I thought I would start this review of the new adidas Ultraboost Light by talking about what I considered to be their previous model, the Ultraboost 22 but-after only a couple of runs-I quickly realized that it would not make sense: the Ultraboost Light are a completely different model. Sure, they are aesthetically derived from their previous version and share some design traits, but functionally, they are an entirely different matter.
Not surprisingly, in the planning and design phase, 10 different prototypes were made to test different solutions and find the perfect balance.
And, if you’re wondering whether 10 prototypes is a lot or a few, I can tell you it’s a lot. Already making two or three is a not insignificant investment; ten means wanting to find the perfect solutions at all costs.
This is far from negligible because it gives you insight into how a brand works – adidas, indeed-and what its efforts are to achieve the result of a product “made for the athletes” as they have always said in Herzogenaurach, ever since Adi Dassler created shoes for Jesse Owens in the 1930s.
All the best adidas has to offer for comfort and fun over long distances
The ten prototypes are also justified by the fact that, in the new Ultraboost Light, adidas designers have concentrated the best of their technologies, starting with a new midsole material: BOOST light, indeed.
The new compound is 30 percent lighter than BOOST, and “lighter” in this case also translates to “more fun.” The feelings are very positive from the first moment you put them on: you immediately taste their comfort and feel that you will have a lot of fun with them.
Not surprisingly, Ultraboost Light now weighs less than 300 grams in the men’s version (and 262 grams in the women’s version). To complete the “numerical review,” the drop is about 10 mm. I say “about” because, to be honest, the perception is slightly lower as the softness of the material slightly compresses the midsole when you are standing.
But Ultraboost Light cannot be defined solely by the new midsole material. There are three other elements to consider: the heel support, the LEP system and the PRIMEKNIT+ upper.
The upper itself is a very pleasant discovery that contributes to the great comfort of the shoe. Made in one piece, imagine it as a sock applied supra to the midsole. There is no rubbing, it is perfectly snug, and-most important-it conforms to the shape of the foot. I, for example, have a very high instep, and from the very first run, the upper adapted perfectly to this characteristic of mine.
The space for the toes is ideal, both in vertical movement and in lateral expansion when resting the foot.
Heel support is key to the stability of this neutral shoe: it supports it, guides it but never squeezes too tightly. In short, it puts your foot in the ideal position to run the right way.
The third element, as I mentioned, is the LEP (an acronym for Linear Energy Push). This system allows a faster and more propulsive transition from the back of the foot to the end of the roll. What does it mean said in three words? Pushes forward. And he does it very well.
How it is on the road
First of all, to fully understand the Ultraboost Light, you have to understand its use: it is made for running for a long time, while having fun.
And when I say “for a long time,” I mean the limit is the duration of the legs, not the shoes. The new BOOST Light compound never breaks down and-by its chemical characteristic (it is not an EVA)-is not affected by temperature either.
From the very first kilometers you feel that it is a shoe that is not only light in numbers but is – above all – light in perception. And the presence of heel support is a very reassuring feature.
The increased amount of BOOST Light material toward the heel leads, inevitably, to resting at the back of the foot (between the heel and midfoot), then taking advantage of the LEP system and its propulsion to facilitate the pushing phase.
This asymmetry of material between heel and toe allows for a softer landing and even more propulsive thrust on takeoff.
Sure, they are not super-fast race shoes-for those you necessarily have to go to adidas’ Adizero family-but they are very fun shoes that can accompany you anywhere: on long slow runs, on unloading runs, on strides, and definitely even in races.
I remember that when I spoke with Simon Lockett (Footwear Product Marketing Category Director at adidas) at the launch, when asked what feelings they had focused on in the design phase of the shoe, he told me that their purpose was Make people say “wow!” when you use them to run.
I would say they succeeded.
After using the new adidas Ultraboost Light, I can tell you that they are suitable for any runner-especially those who are looking for fun every time they go out for a run, whether they are beginners or experienced runners.
The cost is in line with the market for premium shoes that can be used for daily workouts and long distances. The list price is indeed 190 euros, but considering the amount of innovation and technology they contain, surely the price/quality ratio is good.