ADIDAS TERREX SOLO SHOES
TEST SERIES BY MIKE CURRY
September 06, 2016
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thefishguy AT hotmail DOT com
Tacoma, Washington USA
5' 11" (1.80 m)
190 lb (86.20 kg)
I've been backpacking, climbing, ski-packing, bushwhacking, and snowshoeing throughout the mountains of Oregon and Washington for over 25 years. I'm an all-season, all terrain, off-trail kind of guy, and enjoy everything from casual hikes with my children to mountaineering and alpine rock climbing in the Pacific Northwest. While I've carried packs (with winter climbing gear) in excess of 70 pounds (32 kilos), the older I get the more minimalist I become.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Adidas AG
|Terrex Solo as received
Year of Manufacture: 2016
Manufacturer's Website: www.adidas.com
MSRP: US $120
Listed Weight: 12.3 oz (349 g) (Size 9 US, 42.7 EU)
Measured Weight: 14 oz (399 g) (Tested size - 11.5 US, 46 EU)
Tested size: 11.5 US, 46 EU
Tested color: Multi
The Adidas Terrex Solo shoes arrived in a typical shoebox, with all the typical shoe packaging, including a cardboard-type insert to help each shoe maintain its shape. Several hang tags covered key features, benefits, and materials.
My initial thought on looking at the shoes is that they were attractive, and I really liked the colors. While the sole is fairly bright, only the edges are visible when I'm standing, so overall the effect is pretty subdued. I asked my wife and kids what they thought, and they all agreed they were nice looking.
They do have much more of a "running shoe" look to me than other "approach shoes" I've owned, but that is just an observation, not a judgment. I'm far more concerned, personally, with function over fashion.
The construction of the shoes seemed very high quality. The first feature that really stuck out for me was how the Stealth rubber section at the forefoot wraps around the top of the foot a bit. While this can have some advantage in climbing (especially in terms of handling abrasion in cracks), the big advantage for me is that it covers the end of my big toenail. Every pair of running shoes I've owned in my life (and practically every pair of shoes I have owned) has failed first by wearing through directly above the ends of my big toenails because my toenails slant upward and eventually wear through. This cap, which is pretty robust rubber, should help slow that at the very least.
The tread on the soles is quite aggressive in the rear, and looks like it will provide traction comparable to an aggressive trail running shoe. The front is Stealth rubber, thought it doesn't identify which type of stealth rubber. It is pretty stiff (like the Stealth Onyxx), but given how it feels I suspect it's S1, though that is only speculation on my part. It is patterned slightly at the rear, but the front is smooth, and it wraps nicely. The shape affords a reasonably wide toe box (which I prefer in approach shoes), but not so wide that I would feel they'd be too sloppy to climb lower fifth class climbs in them.
|Terrex Solo showing Stealth rubber sole
The one other feature that caught my eye was the "lace bungee" . . . an elastic band that I can tuck the laces under that is sewn into the tongue of the shoe. It is sewn with a tab that sticks out making it pretty easy to pull open to slide the laces in.
TRYING IT OUT
Every time I put on a pair of shoes I brace for impact. My feet are fairly narrow in the heel, but I have a very wide forefoot and toe area, so many shoes confine me too much in the toes unless they're oversized. My limited experiences with approach shoes have been that they're less narrow in the toes than most climbing shoes, but they're still too narrow for me to want to wear on long approaches, which is what I want approach shoes for.
Slipping my feet into the Terrex Solo shoes, though, I found myself pleasantly surprised.
First, the fit is *almost* perfect for my feet. My narrow heel feels reasonably secure, and I have room to wiggle my toes (though not much . . . just the way I like it). The insoles aren't the cushy, super-padded types, so the footbed feels more like a climbing shoe or hiking boot than a typical running shoe. The arch support isn't too high, and I'd describe the overall feel as firm. The fit, though, is just what I look for.
Before taking my first steps, I decided to try out the "lace bungee," which I'd already decided was a gimmicky waste of time because it would be hard to use. I was wrong. The way they sewed the simple tab in there makes it really easy to pull it up to tuck the laces under, and I can see where they might prove useful to prevent laces from snagging in the brush.
During my first few steps I found the shoes to be firm, but comfortable, and taking them outside I tried the Stealth rubber toes on some fairly polished granite rocks out in front of my house, and the grip is just what I've come to expect from Stealth rubber products: amazing grip (all of my climbing shoes use Stealth rubber, as it's become my favorite over the years . . . my preference being the Stealth Onyxx rubber for most situations).
They certainly aren't climbing shoes, but for approach (particularly on polished granite) they feel like they have the potential to provide the grip of a climbing shoe with the comfort of a trail runner. I'm willing to give them a shot as climbing shoes on lower fifth class climbs.
My initial thoughts on the Adidas Terrex Solo shoes are that they're a nice looking and pretty comfortable pair of shoes that will look equally at home around town as on the trail. They appear well-made, and well-designed, and the Stealth rubber front soles provide rock climbing shoe levels of traction on a comfortable trail shoe. I look forward to testing them.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I've used the Adidas Terrex Solo shoes on over 20 mi (32 km) of use (hiking and climbing approaches) in the Cascade Mountains and eastern Washington State. Surfaces have ranged tremendously from dusty soils in the arid steppe of eastern Washington to muddy, wet, rocky trails in the Cascades. I've used them on established trails, and on scrambling approaches on basalt and granite. I've done some limited bouldering and sport climbing in them as well. Weather has generally been dry and warm, but some light, misty rain occurred on one trip.
In addition to field use, I've worn them around for daily wear whenever I felt they were appropriate, which was a lot.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
Oh, where to begin. Oh, I know . . .
I love these shoes.
I could probably end the report right there, as it pretty much summarizes all my thinking about them, but that would be of much use, so here's the reasons I love these shoes.
I usually have a hard time finding shoes that fit me well. My heel is narrow, my toes and forefoot are pretty wide, and my toenails point upward and generally poke a hole through the top of any shoes that resemble athletic wear in a matter of a month or two. These shoes fit me great. The heel fits snugly enough it doesn't shift, and the toe box is roomy enough for comfort, and the rubber toe cap extends right over that spot that my toenail would usually puncture in short order. The insole is comfortable, and while the footbed in general is quite firm and lacks the generous padding of a tennis shoe, it works great for moderate approaches.
Ohhh, boy. Super-happy with these. I did some scrambling and class 3 climbing in these on chossy basalt, and they provided all the traction I'd ever need, while being much more comfortable than climbing shoes. I tried them on a 5.4 face climb, and while they worked, it was with extreme toe effort . . . but that's a function of their fit, not their traction. Even on wet, polished granite approaching some climbing areas outside Leavenworth, Washington, these shoes outperformed anything I'd ever used as approach shoes . . . the comfort of a lightweight trail shoe, with basically the traction of a climbing shoe. Even on muddy trails, these shoes had enough traction behind the toe to keep me satisfied.
The laces are great . . . low stretch, and not too stiff. The lace bungee, which I fully expected to be a useless gimmick has actually proven quite effective . . . at least I haven't had the laces snag when I've used them. They're well ventilated for use in the heat, and seem to strike a great balance between fit, traction, weight, and versatility.
While I don't consider this a downside, this is NOT a substitute for a climbing shoe. It has traction that is similar, at least at the toe, but the fit is definitely more "light trail shoe" than "climbing shoe." What it's perfect for is, well, what it's designed for . . . approaching rock climbs on scrambling terrain.
My nutshell summary:
*Excellent traction, particularly on polished rock
*Not a substitute for a climbing shoe
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
During long-term testing I have worn the Adidas Terrex Solo approach shoes for about 16 mi (26 km) of on-trail approach, 4 mi (6 km) of off-trail approaches, and a lot of general casual wear (probably on the order of 40+ mi (64+ km).
Treads have varied, including dirt (some muddy), gravel, pavement, rock, and mixtures of all of the above. Two approaches in particular were largely boulder-hopping on granite and basalt boulders.
Weather conditions were quite varied, ranging from sunny and warm to rainy and cool, with temperatures ranging from 65-100 F (18-38 C).
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
My feelings about the Adidas Terrex Solo approach shoes have not changed during long-term testing. I absolutely love these shoes. Their toe-box is roomy enough for my feet to be comfortable all day, yet the shoes fit me securely in the heel (where I often experience slippage, as my heel is narrow, and my forefoot wide). The firmness of the footbed is more like that of a boot, which I prefer over a spongy footbed on rough terrain. While this might leave me a bit more footsore at the end of the day, I feel it has benefit to me in terms of feeling secure on rough terrain where a spongy footbed might compromise balance.
While I don't consider these shoes a substitute for climbing shoes in any way, they make approaches over slippery rock (especially polished granite) much easier . . . and in those environments it's like wearing a comfortable pair of climbing shoes on the approach.
In terms of long-term durability, these shoes have been fantastic. While I had expected wear to be noticeable by now, I see only signs of scuffing . . . certainly nothing of enough significant to consider a wear pattern. All the material is holding up well, and other than some minor soiling and scuffs, they look pretty much the same as when I got them.
I love that these are shoes that I can wear hiking today, and wear them around town with jeans the next day, and they look just as appropriate in either location.
Overall, the Adidas Terrex Solo approach shoes excel at their designed purpose: climbing approaches. By combining the solid footbed of a hiking boot, the general comfort of an athletic shoe, and the sticky rubber sole of a climbing shoe, these shoes have become among my very favorite outdoor footwear. They also look great just bumming around town.
I'll definitely be using the Adidas Terrex Solo shoes in the future. In fact, they'll be the first shoes I reach for when I'm looking for something for long approaches on terrain where the added grip of a climbing shoe sole is helpful.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.
I'd like to thank Adidas and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test the Adidas Terrex Solo shoes. This concludes my Report.
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