Adidas's update to the Ultra Boost running shoe hits stores today.
Last week I was invited to San Francisco by Adidas to test out the latest offering from the sneaker brand: the new women-specific Adidas Ultra Boost X ($180 at adidas.com, as well as footlocker.com, six02.com, roadrunnersports.com, and other retailers). Think of it as the love child of the PureBoost X—the one with that cool-looking floating arch that launched last year and the three-year-old energy-returning Ultra Boost silhouette, hence the name: Ultra Boost X.
Over a two-day period, our group of 100 other editors, fitness influencers, and just all-around badass women from around the world made our way through several runs in the Adidas Ultra Boost X, each more epic than the next. We tackled the shoreline at Land’s End park in the rain, sprinted around the Kezar Stadium track and up its stadium steps (multiple times), powered up Filbert Street (the steepest in all of San Francisco), and down the zigzagged Lombard Street, pushed the pace on a self-powering treadmill during a HIIT workout, strode across the Golden Gate Bridge in Karl the Fog (yep, they have a name for their fog) and, finally, braved the Bernal Heights hill, which was rewarded with a breathtaking view of the San Francisco skyline. I also took ‘em for a spin in New York when I returned from the West Coast, and the weather was definitely a doozy: a windy mix of snow, sleet and rain.
Needless to say, I’ve put in a fair amount of miles in these babies in varying weather conditions, and can truly say I am impressed. First of all, they are cute (which is a must). And though the colorway I tested is orange and black, surprisingly they don't look like something you'd only sport during Halloween. To jazz mine up even more, I traded the black laces for the alternate gray tweed pair they came with. Also noteworthy: the fit. Wearing this shoe literally feels like you are slipping on a sock. Speaking of socks, you can wear the Ultra Boost X with or without; it’s a preference thing. Mine is with socks.
Piqued your interest? Here are a few things to consider if you are seeking to boost (see what I did there?) your next run too.
Who should wear the Ultra Boost X?
Everyone—at least that's what the folks over at Adidas say. The shoe is built to adapt to every foot and every foot strike. When you run, your forefoot and heel rotate against each other leading to friction and stretching in the midfoot, this sneaker’s free-floating arch moves with and adapts to all of these changes, resulting in a personalized fit for everyone. This feature is possible because Adidas used Aramis motion-tracking technology during its testing phase to identify exactly where feet need support when running. Pretty fancy, huh?
How much mileage are these built for?
Long or short—you can rock this kick for any distance, basically making it Cinderella’s glass slipper for performance runners. “This shoe is capable of running as long as my want to run,” explained Moritz Hoellmueller, Design Director at Adidas, during one of trip’s panels where we took a deep-dive into the science and design elements of the Ultra Boost X. Now, I haven’t logged more than 4 miles at a time in these, so I can’t speak to going long yet, but I am confidant that this pair can carry me through a 10K.
What’s up with that knitted upper?
Cool-looking, yes, but it also has a function. The prime knitted upper is designed to expand and then snap back into place. The result: It is never restrictive, but it also never gets overstretched. Other supportive features The very prominent heel counter and cagey lacing structure, which both hug the foot and lock it into place.
Is that foamy midsole just for show?
Nope. This distinctive Adidas midsole is filled with tons of “boost” pellets or tiny energy capsules that are fused together to create a soft, springy and shock-absorbing ride. Think of it as mix between a pillow and a trampoline.
How’s the grip on the outsole?
It’s basically like having a rubber tire as the sole of your running sneaker. And you know how tires have to stand up to a bunch of different weather conditions? It does the same here. And through a rain, sleet and ice-filled street run, I didn’t loose my footing once. Let me tell you, this is a big deal, especially since I have been known to take a sudden spill—on Central Park’s Bridle Path, along the West Side Highway Running Path, and in the midst of Van Cortlandt Park’s Old Putnam Trail—for no good reason. Simply put: this grip is great!
I’ll admit $180 is a steep price, but I think if you want a trusty runner that can handle multiple distances well and has crossover fashion appeal (Read: looks great with all of your athleisure wear, this may be a cool kick to add to your repertoire. I know I definitely plan to add it to the current pairs in my running rotation.