This article has been updated with current models for January 2023. The adidas Supernova and Run Falcon 2.0 have been replaced with their newest versions. The adidas Ultra 4DFWD and PureBoost 22 are new additions.
In this product guide:
- 1. Factors to consider
- 2. Our top pick: adidas Ultraboost 22
- 3. Our top budget pick: adidas Duramo 10
- 4. Best for everyday runs: adidas Supernova 2
- 5. Best for heavy runners: adidas Solarglide 5
- 6. Best for easy runs and gym: adidas EQ21 Run
- 7. Best for easy runs and casual wear: adidas Ultra 4DFWD
- 8. Best for easy runs and casual wear: adidas Pureboost 22
- 9. Best for easy runs and casual wear: adidas Ultraboost 4.0 DNA
- 10. Best budget trainer: adidas Fluidflow 2.0
- 11. Best budget trainer: adidas RunFalcon 3
If you come across someone on the street wearing an all-black running shoe, the chances are, the person isn’t using them for running per se.
More often than not, black running shoes are a substitute for casual footwear. Unlike stiff leather shoes with firm PU or rubber soles, the soft cushioning of running shoes make spending long hours on the feet extremely comfortable.
A black running shoe doesn’t soil easily – at least visually, and is easy to wipe clean. They also blend well with casual pants and work uniforms.
Black shoes usually don’t work very well for running, since they aren’t as visible as light-colored footwear. Sure, some black trainers include high-visibility elements on the upper, but such specimens are far and between.
This isn’t to say that runners stay away from all-black colors. You’ll probably nod your head in agreement when we say that the athleisure market is the mass adopter of black-on-black running shoes.
Besides the style versatility, one of the factors that make black sneakers popular is their use in the service industry. The foam midsoles are comfortable during long shifts, whereas the rubber outsole offers a confidence-inspiring grip on smooth floors.
Anyone who has worked in the retail, healthcare, supply-chain, or hospitality industry will attest that modern running shoes are far easier on the feet than leather casual shoes.
adidas and Nike know this trend very well, so they offer a black-on-black color on most of their popular running shoe models.
(Related read: The best black Nike running shoes.)
1) Solereview recommends: adidas Ultraboost 22
Barring a few improvements, the Ultraboost 22 is nearly identical to the 21. In other words, this shoe works better as a lifestyle sneaker than a running shoe. The all Boost foam stack makes walking and other mild-intensity activities very comfortable.
Sure, you can run in them – the thick Boost midsole has plenty of cushioning for long-distance runs, and the Continental rubber outsole is durable and grippy. The snug and stretchy Primeknit upper pins the foot to the midsole, and helps make the power delivery smooth.
The exaggerated sidewall design also makes the Ultraboost 22 very supportive. Our detailed review is available to read here.
2) Top budget pick: adidas Duramo 10
The 10th version of the Duramo continues to be an excellent value proposition. adidas has stepped up its affordable running shoe of late, and that shows on the newest Duramo.
This budget trainer is kitted with an EVA midsole for all-day comfort, and there’s even a full rubber outsole for traction and durability. If the side profile looks familiar, that’s because the Boston 10 has a similar midsole aesthetic. But here, it’s regular EVA and not Lightstrike Pro.
The mesh upper is very well put together. The breathable exterior is reinforced with fused overlays and faux padding, and the dense lacing setup creates a secure fit.
Even though the Duramo has a very basic spec level, it’s sufficiently comfortable for short runs and everyday casual wear.
3) Best for everyday runs: adidas Supernova V2
There are several reasons why the Supernova V2 is one of our favorite adidas running shoes. It’s a no-nonsense running shoe that doesn’t break the bank, while offering reliable tech from adidas’s arsenal.
The comfortable and responsive Boost foam core is supported by an EVA frame. That set-up makes the ride cushioned yet versatile enough for various pace and mileage ranges. The Supernova V2 can be used as a daily trainer or work shoe – take your pick.
Though the outsole is not made of Continental rubber, it delivers satisfactory grip and durability.
4) Best for heavy runners: adidas Solarglide 5
We reviewed the Solarglide 5 (not in black, though), and the extent of updates took us by surprise. The Solarglide 5 is nothing like the Solarglide 4.
The new Solarglide 5 is like an Ultraboost by a different name. It’s 13-ounces heavy, and has a wider midsole with more Boost in it. It’s a much heavier and bulky running shoe than before. A comparable shoe from another brand would be the Brooks Addiction GTS 15.
The LEP (aka the Torsion) shank has been redesigned, and extends upwards to form a ‘wing’ under the heel and forefoot.
As a result, the Solarglide 5 is exceptionally supportive, yet generously cushioned. The EVA frame doesn’t cover the Boost core on top, so only a molded footbed separates the foot from the Boost.
The Continental rubber outsole has large windows exposing the Boost foam, so that reduces the stiffness during foot-strike and transitions.
Even though the newly-added bulk reduces the Solarglide 5’s versatility to an easy-cruising running shoe, the same ride properties make it an excellent athleisure shoe.
The high-volume midsole is comfortable enough for standing all day, and the molded insole creates a nice layer of step-in softness. The upper is plush too; the heel is generously padded and uses a soft lining. Even though the upper is non-stretchy, the interiors have a secure fit.
A word of caution – the Solarglide 5 fits small, so you need to buy a half size larger than your regular adidas size.
For example, if you wear a size US 11, then get a US 11.5 for the Solarglide 5. Strangely, the tongue has no sleeve, so the raw edges tend to fold over the foot. Not a deal-breaker, but still.
5) Best for easy runs and gym: adidas EQ21 Run
The sensibly-priced EQ21 Run is inspired by the Ultraboost – its floating midfoot cage and plastic heel clip show the strong design influence.
However, this being an $80 running shoe, the upper does not use Primeknit but a standard engineered mesh that delivers a smooth and secure fit. The midsole also isn’t made of Boost, but of Bounce EVA foam over a standard rubber outsole.
Nonetheless, the EQ21 gets its running shoe basics right. The EVA midsole is adequately comfortable, and the mesh upper locks the foot down in comfort. Use this as your everyday running shoe or casual wear- the EQ21 Run is capable of both.
6) Best for easy runs and casual wear: adidas Ultra 4D FWD
Most people don’t know it or even care, but the adidas Ultra 4D FWD is the only mass-produced sneaker with a 3D-printed midsole.
Nearly 7 years ago, we published an opinion-piece on 3D printing, and how mass-produced 3D-printed midsoles aren’t going to be a thing anytime soon.
In retrospect, we were wrong, and we were also right. We were wrong because adidas now sells the 4DFWD shoe. We were partially on the money because so far, 3D-printed parts have failed to replicate the bouncy foam-like midsoles that’s used on most running shoes.
The adidas 4D FWD is like an Ultraboost, but without the Boost midsole. Instead, the shoe uses a latticed midsole made of 3D-printed resin.
There’s a reason why the shoe looks like that. The resin isn’t as lightweight as regular EVA, TPU, or PEBA foam, so the chain-link design is necessary to reduce weight. The shoe still weighs 14-ounces, thus making it the heaviest of the lot.
In return, the elastic midsole delivers a fun and bouncy ride, but its versatility is limited to easy runs of a mild intensity.
Most people use this as a casual sneaker for everyday use. Some of the parts look familiar; there’s the stretchy Primeknit upper and a full-coverage Continental rubber outsole for durable and dependable traction.
7) Best for easy runs and casual wear: adidas Pureboost 22
The name ‘Pureboost’ is an accurate description of what this shoe is about. The midsole is made 100% of adidas Boost foam, so there’s a generous amount of ride comfort available to tap into. It’s not exactly a ‘fast’ shoe, so the Pureboost 22 is best reserved for mild-intensity training or casual use.
Unlike the prior models, the Pureboost 22 has scooped ridges on the sides for support. The rubber outsole isn’t made of Continental rubber, but its full-coverage layout helps with the overall stability and grip.
When compared to the Ultraboost, the upper feels basic. That said, it gets the job done. The plush heel collar and padded tongue keep the foot from slipping, whereas the floating midfoot clip and lacing loop helps with midfoot lockdown.
8) Best for easy runs and casual wear: adidas Ultraboost 4.0 DNA
To be honest, the first iteration of the Ultraboost wasn’t a bad running shoe at all – our 2015 review is proof.
It was a simpler time back then, and the Ultraboost was a softer shoe without the exaggerated sidewall that the UB 22 has. Even the latticed ‘Stretchweb’ outsole helped increase the cushioning sensation.
The Ultraboost 4.0 DNA is almost a replica of the 2015 Ultraboost (except for the outsole), so the ride and fit character is the same. The single-density Boost midsole provides excellent comfort for long-distance runs or regular casual use.
Even though we (still) have a low opinion of the plastic cage, it does support the midfoot while providing a basic level of lacing security.
9) Best budget trainer: adidas Fluidflow 2.0
There’s not much to write about the Fluidflow 2.0, and we don’t say that in a negative sense.
The $80 Fluidflow lacks any fancy footwear tech or design language. A breathable upper with clean aesthetics offers a snug yet smooth fit; it’s also helped by a unique lacing system that loops through a pair of stitched-on TPU bars.
Under the mesh upper is a cushioned stack of EVA foam that makes short-distance runs and everyday casual use comfortable.
10) Best budget trainer: adidas Runfalcon 3
On this buyer’s guide, the Duramo 10 isn’t the least expensive adidas running shoe. That would be the RunFalcon 3.
The fact that adidas hasn’t omitted the rubber outsole is a pleasant surprise. Besides the obvious traction benefit, a rubber outsole makes a shoe more durable, thus delivering more miles per dollar spent. And the rubber compound is non-marking too.
All in all, the Run Falcon 3 offers pretty good value for its $60 price. So while we can’t expect the ride comfort of a $130 shoe, the fundamentals aren’t lacking. The firm Cloudfoam EVA midsole provides the necessary levels of everyday cushioning, and the breathable mesh upper fits as a running shoe should.
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