Gear Review: Adidas Terrex Swift R2 Hiking Shoes

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The Adidas Terrex Swift R2 is a burly, rugged, and sturdy trail shoe that’s made to tackle long hikes and backpacking trips. The Swift R2 is built on a stable 10mm drop platform with a sturdy board-lasted midsole. The aggressive full coverage outsole uses a super sticky Continental rubber compound for a sure footed stride on wet and dry trails. I’ve been putting the Swift R2 through a punishing few months of testing, and will share my experience in this review.

Gear Review: Adidas Terrex Swift R2 Hiking Shoes

Find the Swift R2 Online: Adidas | Amazon | Zappos

Fit and Feel:

When I first tried on the Adidas Terrex Swift R2, I was surprised at how stiff the platform was. This is a true hiking and backpacking shoe built on a boarded last. A boarded last is a plastic or paperboard base attached to the bottom of a shoe’s upper. This last sits in between the insole of the upper and the shoe’s midsole. Boarded lasts are commonly used for hiking and backpacking boots, but almost never for trail running shoes. Most trail running shoes use a strobel last, where a fabric or foam base is used.

Read more about shoe manufacturing here

Gear Review: Adidas Terrex Swift R2 Hiking Shoes

The boarded last on the Swift R2 provides bombproof protection underfoot and a base that can handle heavy loads. For those that are used to the instant comfort of a trail running shoe, the Swift R2 will feel a little foreign at first. It took me a solid 20-30 miles before they started to break in and feel comfortable.

Sizing and Weight: I wear a size 12 in the Swift R2, which is the same as my standard street shoe size. The Swift R2 is a heavy shoe that comes in at 16.5oz per shoe. You will really feel the weight of the Swift R2 if you’re used to lightweight trail running shoes like me. The weight is pretty well placed though, with loads of protection throughout the upper, midsole, and outsole. On rugged trails and on days I’m carrying more than 30lbs, I’m not moving fast enough to notice the weight increase anyway. On these days I’m glad to have all of the stability and protection the Swift R2 provides.

Gear Review: Adidas Terrex Swift R2 Hiking Shoes

Heel: The heel is well padded on the inside and has an external plastic counter. The height on the heel is a little low, which causes a some heel slip at toe off. I noticed the heel slip was more pronounced at first, and has since diminished as the stiff midsole has broken in.

Gear Review: Adidas Terrex Swift R2 Hiking Shoes

Gear Review: Adidas Terrex Swift R2 Hiking Shoes

Midfoot: The midfoot of the Swift R2 fits my slightly wide foot just about perfectly. The laces attach to the three Adidas stripes and a forefoot anchor to hold the foot in place and provide lateral stability

Gear Review: Adidas Terrex Swift R2 Hiking Shoes

Toebox: The toebox and forefoot of the Swift R2 feels a little tight at first due to the heavily reinforced toe area and toe guard. As the shoe breaks in, the upper materials loosen up a bit. The forefoot has average volume. I’ve worn the Swift R2 on a few long hikes and have yet to pick up a hot spot or blister.

Gear Review: Adidas Terrex Swift R2 Hiking Shoes

Upper Performance:

The Swift R2 uses a thick ripstop nylon for the upper. This material is very sturdy, durable, and abrasion resistant, but runs hot. On cooler days this winter and spring, the Swift R2 was very comfortable. As we approach summer here in Southern California, temperatures are racing up past 90° and I’m starting to feel it. The Swift R2 traps quite a bit of heat and makes my feet sweat more than shoes with an open mesh. The other downside to having such a burly upper is that this shoe doesn’t drain well when submerged in water and can be a bit slow to dry.  The trade off is that my feet are protected on trails with lots of sharp and jagged rock. The ripstop nylon also keeps out sand, dirt, and debris better than any other low cut shoe I own.

Gear Review: Adidas Terrex Swift R2 Hiking Shoes

The Swift R2 utilizes a speed lace system similar to Salomon’s. These laces have performed flawlessly on every hike. The tongue is padded and fully gusseted which keeps out all dirt and debris. The laces attach to three plastic bands around the midfoot and a forefoot anchor. This lacing system is perfect for lateral stability and doesn’t create any pressure points or hotspots.

Gear Review: Adidas Terrex Swift R2 Hiking Shoes

Midsole Performance:

As I mentioned above, the Swift R2 has a full length boarded last. The board has the hardness of a very thin sheet of wooden particle board. This board is like a medieval shield for the feet. I’ve hiked over sharp rocks and talus fields and my feet stayed fresh the entire time. Underneath the boarded last is a dense layer of compression molded EVA. This combination makes for a stable and responsive ride. The midsole can feel a bit too stiff for faster hikes and trail running, but feels right at home for long slogs and days with a heavy pack on. Gear Review: Adidas Terrex Swift R2 Hiking Shoes

The torsional rigidity and stability is second to none on the Swift R2, which is why it’s my current shoe of choice when hiking with my 35lbs 2 year old. Once I add up the weight of my toddler, his Osprey pack, and his snacks and water, my pack weight usually hovers around 50lbs. This is one of the only trail shoes I own that can handle such a load comfortably and safely.

Gear Review: Adidas Terrex Swift R2 Hiking Shoes

Outsole Performance:

The outsole on the Swift R2 is my favorite part of this shoe. Adidas designed the outsole with aggress L-shaped lugs from heel to toe. The lugs bite into sand, mud, and gravel with ease. The large surface area of the lugs helps provide traction on rocky surfaces as well. This outsole lug pattern is the same one used on the older Swift R, but for the Swift R2 Adidas Terrex has upgraded the Traxion rubber to a superior Continental rubber outsole. This compound provides incredible traction and is also long wearing and durable. I’ve tested these outsoles on smooth rocks, talus fields, steep gravel ridges, and muddy trails, and have yet to lose my footing.

Gear Review: Adidas Terrex Swift R2 Hiking Shoes

Gear Review: Adidas Terrex Swift R2 Hiking Shoes

Closing Thoughts:

The Adidas Swift R2 offers a ton of value at $115. If you’re looking for a low cut trail shoe that rides liking a hiking boot, the Swift R2 is for you. The upper on the Swift R2 runs a bit hot and doesn’t drain very well, but the bombproof midsole and super aggressive outsole help make up for it. I would love to see Adidas Terrex come out with a version of the Swift R2 with an open mesh upper. This would improve breathability and weight, and would also be a near perfect shoe for me.

Adidas Terrex Swift R2










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7 thoughts on “Gear Review: Adidas Terrex Swift R2 Hiking Shoes”

  1. Hi there Drew!
    Thanks for sharing your reviews! I’m looking for a light weight hiking shoe for day hikes on really rough terrain and this Adidas shoe sounds like it might be just what I’m looking for. I’ve been testing out the Salomon X Ultra 2, but the toe box is too narrow for me. I’m also looking at the La Sportiva Spire GTX shoe. I think you may not be interested in testing out this shoe because it’s got a waterproof membrane (even if it’s GoreTex Surround which is supposed to breathe much better than traditional GoreTex shoes), but if you do decide to test it out, I’d love to hear what you think of it.

    • Thanks for reading, Paul! If the toebox on the X Ultra 2 is too narrow, you might not have much luck with the Swift R2. I find that both shoes have a similar fit in the toebox.

      Like you said, I don’t really have much of an interest in GTX shoes, but love the look of the new La Sportiva Spire. I wish they made a non-GTX version! Besides the GTX, it looks like an amazing hiker.


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