Adidas Adizero Boston 12 Review (2023): Embracing Roots and Modernity!
Published on: 08/04/2023The Adizero Boston 12 is Adidas' super trainer for faster workouts. This new version comes with significant weight savings and a softer ride.
A lightweight daily trainer for faster workouts.
Don’t have time to read the full review? Here’s what you need to know.
The Adidas Adizero Boston 12 has undergone significant improvements compared to its predecessors, offering a lighter and more streamlined design, enhanced softer cushioning, and a responsive ride. While it faces stiff competition from other speed trainers with a carbon plate, the Boston 12 holds its own as a versatile daily trainer that caters to a variety of running scenarios.
However, some runners may encounter issues with the upper fit, lacing system, and thin tongue, which may require a break-in period to resolve. Also, while the toe box and the wider forefoot offer more volume, the wider base doesn’t translate into more space at the heel and midfoot, making the shoe a tricky pick for runners with wide feet.
Overall, the Adidas Boston 12 is a very good daily trainer for speed workouts offering decent value and versatility.
Please read our full review of the Adidas Adizero Boston 12 for more information.
- Lightweight design
- Responsive Boost cushioning
- Excellent traction on various surfaces
- Breathable engineered mesh upper
- Durable construction
- Versatile for different running styles and distances
- Narrow midfoot
- A few sessions are required to unlock full comfort
A lot has changes since 2010 and the release of the very first Adidas Boston, a shoe specifically created for the iconic marathon of the same name. Originally a simple fast trainer with not much stack for optimal ground feel, Adidas added carbon-fiber plates (Energy Rods) and significantly increased the stack in 2021, transforming the Boston line into a max cushion trainer.
While this 2023 edition doesn’t bring a significant overhaul, it does deliver a lighter and softer ride, with a more streamlined construction more in line with its roots.
In this review, we’ll delve deeper into the type of experience the Boston 12 brings to the table to help you decide whether you should consider it for your practice.
With its generous underfoot stack to absorb shock and plate for running economy, the Boston delivers decent comfort with a few caveats. Let’s unpack.
Stack height, underfoot feel, and drop
The Boston 12’s midsole is designed to provide a comfortable and supportive ride, focusing on energy return and stability. The shoe features a softer version of Lightstrike 2.0 midsole foam and more Lightstrike Pro, ensuring a balanced underfoot feel.
With a stack height of 38 mm at the heel and 31 mm at the forefoot, the Boston 12 delivers very good shock absorption on the road. However, overall, the Boston 12 is still on the firmer side regarding cushioning (and overall, a bit stiff). This is especially due to the EnergyRods carbon plates that give structure and spring to the shoes but make it more stiff than other training shoes.
The drop is now 7 mm instead of 8.5 mm on the previous version. It’s still fairly standard, but athletes who heel strike significantly (we all do, so it’s just a matter of scale) may feel a difference.
Energy return and ride
Adidas was one of the first brands to dare adding carbon plates to a trainer. This was a bold move that other brands have emulated since. While the Boston 12 is not the most responsive or fastest shoes in Adidas’ line up, it does an excellent job in this area for a daily trainer.
The EnergyRods play a crucial role in enhancing the shoe’s bounce and providing a responsive, efficient ride. However, the toe-off is less snappy as it’s more flexible than on the last two versions.
We think it makes sense as such stiff configuration with a sharp forefoot rocker is more suitable for a racing shoes like the Adios Pro. This direction allows Adidas to make a clearer distinctions between its models, which is always a good thing for us runners to make sense of its collection. Regardless, transitions through the phases of the gait cycle are still smooth and easy for a fun ride.
Support and stability
The Adidas Adizero Boston 12 is a neutral running shoe with a decent level of support without actively trying to correct the gait of the runners. As a result, the Boston 12 offers a stable ride, but it may not be sufficient for overpronators. If you usually run in stability shoes with only a slight correction, then the Boston 12 may be suitable.
The shoe’s upper has a lightweight, minimal and breathable design, crafted with a minimum of 50% recycled materials. Comfortable overall, it can however cause some troubles to runner as we will see in the next sections.
The Boston 12 offers a precise and secure fit. The mesh comes with a few overlays to keep add internal structure (except in the forefoot) and the heel counter has a half semi-rigid cup.
There’s no heel slippage even with this simpler design. However, some runners reported issues with the lacing system and the midfoot. Indeed, dialing the right fit may prove tricky, and you may have to adjust the laces a few times before getting it right.
Also, the new thin gusseted tongue is radically different from the previous version and didn’t satisfy runners. Indeed, it’s unpleasant and doesn’t protect sufficiently the top of the foot from the laces, especially if you need to tighten further for a better fit.
The upper of the Adidas Adizero Boston 12 is constructed from a breathable, engineered mesh, providing excellent breathability for a comfortable running experience. This ensures that your feet remain cool and dry during your tempo runs, regardless of the weather conditions.
Fit and sizing
The Adidas Adizero Boston 12 runs true-to-size overall. However, the forefoot is roomier than the midfoot and the heel, which can be frustrating for both narrow foot and wide feet runners.
As a result, it’s one of these where we must recommend that you try them to confirm they can fit you. However, the change from the previous version is not dramatic either, so if the 11 was a good fit, the 12 should work for you too.
Men’s vs. women’s versions
Both men’s and women’s models of the Boston 12 offer similar performance and features, with slight differences in fit and size. The men’s version of the Adidas Adizero Boston 12 has a marginally wider fit than the women’s version. For the rest, it’s only a matter of sizing.
The Boston 12 is a versatile shoe suitable for daily training, speed workouts, and longer efforts. Its lightweight design (269 g/9.5 oz), improved cushioning, and responsive ride make it an excellent choice for these scenarios.
Other recommended uses
With its carbon plates and very lightweight configuration, the Boston 12 can be a great pick as a racing shoe. It’s especially interesting as it would allow you to keep the same shoes you used for most of your training miles, relieving some of the stress that comes with picking a pair that you’re less familiar.
Also, the high stack with two layers of foam provides enough cushioning for long distance races like the marathon. In terms of performance, the rockered ride and plates allow you to run more efficiently even if you won’t get the same results than with elite racing shoes.
Traction on the different surface types
The Adidas Adizero Boston 12 offers reliable traction on various surfaces, including roads, tracks, and light trails. Its outsole features strategically placed layers of Continental rubber, ensuring grip and stability, even on wet or smooth surfaces.
The Adidas Adizero Boston 12 offers a good balance of performance, durability, and sustainability at a competitive price point.
The Boston 12’s durable outsole and materials ensure a long-lasting running experience compared to other plated shoes. Its thick, grippy Continental rubber outsole provides excellent durability, allowing you to tackle many miles without worrying about the shoe wearing out prematurely.
Adidas has made efforts to improve the shoe’s sustainability by using eco-friendly materials. The Boston 12’s upper is crafted with a minimum of 50% recycled materials, contributing to Adidas’ commitment to ending plastic waste.
Additionally, the company has set goals to transition away from virgin polyester fabric in favor of recycled plastic. As of now, it stands at 96%, so it’s on track to meet its goal of reaching 100% by 2024.
Unfortunately, Adidas doesn’t list the Boston as one of their vegan models, so it’s safe to assume it uses some animal products. There’s no leather, so most likely, the glue is the culprit here.
The Adidas Adizero Boston 12 are versatile performance trainers, offering a comfortable and responsive ride for various running scenarios. Despite some lace and upper issues, the shoe’s overall performance and value make it a solid choice for most runners looking for a comfy carbon-plated trainer.
|Heel height||38 mm|
|Forefoot height||31 mm|
|Weight (men)||269 g/9.5 oz|
|Weight (women)||227 g/8 oz|
|Features||Carbon-fiber plate, Recycled materials, Rocker|
|Midsole||Lightstrike 2.0, Lightstrike Pro, EnergyRods 2.0|
|Distance||Mid, 10K, Half marathon, Long, Marathon|
|Workout||Daily running, Racing|
Reference: Adidas's official site
Comparisons – Adidas Adizero Boston 12 vs.:
Adidas Adizero Boston 11
The Boston 12 is lighter and less cushioned than the two previous versions. Compared to v11, v12 has 2 mm less sole at the heel and 1 mm under the toes. Also, the overall constructions is less overbuilt with a more straightforward upper. As a result the Boston 12 is one and a half ounce lighter (43 g), which is quite significant. For us, it’s a clear win and that the shoes we would get, even with the Boston 11 on sale.
Asics Magic Speed 3
Comparison coming soon!
Saucony Endorphin Speed 3
Overall, the Endorphin Speed is lighter and more responsive. However, there are a few more things to consider. Check out our detailed comparison: Adidas Boston vs. Saucony Endorphin Speed.