Aspen Times Weekly: ‘Mountain Bike Tire’ Running Shoes
Adidas Outdoor touts its new shoe sole is “constructed like a mountain bike tire.” This includes big, ground-gripping lugs made of a rubber from tire brand Continental, some nearly a half-inch long.
Fused atop the toothy sole is a mesh upper with a no-tie cinch lace system and a beefy removable midsole to cushion strides. It comes to market as something new in its category of running shoes made for rough ground and mountain trails.
Called the Terrex X-KING, the shoe will cost $165 when it goes on sale this spring. I got an early test model to review, and over the past month I put the shoe to task on dirt paths, in mud, on rocks, as well as in ice and snow.
Adidas is a stalwart athletics brand. Its newer outdoor division has gained my respect in recent years with innovative design and a different take from many mainstream outdoor-industry players.
This shoe is a good example. In addition to the “bike tire” outsole, the overall design diverges with an exaggerated midsole and an upper that’s little more than a supple, sole-supporting shell.
Add the midsole, which is about an inch thick at the heel, and you gain the structure, cushion, and protection required for an all-terrain shoe.
In my tests, the extra-large lugs noticeably dug in for traction. I never slipped on a muddy, hour-long run last week in a Florida state park.
On rock, the Continental rubber gripped well though not different from other sticky-rubber compounds.
For flat trail, I found the extra grip underfoot to be overkill; these shoes are more appropriate for steep, loose, rocky venues where the sole’s protruding cubes and chevrons of rubber can meld to
Overall, I like how this shoe ran. It hits a middle point between the minimalist models in my closet and bulky trail shoes I own that are supportive but can be slow.
I was comfortable for miles running in the Terrex X-KINGs, the “mountain bike” shoes excelling the most where the trail got muddy and extra steep.
Stephen Regenold writes about outdoors gear at http://www.gearjunkie.com.
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