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 Men's Nike Mercurial Finale TF Urban Lilac/Bright Mango/Black UK#N5-9487 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 Original Penguin Flava Suede Shoe CP3931, 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 adidas Originals ZX Flux Weave Trainer CP4034,Men's Nike Zoom Hyperrev 2016 Wolf Grey/White/Cool Grey UK#N5-8874adidas Originals Copa Skate Woven Trainer CP4078, 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.
adidas Originals ZX Flux Camo Trainer CP4122,,Men's Nike Free Trainer 3.0 V4 Black/University Red/Volt/Team Red UK#N5-9234Asics Gel-Lyte III NS Trainer CP4216,,Cortica Epic Runner Trainer CP4309,Nike Air Zoom Structure 19 Womens Black/Dark Grey/Cool Grey/White Running Shoes V17328Creative Recreation Forlano Diamonds Trainer CP4344,.
The original Ultra Boost is an extremely popular fashion sneaker, and new colorways are regularly sold out online and in store (check Portland's Men's Nike Zoom Hyperquickness 2015 Tumbled Grey/Deep Pewter/Night Silver/Metallic Silver UK#N5-9262 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 Fred Perry Hallam Chambray Trainer CP4457,Men's Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 32 Ghost Green/Copa/Blue Lagoon/Black UK#N5-9208Hugo Boss Victual Trainer CP4493,.
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 New Balance M530 Trainer CP4568,Nike Kids Protegga Shield Shin Guard Hyper Pink/Black/Hyper Pink UK#N5-9526Nike Stefan Janoski Suede Trainer CP4652, 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 Men's Nike SB Portmore Canvas Black/White UK#N5-9415. But on two particularly grueling days, the first, an hours-long punk show on wood and concrete floors, and the second, Nike Paul Rodriguez 9 Elite Trainer CP4728,Men's Nike SB Free SB Nano Deep Royal Blue/White/Gum Light Brown/Metallic Silver UK#N5-9536Nike Nike Air Force 1 Elite Knit Jacquard VT Trainer CP4776,, 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 Men's Nike SB Check Premium Black/Wolf Grey/Light Crimson/Black UK#N5-9567.
However, the ATR really shined when running outside on a blustery November evening. Puma R698 Core Leather Trainer CP4901,Nike Kids Roshe One Print Copa/White/Blue Lagoon UK#N5-9546Reebok Workout Plus Lo Trainer CP4998,, 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 Vans 106 Vulcanised Trainer CP5063,Nike Kids Jr Mercurial Victory Indoor Soccer Black/Hyper Punch/Black UK#N5-8731Dr. Martens Womens 1460 8-Eye Boot CP5139,. Maybe it was because the Old Town sign was extra-glittery that evening, but, adidas Originals Womens Adilette Trefoil Sandal CP5206,Nike Kids Jr Mercurial Vortex II FG Soccer Wolf Grey/Black/Hyper Pink UK#N5-9465Womens Sandals adidas Voloomix Sleek LG Black/Zero Metallic, 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 adidas Gymbreaker Bounce Black/Night Metallic/MGH Solid Grey,Nike Kids Jr Tiempo Genio Leather Firm Ground Soccer Green Strike/Black/Green Strike UK#N5-9158Womens Shoes adidas Running Galaxy Elite Semi Solar Pink/White/Lucky Pink, 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 Boots Aerosoles Ride with Me Dark Brown Combo,Nike Kids Free 5.0 Lava Black/Total Crimson/Metallic Silver UK#N5-9600Womens Sandals Aerosoles A2 by Aerosoles Photo Plush Silver, 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 Aerosoles Savant Mink Combo,Women's Nike Orive Lite Black/Cool Grey/White/Black UK#N5-9615Womens Shoes Aerosoles Sure Bet Pink, 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 ALDO Phily Black,Women's Nike Free 5.0 Tr Fit 5 Breathe Wolf Grey/Volt/White/Cyber UK#N5-9341Womens Shoes ALDO Unalevia Cognac,
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