Adidas Terrex Solo
Size tested: 13
Reviewer’s Feet: Size 13 street shoe, medium-volume, low arch, neutral gait
- Abrasion-resistant mesh and synthetic upper
- Rubber toe bumper
- Stealth rubber outsole
Test Locations: Wind River Range and Big Horn National Forest, WY; South Platte and Front Range, CO
Days tested: ~ 40
The Terrex Solo approach shoe is a prominent part of Adidas’ fairly recent entry into the world of technical footwear and outerwear. While Adidas may seem to be a surprising player in the climbing and hiking world, their acquisition of Five Ten and the addition of well-known climbers to their sponsored team indicate a commitment to this space.
Adidas’ “Terrex” line of shoes is fairly confusing, and includes the Solo (the subject of this review), but also the Swift, Swift Solo, Swift R, and Fast X—both low cut and high top.
It definitely took some time to fully figure out which niche each of those shoes was intended to occupy. I’m not going to break down the whole line, just know for now that the “Solo” iterations of various Terrex shoes are squarely in the approach category, while the other models skew toward either hiking or trail running.
Ok, on to the Terrex Solo.
At first glance, the upper of the Terrex Solo is a bit unorthodox for an approach shoe; it looks more like something you’d see on a basketball court than in the backcountry.
A closer inspection reveals that it does have the standard features of an approach shoe, including the sticky rubber toe wrap that, for whatever reason, seems to be the one thing required for an approach shoe to be recognized as such.
This toe wrap and the sole it extends from are made of Stealth rubber, which will be familiar to wearers of FiveTen shoes. Stealth is a great rubber, and represents a huge step up from the TRAXION rubber that appeared on earlier generations of the Terrex Solo (and still appears on some other shoes in Adidas’ line).
The TRAXION rubber looks, feels, and performs too much like plastic to be of much practical use, and I was relieved to see the move to the more effective Stealth. If you’ve had previous experiences with the Terrex Solo (or anything else with TRAXION), it would be worth revisiting the shoe.
The Upper & Tongue
The upper on the Terrex is a combination mesh/synthetic that is both flexible and comfortable. The molded tongue (a soft rubber which holds a curved shape) caught my eye when I first wore the shoe, but I didn’t notice it at all while wearing the Terrex Solo, which is just about the best thing you can say about a tongue.
Having said that, I do think there are ways in which Adidas could continue to improve the Terrex Solo. I’ve tested a lot of approach shoes in the last couple years, and the fact is that the competition in this category is fierce. There are a lot of good approach shoes out there, and you have to really be dialed if you’re going to stand out. So I’ll start with a few things that I really like about the Terrex Solo, then outline a few things that I think could be improved upon.
The sole of the Terrex Solo is heavily cushioned, and the shoe has a soft strike and is still comfortable after hours of wear.
The upper, the sole, and the stitching on the shoe have held up well to standard trail use and scrambling. But given that it’s mesh, the upper is a little bit vulnerable to abrasion.
Adidas claims the upper material is abrasion-resistant, and relative to most mesh/synthetics you’ll encounter, this is true. It’s going to live much longer than, say, the Patagonia Rover if you’re stuffing it in cracks, but jamming the Terrex Solo in cracks (particularly coarse granite) will start to abrad the synthetic and mesh materials. It’s not as abrasion resistant as leather.