Adidas Distancestar

The Adidas Distancestar is a shoe designed to do one thing exceptionally well: run on a track. In this area these shoes shine the brightest, with an excellent level of responsiveness, traction, and breathability. Whether it’s a hundred yard dash, a relay, or the intimidating steeplechase, these shoes are fully capable of handling any daunting professional running event. Unfortunately, several design choices made to accommodate these events make these shoes less attractive for essentially any other purpose. Are the benefits offered by these shoes worth the price? Read our full review to find out!

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Where to Buy
Where to Buy
Pros & Cons
  • High breathability
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Terrific traction on running track
  • Appealing style
  • Terrific value
  • Cons
    • Lackluster support
    • Limited terrain effectiveness
    • Key Features
      To better manage track running, the outsoles of these shoes were fitted with small metal spikes on the front and arch. These are of a lighter weight than the kind of treads or nubs you would find on a pair of trail shoes and are designed to offer additional traction to the forefoot when running. It makes these shoes not ideal for casual use but more geared towards track events such as the steeplechase. The hard rubber material is used on the heel for extra protection, preventing pain from heel striking that would otherwise occur due to the thin midsole.
      The material used in the construction of this insole was designed to handle the specific requirements of the standard running track. An EVA foam midsole provides a mild amount of stability that helps to absorb the impact your feet make on the ground, but the primary purpose of its design is energy efficiency. This is why they aren’t as rigid or stable as many other forms of running shoes since they are specifically designed to be used on tracks that are specifically designed for running on. What it lacks in these facets the Adidas Distancestar makes up for with energy dispersal and its lightweight model.
      Most of these shoes’ upper portion is made up of a lightweight and highly breathable mesh. A toe covering made of harder material offers a basic level of protection, making forefoot striking in these shoes still viable. While it doesn’t offer any real resistance from moisture, the design of the Distancestar’s upper is meant to drain well, making them useful in track events like the steeplechase that incorporates water jumps. The result is a design that emphasizes a lithe and airy running experience.
      Weighing in at 6 ounces, these are some of the lightest running shoes on the market. This impressively low weight is possible due to the thinner design of the midsole and outsole, which is compensated for through the addition of hard rubber on the heel and 5 small metal spikes on the arch and forefoot. With a proper fit and suitably tight laces, these shoes will provide the absolute minimum level of foot comfort while feeling almost nonexistent on your feet. The Adidas Distancestar is best suited for professional track runners who are looking for a lightweight foot covering but aren’t particularly concerned with cushion or stiffness.
      In addition to facilitating the flow of air throughout the entirety of the shoe, the upper portion of the Adidas Distancestar is designed to handle water as well. Because of this, these shoes are highly ventilated with an upper constructed mostly of lightweight breathable mesh material. Some caveats have been made for the toes in order to provide extra protection, but these shoes will not cause overheating or swampiness while running for extended periods of time. It would be very difficult for you to find a pair of track shoes more breathable than these.
      One aspect of these shoes that will translate into increased comfort for runners is the extremely low weight. In this respect, the Adidas Distancestar offers an experience that is difficult to find in any other brand of track shoe. Other than this, these shoes aren’t very comfortable. They can’t be worn comfortably on the street because of the metal spikes, although there is a small tool included in the box if you want to remove them. Aside from that, the thin midsole and inadequate support make these generally inhospitable for anything other than competitive running. That said, these shoes are meant for performance over everything else, so the target demographic of these shoes likely won’t be concerned with this shortcoming.
      The style of these shoes is subtle but manages to appear pleasing to the eye. Three solid stripes on the sides of the Distancestar’s upper break up an otherwise solid color tone, with the underside of these shoes offering a solid tone of a slightly lighter color. There are several color options available depending on where you look, in the number of different flavors that are uncommon for most competing brands and styles. The style is such that if you were to remove the track spikes, these shoes could pass as casual sneakers.
      Being designed for running in water and over long distances, these shoes may appear to be very durable. Due to the fact that the trail spikes are detachable, the longevity of these shoes is increased with the potential to replace these spikes once they are worn down.
      The reality is that these shoes are only durable if they are used in their specific environment, the running track. In any other location, the lack of material on the outsole and midsole will cause the Adidas Distancestars to degrade very quickly.
      Due to the focus on lighter weight and high breathability, foot protection offered by these track shoes is limited. Some effort has been made to protect the toes with the addition of a somewhat reinforced toe plate. Additionally, some extra hard rubber has been added to the heel of these shoes’ outsole in order to provide some shock absorption during heel strikes. Other than these two features, there is very little foot protection to speak of on these shoes. For that reason, they are really only appropriate for the specific setting of a track meet or competition.
      In order to accommodate the important and specific demands of a competitive track shoe, Adidas implemented a few clever design choices. The first is the addition of five metal spikes, which work to provide extra traction on the track without causing too much resistance or adding too much weight. The lower weight is the second clever design choice, which allows runners to expend more energy running that may otherwise be wasted lifting heavier shoes. The third design choice is a lightweight and highly ventilated upper, which works to provide solid airflow and drain water. The end result is a shoe worthy of being worn during an important competition.
      Do not expect a high degree of arch support when wearing these shoes. Heel support isn’t terrific either, although some effort has been made to implement some with the addition of a hard rubber outsole near the back of the sole. In the front, support is only really achieved with the implementation of the outsole’s metal track spikes, which restrict the Distancestar’s viability to Olympic style running track. It’s possible to remedy this shortcoming with a medical orthotic insole, but the best course of action in a case where this would be necessary is to simply buy a more supportive shoe.
      The level of support and stability needed to run on anything harder than soft dirt is blatantly absent in these shoes. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing since they are very capable of providing an exceptional running experience on the surfaces they were specifically designed for. However, this lack of adequate cushion or stability results in a pair of shoes that would not even be suitable for casual use. Yes, the metal spikes can be removed with a tool, but this doesn’t make walking around in these shoes any more comfortable. If you’re looking for a pair of dedicated track shoes, these are a good pick, but you would be better off with a different pair for handling any other form of terrain.
      It’s fairly common for many specialty shoes to come with a premium price tag. This practice is commonly seen on trail shoes and some specialized track shoes. However, these specialized track shoes buck this trend by offering the Distancestar for a very low price. This lessens the impact of these shoes being suitable for only track and field events such as the steeplechase since their price is low enough to justify purchasing a separate pair of shoes for casual running or athletic cross-training.
      Without the addition of the metal spikes on these shoes’ insoles, the traction offered by them would be laughable. Due to the extremely thin amount of material used in the construction of the entire lower half, there would be little chance of obtaining a solid forefoot stride with decent energy efficiency. The extra heel padding could provide some traction for heel striking, but this isn’t a common running style for the type of events these track shoes were made for. Fortunately, the five metal spikes placed on the forefoot and arch provide enough traction to make up for these design setbacks.
      Due to the lightweight construction of these shoes, a high degree of flexibility is present when worn. This is because the midsole was made without very much cushion, resulting in a bendy but not very comfortable article of footwear. For this reason, and because of the metal spikes located on the front of the outsole, these shoes are the ideal pick for runners who favor the forefoot when striking the ground. It is possible to improve the rigidity of these shoes with the addition of an insole, but this could be counter-intuitive to the other benefits offered by the Adidas Distancestar such as high breathability and low weight.
      The extra traction offered by the forefoot spikes can provide a small degree of stability, as can the hard rubber heel on the outsole. Unfortunately, there isn’t much else about these shoes that contribute to any feeling of stability. There is a significant amount of flexibility due to the minimalistic construction of the midsole, which can be detrimental to maintaining a stable rhythm for those more accustomed to a rigid sole. Ultimately, these shoes are only viable for very specific environments tailored to competitive running due to these design caveats.
      It’s difficult to find accurate information on the specific measurements for these shoes’ heel drop, but a solid estimate would place it at around 3 to 4 mm. This facilitates a mostly flat stride, but the small degree of heel cushion provides enough support to prevent any soreness after running in these for long periods of time. This is a common design used in many different types of running shoes, with a small amount of support for the heel and a positioning that places the toes closer to the ground for a greater degree of track feel. Although comfort and support aren’t very present in these shoes, this small drop provides a minimal amount.
      Key Features

      • Ventilated mesh upper

      • Five metal track spikes on the forefoot and arch

      • Hard rubber heel on the insole

      • Lightweight construction

      • Variety of color options

      • High flexibility

      Bottom Line
      The Adidas Distancestar was designed for one very specific kind of individual. If you are a track and field runner interested in a pair of shoes that can keep up with you every step of the way come the day of the competition, these are the shoes for you. If you’re looking for some shoes to use while training for a major running event, these will only really help you on the track; taking these to the gym or on the trails is simply not viable. If you’re looking for an inexpensive but stylish set of casual shoes for wearing around town, these can certainly fill that niche after removing the front track spikes, but almost any other pair of cheap sneakers could serve that purpose far better. In essence, only the serious competitive runners would get the most out of these shoes.
      Where to Buy
      By Mike Valverde
      Last updated:
      Where to buy
      Best offer on: Aug. 04. 2021

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