While Adidas apparels is a norm in the wardobe, I reckon the last time I wore any Adidas shoes were probably some casual trainers 10 years ago. So its definitely refreshing to see (and wear) the Adidas Ultra BOOST.
It sounds like rocket scientist to me but the Adidas Ultra BOOST is developed using ARAMIS’ 3D shape and surface measurement to provide a fully adaptable running experience for runners. Its priced at RM650 which puts it in the premium category. With that pricing, its definitely no surprise that the ARAMIS system is also used by top engineering institutions like NASA, Boeing and BMW to measure crash tests, vibration analysis and durability studies.
At first glance, I must say this fella is one of the better looking running shoes I now own. While my initial response was to prefer the Flash Pink (pinkish purple) or Urban Sky (orange), I am now actually a happy camper in the Core Black (black) since its pretty easy to match any of my running clothes.
The colour and design is also a plus point as I can easily wear it as part of work gear so that I can grab my after work run with minimum baggage (Yes I wear trainers to work especially on days that I intend to pack in an evening run the moment I clocked out of my office).
Vanity reasons aside, after taking the Adidas Ultra BOOST through 84km over 2 days during my KL-Maran Walk
(jog) and 74km running in it,
I will say that it does live up to its name and purported features:
• 20% more boost
The shoe claims that it has 20% more boost than the Energy Boost model. While I have not worn the Energy Boost before, my first few steps in the Ultra BOOST gave me the “boink boink boink” feel in every step. I felt like I was walking on “air”. I have a certain bounce while wearing this shoes. Its always like having springs in my steps.
And on the first day of my KL-Maran Walk, while I did develop major blisters (something totally new to me since I can run full marathons without any issue), the cushioning was a life savior and comforting having had to endure the discomfort (and pain on the last day) for every step. So while it hurt, I had no qualms taking anther step forward.
This cushioning too came in handy to give me the much needed support when I ran Men’s Health Women’s Health Night Run (MHWH)
fresh from a sprained ankle. The impact were considerably lessened compared to my regular trainers.
• Adaptive Comfort
A runner’s foot can remarkably expand up to 10 mm or more in width while running. Granted that my feet is small and narrow, I actually remember seeing my feet balloon after my LSD or FMs. The Ultra BOOST’s Primeknit mesh knit is what makes the shoe look really stylish.
However the real feature of this good looking material is its adaptive stretch capabilities. On all 3 occasions of 50km, 34km and 21km distances under the hot sun and temperatures of 33-38ºC, the feet would have swelled. These Primeknit expanded accordingly allowing the feet comfortable room. yet it was not overly loose or tight. It felt just right.
Even during the days when both feet were bandaged because of the blisters and sprain, the Primeknit expanded accordingly to offer the right fit. Interestingly, the shoe resumed its original size and it was evident because in the absence of bandages with regular socks, the Adidas Ultra BOOST felt just as good and snug.
The Primeknit coupled with the Adidas Logo overlays to hold the feet snugly within the shoe. In fact, I will say that these were comfortable support for the sprained foot.
A feature that I noted was that this Primeknit is actually a very well ventilated mesh. The feet felt cool despite me donning it under the sun at 38ºC. However, this material also meant that when it rained or drizzled at least 10 minutes, the feet got wet quite easily. Not quite my choice shoes to bring out for a run during rainy weather.
Having said that its not an ideal shoe for raining weather, it did dry up within 24 hours when I left it standing on the top of my shoe shelf. Of course I removed the insole to speed things up but sans fan or direct sunlight, I am impressed with how fast it dries up!
• Stretch Web Outsole
This outsole runs through the entire full length of the shoe. Combined with Adidas’s long running Torsion system that allows the forefoot and rearfoot to move independently for increased stability, these shoes adapts to one’s foot strike and movement. What you get is a smooth and coordinated ride in each step.
The stability of the Ultra BOOST was evident especially when dealing with the different terrains that I went through. From smoothly paved highways to trunk roads with yellow mud, it generally made it easy to balance with every step even when stepping down from the road onto the shoulder of the road that was slanted and uneven (in some stretches mud). Having said that, I will reiterate that the Ultra BOOST is strictly a road shoe not a trail shoe.
The Ultra BOOST took me through different road and shoulder of the road surfaces comfortably
It always rains when I am in my Adidas Ultra BOOST and I noted that the stretch web outsole had a pretty good grip in both drizzle or even heavy downpour. Needless to say, its excellent grip on dry surfaces!
After a total of 158km, I must say that there is no signs of wearing out despite being warned by a few friends that their other Boost models never survived more than 500km. That being said, it must be noted that I am also lightweight (44kg) so perhaps that also extends the lifespan on my shoes in general. Will definitely share what happens when my Ultra BOOST hits 300km and 500km.
• Lightweight Midsole
The BOOST midsole is made from lightweight TPU pellets. While it says lightweight, at UK size 5 and 240g, these are not the lightest shoes in my running wardrobe compared to my regular Saucony or Newton that weigh 20-40g lighter. The jut out of the midsole is a tad disturbing for me visually. It does make the shoe look much bigger than it actually is. In a way, I actually feel like I am wearing clown shoes in this.
Perhaps something can be done about the jutting out part though I will have to say that these are shaped in such a way that it allows the shoes to glide or slide smoothly with each step. So its really looks versus functionality…I will have to say I prefer functionality better.
Its been a short 8 weeks with the Adidas Ultra BOOST but I will say that its indeed been a good pair of running shoes. While I love the balance, support, ventilation, comfort and looks of it, I just wished that it was a tad more affordable. RM650 is a bit on the high side for a pair of running shoes. In fact its 30% more than my other rides. Perhaps if it could be slightly lighter, then I believe that this will be the pair of shoes that I might just run faster and further!