Adidas Terrex Summer.RDY Voyager Speed Review
Cons: Weak mesh impairs durability
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Adidas Voyager is styled like a running shoe, with a traditional heel-toe drop, airy upper, and supportive midsole. Its side drainage holes, sock-like ankle collar, extremely sticky outsole, and fast-drying materials set it apart from typical shoes and make it a high-performing water shoe. Other than some durability concerns, it's one of the best shoes we've tested all around and still comes in at a very reasonable price, earning it our Best Buy award.
A comfortable water shoe blends warmth (or roominess to add insulation), drainage, and support. The Adidas Voyager does an excellent job of maintaining comfort in a range of conditions. Its airy mesh allows your feet to dry quickly in warmer temperatures but still feels great on bare feet.
The smooth lining on this shoe is nice for stuffing lots of insulation and donning the shoe easily. On warmer days, we used this shoe mountain biking and running and loved feeling the air through the mesh - our feet stayed dry and cool, and we had no problem splashing in puddles knowing these shoes and our feet would dry rapidly.
This shoe performed well at protecting our feet while boulder hopping. The thick but pliable midsole keeps your foot from twisting too much, protecting your ankle on rough terrain. We also liked how well the inner-sock kept sand out of this shoe, especially while wearing it barefoot!
The Stealth rubber outsole on the Adidas Voyager is very similar to other Stealth outsoles we've tested on water and approach shoes. It is nearly unmatched at sticking to slick, wet rock, and offers the kind of traction that really enables fun, adventurous movement in wet environments
One of the nice things about a thicker, cushioned midsole is that it tends to glom a lot of rubber on the rock without making you think too much about foot placement. Even scrambling in these shoes, we smedged and smeared our way around with confidence.
The tread pattern on the Voyager is optimized for wet environments, with inverted lugs and only small braking and front-traction zones. We had no problem traversing snow or loose dirt, but these don't dig into mud as well as thicker-lugged shoes. We did really like the flatter soles for mountain biking, though, especially in wet weather.
Without added insulation, the Voyager is absolutely not a warm shoe, and it makes a lot of sense that Adidas put "Summer.RDY" in the name. That said, we had no problem stuffing insulation like a 5mm neoprene sock, which kept our feet toasty and warm.
For compatibility drysuit socks, we look for smooth inner materials and good adjustability. The stretchy upper and smooth inside of the mesh on the Voyager make it easy to fit a drysuit sock (with an oversock and a thick wool sock underneath) in this shoe.
In cold, snowmelt streams of the Colorado Rockies, we had no problem adjusting insulation for a day that started with a near-freezing air temperature and ended with sun and 70-degree temps. Without a bunch of complex lacing and with great breathability, these shoes are workable for lots of conditions - just don't expect them to provide any extra warmth over what you can stuff in them.
Throughout our testing, we enjoyed using these shoes for wading, hiking, mountain biking, and running. They look like typical running shoes, so we had no problem wearing them around town, and we liked having super sticky rubber for when we spontaneously felt like busting a move and scrambling something or wading through a wet, slickrock streambed. Their tread is optimized for the water, but unlike some other nearly smooth-soled shoes, we never had a problem on dry or loose surfaces, which allowed us to get a lot of use out of these shoes.
The Adidas Voyager weighs in at a reasonable 1.6 lbs, and the top squishes down pretty much flat to the shoe, so we had no problem packing these along for trips. As a travel shoe, they make a great option for when your trip might involve some wetter conditions.
With a thick, supportive midsole, the Voyager will feel familiar to folks who like traditional running shoes. We prefer flatter soles for water shoes to maximize sensitivity, but like other Adidas offerings, these thick midsoles still provide good ground feel and proprioception that enables balance in sketchy situations.
In open water, we liked the relatively low ankle cuff, but don't expect these to swim particularly well. Shoes with thinner soles and even lower or more flexible ankle cuffs tend to do better in open water, as they allow you to flex your foot and ankle naturally. The Voyager instead prioritizes protection for on-land activities over flexibility that might make it better for swimming.
Like most great shoes, the Adidas Voyager does have a major Achilles heel: its expansive mesh leaves a large weak zone around the forefoot that is susceptible to tearing. The light and airy upper is great for lots of situations, but we absolutely would not recommend jamming these shoes in cracks or sliding down waterfalls with them while canyoneering.
The upper mesh extends all the way down to the midsole around the forefoot, and after only a few weeks of testing, we started to notice fraying there. This could easily be fixed by repeat applications of a durable urethane adhesive, like Aquaseal, but we'd much prefer it if Adidas would just extend the protective midsole fabric around the entirety of the forefoot.
Other than the weak mesh, the heel, midsole, and toe held up great in our testing. Adidas is known for high-quality workmanship, and we had no complaints with the gluing or stitching on these shoes.
We almost couldn't believe how high-performing these shoes were for their price, and they easily took our Best Buy Award. For a price that's half that of the most expensive shoe in our review, you get a comfortable, fast-draining, and crazy sticky shoe. While we had concerns about durability, we think these shoes offer the best bang for your buck as long as you can avoid super gnarly, abrasive situations. This shoe isn't just a low-priced bargain; our testers think it's one of the best of the bunch. High value.
The Adidas Terrex Summer.RDY Voyager Speed is a well-made, high traction water shoe that's versatile enough to be a great all-arounder. While it lacks durability, it makes up for it in comfort, protection, and drainage.
— Dan Scott