Where to get in NZ: http://www.wiggle.co.nz
Typical Retail price: $140
I got these shoes specifically for the World Rogaine Champs in Alice Springs in 2016. The terrain for the World Champs was covered in a large amount of Spinifex grass, a relatively tough spiky plant found across the Australian outback. The specific requirement of this shoe was to have no mesh upper which would allow for the needle sharp points of spinifex penetrating the shoe. This is a difficult task in itself and many of the suitable shoes for this type of race pride themselves in their breath-ability…. Breath-ability = mesh! In the absence of mesh the next go to material is Gore-tex. Gore-tex just happens to be quite a tough material and did the job in keeping the spikes out. Besides the spiky grass to contend with the terrain was quite dry and rocky also so I needed a shoe with a solid base so that my feet would not get too sore over the course of 24 hours on my feet.
After a good thrashing around the race course, I felt these shoes provided good value for money and served their purpose well. They did a great job at protecting my feet from spinifex and kept my feet dry and comfortable for many hours of racing. Their bulky shape and fit meant that they did feel a bit heavy and slow and as a result I would recommend them for longer slower type racing. Definitely not the shoe to set a 5 km PB in the park but perfect for a longer race such as a 24 hour Rogaine in wet terrain.
The Gore-tex outer did exactly as expected and kept the water out of my shoes. This was good for the terrain that we were running around in as the ground as hard and wet soft feet could have really taken a hammering in these conditions. On the other hand I’m not sure that this was ideal in the desert as my feet did get quite hot! Gore-tex is supposedly breathable but over a prolonged period of time exposed to a large amount of sweat, the toe bend point showed signs of saturation. I was able to fully test the waterproof-ness out at the end of the race, and sure enough they kept the water out….until my whole foot was submerged and then they acted like a gumboot. The water did not drain out very quickly at all.
The main reason I was after these shoes was keep the Spinifex out and they did a pretty good job at that, they prevented all but about 2 or 3 spikes to my feet. In comparison my legs, protected by gaiters (or so I thought…) took a hammering from the Spinifex and I was left to pick the spines out for months afterwards. I was pretty happy I didn’t have to do the same for my feet!
The stiff sole of the shoe provided good support for my feet across the hard ground and many rough rocks. After a considerable amount of wear I only took them back out for one more trip back home in the NZ winter. Here they did a great job keeping my feet warm and dry in the snow. The only downside was the tread pattern and sole construction was a little slippery in the mud and on the muddy trails
The shoe laces consisted of a thin cord with a toggle type closing and a system for holding the lace end in place so you wouldn’t trip over! One downside of this lace system was the length, it seemed to be very long and when doing the laces up tight the length of leftover lace was too long to capture properly in the lace system.
These shoes were quite large and bulky, compared with the lighter weight shoes I am a bit more accustomed to racing in. I found just going for a causal run around the block a little bit difficult, the bulki-ness made me feel a bit slow and gumby-ish. The sole was quite a lot wider than the shoe which gives you better support but as a result you do lose a bit of control over them. When the inevitable walking sections of a 24 hour Rogaine kicked in they came into their own. Walking in them was quite comfortable.
The Gore-tex in the heat was not so comfortable, especially in the heat of the day where my feet got quite hot and sweaty as a result. The hard ground can be quite damaging to feet over a long period of time and these shoes did help the pain to an extent, they were not entirely perfect on preventing sore tired feet. During the night, they were great at keeping my feet warm and perfect in the snow.
One feature of the tongue is that there is a fold to prevent water getting in, with the shoes done up tight the fold did create a bit of pressure point. The tongue did not cover the top lace hole either which seemed a bit silly as water could get through here too. The lace and lace hole also came in direct contact with my feet causing another little hot spot.
24 hours on hard and quite abrasive rocks was a really good test of the durability of these shoes. The soles took a real hammering and the tread remained fairly well intact compared to my team mates Hoka’s which were completely wrecked! Although the majority of the tread pattern remained it had worn down a bit. The one piece moulded sole is great for durability in comparison to a composite sole where the tread “dobbs” can quite easily get ripped of.
The Gore-tex upper also survived really well, after being subjected to many needle pokes and movement across rough terrain they remained waterproof and good enough for future use. The upper provided good protection from the rocks, and the moulded over toe cap saved my feet many time I accidentally kicked a hard rock.
The lacing system kept the shoes fitting tightly (how I like them) for the entire 24 hours and were untouched until the end of the rogaine. This was not a great test for the endurance life of doing and undoing the laces up tight but a good test of them being in one position for a long time.
This version of Terrex came out in two colour variants, Black and Orange and Black. I chose the bright orange version over the black option, mainly because I thought it would be much more exciting to have bright orange shoes. I thought the orange, black and white worked quite well together and drew a few comments as they were quite noticeable. The black version would probably a bit more subtle and less “out there” I would think.
The general look of them was quite bulky, and chunky, also quite noticeable, maybe exacerbated by the colour scheme too. This gave the impression that they were big tough shoes for moving through extreme terrain. However the bulky look to them detracted a bit from the speediness, and they didn’t look like a fast shoe. What was worse was that when you put them on you didn’t feel fast in them, almost one of the most important factors!
The lacing system in contrast was quite sleek and compact looking! This didn’t quite fit with the tough look to the shoe, but was highly effective and made the shoes look a bit sleeker.
I picked these shoes up online, so it was a bit of a stab in the dark to find a pair of shoes that were going to protect my feet from Spinifex! At this cost I thought it was worth the risk as I felt it was a good price for a solid looking shoe. What turned up was better than I expected and at under $150, I got a tough, waterproof shoe that was robust and fast hiking type travel. They were good value for money and lasted for a good duration. For about the price I would expect to pay for a pair of Inov8’s, the lifetime of this pair of Adidas Terrex shoes would equate to about double that of the Inov8’s