Our verdict

Is it a bird? Is it an Ultraboost Light? No! It’s the Ultrabounce by Adidas! This daily trainer shines in versatility, whether we take it for easy to moderate days, to the gym, or just for walks around town. All for a price that can’t be beaten! If its significant weight isn’t a deterrent, we are certain that this shoe will make a welcome addition to most runners’ rotations.

Pros

  • Budget friendly
  • Flexible and comfortable underfoot
  • Generously padded upper
  • Extremely breathable
  • Broad and stable base
  • Grippy outsole
  • Versatile enough to tackle various activities
  • Stylish and eco-friendly design

Cons

  • Too heavy for long distances or speedwork
  • Not for forefoot strikers
  • Lacklustre outsole durability
  • Heel hold could be better

Audience verdict

82
Good!
  • Top 19% most popular running shoes

Who should buy

We recommend the Adidas Ultrabounce to anyone in the market for

  • A shoe that’s comfy, versatile, and stylish enough to handle easy/moderate runs, gym days, or walks around town
  • A budget-friendly, cushioned road shoe to add to their rotation
  • A breathable daily trainer that’s suitable for runs in warm weather

Adidas Ultrabounce 11

Who should NOT buy

While the shoe doesn’t feel that heavy at first, its certainly a chunky monkey that will feel like a burden when attempting speedwork. For a shoe that’s much more lightweight and capable of high-paced sessions, we recommend having a look at the similarly wallet-friendly Brooks Revel 6

With a much lower than average stack at the forefoot, the Ultrabounce won’t feel as protective over long distances for runners with a forefoot striking stride. For a shoe with more protective foam at the forefoot, we suggest checking out the Adidas Adizero SL instead. 

Adidas Ultrabounce cut

The Bounce midsole foam provides good enough cushions for easy to moderate runs, however pushing the limits and going for long haul efforts exposes the midsole’s weakness. For a shoe that boasts better cushioning for long miles, we suggest the similarly priced Brooks Launch 10 or the more expensive, plated yet plush Hoka Mach X.

Breathability

We don’t usually expect the best breathability from budget friendly shoes, but the Ultrabounce gave us a pleasant surprise during our smoke test. As the video demonstrates, the smoke manages to escape almost as soon as it is pumped into the shoe. What’s more, the ventilation seems to be quite even throughout the shoe’s upper and tongue, leading us to give the shoe a perfect 5 out of 5 for breathability!

For context, look at how the Adidas Runfalcon performed in the same test; proving to be a veritable toaster in comparison. 

Inspecting a cross section of the shoe’s upper; we can see how well perforated the Ultrabounce’s upper is, which obviously promotes great airflow throughout the shoe. 

Looking at the upper material through our microscope, it’s kind of surprising how well the shoe performed in our smoke test. The fibres that make up the upper are so tightly woven, with another more loosely braided layer underneath. Looking at this alone, we would have assumed that it’s a rather well insulated shoe, but that speaks to just how airy the fibres themselves are!

Adidas Ultrabounce micro

Adidas Ultrabounce micro 2

Test results
Ultrabounce 5
Average 3.8
Compared to 226 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Toebox durability

Breathability and durability don’t often go hand in hand, so we didn’t have high hopes when we fired up our Dremel to test the durability of the toebox. Here we were also faced with a pleasant surprise. After contending with our tool’s grinding element for four seconds, we didn’t find as much damage as we had anticipated.

It still only merits a durability score of 2 out of 5, but that’s a better result than many shoes that have faced off against our dreaded Dremel. 

Adidas Ultrabounce Toebox durability

To see what a 1 out of 5 looks like; here's the damage side-by-side with the aftermath of running the much less durable ASICS GT 1000 12 through the same test. 

Test results
Ultrabounce 2
Average 2.4
Compared to 160 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Toebox durability
5

Heel padding durability

The heel padding also displayed better than expected durability when we subjected it to the same grinding force as the toebox. While we were able to pretty much tear through the lining, only a small amount of padding was lost.

As a result we give the Ultrabounce a heel padding durability score of 3 out of 5, which means that going sockless in this shoe won’t wear out the heel collar prematurely. 

Adidas Ultrabounce Heel padding durability

The New Balance FuelCell Rebel v3's heel padding didn't fare nearly as well in the same test, and gives us a good baseline for what a 1 out of 5 looks like. 

Test results
Ultrabounce 3
Average 3.1
Compared to 156 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel padding durability
5

Outsole hardness

We pressed our durometer against the Ultrabounce’s outsole rubber and got a much higher than average result of 86.6 HC. This level of hardness bodes well for the upcoming durability test… or does it?

Adidas Ultrabounce Outsole hardness
Test results
Ultrabounce 86.6 HC
Average 80.5 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 277 running shoes
Number of shoes
54.9 HC
Outsole hardness
92.8 HC

Outsole durability

As opposed to our previous durability tests, we actually had high hopes for the outsole’s durability given the hardness reading from our previous test. Unfortunately this time it was an unpleasant surprise we faced once we had powered down our Dremel after the twenty second test.

Measuring the damage with a tyre tread gauge, we found that we had lopped off a whopping 1.16 mm of material from the outsole. This makes the Ultrabounce’s outsole less durable than that of the average road shoe, which goes to show that sometimes hard materials can also be brittle. 

Adidas Ultrabounce outsole damage

Test results
Ultrabounce 1.1 mm
Average 0.9 mm
Compared to 138 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole wear
2.0 mm

Outsole thickness

Using our caliper, we measured the shoe;s outsole to be 3.1 mm thick. This is slightly less thick than our current lab average, which ordinarily wouldn’t be an issue; but the shoe’s performance in our previous test means that we expect to see significant signs of wear and tear by 400-miles of use. 

Adidas Ultrabounce Outsole thickness
Test results
Ultrabounce 3.2 mm
Average 3.2 mm
Compared to 296 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole thickness
6.6 mm

Weight

While the bounce part in Ultrabounce suggests some level of lightness, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Tipping the scale at a hefty 11.5 Oz (326g), the Ultrabounce is significantly heavier than the average road shoe. This makes it less than ideal for long distance days or tempo training. 

Adidas Ultrabounce Weight
Test results
Ultrabounce 11.50 oz (326g)
Average 9.35 oz (265g)
Compared to 297 running shoes
Number of shoes
5.26 oz (149g)
Weight
12.56 oz (356g)

Cushioning

We also repeated our flexibility test after leaving the Ultrabounce in the freezer for twenty minutes, with a result of 32.2N now needed to bend the shoe to the same point. While definitely a rather stiff result, it isn’t nearly as rigid as the average road shoe becomes under similar conditions. 

Similar to the midsole performance, the Ultrabounce displays a distinct lack of consistency in its flexibility. With a 57.8% increase in the shoe’s stiffness, it doesn’t perform nearly as well as the average shoe between warm and cold conditions. Therefore, we don't recommend this shoe to those living in places with long and harsh winters. For those runners, we suggest checking out the Brooks Levitate Stealthfit 6 which is much more conducive to frigid runs. 

Heel stack

We measured the Ultrabounce’s heel stack to be 30.3 mm thick at the heel. While this is a little lower than our current lab average, the shoe will still provide a great level of cushioning for heel striking runners.

Adidas Ultrabounce Heel stack
Test results
Ultrabounce 30.3 mm
Average 33.6 mm
Compared to 296 running shoes
Number of shoes
7.6 mm
Heel stack
42.7 mm

Forefoot stack

Moving up to the forefoot, the Ultrabounce has only a scant 19 mm of foam underfoot. This below average stack means that forefoot strikers won’t enjoy nearly the same amount of cushioning as their heel striking counterparts.

Adidas Ultrabounce forefoot stack

For a shoe that’s more generously padded at the forefoot, we recommend Adidas’ more wallet-friendly (but still more expensive) version of their premium line, the Adizero SL.

Test results
Ultrabounce 19.0 mm
Average 25.0 mm
Compared to 296 running shoes
Number of shoes
7.6 mm
Forefoot stack
35.8 mm

Drop

The difference in our stack measurements leaves the shoe with a drop height of 11.3 mm. This put the Ultrabounce in the category of high-drop shoes which, in combination with the short forefoot stack, makes the shoe more favourable to heel striking runners. 

Forefoot striking runners will be much better served with a mid-drop shoe like the Mizuno Waverider 26.

Adidas Ultrabounce Drop
Test results
Ultrabounce 11.3 mm
Average 8.6 mm
Compared to 296 running shoes
Number of shoes
-0.8 mm
Drop
16.1 mm

Insole thickness

We measured the shoe’s insole to be 3.7 mm thick. While this isn’t as padded as our current lab average, we still had a nice and soft landing surface within the shoe that nicely complemented the shoe’s midsole cushioning during our test runs. 

Adidas Ultrabounce Insole thickness
Test results
Ultrabounce 3.7 mm
Average 4.5 mm
Compared to 292 running shoes
Number of shoes
1.5 mm
Insole thickness
7.3 mm

Midsole softness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

To test the softness of the shoe’s Bounce foam, we pressed our durometer against the Ultrabounce’s midsole and got a reading of 24.8 HA. This level of softness fall right within the average range, and provides an adequate level of balanced cushioning that feels protective enough for most easy to moderate runs. 

Adidas Ultrabounce midsole softness

In its heyday, the Bounce midsole foam utilised in this shoe was considered to be top-of-the-line as it offers good cushions and a decent level of energy return. These days, however, its ride feels a little more antiquated, especially with more advanced and responsive midsoles out on the market; including the softer yet more energetic Boost foam by Adidas that can be found on shoes like the Ultraboost Light.

Test results
Ultrabounce 24.8 HA
Average 21.5 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 224 running shoes
Number of shoes
8.5 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
41.5 HA

Difference in midsole softness in cold

To see how the midsole is affected by cold weather, we let the Ultrabounce chill in the freezer for twenty minutes and took another durometer reading of the foam. With a post-freezer reading of 34.3 HA, the Ultrabounce’s midsole becomes 38.3% more firm in the cold. 

As such, the Ultrabounce isn't as consistent as the average shoe under similar conditions, which means its already firm ride will feel a bit more solid come wintertime. 

Adidas Ultrabounce Midsole softness in cold
Test results
Ultrabounce 38.3%
Average 25.6%
Compared to 223 running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in midsole softness in cold
100%

Stability

Lateral stability test

Despite having no additional stability features, the Ultrabounce feels extremely well planted to the ground when we shifted our weight from side to side. We’ll be exploring how Adidas achieved this over the course of our next few stability tests. 

Torsional rigidity

We bent and twisted the shoe in our hands to assess the shoe's torsional rigidity. With an about average level of resistance to our manipulations, we gave the shoe a score of 3 out of 5 on our subjective scale. 

This moderate level of rigidity helps to prevent any excessive rolling of the foot, while still being flexible enough to allow our foot to bend and contort naturally during our stride. However, this isn’t enough support for pronating runners who will be better served with a shoe with added stability features like the ASICS 1000 12.

Test results
Ultrabounce 3
Average 3.2
Compared to 275 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

The shoe’s heel counter didn’t put up so much resistance as we poked, squeezed and prodded at it, leading us to give the shoe a 2 out of 5 for heel counter stiffness. 

This level of flexibility in the heel counter lends itself to comfort, especially for those with Achilles tendon issues. However, in combination with the shape of the Ultrabounce’s heel cup, we weren’t able to achieve as secure a rearfoot lockdown as we would like in this shoe and did feel some heel slippage during our test runs.

Test results
Ultrabounce 2
Average 2.8
Compared to 259 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

We measured the shoe’s midsole to be 114.4 mm wide at the forefoot which is ever-so slightly broader than our current lab average. This width of base had us feeling surefooted and confident during our runs, with smooth toe-offs that didn't feel blocky even when cornering. 

Adidas Ultrabounce Midsole width in the forefoot
Test results
Ultrabounce 114.4 mm
Average 113.7 mm
Compared to 297 running shoes
Number of shoes
100.5 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
126.5 mm

Midsole width in the heel

Measuring 92.2 mm wide, the Ultrabounce’s midsole is also just a hair wider than our current lab average at the heel. This ensures that heel striking runners have plenty of platform for surefooted landings. 

Test results
Ultrabounce 92.2 mm
Average 90.5 mm
Compared to 297 running shoes
Number of shoes
74.9 mm
Midsole width in the heel
106.6 mm

Flexibility

Stiffness

To measure how stiff or flexible the shoe is, we secured the Ultrabounce to our workbench and measured the amount of force needed to bend the shoe to 90-degrees. With a result of 20.4N, the Ultrabounce is significantly more flexible than the average road shoe. This level of longitudinal flexibility greatly contributes to the shoe’s overall comfort as it feels much more natural underfoot as the shoe bends with the movement of our foot rather than resisting it. 

Test results
Ultrabounce 20.4N
Average 29.1N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 279 running shoes
Number of shoes
2.2N
Stiffness
94.4N

Difference in stiffness in cold

We also repeated our flexibility test after leaving the Ultrabounce in the freezer for twenty minutes, with a result of 32.2N now needed to bend the shoe to the same point. While definitely a rather stiff result, it isn’t nearly as rigid as the average road shoe becomes under similar conditions. 

Similar to the midsole performance, the Ultrabounce displays a distinct lack of consistency in its flexibility. With a 57.8% increase in the shoe’s stiffness, it doesn’t perform nearly as well as the average shoe between warm and cold conditions. Therefore, we don't recommend this shoe to those living in places with long and harsh winters. For those runners, we suggest checking out the Brooks Levitate Stealthfit 6 which is much more conducive to frigid runs. 

Test results
Ultrabounce 57.8%
Average 36.2%
Compared to 279 running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in stiffness in cold
148%

Grip / Traction

The Ultrabounce really is full of surprises. While our findings in the lab so far generally suggest that a harder outsole means more durability and less grippiness, this shoe proves to be an exception to that rule. The tread pattern and the almost full rubber coverage of the outsole meant that we experienced great traction in this shoe over a multitude of surfaces. Who would have thought?!

Adidas Ultrabounce grip

Size and fit

Toebox width at the widest part

Using our caliper, we measured the toebox to be 97.9 mm at its widest point which is right on par with our current lab average. This in combination with the shoe’s soft and forgiving upper mesh means that the Ultrabounce should be able to accommodate most foot shapes except for those with very broad feet. 

Adidas Ultrabounce Toebox width at the widest part
Test results
Ultrabounce 97.9 mm
Average 98.3 mm
Compared to 297 running shoes
Number of shoes
89.5 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
109.1 mm

Toebox width at the big toe

Moving down to the area around the big toe, we measured the Ultrabounce’s toebox to be slightly roomier than average at 78.5 mm wide. This meant that we had plenty of room to splay out naturally during our test runs with no fear of niggling hotspots. 

Adidas Ultrabounce Toebox width at the big toe
Test results
Ultrabounce 78.5 mm
Average 78.2 mm
Compared to 171 running shoes
Number of shoes
60.4 mm
Toebox width at the big toe
92.5 mm

Tongue: gusset type

The Ultrabounce’s tongue in non-gusseted, however the combination of how well padded it is and its sheer width across our instep means that we didn’t face any issues with it slipping during our test runs.

Adidas Ultrabounce Tongue: gusset type
Test results
Ultrabounce None

Comfort

Tongue padding

The Ultrabounce sports a tongue that’s much more padded than the average road shoe, measuring 8.5 mm thick. In spite of this, however, the laces still feel  surprisingly apparent around our instep once the shoe is laced up nice and tight. While this isn’t going to be an issue during easy runs, walks, or gym days; it definitely becomes more of a nuisance as our feet swell towards the end of longer runs. 

Adidas Ultrabounce Tongue padding
Test results
Ultrabounce 8.5 mm
Average 5.6 mm
Compared to 294 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.5 mm
Tongue padding
14.2 mm

Heel tab

The Ultrabounce doesn’t have a traditional pull tab, but rather the heel itself flares upwards in a way that is easy to pull as we slide the shoes on. 

Adidas Ultrabounce Heel tab
Test results
Ultrabounce None

Removable insole

The insole of the Ultrabounce isn’t glued in, and so can be removed in favor of custom orthotics where necessary. 

Test results
Ultrabounce Yes

Misc

Reflective elements

Who’s got two sets of laces and no reflective elements whatsoever? The Ultrabounce unfortunately; so we don’t recommend going out for nighttime runs with \out additional high-visibility gear. 

Adidas Ultrabounce Reflective elements
Test results
Ultrabounce No