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 Adidas D Rose Lakeshore Mens Solar Blue/Black Basketball Shoes V75441 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 Junior Air Max 90 Mesh Trainer CP657, 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 Junior Flight Huarache Trainer CP672,Adidas D Rose Lakeshore Mens Light Scarlet/Black/White Basketball Shoes V61985Flossy Nursery Plimsole CP766, 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.
Levi's 510 Skinny Jean CP893,,Adidas J Wall Mens Lucky Blue/Silver Met/Scarlet Basketball Shoes V62549Alphalab Stealth Velour Full Zip Hooded Top CP959,,Ellesse Minoria Full Zip Hooded Top CP1053,Women's Training Shoe Nike Lunar Sculpt 818062-801Nicce Diamond Hooded Top CP1106,.
The original Ultra Boost is an extremely popular fashion sneaker, and new colorways are regularly sold out online and in store (check Portland's Adidas D Rose Lakeshore Mid Boost Mens Brown/Collegiate Royal Basketball Shoes V43144 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 Panuu Delaware Hooded Top CP1141,Adidas Isolation 2 Mid Mens Black/Silver/White Basketball Shoes V27228Antony Morato Hooded Light Jacket CP1217,.
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 Brave Soul Sanjay Light Bomber Jacket CP1281,Adidas J Wall Mens Light Onix/Black/White Basketball Shoes V61387Foray Control Softshell Hooded Jacket CP1377, 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 Adidas Element Refine Mens University Red/Light Maroon/Solar Blue Running Shoes V82521. But on two particularly grueling days, the first, an hours-long punk show on wood and concrete floors, and the second, Nike MPT Tech Hyperfuse Windrunner Jacket CP1473,Adidas Cosmic Boost Mens Solar Orange/Bright Cyan/Bold Orange Running Shoes V77306VMU London Polka Dot Bomber Jacket CP1548,, 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 Adidas Adizero Adios Boost 2 Mens Black/White/Solar Red Running Shoes V36507.
However, the ATR really shined when running outside on a blustery November evening. Native Youth Logger Knit Jumper CP1836,Adidas Element Refine Mens Black/Phantom Running Shoes V23913Ellesse Triester Poly Tape Short CP2133,, 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 Nike Tribute Short CP2180,Adidas Pure Boost 2 Mens Black/Dark Grey Running Shoes V16624UCLA Piped Swim Short CP2347,. Maybe it was because the Old Town sign was extra-glittery that evening, but, Kappa Allen Track Top CP3576,Adidas Pureboost 2 Mens Grey/Black/Green/White Running Shoes V56675Flossy Mens Plimsole CP3794, as one wants when on a fairly intense run, I barely noticed the shoes on my feet as I jogged along the Willamette.Ellesse Trevi Big Logo Flip Flop CP3832,Adidas Supernova Boost Glide 7 Mens Black/White/Red Running Shoes V35562adidas Originals Energy Boost 2 ESM Trainer CP3958, 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 adidas Originals ZX 8000 Boost Trainer CP4017,Adidas Adilette Cloudfoam Ultra Mens White/Iron Metallic/Vista Grey Slippers V92143Lacoste Frasier Slide Sandal CP3853, 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. Asics Gel-Lyte III 90's Trainer CP4202,Adidas Vigor Tr 6 Mens Light Grey/White/Solar Orange Running Shoes V61136Converse Fulton Trainer CP4291, 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.
Cruyff Santi Rip Stop Trainer CP4388,Adidas Supernova Sequence 6 Mens Solar Blue/Black/White Running Shoes V75887Hugo Boss Futesio Trainer CP4486,
(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.)