I’ve reviewed 6 pairs of Adidas shoes over the years. Some I really liked, others were just okay. But this is the first pair of Solarglide shoes that I’ve tried and I must say I was pleasantly surprised.
The stack of this shoe is quite high for a daily trainer, 36 millimeters in the heel and 26 in the forefoot, thus giving it a 10 mm drop. This is also 4 mm more compared to the previous version and they made quite a few other changes to this shoe. I was a bit surprised to find out that this is a heavy shoe, it comes in at over 300 grams, however, that’s not really the feeling that you get while you are running in them.
Adidas is still working on using more and more recycled materials. So the upper of the Solarglide 5 is a Primeblue knit made up out of 50% Parley ocean plastic and 50% recycled polyester.
The only thing I really don’t get about this shoe is the tongue. I really don’t understand why they made it this way. It’s not gusseted, which normally doesn’t bother me that much, but in this case, the lower part of the tongue is so thin (it’s literally just a layer of knit fabric without any padding) that it doesn’t stay in place. No matter how you put the shoe on, the lower part of the tongue will fold in on itself since it’s so thin and not attached to the sides.
It’s then a lot of hassle to try to get it to fold back so it doesn’t create too big of a gap or any pressure points, but I never fully manage to straighten it. Luckily the top part of the tongue is padded, which at least shields your midfoot a bit from the laces digging into your foot. But I just don’t understand why it has to be that thin and if you want it to be that thin, why is it not gusseted?
The toe box has enough room. I ended up with half a size smaller by accident, but turns out I still fit into that size as well for this shoe. The men’s and women’s versions are not entirely the same. They have changed the women’s model (as they also did with the Ultraboost 22) to make the toe box a bit wider and the heel a bit narrower.
The midsole underneath the midfoot is a bit narrow, but the platform underneath the forefoot and heel is quite wide and the toe box is wide enough. The Solarglide 5 is a neutral running shoe, but it is also quite a stable ride. The midsole is made up out of Bubble Boost, in which the Boost capsules are fused together to give a bit of a softer ride.
Then there is the LEP 2.0 (Linear Energy Push) system, which is made up out of two parts: one underneath the forefoot and one extending towards the heel. Adidas has also used this LEP system in the Ultraboost 21 and 22. It is supposed to help with a smoother and stable ride, the width of the platform also helps with this.
And then there is the EVA Control Platform which sits above the LEP. Actually the LEP is sandwiched in between the Control Platform and the Bubble Boost.
And as is usual for Adidas shoes, the Solarglide 5 also has a continental rubber outsole, which obviously contributes to the weight of the shoe, but it’s very durable. The pattern is a little different from the previous version, but it does give you enough grip.
Comparison and conclusion
The Solarglide 5 has become more of a max cushioned shoe rather than a daily trainer, while I think the Ultraboost 22 has become a bit more of a daily trainer rather than a max cushioned shoe. But with the Ultraboost 22 the midsole is completely made up out of Boost, while here isn’t a combination of EVA and Boost.
Since it’s not a one piece knit upper the lockdown in the Solarglide 5 is a bit easier, except for the tongue not staying in place. There is also more room in the toe box with the Solarglide 5 than the Ultraboost 22, which has a low toe box.
Both shoes are good for heel strikers and for longer distances. Both are not super fast or super responsive shoes, but both offer a pretty stable ride for a neutral shoe.
They are two different shoes, but at the same time the difference between the two isn’t that big, I think it mostly depends on your own preferences. If you like a knit upper or a complete Boost midsole, the Ultraboost 22 might be better, but if you are looking for a roomier toe box and a more traditional upper, the Solarglide 5 is probably the better option for you. However, the Solarglide is cheaper than the Ultraboost. The Solarglide retails for €140, while the Ultraboost is €190. So, that’s quite a bit of difference in price.
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