Wednesday, February 27, 2013

First Look, Run, and Race in the Adidas Energy Boost Running Shoe: More than the "Magic" Boost Material

I received my pair of the new Adidas Energy Boost at end of February :  $150,  9.3 oz, 11mm heel to toe drop. Stack height 17mm forefoot 26 mm heel according to Running Warehouse.

Update 2/28/2013: I took the Boost out for a first run today. The upper is snug and feels great. No hot spots especially around my big toe which isn't liking anything but a wide shoe these days. The Boost is narrower in the forefoot than what I have been running in but no issues. It is fairly stiff in forefoot flex.

The "magic" Boost material is very cushiony especially at heel and at slow speeds, almost Hoka soft, but no sensation of sinking away into a pillow. Not much noticeable energy rebound just a very comfortable ride. A great shoe for long slow runs.

At speed they feel completely different. I can't say I feel a distinct rebound in the forefoot but I do sense that I may be turning over a bit faster. The feeling is firm but no harsh. See below my commentary about the Torsion System. Not nearly enough data but I ran a 1. 4 mile Strava segment 8 seconds faster than earlier this week with about the same perceived effort. Wish the heel was a bit lower.

Took a chance as I had only run in them once before and ran the Boosts in my first race of 2013, the Black Cat 20 miler in Salem, MA. Sensational. Ran the pre Boston tune up pace I wanted to and walked away from the race tired but not sore. Easy on the legs and responsive, a rare combination. Very good on downhills. Even towards the end when I was tired the shoes never felt sloppy. No blisters or issues with my troublesome big toe so the upper, while snug, does stretch just enough.
Update 3/30/13:
180 miles in the Boost. Except for a couple runs in the very fine Pearl Izumi N1 Trail all of my running in March has been in the Boost. Great day in day out leg freshness no matter what I throw at them. Almost no wear at all on the outsole. Snug upper should be thought of as a tight fitting sock and not as a shoe upper as that what it really is. No blisters, no problems with my troublesome big toe which anything other than a wide Altra Torin seemed to cause pain with in February and January. A bit firmer than when they were new and this is a good thing. I will be wearing them at Boston!
Update: While my Boston time was slow my feet and legs were happy in the Boost. For the first time in a marathon no blisters whatsoever.
Update 7/1/2013: Now have close to 300 miles on the Boost. Midsole has not collapsed. Upper almost like new and over time has stretched to my foot. The outsole is showing most wear in the toe off area.

Shoe Details:
Runners have been buzzing about the claimed energy return properties of the Boost midsole, a steamed under pressure molding and expanding of thousands of bits of TPU into a matrix of irregular shaped shapes. All other midsoles are made of EVA, either blown or molded, so Adidas use of TPU is different and the claim is that they provide superior energy return to EVA. Runner's World did some mechanical testing of the material which confirmed it had the best energy return of the 800 shoes they have tested.  TPU is also not as sensitive to temperature differences, the brick midsole when its cold. I did my usual finger test of midsole firmness and find the material to be very soft indeed,  softer in my test than even the very soft Hokas. Interestingly they feel more elastic; namely when pressed the material wants to pop back out. Indication of the energy return? We'll see..

Seeing how soft they were I thought they might feel mushy and "Hoka like", pillowy or unstable walking around the house. They do not. The other parts of the midsole and outer sole might explain.

Adidas Energy Boost Construction
 Under the sock liner is a fairly dense woven, maybe impregnated fabric. There is a round cutout at the heel to the foam, maybe to seat the heel? In front towards the forefoot there is a slight indentation into which it looks like the fabric layer is glued, again to seat the foot. I think this fabric "plate" may distribute foot impact over the surface of the midsole. The gray oval and tab is for a MiCoach foot pod.
Adidas Boost Outsole 

 There is a stiff yet thin plastic yellow Torsion System plate which runs on the medial side from near the heel and wrapping up the midsole all the way to near the toes, under the black outersole.  On the lateral side it runs from the the midfoot at the rear of the central plate to the toes. This plate likely provides the shoe the structure to support the foam without it feeling unstable or sloppy. Pressing my fingers into the outsole, anything not white above shows it is plenty firm. The combination of the outsole and Torsion System likely will make the rebound firm and directed, not like the mushy feel on toe off I find in shoes like the Kinvara. Runs will tell if this is the case.

Adidas Energy Boost 
 Towards the lateral side, where the heel lands there is no plastic plate but there is an "outrigger" of outsole similar to what Altra does. Assume this decouples the heel. A bit curious how the heel will feel given the soft midsole.

The upper feels outstanding. No seams at the toe which is a bit low and narrow in volume compared to what I have been running in lately, Altra Torins with their wide toe boxes. This said the Techfit material, which is not a mesh but more like a softshell material stretches just enough to make them super comfortable with the foot well held. They fit me true to size, may be a 1/4 size small.

Disclosure: I purchased the Energy Boost.


Anders Dahl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anders Dahl said...

Ready to try this shoe, but I think I need 13 1/2. Adidas should make it in more sizes.

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ntyhurst said...

After how many miles do you intend to retire them? I have a pair with about 420 miles right now and I was planning to put them to rest at 500 but I'm hearing conflicting opinions about the boost material. some people say they need to be retired sooner some say they can withstand many more than 500 miles. you have an opinion?

sam winebaum said...

I got about 300 miles on my first pair and midsole was still snappy and there was no easily seen collapse of the midsole material. Not as snappy for sure as the new pair. My sense is the boost material will last longer than EVA. I usually retire at around 300-400 miles. I usually retire a shoe when I start to feel un expected or unusual pains in lower legs and feet in a high mileage shoe. Even though shoes may look fine they are done. The main reason I retired my first pair of boost a bit earlyis that the front of the shoe was curling up and starting to push on my toes. While I am very careful about heat they may have caught some sun this summer. I do notice that my new pair has a lighter tech-fit upper. I wonder if the upper on the original pair shrank a bit, thus the curling.

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Jade Graham said...

no problems with my troublesome big toe which anything other than a wide Altra Torin seemed to cause pain with in February and January. crossfit shoes

instarect said...

The 'Boost' name is recycled from a little known 2009 Adidas shoe. ... Running in the Energy Boost 2 is a revelation of sorts. ... In a first for any midsole foam, we observed zero compression line instarect

paltroxt said...

received my pair of the new Adidas Energy Boost at end of February : $150, 9.3 oz, 11mm heel to toe drop.

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