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Finlay McAndrew  •  Running Gear •  01.08.2023 •  8 min read

adidas Adizero Boston 12 Running Shoes Review

Running is hard. There’s no two ways about it. If you want to get faster, you have to be willing to put in the work. While this ultimately means running an appropriate number of weekly miles. It also requires the inclusion of harder sessions, such as interval runs and tempo efforts. Yes, these runs can be painful, but certain running shoes make them more achievable. Step up the adidas Adizero Boston 12. 

Of course, you could turn to the podium topping adidas Adizero Adios Pro 3. However, they're very expensive training shoes and you may not feel the same boost on race day if you train in them too much. The adidas Adizero Boston 12 features similar technologies to its carbon-infused counterpart. However, it’s considerably cheaper and ultimately much more durable. Perfect for training.

adidas running shoes propped against a graffiti wall
The previous adidas Adizero Boston 11 was a great shoe, but many found them too firm. I did a lot of training in the Boston 11 and personally absolutely loved them. When I run faster, I tend to pick up my cadence more than increasing my stride length. It’s anecdotal, but I think the firmness of the foam worked well with my biomechanics. I also found them very protective at slower paces and could do a lot of miles in them. At the same time, I completely understand why some runners didn’t like them, and craved a softer underfoot experience. This is certainly the direction other brands have taken with this style of running shoe. 

Well good news, the updated Adizero Boston 12 has been upgraded with a softer and plusher feeling midsole. It gets better, the price stays at £140. 

How has the midsole changed?

The top layer of the midsole is still made with adidas’ superfoam LIGHTSTRIKE PRO. Although, there appears to be a bit more superfoam in the forefoot now. The midsole also still features glass-infused ENERGYRODS that sit under your metatarsals. However, these are now made from recycled materials. If you’re wondering, the ENERGYRODS increase energy return and propulsion. Unlike a carbon plate, the anatomical design enables the RODS to move independently of one another - adapting to your gait cycle.

Heel of adidas running shoe

What’s the big change? The midsole now features LIGHTSTRIKE 2.0. To create a point of difference to the Adios Pro 3, and make the Boston more durable, it features a different midsole compound on the bottom layer. The original LIGHTSTRIKE foam in the last version is ultimately what made them feel firm. The upgraded LIGHTSTRIKE 2.0 is designed to be considerably softer and more forgiving underfoot, particularly for heel strikers. You can even feel it’s much softer when you press into the cushioning. 

Does the updated cushioning deliver?

adidas kindly sent us a pair to test out, so we could do a thorough review. I’ve been using them for a wide mixture of paces and types of runs: everything from short and fast 300m reps, tempo runs, steady runs to easy warm-up and cool-downs. This means I’ve tested them at pretty much every pace: from 5.00min/km all the way down to 3.00min/km pace. The following Strava images show some of these runs:

Screenshots of 3 Strava runs side by side

We’ll always be completely transparent when we review running shoes, but we’ll always try and find the positives too. For example, yes, the Boston 11 was too firm for a lot of runners, but it also worked well for plenty of runners - including me. Having said that, the updated Adizero Boston 12 midsole feels incredible. 

I can’t quite believe how different the Adizero Boston 12 feels to the last version. The LIGHTSTRIKE 2.0 foam feels so much softer. This makes them feel incredibly comfortable underfoot and really forgiving. I land heavily on my heels, so definitely enjoy a plush sensation in that area. 

As I warmed up for my first session in them, I started to wonder if they would feel less propulsive - given the softer foam. This concern was quickly dispelled. The sensation of energy return was quite amazing. Dare I say even better than before. The transition from landing to toe-off feels so seamless and smooth. 

Toe box of adidas running shoe

I’m not sure how adidas have managed it, but they’ve absolutely nailed the Boston 12 cushioning. It feels so forgiving at slower speeds and then ultra propulsive as you move through the gears. If I sound excited by these running shoes, it’s because I am. I’m fortunate enough to be able to run in a lot of running shoes, and it’s rare that I’m this impressed. 

The cushioning also feels supportive and stable underfoot, particularly around corners. This is an important attribute in this style of shoe, as you’ll normally be taking turns at pace - and don’t want to slow down. 

adidas has also changed the upper

The adidas Boston running shoes are an icon of the running world. Many versions have embodied the look of classic racing flats. By this, we mean they’ve had features which look like they’ve been added by the hands of a skilled craftsman - such as suede overlays. As technology has evolved, the need for such design features has gone. While we’re sad to see the trademark suede patches go, time moves on. 

Birds eye view of upper of adidas Adizero Boston 12 running shoe

You’ll now notice a much cleaner looking upper that screams performance. Everything about the Boston 12 upper is to make you feel fast. Less stitching means less weight and sleeker looking silhouettes. While it may not be the case for everyone, simply putting on running shoes like these puts me in the frame of mind to run quickly. Even the tongue has been stripped right back. 

My thoughts on how the Adizero Boston 12 fits

The upper feels lighter and more secure than the previous version. While it doesn’t feel tight, there’s definitely a sensation of more containment. Which is ideal when you’re running faster, as you want the shoes to feel part of your feet. I think the feeling of more security largely stems from the updated tongue design. Like the Adios Pro 3, the tongue is not gusseted. This actually makes it easier to lock in the midfoot area.

adidas running shoe propped on post in front of graffiti wall
Not to sit on the fence, but the Boston 12 doesn’t fit particularly narrow or wide. There’s ample space in the forefoot and the heel collar holds the ankle well. From this point of view, it should suit a variety of foot shapes. Finally, on the sizing, I always opt for half a UK size bigger in adidas compared to my normal running shoe size. 

How can the adidas Adizero Boston 12 improve your run?

It’s hard to find enough superlatives for the Adizero Boston 12 - they are simply incredible. They are the perfect running shoes for tempo runs, interval sessions and any form of speed work. They’ll help you hit your target paces and reduce the impact of these runs - meaning you’ll recover faster. As someone who runs almost every day, I can’t stress enough how helpful this is. 

As the midsole feels so forgiving, they feel great over longer distances. This means you should feel very comfortable in them for tough workouts, such as marathon distance training runs.

Outsole of adidas running shoe in front graffiti wall
When you consider the other models in this space, the Adizero Boston 12 offers brilliant value for money. They are exceptionally durable too. If you’re looking for hard wearing training shoes that will stand up to the test of tough workouts, week after week, these are the ones. 

The Adizero Adios Pro 3 still delivers the ultimate race day performance. However, the Boston 12 isn’t far behind. You could definitely use them as your race day shoes, and feel a massive benefit.

While it may not be the case for everyone, simply putting on running shoes like these puts me in the frame of mind to run quickly.

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