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The Ultraboost has been a staple shoe in the adidas line up for six years now, finding favour with runners and sneaker-heads alike. The latest update brings it deeper into its performance roots as adidas have revitalised and re-energized this three-stripe classic. Say hello to the adidas Ultraboost 21!
Adidas UB21 on foot image
A team of leading adidas designers and product developers have been working closely with the adidas running community and testers across the globe to create the new silhouette, which reimagines the original Ultraboost to deliver a bold new design that makes use of the brands latest performance technology.
The original Ultraboost featured the adidas ‘S’ curve, while the midsole was designed to reference their classic look. The PRIMEKNIT upper and heel counter were similar to the ZX or EQT shoes of the 1990s.

For the Ultraboost 21, they have taken all of those anthemic branding ingredients from the original and reimagined them with technology that is bang up to date to build an impressive performance running shoe that still holds the brands DNA at its core.
Adidas UB21 old to new image

WHAT’S NEW WITH THE ULTRABOOST 21?

Ultraboost 21 refines the performance upgrades that were central to Ultraboost 19 and Ultraboost 20, but with an aesthetic more in line with the original shoe. The silhouette design has dramatically changed from Ultraboost 19 giving the shoe a bold new look that is more reminiscent of the original Ultraboost.

The core development in Ultraboost 21 is the redesign of the shoe’s torsion system. The new adidas LEP (‘Linear Energy Push’) provides a 15% increase in forefoot bending stiffness for a more responsive stride. This works alongside adidas’ proprietary midsole BOOST technology, which packs in 6% more BOOST through an exaggerated heel curve. Roughly translated, this should provide runners with incredible energy return and comfort in every step.
Adidas UB21 tech image

THE ULTRABOOST 21 UPDATES INCLUDE:

  • OPTIMIZED BOOST – 6% more BOOST capsules than Ultraboost 20 provides runners with a great mix of support and comfort.
  • ADIDAS LEP – a newly redesigned ‘Linear Energy Push’ torsion system with stiffer, reinforced material in the midsole delivers less flex in the forefoot and increased responsiveness over previous versions.
  • PRIMEKNIT+ – a more precise knit has been designed for use in the upper, which produces more support and enhanced movement for the foot and should deliver a more comfortable wear experience, whilst keeping weight low.
  • SUSTAINABLE SUPPORT – The upper is made with PRIMEBLUE, a high-performance recycled material that contains at least 50% Parley Ocean Plastic, all part of adidas’s commitment to sustainability.
Adidas UB21 Moritz image
We caught up with adidas Runnings Senior Design Director for Footwear, Moritz Höllmüller, to delve a little deeper into the development and improvements of this exciting new Ultraboost offering:

What was your favourite part about redesigning the ULTRABOOST 21?

MH: To re-imagine the iconic Ultraboost is extremely exciting on multiple levels. Firstly, we want to create the best of the best running products with the most innovative technologies. Secondly, it provided the opportunity to create a design aesthetic connecting the original ULTRABOOST with a new, bold futuristic vision for 21.

What are you most proud of with the Ultraboost 21?

MH: For me, the best thing is the incredible and diverse team that we have at adidas that brings these concepts to life to create products that we truly love and believe in. A shoe like this takes around two years from concept to execution, so there is a huge number of people that come together to make it all possible. It’s amazing to be a part of that journey.

What was your biggest challenge when developing this new version?

MH: Everything! There was nothing we put on autopilot, nothing we took for granted. But we did challenge absolutely everything to create the best shoe we could possibly make. With each iteration of Ultraboost we look to challenge the status quo and adopt new technologies and best practices to really push the boundaries of sports performance.
Adidas UB21 testing shot
In your opinion, have you hit your brief? Is this the best version of Ultraboost we have ever seen?

MH: 100%. The beauty of Ultraboost 21 is that it brings together the design aesthetic of the original Ultraboost and fuses that with the best technological advances. It’s also our most sustainable Ultraboost ever, using PRIMEBLUE in the upper – a high-performance recycled yarn containing at least 50% Parley Ocean Plastic.

We really believe that Ultraboost is the perfect running shoe for everyday runners, whether you’re simply going for a run around the block or training for a 5k.

How important was it for you that the Ultraboost 21 built on the sustainability credentials of the franchise? Did this impact the performance attributes of the shoe in anyway?

MH: This was incredibly important and in no way impacts on the shoe’s performance. It’s exciting to bring high performance and sustainability together and with innovations such as PRIMEBLUE, we are helping to reinforce the adidas brand commitment to sustainability that we made at the UN back in 2015, for all our products to be made from recycled polyester by 2024.

What do you feel is the key performance benefit of the Ultraboost 21 over the previous version?

MH: We would say that Ultraboost 21 is our most holistic BOOST shoe ever based on the updates and improvements that we’ve made from all angles.

Not only have we optimised the BOOST by 6% compared to Ultraboost 20 to provide greater cushioning, but the adidas LEP increases the forefoot bending stiffness by 15% to give a more responsive ride. The PRIMEKNIT+ upper is also a more precise knit designed and forged for incredible support and enhanced movement, combining pure comfort with lightweight performance.


How were the improvements in energy return measured?

MH: Ultraboost has always delivered great energy return and Ultraboost 21 is no different. The incredible energy return that Ultraboost 21 delivers really comes through all of the improvements outlined above.

During the development of the shoe, we looked into the level and the amount of BOOST that you have underfoot, to give a very soft and transitional feeling when the heel strikes the ground. This then gives a very smooth transition through the rest of the foot with the adidas LEP creating a spring effect through the forefoot that gives a more responsive ride.
Adidas UB21 design image 2
Will the shoe feel familiar to fans of previous Ultraboost, or is it a completely new experience?

MH: Ultraboost 21 brings back all of the things that runners love about the last UB but upgrades the performance experience to the next level. So yes, we think that this shoe will appeal to both long-term fans of Ultraboost as well as newcomers to the franchise.

How would you suggest runners include Ultraboost 21 in their rotation?

MH: Ultraboost 21 is the ultimate experience of comfort and responsiveness and gives every runner incredible energy. Ultraboost 21 is an extremely universal shoe designed for runners of all shapes and performance levels so it can be used for all kind of different runs.

Was the shoe developed with feedback from athletes and/or everyday runners and did this push the design of the shoe in any directions that were unexpected?

MH: Our shoes always go through a rigorous testing process, which includes the adidas runners community as well as mechanical testing. We take all of this feedback on board throughout the design and creative process. As part of the Ultraboost 21 campaign, you will see some of our brand ambassadors such as Shaunae Miller-Uibo and David Beckham involved and we’re delighted to have their support and endorsement of the shoe.
Adidas UB21 yellow image
The adidas ULTRABOOST 21 is available now at Pro:Direct Running! Shop the men's collection HERE and the women's HERE.

We are proud to stock an extensive range of adidas Running shoes. Explore the men’s collection HERE and the women’s HERE.

Stay tuned to our social channels for more insight from the designers in the coming weeks and to stay up to date with the latest and greatest running shoe releases. You can find us at:

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