Move fast on the mountain in the men’s adidas Terrex Fast R shoes. They feature a TRAXION™ outsole with Continental™ rubber for optimal grip and a low-to-the-ground construction supported by a new 3D FORMOTION™ unit for great stability on rough terrain.
I’ve worn a great deal of approach shoes in my time as a gear tester, from dedicated approach shoes by climbing shoe manufacturers to trainer type approach shoes. The adidas Fast R GTX fits into the trainer type, the style is very similar to the Salamon XA Pro but the build is much more rugged.
In some ways I prefer the trainer style of shoe for approach, they are lighter and often a more comfortable wear. Especially on a long mountain day when I can be in the shoes for more time than climbing. I have been a advocate of lightweight running shoes for all my summer mountain days for some time now – and I spend a long time in the mountains during the summer for both work and recreation.
Firstly, they are very light. The official weight for a UK8.5 is 370g the trusty CGR scales weighed them in at 380g so that’s not too bad. They felt very light when wearing them, I could happily wear them all day and not notice them on. The lightness was also noticeable in my pack when I was carrying them on routes. The uppers are made from a close weave mesh, the Gore-Tex sock and a lightweight liner. I’ve worn these all season and they have no holes in them yet, in fact the uppers are showing very little signs of wear. Extra durability is provided by a tougher plastic neatly incorporated into the adidas three stripes, the toe area was further beefed up with chunky rubber toe box.
My heel was held firmly in place with a rigid heel cup which did a great job of holding my heel in place on all sorts of rough terrain and my achilles were comfortable with the cupped achilles support. This was well padded and didn’t give me any blisters even after completing the Yorkshire 3 Peaks in them. So a rugged top section easily withstood the knocks of a mountain day. They were also very comfortable for scree approaches and other steep ground.
The sole unit was cushioned using ‘adiPRENE’ – adidas’ own cushioning material and the cushion was covered with a very grippy rubber sole made by the German tyre manufacturer Continental. Now they should know a thing or two about rubber technology so I was expecting to be impressed….and I was. These shoes have some of the grippiest sole units I have ever tested on a trainer or approach shoe. They gripped dry rock so much that it was easy to trip up when descending steep ground so I had to be careful, they were brilliant. On wet ground they were just as good and as long as I didn’t hit wet lichen I felt secure. A good sole unit and one I feel will last a long time due to the aggressive tread design. The only point of note was the separate heel, it was separate from the main sole. I think the purpose of this was to increase the suspension on the heel strike but to be honest I don’t think it added to the overall performance very much and could definitely be an area where the durability could fail.
The shoes were waterproof due to the Gore-Tex liner. I’m generally on-off as to whether a Gore-Tex sock is a plus or a minus in shoes. They offer some degree of dryness and the adidas Fast R kept my feet dry in most crag approach situations. But when hiking or running on very wet ground the shoes eventually leaked through the top so on very wet days I still had to wear a pair of Sealskinz. On hot days the sock impairs breathability and feet get sweaty which can cause blisters, but to be fair although my feet go hot they didn’t get too sweaty and I never got any blisters at all when I tested them.
The tongue was finished with more adiPRENE foam, this help prevent grit from getting in. It worked quite well and was very comfortable. The lace system was similar to the Salamon X as, a thin, tough lace that is tightened with a locking toggle. The toggle worked fine and never came loose. The excess lace was kept in place using the lace bungee and this was fine in hiking and climbing approach but when running it became a nuisance as it kept coming out of the bungee or it slipped down the bungee. The lace will also wear through the fabric eyes, eventually. It has to as the lace itself is tougher than the eye fabric. The top eyelet is a ringed hole, but most of the run is made through the eye below that. I know this as I have had two pairs of Salamons before and several pairs of approach shoes with fabric eyelets and they have all worn through. This is a definite weakness in the shoe design and I feel that adidas should revert back to a standard lace design.
So, the adidas Fast R GTX is great all round mountain shoe that will serve you well in all situations, not the sort of shoe you are going to feel comfortable on technical ground, but they will be fine for grade 1 scrambles, technical crag approaches, hiking and running. So a very versatile all mountain shoe that will serve you well for a variety of mountain uses.
RRP £130 non Gore-Tex £110
News! adidas informed me today that the new autumn 13 Fast R shoes that will be available from June will have reinforced eyelets that should solve the wear issues. Hurray!