Adidas Terrex Fast R GTX
$155, 1 lb. 12 oz. (men’s 9)
Sizes: men’s 6-14
Adidas might have named this low-cut shoe the ATV, because it really is an all-terrain vehicle. On local hikes in the Boise Foothills in all kinds of conditions—dry, packed dirt, mud, wet snow, and rain-drenched rock—the outsoles bit without a slip. That’s thanks to deep and widely spaced outsole lugs and Continental rubber, the same kind used for mountain bike tires. Also unique to this shoe: A thin, plastic shock plate between the midsole and outsole that shifts up to one cm upon impact—not enough to feel squirrelly, but instead delivering cushion as well as acting as a confidence-inspiring brake on steep descents. The laces run through “stripes” wrapping around both sides of the midfoot to cradle the foot. The shoe has a sturdy toe bumper and heel cup to protect your feet, too, and a Gore-Tex membrane that kept my socks almost completely dry through a steady rain.
They are among the most torsionally rigid, supportive low-cuts I have worn, yet light enough for easy trail running. Hikers who like a lot of support or roll ankles easily but still want a lightweight, low-cut shoe will love the Terrex Fast R GTX. But it may feel a little clunky to hikers accustomed to a very light, nimble shoe.
See all of my reviews of hiking shoes I like.
NOTE: I’ve been testing gear for Backpacker Magazine for 20 years. At The Big Outside, I review only what I consider the best outdoor gear and apparel. See all of my reviews by clicking on the Gear Reviews category at left or in the main menu.