adidas Ultraboost 21 Shoe Review

adidas Ultraboost 21 Shoe Review

The adidas Ultraboost 21 is a high cushioned trainer. Throughout the last few years, it feels as though adidas has put more money into lifestyle shoes versus making good trainers. Their shoes like Ultraboost can be used for running, but there are cheaper, more durable options out there. If you’re married to adidas, then sure, run in the adidas Ultraboost 21.

adidas Ultraboost 21 Shoe Review

adidas Ultraboost 21 Quick Stats:

Weight: 12 oz

Heel To Toe Drop: 10 mm

adidas Ultraboost 21:

To get this out of the way, the adidas Ultraboost 21 is a good-looking shoe. Adidas has made great-looking shoes for a while now. You can run in them but also do your errand and be “fashionable” in them. The problem is, the adidas Ultraboost gets mixed in with lifestyle shoes. Many people want the shoe to “chill in.” If you’re a runner using it to actually log miles, you might have a hard time finding the color you want.

After the first version of the Ultraboost, adidas has slowly migrated into a lifestyle shoe. The latest version of the Ultraboost has been completely redesigned. There is a new outsole and more midsole, and of course, the upper has been redesigned.

Right out of the box, the extensive amount of boost midsole is…something.

adidas Ultraboost 21 Shoe Review

adidas Ultraboost 21 Fit:

The adidas Ultraboost 21 uses a “Primeknit+ upper.” What does that mean? It’s soft, smooth, but not as breathable as I would like. It uses a bootie construction which also prevents the “runners knot” or heel lock lacing technique. If you prefer your heel to fit more narrow, you won’t be able to do this was the adidas Ultraboost 21.

The adidas Ultraboost 21 also has the plastic cage that it once had. This time it’s not as intrusive and keeps the midfoot more secure. In the first few versions, many people found it made the shoe too narrow and tight-fitting. It’s not the case, and the adidas Ultraboost 21 fits a lot wider even with the cage.

In women’s running shoes, I wear between a size 10-11 wide. There have been the same years the Ultraboost doesn’t fit well, period (because it’s too narrow), but the women’s size 11 fits well. The heel is slightly looser than I prefer, but nothing deal-breaking.

adidas Ultraboost 21 Shoe Review
Snug upper

adidas Ultraboost 21 Ride:

I haven’t run in the Ultraboost in a couple of years, and boy is it clunky. The Ultraboost has never been a lightweight trainer, but with the addition of the extra boost, it’s picked up an entire extra ounce of weight. That might not seem like a lot, but in the era of shoes getting more cushion and lighter, the adidas Ultraboost is getting heavier. It does roll easily from heel to toe, but it feels like a lot of shoe under your feet.

Adidas claims there is a 6% claim in boost, but that weight adds up. It also makes the adidas Ultraboost 21 much firmer than previous versions. If you remember the Ultraboost as a softer shoe under your foot, it will now be a lot more firm. That also means it’s not as comfortable to “chill in.” It is stiffer and more responsive, but with the extra weight, it’s tough to feel that response when running.

adidas Ultraboost 21 Shoe Review

The traction on the adidas Ultraboost has always been good. Adidas works with Continental Rubber (the same rubber as on your tires). The new crystal rubber also adds some traction and durability. The adidas Ultraboost 21 remains one of the better shoes for inclement weather like rain.

adidas Ultraboost 21 Shoe Review
You can see the Continental rubber.

I’ve taken the adidas Ultraboost 21 out for several types of runs, from easy runs to longer runs, to faster-paced runs. It feels best as an easy run shoe. It’s too much shoe to run fast in, and I feel like I’m running with bricks on my feet. I do appreciate it for those easy days. It’s my current go-to shoe for pouring rain and easy days.

adidas Ultraboost 21 Shoe Review

adidas Ultraboost 21:

I think the Ultraboost 21 is fine for easy runs and inclement weather. I don’t think it’s great for much of anything else, and I think many shoes are just cheaper and better running shoes. If you love the style and look of adidas, then maybe the adidas Ultraboost 21 is for you. But would I pay $180 for a shoe that competes with the New Balance 1080, Brooks Glycerin, or Asics Nimbus (all of which are $150 and better running shoes?). Plus, even know certain carbon fiber plate shoes are around that $180-$200 mark. For the adidas Ultraboost 21 to truly compete in the running world, it needs to be marked down about $30. That being said, adidas will still get plenty to people who want a lifestyle shoe.

My Current Shoe Rotation:

Easy/Daily Runs Saloman Sonic 3 Balance,  Brooks Glycerin 18 Mizuno Rider Waveknit 3, Diadora Mythos Blushield Volo, Brooks Ricochet 3, Nike Pegasus 37, New Balance 1080 v10, Hoka Bondi 7, Asics Nimbus Lite 2, adidas Ultraboost 21

Speed Work: Nike Tempo Next%, New Balance Fuelcell TC Shoe ReviewReebok Float Ride Run fast Pro,

Long Runs: Hoka Clifton Edge,  Under Armour Sonic HOVR 3

Trail Running/Hiking: Hoka Torrent 2, Saucony Peregrine 11, North Face VECTIV Flight, North Face VECTIV Enduris

Races: adidas Adizero ProAsics MetaRacerNew Balance Fuelcell 5280Nike Next%,  Saucony Endorphin ProNew Balance fuelcell TCReebok Run fast Pro 

You Can See All Current Shoe Reviews Here.

Looking to learn more about running shoes? In my ebook, I talk about why you need a good running shoe, a shoe’s anatomy, neutral vs. stable, and even myths of running shoes.

Questions for you:

Have you tried the adidas Ultraboost 21?

What is your most expensive running shoe? 



  1. I used to like the Ultraboost a lot, but I think the pair i bought might be defective or something. They are super uncomfortable to the point that the caused weird bruising from the plastic. I know they’re not fake because I bought them right off of the Adidas website. They were a leftover Valentine’s Day pattern – black with hearts on them. I’m super turned off by this!

    1. Throughout the last few years, I think adidas has put my money into making their shoes as lifestyle. It makes sense, there is more of a market and they sell out faster that way. It’s hard for me to justify the cost of the shoe since it’s “just ok”.

Comments are closed.