Men's Ultra Boost Trainer Review
Stephen Adjaidoo is co-founder and club captain of LDN Brunch Club, a qualified England Athletics running coach, and run ambassador for The Sports Edit. When he's not working, leading runs or coaching, he's usually training for a race (triathlon, half marathon or marathon).
I got a pair of Ultra Boosts from The Sports Edit shortly after fracturing my toe, and after 8 weeks off running, was keen to give them a try after hearing so much about these trainers and seeing more and more people wearing them.
For anyone not already familiar with the adidas Ultra Boost shoe, the first thing you’ll notice about them is the sole. It’s made up of 3000 energy capsules bonded together to offer an improved energy return with each step you take.
adidas calls Boost a revolution in running shoes, changing the way athletes will perceive a midsole function. For decades, the majority of running shoes were made using an EVA foam midsole. EVA is a great material, but has two limitations; a cushioning vs. responsiveness trade-off, and lifespan.
The other issue with EVA is durability. Whilst all running shoes have a lifespan, adidas claims the Boost foam maintains its key characteristics over its lifetime better than EVA, with the sole built last, without losing its spring, for hundreds of kilometres.
Comfortable shoes are usually soft, whilst responsive shoes usually firm, as you want to lose as little as possible energy. The trade-off has been that to increase cushioning in a trainer it had to be made softer, and hence less responsive. So the more responsive you wanted the shoe, the harder the EVA had to be. adidas Ultra Boost trainers use a completely different midsole construction, with 3000 capsules made from TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane), and it is a game changing blend of responsive energy and comfortable cushioning. It feels plush stepping into the shoe, and has a lovely comfortable ride, yet it gives more energy back whilst running. Various studies have shown about a 10-15% improvement in energy return versus conventional EVA, and you really notice the difference from the first run.
adidas calls the shoe “the most technically-advanced running shoe yet”. The top of the trainer is equally important to this. When running, the foot expands and so flexibility is essential to prevent any foot damage. The flexibility in the Ultra Boost is achieved by the engineered Primeknit upper which flexes and stretches to adapt to the movement of the foot while also providing support and comfort with a precision fit.
What I specifically like about the shoe:
- Sock fit – the adidas Primeknit is engineered to naturally expand with your foot while you run to give you a more comfortable fit and help reduce irritation. The featherweight shoe can easily be worn all day long.
- Style – Not normally high on the list of priorities for a running shoe but wearing the red/black colourway, I’ve had more comments about how good they look than I’ve ever had with any other running shoe combined. Just as easy to wear for a short run, a long run or a gym workout as they are with jeans and a shirt in the day.
Since returning from injury I’ve ran in the Ultra Boosts for short distance runs and races and a few longer runs. I’ve found them to be a good all rounder, so much so I got another pair in another colour recently. I personally found the width of the shoe and the fit of the shoe much less constricting compared to my normal running shoes, and at the moment, I’d find it difficult to convert back.
Any downsides? Well, I had to go a size up from my normal shoe size. This isn’t much of a problem and from recently trying another shoe in the adidas range, I think that my size in the brand is just slightly larger which is much better than just being a size larger in this particular model.
The shoes are released in fairly limited numbers so it can be pretty difficult to find your size in the colour/style you’re after. I guess this also makes the shoe a little more desirable but it can be a little frustrating if you’re after a particular colour.
Check out the Ultra Boost collections here, or visit us in store at 172 Fulham Rd in London, UK.