During the Y&Y site hiatus and redesign, we were invited down to the Energy Boost launch where adidas unveiled a new running shoe that it claims will be a revolution in the running scene. We were intrigued by the bold claims and over the last 10 weeks, Annabel and I have put the trainers to the test.
During the mid 90′s, the adidas brand was divided up into three main lines. As a teen, my style/interest was always in Adidas Originals (fashion and life-style focus) and as I matured so did my taste inline with the Style Essentials line (namely Yōji Yamamoto’s Y3) but other than my first pair of running trainers (a pair of black & orange adiPRENE ) I had not been exposed to much of the Adidas Performance range (designed to maintain Adidas’ devotion to the athlete). This all changed with the announcement of adidas’s new secret weapon.
As a novice in the running game (how it all began), I find that I’m still developing my running style, finding my pace and most importantly selecting the right gear. I’m sure many of you (like myself ) have been intrigued by the buzz/hype surrounding the Energy Boost campaign especially with Yohan Blake and Haile Gebrselassie championing the running shoe at the product launch. So exactly what is Energy Boost?
The foundation of the technology is centred around the revolutionary cushioning material (only found in adidas’ Energy Boost products). The development process involves the use of solid granular material (TPU) which is literally blown up and turned into thousands of small energy capsules which make up the footwear’s distinctive midsole (which personally reminds me of styrofoam). It is this unique cell structure which allows the energy capsules to store and return energy more efficiently during a run.
The Energy Boost also claims to hold performance in almost any condition. Between +40 to -20°C, the Boost foam was found to be 3x more temperature resistant (thus retaining it’s cushioning properties) than standard EVA material commonly used in most running shoes. This means that whether you decide to go for a jog in icy conditions during winter or the rare ‘heat’ of a British summer, the Boost should deliver a consistent run.
We were curious to see if what adidas had up its sleeve would ‘revolutionise’ the running scene and decided to gear up and ‘boost‘ our run. The plan was to document our experience with the Boost in my sporadic training regime for the Canary Wharf 10k and in preparation for Annabel’s Bath Half-Marathon. At the end of our 10 week experiment, we caught up to discuss our thoughts on the design & technology. (Annabel trialled the Stella McCartney Struthio BOOST whilst I trialled the original Men’s Energy Boost).
Derek: I took the Adidas Boost for a spin as soon as I got my hands on a pair. The cushioning is unlike any running trainers I’ve worn in the past and I think it is this feature that creates the impression of energy return. My second observation was the weight. In my experience, responsive trainers tend to slightly heavier than their minimalist counterparts but the Energy boost strikes the right balance. Weighing 270g, the trainers are light on the feet without compromising support. A snug fit without feeling restrictive (i.e. your toes have room to wriggle…if need be lol)
Overall the ‘Boost’ does well to combine the usually conflicting performance benefits of soft/comfortable vs firm/responsive.
Annabel: adidas Stella McCartney introduces the Struthio Boost for SS13 as a limited edition item with only a thousand pairs produced worldwide. I was so happy to get a pair of these! Yes, they cost a bit more, but girls you’ll want these as part of your running wardrobe. Fusing performance and fashion, Struthio has similar features to Energy Boost but with more feminine lines and in a bright colour scheme ‘to cheer you up during your races’, says adidas.
Derek: The combination of the black base colour and yellow pin line is definitely my favourite of the 3 colourways (there is also a red and blue model). I’ve worn the Boost outside of my usual running routine a few times (they are incredibly comfy) but the trainers are definitely function over form. Aesthetics is obviously not top of the priority list for running shoes but a part of me feels that adidas has failed to capitalise on the current running/lifestyle trend (don’t believe me…just head to Shoreditch and spot the running shoes & cuffed jeans combo).
Annabel: Drawing inspiration from this seasons colour palette featuring bold tropical contrasts, the Struthio Boost is comprised of black mesh with flashes of turbo red, white and fluorescent peach accents. Designed with the athlete in mind, the adidas Stella McCartney Boost offers a fusion of high end technologies, sporting practicality and Stella’s unique feminine style.
Annabel: I got to really test out the Boost technology as I wore my new kicks for the Bath Half. One word. Bouncy. You notice it straight away. adidas have really developed the concept of ‘energy return’. The idea is that you maximise on energy when running, which comes from the evolutionary material. Those little bubbles that give the sole it’s polystyrene look, are designed to store and unleash energy, providing the highest energy return in the running industry.
Derek: I have developed an awkward running technique in which my heels strike the ground (I’m working on running on my toes) but I’ve found the Boost design is able to absorb the impact. Common running shoes which use foam based cushioning typically use one large piece of foam however what sets the Boost apart is its use of individual capsules. The small capsules are moulded together and are able to absorb energy at a consistent rate. Initially I assumed the targeted support system was for comfort purposes but over time I noticed that this feature increase stability thus minimising foot roll and reducing irritation to the achilles tendon (in other words less injury/strain).
Despite the majority of the hype surrounding the Boost being focused on the trainer sole, the upper deserves an honorary mention. Unlike many current running trainers, the Boost ditches the traditional mesh in favour of the adidas Techfit technology (a stretchy breathable fabric) which adapts to your foot shape and fits like a sock. The entire shoe seems pretty resistant to dirt, damage etc (unlike trainers I’ve worn in the past) but the package would be complete if the fabric was waterproof.
The Energy Boost is also compatible with micoach Speed Cell which records every run and tracks progress.
I must admit, at first I was a bit sceptical regarding the revolutionary claims however I’ve experimented with several running shoes in the past and there is noticeable difference with the Boost technology (though I’m unlikely to be breaking any world records…yet). The winning factor for me is that I enjoy running in them #simple. The bouncy properties mean my legs feel less fatigued than usual.
The Boost preformed well at a variety of different paces; providing a ‘soft’ ride over long steady runs whilst at the same time offering responsiveness when I decided to up the pace. During the early stages of my running ‘career’, I developed ‘shin splints’ easily (which was probably more to do with my technique than the shoes) but after putting the trainers through 50k+, I experienced virtually no discomfort (minus the general aches & pains associated with urban running) which I guess is down to the Energy Boost’s targeted support system.
I applaud adidas for pushing for innovation rather than implementing a gimmicky feature. The Boost is certainly a game changer but I have a feeling that the buying decision will trickle down to brand loyalty amongst runners unless adidas are able to translate its technical design into something more aesthetically pleasing for causal runners/ everyday use. Overall the Boost is a well balanced versatile model which certainly does provide a noticeable (not incredibly significant) energy return. If you are searching than light and comfortable pair of trainers, I would definitely suggest considering the Energy Boost.
I always recommend trying everything in store before purchasing (I have a wardrobe full of ill-sized purchases) but in the event that you do decided to invest in a pair online, I would suggest getting one size up. Thank me later :]