairly traditional lacing system. Due to the thickness of the tongue, there is no need to pull the laces excessively tight to achieve lockdown. Despite this, there is still quite a lot of lace when they are tied. As a positive, this means there is plenty for double knotting and tying a runner’s knot. On the other hand, it does leave a lot of lace flapping in the breeze while running.
Overall, the upper does exactly what a person would expect from a daily shoe. Comfort, good lockdown, ease of use and simplicity. It has taken me through nearly 100km so far and I have no real bones to pick with it.
I can’t add much to Andy’s excellent description of the upper of the adidas Supernova Rise. I can only emphasise the rather narrow fit and that this shoe runs indeed true to size – something that has to be stressed since adidas (well in the Adizero line at least) struggled a bit with consistent sizing lately.
A Brief History of Lasts
I will also add some info that the Product Designer of this shoe, JT Newcomb, shared with me during a trip to adidas HQ in Herzogenaurach. JT explained that there are only a few last masters left in Japan.
First, what is a last? A last is a hard piece of material around which a shoe is built. It mimics the shape of a human foot and allows a shoe to have the adequate volume and shape.
Second, what is a last master? A last master is an individual that crafts those lasts. Traditionally the technique has been wood sculpting.
Back to JT and his story. You have to imagine that adidas spent hundreds of hours with a Japanese last master to design the perfect last for this shoe. Looking for the perfect heel design, the last master apparently worked a lot on removing almost invisible layers of wood from the last heel. And it is true that the heel cup on the Supernova Rise feels very comfortable. All these efforts make me believe that adidas knew they had a huge gap to fill and that they had to do it right. The fit and comfort are the first things people rate when trying out a shoe in a store, so they definitely had to dial these things in.
Does Dreamstrike+ Hit the Mark?
A PEBA based daily trainer with Support Rods for a very competitive price? Sounds almost too good to be true. However, this is the package that adidas deliver with the Supernova Rise. 36mm in the heel to 26mm in the forefoot with a 10mm drop to relieve stress on the achilles. Initially, on looking at the midsole of the Rise, I was worried that it would be a little thin in the forefoot for my gait cycle and general shoe tastes. However, on the run I do not get the thin feeling I was anticipating. Whilst it is not a hugely deeply cushioned shoe, I haven’t found myself wanting more depth for the majority of my jaunts.
One Trick Pony?
Whilst the Supernova Rise is designed as a daily trainer for logging distance, it also shines at higher paces. My first run in the shoe ended up being my club handicap race. I hadn’t meant to enter but turning a corner on my run and finding my clubmates on a start line, it felt rude to demure. During the 7km run, I took the shoe from around 3:15km to more reserved paces up the huge hill. The ride was lively, responsive and nimble feeling. Since then, it has been used for mainly moderate paced daily runs between 4:30km to 5:30km and at no stage did the Supernova Rise let me down.
Due to the lower forefoot stack, I have found that stability has never been an issue regardless of the terrain underfoot. Moving through the midsole, we find the Support Rods. Those familiar with the adidas Adizero line of shoes may have the idea of midsole rods being plastic or carbon fibre based, stiff and adding propulsion. However, in the Supernova Rise, they are a very different proposition. Very apparent when looking at the underside of the shoe, I was expecting firmer feel. When touching them, they do not feel much different in consistency to the rest of the midsole material and are present to add some support rather than increase the forward propulsion.
All in all, the ride of the Supernova Rise is smooth, responsive and it is a versatile shoe. Whilst not as deeply cushioned as some rivals or as bouncy as others, it finds a very sensible midpoint which will probably suit a wide range of runners. If you are looking for a shoe which can eat up distance and allow you to play with paces this is definitely worth a shot.
I have a much lower cadence than Andy and I need a bit more foam under the forefoot to push on. The Supernova Rise doesn’t quite offer that and it is the main drawback of this shoe for me. I can’t wait to test the upcoming Supernova Prima (see preview article here) that adds a couple extra millimetres of foam in the forefoot.
Nevertheless with this drawback aside, the Supernova Rise offers everything adidas needed from a key product like this one. The ride is balanced, stable and the shoe provides lots of versatility. Yes, it feels good at many different paces and yes, the modern foam compound certainly makes a huge difference when it comes to ranking this shoe against other similar trainers (check my conclusion for more on that).
What are the limits of the Supernova Rise? For me, paces faster than 3:45/km are not appropriate for this shoe as the weight starts to be noticeable (it is not a heavy shoe by any means but that amount of plusheness in the upper and the thicker outsole are certainly penalising it a bit). The distance of choice for this shoe is somewhere between 6 to 12km. I wouldn’t go much longer than this in it, mostly because the PEBA-based foam is one the firmer side and doesn’t offer as much cushion as some other shoes (especially in the forefoot, a sensitive area for me due to a history of metatarsal stress fractures).
Outsole – An adidas Shoe Without Continental Rubber!?
Usually, this section is fairly redundant. We all know Continental Rubber outsoles hold firm and offer some of the best grip on the market today.
However, this is different!
Instead of the erstwhile tyre manufacturer’s outsole, we find a proprietary Adiwear rubber. Split into three distinct sections, it is a full coverage of rubber. In my blue colourway at least, the heel is sectioned off in a greyish blue version of Adiwear. The middle of the midsole is covered in a more translucent version with a large cut out in the medial side which allows the Support Rods to be visible. Up front, we find the largest of the sections. The entire forefoot is covered with a black slab of Adiwear which has 5 cutouts to reduce weight and increase flexibility.
How does it function? Overall, I honestly didn’t notice the lack of Continental outsole. From frostier mornings to muddier sections, the Adiwear has held me firm. On the club handicap route, there is one particularly treacherous corner which is always sloppy and at the bottom of a quick hill section. Not an issue for the outsole here. Whilst I probably wouldn’t use this on very muddy trails, it offers all I could want for a daily pavement pounder.
Supernova Rise Conclusion – Has adidas Risen to the Challenge?
Simple answer, yes. adidas have produced a good daily trainer. Gone are the ponderous days of the heavy Boost. Viva the Dreamstrike+ era. If you are looking for a dependable daily trainer with a decent amount of versatility for a reasonable price, you could do a lot worse than the Supernova Rise. Furthemore, on the horizon we have a whole new range including the beefed up Supernova Prima and the Supernova Solution which promises to bring Dreamstrike+ delight to our stability minded comrades.
Overall, the Supernova Rise is a very good option at its price range. It offers a nimble, versatile and smooth ride. This will be a shoe which remains in my rotation and I am looking forward to logging many more runs in it as we go through 2024. However, it might also be worth considering the PUMA Velocity NITRO 3 if budget is a concern.
Yes, adidas has finally a good daily trainer. But if you’re reading us, you probably want to know more than just that. How does it compare against other shoes and should you pick it? The Supernova Rise comes somewhere in between the Nike Pegasus 40 and the Nike Vomero 17 in terms of ride. It has the simplicity of the Pegasus but not quite the level of cushion of that ZoomX layer of foam in the Vomero 17.
It has something in common with the ASICS Magic Speed 3 (lower to the ground, rather flat feel) yet it is more accommodating in terms of fit but isn’t as snappy and fast. Another relevant comparison would be against the Salomon DRX Bliss, which the Supernova Rise absolutely crushes (yes the Salomon is a stability shoe but it also has a modern foam and similar specs).
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