adidas Solarglide 5 review TL;DR: Adidas turns one of its lesser franchises into a fashion superstar in the shape of the Solarglide 5, but thankfully, the shoes not only look handsome but also work well as a daily trainer.
Adidas’s running shoe lineup is going through a bit of restructuring. The Ultraboost 22 started the process by being rebranded as a women’s running shoe in January 2022 – very rightly so, I must add. Then, Adidas released the Adistar, a chunky everyday trainer that looked more like a running shoe and less like a sneaker; no wonder it’s so popular.
Now, we have the new Solarglide 5, the latest addition to what used to be the discount Ultraboost franchise. Suddenly, the Solarglide is one of the coolest trainers Adidas has to offer. When did this happen? Well, it is happening right now. Say hello to the new Ultraboost, or at least to the concept of the Ultraboost that is now the Solarglide.
Confusing? Only for a little bit, I promise. Read on, and I’ll explain everything.
Adidas Solarglide 5 review: Price and availability
The Adidas Solar Glide 5 was released in early 2022 and is available to buy now directly from Adidas US, Adidas UK and Adidas AU for a recommended retail price of $130/£120/AU$220. The shoes are currently available in seven different colourways for both women and men. I tested the Flash Orange / Carbon / Turbo colourway.
adidas Solarglide 5 review: What’s new?
The new Solarglide 5 is very different from its predecessor. It’s not a completely different shoe but put an Adidas Ultraboost 21 and the Solarglide 5 next to each other, and they will look more alike than the Solarglide 4 and 5.
From what I can tell, the Solarglide 5 is heavier and has more Boost. In fact, the new midsole is called Bubble Boost, and it consists of hundreds of Boost capsules that are fused together. Working in tandem with an updated LEP which fits between the Bubble Boost platform and the Control Platform, the shoe « provides a smooth ride for runners », adidas claims.
The inclusion of the LEP system is also a new thing. The technology was launched in the Ultraboost 21 (what a surprise!), and it keeps your feet in line by making the forefoot stiffer but without actually making the midsole stiff.
Finally, whereas the upper of the Solarglide 4 contained « only » a minimum of 50% recycled content, the yarn used for the Solarglide 5 contains at least 50% Parley Ocean Plastic and 50% recycled polyester. If my math is correct, that equates to 100% percent recycled plastic content, at least in the yarn.
adidas Solarglide 5 review: Tech
I keep doing this in my reviews (I did the same with my On Cloudmonster review), but I sort of covered some of the tech involved in the Solarglide 5. interest, let’s recap!
The new Adidas Solarglide features the Bubble Boost midsole that uses fused Boost capsules to provide energy return. Embedded in the Boost foam, you’ll find the Adidas LEP 2.0 torsion system that provides some stiffness to keep your foot in line as you run.
Flip the shoes over, and you’ll find the Continental Rubber outsole that now covers a larger surface than the Stretchweb outsole on the Solarglide 4.
The yarn used for the upper contains at least 50% Parley Ocean Plastic and 50% recycled polyester, making it more sustainable than your standard synthetic running shoe upper. It’s not quite the ADIZERO X ALLBIRDS 2.94 KG CO2E, but it’s something.
The midsole drop of the Adidas Solarglide 5 is the same as its predecessor’s – 10 mm – but the stack height has been increased from 32 mm to 36 mm in the heel and from 22 mm to 26 mm in the forefoot.
adidas Solarglide 5 review: Fit
The Adidas Solarglide 5 is a max-cushioned running shoe. Seriously, though, there is an industrial amount of cushioning present here, no wonder the shoes are so heavy. The men’s UK size 10 pair I used for the review weighs 353 grams! Compare this with the ASICS Gel-Nimbus 24, a max-cushioned running shoe: that weighs 324 grams (same size).
Heft aside, the Solarglide 5 is super comfortable to wear. I keep on referencing my experience with the Ultraboost 21 (sorry!), but it’s almost the carbon copy of how it felt wearing those shoes. It’s roomy but not baggy at the front and well-padded around the heel. The step-in comfort is sublime!
The construction of the heel counter is interesting: there are two firmer plastic guides on the left and the right side, but they don’t connect behind the heel – there is a gap. The heel feels secure, so there are no issues with this setup; On the contrary, it might help avoid chafing better.
The tongue’s top is puffy – more to do with style than performance – while the rest of the tongue is stretchy. A slight issue is when you pull the tongue, it curls under slightly, exposing your foot to the lace cage. I haven’t experienced any chafing issues, but I wore thick-ish socks, so it might be different when worn with thinner running socks.
Overall, amazingly comfortable trainers!
Adidas Solarglide 5 review: Running performance
The Adidas Solarglide 5 is not a performance running shoe, but it works well as a daily trainer. I appreciated the support the Bubble Boost foam and the LEP system provided. The latter basically turns the Solarglide 5 into a stability running shoe for neutral runners.
[The Solarglide 5 is not a stability running shoe; it merely provides some support for neutral runners]
Running in the Solarglide 5 is like going out for a stroll in your favorite dressing gown on a warm summer evening when you’re on holiday; it feels familiar, cosy and utterly comfortable. It’s pure magic. You won’t be chasing Strava segments or aim to beat any PBs in the shoes – you’ll be happy just to exist, one stride at a time.
Adidas Solarglide 5 review: Aesthetics
What can I say? The Solarglide 5 is the spitting image of the Ultraboost, but maybe even brighter and more lively. It’s chunky, vibrant and full of personality. I’m sure many die-hard runners will despise the shoes the same way they did the Ultraboost series – it’s for filthy casuals! – but don’t listen to the haters; the Solarglide 5 is a handsome trainer that also works well as a running shoe.
adidas Solarglide 5 review: Verdict
We are inundated with max cushioned running shoes, one better than the other. Yet, the Adidas Solarglide 5 offers something familiar yet fresh – an exciting new re-start of a franchise that aims to replicate the success of the Ultraboost series.
Thanks to the Bubble Boost midsole, these max cushioned shoes are delightfully soft and energetic. The stack height has been increased slightly compared to its predecessor, which softens landings, and the weight has also increased – all the extra Boost! – but the overall performance of the shoes is very similar to what you’d expect of similarly built running trainers.
The LEP torsion system makes the Solarglide 5 more accessible to beginner runners: it helps with foot placement, conserving energy and reducing the risk of injury.
adidas has doubled down on its efforts to make the Solarglide 5 more sustainable; the yarm used for the upper now contains more recycled plastic.
Best of all, despite all the improvements, the Solarglide 5 costs the same as the Solarglide 4! Essentially, you get a new and updated Ultraboost-esque running shoe for a little bit over two-thirds of the price of the Ultraboost 22. What a bargain.
adidas Solarglide 5 review: Also consider
I have mentioned a few viable Adidas Solarglide 5 alternatives above – ASICS Gel-Nimbus 24, Adidas Adistar, On Cloudmonster, etc. Here are a few more, just in case you need even more inspiration.
The Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit proves why the ZoomX is one of the best midsole foams on the market: it’s super soft yet provides great energy return. Comfort is elevated to the next level thanks to the ‘evolved’ Flyknit upper, padded collar and puffy tongue.
The Hoka One One Mach 4 running shoes have a luxurious feel with padding and ventilation holes. The Profly midsole feels both soft and springy, so you get a double whammy of cushioning and a firm toe-off, making the Mach 4 one of the most adaptable shoes.
The Allbirds Tree Dasher 2 is an awesome running shoe designed for casual 5Ks and walking. Better still, its carbon-neutral nature will put your mind at ease that your new running shoe purchase will not damage the planet further. For casual runners, the Tree Dasher 2 is an excellent choice.