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

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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About Peter Larson

This post was authored by Peter Larson. Pete is a recovering academic who currently works as an exercise physiologist, running coach, and writer. He's also a father of three and a fanatical runner with a bit of a shoe obsession. In addition to writing and editing this site, he is co-author of the book Tread Lightly, and writes a personal blog called The Blogologist. Follow Pete on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and via email.

Comments

  1. Kevin Walker says:

    I run in Kinvara 2′s, Brooks Green Silence (less now), and Altra Instinct’s. The instinct seems to be a bit firm for me (still transitioning), and the GS seems to have too much heel material (although I would probably trust them for longer distances). Would the feel of the Gazelle be closer to the Altra’s, or even less shoe than that? I’m looking for a balance between minimal and neutral. I thought Altra would fit the bill, but perhaps I’m still adjusting (sore calves still). I’m excited about the possibilities here, as I’ve run in the Adidas ClimaCool Chill before, and thought it was a great shoe for me. Oh, and ultimately, I’m looking for a shoe that could possibly go 26.2, or act as a marathon trainer.

  2. Hi Pete,
    I know this is an old article… but thought it might be the bast place to ask –> on your Facebook you posted once a picture of your Gazelle 2, do you plan on writing on article ? What are the improvements on the 2 ? Liked the 1 but would get some blisters in them so if the 2 are better in the area I’m definitely interested ;-) . Thanks !

  3. Kenneth Lo says:

    Hi Pete,
    Would you run a half marathon in these?

  4. How is the sizing compared to the Hagio?

    • Pete Larson says:

      I think it runs just a tad longer than the Hagio, but I wear the same size in both. Big differences are that the Gazelle is designed for sockless running, is softer underfoot, and is more flexible. The one time I ran sockless in the Hagios my feet bled.

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      • What about the medial cut out under the mid foot? Less severe than the NB 5000/1400, but still evident. With no arches to my name any sort of seam/ridge where the two meet under my arch is problematic. Hagios work fine there, as the area is covered by the insert. Vibrams work fine as well since they wrap around the foot and have no hard edges. The Altra instinct for instance seems wide, but still rubs under my right arch where upper and lower meet.

  5. Do these have a flat footbed, or an exaggerated arch hump as per Nike Freerun2?

    As Brian mentions, Adidas Aus aren’t bringing these in, so I can’t try before buying.

  6. Hi Pete,
    is it possible to compare it with the Hagio (how fast both can be, their traction and possibility of running bigger distances)?
    Running Warehouse is selling both in a similar orange color (i think so!), but the hagio is in liquidation.
    Thanks and have a nice weekend!

    • Pete Larson says:

      The Hagio is firmer and stiffer, both are meant as road shoes though I’d think traction is a bit better in the Hagio. One other note – if you like to run without socks, the Gazelle is much better. Tha Hagios made me bleed the one time I went sockless.
      Sent from my iPad

  7. How is the durability on these shoes? The upper section(stretchy part) seems like it can tear very easily.

  8. Alex Candia says:

    Have you considered reviewing the free run 4.0 v2?
    I am debating between the gazelles and 4.0 v2.
    Thanks

  9. Brian Martin says:

    These look like a great shoe Pete. Adidas in Australia however are up to their usual tricks by bringing the ‘Motion’ and ‘Adapt’ into the country and ignoring the Gazelle, the middle ground shoe which would suit and be of benefit to the most runners. No Hagio, No Gazelle in Australia = 0/2.

  10. Wide toe box?

  11. Pete great review! How is the width compared to the Kinvara? The Kinvara’s fit a little snug through the forefoot for me.

    • Pete Larson says:

      Feels wider, and the forefoot material is really stretchy so it’s not constrictive at all.
      Sent from my iPad

  12. david wimmer says:

    Does anyone know about the durability of these shoes? I really want a pair, but I’d also like them to last for a while (not necessarily as long as my Kinvara 2′s which have lasted almost 2 sport seasons).

  13. Pete,

    Did 6mm offset was noticeable in comparison to running hattori or other zero drop shoes ?

    Thanks

  14. i run Kinvara 2s, and lunaracers. I’m currently in xc season now, but during track I would like something with a little more stiffness and spring for track workouts, are the gazelles firmer and “springier” than the Ks or is it about the same?

  15. How would you compare it to the Nike Free 3.0?

  16. I just ran a half marathon in these yesterday, sockless. I have done a couple of training runs in them, but probably nothing more than five miles. I have noticed that I have needed to tie my shoes tighter than I had tying them in general, so I tied these pretty tight.

    That was a mistake. After a few miles, I noticed a bit of rubbing. I finally figured out it was the stripes that used a different material was rubbing. The damage was already done. I tried loosening one of the shoes, but that just made it worse at that point, so I tightened it back up and sucked it up.

    At the end of the race, I couldn’t wait to get them off. No blood, but certainly had large blisters right where my arches started. I am not sure what to do with them in the future. I really like the shoes as they are firm and lightweight. My knees felt great after the race. Maybe a thin pair of injinis or just not tighten them so much.

  17. Hi Peter, how does the shoe compares with the Go Bionic which you liked much. Would you run a half or full in them? Does it qualify as a minimalist with a 6mm offset? As i was about to order the Bionics, would you recommend i’d go with these instead? Thanks again for your advice and gait analysis further to the Concord workshop, i run better now and the injury is going away finally. Gilbert

  18. Alex Beecher says:

    Comparing these to the Hattori and the GoBionic, what is the relative amount of cushion? Stack heights don’t tell everything, after all.

    • Haven’t tried the Bionic but the Adidas cushion feels more ‘dense’ than the Hattori. It has about the same amount of give, but doesn’t bottom out as hard and fast. Probably has something to do with with the rubber outsole. This is a good thing in my opinion.

      The best way to explain this is that it feels like you could bruise your heel if heel striking (don’t do it, just an illustration) in the Hattori, but not in the Adidas. I came down on a small rock sitting on pavement in the Hattori yesterday and it smarted good.

    • Pete Larson says:

      Very comparable to the Hattori, GoBionic is a bit more structured in the upper, but feel is also pretty similar (need to run in them in sequence to compare I think!).
      Sent from my iPad

  19. Tim - GaitEnvy.com says:

    I absolutely LOVE these SHOES!!! They are up there with the NB rc5000.

  20. Great review Pete. Looks like a shoe for me.

    Will a review of the Adipure Motion be coming up soon?

  21. if my original shoe size is 8.5 (i normally pick a size 9 for regular shoes) what shoe size should i get for the adipure gazelle? should a get a 9? or 9.5?

  22. How To Run Free says:

    These look really sharp! I just got the NB Road 0 and I’m loving those.

  23. How do you think the Gazelles would hold up to weather? I feel like this new rubber upper will be good for snow rain etc, or do you not think they’d last through training during winter outdoors

  24. Chris Szumigala says:

    Got mine today and wearing them around the house at first. Strangely my big toe seems to rub against the TOP of the toe box, as if the interior space weren’t high or deep enough. Have to see if this becomes a problem or not. otherwise feel good!

  25. do you happen to know why the blue gazelles are 20$ more than the red?

  26. Ran the Hagio this past season, loved em, although they weren’t the most durable. Looking for something to train indoors in for Winter track (intervals, warm up before meets etc). I really like the look of these shoes, and the new Hagio colour is pretty bleak. but I want something that will still hold up at high speed- I noticed below it was talking about the springiness of the Hagio vs gazelle. Would you not recommend them then? I was really excited to give these shoes a go

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