Adidas provided me with a pair of the Terrex Speed Ultra, but even if they hadn’t, I would have bought them. After the Agravic Tech Pro, I wanted to see more of what the German brand was up to in trail running. The Terrex Speed Ultra did not disappoint.
Minimalist – Maximalist… Or a Balance?
There is still a bit of an ongoing battle when it comes to shoes for mountain trails, between rather minimalist ones and ones with maximum cushioning. For me, foams (and other technologies) that are otherwise found on road-running shoes already fall under the category of rather too much cushioning for my taste.
Then again, the more-minimalist shoes are a lot of fun on shorter technical trails, but become more and more problematic the longer and rockier the trails get – or whenever a part of a route goes over roads.
A good balance between lightness and protection, ground feel and cushioning is what I am, therefore, after. The Terrex Speed Ultra from Adidas deliver very nicely.
Weight, Durability, Build of the Upper
The shoes are very light (with 240 grams in the size Adidas uses for the gram marking shown on the shoes themselves). Unsurprisingly, they look like they are not the strongest of builds, in order to achieve that low weight.
The Speed Ultra are plenty durable, though. I have put at least 200 km, probably a fair bit more, on those shoes by now.
The upper hardly shows any signs of wear, not at all a tear; there is just some wrinkling that shows they’ve been bent in the forefoot lots and lots of times.
The upper is made of a meshy synthetic with overlays (or actually, underlays) that reinforce and shape it. There is a bit of extra rubber toe protection in the front, a nice heel cup cradles the foot in back.
The tongue is very thin, but works without any hot spots – and it isn’t just a tongue. It is more of a sock-like liner that extends from the tongue down to the side, to where upper and sole connect.
This construction makes it necessary to loosen the top laces a bit more than otherwise necessary to get into the shoes, but then it all cradles the foot perfectly so that there is no slipping.
The toe box is not the widest, but it has felt wide enough to have always remained comfortable, no matter how long and far I have gone in these shoes.
The sole (cushioning) shows a bit of the squishing that comes after a decent amount of distance, but the Speed Ultra still feel springy enough.
The Lightstrike midsole and Boost cushioning are just right to give good proprioception (feel for the ground), while providing enough protection from sharp rocks and enough cushioning and energy return for the shoes to feel comfortable and fast on trails as well as on road passages.
The 8 mm stack height is not exactly minimalist, but nice to run in as the going gets longer and longer.
The grip, too, has been extremely nice. As always, wet, polished rocks are an issue, same as loose scree – but that’s where nothing can grip.
The lugs look like they shouldn’t perform too well; their 2.5 mm depth appears rather puny… but in the combination of their depth, their orientation, and the Continental rubber of the outsole, the Speed Ultra have been reassuringly grippy on any and all terrain I have found myself.
Colorways of the Terrex Speed Ultra
Fitting with the Terrex Agravic Pro trail running gear, I have the Speed Ultra in the acid mint/white/pink colorway; a slightly daring color for men – and I like it.
The shoes were also available in a white / grey / yellow colorway; they are still available in mainly black and white, and recently, a white / red / gold-accented version has also been released.
That last colorway is pretty special again, and again, I like the daring.
All in all, I’ve been impressed and I’ve been finding myself taking the Terrex Speed Ultra for only too many runs.
They strike just the right balance of comfort and cushioning, weight and support (for going fast) that they bear their name for good reason, and are shoes for trail running – or really, trail racing – that I can highly recommend.
I certainly have loved and still love running in them.
The only thing that could potentially get me out of them more are the forthcoming Agravic Ultra which will see Adidas bringing their carbon plate-support tech into trail running shoes.