Tom's Guide Verdict
A decent, everyday running shoe, that’s 30% lighter than its predecessor, with a new midsole foam. That said, it’s still not overly light. This fits and feels like a lighter version of the Adidas Ultraboost 22, but still isn’t all that versatile.
Lighter than Ultraboost 22
Firm midsole foam
More expensive than other everyday running shoes on the market
Why you can trust Tom's Guide
The Adidas Ultraboost is one of the most popular everyday running shoes on the market — jam-packed with Adidas’ Boost midsole foam, and stylish enough to wear around the office after your run-commute. Now on its 23rd iteration, Adidas has released the Ultraboost Light running shoe, made with a ‘new generation’ of Boost foam that's 30% lighter than previous iterations.
Weight: 9.7 oz (W), 10.3 oz (M)
But how does it compare to the Adidas Ultraboost 22, and some of the other best running shoes on the market? Adidas made some big changes to its popular neutral running shoe last year, re-designing the Ultraboost to better fit the female foot. The Ultraboost 22 has a narrower heel, a lower instep, and an S-curve heel to allow the Achilles tendon to move more freely.
The new Ultraboost Light feels very similar, but does the new midsole foam make it worth the upgrade? I’ve been running in the Ultraboost Light to find out more — read my full Adidas Ultraboost Light review below.
Adidas Ultraboost Light review: Price and availability
The Adidas Ultraboost Light was released in March 2022, and costs $190/£170. The shoe is available in both men’s and women’s sizing and runs from a US 5 to a US 18 in the men’s shoe, and a US 5 to a US 12. You can buy it from Adidas directly, or from third-party retailers like Sportsshoes.com.
At launch, the Ultraboost Light is available in 9 different colors for the men's shoe, and 8 different colorways in the women’s sizes. As the new shoe has just been released, if you’re on a budget, now is a good time to shop the Adidas Ultraboost 22, which is likely to be on sale now the Ultraboost Light has been released.
Adidas Ultraboost Light review: Design and fit
Out of the box, the Adidas Ultraboost Light looks pretty similar to the Adidas Ultraboost 22. The shoe has the same bootie upper and the same large wedge of Boost midsole foam underfoot. This looks and feels like the Ultraboost we’ve known and loved for the past few years, and fans of the shoe won’t be disappointed.
That said, I’ve always struggled a little with the fit of the Ultraboost — I have high arches, and find the bootie upper to be a little too tight and constrictive across the top of my foot. The shoe has always been ok on the run, but I’ve never been able to wear it casually or to run-commute in, then wear it around the office. I’m a UK 5, and tested a UK 5/US 7 in the Ultraboost Light — it fit true to size, but I still had the same problems I’ve experienced in past versions of this shoe when it comes to the fit.
The bootie upper on the Adidas Ultraboost Light is super stretchy, designed to fit close to the foot for a locked-in feel on the run. The yarn the upper is made from contains at least 50% Parley Ocean Plastic, and 50% recycled polyester. As mentioned above, it’s pretty tough and takes a decent amount of miles before it gives a little. While the fit of the Ultraboost 22 was definitely an improvement on the Ultraboost 21, especially for female feet, if you have high arches, you might struggle a little in this shoe.
The midsole of the Ultraboost Light is where things get interesting. Adidas’ new Light BOOST foam is 30% lighter than previous iterations of the Boost midsole foam for a more responsive feel underfoot. The Ultraboost 22, for example, weighed in at 11.7oz for a men’s US 9, and 10oz for a women’s US 7. The Ultraboost Light is 10.3oz in the men’s shoe, and 9.7oz in the women’s.
The Ultraboost Light still has the same lower instep height as the Ultraboost 22, as well as a narrower heel fit to reduce heel slip and prevent blisters. There’s also the same Linear Energy Push (LEP) system — this is a fancy name for the plastic insert Adidas added to the outsole, designed to give runners 15% more torsional rigidity, allowing you to use the shoe to pick up the pace when you need it.
When we look at the Light BOOST midsole foam, it’s important to point out that despite having a thick wedge of foam between your foot and the ground, there’s not an awful lot of sink-in comfort here. This isn’t a plush foam, and compared to the likes of the Nike Invincible 3, the Asics Gel Nimbus 25 and the New Balance 1080v12, this is definitely on the firmer side of the market. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing — the firmer foam has a little more versatility on the run, but don’t expect this shoe to be overly plush.
The outsole of the Ultraboost Light is also pretty similar to that of the Ultraboost 22 — there’s still the same Continental rubber outsole, best suited to miles on the pavements, or light trails. There’s also still the extra plastic support to the arch of the outsole, designed to help prevent pronation on the run.
Adidas Ultraboost Light review: Run performance
Does the new midsole foam make much of a difference? In a word, yes. This is a lighter shoe, when compared to the Ultraboost 22, and the Ultraboost 21. That said, it’s not a particularly light shoe. It’s still heavier than the Nike Pegasus 39, the New Balance 1080v12, and the On Cloudmonster. In fact, it weighs about the same as the max-cushioned Nike Invincible 3.
Again, this isn’t the end of the world — if you’re an Ultraboost fan, it’s likely that you’ll love the lighter feel of the shoe, which does feel a little faster and a tad more responsive on the run. That said, if you’re new to the Ultraboost line, it’s not that plush underfoot, or that lightweight compared to other everyday running shoes.
I’ve tested this shoe on a number of different running sessions — from easy recovery miles, to long runs, and tempo sessions. The shoe handled everything I threw at it well. And I was able to use it for faster miles, making it a versatile option for runners looking for a one-size-fits-all kind of running shoe. That said, as mentioned above, this shoe just doesn’t fit me all that well, and I struggled with hot spots across the top of my foot, and blisters on my heels during testing.
Adidas Ultraboost Light review: Verdict
This is a decent, everyday running shoe, that Ultraboost fans will love. The lighter foam does give it a little more versatility than other iterations of the Ultraboost, although it’s still best suited for easy miles.
That said, Adidas still has a little way to go to make a truly lightweight running shoe. This still feels a little clunky when you’re running fast, and faster runners will likely want to opt for something lighter for tempo sessions. In fact, I'd argue if you're only planning on using the shoe for easy miles, you're better off saving your money and buying the Ultraboost 22. If you’re a beginner, however, it’s comfortable and has a mild level of support for overpronators.
Jane McGuire is Tom's Guide's Fitness editor, which means she looks after everything fitness related - from running gear to yoga mats. An avid runner, Jane has tested and reviewed fitness products for the past five years, so knows what to look for when finding a good running watch or a pair of shorts with pockets big enough for your smartphone. When she's not pounding the pavements, you'll find Jane striding round the Surrey Hills, taking far too many photos of her puppy.