Adi Dassler hits the market with a brand new model – the SL 20. SL stands for “Super Light” and that is no lie. Straight from the get go this shoe supports a dynamic stride purely by its lightness. My US13 pair weights in with 235 grams.
I received this shoe a few weeks ago. A couple of minutes prior to a 10.000 meter test race on the track. The pure feel of the shoe was so convincing that i put my trusted adidas Adios aside and used the SL20 straight out of the box. I just dipped under 37 minutes with a nice threshold effort and the shoe certainly played its part. While being dynamic enough the sole might not be springy enough for harder track efforts and performs better on the roads.
Yes, im german. So it is kinda nice to see two big german players pairing up. In this case Continental, a German multinational automotive parts manufacturing company that is famed for its tires and other parts for the automotive and transportation industries. On the SL20 they provide a nice grip that almost can feel a bit sticky from the start. I really like the traction and the grip – Solid german engineering.
The Adidas Torsion System, in the case of the SL, the red plate in the middle of the sole, was released in 1991 and still remains one of the most iconic features that has been released by adidas. In the SL20 it provides structure and control to the shoe. There has obviously been some sort of development process and one can feel that, compared to other lightweight trainers, the SL20 feel very stable for a neutral running shoe.
It has been a while that the Herzogenaurach based brand came up with some sort of foam development. With the latest Lightstrike material, adidas released a lighter and more responsive foam. Im not sure how this material stands towards the well known Boost material when it comes to the springiness. What is pretty obvious is that adidas can now provide more cushion without scarfing on the weight of the shoe. The style of the SL20 sole provides great all-round cushioning but it does not transport that direct toe-off feeling that the boost material is known for.
The SL20 can be describes as a lightweight trainer for uptempo runs. The cushioning certainly benefits the muscular stress level. I took the shoe to several paces. East runs – no problem. Faster road workouts – i like it. Track – the sole would be too soft and not direct enough. Despite the soft sole, the shoe is easy to accelerate which makes the SL20 a real fun shoe.
The SL20 comes with a 10 mm Midsole drop (heel 24 mm / forefoot 14 mm). This caters for a lot of different strike styles. As a mid and forefoot runner i had enough cushion to feel comfortable.
A classic mesh upper can be found on the upper. The material is super comfortable but misses a bit of breathability to me. A nice surprise for was the nice and wide toe box. Pretty unusual for a shoe of that style. The laminated panels that can been seen in the picture above, provide quite a great support while running.
So where does this new Adi shoe stands? As a user of several adidas models i would put this one somewhere in the Boston lineup. It certainly has the same feel to it with the additional cushion but i think it is more comfortable in a nice way. After several runs the SL20 reminds me of a the recent Nike Pegasus Turbo, only a bit firmer and less bouncy. A great allrounder that provides a lot of fun in several tempo segments.
Tune of the day: Kemal & Rob Data – The Encrypter