adidas Pure Boost DPR vs Ultra Boost Review
Which Boost should you choose? Ultra Boost, Pure Boost or Solar Boost?
Not only did adidas top the US sneaker charts in 2016, beating Nike to the top shoe spot for the first time in more than a decade, but in ‘Boost’ it owns the most popular innovation in sneakers, beloved by sneakerheads and athletes alike.
Whilst launch hype has centred on new Ultra Boosts and NMDs, the Boost family has steadily grown, and the new men’s Pure Boost DPR that launched on May 18th 2017 is the latest and greatest addition. I received a sample pair this week to test ahead of the launch.
First up, as you can see from the images, they have a nice sleek, streamlined silhouette, with a two-toned grey knit upper, clean white Boost midsole and lower offset.
What's the Pure Boost DPR best for?
The shoe is aimed firmly at the urban street runner, doing 5-10k distances, dodging traffic and whatever the city throws at you. The PrimeKnit upper on the Ultra Boost, especially version 3.0, allows more movement than is ideal if you’re weaving round pedestrians in London, whereas the new Pure Boost DPR has a more locked in feel, due to the more rigid knit upper design with its targeted support, and wider forefoot that provides a nice stable platform to pivot from on a typical stop start London street run. In the words of Stephen Schneider, product manager at adidas Global Running;
“All over the world, runners are exploring cities and expressing their creativity in the routes they choose and the challenges they take on…we wanted to build something purely designed for this type of runner, and loved the idea of creating a more adaptive running experience. This led us to design an 8mm heel-to-offset, that when paired with signature BOOST technology allows the feet to sit lower, deeper, and much closer to the streets.”
How does the structure differ between the Ultra Boost and the Pure Boost DPR?
The Pure Boost DPR are lighter than the Ultra Boost at 258g (vs. 312g), and combined with the lower heel-to-toe drop they do feel notably different, with more of a natural, racing feel. The offset differential doesn’t sound like much at only a 2mm difference, but you notice it straight away.
- Ultra Boost Differential: 10mm & Stack Height 29mm/ 19mm
- Pure Boost DPR Differential: 8mm & Stack Height 24mm/ 16mm
- What is a trainer's 'differential'? Everyone describes this differently, but basically heel-to-toe drop/ offset/ differential – are all just the difference between heel height and forefoot height on a trainer. If a shoe has a drop of zero the heel and ball of the forefoot are at exactly the same height off the ground. 10mm means the heel sits 10mm higher etc. Most conventional running shoes have drops of 10mm or more, whereas more minimalist, racing shoes have a lower offset and more natural stride.
Both shoes have kept the infamous Boost foam midsole. adidas has shied away from the traditional EVA foam midsole as that meant a trade off between cushioning and responsiveness. The responsiveness of a shoe is how much energy it gives out from each of your steps so you 'power off' with every stride. The cushioning of a traditional shoe will absorb that energy so you'll have to work harder.
This has meant that runners have had to trade off comfort and responsiveness - not with the Boosts. The Boost midsole is made from 3000 TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) capsules so can return energy whilst still feeling 'slipper-like' plush. Studies have shown a 10-15% improvement in energy retention versus traditional EVA.
How can you decide between the two?
There is no right answer, it depends on how you run, and a lot of new thinking is about finding your body’s ‘preferred movement path[i]’ where the trainer feels like an extension of your feet when you run it in, and doesn’t counter your natural movement. Some runners like higher heel-to-toe drops, others gravitate towards flatter, more natural models.
If I’m running long distance I love the energy rebound from the Ultra Boost when I heel-strike. But the Pure Boost DPR is definitely filling a gap for a more dynamic and adaptable shorter distance shoe (I’d say up to 10k). You still get the cushioning and energy rebound of Boost but in a lighter, lower profile shoe, with a more racer like feel. And critically with greater support in the upper for stop/start city runs and lateral movement - the DPR would also be equally at home in a HIIT class as a 5k. Combine this with a sleek silhouette and it appears adidas has another winning formula on its hands in the DPR.
So where does the new Solar BOOST fit in?
A year after launching the Pure Boost DPR, adidas launched its new Solar Boost shoe. Keeping the much loved energy returning boost™ technology in the midsole, but beefing up the support of the upper, with a completely new upper design with an overlay system that adds elasticated support at key zones, giving a more snug, locked-in feel, with protection and support where you need it, but still giving freedom to your natural movement. But it does the trick of adding support without adding weight (it weighs in at only 295g) nor bulking up the shoe. It differs from the Ultra Boost in that the plastic midfoot cage is replaced with a fabric cage, yet the combination of this and the overlay system still gives more support than the Ultra Boost in terms of lateral movements. It is more of technical running silhouette, and I don’t like the look of them as much as the Ultra Boosts, but with higher energy return than the Nike Epic React Flyknit, the Solar Boost is a great shoe for someone who wants the Boost midsole with a bit more support.
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