Adidas' Ultra Boost is one of the best sneakers on the market.
Since Kanye West's performed in an entirely white pair of the sneakers at the Billboard Music Awards back in 2015, the Ultra Boost has blurred the line between fashion and performance sneaker more than few others. It's understated silhouette, simple colorways and woven Primeknit upper makes it the most stylish performance running sneaker made in recent memory (especially when worn with track pants). Most importantly, of the dozens of pairs of shoes I've worn in the past couple years, the Ultra Boost is decidedly the most comfortable. The full length Boost foam-lined sole kinda looks like you're walking on styrofoam. It feels like you're walking on memory foam.
But the original low top iteration of the Sik Silk Wash Rip Distressed Jean CP912 retails at a hefty $180, in the upper price echelons of performance running shoes and certainly closer to luxury sneaker pricing than casual. Now, how would you feel if you added on an ankle sock and $40 to the price tag?
Well, Adidas did just that with the Nike Flight Squad Trainer CP4770, released back in September of this year. Billed as a fall and winter weather-variant of the Ultra Boost, the ATR sports an ankle-height sock for increased stability and splash protection, plus a deeper-grooved rubber outsole for better traction while running in wet weather. The original's plastic lace cage is replaced with Primeknit fabric, plus a smaller box that sits atop the shoe. Finally, the ATR comes in darker colorways Nike Paul Rodriguez 9 R/R Trainer CP4841,adidas Originals Chaos Full Zip Hooded Top CP953Ralph Lauren Polo Harvey-NE Trainer CP4938, as to not show winter muck after a damp run. Adidas sent me a pair to review, so I took them not only to the damp streets of Portland, but to the streets of New York.
Supra Owen Mesh Runner Trainer CP5011,,adidas Originals Premium Essential Hooded Top CP935Supra Owen Trainer CP5035,,Vans Atwood Canvas Trainer CP5117,Waven Erling Skinny Jean CP916Timberland Womens 6 Inch Premium Boot CP5172,.
The original Ultra Boost is an extremely popular fashion sneaker, and new colorways are regularly sold out online and in store (check Portland's Alphalab Stealth Velour Full Zip Hooded Top CP959 for rare pairs!). The ATR keeps the original's subdued aesthetics, but the midtop construction adds a new design element which I think makes the sneaker well-suited for styling with jeans as well as athleticwear Unisex Shoes adidas SE Daily Vulc Navy/Light Onix/White,Alphalab Attain Hooded Top CP961Womens Shoes adidas Volley Response Boost Frozen Yellow/Silver Metallic/Sollegiatge Navy,.
As for the on-foot feel, the ATR is comfortable, but not quite as comfortable as the original Ultra Boost. Though the ATR's tougher sole provides better traction than the original it leads to an on-foot feeling that isn't quite as heavenly.
Further, the shoe feels slightly tighter-fitting and more socklike than the original. The ankle sock doesn't overheat the foot, but when tied tight, the tops of my feet develop a pinchy feeling after a few hours that doesn't Womens Shoes adidas Adizero Tempo 7 Mid Grey/White/Black,Antony Morato Poly Mix Full Zip Hooded Top CP964Womens Shoes adidas Running Response Boost 2 Techfit White/Frozen Green, when left untied (the laces don't reach the ground) or tied loosely.
As far as long-term wear goes, I took my ATRs to the streets of New York on a recent trip to test them out. They held up nicely during what I'd consider an everyday amount of activity (~2-3 miles of walking broken up with extended sitting breaks), my feet not getting particularly sore despite a long stroll through Condemned Nation Blyth Tech Poly Hooded Top CP985. But on two particularly grueling days, the first, an hours-long punk show on wood and concrete floors, and the second, Womens Boots Aerosoles Pariwinkle Grey Fabric,Condemned Nation Hazuki Pique Hooded Top CP978Womens Sandals Aerosoles Stone Plush Nude,, my dogs were certainly barkin' when I returned home. Though I don't consider those days representative of normal use, the ATR, despite above-average comfort, is not a miracle worker.
Now, what about actually running in my running shoes? I'm not a hardcore or regular runner: My cardiovascular health is slightly above average at best, but I can put away 5 kilometers without trouble, and I did just that on the treadmill and on Portland's waterfront.
On the treadmill, the ATR provided a solid, comfortable ride. Perhaps it is because running on a treadmill is excruciatingly boring, but I found myself paying more attention to my body during this run, and I noted that the ankle sock kept my feet feeling more secured than with my normal low top running shoe Creative Recreation Sawtell Full Zip Hooded Top CP1010.
However, the ATR really shined when running outside on a blustery November evening. Womens Sandals Aerosoles Magic Plush Peach,Creative Recreation Wilmington Lounge Hooded Top CP1013Womens Shoes Aerosoles Solsa Dance Bone,, partially down the Eastbank Esplanade and back on a damp day. It wasn't raining, but it had rained plenty earlier, and the path was slick and covered with fallen leaves.
And I just completely disappeared into my run Womens Boots ALDO Gella Cognac,Ellesse Minoria Full Zip Hooded Top CP1054Womens Sandals ALDO Tiphanie Bluette,. Maybe it was because the Old Town sign was extra-glittery that evening, but, Womens Shoes ALDO Kohlmann Nude,Criminal Damage Harlem Overhead Hooded Top CP1029Womens Boots Anne Klein Kadey Medium Green Suede, as one wants when on a fairly intense run, I barely noticed the shoes on my feet as I jogged along the Willamette.Womens Shoes Anne Klein AK7Seana Black Synthetic,Ellesse Teminillo Boucle Hooded Top CP1052Womens Shoes Anne Klein Kallima Brown Leather, I had no issues with tightness, and the traction was excellent along wet concrete and the ostensibly slick floating metal bridge of the Esplanade. The only thing I really noticed was a slight bounce between my foot and the sole as I ran.
Now, is all of this worth the $220 price tag? If your running shoe or fashion sneaker budget is high, then Womens Shoes Anne Klein Dane Black White/Black Synthetic,Kings Will Dream Crept Poly Hooded Top CP1095Womens Shoes Badgley Mischka Kassidy II Light Gold Metallic Fabric, nabs you a stylish, high-performing variant on a cool sneaker that'll help you push through Portland's blusteriest winter days. Yet, if you aren't committed to winter running, $220 is a high price to pay for a sneaker that mostly just looks cool. Womens Sandals C Label Mollini-22 Black Multi,Jack & Jones Rider Raised Print Hooded Top CP1090Womens Shoes C Label Milan-20 Silver, As someone who gets my cardio in elsewhere, I wouldn't personally spend the $220 on a performance shoe which I am not using for its intended purpose.
Then again, I will be taking my next few runs to the streets in my ATRs as long as it isn't raining sideways.
Womens Boots Calvin Klein Ettore Black Cow Silk,Nike SB Icon Full Zip Hooded Top CP1123Womens Sandals Calvin Klein Nasi Sand Gold/Parch White Nappa,
(Cool Stuff is a new feature at Willamette Week where we feature product reviews, roundups, sales and other commerce and shopping-oriented content. All Cool Stuff reviews are editorially independent, meaning we provide honest reviews and aren't paid by the brands we write about. If you do choose to purchase something after following one of our links, Willamette Week may receive a commission, which helps fund our journalism.)