Sneaker Showdown: adidas adizero Pro or Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT%?
In the ongoing battle for sneaker supremacy, it’s safe to say adidas have been losing ground when it comes to the literal footraces. Their rivals out of Beaverton, Nike, have changed the game with their revolutionary Vaporfly lineup, breaking ground and World Records along the way. However, it looks like the Three Stripes have a new weapon in their fight to win back the running market: the adizero Pro.
Ahead of its release, we pitted adidas’ latest running innovation against Nike’s reigning champion – the ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% – to find out whether it’s a serious contender, or just a pretender.
Nike’s preceding Vaporfly 4% delivered an average of 4 per cent improved running economy over their previous fastest marathon shoe, the Nike Zoom Streak 6. However, the NEXT% took things to a whole new level.
The upper was upgraded to a lighter and more breathable Vaporweave construction, which also absorbed less water from sweat and rain. Meanwhile, the avant-garde full-length curved carbon-fibre plate was retained, encased in 15 per cent more foam without adding any weight.
Ahead of Tokyo 2020, adidas knew they had to deliver something unprecedented in response to the Vaporfly’s ascendancy. Calling on revered designer Yoshitori Omori, they developed the all-new adizero Pro, packing in a host of new technologies alongside an old favourite.
The uppers are constructed of CELERMESH, a new single-layer synthetic that boasts an internal support structure for lockdown. Below that, midsoles combine both LIGHTSTRIKE and BOOST technologies for the first time in a running shoe. Naturally, a CARBITEX carbon-fibre plate is present, aligning it as a direct competitor to Nike’s premier pavement pounder.
These two speedsters really are neck and neck on this one…
Since its debut, the ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% has commanded a premium price tag of $250, making it one of most expensive running shoes on the market. Considering the competitive edge it provides, as well its unique tech, runners have been more than happy to fork out for it.
When the Three Stripes first announced the adizero Pro, we expected it to slot into a similar price point. However, the Bavarians have served up a relative bargain in comparison, with the adizero Pro slated to debut for just $200 – perhaps part of a plan to win the hearts of the more frugal Vaporfly devotees.
Advantage adi on this one.
WINNER: ADIDAS ADIZERO PRO
A key asset in Nike’s ‘Breaking2’ efforts, the Vaporfly NEXT% was immersed in one of the most ambitious running undertakings of all time. Standing alongside Roger Bannister’s four-minute mile, Eliud Kipchoge’s breaking of the two-hour marathon mark will go down in history as one of mankind’s greatest athletic achievements. He may not have been wearing the Vaporfly NEXT% when the record was broken, but the shoe marks one of Nike’s most significant technological strides in the lead-up.
Add in the notoriety the Vaporfly lineup has garnered thanks to the controversial carbon-fibre plates, and you’ve got a clear winner this round.
WINNER: NIKE ZOOMX VAPORFLY NEXT%
It’s been one of the most closely contested Sneaker Showdowns we’ve seen, and while we hate fence-sitting, this race has ended in a dead heat.
Team Trefoil needed to go big in the lead-up to Tokyo 2020, and they’ve finally arrived with a worthy contender to Nike’s throne. With its attractive price point, and the intrigue surrounding one of the brand’s newest innovations, we expect the adidas adizero Pro to be one of 2020’s most disruptive performance offerings.
However, whether it can compete with the upcoming Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% remains to be seen.