Adidas redesigned the original Ultra Boost sneaker to be lighter and more comfortable — here's what the Ultra Boost 19s are like to wear
- Since it's release in 2015, the Adidas Ultra Boost design has been, for the most part, the same. For 2019, though, Adidas redesigned its most popular runner and dubbed it the Ultra Boost 19.
- Compared to the original design, which features 17 pieces, the new Ultra Boost 19 is made up of four key pieces - a one-piece Primeknit 360 upper, a Torsion spring plate, a 3D-printed heel frame for stability, and a midsole with 20% more Boost.
- I've never had a single complaint about the original Ultra Boost design (I own three pairs), but the new Ultra Boost 19 manages to be better in every way - they're lighter, more comfortable, and true to size.
- Priced at around R3,000 the Ultra Boost 19 costs almost the same as the original Ultra Boost, so you won't have to pay more for the upgraded model.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Adidas makes the most comfortable sneakers ever - and it's all because of Boost technology.
After I was introduced to the cushioning technology in 2015, I went on a bit of a Boost craze, racking up nine sneaker purchases over the next three years. I bought one pair of Yeezy Boost 350s, three pairs of Yeezy Boost 350 V2, two pairs of NMD R1 Primeknits, and three pairs of Ultra Boosts. While the Ultra Boosts were the easiest to acquire and the least valuable, they were easily my favourite.
They had, in my opinion, everything that makes up a perfect shoe. A lightweight and breathable Primeknit upper, a full-length Boost midsole, plenty of support and rigidity from the Torsion plate and rear heel cups, and an overall look that's both sporty and casual. I would wear them to the gym and on normal days when comfort was a priority and I never thought twice about wanting an improved design from Adidas - that was, until the Ultra Boost 19 released.
Compared to the original Ultra Boost, which consists of 17 individual pieces, the newly designed Ultra Boost 19 features four key performance pieces - a one-piece Primeknit 360 upper, an updated torsion spring, a 3D-printed heel frame, and last but not least, a Boost midsole with 20% more Boost.
I personally saw great improvements between the original and V2 versions of the Yeezy Boost 350, which is a lifestyle sneaker, so I was very eager to see how Adidas could improve on a true performance shoe like the Ultra Boost. The brand sent me a pair of the Ultra Boost 19s to test out, and I was thoroughly impressed with all the updates that went into the redesign.
Do the updates make a noticeable difference?
The short answer is yes. In my experience with sneakers, any time a brand can minimise a shoe's design, it usually makes for a more comfortable shoe - and such is the case with the Ultra Boost 19. Not once have I ever complained about my original Ultra Boosts being uncomfortable, but after wearing the Ultra Boost 19, it shows there was room for improvement after all.
My first impression when putting the Ultra Boost 19 on was that it fits bigger (more true to size) than the original Ultra Boost. I always went a half size up for Ultra Boosts and they still fit on the small side. I went a half size up for the Ultra Boost 19, assuming that they'd fit the same, but I probably could have gone with my normal size.
Based on size 9 shoes, the Ultra Boost weighs in at 312 grams, while the Ultra Boost 19 weighs in at 292 grams. On paper, that might come across as a trivial difference in weight, but I was definitely able to feel the difference while holding them in my hands and wearing them on my feet.
Although the general rule of thumb for running sneakers is the lighter, the better, I was initially concerned that making an already light shoe even lighter would take away from its structural integrity. But after wearing the Ultra Boost 19 for a while, I found out that they're still extremely stable.
This is the first Adidas sneaker I've worn with Primeknit 360 material and it's more form-fitting and stretchier than the normal Primeknit. These characteristics make the material lighter without sacrificing stability. I also really like how the heel frame is a rigid 3D printed outline rather than a solid piece of plastic. It's great to see Adidas stay ahead of the innovation curve by employing modern production methods like 3D (and even 4D) printing.
The lace cage is also lighter, although I believe it's always been used as a clever way to incorporate Adidas' Three Stripes branding rather than a means for structural integrity -which is why the brand has released equally sturdy Uncaged versions in the past.
How more Boost improves the shoe
While the upper of the shoe is largely redesigned, I believe the most notable update is the new midsole with 20% more Boost. When you take into consideration that Adidas added more of anything and still managed to shave off weight, it's impressive to say the least. It would have been interesting to see an even bigger increase in Boost that brought the shoe back up to 312 grams (since that's still not a heavy shoe), but I'm sure the designers at Adidas put a lot of research and development into the final design - and it really shows in the on-foot performance.
Compared to the original Ultra Boosts, the Ultra Boost 19s are a lot more cushioned and comfortable. If you've worn Ultra Boosts in the past, you'll notice the difference immediately while walking or running. When it comes to working out, I'm not the most avid runner, but with the Ultra Boost 19s on, I actually want to run. The shoes make the constant impact from running a lot more forgiving, which allowed me to run on a treadmill longer than I usually do. For people who are already used to long distance runs, I'm sure you'll appreciate the extended comfort if it does nothing for your time spent running.
The bottom line
This is the part of the review where I'd usually point out cons or things that might need justification, but I really haven't been able to find any. The Ultra Boost 19 is lighter, more comfortable - and it beats out the original Ultra Boost in every way performance-wise. It's also the same price. At R3,000, the same price as the original Ultra Boost, you won't have to think about paying more for the upgraded version.
If you already own a pair of the original Ultra Boosts, don't get rid of them for the Ultra Boost 19s. You should definitely keep wearing them, as they're still great sneakers. But if you are in the market for new sneakers - whether you're replacing a worn out pair or you just want to add another pair to your rotation - I strongly recommend choosing the Ultra Boost 19.
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