The adidas ULTRABOOST, featuring “the midsole that saved adidas running,” is back again. And while the ULTRABOOST 21 isn’t the twenty-first version (the ’21’ stands for the year), it does seem that the UB has become an old friend to us here at Believe in the Run.
In the past, it’s been a reliable workhorse (albeit a bit heavy) that feels great on the run and gives you a ton of miles underfoot. It helps that it’s perennially one of the best-looking running shoes out there.
So what’s new in the ULTRABOOST 21? According to adidas, a few things, though we would say none of these are the game-changers that we’d like to see in the ULTRABOOST. Let’s start with the meat and potatoes of the shoe, the BOOST midsole.
BOOST literally changed the game when it debuted back in 2013. While other companies rested on their laurels with traditional EVA midsoles, adidas went full-in on BASF’s TPU technology and it reaped dividends. Out of the gate, the original adiZero adios BOOST claimed the men’s marathon world record at the 2014 Berlin Marathon.
Fast-forward seven years and adidas is still riding the BOOST wave (we have some thoughts on that, but we’ll leave it for the review). You can ride that wave even further in the ULTRABOOST 21, as it has 6% more BOOST than the last version of the shoe. Minimal, but still.
The UB 21 also features a newly redesigned Linear Energy Push (LEP) torsion system with a stiffer, reinforced material in the midsole designed to give runners less flex and increased responsiveness. This is probably the most major development in the UB 21, as this supposedly provides a 15% increase in forefoot bending stiffness. Should be a snappier ride.
The upper is still Primeknit, which we found to be excellent on last year’s model. Breathable and extremely comfortable. It’s slightly updated with a “more precise knit,” whatever that means. Maybe they had the Keebler elves on the production line.
Lastly, is adidas’ commitment to sustainability, as the upper is made with PRIMEBLUE, a high-performance recycled material containing at least 50% Parley Ocean Plastic. So that’s in line with their sustainability goals. Honestly, pretty much every shoe company is doing this in some way right now, which is great, but it’s not like it lands them on the Nobel Prize shortlist.
Our thoughts? Press releases always sound like the shoe is gonna change the world, but this seems to be a smattering of minor upgrades to the shoe. Long story short, if you’ve enjoyed past versions of the ULTRABOOST, you’ll probably end up liking this. It’s?mostly the same, including the always-grippy stretchweb Continental rubber outsole.
That said, if you had issues with the weight in the past (like us), and were hoping it went on a diet during COVID (unlike the rest of us), well you’re out of luck. This is still one of the heaviest trainers on the market, at 12 oz. (340 g) for a US M9.0. Good news is you can use it as a doorstop after your runs.
Drop is 10 mm (30.5 mm in heel, 20.5 in forefoot).
In terms of the actual design of the shoe, you can see it has the heel flare pull thing that everyone is doing these days, while the actual heel extends out past the counter (again, something everyone is doing these days). Looks-wise, we’re loving this, especially in the pink lemonade colorway. Has some definite modern throwback vibes. Of course, being shoe reviewers we’ll probably get the corpse grey colorway (a.k.a. the wide foot palette), but we’ll keep our fingers crossed for something brighter.
We’ll be getting the shoe in the next week or so and should have our full review and YouTube review up by the worldwide release date.
The adidas ULTRABOOST launches on adidas channels on January 28 and globally on February 4 for $180.