The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Adidas Terrex Speed Review

An affordable lightweight shoe that is fun on smooth, short distance trails.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $100 List | $69.99 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight, sensitive, affordable, sock-like upper keeps out debris
Cons:  Fits too large and long, not the best traction, little underfoot protection
Manufacturer:   Adidas
By Andy Wellman ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 1, 2019
  • Share this article:
55
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#19 of 20
  • Foot protection - 30% 4
  • Traction - 20% 5
  • Stability - 15% 4
  • Comfort - 15% 6
  • Weight - 10% 9
  • Sensitivity - 10% 9

Our Verdict

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.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award  Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award 
Price $69.99 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$179.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$104.25 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$119.95 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$148.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
100
0
55
100
0
79
100
0
75
100
0
75
100
0
73
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Lightweight, sensitive, affordable, sock-like upper keeps out debrisVery protective midsole and upper, sock-like fit, grippy traction, lighter than previous versionPrecise fit, very grippy on rock, comfortable upper effectively keeps out debrisGreat traction on soft slippery surfaces, extremely comfortable, no increase in priceVery protective, stable, comfortable straight out of the box, good traction, wider fit
Cons Fits too large and long, not the best traction, little underfoot protectionExpensive, durability concernsNarrower than average, a bit pricey, not the lightestMidsole foam compresses out over time, easily collects rocks and debrisA bit heavy, expensive, not very sensitive
Bottom Line An affordable lightweight shoe that is fun on smooth, short distance trails.The shoe that best balances foot protection and sensitivity, all while providing an incredibly fine-tuned fit.A well-rounded shoe offering high performance for short or long distances.Our Best Bang for the Buck winner for great comfort and traction with a price lower than the other top scorers.A great choice for ultras or long distance training due to the excellent foot protection.
Rating Categories Adidas Terrex Speed Salomon S/Lab Ultra 2 La Sportiva Kaptiva Saucony Peregrine ISO Scarpa Spin Ultra
Foot Protection (30%)
10
0
4
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
5
10
0
9
Traction (20%)
10
0
5
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
7
Stability (15%)
10
0
4
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
7
Comfort (15%)
10
0
6
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
9
Weight (10%)
10
0
9
10
0
6
10
0
6
10
0
5
10
0
4
Sensitivity (10%)
10
0
9
10
0
6
10
0
5
10
0
8
10
0
4
Specs Adidas Terrex Speed Salomon S/Lab... La Sportiva Kaptiva Saucony Peregrine... Scarpa Spin Ultra
Weight (per pair, size 11) 19.4 oz. 22.7 oz. 22.3 oz. 23.1 oz. 23.9 oz.
Heel-to-Toe Drop 8 mm 8 mm 6 mm 4 mm 6 mm
Stack Height (Heel, Forefoot) Not disclosed 26 mm, 18 mm 17 mm, 11 mm 22.5 mm, 18.5mm Not disclosed
Upper Mesh Mesh Sock-Like knit IsoFit Mesh, TPU
Midsole EVA Compressed EVA Duel-density EV PWRFOAM, Everun Compressed medium-density EVA with low density EVA inserts
Outsole Continental rubber Premium Wet Traction Contagrip FriXion XF 2.0 PWRTRAC Vibram MegaGrip
Lacing style Traditional Kevlar Quicklace Traditional Traditional Traditional W/ lace garage
Wide version available? No No No Yes No
Sizes Available 7 - 14 4 - 13 38 - 47.5 8 - 14 40 - 48 EU

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.

Performance Comparison


The Adidas Terrex Speed are a light  minimalist  and sensitive shoe that inspire fast running  but don't protect the feet very much. They are an affordable option for those on a budget  but also have a wonky fit that is hard to hit right  so consider trying them on first.
The Adidas Terrex Speed are a light, minimalist, and sensitive shoe that inspire fast running, but don't protect the feet very much. They are an affordable option for those on a budget, but also have a wonky fit that is hard to hit right, so consider trying them on first.

Foot Protection


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. For a low to the ground shoe that still offers an impressive amount of underfoot protection, check out the Nike Terra Kiger 5.

These shoes feature minimal underfoot protection  limiting them to only being practical for shorter distance runs that don't put a ton of stress on the feet. To go longer in them would require some very hearty musculature.
These shoes feature minimal underfoot protection, limiting them to only being practical for shorter distance runs that don't put a ton of stress on the feet. To go longer in them would require some very hearty musculature.

Traction


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 similar in depth to those found on The North Face Ampezzo, making them 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.

The traction on this shoe features a Continental Rubber outsole which is not the stickiest on rock  and has a bunch of rather short lugs compared to many other trail runners. It works just fine on dirt trails  but is not as proficient in slippery  wet  or very steep terrain.
The traction on this shoe features a Continental Rubber outsole which is not the stickiest on rock, and has a bunch of rather short lugs compared to many other trail runners. It works just fine on dirt trails, but is not as proficient in slippery, wet, or very steep terrain.

Stability


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 8mm drop shoes, such as the Salomon S/Lab Ultra 2. 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.

Riding low to the ground  these shoes are pretty stable when on flat and smooth trails like this one. The sloppy fit didn't inspire confidence on rougher terrain  however.
Riding low to the ground, these shoes are pretty stable when on flat and smooth trails like this one. The sloppy fit didn't inspire confidence on rougher terrain, however.

Comfort


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 fit of these shoes is a bit off  in particular they are very long. Here pointing to the ends of our big toes  a common way of judging for size in a shoe. While a bit of space between the toes and the front of the shoe is desired  this is excessive.
The fit of these shoes is a bit off, in particular they are very long. Here pointing to the ends of our big toes, a common way of judging for size in a shoe. While a bit of space between the toes and the front of the shoe is desired, this is excessive.

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.

While the heel fits slightly loose  we like hoe the entire upper is sewn together with the tongue  as you can see here  to form this collar around the ankle  which is comfortable and does a good job keeping out debris.
While the heel fits slightly loose, we like hoe the entire upper is sewn together with the tongue, as you can see here, to form this collar around the ankle, which is comfortable and does a good job keeping out debris.

Weight


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 more protective Scarpa Spin, as well 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.

At a mere 19.4 ounces per pair for a size 11  these are indeed very light shoes  and can genuinely claim to be ultralight. For this weight you will sacrifice a bit of foot protection  however.
At a mere 19.4 ounces per pair for a size 11, these are indeed very light shoes, and can genuinely claim to be ultralight. For this weight you will sacrifice a bit of foot protection, however.

Sensitivity


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. Once again, however, we must point out that the poor fit affects the responsiveness, and other sensitive shoes such as the Superior 4 or Scarpa Spin may be a better bet.

These shoes are extremely sensitive underfoot  and we easily felt all the sharp edges of rocks in this talus field. For shorter rocky runs this is generally ok  but on long runs the feet can really take a beating without more protection.
These shoes are extremely sensitive underfoot, and we easily felt all the sharp edges of rocks in this talus field. For shorter rocky runs this is generally ok, but on long runs the feet can really take a beating without more protection.

Best Applications


This shoe is best used for shorter runs on smoother trails and lends itself well to running on dirt roads or for cross over, road-to-trail runs. Its light weight makes you want to run fast. It lacks the support or protection for long runs or technical, rocky terrain.

The Terrex Speed are ideal for shorter runs on smoother trails  and are great fun for running speed work or at an up tempo pace. This smooth dirt trail  the Grey Butte Trail  is the perfect type of terrain for them.
The Terrex Speed are ideal for shorter runs on smoother trails, and are great fun for running speed work or at an up tempo pace. This smooth dirt trail, the Grey Butte Trail, is the perfect type of terrain for them.

Value


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.

Conclusion


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.

Getting in some leg turnover in the super lightweight Adidas Terrex Speed on the Grey Butte Trail in central Oregon  which is clearly more fun when constantly being chased by the crazy puppy Rishi.
Getting in some leg turnover in the super lightweight Adidas Terrex Speed on the Grey Butte Trail in central Oregon, which is clearly more fun when constantly being chased by the crazy puppy Rishi.


Andy Wellman