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Are you ready for a US$500 one-race shoe?

These one-use shoes helped set a new world record at the Berlin Marathon last weekend. Will we see any in Kona?

Photo by: Kevin Morris

Last weekend’s Berlin Marathon saw the impossible become nothing when Ethiopia’s Tigist Assefa shattered the women’s marathon record by two minutes and 11 seconds, winning the race in 2:11:53. Assefa not only garnered attention for her outstanding performance and record-breaking time, but also for the cutting-edge carbon-plated racing shoes she was wearing: Adidas Adizero Adios Pro Evo 1, which made their debut appearance in the race.

Can one of these new shoes help you run a new PR next year?

Over the last few years we’ve seen triathletes follow running’s lead in footwear, with times dropping dramatically for the marathon at full-distance events. Most notably, Germany’s Patrick Lange has clocked two 2:30 marathons in full-distance races to go along with his 2:32 run split in Nice earlier this month. So, it’s not hard to imagine we’ll see some pro triathletes follow in Assefa’s footsteps and wear these super-shoes at a race soon. (In addition to Kona, one would imagine we’ll see Adidas athlete Cassandre Beaugrand in the shoes in Paris next year.)

Assefa won the 2023 Berlin Marathon wearing the Adidas Adizero Adios Pro Evo 1 (pictured). Photo: Kevin Morris

These record-breaking carbon-plated racing shoes from Adidas were released to the U.S. market on Sept. 26, and have already sold out, priced at USD $500 (CAD $650). What sets these shoes apart, besides their hefty price tag (approximately $450 more than the average running shoe), is their unique one-race design. Despite their high cost, these shoes are designed to last through a single marathon.

World Triathlon bans super shoes (like the ones Gustav Iden wore in Kona) starting in 2023

The shoe’s appeal to a wider audience raises concerns about its environmental impact. Adidas has openly acknowledged that these shoes are indeed intended for a single race, which has prompted criticism regarding environmental waste, and flying in the face of some brands’ efforts to create more sustainable running footwear.

Photo: Adidas

On its website, Adidas describes the Adizero Adios Pro Evo 1 as “a running shoe like no other,” boasting “unique technology that challenges the boundaries of racing.” Weighing in at a mere 138 grams, the shoe features an innovative Lightstrike Pro foam design with a full-length carbon plate that is reportedly bouncier and lighter than the Lightstrike Pro foam in the shoe’s predecessor, Adios Pro 3. The shoe also incorporates a liquid rubber outsole, a substantial 39-mm heel stack and a front rocker. This rocker propels the runner forward at even greater speeds while requiring less energy expenditure.

In recent years, marathon and triathlon running has witnessed the rise of “super shoes” as all the major brands compete to develop the fastest carbon-plated racing shoe on the market for their athletes. The Adidas Adizero Adios Pro Evo 1 represents the latest innovation in marathon technology, helping runners shave precious seconds, if not minutes, off their race times.

So, the big question is, were any of the Kona competitors amongst the first customers for the shoe?