Adidas Pulseboost HD Winter review

I’ve tried Adidas running shoes before, and Adidas is most famous for its Boost midsole material. I’ve tried both the Solar Boost and the Solar Drive before, which both have a Boost midsole.

Recently, Adidas came with Boost HD. No, not High Definition, but High Density. This sounded like a great idea; Boost is a great midsole material, so why wouldn’t you want more of it in the same midsole?

Adidas first released the Pulseboost HD. After that comes the Pulseboost HD Winter.

I actually think that’s a good thing. It’s great that most running shoes are very breathable, but when it’s freezing outside, so are my toes. So, I think it’s a good thing more winter shoes are being released.

The Adidas Pulseboost HD Winter is a road running shoe with a 10 mm forefoot stack and an 18 mm heel stack, which gives it an 8 mm drop. It’s a neutral shoe that weighs 290 grams in the women’s model, and it has a water repellent knit upper.

Water-repellent upper

The Pulseboost HD Winter has a knit-like upper, but it is made of ballistic nylon, which is supposed to keep out most of the cold and some of the water and snow that comes with winter running.

Although on the outside, it is quite a rough knit, on the inside, it is a bit smoother. It does help with the cold, I’ve had other running shoes where my toes got really cold while running outside in colder conditions and I didn’t have that issue in this shoe.

The tongue and heel collar are slightly padded. The tongue is semi-detached, and most overlays seem to be glued onto the upper rather than stitched.

There is an internal heel counter which is enforced on the outsole of the heel, and there are enforcements on either side of the toes. 

The Pulseboost HD Winter felt a bit roomier than the Solar Drive, but this might also have been due to the fact that I had trouble getting the proper lockdown in the Pulseboost HD Winter.

Instead of punched out eyelets, there is a nylon double-layered band stitched onto the upper of the shoe, and the laces are laced through the loops of the band. The laces are also pretty thick and rough and feel a bit like a rope. 

Instead of pulling either side of the upper together over the tongue (like a regular lacing system), it is just pulling on the band, and it is making the fabric of the upper fold over on itself, which would create a hotspot.

So my only solution is keeping the laces a bit looser. The huge label on top of the tongue also isn’t helping with the lockdown. It’s difficult for the sides of the upper to slide over the label.

On the other hand, I do like the QR code that leads you to a Spotify playlist. I think that’s a nice little detail, but maybe they could have added that in some other way.

Firm ride

The midsole technology is made out of the Boost material. However, they’ve compressed them, which actually gives you a firmer and a stiffer midsole than a regular boost.

Some runners found the Ultraboost midsole to be a bit too mushy, and that’s why Adidas developed the Boost HD. There is still some bounce to the boost, but it’s definitely a lot firmer than the regular Boost material. 

Heavy, grippy outsole

The outsole is something I’m probably the most impressed with, and that’s not something I often say about an outsole. It's quite a bit of Continental rubber, hence why this shoe is quite heavy, but it provides fantastic traction.

It’s made of continental rubber with some firmer rubber on the lateral and medial side of the toes. There are some square holes in the outsole to provide flexibility, which seems to work since the flexibility is quite good, given the full rubber outsole.

Performance

The midsole in appearance looks similar to the midsole of the Solar Drive. However, you can clearly notice a difference in the stack height.

The Pulseboost HD is much closer to the ground and has a firmer feel than the regular Boost in the Solar Drive.

With regular Boost, you sink into the material a little bit, and this gives you some bounce back when you shift your weight. That doesn’t happen with the Pulseboost HD.

Lacks support

The upper also doesn’t give much support, and I’ve had trouble locking down my foot due to the lacing system. Another difference with the Solar Drive where I can lock down my foot correctly, and there are guide rails on the medial and lateral side to provide some stability.

The Pulseboost HD feels a bit like they are already worn out before you’ve really worn them. 

Conclusion

Boost HD is a completely different experience than regular Boost. It’s much firmer, and you don’t sink into the midsole.

Personally, I like a maximal soft ride, and the Pulseboost HD Winter is not, which isn’t that surprising if you consider the stack height. The feel of this shoe is more toward minimal cushioning, which isn’t really my kind of shoe, but there were still things that I liked about the ride.

The traction of this shoe is really good, and I liked that it kept my toes nice and warm in colder conditions. If you like a more minimally cushioned ride with more ground feel, this could be a good shoe for you.

Although you might want to consider going half a size down since the shoe is a bit roomy, and the lockdown isn’t great. Probably best to go try them on in different sizes before you buy them.

Facts / Specs

Terrain: Road
Weight: 12oz
Drop: 8mm
Arch support: Neutral
Base model: Adidas Pulseboost HD
Forefoot height: 10mm
Heel height: 18mm

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Author
Marijke van den Hamer
Marijke van den Hamer

I’m Marijke, on social media also known as Heart Runner Girl. I love trying new things and inspiring others to get moving. I’ve started running in 2014 and I run races all over the world. My favourite distance is the marathon, but I also run shorter distances. I’ve ran the Berlin Marathon in 2017 and the Paris and New York Marathon in 2018. My goal is to one day become a six-star finisher.