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 - Jordan Flight 45 Trek Preschool Cool Grey / Blue Glow-Dark Grey Shoes 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 Men's - Air Jordan L'Style II Neutral Grey / Neutral Grey-White Shoes, 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 Men's - Air Jordan IV 4 Retro Preschool Black / Vivid Pink-Dynamic Blue-White Shoes,Men's - Jordan Flight 45 Preschool White / Varsity Red-Cement Grey ShoesMen's - Air Jordan Hoops Low Black/Metallic Silver-White-Grey Shoes, 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.
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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 - Jordan Flight 23 RST Preschool White / Military Blue-Neutral Grey Shoes 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 Men's - Air Jordan Classic '91 Black / White Shoes,Men's - Jordan 6 Rings Preschool Wolf Grey / Cool Grey-Black-Dark Powder Blue ShoesMen's - Air Jordan Big Fund Black / Black Shoes,.
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 Men's - Air Jordan 9.5 Team White/Team Red-Midnight Navy Shoes,Men's - Jordan 1 Retro High Premier Toddler Black / Vivid Pink-Dynamic Blue ShoesMen's - Air Jordan 2Clean Dark Cinder/Net-Black Shoes, 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 - Jordan 1 Mid Flex Preschool White / White-Cool Grey Shoes. But on two particularly grueling days, the first, an hours-long punk show on wood and concrete floors, and the second, Men's - Air Jordan 1 Trek Black / Anthracite Shoes,Men's - Gourmet Uno Leather White / White ShoesMen's - Air Jordan 1 Pearl White / Hay-Walnut Shoes,, 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 - Gourmet The 28 Tan / Papyrus Shoes.
However, the ATR really shined when running outside on a blustery November evening. Men's - Adidas ZX 750 Run Wht / Marine / Ravyel Shoes,Men's - Gourmet Quattro Skate Red / White ShoesMen's - Adidas TS Pro Model Player Black / Runwhi/ Unired Shoes,, 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 Men's - Adidas Superstar II Run White / Run White / Colroy Shoes,Men's - Gourmet Nove Black / White ShoesMen's - Adidas StreetSkate II Preschool Black / Gum Shoes,. Maybe it was because the Old Town sign was extra-glittery that evening, but, Men's - Adidas Samoa Silver / Run White-Cool Navy Shoes,Men's - Girls Air Jordan Flight 45 Preschool Metallic Silver / Metallic Gold-White-Black ShoesMen's - Adidas Rise Mid Red / Navy / Tan Shoes, as one wants when on a fairly intense run, I barely noticed the shoes on my feet as I jogged along the Willamette.Men's - Adidas Orion 2 Black / Red-Run White Shoes,Men's - Generic Surplus Wharf Suede Dark Grey ShoesMen's - Adidas Jeremy Scott Wings Op Art Run White / Metal Gold-Black Shoes, 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 Men's - Adidas Gazelle Vintage Mid David Beckham Solid Green / Running White / SandStorm Shoes,Men's - Generic Surplus Dom Wool Charcoal Grey ShoesMen's - Adidas Fortitude 2 Black / Metallic Silver Shoes, 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. Men's - Adidas Concord Mid Red / Run White Shoes,Men's - DC Life Collection Studio Bounce Suede Velvet Purple ShoesMen's - Adidas Campus 80s Mita Black / Metallic Silver Shoes, 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.
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