Shoe Review: Adidas Energy BOOST Running Shoe

A week ago I had the opportunity to go down to my local Fleet Feet in Old Town to check out Adidas’ new running shoe featuring the Energy BOOST technology. Although, a good 3 inches or so of snow hit us that night, I was still excited to try them out and didn't mind some white powder getting in the way of my run. It was the first day the shoe was widely available to the public and Adidas was offering free “test runs” to personally check out what all the hype was about. I just have to say, I love when companies allow for personal experiences prior to purchase and running companies seem to be at the forefront of that trend. I hope more of them follow suit.

Get your BOOST on!
This shoe has been receiving some serious hype being touted as a game-changer in the running game, as it swaps out the standard EVA sole foam 99% of current running shoes use (not a scientific percent) for what’s called BOOST foam (earning a Best Debut award from Runner's World). From Adidas’ website the BOOST cushioning is supposed to be “softer and have more energy return” than the current foam in most running shoes. I guess what that means is, your shoes will give you more return, thus a more efficient run. Also, apparently BOOST keeps its form for longer and at better temperatures than EVA.

Being an avid Adidas user (Adios & Tempos), I had a good feeling for how Adidas naturally feel so I wanted to see if the shoe really had the technologies it touted while still maintaining all the traditional Adidas qualities.

When I got there, the Adidas rep was already talking about the run and what to expect, so I quietly slipped over to the shoe booth and picked up a standard pair of 11’s. First thing, my standard 11 which I wear for both Adidas and Mizunos was way too tight and I had to go up to a 12 to be comfortable (those looking to try a pair may want to think about going up an additional size).

The next thing I noticed was how light the shoes felt. Although, they aren't lightweights (9.5 oz. for a size 9), the shoe just overall felt like there wasn’t much to it, and I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. Overall, I felt like I was putting on a triathlon shoe as it just slipped on and was ready to go just like that.

One thing I really wanted to check out was heel to toe drop. Looking at the shoes online it appeared they sat pretty high. Although, in person I noticed the shoe sat a bit lower at 22mm heel and had a 12mm in the forefoot (not too different from my Adios 24mm to 15mm), therefore it wasn't much of a concern.

Tough to tell but it looks like you are running on popcorn
 The toe box of the shoe felt really weird, but in a cool way. It was like there was nothing covering my toes, but at the same time my toes felt snug and comfortable (quite the magic trick). I think it has to do with the open air mesh, which lets your feet breathe, but at the same time the support, which they call "techfit" keeps everything in place without the plastic exoskeleton typically found on other shoes.

Here’s where I noticed the shoe really stood out from other shoes, the stand up test. After lacing them up, I stood straight up equally distributing my weight across the bottom of my foot. I could definitely tell I was wearing different shoes. My heels sunk into the ground and I felt almost as though I was standing on uneven marshmallows, meaning my toes felt higher than my heels, but at the same time my heels were unbelievably comfortable. It is definitely something folks will have to get used to.  In fact, I couldn’t shake this nagging feeling like my soles had deflated and I was standing on flat tires. Very odd. After walking a bit in the store, I hit the road to try them on a quick (yet, snow-filled) 3-mile run. 
For those of you who have to see the other side of the shoe

You can see how the rubber sole really only addresses the inside of the shoe allowing the BOOST to cover more shoe
 
Right out of the store, the shoes felt very comfortable and relaxed. I had to do some serious ice and puddle dodging and the shoes cut right with me and never once wrestled with my Feetures socks thanks to Adidas’ Adiwear outsole and Torsion system which is standard on its racers. Since the Torsion system felt a bit less supportive than other Adidas shoes I have worn, those who are looking for stability shoes most likely aren't going to find a lot of support here and these may not be the right kicks for you.

What also was nice was after hitting more than a few puddles, my toes remained warm and dry, a nice feature for a snowy Chicago winter but I wonder how they will feel when it’s 85 degrees out?

Very minimal coverage of rubber, TORSION system (yellow) and miCoach SpeedCell (green) which tracks your runs
 The next test was a crucial one, the heel strike test. I tend to be a midfoot runner and only have my heels touch the ground to disperse the impact. Running in that fashion, the shoe doesn’t have the opportunity to engage its BOOST technology, which seems like its wasted on us fore/midfoot runners. When heel striking first, I could definitely feel the BOOST kick in and spring my foot up rather quickly, making me feel like I was actually running more efficiently. I could see where this would beneficial to heel strikers or those who slap their feet on the ground.

Overall, the run was enjoyable and pretty comfortable (I really like the toe box mesh) and I could see these being good trainers for those heel strikers, but since I’m not a heel striker I didn’t really get that much out of the BOOST technology. Also, they will take some getting used to as you will definitely feel yourself sitting a little lower than you would in traditional running shoes.

Adidas Energy BOOST shoes definitely are a different breed of running shoe. At $150 these shoes are not cheap, but not overly costly for the improvements in running shoe technology. Especially if you are a heel striker, these shoes may be the soft pillows your heels have been aching for. 

The shoe comes in a bevy of colors and in both men's and women's sizes. I overheard at the event Adidas plans to release more BOOST shoes in its current roster of shoes (BOOST Adios in early October). 

My recommendation is the only really way to see if they are for you is to try them on for yourself and see if you feel the difference. Definitely take them on a good sized run to feel out all the features and see if they are suited to you.     

DISCLAIMER: I want to mention this is my perspective from a free, public meet up to see Adidas’ new Energy BOOST running shoe. I was not compensated in any way by either Adidas or Fleet Feet Chicago for this post.