The Adidas Terrex Speed is a compelling lightweight shoe that is affordably priced and lives true to the minimalist ethos. They are thin, light, low to the ground, and lacking in any major frills, and those attributes add a refreshing friskiness to your step when hitting the trail in them. For runners on a budget, or those who appreciate a light and sensitive shoe and usually run on trails that match, the Terrex Speed is highly worth checking out. However, our comparative ratings attempt to take into account all that goes into making the ideal trail running shoe, and in many respects, from underfoot protection to traction, the Terrex Speed underperforms compared to the competition. While this is a compelling shoe for the right type of runner, we think few runners will be genuinely happy logging big miles in this shoe.
Adidas Terrex Speed Review
Cons: Fits too large and long, not the best traction, little underfoot protection
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Adidas Terrex Speed is apparently in its second edition, despite the lack of numbers to indicate, but this is the first time we have worn and reviewed them. What immediately jumps out is that they fit very long in the toes, while the rest of the shoe also seems a bit sloppy and spacious, especially in the heel. We would recommend sizing down half a size to correct this, but also warn potential purchasers that you will then likely be getting a fairly narrow shoe, so those with wide feet may be disappointed.
The sloppy fit affected many aspects of our experience in this shoe, from comfort to stability, and not for the better. These problems, combined with the thin and relatively unprotective midsole and less than perfect traction, ensured that this shoe fell near the bottom of our comparative rankings. Despite this, we feel there are compelling reasons some people may want to give them a spin (price, weight), but warn not to expect the most highly refined product.
Among the shoes in this review, these have perhaps the least amount of protective foam underfoot, which is also fairly squishy and lacking in firm shock absorbing ability. Suffice to say that you can feel every little pebble that you step on while wearing these shoes, and they are thus best used on smooth and fast dirt trails, rather than on rocky, rooty terrain. The upper is also lacking in protection, with exposed lightweight mesh on all sides, even in the high wear areas. That said, we appreciate the excellent and effective toe bumper.
The outsole on the Terrex Speed is made by Continental Rubber, and while it feels sticky to the touch, we found it to be one of the least sticky when testing side by side on rocky talus. It has triangular and chevron-shaped lugs spread out evenly throughout the bottom of the sole, but they are pretty short, around 2-3mm depending on location, making them among the least aggressive. They are better for dirt roads, smooth trails, and crossover terrain than for gnarly mountain trails that feature lots of rocks, mud, snow, or even just steep dirt.
This shoe rides low to the ground, aiding in its overall stability. However, it features an 8mm heel-toe drop, which is impressively high for such a minimal shoe. To us, the drop wasn't nearly as noticeable as when wearing other shoes. What we didn't like is that the shoe doesn't lock the foot down very well, a by-product of the poor sizing, and this means there is a lot of slop. The long length means our feet wanted to slide forward a lot going downhill, and we also experienced a lot of movement in the midfoot and especially heel. Sadly, these flaws negate one of the best side-effects of having a low to the ground shoe, its stability.
We are a bit conflicted on how to rate this shoe for comfort, because the fit is terrible, but the shoe itself isn't that uncomfortable. It might be best to say that we enjoyed this shoe more simply wearing it around town and walking around than we did while running in it.
The upper has minimal to no padding, mostly built into the upper material, without cushioned pads around the ankle opening like most shoes. The low profile around the ankle is nice, though, because it doesn't allow lots of sand and debris to filter into the shoe very easily. However, the overall narrow, yet long and very sloppy fit means we can't really call this one of the more comfortable shoes for running, which is how we are grading them.
Our pair of men's size 11 US shoes weigh 19.4 ounces, placing them in the upper echelon of lightweight shoes. They are roughly the same weight as the similarly sensitive Altra Superior 4. They are nowhere near as light as the very lightest shoes in this review, the Hoka Evo Jawz. Suffice to say, this is one of the best attributes of this shoe.
If you like to feel the trail as it passes beneath your feet more than you like to stomp and crush it into oblivion, then this may just be the shoe for you. It is easily among the most sensitive that we tested, with the thin foam midsole allowing impacts on sharp rocks to pass straight through to the foot. To run on difficult terrain in this shoe you will need to be more dancer than charger, and if you want to charge, best to find some smooth and flowy single track.
These shoes retail for $100, tying them for the least expensive model in our review. While we have pointed out the fit issues, if you can dial in the fit, we think they present a pretty solid value, as long as you are realistic with your expectations for what they can handle.
The Adidas Terrex Speed is a lightweight, low to the ground shoe that is affordably priced. In our experience, they are sized poorly, with a very long toe and a sloppy heel and midfoot, and a rather narrow forefoot. Sizing down half a size will help, but runners with narrow feet will surely like them better than those with wide feet. They are a pretty decent trail running shoe but compared to the competition, not one of our favorites.
— Andy Wellman