The new Adidas ‘super shoe’ that was worn to obliterate the world marathon record has sold out within hours of general release, sparking auctions seeking more than £2,000 for a single pair.
Ethiopia’s Tigist Assefa took more than two minutes off the women’s world record in the shoes during Sunday’s Berlin marathon on Sunday and, having only gone on general sale on Tuesday at £400, the entire supply was promptly bought up.
That in turn has prompted online traders to advertise the product at even more eye-watering prices. One seller has them listed on ebay at a ‘buy it now’ price of $3,000 (£2,465) while another US trader was reported to have bought a pair for £928.
A message on the Adidas website simply says ‘out of stock … catch it next time’ and is encouraging runners to sign up to a newsletter in order to hear about future releases of a trainer that is the talk of the running world.
Weight just 138 grams, the Adizero Adios Pro 1 is significantly lighter than any comparable previous shoe and is boosted by flexible carbon rods inside a foam midsole that stands at 39 millimeters in height.
However, according to Runners World, the first 521 pairs also contained a disclaimer inside the box which stated that the ultra-light shoe is only designed for “one race – so one marathon – plus familiarisation time”.
It has represented a major new twist in the arms race that has developed between manufacturers after Nike’s invention in 2016 of the first ‘super shoe’ and then the release of their best-selling Vaporfly and Alphafly models. The technology is broadly similar, with Nike also using carbon to help hold the shape of their bouncy ZoomX foam, before Adidas’s release of an unusually lightweight model.
The early Nike shoes were said to boost running economy by around 4% and every distance world record above 5,000m has been beaten since 2020 in some version of ‘super shoes’ or ‘super spikes’.
The benefit of ‘super shoes’ is widely accepted for all standards of runners, although testing has suggested that the extent to which an athlete might benefit is highly individual.
There is also uncertainty over whether the new Adiads shoe - which was only used in a major race for the first time on Sunday - is significantly more efficient than what was already on the market.
All of the shoe companies now employ vast teams of engineers and scientists and the race to create faster shoes has become a highly secretive multi-million pound industry.
Dr Thomas Allen, who used to work at Adidas and is now at the Manchester Metropolitan University Institute of Sport, told The Telegraph that athletics was now in a new era whereby high-profile record attempts were designed and timed for the mass sale of new shoes. “It’s becoming much more specific - we’ve crossed into a new era of alignment between engineering companies, marketing and athlete opportunities,” he said.