Dubbed as Adidas’s best running shoe to date, worn by big names from the likes of Kanye West and David Villa, hailed by streetwear enthusiasts, runners, and casual users alike, the Adidas Ultraboost had all the credentials it ever needed in its life. Featuring a full-length Boost sole and a Primeknit upper made it one of the most comfortable shoe to wear out in the market. Little wonder then why the model was catapulted into stardom shortly after its debut in 2015. Here’s the Adidas Ultraboost, under the microscope.
Before going into the shoe itself, let’s talk about the Boost. First debuting on the Energy Boost runner in 2012, the midsole technology pretty much one upped the existing EVA foam that’s on almost every other shoe by giving the user a much more efficient bounce after compression by instantly pinging back into shape. The compound was made in collaboration with BASF, a chemical plant, to create hundreds of nuggets of Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU), which are then fused together to form the midsole we know today as Boost. Adidas themselves quote the Boost technology as giving the highest energy return for running in the whole industry. That’s a high game to be played, but luckily, it’s one with solid proof to back up the claim.
Adidas then decided to say f**k it and made the entire midsole out of Boost and mated it to a Primeknit upper and boom, the Ultraboost was born.
The shoe was created with other technologies unheard of in the shoe industry, using the ARAMIS system to test any flaws in ergonomics, vibration, and design using high speed cameras and flexion sensors. Other companies which deploy such a system to test their products are NASA, Boeing and Audi. Just goes to show the dedication Adidas put into creating the silhouette.
January 2015 came, and the shoe debuted to high praise worldwide, with many instantly commending the comfort level of the shoe, some going as far as to call the sensation, walking on clouds. In fact, the shoe was so well designed, it was much more comfortable to run in than walk in them.
Sales were moving pretty slowly when it came to our shores, as models were sold in Adidas retailers only, marketed as a runner’s shoe, but when the hype caught up nearly every sneaker store who knew their worth were stocking it immediately.
The popularity of the shoe also caught the attention of many high profile streetwear and resell companies, all looking to do a collaboration model with the silhouette. Notable models include the Wood Wood X Adidas Consortium Ultraboost, Hypebeast 10th Anniversary model, SNS Ultraboost, Parley For The Oceans Ultraboost, Reigning Champ Ultraboost and Solebox Ultraboost Uncaged. One particular model line that was nearly impossible to obtain was the American State University line, coloured after each university’s palette. A pair of Miami Hurricane Ultraboost can easily fetch north of 4000 USD on the resale market, or around 16180 RM as of writing time. I mean, money is overrated right?
Meeting up with a couple of diehard Boost fans only cemented the hype surrounding the shoe. Jared reiterates that the comfort level of the shoe was the selling point to him, stating that no other shoe he’d own was able to match what the Ultraboost had to offer. Chester goes in a little bit deeper. While the shoe also garners the same praise about comfort, he leans more towards the collabs, or more like the story behind it, like how each one signifies their brand image onto the shoe with colours reflecting their palette or attributes.
Adidas continued to pump out variations of the model, debuting a midcut version of the shoe, a laceless model and an uncaged one, with the original silhouette having gone through 3 iterations, but still with the same midsole we’ve all come to have a fetish for (Seriously, there’s even a forum for it up on FB). Crossovers from other divisions have also made their way to the silhouette; one of those models being the Ace 16+ Pure Control Boost.
However, as with all great things, the Boost dominance came to an end. Recognising the power of the branding, Adidas decided to equip nearly every one of its other silhouettes with a full length Boost sole, from the Stan Smith to the new EQT series. You name it, Adidas definitely had a variation of it slathered in Boost. It came to a point where the Boost was so saturated in the market that it stagnated the sales. Previously, people had to go out of their way to go buy a pair of Ultraboost at JD, or a running shop, but they can now comfortably buy a pair at an Adidas retailer near them.
In the end however, the Ultraboost still remains as one of the all time greats. Using expensive tech to mould the shoe to perfection, coupled with insane levels of comfort helped catapult the shoe to fame, and one you could wear regardless of what you were pulling off – this shoe helps its wearer get through the day comfortably, and in style.