Is it fair to compare a full-on racing shoe such as the Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 2.0 with the Nike Air Zoom Tempo NEXT%, a shoe designed for tempo training? Considering the performance of both running shoes, it's not outside the realm of possibilities that you'll see them competing against each other in the next race you might attend.
Adidas hit the nail on the head with the Adizero Adios Pro 2.0. Benson Kipruto and Diana Chemtai Kipyoge won the 125. Boston Marathon on 11 October 2021 wearing these very shoes, so it's safe to assume they are fast enough to support the fastest runners in the world. But are they good enough to help you run faster, though?
On the other hand, the Nike Air Zoom Tempo NEXT%, one of the best Nike running shoes at the moment, was designed mainly for fast training – the word 'Tempo' in then name gives the purpose of the shoes away – but it can also perform well under racing conditions. Can it help unlock your full running potential?
Assuming you only have enough money to buy one of these excellent running shoes, we'll explain what makes them unique and on what occasions should you be wearing them.
Nike Air Zoom Tempo NEXT% vs Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 2.0: price and availability
The shoes are also available to buy via selected third party retailers such as SportsShoes.com.
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Nike Air Zoom Tempo NEXT% vs Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 2.0: tech
The Nike Air Zoom Tempo NEXT% features a mix of signature Nike running innovations, including the ZoomX foam, the React technology, Air Zoom pockets and the "high-tenacity" Flyknit upper.
The midsole of the shoe is the weirdest combination of tech we've seen in a while. There is ZoomX foam at the front, Air Zoom pockets under the ball of the foot and React foam at the back. None of these is groundbreakingly new technology, but the way they are mixed is new.
The bouncy ZoomX foam is most famous for powering the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% and the excellent Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit. In contrast, the React foam has been used for some of the most popular Nike trainers, including the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38, a shoe that also features the Air Zoom units at the front.
The Flyknit upper is a lovely addition to the Tempo NEXT% and makes the shoes feel even faster. The synthetic materials expand just the right amount; it's particularly well-suited for runners with wide feet.
The Adizero Adios Pro 2.0 is Adidas' fastest racing shoe. It features the unique Energy Rod system that's said to provide similar performance-enhancing properties to a full-size carbon plate but without the added weight. Not like embedded carbon plates are heavy, but the rods are even lighter.
The Energy Rods are embedded in the Lightstrike Pro midsole, an evolution of the super-light Lightstrike foam, first introduced in the SL20 running trainers. The Adizero Adios Pro 2.0 provides two layers of Lightstrike Pro for even better energy return.
The Celermesh 2.0 upper is a lightweight, partially recycled polyester upper that provides a tight racing fit – and surprisingly, it's not all that uncomfortable. As a matter of fact, it's one of the most comfortable racing shoes we tried in a while.
There is a thin layer of Continental rubber outsole at the bottom of the sole for added traction and durability. This is probably the most criticised part of the Adizero Adios Pro 2.0; some runners say it wears off too quickly. However, when used as intended (i.e. racing only), it should last for at least a year or two without compromising performance.
Nike Air Zoom Tempo NEXT% vs Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 2.0: running ergonomics
The first thing you'll notice when running in the Nike Tempo NEXT% is that it allows you to go fast, as long as there aren't many turns in your route. The outsole is grippy and the Air Zoom units do a great job in cushioning those landings.
The Nike Air Zoom Tempo NEXT% hasn't got a carbon plate which some runners might appreciate. Previous Nike running shoes, especially the Vaporfly NEXT%, has been criticised for providing an "unfair advantage" for runners who wear them. This won't be the case here.
Despite the lack of carbon boost, the Tempo NEXT% is a pretty fast shoe. It performed well on dry tarmac and enabled our testers to go fast – as long as they ran in a straight line. Turning is somewhat challenging in the shoes due to the placing of the Air Zoom pockets. Fast, sharp turns made often might put more strain on the ankles than wearing standard running trainers.
The sock-like fit of the Flyknit upper makes entering the shoes a bit cumbersome at first but after a few sessions, step-in comfort improves significantly.
Speaking of step-in comfort: the Adizero Adios Pro 2.0 delivers in this department, big time. The detached tongue makes it easier to put the shoes on and the laces have a firm hold once tied. As expected from a racing shoe, the upper has a tight fit so we would recommend wearing the shoes only on occasions (unless you don't need your toenails in which case you can wear them as often as you want).
Heel-to-toe transition is excellent and the Adizero 2.0 has sublime lateral support. That said, it's less flexible than the Nike Tempo; You can't bend the Energy Rods which is completely understandable as they are supposed to provide a bit of a tension to help you take off easier.
The Contagrip outsole provides plenty of traction albeit durability and long term performance are yet to be tested.
Nike Air Zoom Tempo NEXT% vs Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 2.0: aesthetics
The Nike Air Zoom Tempo NEXT% looks peculiar, to stay the least. Looking at the shoes, it's evident that Nike's designers prioritised function over form, something all running shoe manufacturers should do anyway.
The big wedge under the heel with the signature Nike curve and the brightly coloured accents ensure that the shoes will always take centre stage when you wear them.
The Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 2.0 has a more 'classic' running shoe look, in line with previous iterations of the Adizero franchise. We think this look attracts hardcore runners more; some of them might be put off the quirkiness of the Nike Tempo.
Nike Air Zoom Tempo NEXT% vs Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 2.0: verdict
From a durability point of view, the Nike Air Zoom Tempo NEXT% is undoubtedly a winner. The React foam has proved itself to be a resilient material repeatedly, so if you need shoes that will provide a similar running experience after a year to what they did on day one, the Nike is your best bet.
If you need shoes to unlock your full potential, you should get the Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 2.0. The shoes are breaking all sorts of records and shaping up to be the best running shoes of 2021. A slight downside is that you should not wear them for training as that will most likely wear off the outsole far too quickly.
Hopefully, no one will buy either of the shoes to wear as sneakers, but if by any chance you might, the Nike Tempo looks a bit snazzier, so we would recommend that. We wouldn't recommend either for this purpose as that would be a massive waste of running potential.
If you can afford it, we would recommend the Adizero Adios Pro 2.0, but we appreciate that some of you might not be able to shell out so much money for shoes you'll only wear a handful of times a year. If you need shoes you can wear for training and occasional racing, the Nike Tempo NEXT% won't let you down.