Since the launch of the adidas Ultra BOOST shoe range I couldn’t help but want to have long luxurious runs in it majestic presence. For the consumer, the shoe has a celebrity like feel. You to act all casual around it but you can’t help but be completely awkward when staring at it in shop windows. After months coveting thy neighbour’s shoe, I’ve finally had the opportunity to take them out on the road.
Look – 10/10
Let’s just get it out of the way, this shoe is hot. I don’t mean hot as it, “yah they’re kinda pretty” I mean hot as in if you saw this shoe in a bar you would conjure up the courage to walk up to it, buy it a drink, flip it’s hair, tell it it’s the most interesting shoe you’ve ever met and risk the wrath of your wife who’s sitting in the corner watching this whole ordeal. It has the look of simplicity but the seamless mesh rounds the shoe like yoga pants does Jessica Alba. It comes in blue, black, blue and black, purple, white, grey, yellow, red and even argyle. None of these colors are the wrong decision and the best thing is, adidas will keep bringing new ranges out through collaborations with designers like Stella McCartney. Ultraboost is here to stay and the Primeknit technology gives the shoe the ability to mould into any design.
Comfort – 8/10
For some comfort equals cushioning and not many shoes out there could provide the same level of cushioning as provided by the adidas’ BOOST technology. Almost the entire sole of the ultra BOOST is made out of this technology but for a small “torsion system” in the middle that protects your mid-foot. The mesh is surprisingly breathable providing further comfort on longer runs but be warned as the mesh does provide a sock like hug, something not enjoyed by everyone. When you put on the shoe it feels more like a python than a shoe but like any sock, it moulds itself around your foot. I can almost guarantee that you won’t love it the first time you go out on a run because its tighter than anything you could ever have worn, and the shoe laces… They’re more like airbags really, they’re for emergency and should be treated as such. Learn to trust the sock and have the laces as loose as possible. Actually I’m even considering going lace-less. Comfort wise the shoe has mountains to give, but you have to build a relationship with it, caress it, hold it a little and they will adapt it to your style and when they do, they are magical.
Performance – 8/10
You may think adidas is but a powerhouse conglomerate that can push millions into marketing shoes that aren’t providing world class performance like other less commercially acceptable shoes, but you’re wrong. When someone like Haile Gabrselassie informs you that almost all long distance running records since 2007 have been broken in adidas shoes, you have to listen. Naturally adidas has a wide range of options and those records were broken in a more selective use of BOOST technology. But the ultra BOOST shoes, like any other in their range, still maintain that pedigree. Adidas calls it their greatest running shoe ever, naturally that’s just a PR company selling it more seductively than ever but when you look at all the work that went into these shoes you understand why they would say it. For me though, sometimes less is more and even though the BOOST technology is one of the best running inventions of late going overboard with it could be a bit much.
Value – 7.5/10
These shoes will cost you R2,449 at best while most retailers go with the additional R50 just becasue they know you’ll pay it. Unfortunately, it does seem like the going rate for shoes these days as all the major players are priced within the ranges adidas price their stock and like all other manufacturers, adidas does have other ranges. I ran the Two Oceans Ultra this year in a pair of adidas Energy BOOST and they were absolutely amazing and, wait for it, they’re R500 cheaper. If you go for the Supernova Glide BOOST or Boston BOOST ranges they’ll be even cheaper. Every adidas BOOST shoe will provide you with similar comfort and performance so it’s completely up to you whether or not you’ll pay the premium for a product that clearly is marketed as a premium product.
Verdict – 8/10
I’m still blown away at the ultraboost’s beauty and find myself just staring at them for no reason at all. Every time a new color is launched my heart skips a beat and there’s some ranges I’ve seen that will only be released next year and they will blow your mind. But this is not what running is about, is it? Sure being pretty helps with everything in life, just look at the people that hang out at &Union. But all the clothes, make-up, hair product and tattoo bills come at a premium, a premium you have to want to pay. I would buy and recommend anyone to buy adidas running shoes any day of the week, but if it was my money, I’d save R500 and go for Energy BOOST.
Remember you can still win a pair of a pair of adidas ultra BOOST shoes right here on @thePunditsSA, all you have to do is CLICK HERE and follow the steps. The competition will end Friday 18 September at 12h00, just before the Cape Town Marathon
Written for The Pundits by @Froners