WORDS BY STEPHEN YU
In 2013, adidas finally broke decades of Nike hegemony with their rival to the Swoosh’s legendary Air sole technology: Boost. Designed using NASA technology, and honed to perfection with the help of motion-capture technology and a few of adidas’ top athletes as wear testers, Boost combined innovation with performance. Made of hundreds of TPU ‘energy capsule’ pellets compressed together, the resulting sole generated 20% more energy return compared to those made of rubber, and its responsive and cushioned feel made it an instant hit with runners.
In January 2015, the Trefoil would bring Boost technology to the lifestyle market with a shoe dubbed as ‘the best running shoe ever’. Enter the Ultraboost. The perfect marriage of adidas’ leading technologies – Primeknit knitted uppers, Torsion, and of course Boost – alongside a durable Continental (of car tire manufacturer fame) rubber outsole, the Ultraboost quickly gained notoriety as the most comfortable shoe on the market, with its sock-like fit and all-day comfort. Through co-signs from Kanye West and collaborations with some of the world’s coolest fashion brands, its street cred quickly skyrocketed too.
Now, five years and at least seven iterations later, the adidas Ultraboost is still going strong. But while there are several different Primeknit patterns, uncaged configurations , and even eco-friendly ‘Parley For The Oceans’ constructions to choose from, each comes with its own unique sizing. So we asked a few of the world’s foremost experts to give you the lowdown on Ultraboost sizing, fit, and styling.
Adidas Ultraboost Sizing & Fit Guide
Sneaker photographer and Instagrammer from Cologne, Germany
The Adidas Ultraboosts were one of the first pairs of sneakers that made me think, ‘I want these so bad.’ With its lightweight uppers and comfortable Boost sole, it’s a sneaker I wear every day no matter what I’m doing.
Today I’ve got the newly re-released Ultraboost 1.0 “Triple White” on my feet. Since I’m back at work after quarantine, I’m dressed classically in light grey Chino pants, a white T-shirt, flannel shirt, and brown coat. When I wear Ultraboosts, I select my preferred colorway first, then I’ll coordinate my clothes around it. I feel like every sneakerhead dresses in the same way.
Sizing & Fit:
I would say the Adidas Ultraboost fit true to size but it depends on the upper. The 1.0 and 2.0 uppers are a bit tighter than 3.0 and 4.0, but it’s not a big difference. I’m the same size in Ultraboosts as I am in Air Jordan 1s, but in Air Force 1s (which fit bigger in my opinion) I take a half-size down. The Ultraboost is the definition of comfort; I know big sneakerheads and people who normally only wear other sneaker brands, but they all have the same opinion on this silhouette. It’s definitely one of the best sneakers for daily life.
The uppers of the Ultraboost are really durable but they’ll need some care if you want to have fun in them for a long time. I use Crep Protect for protection, it’s the best. If they get really really dirty, I’ll use the Crep Protect Cleaning Kit to get them clean again. You can also wash your Ultraboosts in the washing machine, but make sure to put them in a shoe bag first so you don’t destroy the uppers.
Sneaker Instagrammer from Sydney, Australia
The Ultraboost is undisputedly one of the best, most successful, and prolific sneaker styles of all time. It’s one of those rare sneaker silhouettes that nails aesthetics, comfort, and performance all-in-one. The sleek, contoured shape of the silhouette, matched with the overall comfort of the upper and finished off with the iconic full-Boost midsole, is an unbeatable combination. They are a must-have for me because they are so versatile; you can wear them with any outfit, no matter the occasion. I like wearing mine when running, at the gym, or casually. I even wear my Ultraboost Leather every day for work.
What better pair to wear than the very colorway that kickstarted a sneaker cultural revolution: today I’m wearing the Ultraboost 1.0 OG “Core Black/Purple” with a North Face Nuptse jacket, Wrangler tee and I Love Ugly cargo pants. These were the first pair that I ever bought back in February 2015, and despite a few scuffs here and there, they’re still going strong. In my opinion, this colorway will forever be the best as it is just so versatile and can go with any outfit. I always like to dress from the shoes up; I’m wearing a fairly minimalistic outfit with a functional aesthetic to match the colorway. It’s an outfit that’s comfortable to be in all day.
Sizing & Fit:
The fit and sizing of the Ultraboost will forever be one of the most frequently asked sneaker questions of all time. Depending on the different variations of the Ultraboost, I find that the sizing changes due to different uppers. Here’s my sizing advice:
For Ultraboosts with a Primeknit upper and cage, size up a half size as they allow room for your feet to swell throughout the day or during exercise.
For the more recent Ultraboost 19 and 20 silhouettes, go true to size – I find it locks down the heel better.
For my leather Ultraboost, I find that again true to size is best as the leather stretches slightly after you’ve broken them in.
Ultraboosts are one of the most comfortable pairs of shoes in my rotation. The cushioning gives a soft, plush ride when worn for casual walks around the streets, but when I do more strenuous exercises like running or circuit workouts, the Boost sole adjusts and adapts to whatever activity I’m doing. Nothing compares to the Ultraboost in terms of mixing comfort, versatility, aesthetics, and just a hint of hype (depending on the colorway) all in one shoe. Try and name a more successful running shoe that has infiltrated both sports and fashion worlds in the past decade – I’ll wait. Sure, slides are comfortable, but would you run a marathon or do a set of squats in a pair?
My number one tip – clean them as often as you can. It’s always good to look after your Ultraboost. The reason why my OG pair has aged so well is because I give them the right TLC every few weeks to ensure they last. When cleaning the uppers, I like to use a coconut-oil based cleaning solution such as Sneaker-Laundry AU Sneaker cleaner or Jason Markk. The Boost midsoles are trickier, I clean them more often to prevent them from the dreaded ‘yellowing’. The midsoles are hard to clean because they’re so dense, they’re made up of many Boost pellets squashed together. So, in order to keep them white, you’ll need to use much stronger cleaning solutions. My trick to remove any dirt build-up or mud stains is to apply a paste of Sodium Percarbonate (also known as Napisan) and vinegar. As the chemicals react, they fizz and help soften and lift out any stains (use with caution, however, as this harsh combination can damage the uppers).
Sneaker videographer and photographer from Singapore
What makes the Ultraboost a must-have for me is how versatile, comfortable, and well-designed they are. This one pair of shoes serves so many different purposes and I wear mine for everyday activities like going to the supermarket, running, hitting the gym, or even at school. The comfort the shoe offers is off the charts: its Boost technology allows my feet to feel cushioned throughout the day as well as helping me to get a more consistent workout every single time. After crossing into the lifestyle arena through collaborations with other brands such as UNDFTD, Hypebeast, Highsnobiety, and even Kith, there are just so many brilliant Ultraboost designs to choose from, enabling me to rock a different pair at every event.
Today I’m wearing the Ultraboost 1.0 “Triple White”. Honestly, I love the 1.0 Primeknit pattern the most so I’m glad adidas decided to re-release it. Typically, I tend to style my Ultraboost with some jeans or track pants, whatever I’m feeling that day. I believe that whatever you style your Ultraboost with it will always look good, whether you want your outfit to be more casual or slightly more formal. I sometimes like a colour-themed outfit, so if I’m wearing red Ultraboosts I’ll wear a red pair of track pants that day too.
Sizing & Fit:
The Ultraboost fits true to size unlike some other sneakers, so anybody looking to purchase a pair should stick to the size they usually get when buying an adidas shoe. This really makes it easier for people to decide what size to get. Even so, due to the malleability of the Primeknit material, you can choose to get them half a size down if you like. It won’t crush your feet like other shoes, but will instead give you a tighter and more snug fit. The same goes for a half size up – the Primeknit material still hugs your feet should you want a looser and more relaxed fit. However, if you have wider feet, it's best to go a half size up for the best fit.
As mentioned above, the Ultraboost is one of the comfiest pairs of sneakers I’ve ever owned. It’s a combination of both the Boost technology as well as the Primeknit material that hugs your feet to provide maximum cushioning and maximum comfort. On top of that, its lightweight design also makes you feel less weighed down when running. Finally, the Ultraboost’s highly breathable Primeknit material gives increased ventilation, so your feet never feel too sweaty or warm while wearing them.
In general, Ultraboosts take care of themselves. However, I do like to keep my sneakers squeaky clean and the brand that I trust the most to do so is Crep Protect. Their Resistance spray protects your sneakers from the elements so you can wear them come rain or shine, and makes any dirt easy to wipe off. The Crep wipes are useful for the occasional wipe down of my Ultraboosts to get rid of any surface dirt when out and about. For deep cleaning stains that aren’t easily removable, I’ll use the cure solution and brush.