First look: adidas UltraBOOST Uncaged

adidas ultraBOOST uncaged

The shoe: adidas UltraBOOST Uncaged

In a nutshell: Same great BOOST midsole, (mostly) all new upper

The technology: Apparently this evolution of adidas’ excellent UltraBOOST was led by fashion. After adi noticed ‘global trendsetters’ customising the UltraBOOST by cutting off its ‘cage’ – the plastic overlays wrapping around the midfoot to create a more secure fit – they responded by developing a cage-free upper that didn’t compromise on running performance. So, what you get is an internal midfoot skeleton (which uses technology developed for elite track athletes) in place of the ‘cage’, improvement to the woven Primeknit material in the rest of the upper, and the addition of an ankle collar. All of these technical refinements work towards the common goal of a secure, stable, comfortable fit.

It’s as you were on the midsole, with the BOOST material delivering its signature, game-changing energy return, and the Continental (they’re the tyre people) outsole delivering excellent traction.

What adidas say: "UltraBOOST Uncaged combines the performance and innovation standard of UltraBOOST with the unique flair of our passionately creative fan base. Adidas is committed to making athletes better through innovation and UltraBOOST Uncaged is another prime example of that pledge being met with the input of runners from around the world." – Ben Herath, Vice President of Design for adidas Running

What we say: "The idea that this evolution of an excellent running shoe had been led by fashionistas customising their shoes through removing something functional set a few alarm bells ringing/hackles rising. I’ve run four marathons in various versions of the UltraBOOST so I wasn’t too keen on the idea of hipster-tinkering compromising running performance. Thankfully, a few ‘uncaged’ miles on the road have put my mind at rest.

I’ve run in every iteration of the UltraBOOST and I’ve long been a convert to the energy-returning midsole. And though not new, that remains the stand-out feature of the shoe. 

As for the changes higher up, the ‘internal skeleton’ which absorbs the reinforcing midfoot cradle into the upper does good jog of keeping the fit secure and stable, aided by both the new ankle collar and the retained angled heel counter, which works to keep your foot locked in place.

From a runner’s perspective, the plastic overlays of the ‘cage’ could, on occasion, dig a little into the foot so whatever the trigger, I’m not actually sad to see them go. Especially as there doesn’t seem to be a price paid on stability/fit. I was really impressed with the overall comfort and feel of the upper, there’s plenty of give in the toe-box area allowing for a good ‘splay’, and running in fairly hot conditions I noticed they also breathe pretty well. All in all, this is a shoe I can see myself covering a lot of miles in.

And do you know what? I have to admit they look pretty good, too."  – Joe Mackie, Deputy Editor at Runner's World