Runners can be …
ornery hesitant to try new running shoes. My first reaction is always cautionary when brands update a shoe I love. The Saucony Kinvara saved my running life. I was fitted for the Kinvara 2 in 2011 and ran through three pairs of that edition. The Kinvara 3 was also solid. But when the Kinvara 4 came out, I nearly cried. My favorite shoe wasn’t recognizable — a much more narrow fit meant my toes would blister if I tried heavy training in it. So when I saw the features of the Adidas Supernova, I held my breath.
I love the Adidas Supernova Glide Boost. My first miles in that shoe came in December of 2013. Since then I’ve worn out more than 10 pairs. That shoe has been my go-to model for long runs and many tempo efforts. On occasion, I’ve raced in my Glides.
The Glide Boost 6, 7, and 8 have all been similar. Very few things have changed in the shoe other than a few tweaks on the upper. Everything from the insole down has been consistent. The Boost cushioning makes up 55 percent of the cushioning with the other 45 percent coming in the form of EVA foam that sits on top of the Boost. I like that ratio: it gives energy return but doesn’t feel too soft for faster running.
Not only has Adidas dropped the Glide name (now it’s simply the Adidas Supernova), it chose to completely revamp the cushioning ratio in addition to other changes.
Boost material (which has a TPU base) now makes up 70 percent of the cushioning. And the heel is 100 percent Boost, because the EVA foam stops near the back of the arch.
The new Adidas Supernova has a more substantial heel clip as well, a plastic heel counter meant to help stabilize the foot. Instead of using the old torsion system, with multiple plastic spines in between the heel and forefoot on the bottom, the Supernova has a seamless transition with Stretchweb Continental rubber across the entire outsole.
With all of the changes, I dreaded my first run in the Adidas Supernova. I have been terrified that my favorite shoe will be completely different.
Well, I finally broke down and started wearing the Supernova for workouts. My first reaction was to be devastated. The shoe feels completely different. The Adidas Supernova feels a lot like the Ultra Boost. I love the Ultra Boost, but it addresses a completely different type of running than the Glide Boost did. Ultra Boost is best for longer slow runs and recovery efforts. While Glide fit that as well, I could always pick up my pace and throw in some speedwork if I felt like it. That’s where Supernova falls flat. It’s not a fast shoe. Less versatility comes along with more plush cushioning.
I learned a lesson with the Kinvara. My favorite shoe changed, and I pitched a fit. The Kinvara 4, 5, and 6 were all wrong to me. But I was patient. The Kinvara 7 has been amazing. Maybe better than the first editions I ran in. The running pendulum will always swing back. In the past decade, the industry has moved more minimal, then to the opposite side with max cushioning. Now, we are evening out. Individual models also fluctuate.
While I can’t use the Adidas Supernova to fill the exact role of the Glide 6, 7, and 8, I can choose to look at the positives. The Supernova is much better for longer runs with a lot of elevation change. The extra cushioning on the heel makes it perfect for downhill pounding — something I find constantly on the west coast.
Plus, I have my Kinvaras back.