Adidas Terrex Agravic Speed trail running shoes tested and reviewed: They feel light, you feel fast.

We took the Agravic Speed trainers into the wild for a rigorous test – here are the results

from Adidas Terrex
RRP  £159.99
Star ratings for the Adidas Terrex Agravic Speed trail running shoes

by Lara Chapman |
Published on

Adidas have been making excellent strides in recent years with their range of lightweight trail running shoes. The new Agravic Speed is their star product, designed with a team of athletes who wanted a shoe that would deliver them to the top podium spot of their next trail race.

We got our hands on a pair and sent our tester, Lara Chapman, out into the highlands to give them a thrashing. Here's her report:

The Adidas Terrex Agravic Speed have felt phenomenal from the first wear. Responsive and eager for fast forward movement, Adidas say their shoe is designed to help you run fast in trail races. With such great focus on breathability and lightness, responsiveness and momentum, surely there’s a catch? If achieving first place on the trails is what you’re after, find out whether these are the shoes for you.

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Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Great breathability
  • Excellent responsiveness and propulsion
  • Inexplicably cool looking laces

Cons

  • Not much lateral support

Upper

A synthetic upper with deliberately seamless overlays, the general feel of the upper is light, slinky and agile. It is well constructed, agreeably comfortable and easily breathable.

The downside to its beautiful breathability is the utter lack of water resistance. If it is dewy in the morning, you will get soggy socks.I have found this fine for shorter runs, and the shoes have generally dried by the next day. But if you plan on regularly running in wet weather, you will likely be happier with a more waterproof upper.

toes of the Adidas Terrex Agravic Speed trail running shoes
©LFTO

The biggest upper difference compared to previous Agravic Speed and Ultra versions is the lack of padding around the heel. I liked this at the back, but the lack of padding around the side definitely contributed to it not being that comfy for more-lateral/less-linear movement. Traversing slopes I found that the shoe cut into the ‘higher-up’ side of my ankle. There is a bit of soft fabric but not enough to stop it being uncomfortable to run in.

Midsole

Adidas describe the Terrex Agravic Speed as having premium cushioning, and whilst they are not alone, they are also not wrong. Combining a layer of their lightstrike foam with a layer of their lightsrike pro foam, they have created this bouncy mongrel where the shoes feel light and you feel fast. The midsole successfully works to both reduce the impact of landing and spread the load across your foot, whilst also feeling solid underfoot for energy efficiency when you push off.

midsole and heel of the Adidas Terrex Agravic Speed trail running shoes
©LFTO

The rocker-like structure of the shoe is very much geared towards forward momentum, which feels great for pacing it in. But where shoe excels in propulsion, it lacks in lateral support. If your trails are in fairly straight lines on fairly level ground (the vast majority of trail-style running) this shoe is fantastic.

However, if you are expecting to run on very uneven ground (think golf ball to large potato sized rocks), change direction often, or regularly traverse slopes (including in fell-style racing), you would do better with a different shoe. The Terrex Speed SG would be the Adidas solution, meanwhile the Salomon Lab Pulsar 3 is great for races whilst the La Sportiva Bushido III offers much better stability.

On the whole, running in these feels addictively good. Squidgy and responsive, if you like to dash with bounce and energy, you will really like the Terrex Agravic Speed.

Outer

On the muddy hills around Edinburgh, these shoes held their weight. They gripped well in both dry and wet-ish conditions. I did slip down a couple of muddy slopes, but that was more likely an overly optimistic user than design error. Having said that, mostly due to the lack of waterproof-ness, I would still only direct someone to these if they were wanting a 2 to 3-season runner.

lugs and outsole of the Adidas Terrex Agravic Speed trail running shoes
©LFTO

Continental rubber soles with 3mm lugs, you will be fine on most terrain. The laterally-orientated, bowtie-like shape of the lugs reinforce the shoes’ focus on being a shoe for fast linear movement (as opposed to changing direction), which is the small kind of activity-specific detail that earns Adidas both its premier reputation and premier price tag.

Features

The textured laces are my new favourite thing. If you don’t have a pair, go get yourself a pair. They appear to come on all of this season’s Adidas Terrex Agravics, and they are something I never knew I needed in my life until I got these shoes. Laces coming undone is simply a thing of the past.

The feathery thin asymmetric tongue is another feature new to me but I am a fan. It’s the kind of feature you don’t notice but for all the right reasons.

Laces of the Adidas Terrex Agravic Speed trail running shoes
©LFTO

The feeling of extreme lightness is also not to be overlooked. Nor is the shoe’s sound responsiveness or addictive propulsion. Easily three of the shoe’s strongest strengths (the fourth being the laces, of course).

The only thing I disliked about the shoe (aside from Adidas’ disappointing sustainability efforts touched on below) was how uncomfortable I found them when traversing hills. If the path was flat, they were fine. But with too much of an angle, the top of the outer collar cut into the side of my higher-up ankle. It is minor, but I found it to be weirdly irritating.

Heels of the Adidas Terrex Agravic Speed trail running shoes
©LFTO

They say it fits true to size. I thought it verged on the slightly larger. It’s not a drastic difference, but if like me you are in-between sizes then I would recommend the smaller one. (If unlike me, you have a definitive size, go for that.)

Sustainability

Ah sustainability. No beating around the bush here: Adidas are not a particularly planet-friendly or employee-friendly company for any product of its to be considered ‘sustainable’. They say it contains a minimum of 20% recycled and renewable content but they provide no further information on the details of this supposed content.

Adidas is one of the three largest sportswear manufacturers in the world, and yet they fail to pay their factory workers fairly (research found as little as 10p an hour). As they subcontract a lot of their work, tracing, recording and demanding improvement of their factories' actual labour conditions is difficult to do. Adidas might claim they pay and treat their workers fairly (ethical greenwashing), but much evidence proves otherwise. We would love to see Adidas take action on paying their workers fairly and demanding better working conditions for the employees of their subcontractors.

Really good, environmentally-friendly, trail running shoes are hard to find. Creating a lightweight, comfortable, technical shoe out of planet-friendly materials is not easy. It is a long, slow, tiresome and usually expensive process (especially if you pay your workers a decent wage…) yet that does not mean Adidas should not aim better. Stopping actual greenwashing and more transparent information on both its materials and its supply chain is a start.

Adidas Agravic speed trail running shoes against a tree
©LFTO

Allbird’s Trail Runners SWT are comfy, durable and grippy, and about the same weight as the Terrex Agravic Speed. Yet they lack the deeply-researched technical features of Adidas’ performance shoes. We would love to see a product that takes the technical excellence of Adidas’ Terrex Agravic Speed and combines it with a genuine commitment to sustainability.

Companies like Allbirds, Vivobarefoot and Icebug show it is possible; now we need trail runner leader Adidas to step up and do better. The carbon footprints of the Terrex Agravic Speed, as measured by both Adidas and an independent third party, would be a good start.

All foam-based shoes are susceptible to being worn out relatively quickly. An early convert to the world of foam in a running shoe (praise be the 2013 Adidas Boost), I love a bit of squidge in a shoe. Phenomenal at first (the gratification of each step is high, instant and addictive, strongly on brand with capitalism), the foam wears down and the product is no longer the same (something I seem to struggle to come to terms with every time). At 50km in, this shoe is still great. I can’t comment on how it would fare after an ultra or two, but there is a (£50 more expensive) Ultra version if that is something you are worried about.

How we tested

Your tester for the Adidas Terrex Agravid Speed shoes was Lara Chapman, a member of our newly established Scotland-based testing team.

Lara smiles for the camera
©Lara Chapman

The shoes were tested over the course of a month, fartlek-ing around Edinburgh’s various hills and green spaces. As a keen sport player, Lara runs for enjoyment and fitness equally, though she found herself moving away from the road and onto the trails following one too many injuries. The slight variations in movements have been much kinder on Lara's ankles – for more on this, check out our ankle strengthening exercises for runners.

Verdict

Adidas Agravic speed trail running shoes against a tree
©LFTO

The Adidas Terrex Agravic Speed are designed for your fast paced race on the trails. Full of underfoot pop and sprightly zip, a Saturday morning hilly dash in these shoes feels liberatingly swift.

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