Alex Ranton | May 15, 2018


by BRIAN METZLER | May 16th, 2018

The Adidas SolarBoost is the latest generation of shoes utilizing Boost technology, and it has impressed our seasoned reviewer.  Read on to learn what our pro-gear tester and guest writer Brian Metzler has to say.


The latest shoe utilizing Adidas’ game-changing Boost midsole foam is an amazing blend of function and fashion. The function is all about a smooth, soft and semi-responsive ride, while the fashion angle is centered around the idea that Adidas made a technically advanced shoe look cool and aesthetically pleasing. (Adidas said its designers took inspiration from both NASA design standards and the energy and colors the sun creates.)


This edition of the SolarBoost is the first shoe to use a new technological featured called Tailored Fiber Placement (TFP)—a new construction technique in which various sizes and densities of yarns recycled from ocean plastics are sewn together in a pattern that creates supportive, form-fitting sidewalls that wrap the midfoot and arch into a secure, comfortable cradle. Other innovative features include a semi-firm, two-piece heel counter that adds support without stressing the Achilles tendon and a set of symmetrical reinforcing rails (known as the Solar Propulsion Rail system) down the medial and lateral sides of the shoe that guide and stabilize the foot as it rolls forward (with help from a firm plastic Torsion directional wedge sandwiched between the midsole and outsole).


No question about it, the ride of the SolarBoost is soft and silky-smooth. Although it initially feels as if it’s a bit marshmallowy, the Boost foam seems to give it more of a springy sensation directly after impact with the ground. That sensation of energy return gives this shoe a vibrant feeling, although, truth be told, it’s not super-responsive compared to a few contemporary shoes with firmer foundations. The innovative TFP sidewall engineering and stability rails are all that they’re cracked up to be. Our wear-test runs found that the upper was much more connecting and supportive than similar Adidas shoes (i.e., PureBoost, UltraBoost) that used some variation of lightweight compression knit upper materials. Those shoes often resulted in a bit of a sloppy ride at the midfoot, but not with the reliably snug, super stable and forward-moving SolarBoost. To top it off, the interior is comfortable and the forefoot mesh material is supple and accommodating for all foot shapes.


Runners who appreciate a lot of cushion and a soft, energetic sensation under foot and yet also need a twinge of stability will like the Solar Boost a lot. It’s a versatile everyday trainer for a variety of slow to moderate types of runs and workouts from 2 to 12 miles. We didn’t think it was ideal for fast intervals or short races, but it could be a good choice for a 10K, half marathon or a marathon because of its cushion and inherent stability.


Made with thread spun from Parley ocean plastic, this shoe is eco-friendly and built with sustainable manufacturing processes. The outsole of the SolarBoost is made of a thin matrix web of Continental rubber that offers optimal flexibility and traction without inhibiting the foot from moving naturally through the gait cycle. Plus, the iconic BOOST midsole material delivers more energy return than most comparable shoes.

There’s not much to dislike about this shoe - at almost 11 ounces (for a men’s size 9.0), it’s within the same weight range as many other comparable shoes. For some, that weight may be a little high, though that’s not a factor for shorter or slower runs - however, it did become apparent when running longer and faster during our wear-test efforts.



Brian Metzler has run races at every distance from 50 meters to 100 miles, wear-tested more than 1,500 pairs of shoes, is a three-time Ironman finisher and occasionally participates in the quirky sport of pack burro racing in Colorado.

He's the founding editor of Trail Runner magazine, is a former senior editor at Running Times and editor in chief at Competitor Magazine. He's the author of "Running Colorado's Front Range" and the co-author of "Natural Running: The Simple Path to Stronger Healthier Running" and "Run Like a Champion: An Olympian's Approach for Every Runner."