Ultraboost has never been a go-to place for a running shoe. Although Ultraboost was originally intended as a performance running sneaker, it was viewed by fans as a casual wearer rather than something athletes wanted to run their marathons on. The Boost midsole was soft and cushioned, but never really picked up on runners.
With the Ultraboost 19 from last year, adidas focused on targeting the sports market. The design has undergone major changes, with a heavy emphasis on a performance sneaker, while adding significantly more lift to the midsole to make it even more responsive. Casual fans weren’t particularly happy with the design changes, but it has resonated with runners as the changes made the sneaker much more responsive and comfortable for long runs.
With the Ultraboost 20, adidas is clearly trying to satisfy both markets. For the casual fanatic, it has brought back its tastier upper, and for runners, it has made small changes that for the most part make it a slightly better sneaker.
Price and availability
The Ultraboost 20 costs AED 849 directly from adidasHowever, at the time of writing, they are currently being offered for AED 589.
The shoes are part of the new Heat.RDY range from adidas, which will keep you cool regardless of your activity.
The most noticeable change in the Ultraboost 20 is the entire redesign of the upper. adidas ditched the two-tone knit pattern and translucent cage of the Ultraboost 19 and opted for a look reminiscent of the original Ultraboost 1.0 design. It’s less sporty and more casual, but it also retains some of the innovations that came with the Ultraboost 19, such as the redesigned heel clip design and thick midsole padding.
We got the Core Black / Core Black / Signal Pink version of the Ultraboost 20, a catchy colorway if you can rock your clothes with the sneaker. The Primeknit upper – lavishly sprinkled with golden flakes – is made from recycled Parley ocean plastic collected from remote islands, beaches and coastlines to reduce waste and make the shoe environmentally friendly. It is woven with Tailored Fiber Placement technology which is flexible but also provides stability when taking off and landing while running.
The upper material is also provided with ribbed seams in the forefoot area – a function that comes from adidas’ own Solarboost sneaker range – and prevents your foot from skidding in the shoe. The extra seams could tighten the shoe, especially on wider feet, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. The top Primeknit material may not be as soft and stretchy as the NMDs, but it fits and flexes just enough to fit perfectly without pressing on your feet. It’s like a comfortable hug – just for your feet.
Another big change from the Ultraboost 19 is that the upper doesn’t run through the heel. Instead, adidas has equipped the Ultraboost 20 with a molded polyester heel cup with softer padding that also extends to the Achilles tendons. Together with the heel clip of the Ultraboost 19, this gives the sneaker a better lockdown feeling in the heel area, which is appreciated by serious runners.
The midsole has had a new coat of paint, but remains essentially the same as the Ultraboost 19, with both having 20 percent more boost than previous Ultraboost sneakers. Almost all Ultraboost 20 colors have an iridescent coating on the Boost midsole that changes color depending on the light. The review pair we received changes color from bronze to pink, and it’s an aesthetic choice that we didn’t think we’d like, but we are.
If the color of the bronze / pink midsole doesn’t suit your taste, adidas has also released a number of other colorways ranging from standard black and white to more stylish colors, such as the collaboration with the ISS National Lab (apparently this is the adidas’ Fall) sending his Boost technology into space to see what he can learn about countering gravity on Earth.
The outsole is the same Continental Stretch Web rubber found on all Ultraboost sneakers ever made. It is made from the same material as Continental tires, so traction, traction and durability are always excellent. We’ve been wearing the Ultraboost 4.0 for over a year and the outsole remains in top-notch condition despite being used in harsh environments.
Ultraboost has always been a comfortable sneaker, and the Ultraboost 20 is not too far from that. In fact, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that they are one of the most comfortable sneakers we have ever worn. The Primeknit upper hugs your feet warm and the extra padded Boost midsole offers an all-round comfortable ride. We could see how we wore these for a full day without tiring them. The upper is woven thicker, however, and although it’s designed to allow airflow, it still gets a little warm after an hour of walking and running.
The Ultraboost 20 measures 7mm closer to the ground in both the forefoot and heel, which means it has a little less lift than the Ultraboost 19, but we doubt you can tell the difference. The changes appear to be a direct result of feedback for the Ultraboost 19, where some felt the shoe was too padded and too angled to take an accurate step. The changes make the Ultraboost 20 a bit slimmer and even more performance-oriented, which benefits runners.
While we’re not serious runners, we found the Boost midsole responsive and quite springy. Compared to the Ultraboost 4.0 and even the Yeezy 350v2 (which doesn’t have sneakers on), the boost was much firmer, but returned the more energy the further you pushed against it. This gives you the acclaimed “leap” of the Boost midsole with every step that helps you run better, faster. The solid design of the heel shell, the tight-fitting upper material and the consistently excellent Continental outsole ensured a stable and grippy driving experience.
But as with any Boost sneaker, the bounce of the midsole appears flat after about an hour of wear. After walking for 8-10 km almost every day in these sneakers, the suspension that you initially felt disappears. Unlike the Yeezy 350v2 and the other Boost sneakers, however, the Ultraboost 20’s midsole doesn’t feel muddy and will tire your feet. It’s firmer and more stable and is similar to the feel of the Nike React on the feet.
The Ultraboost 20 is also a heavier shoe, weighing around 332 grams per shoe. This could be a deterrent for competitive runners who ideally prefer a lighter shoe to keep them moving as quickly as possible. You will definitely feel the weight of the shoe if you walk in it for two hours. This was especially noticeable when we switched to the Nike Odyssey React 2, which feels significantly lighter. As such, the Ultraboost 20 could be a great recovery shoe or something that doesn’t necessarily require reaching the highest possible speed.
We wear a 43 ⅓ for adidas and the Ultraboost 20 is true to size and offers plenty of space around the toes. However, we wouldn’t recommend shrinking a half size because you will need extra space as you run.
Should I buy the adidas Ultraboost 20?
Buy it when …
You want an all-round comfortable sneaker
While the popularity of Boost is declining, it is still one of the best midsole technologies out there. The Ultraboost 20 offers 20 percent more boost than normal Boost sneakers and, in conjunction with the excellent Primeknit upper material, is an extremely comfortable ride.
You want a casual and sporty looking sneaker
Thanks to the changes to the overall design, the Ultraboost 20 is a lot easier to wear than the Ultraboost 19. Not to mention the ISS National Lab collaboration colors look absolutely stunning. This will be a handset no matter where you wear it.
Don’t buy it if …
You want a lightweight sneaker
With a weight of 332 g per shoe, the Ultraboost 20 is quite heavy. If you are looking for a sneaker to optimize your track time with, this is not the place.
You already have the Ultraboost 19
The Ultraboost 20 offers some decisive improvements over the Ultraboost 19, but they are not enough to justify another AED 800-900 for it. If you’re happy with the Ultraboost 19, the new iteration won’t make much of a difference to your running.
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