adidas Ultraboost 22: Tested Review

In the latest update to adidas' Ultraboost road shoe, recovery runs have never felt so good.

Heather Balogh Rochfort|Published October 27, 2022

9 reviews with an average rating of 3.0 out of 5 stars
A runner ties their black adidas Ultraboost 22 road running shoes.

I’ll be honest: A year ago, I thought I’d never get to run again. After nearly 20 years of dabbling in a variety of distances from 5–35 miles, a physical therapist told me that my joints just weren’t up to the challenge anymore. “Your hips are trying to run away from your body,” she shrugged, dropping an emotional bomb on my 39-year-old ego.

I didn’t really understand what she meant, but my brain received the ultimate message: No more running. So, consider me both surprised and elated to find my now 40-year-old body enjoying a return-to-running progression program. There’s a lot I can thank for finding my way back here, but the joys of kinetic chain therapy and the adidas Ultraboost 22 running shoe are near the top of the list.

Launched in December 2021, the 22 is the latest in a series of Ultraboost updates that seemingly helped adidas figure out what they want this shoe to be. While the Ultraboost 20 was more of an athleisure shoe designed for everyday consumers, the 21 model underwent a top-to-bottom overhaul that placed the shoe decidedly in the “serious runner” category, especially as a daily trainer or for those seeking a recovery sneaker for easy miles after a long run. This year, adidas doubled down with a few small adjustments (more on that below) that made a massive difference.

So, what’s inside the adidas Ultraboost 22? I, along with a team of testers, tried out this max-cushioned workhorse. Here’s what we found.


Runner Heather Balogh Rochfort
Years running 15
Average miles-per-week 10–15 post-injury, but working on building back up
Preferred race distance 50K … working on getting back there!
Preferred terrain Trail—the more technical the better


Don’t Judge a Shoe by Its Stack Height

You can’t unsee the high-volume foam midsole on these sneakers. In fact, it’s the first thing my PT noticed when I walked into his office, and it’s certainly the feature I noticed most on my inaugural run. But while the Ultraboost looks like a marshmallow (there’s a 30.5 mm heel stack), it’s firmer than expected. If you’re hoping for a running shoe with pillowy softness underfoot, these aren’t it.

The socklike knit upper is also noticeable right out of the box, cradling your foot especially well in the Achilles region. The plastic midfoot cage is a Goldilocks, providing just the right amount of lateral support without ruining the snuggly effect of the stretchy upper. And they’re bouncy. While plodding down the path on that first run, I almost felt like a bounding deer.


Inside the Ultraboost

A man standing on a bridge platform in a pair of neon yellow Ultraboost 22 Road Running shoes


After a long morning at my laptop, it’s time to stretch my legs for a midday jaunt and see how the hips are feeling after hours of sitting. During the first several minutes of the jog, my joints are creaky, but I figure that’s what I get for incurring an injury at 40 years old. Eventually, I settle into a relatively easy stride and start noticing how the adidas BOOST technology feels in the midsole. Created from thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) particles molded into closed cells around itty-bitty pockets of air, this pellet—called expanded thermoplastic polyurethane, or eTPU—touts a handful of benefits over the traditional EVA foam. That’s a lot of jargon for a simple observation: energy return. I can almost feel the plastic shank snapping my stride back to me. For tired legs like mine, for which recovery is an uphill battle, I really appreciate the bonus pep in my step.


Out and About: Additional Tester Responses
Marathoner Jason Boyle, an REI Co-op multiday guide, noted the Ultraboost 22 had “good rebound” and felt the rocker “did a great job on forward propulsion.” While he also felt the shank added snappiness, he also worried about its stiffness. “That, with the low-volume toe box, meant I couldn’t wear these for more than two hours.”

The return doesn’t compare to a carbon-plated racing or speed day shoe, but it’s noticeable next to other offerings in the same “daily trainer” category. And, I have to agree with Jason: The stiffness underfoot means I won’t be running long mileage in the Ultraboost any time soon. Plus, these kicks are heavy—you may want to opt for a lighter, cushier pair like the HOKA Clifton 8 or the On Cloudflyer for those superlong runs during marathon training.


Read more: Best Road Running Shoes: Tested | How to Train for a Marathon


Still, the Ultraboost’s overall fit is promising. The stretchy knit upper is constructed with yarn that is half recycled polyester and half Parley Ocean Plastic, or waste plastic that’s plucked out of the ocean and transformed into a usable synthetic material. And for the first time in the series, the women’s Ultraboost 22 was specifically designed for women—or, more broadly, those assigned female at birth. Instead of making a unisex shoe based off a typical man’s foot and shrinking the size, adidas used a women’s last (the foot mold for shoe construction) to dial in the fit. End result: a narrower midfoot and heel cup along with a lower instep height. 

My feet have some beautiful bunions and a wider forefoot after years crammed into ballet shoes, so the low-volume toe box was a bit snug for my liking. But the extra padding around the heel cup means the shoe doesn’t slip while moving. The Ultraboost 22 really has that “socklike fit” and simply molded to my feet; hot spots were never a concern.


Two runners bounding down the road in the Ultraboost 22 road running shoes.

Continental rubber (the same company that makes tires!) on the outsole easily grips during wet conditions and adds durability to an already-burly sneaker. In fact, we’d argue that the Ultraboost 22 is one of the most bombproof shoes we’ve tested this season since BOOST foam lasts much longer than EVA. Of course, all this armor comes with a high price tag. The Ultraboost 22 costs $190 for both women's and men's.


Takeaway: Who Are They For?

The adidas Ultraboost 22 is a stable and well-cushioned daily trainer that works best for recovery runs or easy days when the extra foam is welcomed but the weight isn’t such a severe penalty. As I learned, the ample yet firm BOOST foam also works well for rehabbing injuries and avoiding maximum impact. Due to the snug toe box, runners with wide feet may want to bump up a size. If the price point is an issue, consider opting for the cloudlike cushioning of the adidas Adistar CS.