Reviews You Can Rely On

Adidas Ultraboost 21 Review

Premium upper design with a responsive cushioned outsole perfect for longer outings
adidas ultraboost 21 running shoes men review
Credit: Adidas
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $180 List
Manufacturer:   Adidas
By Matthew Richardson ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Mar 6, 2022
  • Cushioning and Landing Comfort - 25% 8.0
  • Responsiveness - 25% 6.0
  • Upper Comfort - 20% 9.0
  • Lateral Stability and Support - 15% 8.0
  • Weight - 15% 2.0

Our Verdict

The Adidas Ultraboost 21's standout features are premium comfort and a great fit. Its seamless upper locks in and conforms to your foot with a sock-like fit when running, and, honestly, you would have a hard time finding a more comfortable model in the field of best running shoes. The enlarged heel on this model helps place your foot into a nice forefoot toe-off position and is helped by the subtle cushioning that is surprisingly smooth and responsive. With one of the heavier weights in our lineup, some may view the weight as too big of a downside to overlook, especially given its fairly hefty price tag.
Unique design
Editor's Note: This individual gear review was updated on March 6, 2022, to include new sections and details to help your product determination.

Our Analysis and Test Results

Featuring one of the most comfortable uppers we have ever tested in our review of men's running shoes is the Adidas Ultraboost 21. A thick outsole provides ample cushioning but is firm and responsive when faster turnover is needed. The locked-in feel of the upper makes this model feel stable and supportive. Unfortunately, these features come at a cost, a higher weight of 12.9 ounces in a men's size 9.5, making this model feel a bit sluggish at times.

Performance Comparison

adidas ultraboost 21 running shoes men review - premium upper comfort and great heel-to-toe rocker.
Premium upper comfort and great heel-to-toe rocker.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Cushioning and Landing Comfort

The Adidas Ultraboost 21 has excellent landing comfort with its thick, durable outsole. The rockered design of the shoe helps roll your foot into a nice toe-off position, even if you land further back than your midfoot. This is helpful when fatigue starts to set in and your form starts to break down. The rockered design also is beneficial when descending because of the added support of the heel, which takes off the stress from your Achilles and lower legs. The cushioning feels supportive and responsive, without feeling like too much energy is being put into the foam.

adidas ultraboost 21 running shoes men review - an enlarged heel helps absorb any discomfort from heavy landings.
An enlarged heel helps absorb any discomfort from heavy landings.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Landing comfort feels precise and planted, which is enabled by the extremely comfortable upper and natural position it puts your foot in. The under forefoot foam is slimmer, and the 10-millimeter heel-to-toe drop helps bring your entire foot in contact with the ground, increasing the landing comfort. Those who desire responsive cushioning should look at this model, though some may find the platform to be a bit cumbersome if you are more of a forefoot striking runner.


The thickness of the midsole foam reduces the responsiveness a bit compared to some of the other lighter-weight models. We were surprised that even with the heavier weight, the Ultraboost 21 actually does a good job of transferring power. This is partially due to the density of the foam, which isn't as soft and spongy as some other models. The heavier weight reduces the feeling of quickness and agility, but once you are planted, the firm platform helps propel you forward.

adidas ultraboost 21 running shoes men review - thinner forefoot foam is responsive and offers a springy rebound.
Thinner forefoot foam is responsive and offers a springy rebound.

Adidas does a good job of putting most of the cushioning under the midfoot and heel, leaving the forefoot to have the ability to really transfer power. If you don't mind sacrificing a bit of weight, we think the blend of cushioning and responsiveness is suitable and won't slow you down.

Upper Comfort

The upper comfort of this model is premium and comfortable. The tight-knit elastic fabric both hugs the foot and breaths extremely well. The outer wrap helps hold your midfoot in place while the upper conforms to your foot. Some users may find the toe box a little on the smaller side but should find a perfect performance fit due to the fabric's stretchiness.

adidas ultraboost 21 running shoes men review - the premium one-piece upper on the adidas ultraboost is among the...
The premium one-piece upper on the Adidas Ultraboost is among the best we've tested.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

The tongue is integrated into the upper for one seamless piece of fabric, which is unlike the others we tested. The heel cup is supported by two plastic pieces which lock in the fabric and add rigidity through the heel. This is the standout feature of the Ultraboost 21, and we expect to see more upper designs like this in the future.

Lateral Stability and Support

The Ultraboost scores well for its support and stability, partially due to the well-fitting upper. The shoe feels planted and stable without feeling too rigid, and with moderate arch support, it should feel solid and predictable to most users. The forefoot is flat and allows for a natural footstrike which is supported by the 10-millimeter heel drop. Due to its higher stack height, it may feel a little less stable on uneven terrain.

adidas ultraboost 21 running shoes men review - high amounts of support and stability make this a favorite for...
High amounts of support and stability make this a favorite for longer runs.
Credit: Matthew Richardson


The major downside of the Ultraboost 21 is its weight. At times, the model feels sluggish, especially when you feel fresh at the start of a run. Luckily this model is durable and provides many features for the added weight. The added enlarged heel ramp of the outsole offers a great platform that could help those that heel strike or need increased help getting into the toe-off position. Unfortunately, we wish these features could come in at this shoe's list price at a lower weight.

adidas ultraboost 21 running shoes men review - unique outsole material worked well and looks cool.
Unique outsole material worked well and looks cool.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Should You Buy the Adidas Ultraboost 21?

We wish this model came in a lighter weight, but it's built with durable materials and great support, so we understand why it's one of the heavier models we tested. If you can make the price tag work and don't mind its weight, we would suggest this model for its all-around comfort. Plus, there are many colors to select from to match your running apparel.

adidas ultraboost 21 running shoes men review - top-of-the-line comfort and materials make this a joy to run in.
Top-of-the-line comfort and materials make this a joy to run in.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

What Other Running Shoes Should You Consider?

Everyone has different running goals. But, if you've got a need for speed, a lightweight shoe will be your best bet to smash personal record running times. Weighing in at one of the lowest weights is the Saucony Kinvara 12. At 7.7 oz, this contender is incredibly light compared to others, and it's fast and responsive. It felt like a dream on our feet during high turnover and quicker paces.

Matthew Richardson
You Might Also Like

Ad-free. Influence-free. Powered by Testing.

GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.

Learn More