- Adidas launched a new Boost sneaker for urban runners called the Pulseboost HD. They’re the first pair to use Adidas’ new high-density (HD) version of Boost cushioning.
- Featuring a lower-to-the-ground profile, a responsive Boost HD midsole, and a high-traction outsole, the Pulseboost HD has everything runners need to make sharp turns and jukes and navigate the various terrains of urban environments.
- While running in the Pulseboost HDs, we felt stable, more connected to the ground, and had no foot fatigue.
- At $140, the Adidas Pulseboost HD is on the lower end of the price range for Boost running sneakers, and they come in both men’s and women’s sizes.
I’ve gone on record saying that Adidas makes the most comfortable sneakers ever because of its Boost technology. There are hoards of people, from competing athletes to casual wearers, who would say the same.
The revolutionary Boost cushioning technology has been one of Adidas’ most major assets in recent years, and it just got its first major update since its 2013 reveal.
Building off of the responsiveness, energy return, and comfort that the original Boost material delivers, Adidas has developed Boost HD, a high-density version that’s designed to be more stable.
Rather than slapping the updated Boost technology on any of its existing silhouettes, Adidas paired it with a newly developed knit upper and an all-new outsole on its latest performance runner called the Pulseboost HD.
Designed with modern urban runners in mind, the Adidas Pulseboost HD features an Adaptive Knit upper that stretches and moves where it’s needed, the updated Boost HD midsole for increased stability and high energy return, and an artificial intelligence-developed Adaptive Traxion outsole that’s optimized for handling various terrains and conditions found in urban environments. The sneakers also feature a scannable QR code on the tongue that links to a Spotify playlist, so you’ll always have tunes while running.
My first impression of the Pulseboost HD was that it looks pretty similar to the Ultra Boost Uncaged considering they both have knit uppers, bootie constructions at the ankles, and Boost midsoles. However, they are notably different. The Pulseboost HD has a very low profile (the midsole, not the ankle) and streamlined design — you feel a lot closer and more connected to the ground, whereas Ultra Boosts give the sensation of being elevated.
Aesthetically, the Pulseboost HD has a great style, whether you plan on running in them or not. In my opinion, Adidas is one of the best brands at making the elements of sneakers that are distinctly for performance actually look good, too. This can be seen with the reinforced Adaptive Knit stripes on the lateral side of the shoe and even the futuristic-looking outsole.
What they’re like to wear
Weighing in at 12 ounces, the Pulseboost HD is minimally heavier than the 10.9-ounce Ultra Boost and 11-ounce Ultra Boost 19 (weights are based on size 9 shoes). Despite the small difference in weight, the sneaker still feels exceptionally light. I think the difference in weight can mostly be attributed to the Boost HD midsole since it’s denser.
In the past, I’ve found that Boost midsoles can sometimes be too squishy when doing activities that require stability, but the Pulseboost HD solves that issue well. They’re still more comfortable than a more traditional EVA foam or plastic midsole, but they’re sturdy enough to feel planted on the ground. After running, my feet felt just as good (no fatigue or pain) as they have with other Boost sneakers, so there was no sacrifice in comfort.
While the denser Boost foam was designed to help runners make sharp turns and cuts and go from pavement to cobblestone to grass (and whatever other surfaces they might come across in a city), it also serves well for other training techniques that require stability like workout drills or weightlifting.
Insider Picks reporter Mara Leighton also had the opportunity to test the new Adidas Pulseboost HD and enjoyed them just as much as I did. Here’s what she had to say:
"I’ve learned to mostly trust Adidas when it comes to knit uppers, but I wavered when I first opened the box. My initial impression of the Pulseboost HD was that they looked cool, but that the knit may have prioritized style and breathability at the expense of total functionality. I didn’t want to feel like my foot was loose inside the shoe on a run, or risk the knit stretching out.
In practice, though, the shoes are pretty great — especially for running in a city where you need to be able to dodge tourists just as nimbly as you need to move forward. I wore them first for a walk on New York City concrete, and the cushioning and energy return were obvious upfront — the kind of lightweight, springy feel that makes you itch to race somebody. On a run, the cushioning was good and dense. The knit was breathable and adaptive, and the non-stretch zones across the forefoot and midfoot did their job.
Most importantly for me, though, ended up being the Pulseboost HD‘s combination of less bulk, a stable base, and having the foot sit closer to the ground than in other Adidas shoes with Boost soles, so I could bob and weave without losing energy or my balance."
The bottom line
The Adidas Pulseboost HD is a wonderful shoe for urban runners. Despite being $40 less than Adidas‘ flagship runner, the Ultra Boost, the $140 Pulseboost HD should by no means be considered inferior — it’s simply different and in some ways, it’s actually better. It’s lightweight, low profile, and has ample energy return that doesn’t sacrifice stability.
If you’re looking for comfort and a connected feeling to the ground on your runs in the city, I strongly recommend the Pulseboost HD.
Shop men’s and women’s Adidas Pulseboost HD for $140 here: Adidas | Dick’s Sporting Goods | Amazon
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