I’ve tested several shoes from Adidas, but this is my first time testing the Ultraboost. It was bound to happen one day since I like cushioned shoes, and the Ultraboost is one of their most cushioned shoes.
For the 20th edition of the Ultraboost, they collaborated with the ISS and several colorways that were inspired by this. When I saw this, I just had to get a pair.
The Ultraboost is a neutral running shoe with a 12 mm forefoot stack and a 22 mm heel stack, which makes for a 10 mm drop. The Ultraboost is not a very light shoe, with 270 grams in the women’s model.
I like the collaboration with the ISS with a kind of mother of pearl / metallic look for the stripes and the heel counter. I also like the colourway where they have the boost midsole in that colour rather than the white, but unfortunately, that wasn’t available.
The knit is actually quite comfortable and pretty supportive. The shoe is basically a one-piece knit upper, but the midfoot cage is separate and holds the laces rather than the laces being part of the upper.
I do think that’s an improvement compared to having the laces within the knit fabric itself, but still not a huge fan of one-piece knit uppers.
The problem with having the laces being part of the upper when it’s a one-piece knit is that the knit starts folding in on itself when you lace them tightly.
That issue is resolved by having the eyelets being part of the cage, but it still doesn’t give you the same lockdown as a traditional upper, and there are no extra eyelets to adjust the fit. There are actually just four eyelets rather than 5 of 6.
The tongue is quite high, and the shoe’s collar sits more on my ankle than around it. When not moving in them, it’s actually alright, but the upper starts to rub my ankle when I start moving.
The issue with a one-piece knit upper is that you can’t really adjust it. With a separate tongue, I might have been able to adapt it to fit my foot a bit better, but in this case, that’s not possible.
The midsole of the Ultraboost is, of course, made out of boost. There is 20% more boost than in Ultraboost 18, which is the same as in the 19. There is enough cushioning in the heel to make this a suitable shoe for heel strikers.
The outsole is, as you might have expected, made out of continental rubber. The Ultraboost 20 has the same stretch-web outsole as a lot of other Adidas running shoes. Good traction and good durability.
The boost midsole makes for a pretty soft ride, which is good for heel strikers. But the fact that your foot can’t be locked down properly due to the knit upper and the lack of extra eyelets makes you slide around in the shoe a bit, which isn’t ideal for running.
The boost is plush, but there is not a huge energy return. It’s not a very fast shoe. The weight also doesn’t help. It’s more a slow, long-run kind of shoe than a speedy, long-distance racing shoe.
Saucony Triumph 17
The Triumph 17 has quite a large stack height with 25.5 mm in the forefoot and 33.5 in the heel, but it’s still 9 grams lighter than the Ultraboost, which has significantly less stack height.
The Triumph’s PWRUN+ midsole looks a bit like Boost, but the Triumph is a bit plusher due to the higher stack height. The upper of the Triumph is also more plush than the knit of the Ultraboost.
Asics Nimbus 22
The Nimbus is often regarded as quite a heavy shoe, but the Nimbus 22 comes in at 255 grams, while the Ultraboost comes in at 270 grams.
The upper and midsole of the Nimbus have a bit more of a plush feeling than the Ultraboost, but the Nimbus is quite a heavy heel due to the gel, while the weight distribution of the Ultraboost is a bit more evenly spread out.
Nike Epic React 2
The Epic React 2 also has a one-piece knit upper, although a bit of a thinner knit than on the Ultraboost.
Due to this, both shoes have some lockdown issues, although the lockdown of the Epic React is a bit better than the Ultraboost. The Epic React midsole is a bit bouncier than the Ultraboost and seems to have a bit more energy return.
I can see why the Ultraboost is so popular as a sneaker. It’s comfortable and has a plush midsole, but it’s not the best running shoe on the market.
Don’t get me wrong, I like Boost, but the upper makes it hard to get the right lockdown you need for a running shoe.
Adidas has since launched the Adidas PB, which has the same midsole, but a lighter upper, which isn’t a one-piece knit. That might give you a better lockdown to make it more suitable for a running shoe.
However, It’s a great shoe if you are looking for a running shoe that you might also be wearing as casual wear. It’s a comfortable and fashionable hybrid shoe.
Good to know
Lying in the outsole is the Continental Stretchweb technology that delivers a larger contact area for better traction on various surfaces. This highly durable rubber material also offers reliable protection against sharp objects and small rocks. This technology is also featured in the Adidas Adizero Boston shoes.
The Adidas Ultraboost 20 utilizes the Boost technology, which provides excellent cushioning and incredible energy return. The Boost midsole cushioning is compost of tons of little capsules that are made of polyurethane. This component gives the runner back up to 55% of the energy exerted in every impact. It helps the user run faster and more effortless.
The Torsion system is also encapsulated within the midsole foam for an improved transition and propulsion. The Torsion spring is positioned in the center of the lower portion of the shoe, connecting the front and back of the platform. The spring transfers the strength of the feet from one part to another. It allows an independent movement for maximum flexibility and added stability.
The upper of the Adidas Ultraboost 20 uses the Primeknit technology for a breathable, sock-like fit. The knitted upper is made from recycled waste materials that are intercepted from coastal communities and beaches before they reach the oceans. The upper keeps the foot well ventilated and cool for an extended period.
The Tailored Fibre Placement (TFP) technology utilized in the upper provides stitching across every single millimeter for targeted midfoot support and breathability.
The TPU midfoot cage and clip are designed to deliver extra support while the 3D heel frame is added to securely hold the ankle in place while running. The traditional lacing system is also used for a customized fit.
- The 20th edition of the Adidas Ultraboost is created as a symbol of the partnership between Adidas and the International Space Station (ISS). The passion for innovation has brought these organizations together. Inspired by their desire to empower the athletes of the Earth, they will send the Adidas Ultraboost 20 into the space to push the limits of possibility.
How Ultraboost 20 compares
3 shoes (0.32% of shoes)
6 shoes (0.64% of shoes)
14 shoes (1% of shoes)
20 shoes (2% of shoes)
54 shoes (6% of shoes)
67 shoes (7% of shoes)
209 shoes (22% of shoes)
264 shoes (28% of shoes)
206 shoes (22% of shoes)
93 shoes (10% of shoes)
114 shoes (12% of shoes)
268 shoes (29% of shoes)
273 shoes (29% of shoes)
170 shoes (18% of shoes)
62 shoes (7% of shoes)
35 shoes (4% of shoes)
10 shoes (1% of shoes)
1 shoes (0.11% of shoes)
2 shoes (0.21% of shoes)
1 shoes (0.11% of shoes)
6 shoes (0.77% of shoes)
25 shoes (3% of shoes)
48 shoes (6% of shoes)
135 shoes (17% of shoes)
216 shoes (28% of shoes)
235 shoes (30% of shoes)
83 shoes (11% of shoes)
25 shoes (3% of shoes)
7 shoes (0.89% of shoes)
3 shoes (0.38% of shoes)