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 KD 8 EP Basketball Shoes Multi-Color/Silver/Orange 749375-711, 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 Low-cost direct - NIKE AIR FOOTSCAPE WOVEN NM: LINEN SAIL Size 9, 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 Low-cost direct - Nike Zoom What The Kobe VIII 8 System Premium 635438-800 9.0 FTB MC,Men's Nike Kobe IX Elite Low Basketball Shoes Hyper Purple/Silver 698595,Weekend Discount - Men's Nike Air Max Trainers Size 9, 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 Nike Kobe IX EM Low Basketball Shoes Red/Black 653972-606, 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 Reebok Mens Crossfit Speed Tr Shoes Peach/Triathalon Red/Black G57489,Men's Nike Kobe IX EM Basketball Shoes Game Royal/Metallic Silver/Blue Hero 652908-404,Reebok Mens Workout Lo Clean Pn Shoes White G57556,.
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 Reebok Mens Lx 8500 Lux Shoes Navy/Chalk/Walnut G57634,Men's Nike Kobe VIII "Year of the Snake - Port Wine" Basketball Shoes Port Wine/Pure Platinum/Team Red/Bright Citrus 555286-660,Adidas ZX Flux Floral Print Sports Shoes Mens Black/Floral G56230, 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 Kobe VIII Basketball Shoes Black/Gold 588590-302,. But on two particularly grueling days, the first, an hours-long punk show on wood and concrete floors, and the second, New Balance 574 Mens Chili Pepper/Grey Trainers G56381,Men's Nike Kobe VIII Basketball Shoes Grey/Purple/Yellow 555035-058,Mens Nike Air Force 1 Low Grand Purple/Grand Purple Sports Shoes G56519,, 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 Kobe VIII Elite Basketball Shoes Bright Orange/Electric Green 586156-030,.
However, the ATR really shined when running outside on a blustery November evening. Mens Nike Free 3.0 Flyknit Trainers Lake Green G56607,Men's Nike Kobe VIII Basketball Shoes Yellow/Black/Silver,Nike Air Max 2014 Trainers Mens Purple/Blue/White G56723,, 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 2016 Mens Dark Grey/Sail/University Red/Cool Grey Sneakers G56761,Men's Nike Kobe XI Elite Basketball Shoes Multi-Color 822675-109,Nike Free 5.0 2015 Pure Platinum/Hot Lava/Black Mens Trainers G56846,. Maybe it was because the Old Town sign was extra-glittery that evening, but, Trainers Nike Roshe One Jacquard Gym Red/Gym Red/Team Red/Black Mens G57121,Men's Nike Kobe XI Elite Basketball Shoes Black/White/Court Purple 822675-105,Adidas Originals Superstar Camo 15 Trainer, as one wants when on a fairly intense run, I barely noticed the shoes on my feet as I jogged along the Willamette.Creative Recreation Kaplan Suede Trainer,Men's Nike Kyrie 1 Basketball Shoes Team Red/Royal Blue/Electric Green 705277-416,New Balance M574 Trainer, 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 Air Max BW Premium Trainer,Men's Nike Kyrie 1 "Uncle Drew" Basketball Shoes White/Navy/Gum,Flossy Palmira Espadrille, 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. Supra Hammer Run Trainer,Men's Nike Kyrie 2 "Duke QS" Basketball Shoes Black/Game Royal/Reflect Silver 838639-001,Puma Popcat Slide Sandal, 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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