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adidas adizero XT 5 Review: An adios Designed for the Trail

Adidas XT5 1The adidas adizero XT 5 was a pleasant surprise for me.  I’d not seen much info about it until it just recently popped up on adidas’ website, and after looking it over I decided it was worth a try.

I had some previous experience with the adidas XT 3 and 4, but both of those shoes were much more substantial with deep lugged outsoles. They were also quite heavy (10+ oz.). With the XT 5, adidas stripped the shoe back (315 g in my size 13 which is usually around 8.5-9 oz in a size 9) and created a shoe that is essentially a trail version of the old pre-Boost adios 2 with a few key differences.  Read on to find out if this is a good thing (hint: yep it is!).

Adidas XT5 2

Fit looking down (XT 5 on right). Notice that I moved the entire lacing up one lace hole.  It felt a bit snug at the ball of the foot, and when I compared it to some of my other shoes that fit comfortably I noticed that the lacing on nearly all of my adidas went down towards the toes an extra lace hole; moved the laces up and fit is much better with no loss in security.  I do this to nearly all of my adidas shoes now.

Upper and Fit

If you’ve run in any shoes in the adidas adizero line you probably have a good idea of how the XT 5 fits.  It has a single layer mesh upper with the three stripes logo doubling as midfoot overlays. Of note as well is that the XT 5 is on the same last as the adios road racing shoe and fits quite similar, although I would say just a hair narrower throughout the shoe.  I think the biggest reason for this is that it has an extended toe bumper that doubles as a rand (a good idea for a trail shoe and it sharpens the edging when side-hilling). It is very much a racing shoe fit and if you haven’t had good luck with an adios, Boston, Hagio or Takumi Sen then you probably won’t like the fit of the XT 5.

I will say that the upper construction could use some work (which I feel is somewhat true for many of adidas’ shoes); mainly in the area of decreasing stitching and using a slightly “softer” feeling mesh. That being said, the upside of their upper construction is that it is simple, breathable and likely keeps the cost down ($100 retail for this shoe which is great).

Adidas XT5 3

Modification to medial midfoot to reduce the midsole pushing into my arch.  Probably could do it cleaner next time.

I did have one small issue with the fit that dealt with the midsole on the arch area coming up too high and poking into my arch. This was especially noticeable while side-hilling and it caused some abrasion on my arch on a couple of runs.  I was able to pretty easily eliminate that with a razor blade by cutting away a bit of the midsole below the arch (see picture above).  I have a somewhat low arch so those with higher arches may not have any issues.

Adidas XT5 4

Great ride on this shoe with a very similar geometry to the adios.  Notice also the extended toe bumper that acts as a small rand all the way to the 3 stripes overlays…good design and really all the extra modification needed to a racing shoe upper to make it trail worthy.

Ride

This is where the adizero XT 5 shines, especially in the trail shoe category.  It takes a marathon racing shoe geometry (adios) and uses that as the blueprint for the midsole design.  It is, as far as I can tell, full length adiprene+ which is one of the most responsive midsole compounds I’ve come across. As a bonus, it’s protective from rocks as well (something Boost isn’t as good at).

The only change from the adios ride that is made on the XT 5 is that it is a little lower stack height and more flexible in the forefoot since the torsion system in the XT 5 doesn’t extend as far forward as the adios. The torsion system it is still there though, which is great for providing some structure to the shoe, protecting the midfoot from rocks, and preventing foot fatigue on longer runs.

All of this translates to a shoe that handles the more technical demands of trail and even mountain running because it is more flexible and deals with uneven terrain better than the adios 2 (which I also use on trails, both Boost and adiprene versions), but also runs like a road shoe when the trail smooths out. Not a lot of trail shoes can strike this balance very well! The ride is, by far, the biggest selling point of the shoe and is what sets it apart from many other lightweight trail shoes on the market.

Adidas XT5 Sole

XT 5 outsole; great overall design with low profile but effective lugs makes it pretty versatile, even handling some more mountain oriented terrain.

Outsole

Besides being a fan of adidas’ midsole compounds, I also generally like their outsole designs and compounds. The XT 5 has three different compounds with their proprietary Traxion on the lateral and medial forefoot (outer forefoot “ring”), adiwear on the heel (heel “ring”), and Continental rubber (which is fantastic) on the ball and middle of heel. The latter is great for traction on rocks, even when wet.

The biggest change adidas made to the XT 5 outsole from v4 was that they significantly reduced the lug depth for v5. I think this was a good call as it makes the shoe run much closer to its road counterparts than the older XT models.  It has sufficient traction for technical terrain, but it handles hardpack great and even runs ok on the road.

Adidas adizero XT5 White

Overall Conclusions

Aside from a little refinement in the upper design and the midsole arch, the adizero XT 5 is really the type of trail shoe I’m looking for, would love to see more of, and I don’t understand why more companies don’t put out shoes like it. Take a marathon racing shoe geometry, add a very small amount of increased upper security (very small…too many overbuilt uppers), especially on the lateral forefoot, and put a full coverage, but low profile black rubber outsole on it.  For 80% of my trail running this is the type of shoe I want and suggest to most of the brands and shoe designers I’ve talked with.

I’d recommend the XT 5 to anyone looking for a performance trail running shoe, and especially to those trail runners that have run in shoes like the NB MT101/110 (the XT 5 is essentially the type of shoe I wish NB made with the 100 series) or Nike Kiger. Additionally, if you run in adidas shoes on the road, you’ll feel right at home with the XT 5 on the trail. The only thing I don’t understand is why adidas doesn’t take this approach with their other trail shoes (which are usually pretty chunky and more like hiking shoes, like the new Terrex Boost for example). If the XT 5 = adios trail, I’d love to see a Takumi/RC Trail (lower drop/lighter profile trail shoe for shorter races similar to the old adizero Rocket with just a slightly more trail specific outsole) and Boston Trail (a little more relaxed upper with a just a hair more cushion than XT 5).  A guy can dream right :)?  That said, adidas is making a push to put out some new trail shoes this summer, some of which made my preview post: Trail Running Shoes To Keep An Eye On in 2015.

When I personally bought the XT 5 it was only available on adidas.com.  It has since also become available on Zappos and Amazon as well as REI.com. It still is interesting to note that the distribution seems to be limited and it is carried under adidas’ outdoor line rather than their running line. I think this is a shame since it is a fantastic running shoe and should be marketed as such.  Trail running and “outdoor” are not synonymous  :)

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Recent Posts By Category: Running Shoe Reviews | Running Gear Reviews | Running Science
About David Henry

David Henry is a 31 year old husband and father of 3 young children. He has completed over 23 ultra marathon events as well as many other shorter races. Some of the notable races he has completed include The Pike’s Peak Marathon, Speedgoat 50k, The Rut 50k, Gorge Waterfalls 100k and Bighorn 100. He has raced in diverse environments ranging from Alaska in winter to the Arizona desert. David appreciates well-crafted running shoes and running on any surface and distance. If interested you can follow my running on Strava: https://www.strava.com/athletes/davidjonhenry

Comments

  1. Thanks for the great review again David. I’m curious, have you run in the most recent Asics Fuji Racer? On paper, it seems to be a similar shoe to this one…racing shoe geometry with a slightly luggy outsole, though maybe Adidas has done a better job with the toe bumper/rand.

    BTW, the view from your deck is incredible!

    • David Henry says:

      Hi Ryan and thanks for reading the review. I haven’t run in the recent Fuji Racer, but yes on paper would be a similar idea, the only difference is I don’t prefer ASICS midsole compounds and fit as much as adidas, but if ASICS works for you then they might be a good option. I think the XT 5 is a little more streamlined than the Fuji, but similar concepts for sure. Thanks for the comment on our view, we have a nice valley here in Eastern Oregon and another mountain range in the other direction as well….a small little Colorado in Oregon :). Take Care, David

  2. Interesting the XT5 seems oddly similar to the Adidas Marathon 10.5 here: link to m.dsw.com
    Great riding shoe also! Cheap too!

    • David Henry says:

      Thanks for the comment. Haven’t really looked at the Marathon…seems they have a trail version as well. Man I don’t need another pair of shoes, but…..:)

  3. Charles says:

    I’ve been running the local trails with the Boston Boost 5, and I think a slightly more aggressive outsole would make it a perfect trail shoe for those who need more traction. As it is, the sole on the Boston Boost 5 does a fine job on the dirt trails here in the SF Bay Area.

    • David Henry says:

      Hi Charles! Completely agree on the Boston 5 boost. Been using that on trails a ton and really like it for that (better than I like it on the roads actually) and you’re right that XT 5 is nice when a little more traction is needed but Boston 5 outsole is about perfect for most dry trails. I really like adidas’ outsoles on most of their models and wish more trail shoes had lower profile outsoles like that. Only issue I have with Boston Boost is I just wish the upper was a hair more comfortable on longer runs which would mainly be accomplished by reducing the stitching on the upper like the next women’s version is getting here: link to youtube.com (I have no idea why they aren’t doing the same with the mens as it would fix all the issues I have with the shoe).

      -David

  4. Hi David,

    I bought a pair of the XT5’s and am having the same issue with the outsole causing pressure & blisters on the inside of my arches – both feet after approx 2.5 miles.

    I dont have this issue with the Adios Boost 2 and Energy Boost road versions.

    Do you suggest i try the modification that you did by cutting into the outsole or try and find a new home for the shoes before ruining them!

    • David Henry says:

      What I did worked for me and I really like the shoe so felt like it was worth it. Basically I think they just built that arch area up too high and if you don’t have high arches, your feet hit that foam (which isn’t super soft) and it caused the blisters. By cutting some out like I did it allows it to give a little and took away 90% of the sensation. I really like the shoe otherwise so I think it is worth the risk to modify it, but if you are on the fence with the shoe, it might be better to go a different route. The new XT Boost is fantastic and doesn’t have the arch issue…my review should be up very soon. -David

  5. hi david,

    thanks for another great review (even if i missed it some months ago)! as an adiprenian, these sound very interesting to me. re sizing, would you say there is any difference in length from the adiprene adios 2? i wore 10.5 in that, but it was just long enough. if this is any shorter, i should probably try 11. is the heel fit snugger on this? i found the adios 2 heel slightly roomy. (btw, any word on the rumored reissue of the original adios?)

    on a not so related topic, did you end up not being so crazy about the terraclaw 250? better suited to soft ground? how is the fit?

    thanks,
    bruce

    • David Henry says:

      Hi Bruce,

      Sizing wise I think the length is similar but the shoe feels just a bit narrower. I’d probably suggest sizing up a .5 size…not going to be that much longer in length but probably a bit more comfortable. I’d say the heel fit is a little snugger too.

      RE: Terraclaws, yeah I found them to be pretty much a soft ground only shoe, which is a shame since they really weren’t designed that way and the Trailrocs they replaced were much more versatile. Midsole material was pretty inferior on them and just not a smooth ride at all on hard ground. Fit was pretty decent…wider than adidas in the forefoot. I only ran in the 220 and it might be a hair too wide and insecure in the forefoot. -David

  6. PS:
    did the drop feel like 10mm? although most adizero shoes are in that range, some feel like it and some feel lower (or never give me any thoughts about drop, e.g., boston 3).

    • David Henry says:

      Drop feels very similar to adios. Felt like 8-10mm to me..not in the way, but there. I’ve been digging the Supernova Glide 4 and 5s (last adiprene versions)…hoping to find a Boston 3 at some point since they look similar to the Glide 4s, but a little racier. Have some Tempo 4s too that are pretty sweet. I wish adidas was still making some adiprene models! Good news is they re-released the adios 1: link to adidas.com and they have a forthcoming 8mm drop 10 oz trail shoe call the trailmaker that comes out this summer that is adiprene and looks good: link to roadtrailrun.com

      -David

      • wow, is this a sudden crazed adiprene frenzy on your part? is there any loss of boost love, or just that they’re both great? i have glide 5, which works a lot better than glide 7 for me. much dif between 4 and 5? if you’re even doing the tempo, seems like you need aegis too! i have the 2 and 3; i like both, but fairly dif–2 is leaner and narrower, 3 has a pretty wide toebox and the longest laces i’ve witnessed! really, you could cut them in half for spares. boston 3, which may be my favorite (performance) trainer ever, could be tough–they totally dried up on ebay in my size 11 about 6 months to a year ago. but since you’re a dif size…good luck! btw, do you feel unworn eva deteriorates at all after a couple of years?

        hm, trailmaker… do you still feel pretty enthusiastic about the xt 5?? (narrow is good for me.)

        once again, many thanks for your input!

        best,
        bruce

        • David Henry says:

          Haha, no not a sudden adiprene frenzy. I like both boost and adiprene and I guess have just seen a few limitations of boost, especially in making lighter models. adiprene rides more precise and sharp but not near as forgiving as boost and boost still holds up much longer than other midsole materials so Boost has it’s place for sure.

          RE: Glide 4 and 5, yeah Glide 4 is lighter and softer feeling, but has stitched overlays…I like the Glide 5 upper better, but probably the Glide 4 midsole better.

          aegis 2 looks interesting…3 not so much since it has similar outsole/midsole setup like Tempo 6 and Boston 4, which isn’t my favorite of adidas.

          I had a chance to pick up some Boston 3s but they were a little too much $…I’ll still be keeping my eyes out for a pair though.

          RE: XT 5, yeah it still has a unique place as the most road worthy trail shoe adidas has made and is quite protective for the weight. While not my favorite adidas trail shoe, I still use it and have an extra pair of them too since I wanted to have them available going forward.

          David

      • trailmaker goretex looks like…speed laces!! does the regular version also have them? (i didn’t see it on the link.) from the outsole, looks like it may not be as versatile as the xt 5?

        • David Henry says:

          Yeah speed laces on the regular version…not my favorite, but you can always take them off and adidas makes them where you don’t have to cut them to get them off which is nice. Trailmaker is definitely not going to be as good on the roads as the XT 5 (or XT Boost for that matter), but I like the looks of the design overall and it is differentiated enough from their other trail offerings to be of interest, plus the adiprene will offer a different feel too which is also nice. -David

          • so how did boston 3 turn out for you? (also, compared to tempo 4?) hope you like them! which color (which would indicate how old they are)? do you have any concern about unused midsole deteriorating over a few years?

            and original adios vs. haile?

            best.
            bruce

          • David Henry says:

            I’ve only got one run in the Boston 3 at this point and they felt decent…like a more substantial adios 2. Fairly stiff though, which I guess will break in, but Glide 5 didn’t feel quite so stiff. Tempo 4 is also pretty dense and stiff…not much time in them either, since I’ve been trying to get time in review pairs. I got the Boston 3 in the Blue/grey color. RE: midsole deterioration over time, I don’t think it is a big issue unless the shoe was stored in a hostile environment (i.e. in sunlight or heat for a long time). That said I’m sure there is some point where the foam will degrade, but I don’t think even 10 years is enough for that. Original adios and Haile are basically the same shoe other than the extra rubber on the big toe of the outsole, which I like. Both ride great and I’m super glade they brought it back! -David

  7. I got to look into this model. I’m a ultra and trail runner. I currently race and train in the Adios Boost 2’s and the Adidas Takumi Sen 2 on the trails of canyons and mountains in the Southwest. I love the upper and midsole of both. The Takumi is the perfect trail runner, but still love the feel and snappiness of the Adios Boost 2. If Adidas lowered the heel cushion on the Boost 2 making it a zero drop and took the tread of the Takumi or even the tread of the Merrell Trail Glove 3 that would amazing. Maybe I’ll give these a try, they look sweet. I hate to leave Adidas because they are the only brand that fit my narrow feet.

  8. hi david–a very belated ‘sorry about that’ re the boston 3. maybe i was waiting in hopes that you’d start liking them more. (have you?) i never really noticed them being particularly stiff when i was going through multiple pairs, but now that you mention it, they do feel stiffer than glide 5 (no, i don’t seem to throw shoes away). i can’t imagine they’re as stiff as adiprene adios 2 (few shoes are), which i tried on briefly a long time ago. speaking of which, would you say the adiprene adios 2 works less well for slower running than the adios haile? are you still loving the adios haile for pretty much anything? (getting a little nervous about them going away–adidas is already not selling them on their website.) how would you compare both adiprene adiosi (?) to 1400v3 (or v4)? is the haile kind of your favorite shoe these days?

    thanks,
    bruce

    • David Henry says:

      Hey Bruce. No worries on Boston 3…I’ll still run them some more, but have switched to trails now and being that I only have one pair, saving them for roads later. They aren’t that stiff but maybe just a little chunkier than I expected…I’d guess they’ll get better with some more miles.

      RE: Haile, yeah I really like them and need to get another pair before they don’t make them anymore….I don’t know if they are my favorite per se, but definitely one of the best racing flats I’ve tried and for sure better than the 1400. Another awesome shoe that I just got in, is the Nike Zoom Streak 6…they totally revamped it and it is really nice feeling and super light, but enough shoe to run a marathon in (at 6.5 oz!). -David

      • many thanks. do you think the adiprene adios 2 is worth considering compared to adios 1 (haile)? is it a lot stiffer and not so great for slower running?

        • David Henry says:

          Honestly, they are really quite different. Adios 1 is definitely more friendly to slower paces and you are right the adios 2 will be stiffer and not great for slow road running. I’ve probably only used them on roads 1 times…all the other times have been on trails where the stiffness/firmness is less of an issue and more of an asset…both great shoes though and I probably prefer them over their Boost counterparts (although the boost adios does run well on the roads I think). -David

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