New Ultraboost 21 Now Launched
In February 2021 adidas launched the Ultraboost 21. It represents a welcome return to form, with lots of performance improvements, with 6% more Boost, greater responsiveness and an updated upper. But the biggest difference is in the design it is visually so much better than the UB20. We think it is the best Ultraboost update in years runners will be happy with the tech updates, whilst those who wear them casually will be delighted with the new aesthetic. Read our adidas Ultraboost 21 review.
The New Adidas Ultraboost 20 In The Test
adidas presents the next edition of its flagship Ultraboost 20 and is breaking new ground in development. adidas recently announced a cooperation with the ISS National Lab to further develop innovative features. The new adidas Ultraboost 20 running shoe already has some space-inspired features.
Who It’s Best For
The Ultraboost 21 is a soft, lively everyday trainer that provides long-haul comfort and consistent flow in every mile. It doesnt have the pep for faster workouts or races, but its ideal choice for long runs, recovery runs and moderately fast tempo runs.
Runners who appreciate maximally cushioned neutral shoes with enormous energy return will really love the Ultraboost 21. Taller and bigger runners will appreciate the proficient shock-absorption in every stride. Smaller runners or runners who like to feel the ground might find the midsole to be excessively thick.
PROS: ADIDAS ULTRABOOST 21
Our wear-testing runs determined that the Ultraboost 21 seems to help improve the recovery process after a long run. Normally it takes several days to recover from a two-hour training run. However, our wear-testers reported having fresh legs just a day or two after logging a moderately paced 15-miler.
There is a new Linear Energy Push torsion system embedded in the bottom of the midsole. This is essentially a curvy hard plastic plate with a two-pronged design that stretches from the midfoot to the forefoot. This system adds notable stiffness that works in conjunction with the shoes rocker geometry and Boost foam to promote forward prolusion.
The outsole feature three types of rubber with soft, medium and hard densities that combine to provide optimal traction, durability and flex.
CONS: ADIDAS ULTRABOOST 21
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You Dont Know What You Have Until Its Gone
Despite the issues I had with the app, I still think that District has a lot of potential. Its a new way to explore urban cities, and an interesting way to approach the often monotonous activity of running.
The biggest barrier to success for District, I think, is the need to carry your phone with you as you run. This is something that can certainly be fixed by smartwatch integrationafter all, most smartwatches come with in-built GPS tech, and it would turn a promising idea into a genuinely game-changing one.
But the overwhelming feeling I had as I watched the vlogs was one of longing. See, I may not have been the most active person pre-MCO. I definitely didnt enjoy the early mornings that are a part and parcel of morning jogs, even around the park. But that changes now.
More than anything, Ive come to realise during this MCO period that I miss being activeI suppose its sort of a case of you-dont-know-what-you-have-till-its-gone. So Im making a declaration right now, a promise to you.
Once this MCO has been lifted , Im going to strap on one of my smartwatches, load up District, and put on my Ultraboost 20 shoes. And then Im going to run.
Hopefully, when the next running event invite comes in, Ill be ready. In the meantime, anyone looking for a running partner?
To find out more about the Adidas Ultraboost 20, click here.
Photography by Zachary Yoong with the Sony A7 III.
Adidas Ultraboost 20 Review
Words by James Holt
When seeing the distinctive silhouette of the Ultraboost, it has always meant you were in for a comfy ride.
Since the shoes inception, adidas has continually brought new manufacturing technology and design principles to the running world, setting it apart from the visually clunky, over-engineered shoes worn by runners new and old. In their latest model, the Ultraboost 20, adidas has kept this winning formula, with a sleek, modern shoe which offers performance backed with a healthy dose of style.
Whilst the shoe has seen strong adoption with runners, it is equally likely youll see it on the feet of a fashionista paired with some skinny jeans. I however, will be giving my thoughts as a short-wearing runner.
In February 2021 adidas released the all new UB21- read our adidas Ultraboost 21 review.
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Whats The Hype All About
These were my first pair of Ultraboost shoes, so to be honest, I didnt know if they would actually live up to the hype. What I did know, however, was that these came with a retail price of RM780, along with some pretty serious running tech .
The coolest bit about the U20s? They came with little badges on them that say ISS National Laba tribute to a burgeoning partnership between Adidas and the International Space Station that will see Boost technology sent to space someday.
So when Adidas reached out to me to take part in the Space Raceonce the shock had subsidedI thought: why not? It was an opportunity to try out some awesome new shoes, and the Space Race had something else that was going for it: District.
Basically, the folks from District Malaysia were responsible for the Space Race format, where smartphone location technology was used to create a virtual race of sorts. Checkpoints are collected , and stuff like augmented reality tech and leaderboards help to gamify the process of running.
Okay, now that youve got the context of it all: lets go.
Are Ultra Boosts Good For Plantar Fasciitis
If you are wondering whether Adidas Ultraboosts are good for plantar fasciitis, you should probably be asking questions like, do Ultraboosts have good arch support? Is the insole cushioning soft or firm, and which will work better for my feet? Is the heel-to-toe drop sufficient enough to take pressure off my heels and transfer it to my forefoot? The Ultraboost checks many of those boxes.
And with so many Adidas shoes adopting the Boost foam technology, youd have a variety of different shoes to compare and find the best Adidas shoe for heel pain.
Keep in mind that the Ultraboost family has several different designs in itself. Theres Ultraboost, Ultraboost ST, Ultraboost Terrain, Ultraboost Laceless and Ultraboost Uncaged. Each one of these are different in their own way.
You can check out all of the shoes in the Adidas Ultraboost line.
The Ultraboost innovation is designed to deliver a natural running motion while also having the foam technology to absorb more energy from your foot strike than ever before. Adidas specifies a 20% increase in energy return with the Boost midsole technology.
For Overpronators, you might look to the Ultraboost ST. This athletic shoe was designed with a column support in the midsole for additional stability, as well as helping to correct the stride of runners with an inward roll to their step. Notable is that it only has an 8mm heel-to-toe drop, which may put a bit more pressure on your heel.
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Adidas Ultraboost 2020 Upper Unit
Adidas UltraBoost 2020 Top
The upper is a one-piece woven sock upper called Primeknit 360 which completely encompasses the foot, and is tight enough to add some structure and support throughout the foot.
This knit material is very breathable, to the point where winter running was close to uncomfortable. However, on the warmer runs, it was nice.
The upper then uses a Tailored Fibre Placement that helps lock in the midfoot and provides support needed through for your stride. From the midfoot the upper transitions to the heel cup.
Adidas uses a 3D frame which does a good job of locking your heel in and makes for a very comfortable ride.
These materials and the design make for a very comfortable shoe which runs true-to-size, to maybe a bit on the small side.
The design of the upper makes for a tighter fit and that does not allow for a lot of toe room, so you might want to go up a half size if you want more room.
The Best Running Shoes In Order Of Preference
News flash: the Adidas 4DFWD was crowned ‘Best Running Shoes’ at the T3 Awards 2021!
The Adidas 4DFWD is not the cheapest running trainer, and admittedly, the limited drop nature of the initial release won’t help make these the go-to shoes for most runners. Nevertheless, we’d highly recommend getting a pair if you have the chance, as the 4DFWD represents the next step in running shoe evolution.
As well as that and in line with Adidas’ efforts to reduce plastic waste, the 4DFWD is not a bad choice for environmentally conscious runners. Don’t get me wrong, buying a pair of running shoes won’t save the planet, but if you have to buy new running shoes, you might as well get a pair from a manufacturer that pays some attention to environmental-friendliness. Adidas at least tries to make a difference, which is admirable.
All things considered, the Adidas 4DFWD are great running shoes, probably the best running shoes from Adidas at the moment for runners who are looking for something a bit more serious than the Ultraboost 21 but less sporty than the Adizero Adios Pro. And taking into account the normal distribution curve, that’s the majority of the runners.
Sometimes, as soon as you put on a pair of new running shoes, you can tell straight away it will be great to run in them: this is exactly what happened to me wearing the Saucony Kinvara 12 for the first time.
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Altra Womens Escalante 25
The Altra Womens Escalante 2.5 has long been favored for its light ride. Along with the light weight, its also well-cushioned and has a comfortable one-piece knitted upper. Though comfortable, this upper isnt as stable when changing directions at a fast speed, so this pair is best used at steady paces on a straight course. If youre not trying to run sprints around tight corners, this shoe feels almost like a slipper, which makes for a great choice when it comes to consistent, comfortable running thats easy on your feet.
A fantastic running shoe for women, the Altra Escalante 2.5 blends comfort and breathability to a shoe that’s forgiving and durable at a very reasonable price point.
Adidas Ultraboost Review: Ultraboost 21 Vs Ultraboost 20 Vs Ultraboost 19 Vs The Ultraboost Original
The Adidas UltraBoost has long been a better running shoe than its reputation suggests. Thats largely because its stylish design pigeonholed it in some quarters as a lifestyle shoe, but those good looks didnt stop it being a durable, comfortable running shoe in which you could happily rack up a lot of miles.
I enjoyed running in the original UltraBoost design, and while the looks of the UltraBoost 19 and 20 werent to my tastes, the shoes were still solid, especially for easy efforts.
Unfortunately the new UltraBoost 21 is neither quick nor especially comfortable for easy running.
The main change is the addition of even more Boost foam. Theres 6% more in the midsole, which is a fairly significant increase given just how much Boost was already packed into the UltraBoost 20.
Its not hard to see where its been added either. The sizeable rear end of the shoe stands out as soon as you look at it. This is intended to make it more comfortable, especially for heelstrikers, but as a heelstriker myself I didnt feel like I got a lot from this big chunk of foam.
The shoe is now heavier than ever too, at 361g in my UK mens 9 a considerable increase on the already heavy UltraBoost 20, which was 346g. Shoes can feel lighter when running than the simple weight figure indicates, but the UltraBoost 21 doesnt achieve that feat.
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Adidas Ultraboost 21 Sole Unit
Is Boost still a relevant midsole foam with the arrival of Lightstrike and Lightstrike Pro? In my opinion, no.
Its definitely the heaviest of the three Adidas foams by a country mile and the Ultraboost 21s hefty weight severely limits its use to only easy and recovery runs.
You might think that the entire heel is one massive chunk of Boost foam with a drop that looks like it could be 14mm however theres only a 6% increase in Boost and the drop is only 10mm.
The foam in the heel shoots up around the heel, creating sidewalls or rails that cup the heel. This setup allows the foot to sit inside the midsole rather than on top of it like with the Ultraboost ST.
The Boost in the Ultraboost 21 feels significantly firmer than in previous versions. There is none of the sink-in plushness which gave previous versions such great step-in comfort.
Adidas made the foam firmer which they claim makes it 20% more responsive. This change doesnt make much sense because the Ultraboost is supposed to be their plushest, most comfortable trainer.
There are other shoes in their lineup designed for responsiveness like the Boston, Adios and SL20.2.
Because of its loose heel and heavy weight, the Ultraboost 21 is only suitable for straight line runs at relaxed paces slower than 5.40 per km.
Now this might be a good thing because it stops you from running too fast on easy days but you expect a little bit more versatility from a $180 shoe.
Adidas Ultra Boost Conclusions
If you were to survey a college cross country team, or an elite club team from around the country, you would talk to many runners logging 90-140 miles in their running shoes. In this crowd, the only thing that matters is a shoes fit and performance.
You can throw out the weekend warrior ideals of color ways and fancy materials, and you certainly wont find any of these runners sporting the premium running shoe in the brand of their choice.
Why? Because these shoes are simply too much of a good thing, heavily-laden with bells and whistles, fancy graphics, and plastic crap which does nothing to enhance the performance of the shoe.
The Adidas Ultra Boost weighs 11.5 ounces for my mens size 10 US, several ounces of which are unnecessary for the performance of the shoe.
The fit is sloppy in the heel and too tight in the toe box, and the increased Boost material lacks stability of any kind.I do think that Adidas had the right ideas, however they are poorly executed.
Keep the Boost Midsole but buffer it with Adiprene that provides structure and responsiveness.
Keep the primeknit material but increase breathability and customize fit by only placing in areas around the toe box and fusing the rest of the shoe together with a more traditional mesh.
Please, for the love of all things holy, stop using the ridiculous roll cage of TPU plastic and return to the simple structural elegance of the three stripes logo employed in the Adizero line.
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More Bounce Per Ounce
Adidas has added 6% more of their fabled Boost midsole foam to give extra bounce. Whether or not it achieved this aim is difficult to say. Nobody who was familiar with previous versions could day that they felt the difference. All they were able to state was that, this is a shoe that certainly feels extremely cushioned, and shock absorption was excellent. Even heavier runners, who normally get on better with a firmer shoe, enjoyed the experience.
Adidas Ultraboost 21 Review
Adidass marketing pitch: Say hello to incredible energy return.
Upper: Stretchy knit mesh in a sock-like construction, plastic midfoot frame, heel clip.
Midsole: Full-length Boost foam with Torsion plastic shank. 10 mm heel-to-toe offset.
Outsole: Hard-wearing Continental rubber.
Weight: 340 gms/ 12 Oz for a half pair of Men’s US 9/UK 8.5/EUR 42.5/CM 27.
Widths available: D – regular
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The Adidas Ultraboost 21 Vs 20
Based on paper specs alone, the UB-21 should be a softer shoe than the Ultraboost 20. After all, the 21s midsole has more Boost , and the rear stack appears higher as well.
And yet, for reasons detailed in the introduction, the new UB is firmer and loses a lot of the easygoing bounciness. As to the why and how, well cover that in the following section.
The upper is also chock-a-block with all things new. The knit mesh isnt as stretchy or soft as the 20 the side panels made of thick urethane also add to the structured feel.
The UB 21 gains a lot of weight. Owing to the newly-acquired bells and whistles, its a full ounce heavier than the 20.
How The Ultraboost 21 Feels On A Run
So when I first laced up the fully redesigned Ultraboost 21, I was skeptical about running performance. But then I took my first few strides and was very pleasantly surprised. While the skintight, sock-like fit was familiar from wearing the line’s previous entries, my feet weren’t so cushioned that I struggled driving through my full stride. In fact, I felt more like I was propelled into each following step, making my runs feel more effortless. The Boost foam both provided comfort to absorb contact and a peppy bounce, while my feet felt just as light on the last few steps of the run as they did when I started. This was a pair of shoes I could see myself wearing for miles.
The key to the Ultraboost 21’s performance is in just how radically it’s been redesigned. The line has seen some changes before, with tweaks for the 19 and 20 variants, but the updates haven’t been as visually striking as the 21. The shoe retains the most recognizable features of the linethe stretchy Primeknit upper, Boost foam, torsion element in the midsole, and Continental Rubber outsolebut blows up the midsole with its maximalist take on Boost. The heel frame is gone, and the foam stack is visibly much higher than before.
Adidas increased the amount of foam in the midsole by six percent from the previous iteration.
That doesn’t sound like a whole lot more materialbut the difference is striking when you compare the OG to the 21 side by side .
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