When Adidas revealed their Boost foam technology, way back in 2013, it sent the running shoe world into overdrive. It is rare for a brand to make such a momentous leap in an area as key as midsole performance, but the innovation of such a responsive and energetic foam really did give Adidas the edge for quite some time.
Since then, they have used Boost foam in a number of their trainers, most notably the highly popular UltraBoost series. However, brands have to keep pushing and striving for excellence, just as athletes do, and with the Solar Boost series Adidas tweaked and refined their running shoe designs into something even more special.
Read on to find out all you need to know about Adidas Solar Boost trainers, with particular reference to the Solar Boost 3 model.
Who is the Adidas Solar Boost for?
The Solar Boost 3, like its predecessors, is a running shoe designed for long and mid distance road running in particular. It is most suitable for those with a traditional heel-toe strike, and has brilliant versatility so can bring energy and pace to passages of your run, whilst providing support and cushioning too. The key feature of the Solar Boost 3 compared to previous iterations is its stability factor.
This shoe is built to provide great security and can even take on gentle trail runs. The Solar Boost 3 also transitions well into a lifestyle shoe, so you will get lots of daily wear out of it.
Who is the Adidas Solar Boost not for?
For sprint runners the Solar Boost 3 is perhaps not the best trainer, as there are lighter options available. Equally, if you like to run over seriously adventurous terrain then a purpose built trail shoe is what you’re looking for.
The Solar Boost 3 looks pretty futuristic when you first open the box. The distinctive Adidas stripes run down the outside of the shoe for maximum impact, and the intelligent mesh fabric that runs all over the upper is an interesting texture that feels stiffer than it looks.
The way that the Boost foam bubbles slightly looks pretty awesome, and the triangular wedge-shape of the heel adds to this trainer’s futuristic appeal. Better still, the Solar Boost 3 comes in some pretty vibrant color combinations with great luminous options available. However, if you are wanting to wear this shoe in everyday life then you might want to go for a more neutral color scheme.
The Solar Boost 3 slips on pretty easily due to the thick heel tab that is integrated into the ankle collar. The tab lifts to quite a high lip which allows you a good grip, however it is soft and very well cushioned so doesn’t feel restrictive around the achilles tendon once your foot is in.
Like most Adidas trainers, the Solar Boost 3 has a long and narrow feel compared to the average sizings, and some runners have suggested that opting for a half size down is the best way to counter this. However, the shoe is pretty snug around the midfoot, so if you have wide feet be warned.
The mesh upper is stiffer than expected and so provides great structure. What is more, the thick Adidas stripes are placed perfectly to improve the shoe’s tension and really hug the foot and support the metatarsus area. There is a good amount of room for a healthy toe splay in the toe box, however the front of the shoe is pretty shallow so you don’t get much wiggle room.
The Solar Boost 3 has a comfortable insole that curves up at the side to provide extra support. But the really excellent innovation is the two-part heel cup inside the shoe. It is designed to encompass your heel in the perfect spots so as to minimize any chafing and irritation. The heel cup also aids stability and guides your heel as it strikes the ground, promoting a really healthy weight distribution.
Feel and Breathability
The tongue is surprisingly lean on the Solar Boost 3, especially considering the ample padding around the ankle collar, however it lies beautifully flat as a result and keeps the pressure off the top of your foot pretty well. This is helped by the flat nylon laces that hold their own and enable you to get as tight a cinch as you desire with very little slippage.
The mesh upper is woven loosely over the toe box to allow good breathability and get some air circulating around the forefoot as you run. What is more, the insole is perforated under the forefoot which really helps with drainage and aeration and stops your feet from becoming clammy and uncomfortable. This is important, especially for those running long distances.
Overall, the fit of the Solar Boost 3 is snug and supportive, and the feel is incredibly comfortable whilst also being sturdy and very stabilizing.
The Boost Foam Midsole
The real star of the show for any Adidas Boost trainer is, of course, the midsole, and the Solar Boost 3 is no exception. The Boost foam contains thousands of tiny, tiny air pockets that help to give the material its signature bounce. As a result it helps you to maintain an energetic stride even over long distances, but also cushions more slow paced runs too.
There is rather a lot of Boost foam on the Solar Boost 3, particularly in the heel area, and as a result the shoe weighs a little more than many rival road running options but has brilliant responsiveness and stability. The drop from the heel to the toe is 10mm, which is quite high for an Adidas design and helps to propel you forward nicely and promote a good running posture.
The wide wedge-shaped heel is packed with Boost foam and has an increased surface area to help you get a great heel strike with every stride.
The Control Rail
What is new to the Solar Boost 3 is the integrated control rail that runs along the top of the Boost foam layer and is clearly visible, giving the midsole an almost double-layered look. This control rail is designed to steer the rolling movement of the foot in a clear, straight path.
It protects against over pronation and supination and is therefore a great innovation for those runners who are prone to these traits. It runs around the whole midsole and helps to guide the foot in a way that is truely new and really effective. The stability this control rail provides is instantly noticeable and encourages a really healthy running technique.
The Linear Energy Push System (LEP)
The LEP is another new component that Adidas have introduced in this latest Solar Boost model. It is a thin plastic bridge that lies between the Boost foam layer of the midsole and the rubber outsole. Its job is to connect the heel to the forefoot via a central passage and to increase the energy transfer between these two areas.
The result is a smooth transfer through the foot that propels you forward. The LEP also acts as an anchor of sorts that controls the otherwise unstable qualities of the Boost foam to keep the whole shoe firm and snappy.
The Rubber Outsole
The rubber outsole of the Solar Boost 3 is a pretty exciting design in that it has a large groove cut out from the centre of the sole which reveals areas of the Boost foam and LEP system beneath. The rubber runs in a ring around the outskirts of the sole and this creates excellent stability.
The rubber is hard wearing and durable, meaning your shoes will last you a good many miles before you start to feel them tiring. The cut out groove section also helps to reduce weight underfoot, which is always a good thing.
There is an egg-shaped pod of rubber under the forefoot, and this helps to improve stability and traction. Overall, the traction of this outsole is pretty impressive and will allow you to tackle far more than just roads on your runs. It holds well even in wet weather too, which is great for the winter months.
The ringed outsole has expertly placed outcuts which help to counter the stiffness of the rigid LEP system and allow the foot to have good flexibility, particularly in that all important front section.
The Ultimate Ride
Once you get on the road, this awesome running shoe provides a seriously smooth and stable ride. The Boost foam midsole keeps things energetic, whilst the control rail helps you maintain stability and technique. The LEP system sends your energy rolling forward so that you can get a snappy toe-off with each stride, and the generous heel wedge will help you hit the ground with lots of control and confidence.
For marathon days and training days, for road runs and gentle trails, the Solar Boost 3 is a brilliant trainer that will assist you in all areas of your running.