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 French Connection Century Formal Lace Shoes Tan - Men's 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 Asics Platinum Gel Kayano Trainers Grey N49h5333, 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 Polo Ralph Lauren Hanford Canvas Trainers Navy/Red P43c8147,French Connection Costa Flip Flops White/Black - Men's ShoesNike Air Flight Huarache Trainers Black/Blue Q76t5831, 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.
Y-3 Boxing Trainer Black / White T62n2064,,Firetrap Charlie Canvas Pumps White/Navy - Men's ShoesNike Air Force 1 High Mens Red Black J15z9488,,Nike Air Jordan 4 Mens Retro White Gray Blue Shoes T69c9448,Mad Wax Flip Flops Black - Men's ShoesNike Air Jordan 3 Mens Dark Powder Blue Black Wolf Grey White Shoes X1c6898,.
The original Ultra Boost is an extremely popular fashion sneaker, and new colorways are regularly sold out online and in store (check Portland's Mad Wax Canvas Pumps White - Men's 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 Nike Air Jordan 4 Mens Superman Blue Red Shoes M14q8232,Adidas Duramo 7 Neutral Running Shoes Black/Iron Metallic/White - Men's ShoesNike Air Jordan 12 Mens Anti Fur Black White Shoes M55d1077,.
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 Nike Air Max 90 Mens Black Darkcyan E48b8958,Crocs Crocband Flip Flops Neon Purple/White - Men's ShoesNike Air Max 1 Ultra Moire Mens Black White M36n8203, 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 Asics Gel Phoenix 8 Stability Running Shoes Blue/Yellow/Indigo Blue - Men's Shoes. But on two particularly grueling days, the first, an hours-long punk show on wood and concrete floors, and the second, Nike Air Max 90 Mens LightBlue White Black V57g3142,Adidas Pure Boost Zg Zero Gravity Primeknit Neutral Running Shoes Crystal White/Red - Men's ShoesNike Air Max 90 Mens White Green Red T39p2761,, 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 Onfire Leather Toe Post Sandals Brown - Men's Shoes.
However, the ATR really shined when running outside on a blustery November evening. Nike Air Max 90 Hyperfuse Prm Mens Grey Orange G13r1345,Asics Tiger Gel Lyte Runner Running Shoes Black - Men's ShoesNike Air Max 90 PREM TAPE Mens New Black Coffee U80s4724,, 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 Air Max 90 EM Mens Black Grey B21r9280,New Balance M670 V5 Stability Running Shoes Black - Men's ShoesNike Blazer High Vintage Varsity Mens Red White Shoes G94h7701,. Maybe it was because the Old Town sign was extra-glittery that evening, but, Nike Classic Cortez Nylon Mens Blue White Orange Q97h1779,Under Armour Micro G Optimum Neutral Running Shoes Lead/Yellow/Metallic - Men's ShoesNike Dunk High Top Mens Red Blue White J65z2308, as one wants when on a fairly intense run, I barely noticed the shoes on my feet as I jogged along the Willamette.Nike Dunk High Top Mens White Red Gold K31j1074,Firetrap Murphy Canvas Shoes Blue Chambray - Men's ShoesNike Dunk High Top Mens All Blue Y89r7679, 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 Nike Free 3.0 V4 Mens Black Gym Red Wolf Grey Shoes T58u6135,Asics Gel Qualifier 2 Tennis Shoes White/Black/Silver - Men's ShoesNike Free 3.0 V4 Mens Dark Grey Electric Green Wolf Grey Shoes R96h7334, 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. Nike Free 3.0 V7 Mens Vivid Orange Bright Black Shoes K44c4011,Flossy Arnedo Espadrilles Pastel Blue - Men's ShoesNike Roshe Run Mesh Mens Black Fluorescent Orange Shoes I93j2955, 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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