Adidas Adizero XT 4, Response Trail 19, and Supernova Riot 4 Reviews

AdidasWe’ve recently seen some traditionally road shoe companies turning their attention to creating more specific, performance oriented trail shoes, and Adidas may have a leg up on the competition. Releasing the first trail specific running shoe in 1993, the original Response Trail, Adidas pioneered an aesthetic and technologies copied by many shoe companies for years to come. Remember that piece of outsole rubber that hangs off of every Response Trail? That was taken from the original Adidas Marathon Trainer from the late 1970s. That same feature is known as a “trail rudder” on my Altra Lone Peaks, and although I’m not quite sure what it does, it looks cool. That feature is burned into my collective perception of what a trail shoe looks like since I wore the original Response Trail as a high school sophomore.

In this review I will profile three of Adidas’ new trail shoes, the Response Trail 19, the Supernova Riot 4, and the Adizero XT 4. Historically, Adidas has always stuck to their guns with shoes such as the Response Trail, which is now in its 19th update. Durable, maximum featured trail shoes have always been their focus, and their new releases stray little from this tried and true method. However, this year they branch into the midweight category with the release of the Adizero XT 4.

Adidas Adizero XT 4

Weighing in at just over 10 ounces for my size 9.5, the XT 4 is Adidas’ first attempt to compete with some of the mainstay shoes in what I’ll call the midweight category. In my opinion, shoes in this category are lightweight (around 10 ounces), but ideally still offer the cushioning and protection needed to run 100 miles. Leaders in this category include the Saucony Peregrine, Montrail Bajada, Pearl Izumi Peak II and the Salomon Speedcross. Taking that to mind, I set out to test the XT 4 on technical mountain terrain requiring traction, agility, and protection, and, therefore, found myself on the starting line of a tough 50k in Colorado.

Adidas Adizero XT 4

Adidas Adizero XT 4

The upper of the XT 4 is nearly identical to the minimal designs of Adidas’ road racing shoes, including the Adidas Hagio, and it utilizes welded overlays in all the right spots to provide enough lockdown and breathability without adding weight. The fit of the XT 4 is snug in the heel and midfoot and wider throughout the forefoot. A minimally padded tongue and simple flat lace design complete a rather simple, but effective upper.

Adidas Adizero XT 4 - outsole

The outsole

Though lacking a rockplate, the XT 4 adds protection in the form of high-density EVA cushioning typical of any lightweight Adidas road shoe. This Adiprene cushioning is firm yet responsive and performs best, in my opinion, on softer ground where a firm platform is needed for purchase and energy return. Additionally, Adidas partnered with Continental Tires to create a full-length outsole rubber that is extremely rugged and durable, and maybe a bit too hard depending on your preference. After nearly 200 miles, my XT 4 shows no signs of wear on the outsole, and I found the very aggressive 7mm high lugs to get in the way of what otherwise feels like a very agile trail shoe.

While I enjoyed the minimalist upper, lowered heel drop (6mm), and firm cushioning of the XT 4 for runs up to half marathon in length, the combination of the firm midsole with the very hard outsole gives the XT 4 a somewhat unforgiving ride for longer distances. During my third outing in the shoe, the aforementioned 50k race, my legs and feet felt beat up after just ten miles on a technical, rocky course. Runners who prefer a firm but flexible feel underfoot, or those running primarily on softer muddy surfaces where an aggressive lug pattern may be appreciated, should give the XT 4 a try.

Adidas Response Trail 19

True to its roots, the newest Response Trail offers a great deal of cushioning and bit of support in a very smooth ride. Lighter in weight than its predecessors, at 12.2 ounces the Response Trail has a 12mm heel drop and has the type of plush feel that you would expect from a road shoe. The upper consists of a well-padded heel collar and tongue surrounded by breathable, but durable, mesh. Sewn overlays reinforce the upper and a reinforced toe rand protects from rocks and roots.

Adidas Response Trail 19

Adidas Response Trail 19

Where the Response Trail 19 excels is no surprise; the comfort of this shoe is undeniable. Full-length thick Adiprene EVA offers a ride that feels like a well-cushioned trainer, and the ride is soft, which is appreciated on hard surfaces. Added support from Adidas’ Pro-Moderator, a thermoplastic device molded into the midsole is not noticeable to neutral runners, but adds just enough support to be appreciated on longer runs. The Response Trail 19 does not have a rockplate, but the thick EVA seems to provide plenty of protection on the rockiest trails.

A simple, low-lugged outsole provides some traction without getting in the way. Despite all of this cushioning the Response Trail 19 is fairly flexible, especially in the toe box. But, while the overall stack height offers a comfortable ride, the height of the shoe combined with the rather sharp edges of the outsole, makes this shoe a bit clumsy on technical terrain. Several times I found myself rolling my ankle ever so slightly when landing slightly askew on a rock or running on cambered trail. The Response Trail 19 would be a great ultra shoe for non-technical trails, but lacks agility on burly ground.

Adidas Supernova Riot 4

While the XT 4 is Adidas’ lightest trail shoe, the Riot 4 is their most built up and supportive trail shoe. Weighing in at 13.1 oz for my size 9.5 US, the Riot 4 feels like a motion control version of the Response Trail 19. An upper constructed very similarly to the Response sits upon a midsole with more motion control technology than any other trail shoe I’ve seen on the market today. Full-length Adiprene is bolstered by a dual-density midsole and thermoplastic motion control device on the medial side of the shoe. The ride of the Riot 4 could be characterized as plush and very well supported, and trail runners needing the most support should definitely give this shoe a try.

Call for Comments (from Bryon)

Have you ever run in one of these Adidas trail models, now or in the past? If so, what did you think?

Tom Caughlan

is iRunFar’s Minimalist Gear Editor. Tom’s passion for trail running and specialty running retail experience shine through in all of his highly technical reviews, which do range outside minimalist shoes.

There are 15 comments

  1. Ben

    I believe you mean the PI Peak II in your listing of 100 mile worthy shoes. I think the only person that would wear the Streak II on a trail 100 would be Hal (still confused with his choice of hardrock shoes).

    I'd also say that those interested in the XT 4 should also try on the new Kinvara TR. I've found the TR to be far more comfortable in the long haul.

    1. Tom Caughlan

      Ben,

      Thanks for the correction about the PI shoes. I'll make sure it gets changed. I would be destroyed in the Streak 2s on trail!

      Looking forward to the Kinvara TR and maybe a review soon.

  2. Andrew

    I love the look of those XTs, but anything that over taxes the legs and feet is not really worth it if you like to go long

  3. Ilana

    Love the Adidas XTs. Just bought a new pair in fact, having done a few trail marathons and most of the training in the last pair of 3s. The new ones were just as good at Beachy head marathon yesterday! No issues with being too hard, but then my road shoes are also low drop brooks pure connect & inov8 road x.

  4. Charles

    Hi Tom. Cheers for the XT4 review. Enjoyed reading your other articles on the site too. Do you run with forefoot strike (or a mixture?) – I'm trying to figure out what the large lug size on the XT4 would be like on a long run if landing on the balls of the foot.

  5. Derrick

    Hey Tom –

    Thanks for the review.

    I have been running in the Adidas Adistar Trail 2/3/4 over the years and have loved them. Now that I need a new pair, I cannot seem to find them. Which Adidas Trail shoe replaced them or is most comparable overall?

    Thanks!

    Derrick

  6. Rob

    I am on my second pair of XT4s. After about 400 miles, they have become my favorite shoe for every run ranging from my 7-mile daily ritual on fairly technical trail to anything as long as 50 miles. My prior favorites were the INOV-8 Roclite 315s, so the aggressive lugs on the AT are familiar. With the tacky Continental Tire outsoles, the ATs give confidence on any surface, except wet boulders. The modest heel-to-toe drop encourages a relaxing mid-foot strike without taxing the Achilles or calves. The supple upper is more slipper than boot, but secure and surprisingly durable. For my feet, the fit is ideal with a comfortable toebox that allows my toes to open up on foot strike. With 400 miles on my first pair, neither the uppers or the outsole are suffering from unusual wear and tear. Most recently, I used the ATs on a 50 mile run that was mostly hard packed dirt, hard rock, and asphalt. Although clearly not the tread conditions for which these shoes were designed, my feet and lower legs held up well. All in all, a surprisingly versatile shoe given its light weight and aggressive lugs. And most importantly, I always feel fast when I am in my ATs!

    p.s. The thin insole suffers from "creep" on long descents, so on runs with long, steep descents (2+miles, 600+feet/mi) I will insert a more durable insole.

  7. Andrew

    Hi Guys

    Looking for guidabce here!

    I run in NB 110s at the moment and love them but I tore the upper pretty badly and with a 40km mountain race (nearly 2km of ascent and descent with some lovely rock and scree sections) coming up in May need some new race shoes asap!

    Options are:

    Another pair of NB 110s but I have to buy them online as they are not sold in South Africa and also I wonder if they aren't too minimal for a sustained (10km) technical downhill when I'm trying to race hard.

    Adizero XT 4 – tried them on they feel good but I worry they are a step too far away from minimal and they are pretty heavy compared to the 110s.

    Brooks Pure Grit 1 – do they hold the foot well on offcamber techy stuff? Durability?

    Inov-8 Rovlite 285s – I have F Lite 230s which fit great but they are too flat for 40km and the uppers tore on the metatarsal flex point pretty quickly. Do the 285s with the Roclite sole have a bit more padding due to the lug height.

    Tom / Byron – any advice?

  8. Tom Caughlan

    Andrew,

    Sorry about the delay in answering. This is a tough question but I think I may be able to offer some ideas.

    -Adizero XT 4: wrong shoe for you in my opinion. Since you can run well in a shoe like the MT110s this would feel like a tank. I'm also not sold on the upper of this shoe as it is basically the same construction as Adidas' racing flats (Hagio).

    Brooks Pure Grit 1: First off, the first version is lighter feeling and more agile than the two. The problem is, there really isn't a lot of traction if you're encountering mud/ clay in this race. I raced a trail marathon on a muddy day in them and ended up on my rear end 4-5 times. They are durable, but I would say only go with the Pure Grit 1 if it is dry trail. The Pure Grit 2 is beefed up and it would feel like too much shoe for you.

    Roclite 285- Very hard cushioning. Out of all the Inov-8 shoes I have these are the most firm. If you're worried about the MT110 not handling 40km + I would also worry about how beat up your feet may be in these shoes.

    Here are some suggestions:

    NB MT110- Dance with the date that brought you. This shoe works well for you and that can be hard to find. They changed the upper but I don't know if its any more durable. However, if you want a bit more protection read on.

    Inov8 TrailRoc 245 – Softer cushioning like your MT110s with a bit more protection but still very flexible. Nice wide forefoot ilke the 110s as well. They now have the 243 and the lighter weight models which I haven't run in. Played with them at the store and they seem like different weights of the same shoe.

    Salomon Sense Ultra – I haven't ran in these but I have talked to runners who like the 110s but feel these are more protective on technical trails. Plus, they're expensive.

    Pure Grit 1- again, if its a dry course.

    Hope this helps. Feel blessed that you're one of the few people who can run 40km in the MT110!

  9. Andrew

    Just a bit of feedback for anyone else in the market for a new trail racing shoe:

    1) Adizero XT4 – agree with Tom – they'd be great for a very technical / muddy mountain race but don't feel super runnable.

    2) Trailroc 245 – funny but they felt narrow and restrictive to me even though I don't think I have super wide feet.

    3) Salomon Sense Mantra – feel long and narrow and the upper pushes down onto the tops of the beginning of the toes (for me anyway).

    4) Puregrit 2 – I have tried them and have bought some. Agree that they are very different to the MT 110 but the insole is 5mm (!) thick so with some inov-8 insoles I think they'll feel good. Fit is awesome except for where the "burrito" tongue is stitched at the bottom on each foot which pushes onto top of foot – I hope that this goes away but it isn't seriously uncomfortable. Got a 70km mixed road and trail race in August and potentially a 105 km mixed road and trail charity jog in June – think the Puregrit 2 is perfect for this type of thing!

    5) MT110 is still the answer (as many people agree). Have ordered another pair from the US and will cut down the lugs on the lateral side to make them feel a bit more even and will probably buy a pair of the updated ones when in the UK in June!

    LASTLY, WHEN ARE ALL OF YOU USA PEOPLE COMING TO SOUTH AFRICA TO DO SOME OF OUR RACES!?

  10. Cindy

    I have been wearing Adidas Super Nova Riot for more than 3 yers, for short and long distance walks, city pavement and trails. These are the only shoes that don't give me shin splints(great motion control). Injinji socks also eliminate my old nemesis–toe blisers. Hope they never quit maing them!

  11. Dave

    Hey got a question. I’ve been running ultras for almost 2 years now, and been in the supernova riots for more than 2 years before that other shoes bothered my ITB . Now that Adidas stopped making them . What shoe would be compatible ? I Need help ! Please someone help

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