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The modern day hiking boot as we know it has actually been around for some time. Following the end of WWI, visitors to the rugged Italian Dolomites created a demand for a shoe with military durability and a comfortable design. This was genesis for the standard hiking boot platform we have today. But with nearly a century from genesis to present day, hiking boots have become refined and iterated upon time and time again.
Nowhere is this more evident than the Terrex Swift R Mid GTX by Adidas. Chock full of the best synthetic materials and footwear technologies, the Swift R has been a mainstay in the Adidas hiking line since 2013. Adidas sent Outdoor Gear Reviews a pair for review purposes to see what we thought (this in no way affects the objectivity of the review). After many hiking miles in Utah’s Park City and Big Cottonwood Canyon, here’s what we though:
- Weight– The Swift R Mid is very lightweight. At just under a pound per boot, it’s hard to believe Adidas packed in burly toe guards, knobby tread, layers of Gore-Tex, and plenty of cushioning, all of which translates into very quick movement and fast hikes.
- Grip– For the Swift R Mid’s outsole, Adidas decided to forego any third party partnerships and use their in-house Traxion compound. And it’s very good at planting firmly on any ground condition. Short of deep snow, my testing took it through nearly every type environment hikers would encounter. Rock, hard-pack trail, loose gravel, snow covered and frozen single track.
- Gore-Tex– I’ve sung my praises for Adidas’ application of Gore-Tex on their trail shoes like the Skychaser GTX and the Agravic GTX. You can expect the same precision application and performance from the Swift R Mid.
- Carrying Capacity– The lack of weight brings an immediate association with an inability to support carried extra weight, a critical feature to parents of young children. Easily my favorite feature of the Swift R Mid was just how well it carried a fully laden child carrier, complete with kid, hydropack and the many, many items that are required to bring a one year old to the outdoors. The boot lost no stability with the added weight and retained the excellent supportive feel of the sole that became so familiar when not carrying extra weight.
- Caution on Heel Strike– After miles on the Swift R Mid, I quickly noticed how prone the boot was to amplified heel strikes. The problem is solved with shorter strides, but the moment that stride is pushed a little too far, the heel strikes the ground with more force than most other boots.
A set of the Swift R Mid GTX boots will cost $165. Yes, there are many cheaper options on the market, but for the money you get a hiking boot that offers the pinnacle of capability on the trails.
As I hiked in these, I tried thinking about what those early Dolomite hikers would think of the high-tech footwear that is the Swift R Mid compared to the boots they would have been using. While that comparison isn’t possible, I can safely say the Adidas Terrex Swift R Mid GTX hiking boot is the blueprint what manufacturers like Adidas can achieve after nearly a century of refinement, ingenuity and persistence. They’re very, very good.