First introduced in 2013, the Adidas’s Boost foam marked a groundbreaking shift in how running shoe midsoles were made. Prior to Boost, ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) was the industry standard foam. Adidas broke the mold when its innovation team collaborated with chemists at German chemical company BASF to explore how they could give running shoes a softer, more comfortable underfoot feeling while maintaining a high level of responsiveness.
The result? A material called expanded thermoplastic polyurethane, or eTPU. By spreading thousands of tiny closed cell particles around tiny pockets of air, the team struck a goldmine. The new midsole material was not only softer and more forgiving than any other midsole on the market, it also offered better energy return. The only downside? Weight. At 10.9 ounces, the Ultraboost is among the heavier daily runners on the market, making it less than ideal for anything faster than your normal everyday pace.
So if you’re addicted to the bouncy feeling of the Adidas UltraBoost but wanna lighten up, here are three leaner, faster alternatives you should try.
Saucony Freedom 3
Weight: 8.4 oz.
The Twin:In terms of underfoot feel and ride, Saucony’s PWRUN+ midsole is the closest you’ll find to Boost. Also made of TPU, the PWRUN+ found in the Freedom 3 is remarkably cushioned and bouncy, just like Boost. Classified as a neutral running shoe like the Ultraboost, the Freedom 3 weighs 2.5 ounces less, making it more suitable for up-tempo running and racing. If you find the upper on the Ultraboost a bit thin, you’ll enjoy the heavily padded heel collar and more form-fitting mesh upper on the Freedom 3. Other than weight, the main difference is the Freedom 3 has a 4mm drop, versus 10mm on the Ultraboost.
Skechers GoRun 7+
Weight: 7.6 oz.
The Speedster:For a similar soft, yet bouncy feeling at tw0-thirds of the weight, look no further than the Skechers GoRun 7+, featuring the new HyperBurst midsole. Surprised to see Skechers on par with adidas? You’re not the only one. Skechers shocked the running industry when it introduced HyperBurst, a charged-up EVA foam with better energy return than Boost. Again, like the Saucony Freedom 3, the GoRun 7+ has a 4mm drop, as well as a rockered sole that looks similar to the Hoka One One Carbon X — minus the carbon, of course.
New Balance Fresh Foam Beacon 2
Weight: 7.7 oz.
The Everyday Trainer: Shortly after adidas introduced Boost, New Balance announced its new Fresh Foam midsole, with relatively modest fanfare. Using computer modeling and lasers, New Balance carved out geometrical dimples in the EVA. A bit firmer than Boost, the Fresh Foam Beacon 2 mirrors Boost’s lively, bouncy feeling. And at 7.7 ounces, the Beacon 2 is considerably lighter, yet durable enough to withstand daily abuse as an everyday trainer.
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