Heel-toe drop: 8mm
Adidas Terrex is the off-road branch of Adidas. One of its pro runners, Briton Tom Evans, was heavily involved in the development of this shoe, which has adorned his feet on various winning outings. Its designed chiefly for hard-packed trails, although can be used for sections of road running too. The decision to put the words ‘Speed’ and ‘Ultra’ next to each other suggests Adidas Terrex is unfamiliar with this writer’s approach to ultramarathons, but the intention is clear: this is a serious shoe for serious runners.
A multi-terrain monster
The multi-terrain shoe has been having something of a moment, with Inov-8 recently releasing its Parkclaw model that’s designed for both town and country. While the Terrex Speed Ultra is ostensibly designed for trails, it’s remarkably versatile, with a tread that works well on and off road. Our testers said it felt ‘as comfortable and at home on road sections as it did on trail’, noting a ‘snappiness’ to the ride unmatched by the Parkclaw.
The right amount of cushion
The Terrex Speed Ultra comes with an 8mm drop and a stack height of 26mm (heel) and 18mm (forefoot). That puts it, for us, in a nice middle-ground between an out-and-out trail racer, such as the Salomon S-Lab Speed 2, and a super-cushioned shoe, such as the Hoka Speedgoat 5. The midsole is composed of a Boost TPU compound and Lightstrike EVA cushioning, and the result is responsive comfort. Our testers said they felt they could ‘log long miles in these but also wear them on race day’. It’s worth noting, though, that heavier runners may find them slightly on the minimal side for longer outings.
Decent grip for most occasions
Adidas shoes are renowned for their grip, and the Terrex Speed Ultra scores highly in this category too. Our testers said they felt ‘stable and secure’ while wearing the shoe across multiple terrains, experiencing no slippage even in wet conditions. One caveat, however, is that this is not a shoe for thick mud. If you’re looking for something that can double as an obstacle-course racer, or a cross-country spike, you’d be better served by something like the Inov-8 X-Talon Ultra 2.
The best-looking trail shoe?
Off-road shoes don’t tend to score too highly in the fashion stakes. But the Terrex Speed Ultra is a notable exception. Our testers called it ‘a great looking shoe that you’d feel comfortable wearing even in non-running scenarios’. In the men’s model, we particularly like the blue-and-silver colourway; in the women’s, the mint-and-pink. Looks aren’t everything in a trail shoe (it’ll be getting pretty dirty, after all), but our testers noted the benefits of having a shoe that makes you ‘look good and feel fast’.
Sizing and lacing
It’s important to note that the Terrex Speed Ultra runs a half size small. So if you’re usually a size 7, go for a 7.5. Other than that, the fit went down really well, providing enough room in the forefoot not to feel cramped, while maintaining a nice locked-down fit. The lacing system, however, was one of the few areas to receive criticism. Testers said the laces took ‘a bit longer to tie than normal’ while a triple-knot was recommended to avoid the shoe coming loose on the run.
We’re sold on the good-looking, fast-feeling, versatile Terrex Speed Ultra. Highly capable over various terrains, at various speeds, it deserves to feature high up on many runners’ wish-lists.