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adidas adipure Gazelle Review: Very Impressive “Natural Running” Shoe

Posted on August 24 2012

Adidas Adipure GazelleA few weeks ago I wrote a post introducing adidas’ “natural running” adipure line of shoes, and included some thoughts on the adipure Adapt, which looks and feels pretty much like a water sock. I liked the feel of the Adapt, but from an aesthetic standpoint it was severely lacking.

However, I had high hopes for the other two shoes in the adipure line: the adidas adipure Gazelle in particular looked like my kind of shoe. Last week adidas sent me a pair of the Gazelles to try out(disclosure: these were free samples for review purposes), and my overall experience so far has been phenomenal.

I’ve run two solid runs in the Gazelles, one a 10 mile interval workout, and the other a 7 mile easy run, both on asphalt (Update: now have 50+ miles on these and still loving them, durability has been great so far). The feel underfoot is very similar to the Adapts, so I feel pretty comfortable commenting on them even with limited mileage (and I couldn’t wait, loving this shoe too much!).

Adidas Adipure Gazelle MedialAdidas Adipure Gazelle Side

My first thought upon putting the Gazelles on my feet was the they were insanely comfortable. The footbed is glued down (but removable with some effort) and lightly cushioned, and feels great under a bare foot. But, where this shoe really shines is the upper. It’s made of the same stretchy, spandexy (is that a word?) material that composes the entire upper of the Adapt, and is extremely comfortable against the foot (feels kinda like a stretchy sock). There are, however, a number of differences between the uppers of the Gazelle and the Adapt. Obviously, the big difference is that the Gazelle has laces and a more traditional ankle cuff. The laces attach to the adidas stripes on each side, and this combination alone makes this look much more like a running shoe than the Adapt – I really like the look of the Gazelles.

adidas Adipure Adapt sideThe other big difference between the uppers of the Gazelle and Adapt is that the latter fits very tight. In  photos of the Adapt (e.g., at left), you’ll note that it’s almost always curled up from front to back. This is because the tight stretch of the upper pulls up on the front and back of the sole. I’m sure the reason for this is that it keeps the shoe securely attached to the foot since there are no laces, but I much prefer the fit of the lace-up Gazelle. The heel and midfoot fit snugly, and the forefoot of the Gazelle is spacious – there is much more give to the Gazelle upper in the forefoot compared to the Adapt(very easy to wiggle your toes around and up-down). The Gazelle also feels like it may run a bit longer than the Adapt, but I wear the same size 10 as I do in most other shoes.

Adidas Adipure Gazelle Top

As I mentioned above, the sole of the Gazelle feels very similar to that of the Adapt. Sole dimensions listed on Running Warehouse are 17mm heel, 11mm forefoot, and overall shoe weight for my size 10 is about 6oz (measured on my scale).

Adidas Adipure Gazelle Sole

The sole feels incredibly good on the run – perfect softness for my taste, and it feels much less than 6mm drop. I’ve come to realize that the same drop in two shoes can feel very different depending on stack height, firmness, and so forth (a post on this coming soon I hope), and this one hits my sweet spot. The other thing I really like about the Gazelle sole is that it’s flexible longitudinally, from side to side, and torsionally – it moves really well with the foot and provides a really smooth transition from lateral to medial in a midfoot-forefoot landing. I expect that sole durability will be quite good given the amount of rubber present for such a light shoe – the lateral forefoot is well protected, as is the heel (that white patch on the heel is actually rubber) which should help light heel strikers and those who plan to walk around in the shoes (you be hard pressed not to wear them all day – they are that ridiculously comfortable).

If I have one complaint about the shoe, it’s that I can feel the stitching that attaches the stripes to the upper under my arch on one side. I was initially really concerned that this would dig into my skin and either rub it raw or cause a blister. However, it has not been an issue on the run, and it would be fairly easy to remove the offending stitch row without compromising the structure of the shoe.

If I had to compare the adidas Gazelle to another shoe, the closest I could come up with is the Saucony Hattori LC. Both are crazy comfortable shoes with a stretch upper, and both feel great on the run. If it weren’t for the hot spots I get in the Hattori’s under the balls behind my big toes I’d have a really tough time recommending one over the other, but given that issue for me the Gazelles are the more versatile shoe. Both are fantastic for walk around use and short runs, but I can do ten miles in the Gazelles (including speed work) with no problems and that tips the scales.

So, I highly recommend the adidas Gazelle – they have a real winner with this shoe!

The adidas Gazelle is available at Running Warehouse.

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