adidas Supernova 2 ($100/110€)
Sam: adidas marketing for the Supernova calls out that it is intended for a comfortable ride not only for the beginner runner but for the 80% of runs at easier, less intense paces we should all try for..and rarely achieve.. and increasingly less frequently with all the highly “caffeinated” high stacked super foams, plates, and light weights of modern trainers.
Adidas has not in recent years not served those 80% of runs very well with a fleet of more elite and fast focused firmer and stiffer trainers including the Prime X, Boston 10 and Adios 6 with at the other end the lifestyle focused very heavy Ultraboost and a series of Glide and other Supernova models that quite frankly I gave up on testing and reviewing several years ago due to their weight and dated overwrought rides. So it was with great interest that I saw the $100 Supernova 2 unexpectedly arrive for testing.
At a very respectable 9.8 oz / 278g US9 weight for a 32mm heel /23mm full stack height with a broad rounded Boost foam heel (nice for slower paced heel striking) and a front section of Bounce topped with a sleek upper I sure was curious to try them.
The last “daily trainer” class shoe from adidas I really liked was the Energy Boost 1, one of my top ten of all time with its mainly Boost rear and EVA / Boost combination up front. The Supernova 2 immediately reminded of the Energy Boost 1. Initial examination appeared to show no shortcuts taken in their design and construction,
And, as a bonus, this more “mass market” shoe is said by adidas to have a 12% carbon footprint reduction in the women’s 10% men’s using the ISO 14067 standard considering all steps from materials to manufacturing to packaging.
And it comes in a sturdy but far more minimal box in terms of materials and printing than I have seen to date, all part of the overall carbon footprint reduction. I do not see the often seen at adidas call out the use of recycled plastics for the upper.
Superb value at $100/110€ for a no compromises versatile trainer Sam
Great choice for beginner runners, heel strikers and those seeking a softer trainer or recovery run type shoe Sam
Softer, well cushioned stable ride: Sam
Broad stable Boost rear, flexible soft Bounce front is a great combination Sam
Smooth fitting breathable upper with notably secure and comfortable rear hold Sam
Reduced carbon footprint (10-12%) in a mass market, low cost shoe: Sam
Forefoot maybe overly soft and thin: for forefoot strikers & lacks response at faster paces
Approx. weight: men’s 9.8 oz / 278g (US9)
Samples: men’s 9.56 oz / 272g US 8.5
Stack Height: men’s 32 mm heel (measured) / 23 mm forefoot (spec 9mm drop)
Available now. $100 USD/ 110€
First Impressions, Fit and Upper
Sam: Very attractive in a light gray with lime green collar highlights and with black “3 Stripes” on both sides of each shoe that also provide support. The engineered mesh is quite dense but has many ventilation slots.
In addition to ventilation, the many holes also help the upper wrap the foot. In moderate heat and humidity I found the upper plenty breathable.
The “silhouette” is long slung from the low heel collar above the bulging rear Boost heel to the low appearing toe box.
The fit is true to size on both my narrower right foot and wider left, not always the case with shoes costing $50 more for me. Secure, comfortable and not overwhelming, the most prominent fit feature is the very secure low heel/achilles collar. There is plenty of toe box room for a variety of feet including moderately wide.
Copiously padded the semi rigid heel counter has a rear molded bulge to provide some additional lockdown and unlike many low around the bottom of the heel counter plastic “clips” or rigid plastic overlays this support piece is.. more of a piece with the rest of the rear.
The tongue is moderately padded and quite narrow with no gusset. I did see some tongue rotation on my narrower right foot.
Bottom line: if you handed me the shoe and asked what I thought its retail price was I would have guessed $130-$140 with the only clue that it might be less the relatively simple looking if sleek upper.
The Supernova 2 has a 32mm heel / 23 mm forefoot full stack height with a 9mm drop.
The rear landing area is Boost with the front adidas Bounce compound. Boost is made of expanded TPU beads and while not as light as more modern foams, it was the first true super foam as it provided an energetic return and lots of cushion as I found it does here at the rear of the shoe.
The front foam is Bounce. It feels like a rubberized foam similar to that seen in certain Hoka such as the Mach but here my sense is that is softer than the Hoka foams. It is soft and yes quite bouncy but does not have a lot of rapid energy return as even the rear Boost has. I would not call the front of the shoe mushy or ponderous at all but for sure it is not modern “high energy” in feel.
This is a more mellow riding forefoot is one ideally suited to slower pace recovery runs and heel striking where the broad Boost heel absorbs and rebounds then sending you forward to the soft and flexible forefoot which compresses quite far from its relatively low front stack height of 23mm up front.
There is no Torsion plastic as often seen in adidas with the outsole with a combination of outer rubber and inner injected TPU in almost full coverage providing the shoe’s stability.
The outsole is a direct injected TPU ringed by what appears to be rubber. The green TPU is quite firm but as it is quite thin as well it is neither harsh or disconnected from the midsole above. In fact it may be too thin or the Bounce too soft in the sense that the foot tends to bottom out the midsole at the ball of the foot a bit more than I would like before rebounding, limiting longer run and more uptempo as well. The Supernova is a relatively flexible shoe of the more mellow softer flex type without the characteristic adidas snappy flex as seen in shoes with Torsion plastic and that is OK as the shoe has easier pace intents.
Durability is to be determined. I do see some wear at the very first row of lugs ahead of the green portion of the outsole.
The ride delivers on its marketing of an easy going softer shoe for beginners and those 80% of miles that should be easy for all runners. It has a mellow softer pleasant ride with Boost and Bounce.. bounce. The geometry and interface between the 2 foams is right where it should be. It is more than decently stable due to the extended heel and almost full coverage outsole.
It is not a fast ride even at its very decent weight as it lacks front pop and return and while remaining well cushioned can feel thin at the forefoot due to the softness there so not the best long run choice but for sure more than adequate for long runs . In fact all my runs in them tended to be slower than “expected” but a pleasure and never a chore, looking at you overdone overweight Ultraboost which can serve some of the same purposes.
Conclusions and Recommendations
Adidas finally delivers a trainer that is neither at the extremes of elite uses or near lifestyle heavy and ponderous. About time as I have been waiting for such practicality for daily training from them since… the Energy Boost 1 nearly 10 years ago now. I just wish it was a bit less soft and mellow upfront. I wouldn’t go all the way to the quite firm and dense Lightstrike foam seen in their more performance oriented trainers but something in between what we have here and there. I keep wondering why adidas can’t have a slightly softer Lightstrike and not just for trainers but where it is used in their faster shoes just as the Boston 10 and Adios 6. Here such a foam could really extend the range of the Supernova but maybe increase the price.
The upper leaves nothing behind as far as I am concerned when compared to shoes costing considerably more. Comfortable, true to size for a variety of foot shapes, decently roomy with no pressure points, its heel hold in a low counter is particularly well executed.
At $100 the Supernova is an incredible value it gets there by using the older Boost and Bounce tech, totally understandable and well executed, and gets below the 10 oz or so daily trainer class weights for me.
As advertised I think it is an excellent choice for beginner runners and for more mellow daily training miles and recovery runs. Don’t let its very reasonable price scare you off from trying it!
Sam’s Score: 9.16 /10
Ride: 8.8 Fit 9.4 Value 9.7 Style 9.7
New Smiles Score! Out of 5 This score is about how pleasing/fun the experience is on the run, or in the case of race type shoes how effective it is to race.
Sam’s Supernova 2 Initial Video Review
Index to all RTR reviews: HERE
adidas Supernova +
Sam: I have not tested the Supernova + but see it has about the same stack height and weighs 1 oz/ 28g and $20 more. It includes a Boost forefoot insert into the front Bounce midsole and more rubber coverage. The extra rubber and Boost may give it more response and pop but I am not sure I could take the higher weight at close to 11 oz/
adidas Adizero Boston 10 (RTR Review)
Sam: The $140 Boston 10 is a completely different approach to a trainer. Much higher stacked at a super shoe grade 39/31 to the Supernova’s 32/23 it is a rigid rocker shoe to the highly flexible profile of the Supernova. Combining firm Lighstrike and somewhat softer Lightstrike Pro it includes Energy Rods for propulsion. It is clearly a far more aggressive ride with more forefoot cushion. I don’t recommend it for beginners or for more mellow running in general the focus of the Supernova. That said the two make a good adidas daily trainer pairing.
adidas Ultraboost 21 (RTR Review)
Sam: Heavy, ponderous, expensive the UB looks great but is overwrought and is more a lifestyle shoe than trainer as far as I concerned. At $100 for the beginner runner who is planning on moving along in miles and pace and for my easier and recovery miles a clear preference for Supernova for me.
Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 39 (RTR Review)
Sam: At almost exactly the same stack height, the $100 adidas weighs 15g/ 0.5 oz more but is still well under 10 oz. In a battle of more classic foams the combination of Boost heel, Bounce front in the adidas delivers a softer more rebounding ride but not quite as snappy or uptempo an experience or speed. Depends on what you need. If you are seeking a more mellow riding daily trainer and/or are on a budget go Supernova 2. For a higher performance daily training ride Pegasus. For the beginner runner reading this I would recommend the Supernova 2 over the Pegasus. Uppers are both really fine with the thinner sleeker Nike a bit more breathable and more secure.
Brooks Launch 9 (RTR Review)
Sam: The Launch has moved out of the $100 class as it is now $110. It has a more uptempo feel and vibe and a firmer less pleasant ride. Its upper is OK, a bit more secure but can’t match the comfort or the room of the Supernova’s.
Brooks Revel 5 (RTR Review)
Sam: I did not run the Revel 5 but did the 4. Brooks $100 trainer checks in a full ounce or 28g less in weight is clearly a more uptempo offering to the Supernova 2 more mellow daily training focus.
Puma Liberate Nitro (RTR Review)
Beyond price not really a direct comparison. The Liberate is far lighter, far more dynamic and faster but not as steady, stable and secure as the Supernova 2. On a budget? Pair these two for a great daily and speed combo at less than the cost of one super shoe.
Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 65 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. 2022 will be Sam’s 50th year of running. He has a decades old 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the just sub 1:40 range training 30-40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah. He is 5’9” tall and weighs about 164 lbs, if he is not enjoying too many fine New England IPA’s.
Shop for the Supernova 2 at adidas HERE
Tested samples were provided at no charge for review purposes by adidas. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased through affiliate links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors’