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Gear review: adidas PureBOOST DPR

Adidas’ latest addition to the PureBOOST range is the DPR, which drops today (18th May 2017).

I was lucky enough to receive a pair last week to test out, and have been living with them – running and daily wear – for the last few days.

Billed as a shoe for “urban running”, the standout features are a low(er) drop and a wider foot box. As someone who usually runs on zero-drop shoes, I don’t consider 8mm as a true ‘low-drop’ trainer. I certainly feel the stack height when I’m walking around, but during runs it is a lot less evident than other shoes I’ve tested with a 10-12mm heel-to-toe drop.

I also really like the wide toe box. Your foot (the bones and connective tissue to be exact) naturally splays wider when it makes contact with the ground, and many lightweight running shoes today tend to be narrow, particularly in the forefoot. I therefore often find them overly restrictive and prefer to buy wider shoes as a personal preference. However, in the DPR, adidas have created a very comfortable running shoe.

First impressions

Putting them on fresh out of the box, I was initially concerned that the wider toe box would be overshadowed by the considerably narrower mid-foot region – it is certainly more snug around the arch area. However, it has never felt restrictive or uncomfortable.

Snug is probably the best adjective to describe the fit, but that’s also a factor of the one-piece engineered circular knit upper, which is becoming more common among running shoes, particularly the lighter weight ‘racers’ or up-tempo trainers.

According to the adidas press release, the knit upper is “Aramis-tested for a seamless and adaptive fit, wrapping the foot from the inside of the midfoot around to the outside.” It certainly delivers on the promised “comfort”. For this reason I have particularly enjoyed wearing the shoes as an everyday option to the office and out on photo shoots where I’m on my feet for most of the day.

The other design element that creates this snug, comfortable feel is the heel fit counter system, which adidas “designed to enhance the support of the foot and the Achilles, allowing the foot to move effortlessly with the shoe.” With the correct lacing system, the foot really feels locked down, which is important when you head out for a run.

And then there is the oh-so-soft PureBOOST technology in the sole. In the past you struggled to find low-slung racers that struck a balance between lightness and cushioning, but that is changing across many brands, and adidas is certainly at the forefront of these developments.

Adidas also say that the stretchweb outsole enables “a smoother and more flexible ride (that) work(s) in harmony with BOOST”, which the company describes as “ultra-responsive … cushioning that stores and returns energy every time the foot hits the ground.” I’ll vouch for that.

On the run

At around 225g (9 ounces, according to adidas.com), the PureBoost DPR is not the lightest shoe around, but you get a great compromise between weight and cushioning. My normal racing shoe weighs just 180g, so I could feel the difference on the up-tempo running I’ve done in the shoe, but it’s certainly not heavy.

My concerns around the narrow mid-foot and how it would impact my gait were also unfounded. The wide toe box and the PureBOOST sole deliver a smooth and seamless transition through foot strike to toe off. At no point in the gait cycle did I feel any type of instability.

And then there is the energy return, which really does make you feel like you’re bounding along. It is this attribute, combined with the light weight and acceptable HTD drop that has got me considering adding this shoe into my regular rotation, predominantly as a mid-tempo trainer for interval or fartlek sessions out on the road.

I haven’t done more than 10km in one go in the shoe because I’m close to Comrades and don’t want to chance any possible issues, so it’s ability to maintain these attributes into longer runs of 30km or more remain to be put to the test.

The adidas PureBOOST DPR running shoes are now available from retail stores, adidas.co.za, Total Sports, Studio 88 and Cross-Trainer outlets, retailing at R2,299.

Follow the conversation at @adidasrunning and @adidasZA on Instagram and Twitter using #PureBOOST.

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