Sneaker Showdown: adidas UltraBOOST 2019 or Nike Epic React Flyknit 2?
Nike and adidas have revealed their latest weapons in the ongoing sneaker war, upgrading their flagship casual running offerings with fresh looks and tech. The Epic React Flyknit 2 and the UltraBOOST 2019 mark new eras for two of the most popular silhouettes on the market, packing the respective brands’ renowned energy-return and knit technologies into sleek, street-ready packages.
So which revamped runner will rule 2019? In this instalment of Sneaker Showdown, Nike’s Epic React Flyknit 2 dukes it out against adidas’ UltraBOOST 2019 in a battle for pavement supremacy. Round 1! Fight!
After years using the tried-and-true UltraBOOST template, Team Trefoil came through with some drastic aesthetic changes for 2019’s revamp. They entirely reimagined and redesigned the performance runner with feedback from thousands of runners worldwide, with the end result still carrying the spirit of the much-heralded OG. The biggest changes came via the Three Stripe side cage and heel counter, the latter replaced with a stripped-back 3D Heel Frame, which cradles the heel for even more stability.
Over at Beaverton, they opted to make subtle changes to their 2018 Epic React. The runner’s second coming is cut slightly lower, resulting in a more sock-like appearance. The midfoot Swoosh has been enlarged for a bolder branding hit, while the Flyknit upper’s weave pattern and TPU heel counter has been tweaked for improved fit and performance.
We didn’t expect Team Swoosh to make wholesale changes to their debut release for 2019 — it’s only been around for a year, after all. However, we’ve got to give props to adidas for finally giving the UltraBOOST a much-needed makeover.
WINNER: ULTRABOOST 2019
Set to retail for $150, The Epic React Flyknit 2 is the more affordable sneaker in this showdown. While it’s not all about what’s cheaper, Nike’s offering sure packs in plenty of bang for your buck. A cored-out full-length React foam midsole keeps you bouncy all day long, while Flyknit has your average mesh make-ups well covered for comfort and fit.
On the flipside, the UltraBOOST 2019 will set you back $180. However, you could argue that the extra 30 goes a long way in the case, as adi’s offering arguably the more teched-out of the two — Optimized BOOST, Torsion Spring, Primeknit 360, and the 3D Heel Frame are all 2019 performance upgrades. Oh, and did we mention there’s 20 per cent more BOOST than past UBs?
Damn — this is a tough one to split.
It’s safe to say that things have cooled off for adidas since the #boostvibes era. There was a point where copping a pair of UltraBOOSTs off the shelf was close to impossible, but how times have changed. The hypebeasts have moved on, but the BOOST community still has a pulse — albeit a faint one.
Still in its infancy, React is yet to garner the same demand as BOOST, and we’re not sure it ever will. Perhaps the technology came along a little too late?
Admittedly, it’s not about the clout when it comes to these performance pavement pounders, but if we have to give the slight edge it goes to adidas here. We’re just hanging out for the Consortium to get their hands on it.
WINNER: ULTRABOOST 2019
It was closely contested at times, but Trefoil’s runner revamp edges out this sneaker slugfest. Faced with the challenge of breathing new life into the fan-favourite UltraBOOST, adi’s design team were game enough to listen to feedback and reconstructed it — that deserves some kudos.
Who knows? Maybe they should’ve done it sooner. Perhaps #boostvibes would still be alive?