Shoe Review: Adidas Ultraboost Light
Adidas’ high-energy, high-cushioned Ultraboost is back and lighter than ever to give you an extra boost on your next run. Could this be the best Ultraboost yet? Let’s find out.
The Ultraboost Light is made with lighter materials than previous versions of the shoe while offering the same springy cushioning and responsive ride. Adidas says its new Light Boost foam is a whopping 30 percent lighter than the previous midsole foam while offering 3 percent more energy return. The Ultraboost Light has the same stretchy knit upper and separated lace cage as previous versions, giving it the same unmistakable Adidas aesthetic.
Fleet Feet reviewers tested the Ultraboost Light to get a feel for how it fits and performs. Here’s everything you need to know about the latest from Adidas.
Adidas Ultraboost Light
|9.2 oz (W), 10.5 oz (M)
|Stack height (heel/forefoot)
|29.3 mm/19.3 mm
|New Balance 1080v12, Saucony Triumph 20
Lightweight Foam Boosts You Forward
The heart and sole of every version in the Adidas Ultraboost lineup is the midsole foam. Soft, bouncy and peppy, Boost midsole foam cushions your stride upon landings while rebounding you forward during toe-offs.
Boost foam is a unique blend of midsole foam created by Adidas. It’s made from thermoplastic polyurethane particles (TPU) expanding across small pockets of air. The latest version of the Ultraboost uses Light Boost midsole foam, which Adidas claims to be 30 percent lighter than the original Boost foam with 3 percent more energy return, helping you stay light on your feet. Reviewers noticed the difference.
“I really love this foam!” Caroline says. “I enjoyed it in last year’s version, too, but that shoe was a bit heavier. The Light Boost foam does feel a bit lighter, and it still has that same nice blend of soft and bouncy. I love how much cushion is under the heel, as someone who’s a bit of a heel striker.”
While the cushioning under the midfoot and heel feels soft and dreamy, the forefoot is noticeably firmer, thanks to Adidas’ Linear Energy Push System. This technology uses stiffer, reinforced materials in the midsole to reduce forefoot flex for a more responsive ride.
“I really like firm, responsive rides and the Ultraboost Light totally fits the bill,” Nate says. “The shoe worked beautifully for a 9-mile tempo run with several 1-mile intervals on the open road. It offers plenty of underfoot protection, just enough softness and oodles of pop and pep.”
The Ultraboost Light offers a durable outsole made with Continental rubber, an international tire manufacturer that lends its expertise and materials to Adidas to help create grippy, tacky soles. The rubber covers the areas of the outsole that see the most wear and tear, like the forefoot and heel, while leaving a portion of exposed midsole foam right down the center of the sole to save weight.
“I ended up running in a snowstorm, which meant running fast and making sharp turns on wet, icy pavement,” Nate says. “I’m really impressed with this shoe’s traction that helped me run confidently across tricky terrain.”
Sustainable PrimeKnit Upper Offers Locked Down Fit… For Some
The Adidas Ultraboost Light features the same PrimeKnit upper as the previous version, which wraps around your foot in one piece with a separated lace cage to help you lock down the fit. The yarn in the upper is made with 50 percent Parley Ocean Plastic (plastic waste intercepted from beaches and coastal communities before reaching the ocean) and 50 percent recycled polyester, part of Adidas’ commitment to sustainability.
While the knit upper is smooth and flexible, the lace cage is firm and rigid, creating a contrasting feel that reviewers are torn about. Some feel that the upper offers the perfect fit, while others find it difficult to lock down.
“Because there’s no extra eyelet for the marathon loop, I can’t get a good heel lockdown,” Mandy says. “I have narrow heels, so this is a deal breaker for me. The heel also goes up super high, past my socks, and digs into my calf. However, I love the stretchy knit of the upper, both the way that it looks and feels on my foot.”
But Caroline found that the fit of the Ultraboost Light has been much improved from the previous version, the Ultraboost 22.
“The one-piece knit upper that bugged me in the previous version seems to have gotten a much better, locked in fit,” Caroline says. “I no longer experience my heels and ankles slipping or moving side to side when I’m running. The construction of the heel collar offers much more padding, leading to a more locked down fit.”
We recommend trying the Ultraboost Light on in store to make sure that the fit and feel of the upper work with the size and shape of your feet. If you’re unsure about the size and shape of your feet, be sure to head into your local Fleet Feet for an expert one-on-one outfitting. Fleet Feet outfitters use 3D fit id® foot scanning technology to gather information about your feet and the support they need by taking precise measurements of your foot length, width and arch height.
Adidas Ultraboost Light vs. Ultraboost 22
Adidas Ultraboost Light
Adidas Ultraboost 22
9.2 oz (W), 10.5 oz (M)
10 oz (W), 11.7 oz (M)
The Adidas Ultraboost Light is significantly lighter than the previous version—almost a full ounce for both the women’s and men’s models—due to the new, lightweight foam that gives this shoe its name. Reviewers who felt that the Ultraboost 22 was just a tad heavy noticed an improvement with the Ultraboost 22.
Some reviewers think that the fit and feel of the upper has been improved with the latest model, offering a more secure fit. While other reviewers weren’t able to find their perfect fit in the Ultraboost Light, they agree that the cushioning offers a smooth, dreamy ride.
“While I don’t care for the knit upper very much, I love the underfoot foam and the excellent grip and traction,” Nate says.
How Does the Ultraboost Light Compare?
We took a look at comparable models and how they stack up against the Adidas Ultraboost Light. Here’s what we found.
Adidas Ultraboost Light
New Balance 1080v12
Saucony Triumph 20
9.2 oz (W), 10.5 oz (M)
8.3 oz (W), 10.3 oz (M)
8.8 oz (W), 9.7 oz (M)
Stack height (heel/toe)
29.3 mm/19.3 mm
34 mm/26 mm
37 mm/27 mm
“The thick, chunky heel reminds me of the Saucony Triumph 20, one of my go-to running shoes,” Caroline says. “I love how the Ultraboost Light and Triumph have enough cushioning in the heel to really absorb impact for heel-strikers like myself.”
“The midsole cushioning in the Ultraboost Light reminds me of the 1080v12,” Max says. “It’s got the same soft yet springy ride. The heel counter in the two shoes feel similar, too.”
Who is the Ultraboost Light Best For?
The Adidas Ultraboost Light is a great choice for neutral runners who don’t need extra support to reduce the effects of overpronation, the inward rolling of a runner’s foot during landings. If you enjoy a blend of soft and responsive cushioning, you’ll likely enjoy the Ultraboost Light. Thanks to the hefty dose of underfoot cushioning, this shoe can tackle distances from a 5K all the way up to a marathon.
Because some reviewers found it hard to lock in the fit of the shoe, you’ll likely want to try these shoes on in store if you have narrow heels and frequently experience slippage. If you enjoy a supportive, structured upper, this shoe might not be the one for you.
The Ultraboost Light is also a great pick for style-conscious runners who want something they can wear on their daily run and then out around town.