Derek is in his 40’s and trains 70-80 miles per week at 7 to 8 minute pace in mostly tropical conditions in Singapore. He has a 2:39 marathon PR from the 2022 Zurich Marathon.
First Impressions, Fit and Upper
Derek: My Boston 10’s are in a relatively vanilla black/white colorway so I was happy to get something a little more eye-catching for version 11. Adidas calls this colorway “Solar yellow / night metallic / beam yellow” and it has a really good high visibility feel to it, which is great for me because a lot of my easy runs are at 10pm at night after work. That said, the upper material is now quite different. Previously, the Boston 10’s used a more conventional, softer mesh upper. Now, the upper is almost completely made of thinner and stiffer nylon mesh. The layers are all very thin and give the upper a futuristic see-through look, but the materials are quite stiff out of the box. It gives the shoe a decent amount of volume and this is particularly noticeable at the toebox where the upper just stands up quite well on its own, but… it’s not the most comfortable where it tapers at midfoot, and then it opens up a bit more again (maybe too much) at the heel.
So the upper has several overlapping layers of thin mesh but the bulk of the upper mainly has 2 layers. This is still very thin and breathes very well. The front toe guard still uses a thicker external layer of fabric and overall toe box volume is on the higher side. (Vs current year shoes, it’s closest to the Saucony Tempus for me. So loads of space for people who like higher volume up front)
At midfoot the width is about the same as v10, but the materials are just a little stiffer so even though there are no raised sidewalls here, it does kind of feel like the upper is holding your foot in quite well where it attaches to the midsole.
The tongue material is the same as in v10, lightly padded, pretty stiff with a laminated cordura-like material, and gusseted on both sides.
The heel appears to retain the semi-rigid internal heel cup but the collar is very different now, using much thinner materials and relying on cushions around the collar to hold the heel down. There is a discontinuity where the Achilles tendon is supposed to sit so in theory if your ankle and heel molds perfectly into the upper, the hold would be excellent.
There is that strip of fabric that folds down on itself at the heel, also seen in the Adios 7 and Adios Pro 3 that nobody quite knows what to do with. My suspicion is that it’s supposed to act like a pull tab to get your foot in the shoe, then you fold it down to get it out of the way. In practice, I can see a case for leaving the flap up, as I found that folding it down makes that crease a bit stiff and it can dig into your skin sometimes.
Step in feel was a mixed bag. It is definitely true to size. The toe box is nice and roomy but the midfoot feels a bit stiff with disproportionately more pressure on the sides than from the top when lacing up, while at the same time the heel just feels a bit loose without much lockdown. I have the Adios Pro 3 and it did take a few runs to get the fit right with the right socks so I’m hoping we will figure it out as we go along here as well.
Derek: The midsole is unchanged from v10.
From the top down, first up there is a layer of Lightstrike pro. We are all quite familiar with Lightstrike pro by now and know what to expect. It’s springy and relatively soft. There is more of it under the forefoot than the heel so you quite rightly expect the soft forefoot-firm heel type of feel here.
Under the strobel board and above the Lightstrike Pro, there is a rectangular wedge of carbon plate. It is quite visible and palpable when you remove the sockliner of the shoe. That to me is the biggest contributor to the firmness of the heel.
It adds a lot to heel stability, but at the same time can be quite harsh at slower paces, especially for heel strikers.
Below the Lightstrike Pro is regular Lightstrike foam as the base. Sandwiched in between from the midfoot to the toes are the Energy Rods. In the Boston, unlike in the Adios Pro 1 and 2, the rods are sort of carbon infused and not pure carbon, so they are a little more flexible. Similar rods are used in the Takumi Sen 8’s. Lightstrike foam is pretty firm and can be a bit dull in the rebound department but it has really good vibration dampening properties. The forefoot is rockered as in the Boston 10.
Overall, there is a bit of underfoot spring, but this is best achieved with a midfoot strike.
Derek: The outsole is the same as in Boston 10. There is substantial ribbed Continental rubber here, and from my experience with the Boston 10 over the past year, it is extremely durable and grippy. The outsole will probably be the last thing to expire in this shoe.
Derek: To be honest he ride didn’t change much from version 10. The new upper allowed the shoe to lose a bit of weight but it’s really quite negligible.
The Boston 11 works well for steady state easy-moderate pace running, but struggles with pace variations.
The new upper makes the lockdown better, and worse at the same time. For me the Boston 10 upper is perfect from the midfoot back to the heel, with the toebox being a bit too roomy. In fact, as the miles piled on and the mesh stretched a bit more, I found myself getting too much lateral movement at the toes and sometimes developed hotspots at the sides of the 5th and big toe.
With the Boston 11, midfoot and forefoot are great after breaking them in. The midfoot really softens up a bit and molds well to your foot after the first couple of runs. The heel is now the weak spot for me, with a little too much volume and not enough padding to hold the heel down properly. I’ve gone up to 15 miles in the Boston 11 and it just rolls along quite well at steady moderate paces, and I think that’s the sweet spot for me.
Conclusions and Recommendations
Derek: Boston 11 is really a Boston 10.5 for me. Everything underfoot is the same, and the new upper has changes that improve the fit in some ways but make things worse in others.
The shoe sits on the firmer end of the spectrum and is plenty stable despite having a relatively narrow heel compared to other existing maximalist trainers.
I think it works best for heavier runners as I think they are more likely to get more spring out of the firm Lightstrike heel here, and runners who just prefer a more stable version of a rockered shoe.
I think this is a workhorse shoe that can handle a lot of heavy mileage. The firmness and the rockered ride makes it best run in the faster end of the moderate effort spectrum for me, like faster long runs, or just steady pace efforts. I would recommend something else for racing or speed work, and I think it’s just a little too firm for recovery runs, but for everything else, this shoe would work fine.
Overall, I think it is an ok upgrade. I like the improved forefoot hold here, even with the sloppier heel. I feel with a heavier type of shoe as the Boston is, I want to be as connected to the forefoot as possible, because that’s where I’m driving the shoe from, if that makes sense.
So for me, improved forefoot hold vs poorer heel hold is a good trade off. People with narrow feet might still find that the new upper won’t work well for them. Bottom line: if you are going to get the Boston 11, you have to expect a bit of a break in period for the upper.
Derek’s Score: 9.15 / 10
Ride 9 (50%) Fit 9.5 (30%) Value 9 (15%) Style 9 (5%)
Smiles Score: 😊😊😊1/2
Index to all RTR reviews: HERE
Adidas Boston 10 (RTR Review)
Derek: The fit is the same for both models. True to size for me, though I might be able to get away with a half size down with thin socks. The Boston 10 has the more conventional upper and one which is easier to work with, but the new Boston 11 upper has better forefoot hold. I scored both shoes almost the same. I think it comes down to individual fit more than anything else here. If you have heels that are sensitive to rubbing or if you tend to have issues with heel slippage, then definitely stick to the 10’s conventional upper. Otherwise I’d give the new upper a try.
Nike ZoomX Invincible Fk 2 (RTR Review)
Derek: I am true to size in both models. These two shoes are very different in feel despite having similar stack numbers. The Nike is soft and not very rockered, with an upper that is still on the warmer side; the Adidas has the firmer underfoot feel, has a marked forefoot rocker and a thin very breathable upper.
Saucony Tempus (RTR Review)
Derek: I am true to size in both. Both shoes have a sort of firmer ride with effective rockers. The Tempus fit is easier to dial in for me, but the Boston has the stiffer and more efficient rocker, and truth be told, the narrower heel of the Boston makes it feel a little more nimble for me as well. Both are very similar in terms of vibration dampening, though if I had to pick one pair, I’d say the Boston is just a little more forgiving for longer runs, which is strange to say because for shorter runs up to 6 miles, the Tempus feels like a softer and more forgiving shoe. Overall I think the Tempus is the more versatile shoe for being more accommodating to both faster and slower paces and I think it’s a better overall trainer because of this.
New Balance FuelCell SC Trainer (RTR Review)
Derek: I am true to size in both shoes. I have scored both shoes at 9.2 for the ride, which to me is the most important metric. Both shoes are very good for rolling along at moderate paces, and I’d say the Trainer is better at recovery paces too. At faster paces, neither shoe is very happy but the Boston seems to hold uptempo a little better, perhaps simply because it’s a lighter shoe and with a lower more responsive stack profile. I think the SC Trainer is the more special shoe to have, but if you can only own one pair, the Boston is the more versatile option.
Nike Zoom Fly 5 (RTR Review)
Derek: I am true to size in both shoes. I think the Nike is the better shoe in most respects. The fit is more straightforward, the ride is more forgiving and almost as efficient in the rocker, and it is the higher stack shoe at pretty much identical weight. One area I think Adidas still wins is in the outsole. The ZF 5 outsole is really good but the Adidas outsole is pretty much best in class at the moment. The ZF5, to be fair, costs a little bit more, but I think the price premium is well worth it.
The adizero Boston 11 is available at Running Warehouse
Samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased through affiliate links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors’