UTMB 2022 with the adidas TERREX #oneteam

©iancorless

I am decompressing.

In the last 4-days I have had around 10-hours broken sleep. That is the reality of working on multiple events during UTMB week.

It all started though the week before, arriving in Chamonix on Thursday to join the adidas TERREX team for a full 10-day UTMB extravaganza. It was my 3rd time at UTMB with the TERREX team so I was under no illusion of what was ahead – amazing friends, quality time with athletes and crew and once the TDS got underway, little sleep.

On the trails with adidas TERREX team ©iancorless

It’s a privilege and honor to work the TERREX team, I have seen them grow and grow in the sport and the ethos of #oneteam personifies what goes on before, during and after every event. Just look at the finish line footage of Emily Hawgood crossing the line to take 6th place at UTMB. The whole team was waiting, they surrounded her and unplanned, went into a frenzied bounce fest to celebrate not only an incredible run but an incredible team effort. No other pro-team does this and it’s noted by all the other media… The TERREX team are doing something very special.

You may well say I am biased. And I am not going to deny that I have a professional and working relationship with the brand. However, this is a choice. Working with the team management, the media crew and the athletes is a dream come true and one that is immensely rewarding.

adidas had once again rented multiple chalets and one huge chalet would act as a base for meeting up and all meals. The chalet had three chefs who provided meals for the entire team and in so doing, dietary needs could be looked after and the need to try to find a restaurant in Chamonix was removed. Physios were literally ‘hands-on’ every day from morning and Charlie and Robert managed the day-to-day team plans.

My emphasis pre-racing was to recorded Season 2 of ‘The Chamonix Tapes’ and provide some photo content.

Ruth Croft decided to not race at UTMB after winning Western States ©iancorless
Luis Alberto Hernando ©iancorless

The shows:

Toni McCann ©iancorless

TONI MCCANN

Holly Page ©iancorless

HOLLY PAGE

Yngvild Kaspersen ©iancorless

YNGVILD KASPERSEN

Taylor Nowlin ©iancorless

TAYLOR NOWLIN

Tom Evans ©iancorless

TOM EVANS

UTMB WEEK

UTMB week may well be what you, the fan or follower sees. But as in all these scenarios, the reality for UTMB 2022 started at the conclusion of UTMB 2021. It’s a 12-month process of building and planning.

This time last year, Tom Evans missed UTMB and instead underwent surgery not knowing if he would be able to run professionally again. However, he there and then set the goal to target UTMB 2022 as a main goal and target. He would put all the processes in place to make that happen. And oh my word, look what happened… He completed the podium with an outstanding and awe-inspiring 3rd place.

But with all the highs, the TERREX team also has lows.

Hugo Deck ©iancorless

TDS did not go to plan, 4-athletes hovered around the podium for much of the race only have dreams taken away. That is racing. There are no guarantees.

Janosch Kowalczyk ©iancorless
Cordis Hall ©iancorless

Sabrina Stanley, after meticulously planning and preparing for UTMB had her dream shattered even before the start of UTMB with a positive Covid test. There are no words to help here, just the unity and backing of oneteam.

Robbie Simpson ©iancorless

Down but not out, the team rallied, and OCC turned out to be a stunning race with Sheila Aviles taking victory and Robbie Simpson making the podium.

Sheila Aviles ©iancorless
Toni McCann ©iancorless

Toni Mccann placing 5, Martin Dematteis placing 10th and Kim Schreiber, Jeshurun Small, Dioni Gorla, Deborah Marti and Anna Hahner all having solid runs. The team was back on track.

Martin Dematteis ©iancorless

CCC was up next and it’s fair to say that myself, and the whole TERREX team were quietly confident that Petter Engdahl could produce something. Little did we know then that the Swede who lives in Norway would light the fire of the UTMB.

Petter Engdahl ©iancorless

He blazed a trail that made the competition look on in awe as he not only won the race but set a course record. Abby Hall from the USA once again had a stellar run placing 3.

Stephen Kersch ©iancorless
Taylor Nowlin ©iancorless

Remigio Huaman, Stephen Kersch, Taylor Nowlin and Yngvild Kaspersen all brought the three stripes home and, on each occasion, the team was waiting with hugs and applause.

It’s a stressful week for adidas TERREX staff ©iancorless

The big dance, UTMB would conclude the week. The 171km loop through France, Italy, Switzerland and concluding in France has 10,000m of vertical gain, rugged terrain, variable weather and is arguably, the most competitive ultra of the year. This year, the event was off-the-scale with over 2700 participants and goodness knows how many fans and spectators.

Pablo, Tom and Luis ©iancorless

The event is now huge! The TERREX team had Pablo Villa, Luis Alberto Hernando, Tom Evans, Emily Hawgood toeing the line and sadly, the omission of Sabrina Stanley due to Covid. It’s with noting here that a listen to ‘The Chamonix Tapes’ with Tom Evans provides a great insight not only to the event, but how to prepare for it is a ‘must’ listen. The race, despite a quality line-up was always going to be about Jim Walmsley and Kilian Jornet and for much of the race, this was the story. Jim had the lead, lost it to Kilian and and in-form Mathieu Blanchard. Kilian put the hammer down for the win against Mathieu and behind as Jim faded Tom Evans put his plan in action. He left Zach Miller who he had traded run steps with for many an hour and hunted Jim.

Tom coming in to Trient ©iancorless

With Jim caught, Toms head went down, all the processes were put in place and the Brit placed 3rd in the greater ultra in the world! Tears were shed by all… It’s difficult to put into words the emotions of the finish. Tom walked in, somewhat mind-blown about what he was about to achieve, he held hands together, covered his face and then stood stock still and saluted the world. Job done! The TERREX team were in pieces with emotion.

Emily Hawgood ©iancorless

Hours later, Emily Hawgood arrived at Col de Montes, the TERREX team lining the climb to give her one last big push to the finish. Eventually the finish came and a 6th place. Surrounded by her team, the worlds media were amazed at the unity of the TERREX team as they celebrated en-mass the success of one of their own.

#oneteam ©iancorless

This is the oneteam ethos, victories may be individual, but they are not possible without what goes on behind the scenes. We all had roles, but flexibility is key. Athletes became crew, office workers became car drivers, and everyone became a supporter both in a physical and mental capacity.

Once again, it was a real pleasure to be immersed with the adidas TERREX brand and follow closely the whole process that makes a race and team come together. We use the word family and without a doubt, the TERREX team is family. We are all #unitedbysummits

I spent much of the week with Stefan Durst but a huge thanks to Pfefferminzmich – Rapha, Andy, Yannick, Vinz and Christian.

I have the best job in the world!

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Episode 230 – The Chamonix Tapes – Tom Evans

Welcome to ‘The Chamonix Tapes’ an inside look at the adidas Terrex Team during the 2022 UTMB.

Starting on Sunday August 21st and running through to UTMB 2022, there will be a series of podcast releases for your audio pleasure in ‘The Chamonix Tapes.’

In episode 5, we speak with Tom Evans who battled a stressful injury and surgery… A process that started 12-months ago.

” What can I do, how do I control the controllables… Western States is more like a 100km in comparison to UTMB… I can’t begin to imagine how many nights I have spent without a head torch… I Can’t wait for the night… The night is coming, like it or not!”

#oneteam

#unitedbysummits

https://talkultra.libsyn.com/episode-229-the-chamonix-tapes-taylor-nowlin

Show links:

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Tunein – HERE

Episode 229 – The Chamonix Tapes – Taylor Nowlin

Welcome to ‘The Chamonix Tapes’ an inside look at the adidas Terrex Team during the 2022 UTMB.

Starting on Sunday August 21st and running through to UTMB 2022, there will be a series of podcast releases for your audio pleasure in ‘The Chamonix Tapes.’

In episode 4, we speak with Taylor Nowlin who battled a stressful 2020 and 2021 working as a nurse and recovering from Covid to place top-10 at Western States.

“I think the biggest theme in the last year has been scaling back on work so that I could focus on running… I needed to be more of a professional at running.”

#oneteam

#unitedbysummits

Show links:

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Libsyn – HERE 

Tunein – HERE

Episode 228 – The Chamonix Tapes – Yngvild Kaspersen

Welcome to ‘The Chamonix Tapes’ an inside look at the adidas Terrex Team during the 2022 UTMB.

Starting on Sunday August 21st and running through to UTMB 2022, there will be a series of podcast releases for your audio pleasure in ‘The Chamonix Tapes.’

In episode 3, we speak with Yngvild Kaspersen who has just become a doctor after lengthy study and trying to balance a running career.

“It took me longer than normal to finish Med school… I took longer years so that I could focus in study and running. I wanted to do my education properly but also not miss out on opportunities.”

#oneteam

#unitedbysummits

Show links:

Website HERE

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Libsyn – HERE 

Tunein – HERE

Episode 227 – The Chamonix Tapes – Holly Page

Welcome to ‘The Chamonix Tapes’ an inside look at the adidas Terrex Team during the 2022 UTMB.

Starting on Sunday August 21st and running through to UTMB 2022, there will be a series of podcast releases for your audio pleasure in ‘The Chamonix Tapes.’

In episode 2, we speak with Holly Page who has been fighting against long term injury.

“I started with an ankle injury in Feb 21… I had hoped to run TDS in 2021 and despite my best efforts, the injury has not gone away… Finally, I am on an upward slope!”

#oneteam

#unitedbysummits

https://talkultra.libsyn.com/episode-226-the-chamonix-tapes-toni-mccann

Show links:

Website HERE

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Libsyn – HERE 

Tunein – HERE

Episode 226 – – The Chamonix Tapes – Toni McCann

Welcome to ‘The Chamonix Tapes’ an inside look at the adidas Terrex Team during the 2022 UTMB.

Starting on Sunday August 21st and running through to UTMB, there will be a daily podcast release for your audio pleasure in The Chamonix Tapes.

In episode 1, we speak with South African and new member to the Terrex team, Toni McCann.

“I am as prepared as I can be… The process has been great. The outcome will happen and whatever that is I can only be happy!”

#oneteam

#unitedbysummits

Show links:

Website HERE

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ITunes HERE

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Libsyn – HERE 

Tunein – HERE

Episode 222 – Tom Evans, Ryan Sandes and Ryno Griesel

WE ARE BACK!

Episode 222 brings you and in-depth chat with adidas Terrex athlete Tom Evans about his comeback to racing and victory after surgery and rehabilitation. We also talk to to Ryan Sandes and Ryno Griesel about an epic journey around Lesotho.

It almost feels like a new beginning for Talk Ultra and in a way, I suppose it is. We have just had the longest period ever without producing a show, but we are now back with some new fire.

Importantly, Karl and myself THANK YOU all for the support, messages and encouragement. It really does make producing the show worthwhile.

I personally had questioned if Talk Ultra should stop in this downtime period. It’s been a great run, 12-years, hours, hours and hours of audio and it was actually only when I looked back and realised that we have created and documented the history of the sport since 2010 that I can’t let that stop… Your support and encouragement and very kind words also was significant.

So, here we are, Episode 222 – Enjoy!

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Importantly, go to iTunes and subscribe so that you automatically get our show when it’s released we are also available on Stitcher for iOS, Android and Web Player and now Tunein. We are also on Spotify too. 

Our web page at www.iancorless.com has all our links and back catalogue. 

Please support Talk Ultra by becoming a Patreon at www.patreon.com/talkultra and THANKS to all our Patrons who support us. Rand Haley and Simon Darmody get a mention on the show here for ‘Becoming 100k Runners’ with a high-tier Patronage. 

I’m Ian Corless and he is Speedgoat Karl

Keep running

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Tom Evans to join The Lanzarote Multi-Day Training Camp

Tom Evans burst on the ultra running scene when he placed 3rd at the iconic Marathon des Sables in 2017. An unknown runner, what followed was a meteoric rise in the sport.

Tom joined me at our Lanzarote Multi-Day Training Camp in 2018 and his presence was a great success. I knew then, one day that we’d have him back…!

Tom doing volcano hill reps, Lanzarote 2018.

January 2023 and Tom returns to Lanzarote amongst a stellar line-up that included 8x Marathon des Sables champion, Rachid El Morabity and the amazing and inspirational, ‘Dead Man Running,’ Kevin Webber.

MDS opened the door for Tom. He followed up with a win and course record at The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica.

A 3rd place at the IAU World Trail Championships, a foray in the world of skyrunning and suddenly top was on the start line of the CCC, one of the key races of UTMB week. Running a perfect race, Tom closed on the lead in the latter stages of the race, forged ahead and won the biggest race of his life. A sponsorship deal with adidas Terrex followed and the dream of Western States started to fall in to place.

Western States, the iconic 100-miler in the USA is a ‘bucket list’ dream for any trail and mountain runner. For Tom, it would be his first time racing such a long distance in one day. Taking a unique training approach, Tom moved to Ethiopia to prepare. Race day was a dream scenario with a podium finish and a time that dipped under 15-hours.

Victory at Tarawera Ultra in New Zealand at the start of 2020, whet the appetite for what was to come.

A certain pandemic got in the way of racing plans and Tom decided to have surgery to fix a persistent injury problem. 2021 was very much a year of rehabilitation gaining strength and fitness. 

With the arrival of 2022, Tom is back and it is now a great pleasure to confirm his attendance at the 2023 Lanzarote Multi-Day Training Camp.

With some new routes, new talks and workshops, new guests, the 2023 Multi-Day Training Camp will take what is already a special and unique formula and take it up several notches.

Booking form HERE

Information HERE

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The Best and Worst Trail Shoes of 2021

adidas Speed Ultra

I get to review and test a great deal of shoes and 2021 has been no different. Some shoes really stand out and get used all the time and others fade to a dark and lonely place in my shoe cupboard.

So, what has been the highlights and low points of 2021?

First and foremost, I need to clarify that I haven’t tested ‘every’ shoe that is out there to be tested, so, this is very much an opinion post. Importantly, what I have done is tested shoes from zero drop to 10mm drop and shoes with minimal to maximal cushioning.

For perspective, I am happy to run in shoes with varying drop as I really believe that not only is it good for the body, but I also believe that certain drops and better for certain distances and terrain. A good example being, if I were to be running longer, I’d prefer a higher drop, say 8mm. But if running shorter and faster, I’d be more than happy to be in a lower drop, say 4mm. The same applies for cushioning, I am happy with les cushioning for shorter distances and a little more cushioning for longer distances.

Outsole varies considerably and therefore when considering ‘the best’ one must caveat that the shoe is the best for a typical type of terrain and conditions. However, some shoes can be a ‘jack-of-all-trades’ and manage to do a little bit of everything.

I am a neutral runner, so, the shoes listed fit in that category. Regarding shoe width, I am fortunate that I can squeeze my feet in most shoes and I accept and am happy to have my toes a little cramped for a very specific shoe that needs to excel on technical terrain. I appreciate that for some people, that is not an option or a choice, so keep that in mind.

Read an in-depth article about How to Find Your Running Shoe Size and Fit.

Finally, you may well agree and disagree with my shoe choices below. Perfectly normal, gladly there are many, many shoes out in the marketplace with different drops, cushioning, fit, outsoles and so on.

THE BEST TRAIL SHOES

adidas Speed Ultra

This shoe has been a revelation in 2021. It has managed to encompass so many key elements that make a shoe stand out. They are light, responsive, fun to run in, offer a great fit, have a wider toe box and are cushioned. Designed in conjunction with Tom Evans, Adidas and Tom wanted a shoe that could excel at Western States. So, the shoe had to be good for 100-miles but did not require an aggressive outsole. The Continental outsole is almost road like and for some, potentially too minimal. However, the grip is superb and for trail running; superb. On dry and wet rock, the grip has never faltered, in mud grip is compromised. The Speed Ultra has been my ‘go-to’ shoe of 2021 and has been on many varied terrains and always provided a superb ride. They have even been an excellent road shoe. There are few downsides to the Speed Ultra, but the lack of a rock plate does mean that occasionally you can feel the ground beneath you a little more than desirable. Read the full review HERE.

Hoka One One Torrent 2

I was the first person to bring Hoka in to the uk, way back in 2009. I used them constantly for many years but in 2012 I defected. It has taken almost 10-years for me to lace up a pair of Hoka’s again and it was actually the adidas Speed Ultra that tempted me to try the Torrent 2. I was told by many that the Torrent 2 was the least cushioned and potentially most ‘normal’ type trail shoe that Hoka made. They were right. Out of the box the Torrent 2 has excelled, and they have been in a constant rotation with my Speed Ultra. The outsole is more aggressive than the Speed Ultra and therefore open a few more options when it comes to varied terrain. However, I will say that on wet rock the grip is bad. I wished Hoka had used Vibram MegaGrip instead of their own outsole. But if you stick with dry trail or even muddy trail, the Torrent 2 performs exceptionally well. Despite the stack height (still low for a Hoka) they give great ground feel and stability. The toe box has good space and the foot hold is superb. Read the full review HERE. I will make a note here that the Zinal was also a consideration. It has many Torrent 2 features but for me a firmer and harder ride. I preferred the Torrent 2 but you may well think the Zinal preferable.

THE BEST MOUNTAIN/ AGGRESSIVE SHOES

VJ Sport ULTRA

When you need grip, no other brand offers an outsole like VJ Sport. The soft and grippy butyl is just superb. Over the years I have constantly raved about their shoes, be them the iRock, XTRM or the MAXx. However, the one downside (for many) was a fit that was too narrow and not enough cushioning. Enter the Ultra. VJ listened and came up with a light mountain shoe that instantly felt like a VJ but with that wider toe box and additional cushioning. Many would never consider running UTMB or similar in a VJ MAXx but the Ultra now gives that option. You get the best of both worlds, cushioning and the best grip on the planet. I will say that the cushioning is not as plush as I would have maybe liked, however, they do bed in a become a little softer with use. Read the review HERE.

adidas Speed Pro SG

The soft-ground terrain that inov-8 excelled and dominated in has now been impacted upon by many brands offering their own incarnations of grippy and aggressive outsoles to tackle sloppy terrain. The VJ Sport iRock is without doubt a consideration when looking for an SG shoe. Constantly, one of the biggest complaints from many runners is that most SG shoes have narrow toe boxes. Step in the adidas Speed Pro SG. This shoe has a wide toe box, lightweight upper, cushioning and 7mm lugs for the muddiest and gnarliest terrain. The fit and feel is excellent and the grip superb. It’s not a shoe you’d want to spend all day in but if moving fast over technical, muddy and challenging terrain is your thing, this shoe is a great addition. Read the review HERE.

THE BEST RUNNING BOOTS

La Sportiva Cyklon

The La Sportiva Mutant has been a long-time favourite for many a trail runner and the Cyklon is very much a development of this shoe. It manages to combine many elements of classic La Sportiva and then push new ground with the addition of BOA. Designed to excel in mountain terrain, they are more than a shoe but not as much as boot. They fit this wonderful middle ground of combining shoe like feel and comfort but boot-like security. It has an aggressive outsole and some stability (not too much) to ensure mountain days pass without problem. The sock-liner fit, and the new BOA dynamic cage has provided me with arguably the greatest foot hold of any shoe I have ever tried. It is superb. All these plus points do come with a couple of downsides: A little extra weight and they retain warmth/ heat. The latter a good point in winter but less so in summer. Read the review HERE.

adidas Terrex Tech Pro

This is a late addition to my 2021 shoe line-up and what an addition! For many, this would just be too much and too specific, but for me with Norwegian winters, it’s a boot to put a smile on my face. It’s almost two shoes as there is an inner Agravic shoe inside the Tech Pro outer all fastened together by a zip and BOA fastening system. Comfort is superb, warmth is excellent, and the outsole has wonderful grip. There is a downside (for me) though… I really wish adidas had added winter studs to this boot so that they could handle ice. Had they done this, it would be the perfect winter boot. However, I do understand why they haven’t, usage becomes very restrictive with studs. As it stands, you have a boot that you can use all year and if required, add a micro crampon to tackle ice. Read the review HERE.

THE BEST WINTER SHOE

Asics Gel Fujisetsu 3 G-TX

I have tested a great deal of winter studded shoes in the last couple of years and VJ and Icebug have provided me with many great runs with excellent grip. However, there was always a compromise to be made until I got hold of the Asics Gel Fujisetsu 3 G-TX. This shoe has been a revelation… A Gore-Tex upper, wider toe box, cushioning and 14 studs in aggressive outsole to handle snow and more importantly ice with aplomb. They have been superb over short distance runs and recently a 6-hour outing in -10. Read the review HERE.

MY WORST SHOE OF 2021

inov-8 Trailfly G300 Max

Normally I would find it hard to pick a shoe to go here as today, shoe technology and development means that most brands make good shoes. It’s fair to say that me adding the Trailfly as the worst shoe will cause controversy as for some it has been hailed a revelation…! Not so for me. It’s a Frankenstein shoe that is a pure horror. They are heavy (mine over 380g!), lifeless, clumsy, and well, just plain awful. There are some positives which I tried to give credit to in my initial review, but the more I have used them, the more I dislike them. This shoe had the potential to be a more cushioned G270 with a higher drop. They are not even close! Even the Graphene outsole doesn’t feel as good? But one of my coaching clients uses them and loves them. I said in my review they would be a Marmite shoe and I don’t like Marmite. In fairness, if you are a bigger and heavier runner, the Trailfly may well offer a level of protection not found before. Read the review HERE.

CONCLUSION

The best and the worst? Fully accept that they are ‘my’ best and worst and you may well agree and completely disagree with my thoughts. Ultimately though, it may well introduce you to a potential new favourite shoe that you hadn’t considered before.

I have seen some brands stand still in the most recent 12-18 months, arguably over 2+ years when you consider how long it takes to develop a shoe. But adidas (never a leader in the trail world) has grabbed trail and mountain running by the horns and pushed forward with some great development and shoes with their Terrex brand.

Scarpa Spin 2

Another stand out has been Scarpa, a well-established mountain brand who with the influence of Marco De Gasperi has started to make some excellent trail/ mountain shoes, the Spin 2 almost making this list. I need to test the Ribelle!

Hoka One One have diversified from the max cushioning and while the Zinal didn’t make my list, it very nearly did and for those who do prefer more ‘cush’ between them and the ground, the Speedgoat (now 4) always gets rave reviews.

But what about Altra, Brooks, Salomon, Nike, Topo and more…

Well, the Nike Pegasus has been a favourite of mine in past years and it’s still a great shoe with a plethora of great features, especially comfort for long trail days. However, my choice was always the Wildhorse. But Nike always had to tweak and change it, we are now on version 7 I think?

Altra unfortunately just don’t do it for me. I know, I know… Some of you will be holding your head in your hands. But the zero drop and super-wide toe box is a no for me. However, I have many friends telling me I need to try the Olympus 4 or the Lone Peak 5.

Salomon have not been on my radar in 2021, I very much feel that as brand they stood still. They released a Speedcross 5 but it’s a Marmite shoe (for me) and the grip although aggressive has always been horrendous on wet rock. The previous incarnations also had arch support which I didn’t like. The Sense Ride 4 with 8mm drop is maybe worth a look?

All shoes were provided for free as test samples. The exception being Asics which were purchased. In addition, many shoes in 2021 were provided for testing that do not appear here.

adidas Terrex Speed Ultra

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adidas Terrex Agravic Tech Pro with BOA Winter Shoe Review

2021 has been the year of adidas for me. The three stripe brand with the distinctive TERREX logo has made great progress in the trail, mountain and ultra world with some stand out shoes.

Early in the year, I called out the Speed Ultra as not only my favourite shoe but arguably, one of the best shoes I have ever used. Three pairs on and I still think the same. Without doubt one of ‘the’ shoes of 2021.

Recently, I received a pair of the adidas Terrex Agravic Tech Pro with BOA.

Now I have to say, I was initially frustrated, here in Norway we still had ‘decent’ weather and this boot would have just been way too much for the conditions… Gladly though, winter arrived in November and we have plenty of snow, ice and temperatures well below -10. A perfect testing ground.

The adidas Terrex Agravic Tech Pro is distinctive! The shoe does come in a more sedate and classy looking black with hints of red, I received the ‘stand out’ look at me colour way of black, Mesa and Halo Blue.

Let’s be clear, this is a shoe for very specific use and that I love! Far too often when it comes to winter, I am compromising trying to make the best os shoes that are not specific for the task. Here in the adidas Terrex Agravic Tech Pro you have shoe that is designed for harsh, rough, wet and cold conditions. And trust me, when it is -20 snow and ice, warm feet make a very happy runner.

The adidas Terrex Agravic Tech Pro has some really incredible design and engineering. Inside the boot is a Terrex Agravic shoe with the usual adidas comfort, continental outsole and Boost cushioning. The shoe is wrapped in a water repellent envelope with durable front closure zipper and on the outside the BOA dial to provide tension and security.

The BOA brings a welcome development. Often winter boots like this incarnation by adidas have a laced shoe inside. Therefore, you put the boot on, lace up the shoe inside and then zipper the enclosure. The downside of this, is that when out on the trail, should you need to adjust the lacing, you must unzip the boot and then do the lace… Maybe no big deal you think? Trust me, if it is below zero, freezing cold and your hands are already feeling somewhat numb, the last thing you want to do is take gloves off and tie laces. Here in the adidas Terrex Agravic Tech Pro

That problem is solved as the whole shoe, inner and outer is tightened and released by the BOA on the outside of the shoe. It’s push in/ twist and pull out/ twist for less or more tension is just perfect even with gloves on. It may well be one of the most practical and logical reasons to use a BOA adjustment. It really is spot on! Using the L6 platform, with a L6 dial and TX4 lace, this is a perfect winter shoe fastening system as it protects against dirt contamination. You may well wonder about durability and strength, but the L6 uses a bayonet and cartridge system which is designed to release without breaking. If it releases, you can insert the cartridge back into the bayonet. The TX4 lace is also flexible and light weight with low friction. It’s the best BOA system I have used thus far.

As the number on the side suggests, ‘420’ this refers to weight in a standard UK8 size, 489g for my UK9.5/EU44 . This is not a lightweight running shoe, but what it is is a durable beast to offer support, warmth and protection in the harshest environment. Be that running in snow, climbing, running trail or even crossing a glacier (with the appropriate cramp on).

You may think it’s a boot and to an extent it is, however, because a running shoe is inside, the adidas Terrex Agravic Tech Pro has a completely different feel. It has the best of both worlds!

An 8mm drop sits perfectly in a shoe like this providing the potential for all-day comfort. Protection both at the fore and rear is excellent, there is some stability in the shoe but flex, particularly behind the metatarsals is great, important for when running and climbing.

Cushioning is Boost which is durable in could and challenging conditions, importantly it does not harden in the cold. There is an EVA frame for stability. Front rock protection is good and the outsole is grippy Continental with 4mm lugs.

The outsole does leave me perplexed. I am not complaining about the grip, BUT I would have liked to have seen winter spikes on a shoe like this. In soft snow the spikes cause no hindrance but if you hit ice, they are a life saver. I understand why adidas would choose NOT to add winter spikes: it basically narrows the market. So, this boot would require one of two options for me:

  1. Add a micro crampon that could be taken on and off as required.
  2. Add studs myself.

Currently I have used a micro crampon which provides the grip I need BUT the running experience is nowhere near as good as an outsole with studs. With a studded outsole you have the best of both worlds, the outsole grip and the stud. With a crampon, you have just the metal spikes which can provide a much harsher run.

IN USE

You need to invest a little more time putting this shoe on. Make sure you slide your foot in to the inner shoe correctly, adjust your socks and make sure the heal feels correct. On a sizing note, I use an EU44 and I would say these are arguably a little larger. This is a good thing! I have used these with Merino liner socks and Sealskinz over sock and the sizing has been great. So, keep this in mind.

Once the foot is inside and comfortable, zip up the outer. It has sock-like fit. This can be a little challenging to start but once closed, it already provides a snug fit. One thing to note, I wouldn’t want to be trying to zip up the shoe, outdoors in -10.

There is a velcro adjust collar which you tighten, this helps stop or reduce anything going in via the top of the boot. Now adjust the BOA. You do this by pushing in the dial and then rotating. The more you rotate, the tighter the hold. It hold really well and importantly this can be adjusted ‘on-the-go’ with just a quick turn. No messing with laces, just turn. A really important feature for cold conditions when hands are not functioning as normal.

On paper, the adidas Terrex Agravic Tech Pro is a heavy run shoe BUT it feels and acts much lighter. It’s a pleasure to wear. It is agile, has bounce, feels extremely protected, is snug and warm. You really feel as though you have bullet proof protection.

The toe box has width and plenty of comfort. On a scale of 1-5 (5 being wide), I would say they are a 3/4.

One note on BOA, I always feel as though I need to over tighten to get a score feel. It’s no different here in the adidas Terrex Agravic Tech Pro BUT I advise getting tension ‘close’ to how you want it and then run for say 10-minutes or so. Then stop and adjust. Why? Quite simply, in winter and cold conditions, you don’t want to over restrict blood flow. Feet and hands get neglected to keep the core warm in winter, no need to add to the problem with over tightened shoes. BOA is great for this as you just turn to tighten, takes less than 1-second.

While water resistant, they are not waterproof and therefore over prolonged use, partially if you submerge in water, you will get some seepage.

Warmth is good especially with merino socks. This is an active shoe and therefore is designed for the user to be moving at pace, either walking, running or climbing and therefore generating blood flow and warmth. Standing around in snow doing nothing, the adidas Terrex Agravic Tech Pro eventually allows the feet to feel chilly; any shoe/ boot would!

The midsole is firm and cushioned but not plush. As you would imagine, this shoe is trying to balance comfort and protection and it does it extremely well. They are stable and predictable and he Boost works exceptionally well, even in extreme cold with the EVA frame adding extra security. It’s not a fast and light shoe, to be honest I never expected that. The adidas Terrex Agravic Tech Pro is all bout durability, protection and comfort in harsh conditions and it excels at this. The alternative would be a boot which would not have any of the unique characteristics of this shoe, especially for a runner.

Outsole is Continental and having used countless adidas shoes, I know is tried and tested. The 4mm lugs sit in that perfect middle ground providing traction on trail and work well on road if required. I did wonder if the outsole lugs should be more pronounced, say 6mm? This would certainly help in snow. I have already mentioned the omission of winter spikes which for me is a disappointment BUT I fully appreciate that I may have specific and selfish needs.

I have tried the shoe with Snowline Chaisen Trail (as photo) and also Camp Ice Master which is a more substantial  crampon, ideal for glacier and steeper travel. Please note, all micro crampon/ boot combinations have limitations, the adidas Terrex Agravic Tech Pro is NOT a mountaineering boot.

CONCLUSION

If you have rough winter weather, be that wet, cold and muddy or snow, ice and freezing temperatures, the adidas Terrex Agravic Tech Pro is a great addition to your run shoe collection. Only you can decide if the cost (£220) is worth it. For me, they are most definitely worth it and if they had studs, I would use them for every winter run.

The combination of a proper run shoe inside a protective gaiter is not new, but adidas have done a great job in making this a durable, warm and protected package. The BOA adds to the USP as it allows for constant adjustment ‘on-the-go’ with no need to remove gloves.

Versatility is a key feature. You can use them for winter hikes, running, add a micro crampon and you can handle ice and due to the build of the shoe, they will take snow shoes too. This is a great alpine shoe and here in Norway, it’s almost THE perfect shoe. You can mix hard and rock terrain, transition to snow and then add a cramp on to cross ice on with excellent comfort and security.

The comfort, secure hold and cushioning is all excellent and they feel considerably more lively and agile than the weight would suggest.

There is little not to like in the adidas Terrex Agravic Tech Pro. Weight will always be an issue BUT this is not a normal run shoe and there has to be a penalty for all the added comfort and protection. When you take that in to account, this is not a heavy shoe, especially when you consider the options. It certainly runs considerably lighter than you would expect.

adidas Terrex website 

BOA website

Options:

  • La Sportiva Crossover 2.0
  • Salomon X/Lab X Modular
  • Dynafit Sky Pro
  • La Sportiva Blizzard GTX – This boot has AT Grip Fixed Spikes

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