CGR tester Richie takes the adidas Terrex Solo out for a #unbeatablegrip test
This is the flagship approach shoe from the new adidas/Five Ten link up. So we have the promise of adidas’s extensive footwear expertise paired with the ‘world’s stickiest rubber’ experts Five Ten.
Appearance wise the adidas Terrex Solo has a definite slant toward the more ‘Euro’ style with a striking blue, black and orange colour scheme. The build quality is first-rate too and these shoes immediately give the impression they are going to last. The uppers are a mixture of tough synthetics more akin to the make up of a light mountaineering boot than a running shoe. There are some thoughtful touches here too; asymmetric heel tab loops so that the shoes can be clipped neatly to a harness, slightly stiffened tongue to prevent fold over, and finally a lace tidy. The toe box area is protected by a substantial rand that also aids toe jams. The lace tidy was a new one to me, I’ve seen it before on cycling footwear where it serves to prevent laces fouling the cranks/chain/chainring but I’m less sure of its utility on an approach shoe. Fit wise I found them to be on the narrow side of normal but I do have wide-ish feet (in fact I substituted a thinner footbed for most of the test period to provide a little more room).
Aproach shoes are a funny category of footwear, the original Five-Tennies promised the idea of a trainer that you could walk to the crag in and then use to climb a route. In reality they are always a compromise between climbing performance and walking comfort. The Terrex Solo does a good job of balancing these conflicting needs without compromising too much. Climbing wise it is the best of the approach shoes I’ve tried to date. The narrow-ish fit, superb rubber and large ‘toe smear’ area together with the rand and lacing to the toe all make it an excellent performer. For the walk-in the addidas Terrex Solo had a slightly split personality. On rocky trails and scree slopes it was a consummate performer, the tough upper was protective and the 5.10 rubber gave superb grip – this was particularly noticeable on polished descent routes. However on wet grass and muddy paths the lack of tread let the shoe down. For rocky trails typical of many European approaches the Terrex Solo would make an excellent shoe especially if some scrambling or low-grade climbing was involved. Likewise if you need to carry your shoes on your harness they carry very neatly and are fantastic on polished descents but are not the lightest of shoes at around 411 grams each. For wet muddy/grassy approaches or descents the lack of tread would make them less ideal.
Overall a great climbing approach shoe that is well-built and protective that excels on rocky terrain but beware of the lack of tread/grip on wet grass and muddy slopes.
Performance ☆ ☆ ☆ (☆) if there is no wet grass/mud
Durability ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Value ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆