Did Adidas fix the Boston with the new Adidas Boston 12?
When Adidas completely reinvented the Boston in 2021, the reviews were very diverse. Some considered it being a bold move from the Bavarian company and some others really did not understand why they ditched the traditional Boston for something completely different. I personally was not the biggest fan of that upgrade and I was therefore excited to test the new Boston 12. It doesn’t return to the good old Boston days but it certainly took onboard some comments made about its predecessors.
Specs: the Adidas Boston 12 is lighter and lower
At 286g in my size US11 / EU45, the Adidas Adizero Boston 12 is much lighter than the Boston 10. Note that I did not test the Boston 11 (and that was on purpose as I didn’t see much changes compared to the 10). My Boston 10 came in at 333g which added to the clunkiness of the shoe.
The Boston 12 also gets closer to the ground with a 2mm reduction of stack in the heel. It moves from the 39mm heel in the Boston 10 and 11 to 37mm and changing the 8mm drop for a 6.5mm one instead. This remains quite far from the Boston “standards” but it definitely helps on the weight side of things.
The upper of the Adidas Boston 12 is simple but too abrasive
The Bostons had historically rather simple and straightforward uppers. The Boston 10 came with something that I found too thick and yet not necessarily very comfortable. The first thing you’ll notice with the Boston 12 is how transparent and thin the upper looks. The idea in itself is great but the result is rather poor with the material used being unpleasant against the foot and quite abrasive. I even got a blister on my second toe, which never happened to me before.
The construction of the upper is also quite interesting with a floating tongue and a gusset connecting the strobel to three middle eyelets on the eyelet chain. The midfoot lockdown results into something good but I had to loosen up the laces in that midfoot area as my feet felt quite constricted.
The fit is – unlike many Adizero shoes in the past years – true to size for me. It still runs rather long but I wouldn’t look into going half up with this shoe. The toe box is not the roomiest out there despite the forefoot width of the platform being one of the more generous. Heel lockdown could be improved with a more narrow heel cup but the priority to improve this upper would really be to find a nicer and less abrasive material.
Many changes to the midsole, for a better Boston?
Adidas decided to implement many changes at once to the new Adidas Boston 12. Is that a sign that they acknowledge the relative failure of the previous two versions? I couldn’t say for sure but it’s certainly a bold move. Many companies tend to implement changes one by one to test what works and what doesn’t. Here Adidas is changing the foam, the geometry, the stack, the rods material and the rods shape. That’s a lot!
The new foam is the new Lightstrike 2.0 EVA-based foam that is placed underneath Adidas’ top end Ligthstrike Pro foam. This new version of Lightstrike is softer and offers a different compression set than the previous more traditional foam. You won’t be fooled, it’s still EVA and you can feel it, but it’s a better one.
On the geometry side of things, Adidas accentuated the Lightstrike Pro integration in the forefoot with more of that premium foam placed at the level of the ball of your foot. The idea here is too offer a more explosive and bouncy toe-off. The designers of the Boston 12 also decided to lower the stack by 2mm, which now gives a 37mm heel and a 30.5mm forefoot – the drop has been lowered from 8mm to 6.5mm.
Finally the energy rods are now carbon (instead of carbon infused fiberglass rods in the previous versions) and they run the whole length of the shoe to maximise the lever effect. The plate in the heel has been removed and the rods form a “Pretzel” shape in the heel.
Is the ride better in the Adidas Boston 12 compared to previous versions?
Short answer: yes. The ride of the shoe has definitely improved compared to the Boston 10. It feels less clunky due to the weight savings and the lower stack also gives that impression of agility. It remains a shoe with 37mm of stack in the heel but it runs more “natural” compared to the much-heavier Boston 10 that was sitting on 39mm of foam.
The new Lightstrike 2.0 foam in the heel is also a good addition to the shoe, which now feels a little cushioned in the heel thanks to the slightly improved compression of the foam at landing. The compression gets of course better at faster paces and the slower you run the worse this shoe rides, especially for heel strikers I would tend to argue.
The forefoot remains a rather flat experience with a late toe spring and not much rocker at all. In a sense this is the connection between this shoe and the traditional Boston heritage. I couldn’t really feel the extra Lightstrike Pro foam in the forefoot. but I could feel it the snapiness of the carbon rods and the long lever that provides with more energy return at faster paces.
The shoe offers a stable ride. The groove in the midsole helps align the footstrike and the heel bevel is more protruding on the medial side which slows pronation (while not controlling my footstrike). Not the first time Adidas goes with that bevel geometry and I personally think it’s a great addition for mild to moderate pronators. Last, the forefoot width ensure a stable platform to push on at toe-off.
Value for money and other considerations on the Boston 12
Let’s quickly add a point on the outsole before going into the money talk. Continental rubber has proven its strength on Adidas shoes and that German partnership provides with one of the best outsoles on the market. Not much too add here other than I’m glad to see the collaboration continues.
Now the price. €160/$160 for a shoe that can technically cover most of you training regimen. In a way it’s good value for money for people considering this shoe as their allrounder. But I would argue it’s not one as easy and recovery paces don’t work super well in it. Even with an easy day shoe or a racing shoe to complete the rotation, the price tag remains correct for what the shoe does. It can be a great endurance, long run, tempo (and even race day) companion. And long run is probably how I would use it, making the most of its light stability features.
One thing that I would really like to see improved is the comfort of that upper. There are worse uppers out there but let’s compare it to the better ones. In that price range you have the Endorphin Speed 3, the On Cloudmonster, the Asics Novablast (or Magic Speed). All of these shoes are more comfortable than the Boston 12 despite most of them carrying a lower amount of technologies. My point is: the Boston became a complicated shoe. There are so many elements in it, so many updates to this version in particular – whereas the core of the shoe, i.e. the last, the fit, seems to have been abandoned a bit.
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