Adidas is the number two sportswear manufacturer in the United States, and yet they don’t have a major presence in the outdoor footwear market to date. The same can be said about the top sportswear manufacturer, Nike. In the last year, both companies have begun to expand their presence to compete in an quickly expanding market. Nike with the Nike Trail Running lineup, and Adidas with the Terrex/Outdoor lineup. I was pleasantly surprised when the first Nike trail shoe I ever tested, the Wildhorse 3, became one of my favorites of 2016. This year, I get to try my very first Adidas trail shoe in the Adidas Terrex Swift R. What makes the Terrex Swift R so interesting to me, is that they’re actually designed to be used as a hiking shoe. Almost every other shoe I use is billed as a trail runner. I’ve spent the last month putting the Swift R to the test, and will share my experience in this review.
- You can find the Terrex Swift R online at: Amazon, Zappos, REI, and Backcounty
*The Terrex Swift R was provided to me at no cost in exchange for this review.
Fit And Feel:
My standard shoe size across the board is a 12.5. Adidas Terrex, like many other shoe companies, stops making half sizes after 12, forcing me to jump to a size 13. The size 13 fits a tad long, but because the overall last of the shoe is narrow, the 13 worked out quite well. If you have narrow feet, order true to size. If your feet are on the wide side, get a half size up.
The Swift R comes in at 16.08oz, which is a little heavy for a trail runner, but on the light side for a hiking shoe. I’m actually surprised that a shoe with this much built-in protection only weights 16oz for a size 13.
My foot shape has a narrow heel with a wide forefoot like a duck. The slightly narrow heel of the Swift R fits my foot perfectly without any lateral wiggle or slip at toe-off. There is a very slight amount of arch in the Swift R that is mostly provided by the stock insole. The fit through the midfoot is on the narrow side, and very similar to the Salomon XA Pro 3D. The toebox is a little narrow as well, but going up to a 13 made this fit my wide forefoot quite well.
The uppers of the Swift R are made of a ripstop style nylon with synthetic overlays on the midfoot. The Swift R upper has proven to be very durable and tough even when jamming my feet into cracks on rocky scrambles. The uppers are also nearly impervious to dust and debris, and although not GoreTex, do a good job keeping out moisture. The downside to all of this protection is that the Swift R runs pretty hot. On days above 80 degrees, I could feel my feet sweating quite a bit more than they do in my mesh upper trail runners.
On top of the nylon upper, the Swift R has stitched overlays to wrap the midfoot. I found this to be very reminiscent of the SensiFit overlays on the Salomon XA Pro 3D. The overlays provide a great deal of lateral stability and keep my foot from moving around in the shoe. I really liked the three stripe overlays on the midfoot, but initially had a minor issue with the fourth overlay that wrapped on top of my forefoot. When I tightened the laces, those eyelets put pressure on the top of my foot. As the Swift R broke in, that pressure went away. Still, I think Adidas should move those eyelets higher up on the midfoot for the next model of this shoe.
On a performance note, these uppers handled well on a variety of trails. Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of ridge routes, and this is where I first began testing the Swift R. On steep uphills, downhills, and sidehills, the Swift R kept my foot firmly locked down and in place.
The Swift R uses a speedlace setup much like Salomon’s Quicklace. I didn’t have any issues with the laces themselves, but prefer the Salomon’s lace garage pocket at the top of the tongue as opposed to the Lace Bungee on the Swift R. The tongue on the Swift R is heavily padded and gusseted.
The Swift R has a rand that goes all around the shoe and a reinforced toe guard to protect from jams. The heel has a rigid plastic counter, and a deep heel pocket that feels great on steep uphills.
The midsole on the Swift R is an EVA compound that adidas calls Adiprene. The midsole ridge is firm and responsive. This shoe feels stable and supportive on all surfaces and with a heavier pack on. The only downside to the firm Adiprene is that these shoes aren’t “runnable”. On most of my outings, I like to hike the uphill portion and jog the downhill. The Swift Rs are designated hiking shoes, making them a little too harsh for sustained runs. They handle the intermittent burst quite well though.
I haven’t been able to find any information on the Adidas sight about the presence of a rock plate in the Swift R, but it definitely feels like there is a shank in the midfoot. The Swift R is torsionally rigid and has offered superb underfoot protection on some really rocky trails.
The Swift R has a slightly decoupled midsole and outsole, with the heel portion being able to adjust independently. I wasn’t quite sure what to think of this when I took the Swift R out of the box, but after a month of hiking I have to say I’m a fan. I could notice an extra degree of control while storming down steep slopes heel-first.
For me, the Swift R is a great shoe for hikes in the 5 to 15 mile range on technical and/or nasty trails. The firm and supportive midsole keeps your feet protected and firmly planted on a wide variety of surfaces. They’re a little too harsh for really long days, and a little too much shoe for buffed out fire roads. The Swift R also excels with a heavier pack and would be a great choice for backpacking.
For the outsole of the Swift R, Adidas uses their Traxion setup with L shaped lugs. This Traxion outsole is the real star of the Swift R, and is easily may favorite part of the shoe. The Traxion outsole offers great traction and grip on smooth surfaces, sand, jagged rock, and hard pack. I haven’t put enough miles on the Swift R to comment on durability, but so far, the outsole shows virtually no wear and tear.
- You can find the Terrex Swift R online at: Amazon, Zappos, REI, and Backcounty
The Adidas Terrex Swift R is a great trail shoe for those looking for stability and protection. The run a tad hot, but that is due to the armor-like uppers. The midsole is highly protective and stable, but I tend to prefer a little more cushion on longer days. This is the perfect midsole for slower days with a heavier pack or for technical and rocky terrain. I have nothing but praise for the Swift R outsole.
- Traxion outsole
- Midsole protection
- Durable materials
- Supportive and stable
- No size 12.5
- Runs hot
- Harsh midsole on longer days with running
For the next model of the Swift R, I hope that Adidas carries a size 12.5 to start. From there, I hope they carry a mesh upper alternative and redesign the midfoot overlay wraps. The outsole and midsole on the Swift R should remain unchanged. Those are just my opinions for my feet and preferences though. Have you tried the Swift R? Let me know your thoughts!
20 thoughts on “Gear Review: Adidas Terrex Swift R Hiking Shoes”
Would love to see you get your hands (feet) on a pair of the Skychaser Adidas trail runners. Appear to be their top technical running trail shoe with the nice super sticky Continental sole compound. Just add it to the ever growing list to test.
Jeff in MA
Hey Jeff, good to hear from you again. I’m testing the Terrex Agravic right now, and should be getting a pair of the Skychasers to test as soon as my size becomes available. I’m really liking the Agravic so far, and the Continental outsole is the real deal. Hopefully I can get my hands on a pair of the Skychasers soon!
How do you like these compared to the XA Pro3D? Currently using XA Pro3D for hiking and ultra light backpacking, I like them but the problem I’m having is that foxtails are penetrating right through the mesh upper on over grown trails so I want to find something similar but without as much mesh in the upper. I guess the other question on the Adidas would be how it dries out after creek crossings.
The XA Pro 3D has more built in arch support and is a little more narrow throughout the middle of the shoe. Both offer equal protection. The outsole on the Swift R offers better grip and traction. The Swift R has a substantial upper that will take longer to dry. I wore a few pairs of the old XA Pro 3Ds, but the latest model feels more narrow on my foot and I’m not really a fan. I much prefer the Swift R.
Thanks so much for your reviews and sharing your travel trips. Sorry for my English, I am a french guy and not speaking/writing so good !
Just a question about your shoes reviews. Xhenyou speak of your standard shoe size (12.5), do you mean your city shoes size, or your standard shoes size for trail running/hiking shoes ?
Thanks for your precision, as your reviews are very helpful 🙂
Hello Stephane. Thanks for the questions. I wear a size 12 in my street (city) shoe and wear a .5 size more for my trail shoe. I like to have a little extra space for when my feet swell on longer days.
Hello Drew. I’m trying to pick between Salomon XA Pro 3D and Adidas Terrex Swift R. Planning to use them for traveling(long walks) and light hiking. I wonder which shoe has better cushioning for long walks.
Also, I heard that XA Pro 3D’s outsole changed to Wet Traction Contagrip. Did the traction really improve on wet rocks comparing to the general Contagrip outsole? I’m concerned because most of the mountains in my country are very rocky and people say Contagrip is slippery on hard smooth rocks. I would really appreciate it if you could recommend a shoe for me 🙂
Hello, Danny. Sorry for my delay here. Just got back from a trip to SE Asia. I think the Swift R is slightly better. They are both stiff shoes, but the Swift R feels better for my foot. The new XA Pro 3D (2017) hasn’t been agreeing with my foot. The last is too narrow and the materials a bit stiff. The new outsole is great though, and traction on wet rocks is much improved.
Wondering how your swift are doing? mine after 6 months, the soles are gone, no thread, no more than 300km… would love to get your input.
Thanks for the long term insight, Tito. I haven’t done a long term review on these, as I had quite a few other reviews to do after publishing this one. I will be reviewing the newer version called the Swift R2 in the coming months. Adidas has switched to Continental Rubber on the new version, much like the Agravic. Long term durability should improve.
Camino De Santiago…what would be your ideal footwear?
If I had to leave right now, I’d go with my Salomon XA Elevate or La Sportiva Akasha.
Interesting, thanks! I have been looking for a good alternative to my Asolo boots which have some serious Camino mileage on them, but which are also very heavy. I am close to being convinced that I should go with the trail runner route.
It’s a transition that many people have made and many more are making. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anyone switching to trail shoes from boots and going back. Enjoy!
The Adidas Terrex are great for my plantar fascitis and work exceptionally with customs orthotics. Seriously,running shoes feel too unstable now.
The stiff and supportive platform is great for those with PF. I am currently testing the Swift R2 and am glad to report that the stability elements are unchanged.
Hi, could you get rid of the bungee laces and replace with regular ones?
Yes, they would need to be thin though.