Since November last year, I've been awaiting the arrival of the Adidas Ultra Boost, so I'm hoping it doesn't disappoint. We were one of the first to reveal it back in our blog (Adidas Updates) a while back, but we'll take a more detailed look here.
The Adidas Ultra Boost has the benefit of having a top team of designers behind it, so looks great. The primeknit upper has been hugely talked about, however not so much in a performance running shoe until now. The Adidas Feather Prime also uses it, but the biggest talking point was in football, with Luis Suarez wearing a pair of Primeknit football boots last season. The transition to a running shoe was inevitable, and I'm a little frustrated that it hadn't come sooner! On putting them on, they feel amazing to me. The heel counter fits in an oddly reassuring way, without intruding too much. The most noticeable part however is the design of the outsole, which we'll get onto later. One note, about sizing though. As with Adidas shoes, they always fit a little small. I went up a whole size, due to the techfit upper, however you may be more comfortable going up half a size. I would suggest a minimum of half a size increase though.
The midsole of the Adidas Ultra Boost is obviously the talking point of the shoe. This shoe was built around the 100% Boost midsole, and is the first in the Adidas running range to offer such a midsole. Hugely soft, and much more flexible than itwould appear, I expect a soft, light and flexible run in these. Everything about the shoe is designed to make running effortless. The other change from the Energy Boost is the alteration of the Torsion system. The full length TPU posts have been removed to make the most of the Boost midsole, and has been brought back to just the midfoot, providing torsional stability, whilst still allowing the foot to flex naturally.
The upper of the Adidas Ultra Boost as I mentioned is a one piece, primeknit unit, with a flexible yet secure cage like in the Energy Boost. I'm a little confused by this addition, as it was one of the few things that people complained about inthe EnergyBoost, as it can cause some irritation, and with the effort put into the Primeknit upper, I'm hoping it has been adjusted slightyl and no longer causes problems. However, in general, the upper is very very comfortable to be in. My only concern is the midfoot cage.
The Outsole of the Adidas Ultra Boost is in my opinion the most intriguing part of the shoe. The rest of the shoe is vaguely reminiscent of the Energy Boost, however, the outsole is the only obvious change. It has been called Stretch Web, and is the first outsole to work in harmony withthe midsole, rather than being another layer. it is designed to stretch with the foot, allowing more flexibility, and has been designed around heat and pressure mapping, to allow the highest wearing areas to be the most hard wearing, whilst also using minimal rubber. Adidashave also continued their partnership with Continental Tyres to provide one of the most hard wearing outsoles around. I'm curious to see how the outsole sands up to the rigours of running,as it appears very thing and light, but I am promised, it is highly efficient.
Having now completed the testing of the Ultra Boost, I can confirm that this is my favorite Adidas shoe ever. The Boost material is unleashed, and feels incredible. The cushioning and response is met with flexibility, and oddly, stability too, thanks to it's reworked Torsion bar. The Primeknit upper stretches with your foot, and any issues I thought I may get with the midfoot cradle (as in the Energy Boost 2) turned out to be misguided. The cradle feels softer and more flexible, but just as secure, and it seems a touch further back than in the Energy Boost. The outsole is incredibly grippy, and again, works with the Boost midsole. It stretches like nothing ever seen in a shoe, and because of this, grips the floor. The little nobbles on the outsole provide traction by pressing into the Boost material, allowing more of the outsole to touch the floor, and also provide sensory feedback. Now onto the only negative I can find about the Adidas Ultra Boost... The heel fit. The external counter is excellent. It is 3D moulded rather than bent, however the collar of the shoe is a little low, and the material inside was a little slippery at first. Tinker with the laces, and the shoe fits fine, however I can't help but feel that if the collar sat a touch higher, or the laces were slightly further back, Adidas would really have the best shoe on the market. Speaking of the 3D heel counter, the big notch in the back is a huge innovation that may go unnoticed, so thought I'd mention it here. It's something I never knew I needed, but having now had it, can see why it's there. It allows your achilles tendon to stretch and move as it should rather than catch on full height counters. This means that your are free to move, and there is far less irritation than before. Like I said, I never knew I needed it, but now will be using this as a bench mark. Overall, I give the Adidas Ultra Boost a 9.5 out of 10, purely because I know that when the Ultra Boost 2 comes around, it will be even better.