In 2013, Adidas created a game-changing technology that would revolutionize the running shoe, namely Boost. Followed was a series of some of the best running sneakers, one in particular, was the Ultra Boost. In this article, we’re digging deep into the shoe with our Ultra Boost 1.0 vs 2.0 vs 3.0 comparison.
About Adidas Ultra Boost
Around 2015, Adidas unveiled its newest creation, the Ultra Boost shoe. The brand dubbed it the “Greatest running shoe ever,” and even though Adidas’ has a history of impressive athletic footwear, many admit such a statement was bold.
Adidas was confident that this shoe exceeded its past standards, but just how far it would reach, would come as a surprise.
During its creation, a focal point was the upper. Adidas’ designers knew that on previous versions, like the adiZero Adios Boost, the top didn’t match the Boost midsole. This revolutionary technology required something light and flexible.
Fast forward to the Ultra Boost. This sneaker is a synthesis of style and innovation. Everything from its appearance to performance exceeded expectations, putting Adidas ahead of the curve. It even allowed the brand to make a comeback in sneaker culture, similarly to its Stan Smith and Superstar.
The Ultra Boost was the first Adidas sneaker to include all three of its top technologies—Boost, Primeknit and Torsion. Every part of the shoe manifested innovation, presenting the most advanced upper technology at the time.
Still, the design was wearable—it wasn’t exclusively a gym shoe—Ultra Boost had a lifestyle appeal. In an ongoing trend of bright neon performance sneakers, the Ultra Boost would adorn toned down hues. The chunky sole, lacing cage and knitted upper gave it a sleek silhouette.
Due to some manufacturing delays, Adidas had consumers anxiously waiting for its release. It sold out quickly, even sneakerheads outside the running domain were snapping them up. This, inadvertently, caused a collision between wellness culture, fashion and also sustainability, thanks to Adidas’ collaboration with Parley for the Oceans.
The Ultra Boost legacy continues with the 2.0 and 3.0 released in 2016. There’s even a newer version, Ultra Boost 4.0, which debuted in 2017.
Here’s a video showcasing the Ultra Boost.
Ultra Boost 1.0 vs 2.0 vs 3.0
The Ultra Boost series features offbeat designs combined with some of Adidas’ newest technologies to date. The collection features several models, but now, we’re focusing on the 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0.
Here’s an elaboration of differences and similarities:
The three shoes are almost identical. All feature the same Primeknit upper, TPU cage, Boost midsole and Adidas branding on the heel. There are still some differences, which we’re highlighting here:
A distinct trait of the Ultra Boost is that there’s no tongue on the upper. This works to minimize discomfort brought by rubbing and irritation against the skin.
To prevent the shoe from falling off, it has a well-designed collar, providing a comfortable and smooth feel around the ankle.
Adidas still includes a lace system, providing you with a chance to customize and improve the fit. The feature works as a lace cage, also offering better support around the midfoot, keeping your foot in place during exercising.
All three shoes consist of a Primeknit upper, but with a few distinctions between each. The Primeknit on the Ultra Boost 1.0 extends from the toe over the midfoot—the rest consists of mesh, which is stretchy and provides remarkable breathability.
On the Ultra Boost 2.0, however, you have a full Primeknit upper, but the pattern is a little different. It’s a lot tighter than the 1.0 and features a gradient appearance, which looks impressive in most of its color variations.
At the back, it’s also thicker and stretchier than the 1.0, giving it a more stable look.
The Primeknit pattern changes again with the Ultra Boost 3.0. It’s a lot calmer when compared to the 2.0 but still features a full Primeknit upper. The result is stretchier than before, but it also provides a more snug fit.
The Adidas Boost technology midsole features in all three. It effectively increases energy output, meaning that you lose less power with each stride.
The three models all include a rubber outsole and Adidas Stretchweb design. This is an open grid pattern, working to adapt according to your feet’s movements, promoting a smoother transition between heel-strike and toe-off.
We can see one difference in the Ultra Boost 1.0. This version features a pure rubber outsole, as opposed to continental rubber, as seen on the 2.0 and 3.0. Sadly, this makes it a little less durable, and it doesn’t offer as much traction.
2. Stability and Support
The Adidas Ultra Boost line has a lot to offer in terms of stability and support. All models include a rigid midfoot cage, held together with secure shoelaces. They also provide a TPU heel counter that contains your foot, keeping it safe.
The Ultra Boost 1.0 comes with a full bootie construction, making sure that your foot is in place. This is enforced by the midfoot cage, creating an overall balance and stability.
For the Ultra Boost 2.0, the Continental outsole is the main contributor to stability. It provides outstanding traction in various weather conditions. In addition to this, it offers a secure lacing system, keeping your foot aligned.
On the 3.0, the main attraction for stability and support is the Torsion System, which includes a Torsion shank. This combo improves stability while providing grip on various surfaces.
Adidas includes a Primeknit upper in all its Ultra Boost models. This material is lightweight and breathable. It makes the shoe comfortable to exercise in, and it’s perfect for those seeking a summer sneaker.
This does differ a bit between our three models. For instance, on the Ultra Boost 1.0, the Primeknit is much thinner than later versions, but it has multiple perforations.
Still, the upper on the 2.0 and 3.0 is more breathable than the first because it covers the whole shoe, as we explained earlier. Despite this, they’re all excellent whether you live in a warm region or if you simply prefer your feet cool and dry.
Due to the Primeknit upper, they’re quite flexible. The upper is stretchy and moves with your feet as you bend and flex. Although, the Ultra Boost 1.0 isn’t as bendable, again, because it doesn’t have a full Primeknit upper, like the others.
A nice touch on the Ultra Boost 2.0 is an integrated elastane heel. This encourages natural movements in your Achilles, equating to an impressive running shoe, whether for long-distance or sprints.
The Boost midsole is what provides cushioning to the shoes, and all include full-length Boost. It enhances the natural motion of your feet while providing a responsive cushioning.
If you usually go for something with more cushioning, then look at the Ultra Boost 3.0. It offers an additional pad at the front, offering slightly more comfort than the other two.
The Ultra Boost 2.0 and 3.0 have the advantage here, and it’s clear that Adidas made some improvements. To put it into perspective, the expected lifespan of the 1.0 is roughly 800 miles, which is impressive. However, the 2.0 and 3.0 are expected to last up to 1200 miles.
This is mostly due to the outsole. The Continental rubber outsoles on the 2.0 and 3.0 enable them to reach a much higher mileage.
The rubber outsole on the 1.0 wears much quicker, especially if you use it for road-running. Another contributor to its lesser durability is the mesh material at the back. Primeknit is much sturdier than mesh, giving the upper hand to the 2.0 and 3.0.
Keep in mind that how you’re using each shoe affects the life span. If you’re running on the pavement every day, it’s not likely to last that long. In contrast, if you’re a frequent treadmill user, then it may outlast its expectations.
7. Size and Fit
The Ultra Boost series is available in various sizes—Adidas even offers them in half sizes. The fit is pretty uniform across the 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0.
Some report that they fit a little snug around the forefoot. But, they require a small break-in period where the material will stretch, so it’s best to measure your feet and buy accordingly. We have a helpful comparison guide of Adidas vs Nike sizing.
About Adidas Boost Technology
Boost was developed by the Adidas Innovation Team (AIT) and German chemists BASF. It’s a revolutionary technology, combining the benefits of responsive and soft cushioning.
During its production, EVA foam was the leading cushioning material used in performance shoes. Adidas, however, was confident its creation was about to change this, promising to deliver a higher energy return than ever before.
The first look we had at Boost was back in 2013 when Adidas debuted its Energy Boost—the first sneaker using this technology. This evolved into several lines of Boost shoes, including the Ultra Boost and Pure Boost.
What Is Boost Made Of?
Boost consists of expanded thermoplastic polyurethane. It’s made up of minute balls that swell up when heat is applied, creating closed cells sitting around tiny air pockets. This material is then shaped into a midsole and attached to the Primeknit upper.
Why Invest in Boost Technology?
The first and foremost benefit of Boost is the energy return. It’s a term used to describe a material that minimizes energy loss.
When you run, you produce kinetic output (energy). Boost aims to absorb and return more of this kinetic production. Although it can’t make you run faster, it increases the efficiency in every stride, limiting the amount of energy you lose.
Another reason to invest in Boost is comfort. The material includes cushioning properties, giving you a feeling of running on small, precision-engineered clouds.
Boost is durable—it can continue for miles without compromising its performance. Considering that the average running shoe should be replaced after 400 to 500 miles, Boost sneakers easily surpass this with limits starting at 800 miles. It’s also designed to cope with various temperatures, enabling you to train regardless of the weather.
Lastly, it’s highly flexible. It conforms with your feet as you run, giving them the space needed to flex and splay.
Watch this video for more information on Boost technology.
Other Adidas Technologies Explained
The Ultra Boost became famous for combining three of Adidas’ major technologies. To give you a better understanding of what exactly this means for the shoe, we’ve included more in-depth explanations below.
Standard sneakers generally have uppers made from several materials, including mesh, leather and synthetics, that are all stitched together. Primeknit uppers, however, are constructed as whole pieces from knitted fabric, giving it a sock-like feel.
It consists of fused yarn, which can be adjusted to alter flexibility, support and stability, depending on the shoe. This also allows it to adapt to different silhouettes.
Primeknit is a creation of Astrid Lang and Stefan Tamm, who are part of Adidas’ development team. They were inspired by a knitted glove that was on display at the Techtextil fair in Germany.
The creators decided to try it as an upper. They enlisted the help of Alexander Taylor, a furniture designer who was helping Adidas come up with new sneaker designs. The idea was approved, and in 2012, the first Primeknit silhouette launched to coincide with the 2012 London Olympics.
The first sneaker to sport this upper was the adiZero Primeknit. These were an exclusive release, which was only available between July 27th and August 12th. Adidas limited them to 2012 pairs.
Primeknit became a crucial component of Adidas’ most influential shoes. The standouts, however, were the Ultra Boost and Yeezy Boost 350 V2.
The collaboration between Kanye West and Adidas has become one of the most significant in the sneaker world. Primeknit is what gives the sneaker its unmistakable shape and a unique appearance.
Adidas Torsion System
Adidas Torsion system is the arch support. It provides several impressive benefits to the running shoe.
It’s specifically designed to enable your forefoot and rearfoot to move separately. It also allows the midfoot to adjust according to the surface you’re running on, offering high levels of stability and support.
It works a bit like a lightweight bridge between the heel and forefoot. The highest point sits under the midfoot, near the arches where it works as a platform, helping to combat improper flexing.
This is essential for protection and control during your heel-to-toe movements, enabling smooth transitions. As it adapts to the ground, it minimizes strain in your feet due to excess motion. This makes it a fantastic trait to have in a performance shoe.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Ultra Boosts Worth It?
Ultra Boosts aren’t the most budget-friendly sneaker out there, but they also incorporate some of Adidas’ best technologies. The Boost midsole is probably the most significant contributor to their hefty price tag. But, it’s also what makes them worth it.
If you’re an athlete or avid gym-goer, repeatedly trying to improve yourself, then even the slightest feature matters. This includes a comprehensive cushioning system. Boost technology can improve your stride, maximizing efficiency.
That, along with the Torsion system and comfortable Primeknit, provides overall support. And what’s better, with each model, Adidas made slight improvements to better the performance. So perhaps the 1.0 isn’t for you, but then there’s the 2.0 or 3.0 that may offer something you’re looking for.
Which Adidas Boost Is the Best?
Since its launch in 2013, Adidas has created several sneakers using Boost. The best overall is the Pure Boost.
This is one of the shoes that began the Boost craze, offering outstanding comfort and style. It’s not a heavy athletic shoe, but it’s quite fashionable, taking the athleisure trend by storm.
A close second is the Adidas Y-3 Retro Boost. It offers a combination of suede and synthetic overlays on a neoprene upper, giving it a sleek appearance. The chunky boost sole also makes it very comfortable.
Is Ultra Boost the Most Comfortable?
Users have voted the Ultra Boost as one of the comfiest shoes. Everything from the lightweight Primeknit upper to the supportive Torsion system and the Boost midsole creates “foot heaven.” The sock-like fit sits well on the foot, providing support and breathability all over.
Ultra Boost 1.0 vs 2.0 vs 3.0—the differences aren’t massive. There are slight improvements in the Primeknit uppers on the 2.0 and 3.0 as well in the outsole. Otherwise, they’re all impressive sneakers, providing some of Adidas’ most innovative technologies.
We hope you found our comparison insightful, and perhaps are even considering a pair of Ultra Boosts. We’d love to hear from you in the comments below and feel free to hit the share button.