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adidas UltraBOOST, the story behind the shoes that saved adidas

"The Greatest Running Shoe Ever”

adidas UltraBOOST, the story behind the shoes that saved adidas The Greatest Running Shoe Ever”

More than a running shoe, UltraBOOST represented a turning point for adidas, the beginning of a story that started with a bold statement and ended with an incredible sold-out. If it's true that there wouldn't be the Yeezy 350 without the Ultra Boost, it's also true that there probably wouldn't even be adidas as we know it by now.

Before the release of Yeezy and when adidas' finances were not at their best, a series of coincidences and lucky breaks brought one of the most divisive sneakers of recent years to success as hoped-for as necessary. A story to tell, especially in view of the new release of Triple White, the model that most of all has helped to consecrate the UltraBOOST. If it is true that the world of sneakers does not forgive, it took a lot of courage to accompany the release of a shoe with the phrase “The Greatest Running Shoe Ever”. 

The running shoe in question was the now-iconic adidas UltraBOOST, which since 2015 has become one of the most recognizable models of the Three Stripes brand. Born with the idea of revolutionizing the world of running, the Ultra Boosts bring back the Boost technology, made by Badische Anilin & Soda-Fabrik and then purchased by adidas, famous for the high performance guaranteed by the high energy return possible thanks to the use of eTPU, thermoplastic polyurethane foam. In addition to making runners all over the world happy, midsole quickly became a recognizable brand able to cross the categories, moving from marathons to streetwear.

But it was still early. Despite the first place and the new world record set by Dannis Kimetto with a pair of adiZero Adios BOOST at the Berlin Marathon in 2014, the fame of adidas technology remained confined exclusively to the runner community. “We knew we had to create something different from everything else, no one was wearing running shoes in their everyday life at the time", said adidas Running's product director Matthias Amm, outlining what would have later become the road to UltraBOOST development. They needed to be something unique, an unprecedented experience that could only come from combining the three technologies in the hands of the adidas team: Primeknit, Boost and Torsion

A step forward that not only served to improve the experience of future UltraBOOST but also unintentionally launched them into that hype territory dear to the world of sneakers. While the sleek silhouette made them attractive for lifestyle use, what turned them into a real phenomenon was an unwittingly limited stock: adidas had to face some production difficulties due to the Boost, limiting the production of its new sneakers to a single factory. What seemed to be a problem, however, became an asset and the extremely low stock of each release made fans increasingly in need of a pair of UltraBOOSTs.

The last push to launch the new adidas release into the Olympus of sneakers could only come from one person: Kanye West. A few months before the release of his Yeezy Boost 350 Turtle Doves, Ye was photographed with a pair of adidas Energy Boost ESMs on his feet, anticipating what would then be the turning point. That point is called Billboard Music Awards 2015, the moment is when Kanye went on stage at the MGM Grand Garden Arena with a pair of adidas Ultra Boost Triple White Triple Boost, immediately consecrating the shoes.

When Kanye wears something, it's a sign of authenticity", said Andy Barr of adidas, commenting on Ye's performance and the subsequent success of UltraBOOST, which disappeared from the shelves a few days later, ending up in the resell market for $600. That episode started a new golden age for Boost technology, which has gone from being a runner's delight to the needs of every sneaker enthusiast. West himself from the beginning of his relationship with adidas in 2013 until today has rarely renounced to Boost in his Yeezy, contributing in fact to the rebirth of the German brand.

While Ye's arrival in the adidas world boosted American sales that had been in sharp decline until then, UltraBOOST remains the most successful Boost model in the brand's history to date. Not only for a large profit margin but also for the ability to fit into that dusty pantheon in need of novelty made of Stan Smith, Superstar and Gazelle


adidas UltraBOOST 1.0 in "Triple White" are available online from May 17th, 2020 on selected retailers at the price of $180.