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adidas YEEZY Foam Runner Sand 22.5cm | Tried and tested: Ultraboost 22

The latest version of adidas' perennially popular Ultraboost has landed – and there's now a female-specific version. Here's what we thought of it...

adidas ultraboost 22 for women
  • Weight: 333g (M), 289g (W)
  • Heel-To-Toe Drop: 10mm
  • Type: Road
  • Price: £165

    Shop now – women's

    Shop now – men's

    The first – and most important – point to mention about the latest iteration of the Ultraboost is the fact there’s now a female-specific offering. Of course, you could pick up the Ultraboost 21s in a ‘women’s’ version, but they were built on a unisex last (model of the foot). The women’s Ultraboost 22, however, has been designed around the female foot shape, meaning a lower instep height, a narrower heel fit and a shallower forefoot profile (toe box) – plus a re-designed outsole to better accommodate the female gait cycle. And, due to this new women’s-specific design, the shoe promises to deliver 4% more energy return.

    So, what did we make of the new design? RW has been testing out the women’s Ultraboost 22 over the last month. Here’s what we think...

    Ultraboost 22 for women
    adidas asos.com
    £165.00

    Superb cushioning
    adidas YEEZY Foam Runner Sand 22.5cm

    When we tested the Ultraboost 22 during long, slow recovery runs, we were pleased to find the shoe delivered the same superb comfort as its predecessors, thanks to the iconic Boost midsole foam, which remains unchanged in the latest iteration. Plush yet firm in quality, the mattress-like foams offers excellent shock absorption upon landing, making them perfect for long miles – we could honestly wear these all day.

    A secure fit with excellent lockdown

    In both the women’s and men’s versions, the heel counter retains the same ‘S-curve’ heel pocket, designed to provide a secure fit around the achilles while allowing it to freely move. But, in the Ultraboost 22, padding has been added to either side of the heel pocket – an addition we were pleased with, as it gives a feeling of snug support around the heel bone as soon as you put the shoe on.

    The fit around the heel is much narrower in the new women’s-specific version and also comes up higher, which we can testify, provides a noticeably more secure, locked-in feel, and creates a wonderful sensation of the shoe hugging the achilles tendon. This, teamed with the one-piece knitted upper, means you get excellent lockdown, at both the heel and midfoot – with the structured fabric providing a secure fit but with plenty of stretch, and we loved how it moulded to our feet. The Primeknit+ fabric is also made from materials containing 50% recycled ocean plastic, so it ticks boxes for sustainability, too.

    There could be a tad more energy return

    When we tested the shoes during faster sessions, we felt they could have been little more responsiveness. When tested during 5K efforts, these provided ample pop and our energy was by no means sapped by the shoe, but in the day and age of carbon-plated race shoes, these aren’t the fastest shoes we’ve tried. But then speed isn’t what these shoes are designed for.

    Plenty of structure

    We’ve always been big fans of the Ultraboost’s Stretchweb outsole – made out of grippy and extra durable Continental natural rubber – but in the new women’s Ultraboost 22, the design has been tweaked to prevent over-pronation. This is due to the fact women are, anatomically, more likely to over-pronate – as Adidas found when they analysed 1.2 million foot scans as part of the Ultraboost re-design.

    The holes in the midfoot area have been closed to prevent the Boost midsole from stretching in the midfoot area and, while it’s hard to quantify just how much this improved our gait, we can say that our over-pronating tester felt the shoe provided a surprising amount of rigidity for a neutral shoe.

    Conclusion

    Do we think the Ultraboosts 22s warrant the £165 price tag? Yes if: a) you’re budget can stretch to it and b) you’re female runner looking for a tailored fit, heaps of cushioning and plenty of support at the achilles. It’s certainly an impressive shoe and delivers in spade when it comes to cushioning and comfort over longer miles.

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