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Is there a running shoe that looks as good as the Ultraboost with skinny jeans and a fitted shirt? Almost certainly not.
There is a reason for this: running shoes are made for running, not for mall fashion.
Since Adidas charged Kanye West to wear an all-white pair on tour, sneakerheads have welcomed the Ultraboost as a lifestyle sneaker.
Throughout its history, the Ultraboost has blurred the line between athletic and casual boots.
While the Ultraboost is sold as a serious running shoe, Adidas’ space collaborations with NASA and funky metallic-colored midsoles demonstrate that Adidas wants the Ultraboost to be a chic casual shoe as well.
Adidas’ most popular shoe is the Ultraboost, indicating that the formula is working and allowing them to kill two birds with one stone.
The Ultraboost’s focus shifted further toward being a lifestyle sneaker as the upper became more relaxed in subsequent models.
When more vendors incorporated TPU midsoles, it became more difficult to justify continuing to wear the pricy Ultraboost, which no longer looked like a performance running shoe.
The Ultraboost 21 has been totally redesigned, including a new crystal rubber outsole, a new lift-enhancing midsole, and an improved upper.
Although the Ultraboost is constructed in a bootie style, I believe it will never be a true success trainer.
The problem with bootie constructions is that they make double last row eyelets impossible to use, which prevents heel lock lacing.
The upper of the Ultraboost is reminiscent of the first version of the React Infinity Run Flyknit: both have loose heels and bad foot lockout.
Nike was able to resolve the issue with the second version of the React Infinity Run Flyknit by refining the bootie construction. As a result, the shoe improved tenfold. Would the Ultraboost 22 get the same treatment? It’s very improbable.
The Primeknit+ upper of the Ultraboost is soft, seamless, and comfortable, but it may get a little warm due to the lack of breathability.
The plastic cage returns, but this time it’s a bit less intrusive. Due to the cage’s separation from the midsole, it is not a real plastic cage like the manner of versions 1-3.
When stitching the cage in place, there is a 0.5mm gap between it and the midsole.
I disliked the cage and preferred the midfoot lockout. While the overall fit was accurate, the loose heel was a significant mistake.
I don’t mind wearing hard shoes for short walks because they make transitioning to a lighter pair for tempo days easier.
The Ultraboost 21’s problem is that the shoe’s bottom is too hard due to the high Boost midsole, resulting in excessive heel rise due to the loose heel.
I felt as if the midsole needed me to run faster but the upper prevented me from doing so, resulting in very difficult runs.
Due to the firmer Boost foam and more durable crystal rubber outsole, you won’t get the plush, step-in support that previous Ultraboosts got.
I cannot recommend the Ultraboost 21 to anyone but those looking for an attractive casual shoe to wear to the mall and run in on occasion.