The Adidas Terrex outdoor line blurs the boundary between fashion and utility. These AX4 shoes have striking styling, but are also well thought out and well made performance trail shoes.
Pros / Reasons to Buy
- Striking design
- Makes use of recycled material
Cons / Reasons to Avoid
- Looks may be too much for some
- Slightly narrow fit may be unsuitable for wider feet
We’ve followed the Terrex range from Adidas for a number of years and we’ve bene impressed by its statement design – it certainly brought some innovation and actual color to the previously very conservative outdoors footwear market. These AX4 trail shoes offer an impressive specification and, if the fit is right for you, could be a great choice for general hiking or nature walking – they would also be a great choice for day to day wear off the trail too.
Compare to Similar Products
- Danner Women’s Trail 2650
- Adidas Terrex AX4 Gore-Tex Hiking Shoes
- The North Face Hedgehog Fastpack
- Keen Nxis EVO Low Height Waterproof Hiking Shoe
- Be sure to also check out: 20 Best Waterproof Hiking Shoes
Get a closer look: Adidas Terrex AX4 in motion
Analysis and Test Results
Adidas are a true industry titan and their Terrex range has always impressed us. These AX4 shoes offer the signature striking Terrex design. We quite like it, but we understand that it might be a bit much for some – maybe a bit too ‘fashion’. Aesthetics aside, these are a great pair of shoes that do well not just on the trail but also as a pair of day to day shoes. The are well made, durable and provided the fit is right for you (that is, you don’t have particularly wide feet), they are very comfortable too.
Adidas has an exclusive partnership with fellow German brand and tire specialist Continental. Every Adidas Terrex shoe we’ve encountered has featured an outsole from Continental and these AX4 Gore-Tex shoes are no exception. You may already know the Continental names from the tires on your car, motorbike or even bicycle and they have a great reputation in these areas. Our experience is that the soles they provide for Adidas do not disappoint, and these AX4 shoes feature a medium deep thread pattern that offers plenty of grip and a slightly softer rubber used in the soles will also help improve traction in wet or slippery conditions.
The Adidas Terrex AX4 Gore-Tex shoes feature a breathable synthetic mesh upper which Adidas claim is made from at least 50% recycled materials. It’s finely woven and has a square rip-stop pattern that helps with durability, hopefully preventing any potential tears or punctures from growing too much. A Gore-Tex membrane means that this upper section is water resistant whilst still being breathable. The shoes are not the most heavily ventilated in this round up, but we still found they offered a good degree of comfort even in hot weather.
The Adidas Terrex AX4 is a hiking shoe and not a boot, so they don’t offer any specific ankle support. This may seem like a negative point and, whilst it’s true that ankle support – even a little bit of it – will offer some protection from sprains or twisted ankles if you lose your footing on the trail, the fact is that many hikers simply prefer the feel of shoes over boots. You could argue about how meaningful the protection ankle support offers on boots intended for general hiking or walking or even trail running actually is. Whilst good ankle support should be considered essential on footwear intended for technical mountaineering routes, for most general trekking or hiking, we think it’s safe to say it’s optional, so, if you prefer the feel of shoes over boots, don’t let this be a decisive factor.
The Adidas Terrex AX4 offers gentle arch support out of the box. This is quite subtle, and we were not particularly aware of it on the foot. The level of arch support you need is a very personal preference – we are typically happy with shoes that offer minimal support here – and it makes sense that Adidas offers a ‘Neutral’ option here. If you personally need a greater level of arch support, then you can easily replace the provided insoles with more heavily shaped ones (which are easily and inexpensively available from pharmacies or outdoors stores) to achieve this.
Adidas offers the Terrex AX4 in sizes from US 5/ UK 3.5 /EU 36 up to US 12/ UK 10.5/ EU 45.3. Adidas advise that the sizing for these shoes can run slightly small and that you should consider a slightly larger size than normal when purchasing these. We’ve found these shoes to be suitable for normal width feet – those with wider feet may find them a little tight or need to size up one size and wear an insole for any adjustments.
The Adidas Terrex AX4 is a fully synthetic hiking shoe. It uses a variety of different materials ranging from various types of mesh, webbing (which we presume is nylon) and a thicker material which you might describe as synthetic leather, but which we think has quite a different look and feel (and we don’t’ think this is necessarily a bad thing!). There’s also a Gore-Tex membrane used to help the shoes stay breathable whilst being water-resistant too. Adidas also claim that at least 50% of the upper is made from recycled materials – which is, of course, great to hear. Let’s hope this percentage can increase in the future.
We’ve followed the Adidas Terrex line for several years and one thing you can say about the footwear in this sub-brand is that it’s consistently featured bold and distinctive styling. The Terrex AX4 is offered in a wide range of color ways, ranging from more muted options featuring largely black or grey palettes to some much more striking options. We think these hiking shoes look great, but there’s probably a fair few readers out there who’ll find their angular almost ‘sci-fi’ styling a bit over the top. If you tend to prefer more traditional hiking boots with earth color tones, then these shoes probably aren’t for you, but we think they are a great choice if you like distinctive but still practical design.
Durability is a difficult quality to assess as you cannot account for all eventualities that may happen. However, Terrex shoes have a long-standing robustness. First, our reviewers have used older versions of Terrex shoes for over five years. Whilst they are certainly not looking box-fresh anymore, we think they’ve stood up very well to a lot of use on the trail and these AX4 shoes seem every bit as well made as the older Terrex models and in fact their use of ripstop mesh should even make them more resilient. From all our testing, they have stood up incredibly well. Some of the color combinations Adidas offer are very light and, of course, if you regularly hike in wet or muddy places, you can expect these to discolor with time – perhaps even quite quickly – however, this will be purely visual and should not impact the usability or comfort of the boots (though, this may be a factor for those who buy these as fashion shoes).
With a weight of 758g/1lb 11oz for a pair, these Adidas Terrex AX4 shoes are at the heavier end of shoes in our round up (though plenty of the boots we’ve assessed are good deal heavier). There’s a good argument to be made for keeping footwear lightweight and the old adage that ‘one pound on your foot equals five on your back’ has actually been scientifically verified. However, the slight extra weight relative to some competitors – and it is slight – allows these Terrex shoes to have a solid build and we think that you will be happy with this trade-off.
The Adidas Terrex AX4 shoes come with a generic padded insole. This will be fine for many buyers, but if you value a bit more cushioning, need extra arch support or want to fine-tune the fit of your shoes, this can very easily be replaced.
No footwear is without a breaking in period in our experience, but the Adidas Terrex AX4 is about as easy to break in as you can expect. After one or two short walks, we were more than happy to take the shoes out on a longer hike and we did not have any issues with rubbing or blisters at all. From then, they were exceptionally comfortable whilst offering a great level of support.
The Adidas Terrex AX4 hiking shoes feature a standard lacing system. This may seem fairly dull, but traditional laces are actually very versatile, and you can fine-tune the fit and comfort of your footwear easily by adjusting the way you lace your shoes. Be sure to check out our guide for more information on this.
The Adidas Terrex AX4 hiking shoes feature a hardened rubber section around the toes. This provides some degree of protection if you kick into a rock of stumble, for example, but it’s important to note that it’s also not a rigid safety toe cap. This isn’t uncommon on this kind of footwear, but it’s worth bearing in mind and if your hiking takes you on more technical terrain, selecting a more rigid pair of footwear might make more sense.
Hiking Shoes v Hiking Boots
The choice between wearing shoes or boots on the trail is very subjective. For some situations – like crossing technically demanding terrain whilst carrying heavy packs, a rigid boot doesn’t just make sense, but could also be considered an essential piece of safety equipment. However, this simply isn’t relevant to most people enjoying general hiking or nature walking. In the past, wearing boots on the trail just seemed to be the done thing, but this convention has certainly changed and there are some fantastic hiking shoes available on the market today. So, which is better? Shoes or boots? We don’t think there’s a straight answer to this. Boots – even lightweight ones – will always offer that bit more ankle support whereas shoes allow for better mobility of your feet and will generally be a little bit lighter. What’s the best choice for you is a personal decision.
Adidas truly are an industry giant, and their Terrex hiking range was always going to make a big impact. However, we don’t think many people anticipated it to be as innovative and disruptive as it is. There’s no doubt about it, with its bold design language and high-tech materials, the Terrex line certain makes a visual statement and it certainly blurs the line between utilitarian products and fashion and the AX4 hiking shoes are certainly no exception. These are a great performance focused outdoor shoes. If the fit is right for you and you want a pair of high performance shoes that also stand out, then we think the Adidas Terrex AX4 are a great choice.
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