The new A3 looks similar to Nikes high-durability Shox
shoes but is it just the same thing without a Swoosh? The answer is yes and no. Yes, in that its a shoe with an emphasis on rearfoot cushioning, and one thats well-suited to bigger runners. Its also moderately heavy, though not as heavy as the Shox R4.
The no is in that, while Nike focuses on the ultra-long-lasting, springy rearfoot cushioning of Shox, Adidas emphasises the guidance of the foot through a stable gait cycle, in the same way that Asics has been doing lately. The
A3 achieves its stability by making some of its rubber
pillars firmer than others, which acts to slow and reduce the inward rolling of the foot and ankle as you run. In really basic terms, its like a sophisticated medial post. Adidas stresses that the guidance extends to the forefoot, but theres no special technology there, just the smooth, springy Adiprene+ midsole that has proved itself so well in other shoes.
What did testers think? Despite its weight, the A3 had a light pick-up and feel. But aside from also noting a narrow forefoot fit, they actually tended to appreciate the forefoot ride more than the rearfoot. Lighter runners in
particular commented that the firm rearfoot contrasted markedly with the
forefoot feel, which is not the smooth effect that Adidas wanted to achieve.
The A3 is more of a pure running shoe than Nikes Shox shoes, but only runners who have problems with rearfoot cushioning durability would probably go out of their way to find it. One of its best features is its forefoot ride, which you get (with a broader fit) from the £70 Supernova.
Try it on if you liked
Nike Shox R4 (£130); Adidas Supernova Cushion (£70)
; Asics Gel Kayano (£100)