Fellow Liker of Stuff: if you buy through some of the links below, I may earn a small share of the profits. Prices and availability are subject to change. Learn more on my Disclosures page.
Adidas Ultraboost Unboxing
Watch the full video above or read the lightly edited transcript below.
Hey everyone, I’m back with another shoe unboxing video, since y’all seem to enjoy my Allbirds Tree Runners one so much! I’m super excited to talk about these bad boys from Adidas. I’ve wanted these for a long time, and they finally went on sale so all my excuses were gone and I pulled the trigger.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at the Adidas Ultraboost Running Shoes in Grey Three and Core Black.
A Brief History of Boost
Before we get into the “features” – you know I love to talk about “features” – a little history lesson is in order.
In 2015, Adidas launched the original Ultraboost, and everyone went crazy, talking about Foam this and Foam that. The foam revolution in running shoes was off to the races, you could say. But what really caught my attention back then was, you kept hearing phrases like, “the most comfortable shoes ever.” And hearing that repeated over and over from various sources meant that I knew someday I would need to take them off my wish list in the best way possible.
What About Your Cloudflyers?
Now, if you’ve followed my reviews, you might be asking yourself – wait, aren’t you an On Cloudflyer guy? Well, yes. I actually didn’t get these to replace my Cloudflyers. I’m not actually planning on running in them. So why get them?
A good friend of mine who has won many many races says that you should invest in whatever is between you and the pavement. Maybe that’s why I review so many shoes for Stuff Adam Likes – they’re just so dang practical. You need shoes. It’s a fact of life.
Walk, Don’t Run
So if not for running, where do these fit into my shoe universe? I see them as an alternative to my Tree Runners, when I need to do a ton of walking or plan to be on my feet all day long. Because of the unique properties of the foam, these are specifically designed to hold up under lots of pounding over a long period of time. This makes them ideal for exploring a new city for a day, or wearing at your standing desk at the office all day.
Can Tree Runners do that job? Yes, of course, but sometimes you need something more heavy-duty, and that’s just how it is.
Versatile, Reliable Grey
Why Grey? I love grey shoes. As a neutral, they go so well with such a range of lighter colored pants that you don’t really have to think too hard about whether they will work or not with your outfit. That’s why I love my grey Allbirds Wool Runners, but I reserve those mostly for Fall and Winter, it’s too toasty in the spring and summer in the ATL for them. Alternatively, being running shoes, the Ultraboost are of course breathable and designed to keep you cool while looking cool.
The Goldilocks of Stretch
So in addition to that famous foam, you’ve got what Adidas calls their Primeknit textile upper, which is a little stretchy, but not too much, so it moves with your foot naturally but not so much that you’re sliding around. There’s just enough tension there to keep things in place without feeling constricting.
Caged or Uncaged?
Next we have a midfoot cage with those famous three stripes. Some folks over the years have complained that this isn’t necessary and actually a bit uncomfortable, that it’s just a branding play for Adidas to make those stripes highly visible. I don’t have an opinion yet but will definitely keep an eye on it as I test them.
The Boostiest Foam There Is?
I know I’ve said “foam” a million times already but what Adidas says makes it so good is the “energy-returning” characteristics – giving you a “boost” by taking the energy expended in every footfall and sending it back into your stride. This gives that feeling of walking on bouncy air that has made legions of fans rave about them.
Get a Grip
Lastly you’ve got the Continental rubber outsole for great traction rain or shine.
What About the Ultraboost 19?
Now, I made a kinda weird shopping decision you should know about. There’s actually a newer version of the Ultraboost out there – the Ultraboost 19. Why did I get an older version? Honestly it just came down to looks. I just like this version better than the 19s. The Ultraboost 19s are a bit more fashion forward and less minimal with the new Primeknit 360 and more aggressive, sporty styling overall. I can definitely see the appeal for sneakerheads, but for my particular use case, it’s just not as ideal. I really would not feel comfortable wearing the Ultraboost 19 to the office, but I could totally get away with the Grey Ultraboost I end up going with. I just think they’re more versatile for everyday use outside of running or exercising.
How Will I Test the Ultraboost?
So as I test these out over time, what sort of criteria will I use to evaluate them?
#1 will definitely be comfortability. Are these truly the most comfortable exercise shoes of all time? I’m separating that claim from Allbirds, which I believe are fundamentally not exercise shoes.
#2 is will they hold up to lots of walking. If I put in 10+ miles exploring a city, will they still feel “boosty” at the end of the day?
#3 can I reasonably get away with wearing them at the office? I’ve never really wore straight up running shoes like these to the office – will I feel cool or like a schlub?
#4 Taking all of the above into consideration, are these worth the premium price they charge based on any old running shoes that could be used for this non-specialized, general walking around sort of purpose? Is the comfort-level really next level and therefore worth the extra cost?