Sunday, April 01, 2018

2018 Boston Marathon® edition adizero Boston 7 LTD Review

Article by Sally Reiley and Dave Ames

2018 Boston Marathon®  edition adizero Boston 7 LTD

Stats
Weight: Men 8.6 oz /244 g  | Women 7.1oz /201 g (Boston 6 was 8.8 oz)
Midsole drop: 10 mm (heel: 29 mm / forefoot: 19 mm)
RRP: $120
Intro Dates:
04/01/2018 Limited release 2018 Boston Marathon Edition including at Running Warehouse here
Retail: 06/18/2018

Editor's Note about our Tester Reviewers.
Sally Reiley will be running her 5th Boston Marathon, all sub 3:38 with a 2017 PR of 3:29: 48, only having started her running career in her 50's. She will be raising money for Massachusetts  Eye and Ear Hospital as part of Team Eye and Ear and has raised well over $130,000 thanks to her Boston Marathon efforts.

Dave Ames is a noted running coach and founder of Ame for it Coaching, formerly from the Boston area, who will have many athletes toeing the line in Hopkinton this year.

Introduction
Dave: The adidas adizero Boston 7 is a neutral trainer with an updated design that takes inspiration from the adizero Adios with added lightweight support, comfort and cushioning for training runs.
The limited edition includes iconic B.A.A. (Boston Athletic Association) blue and yellow colorways with a Boston Marathon® unicorn marking on the heel and the official B.A.A. logo on the tongue. Towns and cities along the course cover the removable sock liner.

Adidas has always been a brand that really has never been on the radar for me.  It’s not that I dislike the brand or have any issues with the shoes (Love the run apparel) - - I just don’t have much experience with the run line, other than absolutely digging the Adios 1 and 2.  I was excited to give the Boston 7 a try.
Aesthetically, the B.A.A. colorway is sick, especially with the Unicorn on the heel.  I’ve always been a huge fan of the Blue and Yellow and think it looks sharp on anything.  Having lived in Boston for over 5 years, before moving to SoCal, as well as kicking my coaching business off in the best running city in the world last year, I know what the marathon and those colors mean to the city and to runners.  Through coaching runners to BQ’s for over 15 years, Boston holds a special place in my heart and I know when shoes like this come out, everyone will want a piece of the pie!
Sally: I have been running marathons for only the past five years, and I have worn adidas for all of them. FYI, I am fairly petite, at 5’2” and 107 pounds dripping wet. I am also 58 years young and the mother of five athletic twenty-somethings much bigger than me. I am married to a Dartmouth classmate who is a saint because he is so NOT a runner and yet he puts up with my crazy runner idiosyncrasies of late.

My first winter of training (2014) I was running in Mizunos, as fitted by Steve Flanagan, a friend of mine and father of Shalane (and quite a runner himself). As instructed, I purchased a new pair of Mizunos for race day 3 - 4 weeks out, and suffered bad blisters on the tops of my foot at the shoe crease. Steve then put me in an Adidas Energy Boost, one of the early shoes to use the new Adidas Boost technology, but more importantly  which fit more like a sock (didn’t hurt my blisters). The rest is history, I have been in Adidas ever since! I ran my first two Bostons in the original Energy Boost, then progressed beyond rookie status and moved on to the Boston Boost 6 for marathons.
Sally at the 2017 Boston Marathon clocking a PR 3:29:48 for 8th in her age group in the Boston 6 
I ran the past two Bostons and the 2017 Chicago in the Boston 6, and the only issue I ever had was losing a big toe nail in Chicago (probably due to poor mechanics resulting from a strained hamstring). My training shoe of choice was always the Energy Boost, until their latest model which I don’t care for at all. I wear the Adios for short races such as 5K and 10K. I LOVE the UltraBoost, and have a pair on right now as I sit at my desk, but I don’t run in them much. They are the most comfortable shoes ever!
The Boston Marathon Boston 7 is SWEEEET to look at. I love everything about the appearance! Iconic Blue and yellow, check. Unicorn, check.
The words Boston and Marathon, check.
The names of every town on the Boston course inside, check.

Even the ends of the laces are emblazoned with “Boston” and “2018!”

I wore them at a 20 mile race  along the New England coast, and the shoes elicited so many (positive) comments! In my mind all the other runners were literally chasing the unicorn (logo on my heels).
Everyone is going to want these shoes for their classic Boston looks! One friend told me she ordered three pairs…

First Impressions and Fit
Dave:  The Boston 7 feels ever so good on my foot!  I slide nicely into my Size 9, with no issues on volume or width.  Note:  Runners with wider feet may struggle a bit in the Boston 7 due to the pointed toe box and shallow forefoot.  The upper molds my foot nicely and higher arched runners will notice the glove like fit immediately.  If you have more of a flat foot, I can see the fit not being perfect.  This is definitely a shoe I would try on before buying!  The lacing is also straight out of the box laced from the outside/in, which Adi likes to do, so runners may want to tweak.  I actually left it this way and had no problems.
Sally: The Boston 7 fits my foot like a glove right out of the box. I have a fairly narrow foot, and the size 8 fits true to size. Having run in the Boston 6 for several years, I can say that the fit and feel is familiar. They feel great, like they were custom made for me.
Upper
Dave:  The Boston 7 now uses different types of mesh in the update for 2018, with Adi using the “lightest” mesh in the forefoot for increased breathability over the Boston 6, then using “light” engineered mesh on the quarter and the heel for a locked in fit and reduced weight.  The tongue and heel were redesigned in the 7 based on insight from ARAMIS motion-capture testing (I’m assuming Adi studied motion of the foot literally inside the shoe)   All in all, it fits like the Adios used to, which I freaking like!  You could easily race a half or full in this shoe with the way the upper wraps your foot, athough it may lack the forefoot pop (see Midsole and Ride)
LEFT Boston 7                         RIGHT Boston 6
Sally: The change in upper (from B6 to B7) to a lighter weight engineered mesh was apparent to me right away.
LEFT Boston 7                                              RIGHT Boston 6
My first run was in 20 degree temps here in Boston, and my feet were COLD until about the 2.5 mile mark of the run. I can imagine the increased breathability will be a bonus in warm weather, but not necessarily for winter training runs in New England. The heel and the tongue have changed slightly.
LEFT Boston 7                         RIGHT Boston 6
The tongue is a bit more padded at top and yet more mesh down low (breathable) and the heel a bit more narrow and sculpted than the B6.
LEFT Boston 7                         RIGHT Boston 6
LEFT Boston 6                        RIGHT Boston 7
One lucky friend who just got her B7 shoes in the mail today says she is disappointed in the lack of the snug “heel cup” of her B6 - she is experimenting with using the top optional lacing holes to hold her foot in better.
TOP  Boston 7                     BOTTOM  Boston 6
I have experimented with different socks, as they seem to run lower around the ankle. Yet the fit is, as I said above, like a comfortable glove.

Midsole
Dave:  Boost technology runs from the heel through the midsole of the Boston 7.  On top of the Boost is a layer of EVA, the Symmetrical Energy Rail which adi says was slightly tweaked from the Boston 6 to increase stability   It transitions far better than I thought it would from heel to toe, but as I move from mid load to forefoot, it lacks the pop I am normally looking for in an everyday trainer.  It’s a powerful midsole, but the power kinda stops once you get ready to toe off.  That becomes an issue for me.  Over time and the more miles I put on the Boston 7, the shoe lost its mojo.  However, for runners who land more on the heel, you may like the soft landing with Boost in the heel.  The shoe feels pretty good at slower speeds but I struggled finding the pop off the forefoot at higher speeds.
BOTTOM  Boston 7                   TOP  Boston 6
Sally: This is the only aspect of the Boston 7 where I hesitate. Does it indeed not have enough “pop” in the forefoot? Or is it just my 58 year old legs? I recently was testing the Nike Epic React, and felt that I was floating and energized running in them, not to mention “light on my feet” and silent. Perhaps the contrast with that shoe makes the Boston 7 feel a bit sluggish? Or perhaps I have heard so much hype about the Nike Zoom VaporFly 4% that I expect a shoe to keep my legs feeling fresh in the later miles?

I did notice that the surface below the sock liner of the B7 is firmer than B6 and overall the shoe, even when well broken may be a bit stiffer. I am not sure if this is a firmer Strobel board which might make them stiffer, or if is the black layer of EVA which is firmer. Could this be what I am feeling in terms of a bit a bit less pop?  adidas says that they have "slightly tweaked the Symmetrical Energy Rail which works a bit better with Boost to increase stability". It is also important to note these special shoes are a a limited run so final production pairs may be different. Overall, noting the muted forefoot pop, they honestly feel like the B6 to me, no magic, but a truly solid marathon shoe for me.

Outsole
Dave:  Using Stretchweb Continental rubber, the outsole is one of the better outsoles in running right now.  We’ve oddly had a good amount of rain here in SoCal as of late, and I put the Boston 7 to test on slippery wet sidewalks and the shoe gripped very well.  The Boston 7 is still kind of razor thin in terms of stack, so the outsole I will offer plenty of durability and is part of the cushioning system.

Sally: I have worn the B7 for 54 miles now, and have run on Boston ice and snow, Aspen, CO gravel and rocky paths, and New Hampshire coastal slick roads. The shoe feels stable and grips really well, and I did not feel the rocks too badly beneath my feet. I never seem to wear down the outsole of a shoe, so durability doesn’t seem an issue.
LEFT: Boston 6                                     RIGHT Boston 7
The outsole is very similar, if not identical to the B6.

Ride
Dave:  The Boston 7 is definitely a smooth shoe.  I will continue to put some miles on it for sure.  It transitions extremely well from heel to midload position, but as stated earlier, it lacks the pop I like off of the forefoot.  To me, Adi could have added some Boost into the forefoot and maybe even increased weight a bit to do it, and I think I’d feel more at home in the shoe.  I’d sacrifice more weight for more Boost.  The B7 reminds me much of the early days of the Adios.  I like that a lot.  But I don’t like the dull forefoot.  Heel strikers (I slightly heel strike and supinate, but run via the Chi method) should feel quite comfortable as it gives a soft landing upon heel, but doesn’t leave you in that stage for quite long.  You’ll enter your gait cycle into the mid load rather quickly.  The Boston 7 felt best for me at slower speeds and mostly recovery paced miles.  It got a tad sloppy on a tempo.

Sally: The ride was smooth and the transitions natural. I like the lightness of this shoe, nothing clunky about it but wish for a bit more forefoot pop.

Conclusions and Recommendations
Dave:  Awesome colorway of historic running importance.  Great overall fit, but I will recommend this shoe for runners with more of a narrow foot. It felt best at slower speeds and will accommodate heel strikers quite well.  It’s not to say the midfoot forefoot runner wouldn’t like the B7, I just think it lacks the snap off the forefoot I like.

I would recommend it for the runner looking for a daily trainer with a racing flat like mold on the foot.  I could see myself racing a full in this shoe if it had more Boost in the forefoot (but then why skip out on the Sub 2?) - - Perfect for runs of any type.

Sally: As Dave says, these shoes are SICK looking and belong in every Boston Marathon runner’s closet just because of their iconic Boston aesthetics. They fit true to size, and fit a narrower foot such as mine to perfection. After running 54 miles in them, I have no concerns with my feet, no hot spots or rubbing.

The Boston 7 is light and yet adequately cushioned for comfortable long run training. They were great on training runs from 6 to 12 miles and in a “race” of 20 miles (run more like a final Boston training run). I am historically a 3:29 - 3:37 marathoner ( perhaps that is considered “slower speeds”), and yes, I plan to run Boston in them!

By the way, my friend and rockstar runner Amanda Nurse (formerly my Lululemon sponsored Marathon Maven “coach” in 2016), a 2:40 marathoner, is training in the Boston 7 and will wear them for Boston this year. She reports she LOVES them! She claims to be a slight over pronator, and this is a great neutral shoe that gives her the little bit of support she needs, that added stability adidas calls out. I can’t wait to see just how fast she can crush the Boston course in these shoes!

Dave’s Score 8.5/10
 -1 for a dull forefoot
 -.5 for narrow fit (may not be suitable for all foot types and widths)

Sally’s Score 9.5/10
- 0.5 for dull forefoot

Comparisons 

Adidas Boston 7 vs. Boston 6 (RTR review)
Dave:  I only have Adios experience here, so hard for me to compare to the Boston 6.  I’ll leave this one to Sally.
Sally: The fit and feel is very similar to my beloved Boston 6. The more miles I run in these, the more I like them. Upper is definitely more breathable in the B7 and the fit around the heel and opening is slightly changed, but hard to notice much difference in fit.

Adidas Boston 7 vs. Salomon Sonic RA (RTR review)
Dave:  I put a ton of miles in the Sonic RA and think it was one of the best shoes of early 2018.  The VIBE midsole was firmer than Boost, but I left each run feeling far fresher in Salomon than I did the Boston 7.  The win goes to the Sonic RA.

Adidas Boston 7 vs. Nike Epic React Flyknit (RTR review)
Sally: The Epic React is a softer, bouncier ride than the Boston 7, but the fit is challenging. I had to buy a second pair up a half size (my first time ever buying a size 8.5 in ANY shoe) after my first long runs on them because my big toe was hitting the end of the shoe and causing pain and eventually a blister (remember that I lost that same toenail after Chicago in October, and it has not grown back fully, so that could be part of the problem). I also experienced  a hot spot on the inside of my foot by the ball of the foot. The React is not cushioned at all around the heel and ankle, so if the fit is not right that could be an issue. I tried them with several socks to try to find a combination that protected the skin at the top of the shoe.

I found the Epic React fun to run in because of the spring it puts in your step! But not sure I would want to run more than 15 miles in them - at that point I got blisters in the size 8, scared to give the newer size 8.5 a trial til after Boston. The Boston 7 is totally comfortable throughout the toe box and around the ankle for me, even with an existing sore big toe.

Adidas Boston 7 vs. Saucony Kinvara 9 (RTR review)
Dave:  K9 for the win.  Saucony just plain did an outstanding job bringing a shoe that was seriously hurting back to life.  Like literally, it was dead on the table.  The K9 is a go to shoe for anything I want and the EVERUN topsole provides the power I am looking for in the forefoot, whereas the Boston 7 just feels “dull” off the forefoot.

Adidas Boston 7 vs. Skechers Performance Ride 7 (RTR review)
Dave:  Other than the B.A.A. colorway which trumps the Ride 7, it’s not even close.  The Ride 7 is the best shoe of 2018 so far!  Smooth, pop off the forefoot and FlightGen midsole in Skechers runs laps around Boost any day for me!

Adidas Boston 7 vs. Skechers Performance Go Meb Razor 2 (RTR review)
Dave:  Kind of in the same wheelhouse here, these two shoes have the ability to go fast!  However, the Boston 7 lacks the pop in the forefoot I like and the Razor is just in a league of its own!  Easy blowout W to the Razor. 

Adidas Boston 7 vs. Brooks Launch 5 (RTR review)
Dave:  These two shoes honestly feel quite similar.  I did not like the very very narrow midfoot platform on the Launch 5 when I tested it (and was critical in my review of it) and the Launch 5 just felt kinda “blah” after repeated runs.  The win goes to the Boston 7.

Adidas Boston 7 vs. Hoka One One Cavu (RTR review)
Dave:  I just don’t really enjoy Hoka other than the new Napali.  The W goes to the Boston 7.

The Boston 7 were provided at no charge. The opinions herein are entirely the author's
Photo Credit: Sally Reiley

Please consider supporting Sally and Team Eye and Ear here as she runs in her 5th Boston Marathon to raise funds for the world renowned eyesight saving research and care at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Hospital 

Chasing the Unicorn and could use some coaching? Contact Dave Ames at Ame for it Coaching here

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5 comments:

Daniel Culbertson said...

Thanks for the review - I was looking forward to it after purchasing some
Boston 6s several months ago. I’ve been impressed with the ride of the 6s and it sounds as though the 7s are mostly more of the same. I don’t have any complaints about the breathability, but I did half-size up due to the narrow toe box of the 6s. I don’t think I saw it mentioned, but do the 7s run small as well (or narrow enough to size up)? Thanks for the thorough review and comparisons.

sam winebaum said...

Hi Daniel, Thanks for reading and asking! Both reviewers were true to size. Sally has a narrow foot and is true to size in Boston 6 and Boston 7. The front mesh appears stretchier, the rear snugger but it seems lower around the ankle collar. Tough call I probably would do what you did as far as sizing with the Boston 6, especially if you plan to marathon race in them.
Sam, Editor

Sally Reiley said...

Hi Daniel, I am wearing the Boston 7 in the same size as my Boston 6. The fit seems very much the same to me! If you needed to size up in the B6 I would do the same in the B7.
Hope you enjoy them.
Sally, reviewer from Boston

fstr said...

I am very glad to hear that Adidas didn't mess with a great shoe too much. Knowing them I was ready to stock up on the 6. From the review I am not clear if the 7 is less responsive in the forefoot than the 6 or similar? I have zero complaints with the 6.
The durability of the 6 is second to none and I can see the 7 will be the same. In my opinion you comparison of shoes missed the mark by not looking at how these shoes would compare after 200+ miles. Case in point: I started running in the Nike elite 9s at the same time as the Boston 6. Out of the box I enjoyed the Nikes more but after 150-200 miles (half-life of the shoes in my mind) there was no contest. I recently got rid of the Elites with 250 miles on them because they were just gathering dust. They felt dull compared to the boston.
Thanks for the review!

demian sims said...

Seems strange to compare the Boston to something like the Ride 7 which is much softer and marshmallow like. Isn't the Boston more of a race day shoe?