Hands-on Gear Review

Adidas Adizero Boston 6 Review

Price:  $120 List | $107.99 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Durable outsole, lightweight, thick cushioning
Cons:  Tongue folds, narrow, cramped toe box
Bottom line:  Traditionally designed racing flat that will serve the average runner very well.
Editors' Rating:   
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Weight (Oz Per Pair for size 11):  18.1 oz
Toe to Heel Drop:  10 mm
Style (Traditional,minimalist,etc.):  Neutral
Manufacturer:   Adidas

Our Verdict

The neutral Adidas Adizero Boston 6 is the traditionalist runner's dream. For the most part, there are no exotic features or complicated designs - it is a straightforward offering that gets you out on the road without fuss. Everything went right with these: they were extremely light, had better than average responsiveness and landing comfort and were all-around top competitors. The most notable attribute of these was their high heel-to-toe discrepancy, 10mm, which places it firmly in the traditional camp.

We think most runners will be very happy with these trainers, but we went ahead and compared them to a handful of other top selections to really narrow what sets these apart from the others and to introduce you to others that might better fit your needs.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Ryan Baham

Last Updated:
Tuesday
August 22, 2017

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Performance Comparison



Responsiveness


These kicks did surprisingly well in this category. Typically lightweight racers have less rigidity and lack the internal structures common to the heavier stability models. Here, it's all in the TORSION® SYSTEM stability structure along the outsole and its super responsive boost™ midsole. These attributes hit a sweet spot in snap-back responsiveness and flexible pop.

Many of the offerings in our lineup had excellent responsiveness because of the makeup and design of this midsoles, including the On Cloud, which won the Top Pick for Light Weight Racing Flat. The product that really sets itself apart from the pack in this category is the Arahi, which won the Top Pick for Stability because of its superior outsole and internal stability features.

The Boston 6 hits the right combination of flex  cushion  and response.
The Boston 6 hits the right combination of flex, cushion, and response.

Landing Comfort


These were great on impact. Their 19mm or toe cushioning did the job, but it's noteworthy that the heel sits at 29mm, which means the runner is nearly pressed into a heel-plant. That being said, runners who tend to land farther back on their foot will find these to be excellent trainers. Given our affinity for cycling, we were also happy to see the partnership with Continental™ to bring a unique rubber outsole to help with traction, though we didn't experience any noticeable difference from the other rubber outsoles in the group.

Within our group, they rank around the median, next to the Nike Free RN. The most comfortable landers tended to be other racing flats, like the On Cloud and Saucony Kinvara 8, which both ranked one ahead, and the Best Buy winning Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 34, which earned a top spot next to the Brooks PureFlow 6, which won the Editor's Choice award. If landing comfort is the most important factor, we suggest taking a look at the Pegasus or PureFlow.

Some of the top racing flats: Adizero Boston 6 (left)  Saucony Kinvara 8 (middle)  and Nike Free RN (right).
Some of the top racing flats: Adizero Boston 6 (left), Saucony Kinvara 8 (middle), and Nike Free RN (right).

Weight


Adidas really impressed us with their model coming in at just 18.1 ounces for a men's 11. Combining their EVA boost midsole and stripped down mesh upper allowed them to create a well-padded traditional shoe with a super competitive racing weight. Surprisingly, even this weight doesn't top the list, though it does earn a top score.

Those in the top bracket are the On Cloud, Nike Free RN, New Balance Minimus 10v1, and Saucony Kinvara 8, with the minimalist Minimus pinned at just 17.2 ounces. Considering that the Adidas have a fairly large heel-to-toe discrepancy - 10mm - that might appeal to some runners, they might be the most appropriate shoe under this measure. But clearly if weight alone is the aim, the Minimus is the best bet.

The Adidas Adizero Boston 6 comes in at just 18.1 ounces a pair in men's 11.
The Adidas Adizero Boston 6 comes in at just 18.1 ounces a pair in men's 11.

Durability


We found these shoes to have just above average durability. All in all, the shoe will last a few good seasons for the typical runner, but for those putting in the miles, expect some wear to show. The best thing the shoe has going for it is its rubber outsole, which will help protect the more vulnerable EVA from wearing down. The microfit upper already showed some signs of torn and broken threads after just a few runs.

Most lightweight shoes with exposed mesh and EVA soles will have similar durability expectations and that's the case in our lineup. Typically the stability shoes are built like tanks and will outlast the others, as is the case here. The best racing flat comparison here is the Minimus, which scored so well because of its multiple layers of reinforcement.

Comparing racing flats: Boston 6 (left) and Kinvara 8 (right)
Comparing racing flats: Boston 6 (left) and Kinvara 8 (right)

Upper Comfort


So far as racing flats go, these shoes brought up the rear of this measure, though they did do better than the stability shoes, as a class. The engineered mesh upper and microfit forefoot helped the shoe fit as a second skin, which is a huge benefit in a racing flat - there's nothing as comfortable as a shoe that doesn't feel like you're wearing a shoe. It also cut down on the rubbing and therefore the potential for blisters when breaking in new shoes. But one of the things we noticed was that the tongue folds over a bit and can be hard to straighten out once your foot has been inserted - a problem common to the thin-tongued shoes.

They scored behind all of the other lightweight racing flats, but the most proximate style of racing flat is the Pegasus 34, which is a heavier shoe but has the same heel-to-toe discrepancy and overall design. The difference is that it scores at the top of the range beside the Saucony Hurricane ISO 3, a stability model and the low-profile PureFlow 6.

The snug upper and thin tongue make for a more natural  second-skin fit.
The snug upper and thin tongue make for a more natural, second-skin fit.

Breathability


The Adizero did fairly well in this category, nearing the upper limits of the range. Its mesh upper, thin tongue and limited use of moisture-trapping features like enclosed toe boxes helped it hit that mark. The tradeoff here is that the shoes will be extremely cold in winter and any moisture on the ground will find its way to your sock if you run through it - cutting across the grass in the morning is a good way to contract wet socks for the next hour.

They did as well as the Newton Running Distance VI and Saucony Kinvara 8, but were beat out by the Minimus and On Cloud, both of which are lighter and use thinner mesh and have additional ventilation. In this battle, the On Cloud is the most comparable choice and the better choice under this measure. The Brooks PureFlow 6 also tops this measure, but its lower profile and plush cushioning are less comparable to the Boston than the Cloud.

The stripped down mesh upper makes for a very breathable shoe.
The stripped down mesh upper makes for a very breathable shoe.

Best Applications


Undoubtedly, the Boston 6 is a lightweight traditional racing flat meant for the road. These are also best suited to warm, dry weather.

Value


$120 is not a big ask for these shoes. They will last a few seasons and make most traditional runners happy. There are cheaper shoes of comparable quality and design, like the Pegasus 34, but the latter are heavier.

Conclusion


We really liked these shoes. Adidas is a good brand with a long tradition and they entered a really light, reliable shoe into the market for distance runners. They did not hit the top of too many of our measures, but they were consistent performers with no serious design flaws or complaints. These will do well for most any runner looking for a light traditional shoe with a well-padded heel.

Some of the top racing flats: Adizero Boston 6 (left)  Saucony Kinvara 8 (middle)  Nike Free RN (right).
Some of the top racing flats: Adizero Boston 6 (left), Saucony Kinvara 8 (middle), Nike Free RN (right).
Ryan Baham

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Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
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Rating Distribution
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5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 100%  (1)
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