Adidas PulseBoost HD running trainers review: there's more to Adidas than Ultraboost…

Knitted running shoes are a great everyday run, and they come with a Spotify playlist

Adidas PulseBoost HD review
(Image credit: Future)
T3 Verdict

The Adidas Pulseboost HD are lovely running trainers, as long as you don't expect them to perform like race shoes. For an early morning or an afternoon jog, they should be your go-to shoes. Or even just for a walk in town.

Reasons to buy
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    Easy on the eyes

  • +

    Perfect for a quick jog

Reasons to avoid
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    Not enough support for serious runs

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    QR-coded Spotify playlist feels like a bit of a gimmick

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The Adidas Pulseboost HD don't sell themselves as a competitor for the lightest, fastest running shoes out there. They aren't as agile as the Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo 2, the Hoka One One Carbon X or even the Adidas Ultraboost 19. What they are, though, is a comfortable pair of running trainers you can put on at any time, and which go as well with your jeans as with your running tights

What I appreciate the most about the Pulseboost HD is that it isn't trying to sell itself as a serious piece of running tech; these are fun shoes, more like the Nike Joyride Flyknit. Pulseboost HD are for people who run less for performance and more for enjoyment.

Reminiscent of the Adidas Ultraboost 19, the Pulseboost HD has similar features, such as the knitted upper and the new Boost HD midsole. What the Ultraboost didn't have, though, is a dedicated Spotify playlist that can be accessed by scanning the QR code on the tongue of the Pulseboost HD.

The Adidas Pulseboost HD is also on our best running shoes list, where you'll also find aforementioned Nike Pegasus Zoom Tubro 2, the Asics Gel-Nimbus 21, and many more.

Adidas Pulseboost HD review

The Adidas Pulseboost features the all-new Boost HD midsole

(Image credit: Future)

Adidas Pulseboost HD review: the Tech

Adidas improved the Boost midsole system for the release of the Pulseboost HD and renamed it Boost HD. Running in the Pulseboost HD feels responsive and secure, partially thanks to the Adaptive Traxion outsoles. Their Continental rubber makes the shoes very responsive, and is ideal on hard surfaces, such as concrete. These shoes are built for urban running. The added traction helps you control your impact force better and your toe offs are sharper too.

The adaptive knit upper really moulds to your foot and holds it securely. Being knitted, the Pulseboost HD may feel a bit on the snug side to some. Personally, I prefer a firm hold, but if you like a roomy toe box, try something like the Saucony Ride ISO 2.

Due to the knitted upper, the PulseBoost HD are not the most ventilated shoes on the market. Your feet won't feel breezy, more cosy and wrapped around.

There is also a reflective forefoot stability insert for lateral support, which in my opinion doesn't make all that much of a difference, but then obviously I don't know how the Pulseboost HD would feel without it.

Adidas Pulseboost HD review

The knitted upper is comfortable but not the most supportive

(Image credit: Future)

Adidas Pulseboost HD review: the Ergonomics

One thing you'll notice straight away looking at the Adidas Pulseboost HD is the knit upper. I'm one of those people who can't get enough of these. As someone with a large and wide feet, running shoes with a knitted upper are a blessing.

The adaptive knit textile upper also has non-stretch zones. These further enhance the forefoot and midfoot support. The tongue and the laces run almost all the way to the front, which is understandable, since the knitted upper can only provide so much support.

The heel counter is further reinforced for even more stability. When I first observed the shoes out of the box, I thought this might be an issue, the edges of the plastic support being quite prominently protruding at the back. Thankfully, all the cushioning in the inside of the shoes more than counterbalance the harshness of the plastic insert and you won't feel it at all on your runs.

Although the Traxion outsole gives plenty of responsiveness, the knitted upper can't keep up with it all that much, meaning you will slide around in the shoes a bit as you turn.

The Adidas Pulseboost HD has an 8 mm drop and weighs a hefty 340 grams (size 8.5), actually making it one of the heavier shoes on the market.

The Adidas Pulseboost HD has just enough details to make the shoes look exciting

(Image credit: Future)

Adidas Pulseboost HD review: design and style

Being designed for urban environments, the Adidas Pulseboost HD needs to look sharp. The most significant design element, of course, is the knitted top, similar to the Adidas Ultraboost 19. The sock-like upper provides a distinctive look to the shoes, so does the contrasted red lines at the front of the shoes.

Apart from the orangy-looking Solar Red colourway, the rest of the colour options are more grey and black, yet they don't look boring or samey-samey.

As mentioned above, the Pulseboost HD comes with its own Spotify playlist, accessible by scanning the QR code on the tongue of the shoes. For whatever reason, companies think that people use QR reader apps. In reality, whenever a QR code needs to be read, what everyone does is ask the people around them if they have a QR code app, just to realise no one does so they have to download one themselves.

In summary, the Adidas Pulseboost HD looks chunky from one angle and slender from an another. All in all, it looks good enough to be worn not just for running.

Adidas Pulseboost HD review

The Adidas Pulseboost HD are great for lighter runs in the city

(Image credit: Future)

Adidas Pulseboost HD review: verdict

The Adidas Pulseboost HD are lovely shoes, as long as you don't expect them to deliver out-of-this-world running dynamics. They were designed for jogs and light runs in and around the city, and that experience, they deliver.

The Boost HD midsole is supportive and provide ample adequate amount of cushioning. The Adaptive Traxion outsole system has excellent traction and with it, you will be able to control the shoes much better.

The knitted upper is snug and comfortable, although not the most supportive. Your feet won't feel suffocated but it won't be too ventilated either. The reinforced heel adds extra support and helps to avoid injuries.

The contrast detailing and sole give the Adidas Pulseboost HD a distinct look. With some subtle colour options, the shoes also look good enough to be worn when not running. 

Make the Adidas Pulseboost HD your go-to jogging trainers and you won't be disappointed. It's comfy, looks good and has decent enough technical features to suit most recreational runners.

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Matt Kollat
Section Editor | Active

Matt Kollat is a journalist and content creator who works for and its magazine counterpart as an Active Editor. His areas of expertise include wearables, drones, fitness equipment, nutrition and outdoor gear. He joined T3 in 2019. His byline appears in several publications, including Techradar and Fit&Well, and more. Matt also collaborated with other content creators (e.g. Garage Gym Reviews) and judged many awards, such as the European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance's ESSNawards. When he isn't working out, running or cycling, you'll find him roaming the countryside and trying out new podcasting and content creation equipment.