We wore Nike Air and Adidas Boost at SXSW to determine which one was more comfortable.
Two weeks ago, Reddit member u/tgp_of_iwg posted the question in the SXSW subreddit: “Heading to my first SXSW. Any tips on making the most out of it?” u/filmfestsecrets responded: “SXSW is a walking festival — be prepared to do lots of it.” This gave us an idea. Being our fourth SXSW we knew that Filmfestsecrets was right, SXSW is a walking festival. Last year we needed a couple days to rest our feet, legs and back after the week long festival.
Let’s finally determine which is more comfortable: Nike or Adidas? More specifically, which is more comfortable Nike Air or adidas Boost? [Yes, we could have gone the Nike React approach — but Nike Air is the OG]
We wanted to go with pairs that are easily accessible, meaning you can still purchase on their respected websites.
For Nike kicks we went with Nike Air Max 1 Premium in gray. Nike claims that this shoe “refreshes the classic design with premium materials for an elevated look.” These currently retail for $90.97 at Nike.com. We purchased them for $130.
For adidas we went with their new Nite Jogger with an updated Boost midsole that claims to add “responsive cushioning for all-day comfort.” The Nite Jogger retails for $140 at adidas.com. It is also unisex. We purchased these at retail from adidas’s 5th Avenue location prior to flying to Austin.
A bit about me: I’m 34-years old. I have a terrible back that I get treated often. I work out at InForm Fitness, which is a slow motion, high-intensity workout that targets each of my muscle groups to reach failure. At 5’11, I currently weigh about 190lbs. For years I wore a Jawbone that allegedly tracked every step. I averaged a whopping 20K steps a day, or 10 miles. Yes, this may contribute to my back problems. Sneakers have saved my life. I wear them at work, at weddings, and even around my apartment. I am a fan of the Asics Gel-Lyte V’s that my buddy Asher turned me onto and since then have owned five pairs.
There is no science to how I tested both of these pairs out. I was at SXSW for eight days. I wore each pair an equal amount of time. Some days I went all day in one pair, while other days I switched midday. You got to stay fresh!
Nike Air Max 1 Premium:
I purchased these in January and did start to wear them a bit in February. When I first put them on, I felt like Cinderella. Finally, I found the perfect sneaker for me. These Nikes have a well-cushioned and supportive heal, which is rare these days. The Nike Air sole felt familiar. I became a bit nostalgic. I remember having a conversation with my brother a few years ago who told me when he put on a pair of Yeezy; he felt like he was walking on clouds. That’s how I felt. They are subtlety stylish. I felt like a million bucks.
I wore these on the plane ride to Austin. The full days I wore these pairs my back and knee pain did not occur until the sunset. When they got dusty or dirty, I was able to live with it or brush them off. I would argue they end up looking better the more you scuff them up. At SXSW you spend a ton of time walking, but you also send a lot of time standing in one place and if you are lucky to spend some time sitting down on the ground. These kicks worked well doing all those things. The one issue I had with these at first is the toe box is a bit on the narrow side, and over time your toes start wanting more room.
There were a couple of moments where I felt my back tweak, which is normal for me, but nothing too scary. Scary = not being able to walk and wishing Dr. Kevorkian was still alive. Overall the Nike Air Max 1 Premium offers the comfort and the support necessary to win SXSW.
adidas Nite Jogger
These kids instantly caught my eye at the adidas store in Manhattan. They were new, and they were different. A major selling point for me was the “reflective details.” During SXSW you can find yourself down dark streets at night, especially in East Austin, and I thought the reflective details could work well. Stylistically they have gotten mixed results from my friends. A lot of people commented to me (and yes this is skewed to a bunch of New Yorkers) that they are ugly. When I delved deeper, it was the boost midsole pebble look that they dislike. With that said, I think they are pretty fly.
When you put these on you instantly feel what adidas boost evangelist have been saying: they are pretty damn comfortable. The Nite Joggers have a mesh and nylon ripstop upper with suede overlays. It lacks a supportive heal but makes up for it with a wider toe box. The Nite Joggers felt okay. Perhaps it’s how I walk, but I often found my feet fight the mesh and coming close to turning an ankle or two. Standing in these watching a show worked well; however, they were pretty hard to sit cross-legged in.
When the Nite Joggers got dirty, I felt more responsible for cleaning them up after. They feel like they are meant to be clean. My back did have some touchy moments, but nothing too serious. My back did start to hurt around 3pm. An issue I had with these was they didn’t feel versatile enough for a week-long music festival. Some of my clothes did not feel like they went with the Nite Joggers. In many ways I see the Nite Joggers working so much better with shorts than with pants. And yes, maybe that’s why they are called “joggers?”
So Nike Air or adidas Boost?
For me it’s got to be the pair I wore on the plane ride home — the Nike Air Max 1 Premium. I am always nervous about flying. I once threw my back out on a plane by just pulling my luggage down from the overhead compartment. The prolonged sitting on a plane is not good for anyone. I chose to wear Nike’s on the way home, and I got to conclude from that, that Nike Air, for me, is more comfortable and more supportive than the adidas Boost. With that said, Zion Williamson may feel differently.