Although the Adidas Solar Boost is launching on May 17, the shoe has been in the works for almost two years. Its design concept was inspired by a book on NASA graphic’s standards found in a secondhand bookshop in NYC by one of the brand’s Germany-based designers. From that day forward, the shoe has maintained a universal viewpoint in both its design roots and target audience.
The Solar Boost was created to give runners exactly what they need to maximize their performance as well as their enjoyment of the running experience. The concept is based around the idea that everyone can be an athlete and should be treated as such with the gear they train in daily. This attention to the technical aspects of the shoe, as well the experience, spring from the personal story of one of the shoe’s designers: Marius Jung.
Jung had been working at Adidas for a couple of years when he realized his work/life balance had gotten out of sync. Carrying extra weight and feeling sluggish in his everyday routine, he decided to start running and signed up for a half marathon a few weeks away. Jung began running with one of Adidas’ running groups and quickly found that as his fitness increased, so did his confidence in himself; and not just in his athletic abilities, but in every area of his life. This realization became central to the story of the Solar Boost shoe.
When I first learned about the shoe at the Adidas headquarters in late March, I was struck by how deeply everyone was connected to the idea that running is a cornerstone in building and maintaining confidence in one’s self. This belief is manifested in the Solar Boost’s development as a shoe that works for every runner, with an ability to encourage regular running by fostering a reliably good ride every time you slip on these kicks.
“The name Solar was inspired by the sun and how it serves as the source of all energy. Similarly, we aimed to make Solar Boost the kind of product that performs so well that it supports those great runs that inspire confidence and creativity in all runners, elevating their experience and the sport as a whole,” shared Adidas’ design team. “In fact, the Solar Boost colorways (blue, oranges, etc.) were inspired by the transformative light cast by the sun during dawn and dusk hours.”
Creating this universally-uplifting and restorative running experience meant also trying something new with its manufacturing process. The Solar Boost is the first shoe constructed using a process called Tailored Fiber Placement (TFP). TFP allows the shoe to be as light as possible while delivering targeted performance-enhancing features at critical zones on the shoe.
Cut in a way that allows for almost zero-waste, the shoe’s material creates a seamless and snug fit for the upper. The process also means a cage-free construction, which reduces not only weight but the chance of chaffing and hot spots on the foot as well. The popular Boost midsole provides excellent energy return while allowing the foot to feel the terrain underneath and adjust to it as required. Featuring Continental rubber, the racer provides great traction in dry and wet conditions. One of the shoe’s innovations is its flexible heel counter that allows the Achilles tendon to flex as needed without being constrained by the shoe.
Competitor was given the Solar Boost early for testing, and I’ve really enjoyed my runs in them. I love the combination of bounce and ground feel, which makes for a snappy and responsive ride. For me, the innovative heel counter works well, as I often find my Achilles gets rubbed and compressed by narrow heel construction in women’s running shoes. The Continental outsole provides good grip on wet surfaces, giving me confidence to run on the road in a variety of weather conditions.
Although I always run in socks, the interior construction is soft and smooth, which may allow sockless runners to enjoy the same comfortable ride. Within the toe box, there’s adequate room for toe-off and splay, making changes in pace easy to accommodate. Thanks to the generous lace length, I was able to lock the shoe down for a secure fit. These shoes are a good choice for both new and established runners, offering a solid ride for establishing or continuing your running program.
The Adidas Solar Boost’s are available at Adidas.com and in select US stores on May 17 and globally on June 1. They are priced at $160.