Sunday, October 23, 2016

adidas adizero Boston 6 Review: Truer to its Name. Versatile,Cushioned, Comfortable. Smooth as Silk.


The adidas adizero Boston 6 is a 8.8 oz/249 g Men's 9, 7.5 oz/ 213 g Women's 8  26mm heel/16mm stack $120 performance trainer.

It is relatively light, well cushioned, suited to both fast and slow speeds,responsive and energetic. It is especially comfortable, from road feel to upper, without compromising performance.
The Boston 6 contains 3 key adidas technologies
  • Boost midsole made of TPU pellets compressed with heat into a bouncy, energy returning, long lasting, less temperature sensitive midsole
  • between outsole and midsole adidas hard plastic Torsion System to stabilize the foot... and the Boost midsole for smooth and dynamic landings and transitions
  • a relatively soft but incredible durable Continental rubber outsole for great traction and a comfortable road feel
What's New?
Runners of the predecessor Boston 5 will likely at first blush say, so what's new? I certainly did having run the Boston 5 and found it not as race pleasing as the adios Boost racer or as useful as the Energy Boost. Well small changes make a huge positive difference here.
Photo Running Warehouse: Women's Boston 6
Compared to Boston 5
Gone is the stretchy, fairly stiff upper of the 5 with its many sewn front of the shoe overlays. The 6 has an incredibly comfortable knit mesh upper at the front of the shoe, one of the best if not the best pure road shoe upper I have run in this year.
The Continental rubber outsole appears slightly softer and slightly thicker with larger lugs and more space between them. This translates into considerably more flexibility while retaining a nice toe spring and a quieter more cushioned ride.
Finally, likely due to a combination of the two above, the 6 is lighter by about 0.5 oz
It is a far smoother running, quieter, and more comfortable shoe.

Upper and Fit
While Running Warehouse sent me a half size up, fine with thicker socks, I could have easily gone true to size. The last appears to be the same as in the Boston 5 so this is not a "wide" shoe per say. The mesh is now stretchier and lighter to better accommodate different foot shapes.
Front volume is very adequate, the old stitched on suede toe bumper and last lace overlays are replaced by a denser mesh weave in those areas making them feel less pointy up front and less constraining over the metatarsals.  The last lace hole overlay now of the same soft mesh as the upper but denser there is wider than in the 5 for more metarsal  area width. The same widening was done in the adios Boost 3.
While the 5's over the toe area was low, and noticeable, this is no longer the case as the knit toe bumper area raises the height of that area. The front of the shoe comfort and foot hold is superb with no pressure points. Gone too is the scratchy feel of the rougher less dense old mesh.

The mid foot retains a saddle with now wider, thinner stitched on adidas 3 Bands which combines with the rear of the foot upper's single layer very small holed dense mesh. The mid foot is consistently held with no hot or tight areas. This is one very breathable, well draining upper.

The heel counter area has been reworked with no raised achilles notch. The heel area is decently held and noticeably more comfortable. The heel collar padding is about the same.  While more comfortable I missed the race secure heel hold of the 5 a bit. The tongue instead of being a re use of the mesh tongue materials has a more fabric like material and has thinner padding at the  lace up area. Not an issue.

The lighter salmon colored heel counter material is somewhat reflective for safety.


Midsole and Outsole


There are no visible changes to the midsole compared to the Boston Boost 5.  Same Boost layer with above a conventional Strobel board and  a collar of EVA to stabilize the foot over the soft Boost. The collar extends down to become side walls at the second to last lace hole on the medial side and at last lace hole on the lateral side to become full stabilizing sidewalls. Toe spring occurs just behind this stiffer material, exactly in the right spot for me.

The outsole is really a combination of the gray Torsion System and Continental outsole material. I call this the propulsion engine. On the medial side it extends towards the heel for a touch of stability. Beyond the mid foot, where the Torsion is exposed, the outer fingers extend bit further forward on the medial side under the outsole than on the lateral side, again for a touch of stability, here at transition to toe off. The center two gray Torsion wings extend under the very first lugs.

The outsole is that famous Continental rubber, soft feeling with great grip and durability. It passed my wet smooth wooden board walk test on my daily route. Some shoes don't. With larger deeper lugs and rubber, more spacing between them, and a bit softer rubber the forefoot feel under foot is sublime and noticeably more flexible than the Boston 5, yet is still responsive and snappy due to the toe spring created by the Torsion System.
Photo: Running Warehouse Men's Boston 6


Ride and Recommendations
The Boston 6 as the title says is cushioned and very smooth running. It has good mid foot stability and moderate spring effect from the Torsion System. I ran a half in them today and was pleased with the comfort and responsiveness. This said will it will be more of a marathon shoe than a half shoe for me. I will stick with the snappier and lighter adios Boost 3 and Salming Distance D4 for halves.

The title says "Truer to its Name" and shoe name name is after all... Boston. The Boston 6 is ideally suited to Boston's hills, and with its improved cushion and upper comfort for the later miles. It is a great marathon shoe for those of us in the 3:10 to 3:50 range. I ran the Boston 5,  at the Boston Marathon a few years ago. Boston 5 was considerably stiffer, its upper not very comfortable, the outsole firmer and slappy and I think putting all of this together less stable at the heel when I got tired and had a slower transition. I have also run Boston in the Energy Boost, in version 3 now an 11.5 oz monster, and the more relaxed Lunar Tempo.  My next Boston will be in the Boston but first I have to re qualify!

The title also says "Versatile'.  There is no question the Boston 6 is also a fabulous daily trainer: light enough, cushioned, and with a durable outsole. It runs well at slow and faster tempo paces.

My only qualms with the Boston 6 is that the heel and mid foot hold could be a bit better and while TPU Boost is heavier than conventional EVA midsoles I would love to see the weight come down. Maybe a more modern rear of the upper and saddle design and a bit less heel counter material?
Highly Recommended.

Careful readers of Road Trail Run will note my score of 4.9 out of 5, my highest score of 2016.

Sam's Score 4.9 out of 5
-0.05 for rear and mid foot upper support
-0.05 for weight. Come on adidas go to town on the upper and heel counter.

Comparisons
Adios Boost 3 (review here)
The Adios Boost is lighter, 4mm thinner in the forefoot and shares many of the upper characteristics of the older Boston 5. It is a racing machine and my choice for a half but not a marathon or training as the versatile Boston 6 is. Utility for mere mortals, versatility and overall comfort give the Boston 6 the nod.
Salming Distance D4 (review here)
More than an ounce lighter with a similar mid foot stability system, the D4 has equivalent forefoot cushion but as a 5mm drop shoe less heel cushion. It is a firmer somewhat more responsive shoe than the Boston. It is less versatile but a better choice for me for up to a half marathon
Nike Lunar Tempo 1 (review here)
Lighter by than more than an ounce, the Lunar Tempo has a very comfortable upper and via FlyWire slightly better mid foot hold and for my taste overly relaxed fore foot hold. It is more flexible and has equivalent soft cushion. For my sloppy running form it is a bit harder to tame. I prefer the directed ride of the Boston.
Saucony Freedom ISO (review here)
Just a touch heavier, the Freedom also has a TPU based midsole but has a completely different ride. Low slung, natural feeling with no heel counter, a soft upper, and single piece softer outsole it is fun to run in but softer, harder to tame. I love to train in them but to date have hesitated to race in them.
Brooks Launch 3 (review here)
With very similar stack stats but heavier,more ponderous to run, with a so so but improved upper, the Launch 3 is more trainer than racer for me and thus less versatile than the Boston.

The Boston 6 was provided to Road Trail Run by Running Warehouse and adidas at no charge. The opinions herein are entirely our own

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9 comments:

Michael Koscuiszka said...

About how many miles you get out of Boston generally?

Mark Dent said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pouto said...

Hello Sam,
Thanks for the review.
I've been quite disappointed with Boston Boost 5, manly due to the very snug fit in the forefoot.
How would you compate those two, fit-wise? Is the BB6 forefoot fit a bit more relaxed, as is the forefoot fit of the Adios 3 vs Adios 2?

Would you mind making a quick comparison between the BB6 and the Kinvara 7, or the probably vey different Torin 2.5?

Jeff Valliere said...

Sounds like a great shoe, looks amazing too!

sam winebaum said...

Jeff, it is amazing looking but got to keep them clean! I had an "amazing shoe" comment from a teenage girl at the last road crossing on the rail trail in the half yesterday.

sam winebaum said...

Hi Pouto,
Boston 6 is definitely more relaxed. Yes a lot like the difference between adios Boost 1 and 3 but here I think the execution given the mesh is better in the Boston 5 as the fit is more consistent and less pointy as the AB3 retains that stitched on bumper and the old style mesh. As I wrote in the review I think the overall shape/last of the upper is the same so it is not a wider shoe per say but.. with the new stretchier lighter mesh, eliminating the stitched on suede low toe bumper and widening and replacing the old lace lace hole overlay, the shoe is definitely more accommodating to a wider variety of feet. That suede also tended to stiffen a bit with age. As far as Kinvara 7 it has a far snugger race fit mid foot and really overall. K7 is stiffer for sure with less rubber underfoot. I thought of comparing to Torin 2.5 as while heavier it is one of my favorites of 2016. Of course it is zero drop vs. 10mm drop for the Boston. While foot shaped and wide the Torin has a lower feeling front toe bumper especially when new. It's upper is probably the best and most versatile overall of 2016 for me, equally adept on roads and rough trails. Superb foot hold all over which makes the low toe bumper a non issue as you don't slip forward. If your trails aren't slick it is also a superb trail shoe. It is better cushioned in the forefoot than the Boston given 10mm more there and decently agile but not the speedster the Boston is. I was super happy running a fast downhill half in the Torin 2.5 this year. Thanks for reading Road Trail Run! Please tell your run friends about us. You can also follow on Facebook and Twitter.

Pouto said...

Thanks for your insights Sam!
I'm looking for a "do it all" road trainer, a role that has mainly been played by previous Kinvaras (3, 4, 5). I own a pair of Zante (v1), which I find comfortable, quite nimble, but something bothers me with it (can't point out exactly what...).
I love my Altra impulse, but I also like to try new shoes :)
Cushionning of the kinvaras (at least until v5, did not try the latest) is ok for me, I've run a marathon in them with no harm nor sore feet.

So my understanding is that the Boston6 have a more snug fit (race-dialed), and comparable cushionning? Even in forefoot? (I'm a mid-forefoot striker).

Would you compare the BB6 to the Hoka tracer? Does the tracer fit as an everyday trainer (considering that my longest outings are made on the trails, using trail shoes). I run quite a bit (4-5 times a week, 70-100kms per week...), weighing below 70kgs.

If I just refer to the amount of cushionning, the tracer seems to have more cushion upfrnt that the BB6 and K7...but is it very firm, or more smooth like the boston?

sam winebaum said...

Hi Pouto,
I would not call the Boston 6 a race fit. The forefoot is form fitting but as it is knit not overly snug so somewhere between a trainer and racer. It is for example somewhat more accommodating to my foot than the Altra Impulse, my 2015 shoe of the year by the way but less roomy than say those older Kinvaras. The K6 being overall a race fit for me, particularly the mid foot but OK for training too. You will find more cushion in the heel than Impulse and softer but comparable cushion in the forefoot.
The Tracer is a completely different beast. At least my pair was very firm reminding of NB Revlite. Not a trainer for me and at the limit as a 10K shoe. The Clayton is a closer match to what you are looking for. Lighter than the Boston, more cushioned, fairly stiff. But its outsole rubber is less extensive.
I just got a pair of the upcoming Brooks Launch 4 and it might also be a good choice. Considerably smoother than the lumpy L3, softer forefoot, much more flexiblle but torsionaly very rigid some stablity elements via the outsole at mid foot as in the Boston 6 and Salming D4. Well cushioned and about 9 oz it is more trainer feel and a good one
Hope this is helpful

Anonymous said...

i am not trying to be argumentative, but you should not be comparing toe boxes of the BB5 and the BB6 without having the same size ("Running Warehouse sent me a half size up"). The new toe box on the BB6 is visibly, noticeably shorter. Numerous commentators/ reviewers have said so online. I ran a number of the Boston 5s and had to up size 1/2 in Boston 6. I am curious how many returns the excellent Running Warehouse has had because of this.
I agree the new upper is smoother, but I find it hotter, less stable in relation to the sole, the tongue needs padding and the heel collar is not an improvement. I prefer the Boston 5 and I probably will not buy any of the Boston 6.