adidas Boost 11

What to Expect When adidas Boost Technology Hits the Basketball Court

I’ll admit, as a basketball fan and player I was hoping adidas would utilize the brand new Boost technology in a hoop shoe long before a runner, so I was slightly disappointed at first. However, after using the tech in the adidas Energy Boost trainer, I’m salivating at what to expect when it finally reaches the hoop category.

adidas has been working on their Boost foam for roughly 3 years now, in a nutshell, it’s lightweight foam that has an unbelievable amount of energy return. The foam itself starts off as little individual balls or energy capsules as they call it, which are then heated, expanded and fused together to form a midsole… unconventional yet extremely effective… and totally awesome.

After running around in the Energy Boost, I can say firsthand that this is the most comfortable and responsive foam cushion I’ve ever experienced, which is pretty interesting seeing as how the words “foam” and “responsive” aren’t typically used together. While running, all I could think of was how awesome this will be in a basketball shoe, then I began to wonder why it isn’t used already.

“Boost foam doesn’t bottom out the way traditional foam does and it’s just as responsive as air. The bounce back alone offers a propelling feeling similar to that of the Max Zoom unit featured in the LeBron X but without any of the bulk and without inhibiting any movement. Interested yet?”

Most basketball players enjoy the feeling foam cushioning offers, but they generally don’t last as long which distracts people from shelling out $120-160 for a pair – completely understandable. The absorption and distribution offered by the Energy Boost makes them a worthy purchase, the long term benefits from using proper foam-based sneakers far outweighs those of target air-based cushions. This is what makes Boost so impressive.

Boost foam doesn’t bottom out the way traditional foam does and it’s just as responsive as air. The bounce back alone offers a propelling feeling similar to that of the Max Zoom unit featured in the LeBron X but without any of the bulk and without inhibiting any movement. Interested yet?

So, why wasn’t it unveiled in the running and basketball category side by side? It’s possible that Boost is slightly unstable for certain movements. Runners put more strain on their cushion systems because of the distances they run, not because of the way they run. You will never find a distance runner that runs at a sprinting pace and you definitely won’t find a runner that will run any distance while cutting, slashing and changing directions rapidly and repeatedly, that’s still not even considering all of the jumping and landing during games. Since Boost starts out as individual capsules which are then compressed together, maybe putting them in a shoe that a Derrick Rose type of athlete would wear isn’t the best idea… yet.

With its bounce back rate and energy return, in theory, it could be the best thing introduced to a basketball shoe since Phylon and, dare I say, lighter than air on top of that. Just think of the load that Boost could absorb and then return to a basketball player while in-game. It’d be like recycling energy, Gatorade for your feet!

Even if Boost isn’t 100% ready for basketball, I do feel they could have at least introduced it to the market the same way Nike has introduced Lunar foam. Lunar isn’t as strong or supportive as Phylon so they used Phylon as a carrier for the foam. This provides the wearer with great cushion without sacrificing stability or support. Why can’t we have an EVA midsole that is hollowed out and used as a carrier for Boost? 

Essentially, Boost can absorb and redirect impact better than Uncle Iroh can redirect lighting and I cannot wait until we see Boost in a hoop shoe… perhaps the adidas Rose 5? A foam-based cushion that absorbs impact better than air, last longer than traditional foam and returns energy in an insanely responsive fashion almost sounds too good to be true. If I hadn’t experienced it myself, I’d be skeptical.

Nightwing2303 is the owner/publisher of KicksOnCourt and contributor to Sneaker Report. He hoops on the regular and loves sneaker tech as much as he loves food, and he really loves his food. You can keep up with Nightwing2303′s on and off court adventures on Twitter and Instagram

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  • elmogollo

    great as always nightwing, cant wait for the future realease! greetings from spain!!!!!!!!

    • Nightwing2303


  • John Maxwell Steven Smith

    i hope its in the rose 4!

    • Nightwing2303

      I hope so.

      • John Maxwell Steven Smith

        do you think you’ll be getting those from adidas too?

  • JE

    Good read. I believe it is TPU-based, not foam-based,

    • Nightwing2303

      Thanks! I know its TPU-based but they still refer to it as a foam cushion. I think I heard or read somewhere that it had PU in it as well so whatever is going on, its working.

  • Cizza

    first off, love any last airbender reference, especially uncle Iroh!! lol, but likewise I can’t wait till this tech hits the court, i ran around in my buddy’s pair the other day at conditioning because i was curious, and man was the ride nice for some “styrofoam” lol, gonna be a straight up on-court beast!

  • Peter

    First of all, I’d like to address a misconception about foam. Any sort of polymer (i.e. plastic) with thermoplastic properties could potentially be made into a foam. Thermoplasticity is the property of a polymer to soften up (like silly-putty) above a certain temperature. When it softens up, the material could then be synthesized as a porous foam structure by introducing a foaming agent. EVA and TPU can both exist without porosity, i.e. not as a foam. For example, poly-styrene can be found in the form of styrofoam or as a transparent and rigid plastic material.

    As far as Boost technology is concerned, from a functional standpoint it makes no difference whether the mid-sole is made out of individual “energy capsules” pressed together or a solid chunk of TPU foam. The mechanical response of both materials would be the same. However, from a processing perspective, it is both easier and cheaper to fabricate individual capsules of foam first and then fuse them together than to fabricate the entire mid-sole out of bulk foam material. Styrofoam is made in exactly the same way. However, in marketing their new material, Adidas has made it sound as if the individual capsules are a crucial component of the overall performance when actually it is not. It’s marketing, and it works.

  • NJHC

    any idea on what the insole is? … anything special? also the boost material? It reads “energy boost”.

  • FastBreakDunk

    Big fan of kicksoncourt! Great read!

  • chan

    Next thing, they’ll create the boost so you can jump a bit higher. Those people who could touch rim easily but still can’t dunk(like me) will be doing 360 dunks. Hehe