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Reviews > Footwear > Boots > Adidas Terrex Fast GTX Surround boots > Test Report by Coy Ray StarnesAdidas Terrex Fast GTX Surround
Review by Coy Starnes
Initial Report: September 25, 2017
Field Report: December 8, 2017
Long Term Report: February 19, 2018
side view of the boot
I live in Northeast Alabama. I enjoy hiking, hunting, fishing, and kayaking. I enjoy hiking with family and friends but also hike solo occasionally. Most of my hiking has been in the Southeastern US. I hike throughout the year but actually enjoy late fall or early spring the most with some winter hiking mixed in. I don't like the hot and humid weather of summer unless I can escape to the mountains where it is cooler. My style is slow and steady and my gear is light. I will sacrifice weight for comfort and durability to a degree. A typical 3-season load for me is around 20 lb (9 kg) not counting food and water.
Initial Report: September 25, 2017
The Adidas Terrex Fast GTX Surround is not listed on the regular Adidas website and I found no way to navigate to the boot from there. It is found on the adidasoutdoor webpage. Adidas say it is a next-generation light hiking shoe. I know it is slightly different than all hiking boots I've used previously, but it is still at the heart, a GORE-TEX lined mid-hiker. The boot stands almost exactly 6 in (15 cm) tall and has a pretty aggressive looking tread pattern. The outsole was developed through a partnership with Continental Rubber and is said to offer up to 30% more traction in dry conditions and 32% more traction in wet conditions. My observation is that it does indeed feel sticky but not tacky.
aggressive outsole pattern by Continental Rubber
While on the outsole, another feature of the boot is listed as a torsion bar and is said to be a "lightweight arch support that allows the fore foot and rear foot to move independently for better surface adaptation and stability" I observed that I could bend the back of the boot in one direction and front half in the opposite direction, but not to a great degree, just more so than I normally can on similar hiking boots. The torsion system is supposed to help with forward and lateral movement.
The GORE-TEX liner is supposed to offer 360 degree breathability. I wondered how this was possible but the boot actually has 13 grooves along the sides that extend nearly halfway across the boot. I think these are supposed to aid in the bottom part of the 360 degree breathability. Regardless, the 360 degree breathibility is supposed to let moisture and warmth escape from both above and below the foot and reduces the risk of blisters and chafing. Hopefully, the groves won't clog up with mud but I'll keep a close eye on this.
grooves that allow 360 degrees breathability
The boot upper is constructed of what Adidas refers to as Textile. It is some kind of synthetic material. The boot is approximately 6 in (15 cm) tall. The last 2 in (5 cm) at the top appear to be made from something very similar to neoprene. The way in which the tongue is connected means the boot will let in water if standing in water deeper than 4 in (10 cm).
The lacing on the boot is referred to as speed lacing. I prefer a more traditional lacing system but this system possibly does allow for faster securing and removal of the boot. The laces themselves are round and really small. The boot features a bottom lace attachment point across but just below the tongue. From there the laces pass through four eyelets per side, only they are web like loops instead of holes. The last (top) lacing spot is not a web loop but what I refer to as speed hooks and either metal or hard plastic. Interestingly, the inner side is closed while the other side is a more traditional open hook. The laces are held tight with a retention device similar to a cord barrel lock. It slides in the tightening direction without doing anything, but to loosen, the small black plastic top piece must be pressed forward (toward the toe). It has small raised knobs on the surface and a lip at the end to help in sliding it easily. Finally the laces are brought together at the end in a small soft rubber-like box with access to the ends if pulled apart. There was a small piece of paper inside the shoe box that showed how to shorten the laces if they are too long, but with my high arches mine were within the guidelines shown on the illustration.
The removable insole is made by Ortholite. The hang tags says it wicks away moisture, provides long lasting cushioning, is odor and fungus inhibiting, and lets air flow for a cool foot. I pulled it out for a brief inspection and it is not very thick. I'm not sure how it is going to provide much cushioning, but since I go barefoot a lot I don't think it will matter much to me. Having said that, the boot feels very comfortabl when standing and walking on hard surfaces like my concrete drive way.
The Adidas Terrex Fast GTX Surround is not insulated but since it is a mid-height and waterproof shoe it should be good for most of my Alabama winter hiking needs. Testing will tell the real story of how suitable they are for varying temperatures and conditions. I will say that they are very lightweight so I'll be curious to see if they sacrifice any durability to achieve the lightness.
Trying them on
Most of my boots and trail runners are a size 12. but I can wear an 11.5 if they are extra wide. Since the boots I'm testing are a size 12 I expected the width to be OK but they do feel a little snug. I think this is partly due to wearing sandals or going barefoot all summer so my feet are not used to being confined in a boot. I wore them around the house a few minutes to see if I thought it was going to be a problem before venturing outside. After this brief test in the house and then in the yard for about half an hour I decide the width would be fine. As for as how they feel, I like the flexibility of the outsoles and don't think they will require much of any break in. They feel more like a trail runner style shoe as opposed to a more traditional hiking boot. They remind me a little of a high-top basketball sneaker with waterproofing and an aggressive tread added.
Field Report: December 8, 2017
the Adidas Terrex Fast GTX Surround in its natural habitat
Test Locations and Conditions
I have worn the Adidas Terrex Fast GTX Surround boots on numerous day hikes and two overnight hikes on local trails near my home in Grant, Alabama. I also wore them on a couple of hunting trips, one in a blind and one using my climbing tree stand. Temperatures have ranged from highs in the mid 70s F (24 C) to lows around 27 F (-3 C). My first overnight trip was on October 18th. I hiked about 4 miles (6 km) total and the overnight low was 50 F (10 C). My second overnighter was on December 4th. I hiked approximately 6 miles (10 km) total and the overnight low was 54 F (12 C), but it was one of those strange nights when it actually warmed up a little during the night. It also rained off and on during the night. On both overnight hikes I crossed creeks and small streams and went up and down several steep hills.
Field Test Results
As I noted in my Initial Report, when I first got these boots I observed that they were a little narrow in the toe area and I was concerned they might cause toe issues. Therefore I took it easy on my first few hikes. I avoided hiking down to the holler which would mean hiking downhill for extended periods and instead hiked a trail around the top of the bluff that runs about 3 miles (5 km). The first time I only went about halfway which meant about 3 miles (5 km) total. I wore some good wool socks but not my thicker winter ones. A few days later I went the whole length for a 6 mile (10 km) round trip and carried a backpack. I had no issues with my feet so I decided it was time to hike on more challenging terrain and see how that would go.
On my first hike to the holler I was pushed for time so only hiked about 2 miles (3 km) total but was pleased that my feet felt great. I did take a few minutes to see how waterproof the boots were by carefully wading into the creek in an area that had a flat rocky bottom. I was careful not to go any deeper than the top of the tongue area that would allow water to enter. I could feel the cold water but my feet remained completely dry.
waterproof testing - they passed!
I was completely satisfied with the performance of the boots for day hikes but wondered if a heavy pack might cause problems. Again, my concerns were for naught. I loaded my pack with 26 lbs (12 kg) and took a couple of 4 mile (6 km) hikes down in the holler, up the other side and then retracing my route coming back. I used hiking poles to help on the steeper grades but I never felt my toes being squished in the boots. They also helped on the creek crossings when I had to carefully avoid deeper spots which included rock hopping when needed. I do believe that the tread pattern on the boots is ideal for slick rocks and the Continental Rubber is actually a little stickier than regular rubber soled boots. I don’t know if they are 32% better as claimed but they did give me confidence I would not fall, and I did not.
After this I used the boots on the two overnight hikes and found they worked just fine. I experienced no blisters on my soles or heels and had no toe issues at all. The only real complaint was trying to put them on from my hammock, but to be fair, I have this same problem with any boot. For this reason I usually go barefoot at camp. In cooler weather I carry some Crocs for camp duty.
My hunting trips were not high mileage but I did hike about a mile (2 km) total each time and when I used my climbing tree stand I was pretty loaded down. The tree stand alone weighs about 22 lb (10 kg) and with my hunting gear, safety gear (the fall arrest/descended I use is heavy), etc I'm pushing 35 lb (16 kg) of extra weight. The boots were fine both for carrying my gear and then while climbing. It was around 44 F (7 C) and my feet never got cold during the 2 hours I sat in the tree stand.
tree stand use
I have been impressed with the performance of the Adidas Fast GTX Surround boots and even a little surprised at the comfort they afforded. The grip on slick rocks is impressive and the waterproofness was appreciated during several creek crossings and wet hikes in general. They have proven to be quite durable. The lacing system has grown on me and has never caused any issues but I would still lean towards more traditional laces if given the choice. I do like that I never had to worry about re-tying the boots. That's all for now. Stay tuned for my Long Term Report which should follow in about two months time.
Long Term Report: February 19, 2018
Test Locations and Conditions
I wore the Adidas Terrex Fast GTX Surround on two more overnighters, twice more while hunting and on several long exercise hikes in the woods and road walks with my wife. On December 12 I went 4 miles (6 km) total on an overnighter and the overnight low was 46 F (8 C). The day hikes ranged from 4 to 6 miles (6 to 10 km) and the coldest hiking temperature was at about 20 F (-7 C) while the warmest was around 60 F (16 C). I also went on about a dozen road walks with my wife. We walked approximately 2 miles (3 km) each time. My last camping trip was on February 16 but it was a car camping trip. I did do about 4 miles (6 km) walking and a lot more standing around looking at the different hammocks, cooking or enjoying the campfire. The high was 45 F (7 C) and the low 37 F (3 C). It rained a lot and I was out in the rain quite a bit. I took this photo while standing around.
wearing the boots on a rainy day
Long Term Test Results
The old saying, “walk a mile in someone’s shoes before judging them” can be applied literally to the Adidas Terrex Fast GTX Surround. I thought they looked too narrow on my feet when I first put them on and was afraid they would cause my toes to feel discomfort. I never was able to crank out high miles, seeing how all of my trips were in the 2 to 6 mile (3 to 10 km) range, but whether walking on a smooth road or sidewalk or in the woods going up and down steep hills, my toes remained very comfortable. In fact, I never noticed any discomfort anywhere. They also did not require any break-in, but with more miles became even more comfortable.
It turned cold shortly after my Field Report and I was able to wear the shoes during some really cold temperatures. I hiked in temperatures as cold as 20 F (-7 C) and wore them hunting under similar conditions. As long as I was hiking my feet were always warm but when sitting in my tree stand I did notice a little chill, not the "my feet are freezing" cold, just mildly annoying. I was wearing fairly thin wool sock because the boots did not allow me to wear my thicker winter weigh wool socks.
I wore the boots on two more hunting trips right around Christmas time. I’m not sure how, but I may have injured my left foot while using my climbing tree stand. All I know is that I didn’t notice it much at first but as time passed my foot got progressively sorer. I did take several day hikes during this same time period. Then in early January I went on some fairly long and cold day hikes and after each one, my feet were pretty sore for a couple of days afterwards. The good thing is, I could walk just a few steps and feel fine. It reminded me of plantar fasciitis which I have experienced, only the pain was on the top of my left foot, but down near the little toe. I decided to rest my foot a few weeks to give it time to heal. It is still not completely well but the rest did seem to do a lot of good. I just recently did more day hiking and it did not bother me when I would get up to walk after sleeping or sitting awhile. However, I can press on the spot and it is still a little tender.
Which brings me to my last couple of observations. I wore the boots to a hammock hang at the Meriwether Lewis Campground. It was a cold and rainy event. It was basically car camping but I walked about 4 miles (6 km) total that afternoon, during the night and the following morning. The ground was muddy in several places, especially around the fire where I spent considerable time. I had on a good rain jacket and water resistant pants. My pants eventually soaked through but my feet stayed perfectly dry the whole time. It was also rather chilly but the temperature was fairly constant. It was 45 F (7 C) when I arrived at 3 PM and went down to 37 F (3 C) overnight. It was only 39 F (4 C) when I left at 11 the next morning. I had planned to hike a 4 mile (6 km) trail around the campground but decided that with the rain and slick conditions I might aggravate the injury so I just walked around the camping area a lot. The bathroom was about a quarter mile (0.4 km) away and I went to it five times, twice after dark, and raining nearly every time. But the main takeaway was that my feet stayed dry.
My other observation was that while sitting around the fire that night my feet got pretty chilly. Several of the hangers took off their shoes and were warming their feet by the fire. As a gear tester I was a little jealous but was more interested in seeing how these boots perform. My feet did get a little chilly, similar to how they felt when hunting, but not nearly as cold. I was glad because I hate to go to bed with my feet already cold.
The Adidas Terrex Fast GTX Surround boots have performed exceptionally well for me. It’s almost like the designer took a walk in my local woods in the winter and figured out what would work well under the widest variety of terrain and temperatures. I’m still not 100% sold on the laces but they have worked as intended. The boots are much warmer than their lightweight construction would suggest, probably due to the waterproof nature of the boots. I have not observed any wear issues with the boots. I really didn’t focus too much on the road performance of the boots but the tread still looks great. The outer rear tread is worn down slightly more than the rest of the sole but they should be good for many more trail miles. I'll avoid exercise road walks in them in the future to save needless tread wear.
This concludes my testing of the Adidas Fast GTX Surround boots. My thanks to Adidas and BackpackGearTest.org for this testing opportunity.
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