Are Adidas NMD good running shoes? No, 5 reasons

Are you blown away seeing Adidas’s ADIZERO breaking two world records, eight world championships, and most of the Major Marathons in 2022? Yes, we all are!

But like ADIZERO, are Adidas NMD good running shoes? Unfortunately, the answer is a big no. NMD shoes aren’t made for running, nor do they have the features for being so. They are only made for casual activities like walking and jogging. It’s because they don’t have the optimum cushioning, support, and durability to catch up with high-performance running.

The supportive features of running shoes are transferred to its brother, i.e., UltraBoost. They are far better for running activities in comparison. 

However, if you still plan to run in NMDs and want to know where you can use them, read on to know.

Adidas NMD shoes aren’t good running shoes: 5 Reasons

The NMD in Adidas NMD shoes stands for nomads – people who travel from place to place in search of food, new lifestyle, and livestock. 

Since the connection of nomads dates back somewhat 8000 years ago, Adidas NMD comes with a mix of classic designs with new technology. Hence, it gets the name.

By new technology, I mean they have Primeknit uppers with Boost cushioning. Since both of them are found in most running shoes, why are Adidas NMD, not good running shoes?

Are Adidas NMD good running shoes? No, 5 reasons

There are several reasons:

1. Not made for running

It’s obvious. If you check out the description and title, there’s nothing mentioned about NMD being running shoes. Instead, Adidas NMDs are athletic sneakers, which are different from running shoes. 

Athletic sneakers, another name for gym sneakers, are made for lateral or side-to-side movements. In contrast, running shoes bear enough cushioning and support along with higher heel drops, which the athletic shoe lacks.

They are actually an example of running-inspired sneakers having a sleek silhouette but are not appropriate for runs.

2. Lack of durability

Whether it’s the prime knit upper or the lack of removable insole, NMDs have their fragility levels and reduced shelf life. The prime knit upper is breathable but is not thick enough to hold the 

And shoes that lack durability are not made for strenuous activities. 

3. The outsole lacks performance

The outsole of our shoes forms the main contact with the ground. So the more durable it is, the more miles we can pick up while running with minimal wear and tear.

The Adidas NMD features a soft rubber on the outsole that works fine on damp surfaces. But once you get on a harder surface, like your running track, the sole starts wearing down. It is why runners don’t prefer it due to inadequate support.

4. A thick midsole means potential injury risks. 

With a long run ahead, our body is ready to go under fatigue. But the wrong shoes can make it worse. Running in NMD shoes not only exposes your legs but also your body to stress. 

According to research, thicker shoes need greater muscular power. Applying more strength means a higher risk of a catastrophe (stumbling or an injury). The thick midsole of the Adidas NMD adds a clunky feel, which naturally requires effort. So not only will it degrade your performance on the track, but you will be worn out by the end of the run. 

5. Traction Challenges and Grip Performance

Running shoes come with a specific design on the outsoles that perform well on hard surfaces. In contrast, the Adidas NMD has a tread pattern that makes it even and reduces the traction. 

The NMDs are surely not your best bet when traction and grip are questioned. When looking closely at the shoe’s bottom, you will observe several hexagons that compromise the overall grip of the shoes. 

are NMD good running shoes

What are NMD shoes for? 3 Main features

So, if not designed for running, what are NMD shoes for? You can count them as general lifestyle sneakers intended for casual wear with comfort. I recommend wearing them for less extensive activities like:

  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Workplaces
  • Casual hangouts
  • Shopping
  • Streetwear fashion
  • Everyday wear
  • Casual sports for a few hours 

Let’s analyze NMD’s features and purpose in detail:

1. BOOST Midsole

NMDs bear the ultimate Boost midsole, which gives a 20% energy return per step. Adidas’s Boost comprises compressed TPU pellets, and the number of Boost particles in it is slightly less than those in UltraBoost. That’s why, Boost isn’t that ideal for running.


  • Responsive for gym activities
  • Comfortable for walks and light sports 
  • Gives cushioning for impactful cross-training
  • Reduces fatigue for all-day wear
  • Good for withstanding multiple temperatures


  • No insoles for support
  • Thick for running 

2. Primeknit Upper

Made with advanced knitting techniques, the Primeknit upper in NMD is soft, breathable, and stretchable. It’s found in most Adiadas’s shoes other than the NMDs and suits almost all forms of physical activity.


  • Breathable
  • Lightweight
  • Flexible
  • Comfortable


  • Not enough durability, especially when cleaning and running
  • Lack of support/Too soft for running
  • Difficult to clean
  • Not weather-resistant

3. EVA Plugs

The previous Adidas models employed color-blocked midsole plugs for fitness. And the only-EVA midsoles lost their cushioning after a handful of miles. But the NMD shoes were then filled with EVA plugs in the midsole and outsole to minimize the rapid drop in cushioning. All-in-all, it still fits best for casual activities.


  • Customization and aesthetic looks
  • Structural support and cushioning
  • Shock absorption


  • Not durable
  • For casual activities

Are Adidas NMD shoes good for walking?

If not good for running, Adidas NMDs are definitely good for walking and adhere to the nomadic style they are made for. They have a tall midsole, which offers a decent amount of cushioning, and the bootie upper gives a secure and breathable touch.

However, the laces aren’t that useful and give them a slip-on look despiting existing. Moreover, the outsole isn’t conventional and has holes for the midsole to be seen. Some people find this irritating. But overall, they are good for all-day stands and walks, but not that much like Ultraboosts.

Are Adidas NMD shoes good for working out?

By bearing the tallest midsole of all Adidas’s models and standing out in comfort, Adidas NMD is still not that good for working out. Of course, it also depends on the type of workout you choose and the number of hours you put in. But for me, they are not good for both working out, especially weightlifting.

Weightlifting requires shoes with a strong grip and stiff midsole, which the NMDs lack. Plus, even the tall midsole is responsible for that. It’s because your weightlifting shoes should have a heel height of only about 0.75 inches. 

I recommend getting Alpha Bounce or Ultra Boost for cardio and weightlifting. Use NMDs for only less strenuous and short workouts and warm-ups.

Are NMDs comfortable?

If you are not talking about long-term running, NMD shoes are comfortable in terms of their purpose. I would call them relatively more comfortable than most other shoes. Thanks to their Boost midsole, Knit mesh upper, and snugness, NMDs feel comfortable right out of the box. It means you don’t have to break into them; they even fit wide feet. It’s all because of the Primeknit material that’s super breathable and stretchy.

However, when we compare it with Adidas Ultraboost, NMD doesn’t provide the same comfort level. So, if you have an Ultra Boost insole, I recommend pairing it with your NMDs. You’ll thank me later for the extra comfort. Plus, the new versions of some NMD modes, like the R1, have shown signs of blisters at the back of the heels, regardless of the correct fit.

What should you do if you run with Adidas NMD shoes?

The Adidas NMD shoes don’t have the right design and features to support running. You must follow proper precautions if you plan on running with them. Here are some tips and tricks to remember if you plan to run with Adidas NMD shoes: 

1. The right fit and size

Always pick the right fit and size when running with non-athletic shoes. Besides being uncomfortable, wrong-fitting shoes can also lead to severe injuries and blisters. I recommend getting your foot measured when you visit the store to buy NMD shoes. 

2. Choose Suitable Surfaces and Terrain

Always try to run on soft surfaces like flat grass or woodland trains while wearing Adidas NMD shoes. Running on hard surfaces and trails can lead to severe injuries and joint issues. 

Moreover, avoid running in extremely wet conditions when wearing your NMD shoes. Taking them on wet and rugged-off terrain will increase the risk of slipping and injuries. 

3. Warm Up and Cool Down

Always perform warm-up and cool-down exercises while running with NMD shoes. Doing this can effectively decrease the risks of blisters and muscle & joint injuries. You can warm up with basic stretches and lunges to prepare your body for running. You can do a slow jog or a lower back stretch to cool down. 

4. Avoid High-Impact Activities

NMD shoes are undoubtedly stylish and comfortable. However, they do not support hardcore running and activities like jumping. It’s important to understand the shoe’s limitations before performing high-impact activities.

5. Invest in Quality Socks and Insoles

It’s important to opt for high-quality insoles with extra cushioning and support. You should also invest in cushioned and moisture-wicking soles to prevent blisters. Pairing insoles and socks together will give you a safer running experience. 

6. Pay Attention to your Body

Your body immediately starts showing signs when it’s uncomfortable. You just need to pay close attention to it. If you feel any discomfort or pain in your feet, ankles, muscles, or joints, it’s a sign that the NMD shoes do not support your running. Change your running form or opt for proper athletic shoes to avoid strains and injuries. 

7. Regular Inspection of Shoes

It’s important to regularly inspect your Adidas NMD shoes to identify signs of wear and tear. Immediately replace the shoes if you notice any fault in the cushioning and soles. Doing this prevents injuries and strains while running. 

8. Monitor Your Running Distance

NMD shoes are a perfect blend of comfort and style. Still, it’s a fact they are not suitable for intensive and high-intensity running. Therefore, keep your running distance short to keep your shoes and yourself safe. We would recommend investing in athletic footwear if you are a professional runner. 

Are there any specific running surfaces where NMD shoes perform better or worse?

The performance of your Adidas NMD shoes can vary with the running surfaces. Here’s a brief breakdown to help you understand better:

Good Performance

The NMD shoes can perform well on the following because of their comfort and cushioning:

  • Track Surfaces
  • Indoor Treadmills
  • Pavements
  • Light Trails
  • Gravel Paths

Limited and Poor Performance

The NMD shoes perform poorly on grass, soft or uneven terrain, and wet conditions. Running on these surfaces can increase the risks of slipping and injuries. Similarly, running with NMDs on off-road terrain and rugged trails is not advised. Why? Just to avoid painful injuries and instability.

How do NMD shoes compare to traditional running shoes in terms of performance and injury prevention?

Since NMD shoes are not made for running, they are obviously on the bitter side regarding performance and injury prevention.

Comparatively, traditional running shoes have many distinctive features that actually give them their name. 

For instance, arch support, appropriate cushioning, stability, extra traction, breathability, and specific technology. All these make them superior to NMD shoes.

By technology, I mean the distinctive midsole features that most running shoe brands bear. For instance, Nike Air Cushioning, ASICS Gel Cushioning, and New Balance Fresh Foam, to name a few. 

Even Adidas has its Boost technology found in running and NMD shoes. But NMD lacks the proper support, cushioning, traction, and stability required for long-distance running. And when your shoe isn’t that stiff, supportive, and cushioned, your feet can’t be in their place. Hence, you have more injuries and less performance.

But even Adidas have kept their higher technologies, like UltraBoost and Solar Boost, for their best-seller running shoes. Keeping reading why they are better than regular Boost.

Can NMD shoes be used for other athletic activities apart from running?

NMD shoes are versatile and stylish. Still, they are not suitable for intense activities like sports and hardcore workouts. These shoes focus on design, aesthetics, and lifestyle features. They lack the required support, traction, and stability for intensive athletic activities like basketball, football, and tennis. NMDs will become your perfect companions during casual walks and low-intensity workouts only. 

For intense athletic activities, specialized shoes are the best and safer option. They will also strengthen your performance while preventing muscle and joint injuries. Safety and comfort is all that matters, right?

What Adidas shoes are good for running?

Just because NMD shoes are not running-friendly doesn’t mean Adidas will leave you out of options. Many Adidas athletic shoes provide you with exceptional performance and comfort while running. Here are the two best options:

Adidas Ultraboost

The Adidas Ultraboost is a well-known choice for professional runners. These shoes are truly exceptional than other options available. Here is why:

  • Exceptional cushioning: The Ultraboost shoes feature the special Adidas midsole. It is also equipped with a remarkable boost technology. This cushioning on the sole provides comfort and safety to the sole of your foot. This built-in cushioning gives you a soft and delicate feeling.
  • Adjustable fit: The upper part of the Ultraboost provides you with a cozy fit. The fit is also easy to adjust to if you have just started wearing these runners. After intensive running sessions, you wouldn’t have to worry about any blisters or red spots on your feet.
  • Versatile and fashionable design: It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional runner or just like to jog. Ultraboost shoes are suitable for running both long and short distances. And don’t worry about looking lousy during those runs. The stylish and sleek design is a perfect fit for aesthetic lovers.

Adidas Solarboost

The Adidas Solarboost shoes deliver a comfortable and supportive fit during your runs. It is an exceptional choice for people looking for high-quality runners; here’s how:

  • Advanced Stability: Solarboost shoes come with Solar Propulsion rail technology. It co-operates with your foot’s natural motion and keeps it in shape no matter how far you cover. 
  • Breathable and responsive cushioning: The Solarboost shoes also come with comfortable cushioning. They provide you with a snug and breathable environment for your toes. The mesh upper is designed for air circulation to keep your feet cool while running.
  • Stable traction: The Stretchweb rubber outsole provides a firm grip on several surfaces. It ensures a safe footing on floors that are even wet or slippery.


NMDs are not meant for running and will give a hard time for serious athletic activities. You can wear them as lifestyle shoes for walking, jogging, or less strenuous activities, as they only last for a few miles.

The upper isn’t much supportive for running, and the overall shoe isn’t in that position to take the place of Ultraboost shoes for running. However, if you plan to run in NMDs, you need to add additional insoles, employ a different running track, and wear them with care.

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