Written by Amy Curtis, Editor of Running.
The new adidas UltraBOOST X is designed especially for women. So last week, at a particularly unsocial hour in the morning, I joined a small group of other female journalists at the adidas Brick Lane studio for a first look and a bit of a workout.
At first glance, it just looks like a slightly more complicated version of last year’s UltraBOOST, with the arch space under the foot, but there are some obvious changes. The sock-like fit around the ankle means no rubbing, but we discovered it doesn’t mean no socks, as one runner whose socks were lower than the shoe pulled up with a blister. The Primeknit upper holds on to your foot without pressuring it, which is great for those who struggle with getting the tightness of laces right; these will stay on regardless, meaning you’re less likely to irritate any tendons with too-tight laces. The Continental Rubber 4-way stretch sole has that adaptive spring that we know and love.
Run leaders from the adidas studio took us out on a short run to a local park, where we spent 20 minutes or so doing fartlek training, which was a nice way to test the shoe. Personally, I felt like the return boost was really noticeable, making me feel more energetic with my strides than I might normally at that time in the morning. It was secure as well; the sock-like fit is great and makes the shoe feel almost like an extension of your foot, while the sole felt strong and gripped well enough.
We then watched a presentation about the shoe, its various parts and how they have been brought together. A computer tracking system called ARAMIS has been used on a variety of female runners across the world, to find all the nuances of a female runner and help create a shoe that adapts to each foot and each running style. This is quite an achievement, as it was explained that every person’s foot is different – just like the difference between our fingerprints. I have to say that I struggled with this idea that all feet are so different and yet there’s something about women’s feet that are the same, meriting this women-only shoe – when I asked why they didn’t make one for men, they smiled and said they might just do that, you never know…
I really like this shoe. I have since taken it on an 11-mile run (adidas says it’s a marathon shoe) and thought it performed brilliantly. It’s so light and springy, I felt more energetic than usual on longer runs, and felt like my form stayed stronger for longer. It’s not a supportive shoe, though, so if you over-pronate you need to look elsewhere. Overall, a great shoe, but I don’t think it’s just for women; not really, it’s for feet. This design is aimed at women, but I don’t see why a man can’t wear it.
The adidas UltraBOOST X has a RRP of £129.95, and is available at the adidas website.