Adidas Solar Boost: 300 Wears – The Ultraboost’s Sporty Cousin
- Price: $160 MSRP
- Pros: Extremely Comfortable, Affordable
- Cons: Outdated Looks
Back when the Adidas Ultraboost couldn’t stay on shelves, Adidas tried to find as many different varieties of shoes to continue selling near-Ultraboost models. They had cageless models, laceless models, colabs, and a more stability/running focused model – the Adidas Solar Boost.
Coming out right at the end of the hype for Boost, the Solar Boost managed to grab the attention of sneakerheads looking for something other than the run-of-the-mill Utraboost as well as runners who didn’t want to pay $500 resale for Boost running shoes. Even though it was fairly easy to find these on outlet shelves, they must have done well enough. Adidas ended up continuing the line with the 2019 model.
This particular pair has been used for both scenarios. Serving as a running shoe until bottoming out, then as something to throw on with joggers. As these pairs are heading to Greendrop, it’s worth taking a look and seeing how they held up over time.
It’s pretty clear that Adidas was trying to make these look as close as possible to an Ultraboost when designing these. Many of the key designs are there – white outsole, dual plastic heel cups, Achilles pad coming off the rear. However, once you have the shoe in hand you see that there are differences between the two.
The first thing you notice is the EVA carrier along the side of the shoe – teal and orange on this colorway. This is the largest difference between the two, and even after several years in I’m happy to say it’s held up well. EVA foam is known for getting set creases and, while there are some, it’s hard to notice from more than a few inches away. Even the paint on the back (teal on this pair) has shown no cracking or fading over time.
Moving up the shoe, instead of a plastic cage, this shoe uses a black woven plastic material to provide the lock down. Three white stripes are painted on the exterior side. This has also stood up surprisingly well to use, though there has been some fading over time and it’s now more of a grey. Underneath these panels, the bootie-constructed tongue has stretched out a bit, but still looks almost new otherwise.
Up front, the toe box is a matte material with plasticky stripes running across the top. This is one area where the shoe does look old. We’ll get into care later, but it’s almost impossible to keep this part looking clean. The material also has a tendency to collapse, showing the structured part up front.
Moving around to the rear of the shoe, you can see some of the cost cutting compared to the flagship Ultraboost. The heel cups themselves are smaller and thinner, with solarboost printed onto the flat surface as opposed to featuring raised letters. The printing itself has faded over the years, but is still visible if you get up close. The tab for the Achilles is also misaligned on one of these shoes – a problem I had on another pair.
Down on the midsole, just like every other pair of non-painted Boost shoe, the only way you can tell these were worn is based on the yellowish color. Underneath, the nubbed outsole is black and is visually as good as can be expected for a shoe with nearly 500 miles of wear on them.
Fit & Comfort:
These shoes are built on the same last as the Ultraboost. For me, that is true to my brannock size. That being said, there are several differences to be aware of that make them a bit more accommodating for people with wide feet. First, these have a good amount of structure at the front of the shoe. Second, these have a separate tongue that allows a more customized fit. I take these in a 12, for a list of sizes in every shoe reviewed on the website, check here.
From a comfort perspective, anyone know has tried on an Ultraboost knows that it knocks it out of the park. That being said, there is a difference with the Adidas Solar Boost. The most notable is that you’re not standing directly on boost. As mentioned above, this shoe features a thin layer of EVA foam between the upper and the midsole. This means that while the shoe has the same squishy feeling of boost, your foot compresses a bit more into the midsole like a traditional running shoe. Initially this cuts down on the wow factor, but if you’re going more than a short distance, this ends up feeling much better.
On the other hand, the upper is designed more like a running shoe. This means more support, but it also means that it doesn’t have that sock-like feel of a primeknit shoe.
It’s also worth mentioning the reason these shoes are going to the donation bin – the boost has entirely bottomed out. That doesn’t mean the shoes are uncomfortable – they still feel much better than a Jordan 1 – but they don’t have a spring feeling any more. More like stepping into a balloon filled with jelly.
Starting from the bottom, these shoes feature the famous Continental outsole. Yes, the same Continental that mostly supplies parts to automotive OEMs. I think it’s important to note that the selling point of this rubber isn’t to last a long time, but rather the grip that it provides. That being said, it’s hard to argue with how these have held up. Even after all the miles, the nubs still have grip and protect the boost.
Moving up, the Boost – made of TPU pellets – has been well documented for it’s comfort and longevity. What makes this shoe different is the EVA foam on top of much of the boost. These combine to give a different, more supportive experience. The EVA also spills onto the exterior of the shoe, providing a bit more stability.
The upper is made up of several different materials. Up front, a neoprene-like mesh runs about ¾ the length of the shoe, and makes a bootie style construction up front. This is topped with plastic strips over the front of the shoe, and woven panels over the mid foot.
These panels are fairly stiff, but come with a great story. They actually use plastic from Parley, a company that pulls waste plastic out of the ocean. While the total weight of plastic in these shoes from Parley is probably negligible, it still makes you feel good.
Further back, the shoe has a traditional sports mesh back – similar to the Ultraboost 1.0 – and features plastic heel cups to provide some stability.
Like all Boost models, and just about every running shoe, these shoes are made with cemented construction.
Ease of Care:
With so many different materials on the upper of the Adidas Solar Boost, these are a hair pair of shoes to keep clean. Each material takes water differently, and reacts to a brush differently. Honestly – your best course of action is to pick up a colorway that hides dirt and live with it.
Lower down things don’t get much better. Boost is infamous for it’s yellowing, and how hard it is to get it back to white. If you’re dedicated, a white paint pen can bring back the white, though the paint will likely crack over time and will need to be touched up.
Originally priced at $160, Adidas has not sold this pair for a few years now. If you’re looking for a pair today, you can generally find them for anywhere from $50 to $80. Looking around, at the time of writing Amazon seemed to have the best selection and price. Though, there is a lot of variance based on color and size. If you’re flexible on colors, eBay has a few for a lower price (though expect to sort through a lot of Ultraboosts).
Like a lot of Boost sneakers in this post-Boost hype, these sneakers provide a lot of value for a little bit of money. At least, assuming you like the style. Even at full price, you can see this is a shoe that takes a bit of time and money to make. From including things like high-end collaboration rubber, to plastic taken from the ocean, and a proprietary blend for the mid sole, these shoes have a lot going on.
Of course, you can’t judge value in a vacuum. Finding Boost shoes at places like Marshalls has become pretty much guaranteed. If you want a runner, these are great. However, if you want a basket ball or lifestyle shoe, those should be easy to find. Don’t buy these just because.
These Adidas Solar Boost are the first pair of shoes that I’ve worn out in a long time, and that says something. They are extremely comfortable, and cheap enough that you don’t need to worry about beating them up. At the same time, like the Roche before it, this style of shoe blew up and then faded away. You’ll never find fit picks with the Adidas Solar Boosts after around July of 2018.
I think these are great shoes for the time they were made, but it’s probably best to leave them there.