A few years ago, barefoot running was all the rage, but now, sneakers are back — and they’re more high-tech than ever. Recently, Nike introduced its LunarTempo shoe, which retails for $110 and is specifically designed for long-distance, high-speed training runs. The latest addition is the Adidas Ultra BOOST, a super-advanced sneaker that could be a running game changer (and is worth the $180 price tag).
The best running shoes offer cushioning while also being springy enough to help propel you forward (sneaker makers call this “energy return”). Adidas’s BOOST technology, first introduced in 2013, is basically capsules made of highly elastic, thermoplastic urethane. Each midsole in the new Ultra BOOST sneakers has 3,000 of these capsules, which gives you more energy return than any other shoe on the market, says Mikal Peveto, the company’s senior director of Futures Running.
We gave these babies a test run (pun intended), and the difference was immediately noticeable. For starters, the shoes are incredibly light. During your workout, you sort of feel like you’re running on a bouncy, but supportive, cloud. Another cool feature: The shoe has a flexible upper to accommodate the natural foot swelling that can happen during a run (Adidas researchers discovered the foot can expand by 10mm or more in width while you work out).
Looking for more high-tech running gear? Check out this reflective apparel for nighttime runs — and our guide to the best fitness trackers. And, keep an eye out for this sports bra that monitors your heart rate.