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Adidas Terrex Swift R GTX Review

Adidas Terrex Swift R GTX
Price:   $135 List | $94.47 at CampSaver
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Pros:  Super lightweight, athletic, upper doesn't absorb water
Cons:  Average comfort, lacks support for medium loads over long distance
Bottom line:  This athletic hiker was built for speed and play on trails.
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Adidas

Our Verdict

Light, fast, and fun, the athletic feel of the Terrex Swift R GTX surged past our expectations. Weighing less on our scale than any other competitor, we sped up and down trails to our hearts' desires. One of our testers used these shoes as a short-distance trail runner during the evaluation period. Great on trails and in the disc golf park, we also wore the Terrex Swift to gym sessions, where they showed off their versatility. It's not the most comfortable, and we preferred other shoes when heading out on extended backpacking trips. If you want the lightest shoe for fast hiking and other kinds of athletic play, though, this is an excellent choice.

This shoe fell short of our winners' circle, as the competition was stiff this year. The heavier Salomon X Ultra 2 GTX was our favorite for aggressive hiking, which is also nimble and speedy but gains better traction in varied terrain and has a higher flood height. If you want the best of athleticism and backpacking capability, The North Face Ultra 109 GTX is for you.

Mid-Cut Version Available
Adidas Terrex Swift R Mid GTX
Adidas Outdoor offers a mid-cut boot version of this fast-paced hiking shoe. The Terrex Swift R Mid GTX maintains the same construction and materials of the shoe model but with a taller ankle shaft. We haven't tested this hiking boot, but expect its performance to be similar to the shoe, with the addition of more ankle protection, a higher flood height, and a small weight increase. If you love the shoe but desire more ankle stability, try the boot alternative!


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Men's Hiking Shoes of 2017


Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Ross Robinson
Senior Review Editor
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Friday
August 11, 2017

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The Adidas Terrex Swift R GTX is a lightweight hiking shoe that enjoys jogging trails as much as walking them with a $135 price tag. The upper is an abrasion-resistant synthetic and mesh combination lined with a Gore-Tex Extended Comfort waterproof membrane. The sole consists of an EVA and Adiprene midsole, a TPU midfoot shank, and a Traxion rubber outsole.

The Terrex Swift R GTX brings a lot of athletic fun to hiking and is more than capable scampering up dry rock.
The Terrex Swift R GTX brings a lot of athletic fun to hiking and is more than capable scampering up dry rock.

Performance Comparison



Comfort


The fit and feel of the Terrex Swift R are athletic. Straight out of the box, these shoes are ready to go and absorb shock well, like tennis shoes. They are also some of the most breathable shoes reviewed, with a noticeable breeze coming through the mesh upper in our treadmill test. On the downside, the forefoot is more pointed than most and narrow, but in the back, our heel slipped around on uneven ground in the wide heel cup. The soft rubber of the outsole allowed for more sensitivity underfoot. This helped with traction but also lead to sore feet on long, bumpy hikes. The thin rubber rand around the toes increases the shoe's durability but does little when banged against rocks and roots.

We like the speed lacing system of the Adidas model. If the laces are too long  they are easy to shorten by cutting and knotting the laces.
We like the speed lacing system of the Adidas model. If the laces are too long, they are easy to shorten by cutting and knotting the laces.

This shoe, like the Salomon and La Sportiva Synthesis Mid GTX models, features a speed lacing system. We didn't experience any problems with the laces loosening from the locking mechanism and enjoyed the convenience inherent in this type of system. The five sets of eyelets (one leather, three webbing, and one metal ring) allowed us to snug the uppers against our feet.

Keep the laces clean. With dirt on the laces, they were much more difficult to pull through the eyelets and plastic locking mechanism of the lacing system.

Weight


The Terrex Swift R GTX holds the title of lightest hiking shoe in our review, weighing 1 lb. 13.6 oz. The Columbia Redmond Waterproof is half an ounce heavier, but its performance is not on par with the Adidas model. Light is right in footwear, and these shoes are an excellent choice for pounding out miles on flat and smooth terrain when carrying little weight on your back. When the terrain gets rougher, though, go for the heavier, but still fast, North Face Ultra 109 GTX or Salomon X Ultra 2 GTX.

Fast hiking and the Swift Terrex are perfect for each other.
Fast hiking and the Swift Terrex are perfect for each other.

Support


We like the foot support provided by this Adidas shoe. Among the contenders, it is one of the stiffest in the midfoot, yet flexes in the forefoot. The Keen Targhee II and HOKA ONE ONE Tor Summit WP had more torsional rigidity.

We were surprised that the lightest shoe reviewed was also one of the stiffest.
We were surprised that the lightest shoe reviewed was also one of the stiffest.

On a few occasions, the stability of the heel fell into question. Our lead tester found his foot sliding when the heel stepped on the edge of a rock or other obstacle. This is likely because there isn't a lot of surface area contact on the perimeter of the heel due to the tread design. Check out the Vasque Juxt or The North Face Ultra 109 GTX for a better sole design in the heel.

Traction


The Terrex Swift R GTX features a proprietary Traxion rubber outsole which consists of a more pliable rubber for its quadrilateral lugs. We were stoked on its performance when scampering across rock surfaces. It was our favorite grip master on wet rock, outshining the competition when crossing slick creek rocks.

The Terrex Swift R GTX was the most lightweight model reviewed  but it was also light on cushioning.
The Terrex Swift R GTX was the most lightweight model reviewed, but it was also light on cushioning.

When it came to scree, mud, and snow, the Terrex offered average purchase. Its saving grace in this terrain is its heel brake, which resisted our feet from sliding out going downhill. If you like the lightweight nature of the Terrex Swift, but want more traction on varied surfaces, check out The North Face Ultra 109 GTX, which also weighs under two pounds.

Side-by-side traction testing with the Adidas model on the left foot and the Vasque shoe on the right foot.
Side-by-side traction testing with the Adidas model on the left foot and the Vasque shoe on the right foot.

Versatility


The lightweight Terrex Swift is geared toward moving fast. It is comfortable on flat and rough trails, too. We even wore this pair a few times to the gym, where it performed well as a substitute tennis shoe. Intermediate to well-seasoned hikers with strong feet will find some backpacking utility in these shoes, but beginner hikers will benefit from more foot support and protection. Our favorite combination of speed and rough terrain handling is found in the X Ultra 2 GTX.

The Adidas Terrex shoe takes on obstacles and trail challenges with enthusiasm. If you're traveling fast and light  this is a great choice.
The Adidas Terrex shoe takes on obstacles and trail challenges with enthusiasm. If you're traveling fast and light, this is a great choice.

These shoes feature an athletic look common in shoes from this manufacturer. It's too sporty to be subtle, but most testers like its aesthetics.

Water Resistance


The Terrex Swift scored toward the top of the competition in water resistance. Its 4.5-inch flood level couples with the impenetrable Gore-Tex Extended Comfort (the same liner found in the Asolo Agent GV). It passed our five-minute stream wading test with ease after two months of hiking and trail running, and even kept our lead tester's foot dry when accidentally sinking into a mud hole during testing (see photo). We appreciated that the upper was resistant to absorbing water. These shoes never felt waterlogged, and what was soaked into the upper evaporated as fast as any other model.

Oops! We sank in over our cuffs while testing traction on muddy surfaces. Here is the Ultra 109 GTX on the left and the Terrex Swift on the right.
Oops! We sank in over our cuffs while testing traction on muddy surfaces. Here is the Ultra 109 GTX on the left and the Terrex Swift on the right.

Durability


We were initially skeptical, but the durability of the Terrex Swift R GTX won us over. The large rand of rubber around the toe box is great protection in this area of high wear, and the critical seams in the flexing forefoot are double-stitched. Being light and fun to run in, we blazed through all kinds of terrain in this shoe, yet the synthetic upper remained unscathed after three months. The plastic cover on the heel prevents the back of the shoe from caving in, too.

The lightweight Terrex Swift blurs the arbitrary line between a heavy trail runner and light hiker.
The lightweight Terrex Swift blurs the arbitrary line between a heavy trail runner and light hiker.

The rubber isn't the densest of this review's soles, so we don't expect it to last as long as some, like the stiff-rubbered Salomon's. Also, the webbing of the lace eyelets are prone to shedding strings. On the topic of the laces, we see the potential of the plastic locking mechanism of the laces breaking if crushed, although the chances are small.

Best Application


The Terrex Swift R GTX is great for anyone who enjoys combining hiking and running. Being the most athletic shoe of the bunch, it's also a great pair for tossing a frisbee in the park or even an occasional gym shoe substitute.

Value


The list price of this Adidas model is $135. We like this shoe, but it is more expensive than five other models reviewed.

Not only did the Adidas model pass our waterproof test  its synthetic upper resisted absorbing water well  too.
Not only did the Adidas model pass our waterproof test, its synthetic upper resisted absorbing water well, too.

Conclusion


The Adidas Terrex Swift R GTX is an impressive shoe that blurs the line between hiker and trail runner. It's also athletic enough for pickup games of ultimate frisbee in the park or even a trip to the gym. It's not suited for most backpacking trips, but it sure is fun to scream down trails in these puppies.
Ross Robinson

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Most recent review: August 11, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (4.0)
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4 star: 100%  (1)
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