Just over a year ago today, adidas introduced a new sneaker, the Ultra Boost that would change the climate of the company’s sneaker game for the next year. Making a bold claim that they were launching the best running sneaker ever, the Boost technology already had people interested. The design, however, was a major upgrade from previous Boost runners in the same family tree, so it didn’t seem like too much of a reach for the brand to make this statement.
In roughly two years, adidas Boost cushioning has made a smooth transition from energy efficient innovation to the calling card for comfort. Supplying athletes like Andrew Wiggins and Derrick Rose while driving Kanye West’s signature collection, Boost cushioning continues to make its mark in both sport and fashion divisions. As adidas ushers in their latest Boost model, the adidas Uncaged with Colour, get a history of the progressive cushioning technology.
Let’s go back to February 2013, to a convention center in New York City. It was then and there that adidas launched Energy Boost, a new cushioning system that used 2,000 pea-sized, heat-welded capsules built from thermoplastic polyurethane foam that out performs EVA foam in energy return, cushioning and durability. The boost was first created in a laboratory by BASF and started as a technical tool for runners looking for the ultimate ride, while trying to knock out steps for their Fitbits.
In 2014, the adidas Energy Boost 2 gave the original model to use the technology even more comfort and also upgraded the aesthetics so you could actually wear them outside of the gym. Boost started showing up in more sneakers, including the Derrick Rose signature line, proving that it was useful for more than just running—and that it was the future of the brand.
While the Boost was getting busy on the running and the basketball scene, it was also making moves in the lifestyle territory. Though technically a running shoe, the adidas Pure Boost proved to have the best casual crossover of any Boost model at that time. Much of its popularity came from its extreme comfort and frequent spotting on Kanye West. In fact, Kanye liked Boost so much that he has brought it to his first two signature shoes with adidas. The adidas Yeezy Boost 750 and adidas Yeezy Boost 350 both feature full-length Boost cushioning, encapsulated in a ribbed shell. Both models are strong examples of Boost working well in the high-fashion realm.
What kicked off as a game-changing running shoe turned into the hottest lifestyle look on the streets! adidas really needed a sneaker that was capable of looking great with an over-sized crewneck and jeans as much as it would with head-to-toe workout gear.
So a year later—adidas didn’t oversaturate shelves with a million colourways and variations; the brand kept it simple and clean, and gave people the essentials to keep in their sneaker rotations. Even once it got big, adidas didn’t overthink the Ultra Boost or try to force something on consumers by marketing a product people didn’t want.
The success of the Boost was just life dictating the trend’s direction. You can have the coolest look books, influencers, and paid content you want, but, at the end of the day, you simply need a hot product—and adidas gave everyone just that.