Color: Black/Carnet/Infra red
Adidas' marketing pitch: Boost infused running shoe which combines cushioning and support.
Surfaces tested on: Road, 19° C/66° F
Upper: Spacer mesh, synthetic leather and welded overlays, gusseted tongue.
Midsole: Combination of compression molded EVA and Boost foam, plastic 'Torsion' shank.
Outsole: Continental rubber
Weight: 326 gms/ 11.5 Oz for a half pair of UK10.5/US11 (Adidas sizing)
Widths available: Only one standard width. (Reviewed)
The latest Q3 2014 adidas group results are in, and things are looking good for the German brand. While they were some setbacks due to Russia, unfavorable foreign currency fluctuations and decline in the Golf business, performance football (soccer) and running were bearers of good tidings, among other positives.
It doesn’t take a degree in business management to see where that upside in the running category is coming from, besides annual retail price hikes. Today, most of adidas running franchises come boxed riding on the Boost foam, and that has proven to be a game changer of sorts for Herzogenaurach.
Of course, not all was perfect. While product mediocrities like Pure Boost and Response Boost tech fit didn’t quite make the cut, cornerstones like the Energy Boost, Glide Boost and adios/Boston Boost cheered up the overall picture. Our impression of most Boost shoes has been positive, and adidas should have little problem building on the first wave of line refreshes.
(Related: Read our Energy Boost 2 review for a complete lowdown of Boost foam)
On solereview, we’ve got most of Boost models in performance running covered, save for a few. We haven’t been able to look at the Adistar Boost yet, and till today, Supernova Sequence 7 Boost. It’s too late in the day for adistar, which we’ll probably pick up when its second version releases in 2015. But we can end 2014 (for adidas Boost) with a review of the Sequence 7, a Fall 2014 release. This is a shoe which pairs up with the Supernova Glide 6 as its more firmer and stabler version, as it has been the case historically – even when the shoes existed in their pre-Boost avatars.
We haven’t tested the previous generation Sequence 6, but if our experience with comparing the Formotion based Glide 4 and Glide Boost is anything to go, the new Sequence will share little with its predecessor. Inclusion of the Boost foam puts a new tint on everything, right from the absence of Formotion unit to the way in which stability is delivered.
And we say this because the Supernova Sequence behaves rather differently from other stability competitors in the running shoe market. Intrigued? But first, as with most of our reviews, we’ll do a quick rundown of design and construction to warm things up, and then work our way downwards from there.
The midsole has three basic components stacked together; a layer of white Boost foam, a compression molded EVA bed which adidas calls the Footframe, and finally a plastic ‘Torsion’ shank. Given Sequence 7’s positioning, the midsole construction gets an increased dose of stability features. The Torsion shank extends beyond its designated midfoot area and into medial heel area. You can see the red colored underlay under heel outsole, and this piece extends upwards on the midsole wall to form a kind of dam. Yes, if this sounds familiar, then your hunch is right – we saw the same execution in the much plumper Energy Boost 2.
The firm EVA frame extends upwards around the upper heel base, and creates a cup like shape for the foot to sit in, and not on top of the shoe. A gigantic wrap of low light visibility (reflective) element goes around the heel, and adidas chooses this part to display the shoe name. While the upper does not come with any other form of reflectivity, the heel component more than makes up for it with its three-side coverage.
Boost foam volume isn’t as much as what’s on more cushioned shoes like the Energy Boost, its levels adjusted to what adidas felt would be apt for a stability shoe. When it comes to the amount of Boost used in Sequence 7, what you see is what you get. There’re no hidden chambers or areas where there’s more Boost than what meets the eye.
The proprietary cushioning platform spans across 80% of total midsole length, ending in the forefoot. EVA (from the upper layer) completes rest of the journey till toe tip. A helpful visual cue is inside the shoe; take off the removable insole and you’ll see the cut-out area of Boost in forefoot and red EVA visible in the heel. And if you take an even closer look, it reveals that the area just ahead of forefoot cut-outs has red EVA, indicating that Boost foam does not extend further than the cut-outs.
In what is a variation of traditional medial post design, StableFrame EVA drops downwards on the medial (inner) midfoot side, forming the entire midsole wall. If you were looking for the ‘Promoderator’ insert, there isn’t any. This new set-up replaces the earlier concept.
At this juncture, we’d like to highlight that the EVA is firm but nowhere as hard as midsole rims used on shoes such as Adios and Glide Boost. It has a certain amount of cushioning, relatively speaking, but toward the denser side. In terms of Boost foam stack heights, the Sequence 7 visually compares to Boston Boost , except that Sequence has a wider base, hence resulting in a higher overall volume.
Combination of these factors greatly influence how the Sequence Boost rides; which it does so in a way different from other pronation control shoes.
The Sequence Boost cuts no corner on outsole rubber, with a single Continental branded sheet spanning heel to toe. There’s an exposed groove (heel to forefoot) separating the outsole into two halves with a perforated lateral side, it’s likely goal being to deliver a softer transition.
Does that design feature make itself felt during runs? We couldn’t tell, really, but no harm done with that design.
Upper design has a common link with Glide Boost and last year’s Sequence 6, with familiar looking midfoot panels, materials and overall execution. The toe box is engineered spacer mesh, with a perforated top side connected by yarns to another layer of mesh, the latter functioning as inner lining. Forefoot overlays are all welds, a mix of how things were in the Sonic and Glide Boost. The welds have another layer of glossy printing, which adds an element of depth to the design.
Air flow in the upper sits somewhere on the breathability median. It isn’t as breezy as some of lighter Boosts (adios, Boston), yet isn’t uncomfortably stuffy. The upper layer of air mesh might have visible and effective perforations, but the lining beneath is a close type knit.
Tongue is padded air mesh which looks, feels and performs identical to Glide Boost. It is tethered to upper base by a wide gusset (not a full inner sleeve), which wraps around midfoot. Unlike Nike sleeves which come attached slightly removed from the midsole-upper joining point, the Sequence gusset is stitched along with the upper base. There’s a miCoach callout on the tongue, but like the Supernova Glide 6, it does not feature a cavity.
This frees some space around the midfoot base, and keeps the inner sleeve fit more relaxed than an equivalent in Nike.
Running along the sides are embossed synthetic leather panels which also serve as 3-stripe adidas logos. Slits with single layer, mono mesh are placed in the panel, with the intent of providing ventilation. These panels extend towards the rear and morph into heel side flanks.
Upper heel is standard stuff, with an internal stiffener and collar lining back-padded with foam and soft mesh. Collar foam extends a little further on the lateral side, compared to inner side. So much so that if you splay the upper a bit, you’ll see a portion of grey foam sticking out inside. (pictured above).
The Achilles heel dip is curved inwards and is soft, helped by foam sandwiched between two layers of mesh. Embossing on synthetic leather gives a degree of cosmetic detail on the heel, though it’s hard to see the adidas text on medial side.
All these parts come together to result in a great, all round quality of upper fit. There are no pressure hot or blind spots, with a satisfying consistency of fit no matter which part of the upper. The lining feels seamless inside, making the shoe suitable for barefoot runs too. Lacing is wide across with generous spacing from rear to front. Combine that with padded tongue, and there’s no lacing pressure felt.
Yes, the tongue is a little longer and part of it sticks out like a flap near the collar, but it is not a functional negative. Visual eyesore? Maybe, but then that is subjective. Collar grips the foot well, with no slips experienced during runs.
As far as sizing is concerned Sequence Boost goes true. You just have to manage expectations with a snug, shallow-but-not-tight forefoot which is not specific to Sequence, but happens to be textbook adidas fit. This runs in the family, so to speak.
The thick insole helps prop up the foot too. The markings on its rear says something about being 6 mm, and it feels so, at least in the forefoot. The center of heel area feels flatter in comparison, and it is likely due to the extra pressure applied during molding.
Adidas is no exception here, we’ve felt a similar variation in other shoes too. Otherwise, the insole is a comfortable piece of under-foot foam lining which reduces the relative firmness of Stable Frame layer. This is one part which the Sequence 7 shares with Glide Boost, the latter’s insole being an exact replica.
Despite the midfoot half sleeve and molded insole, you won’t sense the upper providing a superlative level of arch support. It’s adequate, but not outstanding.
The Sequence 7 Boost deals with its stability label not by employing laterally biased cushioning, but by applying an element of uniform firmness throughout. In what’s a different treatment from how familiar stability shoes are built, the single density Boost foam cuts across the heel width. This makes compression on either sides uniform – in contrast to convention, which would be to make the lateral softer and medial softer. This separates the Sequence functionally from models like Saucony Guide and Nike Structure, where a softer outer midsole helps controls foot-roll. So before you put down your money on the Sequence, you should be aware of what this shoe actually is.
The best way to look at Supernova Sequence 7’s ride is to do so from a Glide Boost lens. The upper feels near identical across both models except for minor tweaks, and the sole uses same materials, albeit in different doses. If you have experience running in the neutral Glide Boost, and switch to Sequence 7, then you’ll end up feeling that the shoe is a firmer version of the Glide. It feels cushioned, yet mixed in with a quart of firmness. And nowhere does it feel that your foot is leaning outwards, like in many pronation control shoes. EVA fill on medial midfoot and plastic ‘levee’ helps dial in a degree of firmness, but at the same time does not eat into the neutral vibe of heel cushioning.
One could argue that the prominent heel bevel on outer side combined with a sideways (lateral to medial) tapering of Boost foam would induce extreme motion control. Even if we assumed that to be a valid case, then the Glide Boost does something similar too.
Boost is pretty much the cushioning hero here, but given its toned down volume, isn’t in the same bouncy league as Energy Boost or even the Glide Boost. Heel and forefoot compression is definitely felt, but a bit diluted by the firmer EVA layer on top. The shoe turns stiffer once you cross the forefoot point, under the base of your toes. The area medially located under the big toe feels a bit odd, pushing the toe up towards the toe box. Noticeable at first, but ceases to be a bother once miles pile on.
Quality of transition is a definite positive on the Supernova; firmer upper EVA midsole loaded over Boost helps smoother, forward weight transfer. The heel crash pad might not be articulated like a formation unit, but it’s angled upwards to allow gradual foot strikes – much in the manner of Energy and Glide Boost.
Heel feels planted in the ‘bucket’ like construction of the midsole. The walls rise up around 10 mm (above where the reflective strip is) and delivers a good level of foot seating. Arch support isn’t much of a thing on Sequence 7. Sure, the midsole is very stable, with firm EVA acting as a supportive base. But the midsole lacks any flare or shape which could hug the under-arch area. Won’t be wrong in saying that the midsole design seconds upper’s stand on arch-support – adequate, but not super.
Considering the addition of EVA layer, the Sequence 7 does a decent job at managing weight. At 326 gm / 11.7 ounces for a half pair for US 11, it sits at the lower end of weight spectrum within the category of stability shoes. This would have the shoe tip the scale equally with Structure 18, while being around 20-30 grams lighter than shoes like Kayano 21, GT 1000 3 or Adrenaline 14. The only shoe which comes in a lot lighter is Saucony Guide 7.
The Sequence 7 is not a running shoe which is going to blow you away by being spectacular in any one area. Not every shoe has a heavily marketed feature worthy of filling a digital spread, and the Sequence is one such example. Ok, the Boost foam’s in there, but its now ubiquitous nature makes it far from novel.
Instead, it comes across as a capable, daily workhorse which puts everything together very well, much like the footwear equivalent of an untiring home appliance. adidas says that the Supernova Sequence 7 Boost combines cushioning and stability, and that’s exactly what the shoe is, minus deviations from the brief.
And try as we might, it’s hard to find functional faults here, and that’s saying something. Ok, maybe there’s that $10 increase in price over Sequence 6, but then, everyone’s playing that game. Why single adidas out?
(Disclaimer: Solereview paid full US retail price for the shoe reviewed)