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Reviews > Footwear > Boots > Adidas Terrex Fast GTX Surround boots > Test Report by Brett Haydin

adidas Terrex Fast GTX Surround Shoe
Test Series by Brett Haydin
Initial Report - October 1, 2017
Field Report - December 9, 2017
Long Term Report - February 13, 2018


TESTER INFORMATIONAuthor

NAME: Brett Haydin
EMAIL: bhaydin AT hotmail DOT com
AGE: 44
LOCATION: Madison, Wisconsin, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 11" (1.80 m)
WEIGHT: 200 lb (90.70 kg)
Shoe Size: 10.5 US

I started backpacking in Wisconsin as a youth, being involved in the Boy Scouts programs. As a young adult, I worked at a summer camp leading backpacking, canoeing and mountain biking trips. I now generally take short weekend or day trips. I plan several longer trips each year in different parts of the US, where I typically carry about 40 lb (18 kg). I prefer to be prepared and comfortable, but I have taken lightweight trips as well.



Initial Report

Terrex
Image from manufacturer's website

Product Information & Specifications

Manufacturer: Adidas
Year of Manufacture: 
2017
Manufacturer's Website: www.adidasoutdoor.com
MSRP: $225 US
Listed Weight: 13.6 oz (386 g)
Measured Weight: 14.5 oz (411 g)
Color Tested:  Blue Night
Size Tested: 10.5 (also available in 6-11.5 in half size increments)
Warranty: full refund within 30 days, and a 2-year warranty

Other Details provided by Manufacturer

  • Speed lacing construction for fast and snug lacing.
  • Abrasion resistant weldings for protection
  • GORE-TEX® Extended Comfort Footwear for enhanced breathability
  • TORSION bar arch support
  • Molded Ortholite® sockliner.
  • GTX-Surround Ventilation
  • Continental Rubber for extraordinary grip.

Product Description

The adidas Terrex Fast GTX Surround, hereafter referred to as "Terrex" or "shoe" is described as a light hiking shoe. The Terrex offers full waterproof protection thanks to the GORE-TEX liner. The exterior of the shoe is made of a mix of neoprene and polyester-type fabric. The toe box is reinforced and is bound with a rubber rand that also extends back to the heel. Like the toe box, the heel appears to be reinforced with additional material. There is a loop sewn into the heel to assist with putting the shoe on.

The lacing system utilizes thin, static cordage fed through loops on the boot. The cordage can be pulled taught and locked in place with a plastic piece, similar to a cord lock. There is one pair of metal eyelets at the top, one of which is permanently closed. This means that the lace can only be undone on one side, the outside of the boot. I find this curious and sort of appealing at the same time! The extra cordage can be tucked into an elastic band, labeled "LACE BUNGEE" on the tongue. Having used similar lacing in the past, I think this is a nice touch. The tongue is constructed largely of the polyester fabric, however the neoprene-type material is sewn into the top of the tongue.

The interior of the shoes are lined with GORE-TEX and incorporates their surround technology. This is supposed to provide "360 degree climate comfort for your feet" without sacrificing any waterproofness that GORE-TEX is known for. The sockliner insert provided by Ortholite is thin and does not incorporate any support. However, the shoe does have some arch support incorporated into the design by way of adidas' torsion bar. This also allows the front and back of the foot to move independently to provide better handling of terrain.

The bottom of the shoe incorporates Continental Rubber which is supposed to provide 30% more traction (32% in wet conditions) than other shoes. The shoes have a moderate lugs on the bottom that should provide decent traction in the mud as well as on gravel. They are well-spaced with the front lugs pointing forward and the rear pointing backward. 

Top and Bottom Insole Interior side
Terrex Fast GTX at a glance Insole Interior View Note the different eyelets

Initial Impressions

When I first opened the shoe box, I felt giddy with excitement just as I would opening a birthday present! I really like the shape and look of the shoes. However, I was a little concerned that they looked a little skinny. I have somewhat wider feet which can be a problem for shoe fit. After looking over the shoes to make sure there were no defects - there weren't- I promptly put them on to start breaking them in! To be honest, I really struggled to get the shoes on at first. The tighter-than-normal-for-me fit meant squeezing my foot into the shoe. I had to loosen up the laces, but after some effort I got them in. Wearing them around the house for the next couple of days, I could feel them loosen up. They are still snug at the widest point, but elsewhere they are a perfect fit. I managed to take them on a short hike on a favorite trail near my house, and they seem to fit just fine now. It is still a minor struggle getting the shoes on, but nothing I can't handle. 

The temperature here in Wisconsin has been unseasonably warm, with some days topping 90 F (32 C). Even so, the shoes have not felt too hot for me. I don't expect those temperatures to last for long, so I will need to get out in the woods quickly if I want to see how they keep me cool! I am also excited to see how the lacing system holds up. I don't usually make a lot of adjustments on the fly, but these could make it easier to quickly stop and retighten the laces if they start to feel loose. 

Reading the Instructions

The shoes came with three hang tags - one each for Ortholite, GORE-TEX and Continental rubber. There was little actual information on the hangtags, but adidas' website contained a bit more detail on each of the products. I found the website easy to navigate. One interesting point is that while only color option is available to order, another option is displayed on the website. 

Also included in the shoe box was a document showing how to trim the lacing. As it turns out the amount of cordage is just about perfect. While I don't anticipate needing to trim it, I will see if there is an opportunity to report on this.


Field Report

Field Conditions

trail use
The Terrex in action along the trail
Over the past two months, I have worn the boots on 4 overnight backpacking trips. My first trip with the adidas Terrex Fast GTX was an overnight trip in the Arapaho National Forest in Colorado. The 8.5 mi (13.7 km) hike was through steep alpine terrain, much of it above treeline. The trail was hard-packed and rocky. Weather was nearly perfect with blue skies and temperatures from 40 to 80 F (4 and 27 C). My pack weight was approximately 45 lbs (20 kg).  Elevation gain was approximately 4,000 ft (1,200 m).

I also took an overnight trip in Devils Lake State Park, Wisconsin. I hiked 14 mi (23 km) through rolling forest hills and up some steep rocky cliffs. This fall was quite warm for our neck of the woods and the temperatures fell between 50 and 75 F (10 and 24 C). While mostly cloudy, there was no precipitation. All told, elevation gain was about 1200 ft (370 m) with a pack that weighed about 50 lbs (23 kg).

My next trip was an overnight in Rock Cut State Park, Illinois. Over the two days I hiked 12 mi (19 km) along a mostly flat, forested terrain. There were some great meadows as well as some trails along the river and the trails were mostly dirt-packed. I made it through a couple of muddy sections. There was no meaningful elevation gain and I had a pack that weighed approximately 45 lbs (20 kg). The weather was wet, with on and off rain showers and temperatures from 55 to 65 F (13 to 18 C).

My next trip was an overnight hike in Marble Falls, Texas. This 12 mi (19 km) hike was along dirt-packed trails and roads, while somewhat rocky and hilly. It is Texas Hill Country after all! While I started out with fair weather, overnight turned sour and by the time I hiked out I was drenched with heavy rains, albeit warm weather from 60 to 80 F (16 to 27 C). Elevation gain over the entire trip was just over 900 ft (270 m) with a pack weighing 45 lbs (20 kg).

In addition to the backpacking trips, I have worn the boots on 15 day hikes or hunting (day) trips. This has added an additional 52 mi (84 km) of trail use. Conditions have been anywhere from rocky, steep, mountainous terrain in Colorado, to swamps, prairies and forests in Wisconsin. Temperatures have been between 0 and 90 F (-18 and 32 C) with weather conditions ranging from snow and rain to clear blue skies. Pack weight has been anywhere from 10 to 70 lbs (5 to 32 kg), the heaviest carrying tree stand and other equipment into the field. All told, I have worn the boots for 98.5 mi (159 km) on the trail.

Observations

Texas
Stopping for a pose in Texas
When I first started hiking with the Terrex Fast GTX boots, I was a little concerned. My first real hike with a load was in Colorado, and while I had been careful to break in the boots, they seemed to pinch my feet at the widest part causing some moderate discomfort and cramping. However over time the shoes seem to have formed to my feet (or vice versa) and that is not the case anymore. The toe box is still snug, but not oppressively so. Of especial importance, I have not experienced any blisters or toe bruises. Readers who have followed my previous reports may know that I am somewhat prone to blisters on my heels, but these boots have so far spared me the need for any moleskin there!

I have only worn a single layer of socks with these shoes because of the tight fit. However, large, wool winter socks are still able to fit so I have remained quite warm, even in the blustery winter conditions. The only time my feet have really become cold is during a few long sits hunting in a tree stand in subfreezing temperatures. Because my tree stand is somewhat concealed, I don't care that the boots are blue, and neither did the wildlife much. But when I got cold, I climbed down and did a little scouting to warm up and I was just fine.

The shoes have performed exceedingly well at keeping my feet dry. I've had to slosh around in some wet areas and the boots have kept the water out just fine. Of course, I did sink a little bit over the top on one occasion (or maybe a few...) but no shoe can keep water out of the top.  In rocky (gravel) conditions and in snow or swamps, I almost always wear gaiters to keep debris out. On some scouting trips and day hikes, some debris did find its way into my boots when I wasn't wearing gaiters. While getting the boots on/off with gaiters can be a little bit of a chore, it sure helps to keep the twigs, burrs and rocks out for long term comfort.

As far as the traction goes, the shoes are fine. I slipped on a few wet logs, but the lugs have provided great traction. Whether climbing a peak in Colorado or trudging through Texas Hill Country, I feel sure-footed in these boots. The lugs are all intact with only minor nicks that I would expect from the sharp rocks I have experienced. The shoe uppers, laces and stitching are all intact, save for one spot that my dog started to chew on the tongue.  Frankly I have to really give it a second glance to spot the area since the tongue is irregularly shaped and has holes perforating the neoprene-type fabric.

By far my favorite feature is the lacing system of these boots. While I admit I was skeptical of the lace thickness, there is no sign that they will need to be replaced anytime soon. And the quick lacing makes getting the shoes on and off much simpler. I've also found that I can loosen the laces up the entire way and still have a reasonably good fit. This was helpful at first during the break in period. As long as the laces are "latched" I have no problems. And tucking them into the elastic band keeps the plastic from knocking around on my boot. I wish all my shoes laced like this!

Long Term Report

snow
Backpacking in the snow.

Field Conditions

During the final phase of testing I was able to wear the shoes on another three overnight backpacking trips. The first was a 4 mi (6.4 km) out-and-back in the Davy Crockett National Forest in Texas. The dirt-packed trail meandered through a pine forest. Temperatures were on the cold side (for Texas) with a high of 55 F and lows of 35 F (13 and 2 C) with mostly clear skies and no precipitation. My pack was 45 lb (20 kg).

My second trip was a 9 mi (15 km) trip along the Ice Age Trail in southern Wisconsin. This hike took me though the Kettle Moraine State Forest, known for steep features as the glaciers retreated from the last Ice Age. The trail is generally dirt-packed through wooded forests of pine, maple and oak. Temperatures ranged from 10 to 40 F (-12 to 4 C) and the weather was partly cloudy. My pack weight was 50 lb (23 kg) and I used gaiters for this trip.

My last trip was a 7 mi (11 km) overnight at Yellowstone Lake State Park in Wisconsin. As the image to the left shows, this was a snowy trip with my young dog on her first winter overnight. My pack was a little heavier - 60 lb (27 kg) - since she hasn't quite mastered her own pack yet. However the skies were generally clear with some smatterings of clouds and temperatures from 10 to 40 F (-12 to 4 C). I did use snowshoes the majority of the trip as well as gaiters.

In addition to the backpacking, I wore the boots on hunting trips, day hikes and casually around town. All told, this has accounted for over 150 mi (242 km) of trail use.

Observations

For starters, these boots have really transformed to fit me quite well. I can put the boots on with one hand now and wear thicker socks. Thank goodness, because it has been a cold winter so far! Since these boots have no insulation, thin socks just weren't cutting it. I did notice that after my long hike on the Ice Age Trail, the second day was a little tighter which I attribute to some slightly swollen feet. Likewise, wearing them on long plane rides caused some minor discomfort.

The boots have also suited me well in a variety of terrain. I can easily fit them into my snowshoes for a winter hike, but they are also equally capable in the heat and humidity of Texas. The terrain in Texas is not as unforgiving as the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, but it can be rocky. I have yet to get a blister from these boots and no bruising or toe jams.

What I am really impressed by is how great of shape these are in after all the miles I have put on them. A quick rinse after my trips and the shoes look quite good. So much so, I enjoy wearing them around town. Despite my puppy gnawing on the tongue of my right shoe, the shoes are otherwise intact. No broken or chipped lugs, or any other obvious wear and tear. The cordlock still moves freely and the eyelets are intact as well.

One thing that I have noticed is that the boots have started to allow moisture through. I first noticed this out on a day hike in warm temperatures through the melting snow. I thought perhaps it was just the cold meeting my perspiration. However, I put the boots in standing water for about a half an hour and the inside was damp. I have no concerns walking through puddles and even snow, but I was a little surprised by this development.

Summary

After months and miles of abuse, I remain quite impressed with the adidas Terrex Fast GTX Surround boots.  They are light, flexible and offer a good set of technologies for year round use. I plan to keep these as my "go to" boots backpacking and hiking for the foreseeable future. 

Pros: Waterproof, light, innovative quick-lacing system. Treads have been great on varied terrain.

Cons: A little tight, gets a little damp over time but no obvious leaks.

This concludes this test series. I would like to thank adidas and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to be a part of this test series.

  



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