Adidas Ultra Boost vs Nike Epic React.
Nike Epic React vs Adidas Ultra Boost Review
For year, Adidas Boost has been the best-selling energy return foam on the market. Sure it’s been well marketed, but Adidas have done a sterling job on designing a range of great products carrying the Boost midsole platform. However, a new kid is on the block…
Nike have recently launched their new React foam, a foam with an unusual brief. Is it possible to make a super lightweight energy return midsole that has a pillow-like softness? Well they managed it and now go head to head with the Adidas Boost but which shoe should you choose?
Adidas launched Boost in February 2013 and have been riding high on this energy wave since then. We’ve been a fan of the Adidas Ultra Boost and the more stable family member, the Ultra Boost ST since their beginnings and so have thousands of other runners, but they feel and offer something different to the new Epic React from Nike.
The first direct comparison is that the Ultra Boost and the Epic React both sit on one piece of their respective energy return material. That’s full-length technology cushioning. There is no fudging here, no placing a thin layer of energy return material on top of a cheaper EVA slab. No, these guys mean business from the heel through to the toe.
The nike shoe mirrors the best bits of the Ultra Boost: it’s very comfortable, offers great cushioning and a very responsive propulsive ride. That said, nike have come at this energy return game with a different slant – can they make the shoe much lighter and offer a more pillowy feel to the cushioning?
If you have read our review of the Epic React, you’ll know that they’ve nailed the brief.
The nike shoe is bulkier, softer without being too soft but still gives you that great kick-back you’d expect from the React midsole material. It also manages this by being quite a lot lighter – 8.4oz./238g vs 10.4oz./294g.
The weight is a big deal. It makes the Epic React more versatile. Although the nike is a bit bulkier and has a 10mm heel drop (as does the Adidas), you’d expect it to be designed as a long-distance cruiser but its light weight give you greater options. It’s lovely on tempo runs and faster strides. It’ll be a great shoe for longer distance races when you’ll appreciate a bit of help from the energy return but want that cushioning to protect your legs.
OK, so job done, nike wins on points then… Well, not so fast.
The Adidas Boost midsole is still great. It offers great cushioning but a snappier return. It’s firmer and does feel a little more responsive. It also feels a little more stable as it’s just that bit firmer.
Both uppers look and feel great. Both are knitted; the Adidas upper is their Primeknit weave, the nike their Flyknit material. The nike is a bootie and fits like a sock. It is snug and might be a little too snug for really wide feet. The mesh is a tightly woven one designed for strength with a more open and breathable weave along the top of the foot. It features a TPU eyestays for the laces and heel counter. The Adidas has a more breathable open weave, a midfoot cage for support and a firmer heel counter. It also has a plusher feel with padding around the heel collar. Nike is stripped down cutting out an extras in order to save weight presumably.
Now to the outsole. The Epic react doesn’t really have one. Nike are confident that the React material is very durable and that they will be great for in excess of 500 miles. They have added a rubber section to the heel and the toe area to increase durability but that is it. The shape and style of the midsole/outsole is important. The shapes work with the material to increase flexibility and compression so adding more rubber to the outsole could well affect its responsive performance.
The Ultra Boost features a full continental rubber outsole that offers increased grip if venturing off-road on to grass or dirt and they would almost certainly be more durable. Outsole materials tend to be heavy so we suspect this is where much of the weight gain is accounted for.
So is one better than the other? Well we guess it depends on what you like.
The Ultra Boost has a plusher feel, a more supportive upper and a snappier responsive ride.
The nike is much lighter and a midsole that not only offers a pillowly like landing but a responsive and propulsive toe off.
Both are not cheap shoes by any means but given its weight, you might get a better bang for your buck with the nike shoes.
I have a feeling that the nike is going to win many fans with the Epic React from once a week joggers to club runners running fast and long. It’s a great shoe and we look forward to many more React platform soles to come down the pipeline. That said, I have a couple of friends who wear the Boost, love the Boost and won’t change for love nor money.
Good luck and enjoy whatever bounce you choose!