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Adidas Vigor 5 Review

Adidas Vigor 5
Photo: Adidas
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Price:  $80 List
Pros:  Affordable, good underfoot protection
Cons:  Narrow, uncomfortable, laces won’t stay tied, hot, doesn’t drain well
Manufacturer:   Adidas
By Andy Wellman ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 30, 2015
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  • Foot Protection - 25% 8
  • Traction - 20% 7
  • Stability - 20% 6
  • Comfort - 15% 3
  • Weight - 10% 5
  • Sensitivity - 10% 5

Our Verdict

The Adidas Vigor 5 is an updated version of previous Vigor TR shoes, including the 4 which we reviewed last year. Although it was one of the lower performing shoes in last year's review, we thought we would give the Vigor 5 a spin because of all the rave reviews we found on the web. Unfortunately, we feel that this shoe is a downgrade from the older version, specifically because of its lack of comfort. The shoe runs very narrow in the forefoot and pinched us uncomfortably, but at the same time it is too wide in the heel. While some may like the way these shoes look, we unfortunately rated them as the lowest performing shoe of the lot.

Our Analysis and Test Results

While the Adidas Vigor 4 TR was not one of our favorite shoes last year, we thought that it had many good qualities that could be improved upon, and so we had high hopes for the Vigor 5. Unfortunately we were let down; this feels like a very similar shoe but with some baffling (stylish?) design elements that led to much lower performance. We are pretty surprised to read all the happy reviews online, because to our testers, these had by far the poorest design of any trail shoe we have tried.

Performance Comparison

The dog didn't care which pair of shoes we wore. Working on breaking...
The dog didn't care which pair of shoes we wore. Working on breaking in new shoes.
Photo: Elizabeth Riley

Foot Protection

Foot protection is about the only department where these shoes shine. Despite not having a midsole rockplate, these shoes are very stiff and firm underfoot. As a result, they do a great job of cushioning the bottom of the foot from sharp rocks. They also feature a fairly bombproof "nubuck-like" upper that won't tear and is great for protecting the sides of the foot. It was honestly one of the more protective shoes we tested, comparable to the Brooks Cascadia 10.

These shoes were initially very uncomfortable, although we will...
These shoes were initially very uncomfortable, although we will admit that with a long break in period they grew to be slightly more tolerable.
Photo: Elizabeth Riley


The Vigor 5 essentially uses the same tread pattern as the Vigor 4, but the rows of lugs are spread out a bit further, a feature that aids in shedding mud, slightly. In reality, it still collects mud and we found the rubber to be hard rather than sticky. While good for running on trails, we needed more friction for scrambling or running on rocks.

The Adiwear tread pattern is essentially the same as on the older...
The Adiwear tread pattern is essentially the same as on the older model, but the lugs are spaced further apart. The rubber shown here is hard and not very sticky. It is plenty adequate for dirt trails.
Photo: Andy Wellman


The tall stack height and very narrow forefoot meant this was one of the less stable shoes in our test. We found it to be slightly less stable than the New Balance Leadville 1210v2 or the ASICS GEL-FujiTrabuco 4 Neutral.

With a high stack height and narrow foot platform, this was not one...
With a high stack height and narrow foot platform, this was not one of the most stable shoes we tried.
Photo: Elizabeth Riley


We had to give the Vigor 5 a 3 out of 10 points for comfort, one of the lowest scores we have ever given for a trail shoe. This characteristic alone keeps us from even thinking about recommending this shoe. The shoe runs very narrow in the forefoot while simultaneously being too wide in the heel. It is the only shoe in the review that didn't feature a mesh upper, instead choosing a solid panel of "nubuck-like" faux leather to cover the entire forefoot. The effect of this is that the faux leather pinches the foot, especially where it creases at the forefoot pivot point, causing noticeable discomfort.

We will concede that with a long break-in period, the shoe became slightly more comfortable and the pinching lessened, and it is only our dedication to you - the fabulous OutdoorGearLab reader - that inspired us to wear these shoes long enough to realize this fact. Our other complaints were that the round laces don't grip each other and come untied easily and frequently. The solid upper also prevents adequate breathing and moisture release. Your foot gets hot running in this shoe, and if you should get it wet it, it tends to stay that way.

Using my hand to show the crease point of the "nubuck-like" faux...
Using my hand to show the crease point of the "nubuck-like" faux leather upper. These crease points pinched both the inside and outside edges of our feet and made this shoe terribly uncomfortable.
Photo: Andy Wellman


At 25.8 ounces for a pair of men's size 11, these rank up there with the heavier shoes in the test. That said, they are still lighter than the ASICS GEL-Kahana 7 and much lighter than the clunky Salomon XA Pro 3D.


Compared to the other shoe models that left off the rockplate in favor of EVA cushioning, the New Balance Leadville 1210v2 and the ASICS Gel-Kahana 7, the Vigor 5 is solid as a rock. There is very little trail feel with this hard shoe, and thus we could only award it 5 out of 10 for sensitivity.

Best Applications

We have a hard time conceiving of where this shoe would work the best. Although this criticism is harsh, we think that a person who tried running for the first time in this shoe, on the trails or anywhere else, would probably end up hating running.

The front of this shoe is a single piece of faux leather that is...
The front of this shoe is a single piece of faux leather that is hot, doesn't allow water or sweaty air to escape, and has terrible crease points that make the shoe uncomfortable. The black section shown is mesh with a banded film overlay, and honestly we think this shoe is designed more for looks than functionality.
Photo: Andy Wellman


The MSRP for the Adidas Vigor 5 is $80, making it the most affordable shoe we tested for this review. However, as we felt that it was prohibitively uncomfortable, it's hard to say that you would get your money's worth by buying it. Poor value.


If you are still reading after what we have written about the Adidas Vigor 5 above, then you are well aware of how we feel. Compared to every other shoe we have ever tested for running on trails, it is hard to take Adidas seriously as a trail shoe manufacturer if this shoe is their standard. While we thought the Vigor 4 was a decent shoe that could certainly be improved upon, this version was a giant step backward.

Andy Wellman