To Say I love Adidas Ultra Boost shoes would be an understatement. In my opinion these are the best running Shoes Adidas have ever made, particularly for the ultramarathon market. I’ve used many Adidas shoes over the years, but when the first Boost models started to appear and switched to them very quickly. I’ve always preferred the bouncier ride, when you clock up the miles I do, the extra cushioning really helps. I am not about to go down the rabbit hole of minimalist v over cushioned shoes, because I wear shoes from both camps and everything else between. This is where I would put the Ultra Boosts. They may be verging on the over cushioned, but the level of Boost material is nowhere near that of a Hoka Clifton, or Altra Olympus. As soon as I put on a new pair of Ultra Boosts I feel my feet are at home. Maybe not so much the ST model (more on them later), but the standard Ultra Boosts feel like big slippers. I normally have to go up a half size in Adidas Shoes, so I would recommend always trying before buying.
So my size 8.5 UK are around 300g in weight, not the light racing flats, but not the heaviest of cushioned running shoes either. The upper is soft and allows your foot to expand into the toe box (an absolute priority if you ask me). The toe box itself is wide, I need the width and the lacing is very easily adjustable, like you would expect. Shoes that squash together your toes when running are going to cause you all sorts of problems. Issues like toes rubbing, causing blisters, toenail issues to name a few. A running shoe should allow your foot to spread out in impact, let it do what it was designed to do.
The impact is soft but you get enough feedback from the ground. Over tarmac these shoes are in their element, on groomed trails they function well, but they are not off road shoes. The grip on the sole will not stop you slipping and sliding on the ascents and descents. To be fair to Adidas, they don’t advertise this shoe that way, but if you are running on mixed terrain, I would opt for another shoe. They can also be a little slippy in wet conditions, which is a little disappointing living in Scotland!
Their range is good, I often get around 800-1000 miles on each pair before the rubber is worn through to the midsole. By that point the bounce from the Boost material is also significantly less. I am on my 6th pair of these shoes now and I wore these bright yellow pair when I won the Scottish 100km Championships in April.
Now, the ST model. I like to rotate shoes, normally depending on terrain or distance, but I always like to keep two pairs of my standard everyday road shoes. However, I could not get another pair of the Ultra Boosts at the time, so I opted for the ST model. This mean Stability. I have never ran in stability shoes and if I am honest thought the whole stability/motion control thing was a bit snake oil. I am happy to be proven wrong on this, so if anyone has peer reviewed clinical studies on stability or motion control shoes protecting you from injury I am all ears….or eyes. Anyway, I start to wear the ST model and within a couple of days I develop a bit of plantar pain. Nothing that a good going over with the B*stard ball doesn’t fix, but each time I wear them now, I get the same problem. I don’t get plantar problems with the standard model, so maybe there is something to motion control shoes. The jury, for me, is still out.
Overall, the Ultra Boosts are a great pair of running shoes. Pricey when new at around £130 RRP, but there are always deals on the older models around. I hope they don’t change them too much on subsequent models over the coming years and they are perfect just the way they are.