Adidas Boost for Running
The much coveted innovation quickly becoming the technology of choice for many runners but what it is it all about?
Let us break it down before we look at the suitability of Adidas Boost for running.
We know that a running shoe needs to have cushioning; yes there is a debate over whether using cushioned shoes are natural but that is for another day. Now, the cushioning in a shoe needs to perform 2 roles; the first is to absorb impact in order to protect the joints, tendons and muscles and ligaments from damage. The second role is to provide a response; that rebound effect that helps a runner transition into the next stride. Strictly speaking no synthetic material can do this, as biomechanists will tell you, for this is the role of the human body. In reality what good bouncy cushioning can do is limit the energy loss in order to give a runner that edge. It just feels a lot simpler to talk about the midsole cushioning giving good ‘energy-return’.
For years the top innovators in running-tech struggled to find a material that could perform this dual role of absorbing impact and ‘returning energy’. Instead, they experimented with incorporating different materials in a single midsole like gel in the Asics shoes and Air (or Zoom) in the Nike runners. Then the geeks at Adidas discovered the idea of tiny plastic pellets made of ThermoPlasticUrethane (TPU) fused together to produce a chunky layer of foam soft enough to cushion those joints and springy enough to propel the runner. It then became clear that millions were going to enjoy the pleasure of Adidas Boost for running.
A lot more can be said about the tech and endless reviews have been written on the boost running shoe. The main question on your lips will be ‘Is it all that?’
You probably came here because you thought it was all about the Ultra Boost. During my time in a running store I lost count of how many people just asked for the Ultra Boost in their size thinking that the shoe was the answer to their injury woes; or how many people came back to the store complaining about the discomfort being experienced in their running from these shoes. Luckily we were at hand to explain the ins and outs of this iconic shoe. My experience was that the Ultra Boost was not a suitable running shoe at all and only the most gifted and efficient runners could get along with them.
I found 3 common problems with the Adidas Boost for runners:
- Burning Sensation: many complained about a burning sensation experienced when trying to churn out their mileage wearing these runners. Ultimately, your foot will still splay inside the shoe every time you hit the ground so as your feet rub against the TPU material the sensation is going to be different, if all your life you have had shoes with the more common EVA. Obviously, I have no studies to back this theory, it is solely based on the anecdotes that have come my way. What I do know is that when people switch to a midsole that combines EVA with Boost, like in the Supernova, it makes for a much more comfortable ride whilst still enjoying that rebound the TPU is known for.
- Too narrow: there is no set measurable length at which point one can say that so and so has a wide foot. We just knew by looking at people’s feet how to define a wide foot from a narrow or normal foot. The Ultra Boost, I found to have a narrow base with the Prime Knit upper providing that 4-way stretch to help accommodate a wider than normal foot. The problem with this is that the outer edge of a person’s foot is always going to spill over the basic silhouette of the shoe and that’s not going to feel very comfortable for the runner after a couple of miles. A runner is bound to feel better when the foot is kept encased within the basic outline of the shoe in my opinion. I found that New Balance, Brooks and Saucony were the best shoes for wider feet.
- No Support. So support is a funny old word when it comes to running shoes. Here I am talking about pronation when the foot turns in upon impact. The Ultra Boost is one of the worst when it comes to protecting the runner against pronation. And with this shoe being purchased on the back of much hype, a little like Nike Frees and Vibrams, more people are at risk from injury as they are often unaware of this role of protecting against pronation.
To conclude, I do not recommend the Adidas Ultra Boost for running but much favour the Supernova Glide although this has been replaced by the Supernova (which I don’t like as much but prefer to the Ultra Boost). At the same time for those serious about their running the best solution is to go to a running store and test the shoes out whilst being guided by their dedicated and knowledgeable staff.