Trail Shoe Review: Adidas Terrex Agravic XT GTX

The Adidas Terrex Agravic XT GTX will get nearly everyone through wet training runs, but only up to 90 minutes.

The Adidas Terrex Agravic XT GTX is a winterized version of an already rugged trail shoe under the brand’s outdoor range of apparel and footwear. Its street-shoe looks make this one of the most fashionable trail running shoes on the market, but thankfully, they’re still performance-based.

The shoes are topped off with Gore-Tex and Continental to make it a waterproof, wet-traction shoe. There’s also enough of the Boost in the midsole here dampen hard ground and roots but not so cushioned that you can carelessly roll over sharp rocks. Combined with a more standard midsole, the Boost is responsive and forgiving without feeling like a trade-off in energy.

Putting on the shoes requires pulling the lining around your foot, so it helps to loosen the laces beforehand. Once on, the Gore-Tex lining feels much like an aqua sock, providing a snug fit on the upper of the foot. The lining stretches easily and the forefoot feels spacious. The toe volume felt lower than most trails shoes (and plenty of road shoes), yet with the extra padding of the lining it never seemed like the upper could interfere or pull on the toes.

At times there’s a sensation of the foot sliding around inside the shoe, but it was mostly just a different sensation and not one that interfered with traction or stride. All that wiggle room is kept in place with reinforced paneling around the middle of the upper. The Agravic is on the leaner side of trail shoes and that midfoot ‘saddle’ is the only supportive feature in the upper and it works far better than it looks like it would.

The rest of the upper that surrounds the lining is made up of breathable mesh, including some perforations in the tongue. The waterproof lining itself breathes well though it helps to wear a higher volume sock that can hold a little bit of moisture as it waits to get pulled out of the shoe.

Despite the waterproofing of the shoe, it’s still a low-top, so tall dewy grass will still dampen your ankles and it’s inevitable that water kicked up by one shoe will drop down into the other while running. It’s no big deal, especially if you wear wool socks, but it’s also a reminder that gaiters are a good add-on if you expect to run on very sloppy trails. Trapped water is why obstacle course runners and skyrunners often forego waterproof shoes but these excel during cool weather runs that don’t last longer than 90 minutes.

The extra-duty feel of the waterproofing and protective middles comes through on the scale, weighing just over 12 ounces. That’s quite a bit for a rather sleek looking low top.

A shoe is only as good as its sole and the smartly-placed lugs crushed through thin patches of leftover snow and long enough to dig into muck on flats and climbs. The Continental rubber outsole grips well on unsteady ground, be it mud or half-melted slush. Most trail shoes use reversed lugs in the heel of the shoe, or a mixture of reversed and forward lugs in heel and forefoot for better grip on inclines and descents. The Terrex Agravic differs in that most of the sole has reversed lugs, with only the forefoot section of the sole made for digging in on climbs. This means you can land with your midfoot on downhills and still get plenty of traction.

The Adidas Terrex Agravic XT GTX will get nearly everyone through wet training runs. The weight, slight stability and firm ride are all reasons why this shoe will bog down runners after 90 minutes or so. The ride is on the firm side despite the ample cushioning of the midsole, which provides plenty of energy-saving response and has a track record for lasting hundreds of miles. The shoes are priced at $170.