adidas Officially Announces Their Energy Boost Shoes

Adidas Energy Boost collage

adidas Energy Boost Collage via Runners.fr

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about adidas’ new midsole technology that is being referred to as Boost. They formally introduced the Boost sole material in NYC today, and video of the event was streamed live. I just finished watching the video and a few things struck me.

1. adidas is not quite as polished as Apple when it comes to PR events like this.

2. A lot of claims are made about the energy return provided by Boost, but very little information has been provided to back it up. It’s one thing to claim that mechanical testing shows that Boost provides more energy return than EVA, it’s another thing to demonstrate that the midsole material actually provides a performance benefit when worn by a human runner. The latter would require physiological testing of running economy in runners wearing Boost shoes vs. similar shoes with an EVA midsole. Behavior of cushioning materials in mechanical tests does not always translate to how they perform on a human – as a simple example, humans can run on surfaces that vary widely in firmness and produce the same amount of impact. Why? Because we adjust things like the stiffness of our legs, muscle activation, etc. If Boost truly does provide a performance advantage, it shouldn’t be terribly hard to demonstrate with some simple experiments.

3. Following on the previous point, Haile Gebreselassie spoke at the event and jokingly commented that the IAAF is going to be asking adidas what’s going on with this shoe (i.e., an investigation of Boost’s performance enhancing properties – probably not what adidas wanted, or maybe it was?). This presents an interesting dilemma – if you’re adidas do you stick to marketing the energy return benefits of Boost based on mechanical testing only, or do you take the next logical step and show actual performance enhancing benefits in human runners. And, if you demonstrate the latter, might that lead to shoes using Boost being banned from elite competition? If the shoe truly is revolutionary (and it may very well be), what happens if someone runs a sub-2:00 marathon in it this year or next?

All of these questions are interesting to ponder, and will undoubtedly keep this shoes in the limelight as we head to the official release of the shoes later this month.

If you’d like to watch the Boost PR event, you can view the video below:

Running Warehouse: Great prices on closeout shoes! View men's and women's selections.
Amazon.com: 25% or more off clearance running shoes - click here to view current selection.

Recent Posts By Category: Running Shoe Reviews | Running Gear Reviews | Running Science

About Peter Larson

This post was authored by Peter Larson. Pete is a recovering academic who currently works as an exercise physiologist, running coach, and writer. He's also a father of three and a fanatical runner with a bit of a shoe obsession. In addition to writing and editing this site, he is co-author of the book Tread Lightly, and writes a personal blog called The Blogologist. Follow Pete on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and via email.

Comments

  1. USATF rules do not allow “energy return” technology in racing. So they could be banned from races right away.

    • Robert Osfield says:

      Most elastic materials provide at least some level of energy return, and most EVA mid-soles will return a proportion of the energy used up compressing them once the load is removed. If the USATF rules are literally to not allow “energy return” then almost all running shoes will need to be banned.

  2. Anything with Haile G. in it is worth watching. At least, for a total run-goob like me. I’ve heard some good things from a couple of people who’ve run in samples of the Adios Boost, so I think it might be worth it to give them a try. I mean, they’re Adios! Anyway, I agree with Pete that hearing about everyone’s “studies” is getting really old. I like to see real-world, experiential info.

  3. kamilothoris says:

    Isn’t it obligatory for them to make all these claims? Isn’t that what good PR is about?

    It falls to us to spend money and discover what they are on about.

    Puma is flattening and Adidas is boosting. Move and countermove: now they have cornered the market in unproven bull.

  4. Sam Winebaum says:

    They are now available for pre order from Adidas. I’m in although it will be first > 10mm drop for me in a while for the road. Liking the Altra Torin a lot too. Nothing wrong with some cushion with the zero drop and roomy wide forefoot.

  5. There is a review of the shoe at runningshoesguru. The shoes are not light and don’t know about the drop?

  6. There’s a whole lot of discussion about the shoe and its promo event at a running community forum in my home country. A funny thing was suggested by one of the posters: turn off the sound and just watch Haile’s body language. He, afaik, seems to enjoy a reputation of being a natural, unprenentious, straightforward and just plain nice guy… and here he looks a bit as if he was “drafted” (probably rather “invited” than “coerced into”, of course) to support things he’s not quite (yet?) personally confident about :))

    Looking at the shoe itself, I can’t help noticing that it appears to have a quite hefty heel-toe drop and that this marvelous, almost physics-defying substance is placed mostly under the heel. What use would it then present to effectively aid a naturally-running fore/mid-foot striker?

  7. Samuel Hartpence says:

    Notice the EVA mat is quite a bit thinner than the ‘boost’ mat?

    • Robby Haas says:

      also notice that adidas is the only company to dramatically change midsole materials from standard EVA/similar components that have been used in the past 20 years. Cheers to at least making an attempt at innovation.

    • Is it possible that they’re about the same thickness but the slab of the boost mat is brighter and is more strongly reflected in the shiny dark surface on which it’s placed? So we fall victims of an optical illusion?

    • Pete Larson says:

      Yes, I noticed that too. Not a very controlled experiment.

      Sent from my iPad

  8. I must say the video got me intrigued. More so because of Hailes words. I would definitely like to try them one day. As long as there is just foam and no engine in the sole I consider it legal. I am very curious what shoe Haile would be wearing in his next marathon. Let’s say boost is revolutionary. Than if I were a professional runner, I would certainly not mind being the first one to bring the marathon under 2.03 or even under the two hours. It is like the clap skate in inline skating. First only the Dutch skaters used it, now everybody does. But in 1998 Jan Bos became the World Champion Sprint. And he will be known so forever…

    • Pete Larson says:

      It’s interesting that the clap skate is legal, but swimming has taken steps to ban certain types of swimsuit. I guess each sport is regulated differently?
      Sent from my iPad

  9. Matt Brandon says:

    It seems just like Adidas to continually ignore the direction of much of the sport shoe industry (ie minimalist, low drop) and bring out high drop, cushioned shoes with such fanfare. Also how cheesy is this presentation?! Really put me off anything they had to say.

Speak Your Mind

*