Coming to think of it, a lot of adidas’s footwear fortune rests on slip-on models like the Ultraboost.
And there’s not only one, but several Ultraboost variants. Keeping the newest Ultraboost 22 company are ‘retro’ versions of the namesake series – you know, like Ultraboost DNA 4.0, 5.0, and 1.0.
Even new colors of the Ultraboost 20 are available – and that makes sense, since the UB 19 and 20 were the only variants with soft midfoot panels. All other Ultraboosts – the 22 included – have the infamous plastic cage.
Though the comfortable Boost midsole has played a huge role in making the Ultraboost successful, the easy-to-wear Primeknit upper gives the Ultraboost its signature aesthetic.
The narrow fit of the Ultraboost is no secret. Nonetheless, the stretchy upper is easy to wear due to the elastic slip-on heel.
The NMD R1 is another slip-on shoe that used to be extremely popular a few years ago. We reviewed this retro-inspired sneaker three years ago, and there’s even a redesigned NMD R1 V2 for sale now. Both the versions happen to be slip-on sneakers.
Besides the Ultraboost and NMD R1, there are several sneakers with a slip-on entry. There’s the skate-inspired Nizza RF, and then stand-alone athleisure models like Lite Racer Adapt 4.0, Kaptir 2.0, and Run Swift.
We really like the adidas Court Rallye slip-on silhouette, but it seems to be out of stock at the time of publishing this guide.
Solereview recommends: adidas Ultraboost 22
If you have close to $200 to spend, then there’s no better adidas slip-on than the Ultraboost 22. The entire exterior is made of a stretchy Primeknit mesh that wraps the foot in secure comfort.
The plastic midfoot cage was a feature that we always had a low opinion of. That changes with the V22 – adidas has updated the cage design with a scooped-out first lacing row and a thinner last row.
And like the UB 21, the floating design of the cage no longer applies pressure near the midsole edge.
Calling the UB 22 a performance running shoe is a stretch due to its 12-ounce weight, but the high-volume Boost midsole works for easy runs, gym workouts, and everyday athleisure wear. Here’s where you can find our in-depth opinion piece on this shoe.
Solereview recommends: adidas Nizza RF Slip on
There’s not much to say about the Nizza RF slip-on, except that it’s a comfortable sneaker based on a retro form factor. At $65 retail, the Nizza is an excellent value proposition as well.
A slip-on textile upper is mated to a vulcanized rubber midsole and outsole – just like how some of the earliest sports shoes used to be made. Think the Dunlop Green Flash. Or the Converse Chuck Taylor. The latter was a popular basketball sneaker during the 1930s.
The Nizza RF also takes inspiration from skate-inspired design, so there’s an extra layer of protection over the toe-bumper.
There are contemporary touches like the padded heel collar and smooth lining, and the slip-on tongue has elasticated gore for an easy on-and-off.
1) adidas Lite Racer Adapt 4.0
The Lite Racer Adapt 4.0 is as basic as it gets. An all-mesh bootie upper is quilted in the heel and tongue to make the interiors comfortable, whereas the lightweight spacer lets the air circulate.
There are no laces – just an elastic band over the slip-on entry to keep the foot secure inside the Lite Racer Adapt 4.0.
It’s evident that this isn’t a serious performance running shoe.
Though the single-density EVA foam midsole (Cloudfoam) is comfortable enough for casual wear and treadmill walks, the midsole and upper lack the necessary specs for performance running. But it’s a $65 shoe, so we’re not complaining.
2) adidas Kaptir 2.0
For $20 over the Lite Racer Adapt, there’s the Kaptir 2.0.
It’s a sneaker that’s best suited for casual use rather than hardcore running. The upper and midsole are light on the performance details, yet offer adequate comfort and fit security for athleisure use.
The slip-on upper uses loop-based lacing for fit adjustment, and the seamless mesh shell creates a smooth interior environment.
Rubber lugs are set in high wear areas for durability. The comfortable EVA foam midsole is supported with a plastic heel clip for rearfoot stability.
3) adidas Swift Run 22
The Swift Run 22 punches above its $90 price. Unlike the less expensive Racer Adapt and Kaptir, the Swift Run 22 has a knit upper with molded and embroidered details. This makes the upper appear premium while creating a soft and smooth fit.
Unlike the Primeknit upper, the Swift Run’s mesh lacks elasticity. Adidas makes up for it with an 8-row lacing with variable eyelet placement. This helps customize the fit.
Under the knit upper is a cushioned EVA foam midsole and full rubber outsole. Based on the feature set, we view the Swift Run 22 as a decent lifestyle-performance crossover that fills the role of a casual sneaker as well as a running shoe for short distances.
4) adidas NMD R1
We prefer the NMD R1 V1 over the recently released V2. We’ll tell you why.
Adidas did an excellent job of fusing modern footwear technology with vintage design elements. The color-blocking plugs were a throwback to the adidas Micropacer and Boston Super. We spent some exploring this shoe’s retro roots in our detailed review.
Under the retro-inspired design is a modern chassis. A cushioned Boost midsole offers a high level of ride comfort for daily use, and the full rubber outsole delivers durable grip on paved surfaces.
The upper design keeps it simple. The heel is constructed in a slip-on style for easy on and off; the three rows of lacing allow a minor degree of adjustment.
Also see: The adidas NMD R1 V2.
5) adidas Ultraboost DNA 4.0
The ‘DNA’ in this shoe’s name refers to the original Ultraboost that we first reviewed seven years ago.
Except for the more durable outsole, the Ultraboost DNA is a replica of the first-generation UB. That also includes the super-comfortable Boost midsole, grippy Continental rubber outsole, and a slip-on Primeknit upper with a plush tongue and heel.
The stretchy mesh upper uses recycled content, and also features the love-it-or-hate-it plastic cage. Well, most people seem to love it, or else the Ultraboost would not have been so successful. Ha.
Also see: The adidas Ultraboost 20.