By Ben Bowers
on 2.13.13
Photo by adidas

In the age of smartphones and tablets, sports companies have scrambled to embrace technology as a new vehicle for pushing the limits of athletic performance. This first generation of wearable sports sensors has unquestionably ushered in a new era of data-driven exercise — but the Adidas Boost Running Shoe ($150) hopes to prove that re-thinking existing footwear construction still offers plenty of game-changing potential.

Adidas’ latest flagship running kicks take their name from the revolutionary cushioning material found in their midsole, which was created in partnership with BASF. The solid granular material (TPU) is literally blown up to create thousands of so-called “small energy capsules”. Whatever you call them, the “capsules” store and unleash energy more efficiently than existing shoe padding. Most importantly, the material maintains this quality across the life of the shoe, even in temperatures ranging from 104 to -4 degrees Fahrenheit — making the foam three times more temperature-resistant than the EVA padding that’s common today.

This new material works in conjunction with previous adidas advances like an ADIWEAR outsole and TORSION SYSTEM for stability and durability, an external heel counter (which is miCoach compatible) and techfit technology for a secure, flexible fit. The result is a new breed of running shoe — an alternative to today’s ultralight trend that still appeals to serious mile loggers.

Adidas was kind enough to provide us with a set, and our resident Ironman Jeremy Berger will be putting the shoes to the test in an endurance run soon; we’ll have more formal thoughts on their athletic prowess then. So far, we can testify that they’re incredibly comfortable and the new BOOST padding definitely feels unique in stride. The relatively subdued styling should also appeal to no-nonsense athletes who are turned off by the ostentatious looks of other advanced running shoes out there. Like all cutting edge things, though, you’ll pay a premium for the first “Boosted” shoe on the market when pairs start shipping on February 27, 2013. The good news is that adidas has aggressive plans to upgrade many of their popular styles and models with the new foam, beginning in 2014.

Available February 27

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