This concept has been on a lot of trail runners’ minds for years now. Adidas introduced their coveted Boost material a few years ago and many people dreamed of the possibilities it would have on the trails. Finally, that dream is about to be realized. The Adidas Supernova Riot has been around for years, but it gets a fresh start for 2016. This total overhaul brings us the union of cushion, traction, and ruggedness.
For the past few years, Adidas has been teaming up with Continental to produce an outsole that has doesn’t lose grip on wet surfaces. Naturally it made sense to continue with his sticky compound on an off-road shoe to easily handle all kinds of conditions and terrain. The deeply lugged pattern will be consistent and feel solid on everything from dirt roads to rocky ups and downs. It will handle wet and muddy conditions manageably well also. The deep lugs increase the width of the platform, so this will also provide more of a stable feeling on the trail.
Though the Boost material is exposed in the heel and only slightly underfoot, the soft cushion runs the length of the shoe allowing for a smooth transition from heel impact through toe off. The bouncy material will absorb a fair amount of sharp debris underfoot and still spring off your next step. For those familiar with Adidas’ current shoes, the cushion will feel most similar to the Glide Boost. That being said, there is a near-even split in the midsole between Boost material and EVA foam so it won’t feel overly mushy on the softer trail surface.
Another big story with the Riot this year is the upper construction. The concept was to make this as debris-free as possible while still keeping the shoe breathable. Adidas gave this an ankle-height cut to simulate a trail gaiter. This will give you peace of mind that sticks and small rocks won’t be able to sneak their way into your shoe. This also helps hold the shoe on your foot more securely. In our brief testing, we didn’t have any trouble with irritation and the soft material against the ankle allows you to even forget about the ankle cuff at times. The fit definitely feels more natural with a higher sock, opposed to the low-cut or no shows.
The rest of the upper is a single piece of material given a couple stitched overlays to hold the foot in place. We have found that this fits slightly on the wider side, but that shouldn’t be a deterrent for someone who doesn’t have a wide foot. There is also enough toe protection to take the Riot on all kinds of crazy trails with confidence.
The Adidas Supernova Riot is out now and is ready to get on the trails. This shoe would be excellent for someone to keep running though the winter and keep snow out of their shoes. It would also make an excellent light hiker providing a little more ankle stability than most trail shoes. Not to mention that the Boost material is designed to have a longer lasting resiliency so this would make a great long distance and ultramarathon shoe.
Right now the Riot is in a little bit of a category of its own on our wall, but some similar models, all for different reasons, would be the Salomon Speedcross, New Balance Leadville 1210, and Brooks Cascadia.