I’ve tried several of the Adidas Boost shoes before: I’ve tried the Solarboost, the Solar Drive, the Pulseboost, and the Ultraboost 20. I do like the Boost material, but I wasn’t blown away by the Ultraboost 20 and therefore didn’t try the 21 even though that was quite the overhaul.
But then the 22 came and in this version the men’s and women’s versions are actually different from one another. At least 50% of runners are women these days, but not a lot of shoes are specifically designed for them. Most shoes are designed for men and the women’s version is just a shrunken down version of the same thing. So it’s great that Adidas has now made a shoe for women, actually designed for and by women.
I’m so tired of running stores not having a men’s and women’s version of the same product, but only the men’s as if to say: you won’t be needing it, because you won’t be doing that. This has happened to me several times actually. But I digress.
Back to the shoe, your hips actually play a big part in how you land on your feet while running. And women have wider hips than men. As a consequence women are more likely to land on the medial side rather than the lateral side of their foot. That’s why the women’s version of the Ultraboost 22 has more medial support. On average women also have a lower arch than men, so the fit of the upper has been adapted in the midfoot area.
The Ultraboost 22 has a Primeknit+ upper, which is made with 50% Parley ocean plastic and is adapted to the female foot. It takes into account the narrower heel and the lower instep. I’m not a fan of one piece knit uppers. They never really seem to work or provide a good lockdown, so if I had a choice I’d go for a separate tongue any day. I had the same issues with the Ultraboost 20, the lockdown wasn’t great and the fabric would fold over on itself if I tried to tighten it too much. The fit on the Ultraboost 22 is definitely a lot better. The knit has a snugger fit, more like a sock, although it is really stretchy. The tighter fit helps with locking the foot down, but I do find the toe box a bit low.
And I get that the cage helps with stability and the lockdown, but it’s still a downside that it only has 4 eyelets on it, so you can’t really change the way you lace these shoes. Although they have made the top eyelet bigger compared to the 21, presumably to give the laces more space to move while your foot moves.
Because the toe box is so low I did find that I got some hotspots in combination with the seam of my socks. I guess getting seamless socks could be a solution, but I’d rather just see a bit of a higher toe box, since it’s just quite noticeable while you are wearing the shoes even though the fabric stretches a lot.
After a while I also started to get some hotspots on my achilles despite the flared heel counter and the memory foam padding on the inside, probably because the lockdown is difficult due to the limited amount of eyelets and therefore it’s harder to prevent heel slippage.
The Ultraboost is a neutral running shoe with a 10 mm drop. The 22nd version has a 23 mm forefoot stack and a 33 mm heel stack, the midsole is actually similar to that of the 21. It’s not a light shoe since it weighs more than 300 grams. However, this version is supposed to give 4% more energy return than the previous version due to some of the changes they’ve made. I’ve always enjoyed the Adidas Boost foam and this midsole is no different.
These shoes are however a bit noisy because there is quite a bit of rubber underneath this shoe. Underneath the forefoot, there is Continental rubber, while the rest of the outsole is made up of crystal rubber. The women’s version also has an extra piece of firm rubber on the medial side for that added extra stability.
There is also the Linear Energy Push (LEP) shank that runs from halfway through the forefoot to halfway through the heel. This is supposed to help with guiding the energy and your step forward rather than to the sides.
I do find this edition to be a bit firmer, that might also have something to do with the medial support. I find it quite the stable ride even though it is a one-piece knit upper with a limited number of eyelets and thus with limited options for locking it down. I actually like the bit more stable ride, I think it’s one of the strengths of the Ultraboost 22, it gives you support, but it still definitely feels like a neutral shoe. I also quite like the upper, it is comfortable, but a little more room in the toe box would be better. I think the Ultraboost 22 has become more of an everyday trainer rather than a maximalist running shoe.
It’s not as plush anymore and it’s easier to pick up the pace in. But at the same time it has enough heel stack to make it a comfortable shoe for heel strikers. I found myself picking this shoe for medium runs when I might want to pick up the pace a little. But that also means that for some runners it can be a very allround shoe, it’s great for those medium to a bit longer runs, but you can also pick up the pace in them a little. And if you wanted to you could also use them as a more casual shoe.