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Adidas Terrex Swift R2 GTX Review

This athletic hiker was built for speed and play on trails.
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Price:  $135 List | $134.95 at Backcountry
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Pros:  Super lightweight, athletic, upper doesn't absorb water
Cons:  Average comfort, lacks support for medium loads over long distance
Manufacturer:   Adidas Outdoor
By Ross Robinson and Ryan Huetter  ⋅  Sep 4, 2018
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70
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 16
  • Comfort - 25% 6
  • Weight - 25% 9
  • Support - 15% 6
  • Traction - 15% 6
  • Versatility - 10% 7
  • Water Resistance - 5% 8
  • Durability - 5% 7

The Skinny

Light, fast, and fun, the athletic feel of the Terrex Swift R2 GTX soars past expectations. Weighing little on the scale and our feet, we sped up and down trails to our hearts' desires. Our reviewers were able to take this off-trail as well and were impressed by its versatility as a gym shoe or casual cycling shoe. It is not the most comfortable due to its deep heel cup, and we preferred other shoes when heading out on extended backpacking trips that didn't force us to use all of our Moleskin up. If you want the lightest shoe for fast hiking and other kinds of athletic play, though, this is an excellent choice.

While we enjoyed hiking around in this shoe, it did not impress us enough to earn any top awards. The heavier Salomon X Ultra 3 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 110 GTX is for you.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


With light loads  the Terrex Swift R2 GTX is a capable overnight backpacking shoe as well.
With light loads, the Terrex Swift R2 GTX is a capable overnight backpacking shoe as well.

Comfort


The fit and feel of the Terrex Swift R2 GTX is athletic. Straight out of the box, these shoes are ready to go and absorb shock well, like tennis shoes. Even though it utilizes a Gore-Tex waterproof membrane, these shoes were quite breathable on warm days on dry trails. 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, something that we have noted in reviews of previous generations of this shoe but which persists. The soft rubber of the outsole allowed for more sensitivity underfoot. This helps 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.

This shoe, like the Salomon X Ultra, Salomon OUTPath 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 R2 GTX is one of the lightest hiking shoes in our review, weighing 1 lb. 13 oz in size 11 (US men's). The Columbia Redmond Waterproof is just 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 110 GTX or Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX.

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 III and HOKA ONE ONE Tor Summit WP have more torsional rigidity. We also notice a lack of lateral support while in uneven, off-trail conditions, and feel that these were more prone to rolling than wider shoes like the Hokas.

The Terrex Swift R2 GTX is a great choice for short trail hikes like this one into the climbing area in Pine Creek Canyon.
The Terrex Swift R2 GTX is a great choice for short trail hikes like this one into the climbing area in Pine Creek Canyon.

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 110 GTX for a better sole design in the heel.

Mid-Cut Version Available
Adidas Outdoor offers a mid-cut boot version of this fast-paced hiking shoe. The Adidas Terrex Swift R2 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!

Traction


The Terrex Swift R2 GTX now uses Continental rubber outsole which consists of a pliable rubber for its quadrilateral lugs. This rubber was able to handle on-trail conditions with ease, and we even took it up into more technical terrain like the Mountaineer's Route on Mount Whitney were we found them to perform better than average at off-trail travel and moderate rock scrambling. Their performance was diminished slightly on wet surfaces, as well as during edging tests on talus travel.

Hiking over wet rocks  we were able to keep solid footing thanks to the Continental rubber used on the sole.
Hiking over wet rocks, we were able to keep solid footing thanks to the Continental rubber used on the sole.

When it came to scree, mud, and snow, the Terrex offers 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 110 GTX, which also weighs under two pounds.

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 3 GTX.

These shoes are not designed for scrambling in mind  but they performed well enough on an ascent up Mount Whitney via the Mountaineer's Route thanks to good traction and support.
These shoes are not designed for scrambling in mind, but they performed well enough on an ascent up Mount Whitney via the Mountaineer's Route thanks to good traction and support.

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. It passed our five-minute stream wading test with ease after two months of hiking and trail running, and shed water quickly and easily. These shoes never felt waterlogged, and what was soaked into the upper evaporated as fast as any other model.

Fording small creeks like the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek  our feet stayed dry. Even when water got in  these shoes dried out very quickly.
Fording small creeks like the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek, our feet stayed dry. Even when water got in, these shoes dried out very quickly.

Durability


With such light materials, Terrex Swift R2 GTX caused us to be initially skeptical of its long-term chances at longevity. After testing it in rough and tumble off-trail conditions, however, we began to change our minds. 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.

Featuring speed laces  these shoes may have durability issues if one of the laces break  making for a harder fix while out in the field.
Featuring speed laces, these shoes may have durability issues if one of the laces break, making for a harder fix while out in the field.

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 is 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 R2 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 some other models reviewed that performed at a higher level overall.

Conclusion


The Adidas Terrex Swift R2 GTX is equal parts running shoe and trail hiker. This is a good shoe for someone who does most of their training in a gym, at the park or on maintained trails, though backpackers who like the feel of a lighter weight runner for their overnight trips may appreciate the light feel and solid on-trail performance these shoes have to offer.


Ross Robinson and Ryan Huetter