Until recently we’d never featured a shoe by Adidas here at Gearist. A couple of weeks ago, Tanya got down with the Adidas Ultra Boost [LINK] and was impressed with a lot of what she saw and experienced and now I’m (Brandon) getting my first full-on taste of the much heralded Boost foam by way of the bulletproof trail crusher – the Adidas Terrex Boost GTX.
So before I get into talking about the outsole of this shoe I think this is one of those times where I should mention that what I’d about to say may sound like hyperbole to some but I that is not the intent. Sometimes, things are just so good at their job that you’ve just got to come out and say it and such is the case with the outsole of the Terrex Boost GTX.
For years now I’ve been a huge fan of Continental bike tires because of their traction and durability – and whenever I veer away (usually because there’s a FAR cheaper option) I always come back. With that said, imagine my delight when I opened the box of the Terrex Boost GTX and I found the outsole marked with the familiar Continental logo. Right away the influence of a mountain bike tire was clear in the lug setup and the stickiness.
A full-contact outsole makes for a smooth transition from mid or rearfoot, forward. For increased front end protection, the outsole comes up over the toe forming a solid, though kind of minimal, bumper – which I used far more than I’d like (#klutz). The lugs themselves are 5mm deep though in spots where the outsole is contoured away from the ground the edges of the lugs can be as tall as 7mm. For ascending and descending taking charge of different parts of the shoe the lugs are laid out accordingly for maximum traction in each situation.
You know, sometimes you get a shoe that does well on one type of terrain and not another, for instance, a shoe that cam handle really well on jagged or angular rocks but just doesn’t grip as well on smooth, flat rocks. In the case of the Terrex Boost GTX, I have yet to really find a terrain where it doesn’t excel. On smooth rocks it was like having suction cups on my feet and on jagged rocks the outsole stuck just as well, enhancing the overall handling of the shoe. On smoother trail it obviously handled well and even when the material underfoot got a bit more loose the 5mm deep lugs held very well. With regard to durability – of the 30+ lugs on the outsole of this shoe, only one shows and signs of wear and then only because it looks like it got in a fight with a particularly sharp rock.
I should also mention that I had the opportunity to use the Terrex Boost GTX in some early season snow and muck while hiking/running up Twin Sisters Peaks and they handled everything extremely well. Additionally, the outsole cleared mud and gunk very well with nothing really sticking except the remnants of the mud I’d just gone through.
The midsole of the Terrex Boost GTX is a combination of Adidas’ Boost foam resting within an EVA frame. I’ve had boost foam on my feet and certainly felt its resilient properties more than my fair share, but as I mentioned above, this was my first true wear testing experience with it. Boost appears in this shoe in a few key areas meant to provide, well…boost, when you might need it. Having had these shoes on some longer runs (time-wise) I can tell you that the bounce or, “Boost” did indeed do its thing. As opposed to a road shoe though, the spring was more subdued and did a nice job of keeping me connected to the ground and terrain underfoot.
The EVA frame surrounding the Boost foam frames it well and is well laid out extending into the upper to give the foot a well-shaped platform to sit in/on. The EVA is a touch rigid for me but only just. I’d be interested to see how the feel would change if the EVA frame had ever so slightly more give in the mid/rearfoot. In any event, the EVA frame extending into the upper adds a lot of really nice confidence to more angular terrain.
The description of the Terrex Boost GTX mentions that it employs a TPU film called ProModerator for a bit of medial stability but I didn’t notice this at all. As a runner I’m dead neutral to supinating and whenever I run in a shoe that has any sort of hardcore medial posting my knees will immediately let me know and I simply didn’t notice it there or in any sort of additional medial torsional rigidity on the medial aspect.
Ground feel for the shoe is quite good and the Boost foam acting as a sort of midsole rock plate does a nice job of protecting the foot without being so intrusive as to disconnect the wearer from the task at hand. There is no actual rock plate in this shoe which Gearist confirmed with Adidas.
As I mentioned a second ago, the midsole coming up into the land of the upper does a nice job of creating a solid base for the foot but it also goes a long way toward beginning to shape what is a very solid top to this shoe. It’s imediately clear that the outer mesh of the Adidas Terrex Boost GTX is built to handle some really rough & tumble stuff. This very durable mesh lies atop an internal Gore Tex which kept my feet completely dry on hours of snow and puddle clogged trails at Twin Sisters. The rearfoot features what looks and feels like a synthetic leather giving a bit more in the way of sturdiness in that area.
The upper also features a laminated rand of sorts which does a nice job of increasing durability in and around high-abrasion areas but it also reinforces the structure of the upper as a whole. In the toe, this rand is supplemented by a heavier rubber piece which forms a very nice toe cap. The remainder of the support structure, including the three stripes, is made from a combination of bonded and stitched on overlays in which I never once saw any weakness.
The tongue of the Terrex Boost GTX is gusseted within 1/2 inch of the collar and is topped by piece of EVA which I found extremely comfortable agains my foot. It also goes a long way toward protecting the foot from being rubbed by the speed lacing system. Speaking of the speed laces, I have to say that the simplicity of the setup Adidas has chosen to use here is refreshing. There are no proprietary fasteners of anything, it’s just a straightforward slide which we’ve all been using since we were kids and the excess lacing is held simply in place by a piece of elastic at the bottom of the laces which they call the “lace bungee”. The laces held pretty well for me and when I did feel like they needed some tightening after a couple of hours of moving, it was a very simple and quick adjustment.
The heel counter is more or less integrated into the materials in the back of the shoe and isn’t really a standalone, rigid structure. I like this aspect because it makes me feel more like the shoe is working well with my foot from the back to the front. The upper of this shoe makes it ideal for transitional seasons and winter where snow, mud and muck can turn many runs into non-starters.
The fit of the Terrex Boost GTX is seemingly built on a racing-ish last. I say this because it’s a rather aggressive fit, especially in the front half of the shoe. The toe box did fine by my very average feet but I’d imaging that anyone with a wider foot would have a hard time with this. It’s not a deal breaker for me and I certainly have worn them many hours without problems but on some descents the narrowness of the toe box is obvious. I do wish that in this age of toe boxes built for splay and wiggle room that this shoe could find a bit of that in its next iteration.
The rear of the foot fits great with its nicely comfortable heel cup. The midfoot, in a bit of an ironic twist relative to the less-than-wide toe box, fits nicely and I think honestly could sustain a wider foot thanks largely to the generous length of the speed laces and the gusseted tongue. As for sizing, my 11’s fit right where I’d expect them to and I don’t think sizing up or down is necessary – unless you’re trying to find a workaround for the narrower toe box.
As I’ve mentioned a couple of times above, this was my first full on wear testing of a pair of Adidas shoes with Boost foam and I have to say that I’m impressed. The feel on trail is very good when the terrain is even and smooth and when rocky the cushioning effects are a welcome addition. I think one of my favorite aspects of the ride of the Terrex Boost GTX is that when I’m fatigued the ride is actually refreshing and my tired legs are buoyed by the resilience of the material. The shoe is agile and peppy when it needs to be but it also took me on several long and slow uphill grinds with no problem. I will readily admit though that some of the Boost’s action is a bit dimmed by the weight of the shoe with my size 11’s coming in at – wait for it – 14.7 ounces per shoe (416 grams). There are places to save weight in this shoe and I think that it could maintain its durability and function and still easily shave a solid 3 ounces here and there.
Besides it not being the lightest thing on Earth there is one knock on this shoe which may be more significant and that is the price. At $200 (there is a non-GTX (Gore Tex) version for $160) this is beyond most of its peers. Granted, it is super durable and a very flexible shoe in terms of what it can do but the price may a bit beyond what many are willing to spend. I think that if you’re on the fence that the real story is, again, the durability and waterproofness of this shoe and its ability to shred trails in pretty much any conditions.
I really like this shoe a lot and I think it’s something that’ll be on my feet quite a bit (other reviews notwithstanding) this coming winter and spring. I do think there is room for some weight savings and improvement in the toe box but, if you can afford it, this is easily a one (trail) shoe quiver.
Thank you for supporting Gearist by checking out the Adidas Terrex Boost GTX at our partner links below!
Born and raised in the great state of Virginia, Brandon is a former opera singer (true story) who’s had the outdoors flowing through his veins since day one. Brandon now lives in Colorado with his daughter Sydney (AKA, Baby Gearist).