Every few months we hear of another trainer released from one of the big sneaker brands. As a novice, there are plenty of variables to sift through in order to choose your preferred runner. This can be a daunting task, especially if you’re uncertain of what it is you’re trying to achieve with your running, both short-term and long-term. Thankfully, adidas may have the perfect solution for you. The adidas Solarglide 5 is a running shoe that aims to meet your daily and race requirements, all in one.
Design and Build
There’s a simplicity to the overall design that’s a throwback to the adidas running shoes from the 90s. Its understated overall aesthetic is differentiated by the various colourways. There are more than 10 colourways for the Solarglide 5. Seven of these are available via the adidas online store in South Africa. As a result, you can easily find the colourway to match your style. However, being a running shoe, it doesn’t matter all that much, unless you’re planning on wearing it for everyday use.
It has a very curvy appearance, which expands from the midsole to the upper across from one side to the other. It is reminiscent of the flow of waves. Representation of a steady, continuous ebb and flow of the ocean, which is also what you’ll get with the Solarglide 5 as your daily runner.
The upper is crafted from engineered mesh with a knitted finish. It has layers across the upper to provide a secure fit. It’s not quite the sock fit of the Primeknit material but is still quite resilient.
As with many of the adidas running portfolios, the Solarglide 5 range features the BOOST material for its midsole. Additionally, it has an EVA rim, along with LEP plastic polymer on the rear to strengthen the overall support. To round off the bottom of the shoe, it features Continental rubber on the outsole. It’s a single-piece material, with a few cut-outs or windows where you can view the various support structures within the midsole.
It may not be the best-looking running shoe, but I like its minimalist design and flow aesthetic.
It’s All About Comfort
Before we discuss the performance of the shoe, let’s take a moment to discuss the comfort. In all respects, the adidas Solarglide 5 is all about cushioning. Even if you’re not going to be using it as a daily runner, which is highly recommended, everyday work or shoes to wear around the house is ideal.
It’s super comfortable and can be worn throughout the day. In between a few of my many runs with the Solarglide 5, I took time to wear these as often as I could. This would be around the house or out on the streets in order to judge their relative comfort under normal usage. And it works great.
The shoe is roughly 30g heavier than the previous iteration. It now has a weight of about 335g for a size UK9. However, there is a lot more cushioning and support to justify this weight. They may not be the lightest shoes around but with the added cushioning underfoot and the padding around the ankles and forefoot, it is protective.
It has a knitted upper that provides a comfortable wrap. It’s not the high-end Primeknit upper but isn’t bad either. It’s a lot more isolated, which means that it can run a bit warmer than the Primeknit shoes but also is more protective from the elements when you are out in harsher weather.
Overall, there is no questioning the level of comfort provided by the Solarglide 5. Whether you’re running, working around the home or out and about, you’re guaranteed comfort all day long.
As is always the case for adidas products, the quality is of a high standard. The BOOST midsole has proven itself over and over again throughout the years. I have a few running shoes and sneakers dating back some four or five years that are still holding up quite well with no visible deterioration over time. They hold up quite well and I expect no difference in this regard from the adidas Solarglide 5 midsole.
Likewise, there are also plenty of shoes I have with the Continental rubber outsole. Over the past two months of running and walking, I can barely see any wear underneath. Having already crossed the 100km mark, I can expect it to reach above the 600 to 800km mark.
Unlike the Primeknit upper on the various Ultraboost running shoes, the knitted upper on the Solarglide 5 is a lot stiffer. In addition to the padding, there is heel protection and reinforcement around the toe box. All of these are signs of a long-term view on wear. These are the high-friction areas and adidas has bolstered these quite significantly. And I could definitely feel its overall impact.
Performance and Versatility
Irrespective of any other aspects of the adidas Solarglide 5, its performance as a running shoe is what matters most. adidas’ marketing pitch for the shoe is “an everyday all-rounder with superb energy return.” As such, it’s along these lines that I would review and judge it.
Compared to all the other running shoes I’ve reviewed over the past few years, regardless of brand, there is a distinctly different feel with the Solarglide 5. It’s not heavy but isn’t the lightest. It’s not too snug but has a nice form-fitting upper. Additionally, it’s not as bouncy as the Adizero Pro 3. But you can feel the BOOST cushioning the moment you lace up. It’s the best of all worlds from the word go. A sort of Goldilocks sampling all the Bears’ possessions and finding the one that fit her situation perfectly.
Taking those first steps with the Solarglide 5 as you’re about to hit the tar, I felt a lot more confident that with any other shoes before it. The others may have yielded better overall results in terms of times and personal bests. However, the confidence underfoot is great here.
It is stable through the gait cycle with no uneven strides, even when you switch between terrains. Running on tar for most of my run, I often have to traverse some ground, grass and pavement. As I run through the neighbourhood with the Solarglide 5, you can be assured that there isn’t any undue pressure on your ankles as I jumped the curb or the uneven ground next to the road. As its name suggests, it glides across.
In keeping with the gait cycle, there are aspects to also consider that have an impact on your stride. With a heel of 36mm and toe of 26mm, it presents a very even platform for the kick-off. Additionally, the heel drop is a tame 10mm. This means you also won’t get the most out of manufactured gains. As such, it requires more kick-off from the wearer as a result. At the same time, however, there’s less impact on your ankle and heel, and at the end of the day, fewer injuries such as splints and calf strain.
Having already mentioned the additional padding and cushioning around the foot within the shoe, it works just as well when you’re walking as when you’re running. There is no added strain or chafing with any movement, and even holds up for some HIIT workouts with heavy side-to-side movement. It worked just as well across all aspects of the daily routine I put it through.
With the Continental rubber sole, as with many other adidas running shoes, you’re also confident of your stride as you turn the corner or have to suddenly pivot to the side. The rubber is very grippy and provides the same traction as with any adidas shoe before it.
The adidas Solarglide 5 is a great everyday running shoe. The marketing campaign behind its release is pretty on point. And, although I’ve been running for many years now, I can confidently say that it would also make a great starter shoe for anyone looking to pick up running at any point. I acknowledged that I was not going to be pushing the same performance as with many other modern running shoes. However, it did help improve my fitness, lessen impact injuries and provide all-round balance and confidence. The Solarglide 5 is definitely the optimum shoe in this regard.
The adidas Solarglide 5 is a running shoe all about consistency in your training. While it may not be a marathon or race day shoe itself, it goes a long way in prepping you for those races. It allows you to put in the hours of training without putting your legs through the paces when it comes to strain and niggles. Instead, its cushioned approach and effortless stride pattern allow you to build cardio and rhythm as you approach the big day. It’s a welcome addition to your running arsenal, pairing well with the likes of the adidas Adizero Adios Pro 3.
The Solarglide 5 is reasonably inexpensive compared to many modern high-end running shoes. However, it’s still not an easy sell for a beginner. Its retail price is R2,499. It is available online at adidas.co.za, adidas Concept stores and various other retailers across the country. If you do have the budget for it, I highly recommend the adidas Solarglide 5.
adidas Solarglide 5
The adidas Solarglide 5 is a steady, reliable, everyday running shoe. Whether you’re just starting out or a seasoned professional, it provides a balanced approach to your training. It’s not the lightest and not the most affordable but provides the best of all worlds when it comes to the support and performance of every runner.
- Supremely stable underfoot on varying terrain
- Good amount of support and cushioning
- Every day runner
- Easy introduction for beginners
- A bit on the heavier side
- Can be pricey for beginners