adidas launches Boost - a ‘revolution in running’

Energy Boost

The running market sees plenty of shoe launches, but this week the running world convened in New York to see the launch of something different: Boost.

A new shoe, yes, but also a new technology - and this is the exciting bit.

Could this herald a new dawn in running? Could we see a sub-2 hour marathon? Could RW's mag editor Andy snatch that elusive sub-3 marathon if he wears them? adidas certainly believes its new technology will play an important part in running history in the future.

Read on to find out more about the technology, or watch the highlights video from the launch.

The technology: EVA vs TPU

EVA has been industry-standard for the past 25 years or so, with 95% of running soles made using the polymer material. Boost however is created using TPU - thermoplastic polyurethane - and adidas predicts the material (plus a little added magic in the processing) will be a game-changer in the industry.

Watch the ball bearing test of EVA vs Boost in adidas' teaser video we published earlier in the month to see the difference between the two materials.

Energy return

adidas say Boost has 'highest energy return in the industry' and 'energy return' is a buzzword at the launch.

What does 'energy return' mean? When you move, kinetic energy is displaced and some is lost through the shoes you wear. Running shoes aim to give you back some of that energy, helping to propel you forward. "Boost gives you back more of that energy," says Bernd Wahler, Senior Vice President of Innovation.

Tests conducted by the brand's Innovation Team show the tiny 'energy capsules' contained in Boost - formed from blowing up TPU - store and unleash this energy more efficiently than EVA. With over 2,000 energy capsules in each shoe, they give the shoe its recognisable midsole. 

"Combining softness and responsiveness has been something the running industry has been attempting for years - people didn't believe it was possible to have both," says Bernd. "With Boost we think we've achieved the impossible, combining comfort and responsiveness.

"You feel the difference when you put the shoes on. In the tests we've done, people reported feeling better during the run and feeling better after the run. You feel less tired and the fatigue is different so you can run more often."

Temperature control

"Compared to EVA, Boost will hold its responsive soft feel whether you're running in 40 degrees or minus 20," says adidas' Creative Director of Sports Performance James Carnes.

Proof of the pudding is a fridge in the corner of the room containing a nicely chilled shoe and squares of EVA and Boost to put to the test. Sure enough, the square of EVA is rigid while Boost is still bouncy.

Left to right: Former 100m world record holder Maurice Greene, former marathon world record holder Haile Gebrselassie, and 100m and 200m silver medallist in the London Olympics Johann Blake.

We muse over a sub-2 hour marathon with 2008 marathon world record holder Haile Gebrselassie. "It's not only the performance of the athlete, but the performance of the technology," that counts he says, speculating that the holy grail of distance running might just be possible with a helping hand from technological advancements.

First impressions

adidas is so adamant in the technology that it plans to put Boost into many of its other running lines in 2014, then across into its other shoe markets.

So what do we think? They certainly felt noticably bouncier than my regular running shoes when I first put them on, and on an impromptu run through Manhattan after the launch I found the springy sole was great for swerving the crowds in the middle of a packed Times Square - it literally gave me a boost. Two hours later I seemed to feel less tired than usual, too.

First impressions are a thumbs up and I'm planning to road-test them a lot more over the coming weeks.

Find out how Energy Boost fares in our spring/summer shoe guide, out in our April issue on sale now.

Energy Boost go on sale in the UK on February 27.