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The first thing to do when reviewing these shoes, is do a Men in Black style memory reset. Having been exposed to so much hype and marketing around the Boost technology, makes it harder to place an impartial and unbiased review. We will do our utmost…
After 20 miles of running in the Adidas Ultra Boost running shoe.
Pros – Very light (302g) for a well cushioned, neutral shoe
– Comfortable, sock-like fit
-Good build quality and grip
– Responsive, non-sludgy Boost foam
As soon as you get any running shoe out of the box, you can get a sense of the materials and build quality. The Ultra Boost feels light but at the same time, solid. You feel like you’re going to be able to run a whole lot of miles before any wear and tear comes through. After 20 miles the outer sole was still untarnished. The Primeknit outer envelopes the foot to provide a snug, comfortable fit, although even accounting for the ‘stretch’ of the knit I still needed to upsize to a 9.5 rather than my usual size 9.
This is the unique selling point of the whole shoe. Adidas launched their Boost launched with a bang (i.e. multi million pound ad campaign) in 2013 and has since has several different iterations. This latest, the Ultra Boost gives a reported 20% extra rebound from the foam. As Adidas say:
Boost’s energy-returning properties keep every step charged with an endless supply of light, fast energy
In reality and after 20 miles of running in them? Yes they do feel more energetic and the Ultra Boost is noticeable, not just in the heel but in the mid-foot too. I am a natural heel striker who has over the last couple of years intentionally trained myself to strike more towards the forefoot. Therefore, striking on the mid-to-forefoot, it was only on the downhill sections that I really felt the benefit of the Ultra Boost.
It was when I ran a fast 5k in training, at a cadence of 185 strikes per minute that this shoe really peaked. The benefit is synergetic in that, the harder you land and compress the foam by putting more effort into your stride, the bigger the reciprocal ‘boost’. It also depends on your weight; as an 11.5 stone male I feel the effect of the Boost less than someone heavier.
The outer sole looks as though it might be flimsy or wear thin quickly, but as well as adhering to the ground extremely well, it’s showing no signs of wear.
As already mentioned, this is mainly comprised of Primeknit around the forefoot and an elastic, snug fitting heel counter for additional support for those who tend to overpronate. There is a ‘featherweight’ sock liner which adapts to the foot and that good old mainstay of Adidas tech – the Torsion bar for increased midfoot integrity.
This is a very versatile shoe, being fast in a 5k and comfortable over longer distances. The full benefits of the Ultra Boost foam will be felt by heavier runners and those with a more pronounced heel strike although it still feels light a responsive to a lighter runner like myself.
The Boost aspect of the shoe is great, but don’t let it overshadow the fit and feel of the Ultra Boost, which is equally impressive. I can’t ever imagine getting a blister wearing a pair of these, as it’s like slipping your foot into a velvet slipper.
You pay for what you get and if you don’t mind the price tag, you’ll get a durable, comfortable and fast running shoe in the Adidas Ultra Boost. Adidas bill it as ‘the greatest shoe ever’ – it’s not far off.
I’ve had a look around and John Lewis gives as good a price as any at £130
Thanks to the kind folk at Adidas for supplying a pair of Adidas Ultra Boost for testing – this did not impact the outcome of our review.