Hands-On: adidas Terrex Swift R3 Hiking Shoes


Presented by

Though it has spent the last 97 years building its name largely on the strength of its world-renowned activewear and athletic apparel, adidas has more recently been carving out an impressive reputation for equally solid outdoor garments and footwear under its Terrex sub-brand. Introduced to the US market in 2011, the German brand’s Terrex line has managed to deliver some stellar products, primarily utilizing the same key traits — of quality, innovation, performance, and comfort — that characterize the company’s on-the-court- and in-the-field-focused offerings.

One such model is adidas’ Terrex Swift R3 Mid GORE-TEX, a stylish and high-performance pair of hiking shoes that pack a host of noteworthy details and innovations. With the Terrex Swift R3 Mid GTX’s predecessor already being a fairly remarkable piece of footwear, we were admittedly skeptical when adidas gave us the opportunity to try the updated spec of the shoe — which the brand touts as being the fastest and most versatile piece of footwear across its entire Terrex lineup — though after putting it through its paces, it quickly became abundantly clear that the team in Germany knew exactly what they were talking about. Below, we’ll unpack some of the key features of adidas’ Terrex Swift R3 Mid GORE-TEX, as well as a finer of the finer details we observed while putting the hikers through their paces.


adidas' Ultimate Intent

Engineering Performance Footwear

Practically every key innovation made in the hiking footwear space over the last decade or two appears on the Terrex Swift R3 Mid GTXs. Building on the strength of the last Terrex Swift R3 GORE-TEX model released earlier this year, adidas’ aim when crafting the new Terrex Swift R3 GTX was to further optimize and address some of the key areas in which hiking boots can be lacking, such as protection from the elements, impact fortification, fitment, traction, and comfort.

The company has managed to achieve this through delivering a redesign that treats the original mid silhouette to a set of sock-fit collars, replacing its predecessor’s heel collar setup, before fortifying the shoes with a weatherproof membrane and stacking the entire thing on one of the grippiest compounds on the planet. The team in Herzogenaurach also looked at the types of injuries that most commonly occur on the trail and then implemented elements in this new version of the shoe to minimize them.


Taking Apart A Terrex

Getting To Know The Terrex Swift R3 GTX

Designed to take on anything the trails have to throw at you, the Terrex Swift R3 GTX features a pair of synthetic textile uppers backed by a fully waterproof GORE-TEX membrane that runs the entire length of the shoe, all the way to the collar. Inside, the pair sports a molded sock-liner to bolster comfort while the exterior of the shoe has been equipped with a dual-hook speed lacing system that ensures a snug and secure fitment — remaining just as tight at the end of our trek as they were when we hit the hike’s trailhead.

The GTX-spec Terrex Swift R3’s internal structure also features a midsole crafted from EVA foam, while the back of the shoe is reinforced via a molded heel cup with an external clip that hugely mitigates the forces of impacts when making initial contact with the ground. Allowing the back of your foot to sit deeper in the shoe, this locked-in heel and EVA foam configuration feel substantially more secure. The entire setup also affords greater protection for lateral midfoot stability.

The forefoot of the shoe has also been bestowed with a rock protection plate that does a superb job at shielding your foot without feeling like there’s any hard element rubbing up against the arches of your feet — an element that we found to be incredibly useful as the lion’s share of our time spent testing the hiking shoes took place in a dry and rocky desert setting. Regardless of what surface you’re on, the Terrex Swift R3 GTX’s outsole provides an enormous amount of grip, being comprised of shallow cleat-like lugs made of a proprietary compound from leading tire manufacturer Continental.


Tough On The Trails, Not The Planet

Crafting The Terrex Swift R3 GTX From Upcycled Content

Though the Terrex Swift R3 GTX model would already be an impressive piece of footwear, its level of performance and myriad of innovations are made all the more noteworthy by the fact that adidas has managed to manufacture the shoe using recycled content — part of the brand’s ongoing initiative to put an end to plastic waste. Unlike a great many shoes that are made using post-consumer content, the Terrex Swift R3 GTX’s use of recycled materials isn’t visually apparent as they don’t contain any speckled rubber or anything of that sort.

Putting 'Em Through Their Paces

A Hands-On — Or Feet-On — Test Of The Terrex Swift R3 GTX

Right out of the box, we were impressed not only with how the new Terrex Swift R3 GTX looked, but also in their general quality, the craftsmanship on display, and the overall fit and finish. The new sock-like collar improves performance while also injecting the pair with just a dash of street-wear flavor, affording the shoes a bit more style and giving them an appearance that’s not so outdoorsy that they’d look out of place in urban settings — a factor that’s helped along by the shoe’s muted and understated black and gray color scheme.

The restrained use of “Solar Red” highlights also add a pop of color while the iconic triple stripe adorning either side of the shoe leaves no doubt as to which company is behind the product. With their more stylish outward aesthetic, ample comfort, and top-notch protection from the elements, adidas’ Terrex Swift R3 GTX also make for a seriously stellar pair of all-season daily-wear shoes, as, if they’re capable of taking on the rigors of the trail, chances are there’s nothing in the city that they can’t easily stand up to.


As previously stated, we’d already grown fond of the Terrex Swift R3 GTX’s predecessor over the last year and frequently used them on hikes to escape the city amidst lock-downs. And as much as we wanted to believe them, it was simply hard to imagine a way — let alone ways — to objectively improve them. Though, that’s nonetheless exactly what the German footwear firm has accomplished with this summer’s release of the new Terrex Swift R3 GORE-TEX model. Setting aside our skepticism, we laced up the pair that adidas sent us and set out to the desert of Southern California to find out for ourselves.

There are several factors present on this updated Terrex model that make enormous differences that are readily apparent as soon as you slip on a pair. The sock-fit collar setup and speed lacing system on their own make for a much more secure piece of footwear with a markedly better fitment, though when coupled with the molded heel cup, overall stability is massively improved. Comfort has also been slightly bolstered thanks to the EVA foam midsoles and molded sock-liner, and overall fortification appears to have been hugely increased thanks to the forefoot’s protection plate. And, while we didn’t get a chance to experience the compound on wet or slick surfaces — as they tend to be rare in desert locales – the Continental rubber outsoles afforded remarkable levels of traction, even when traversing dust-covered boulders or steep hard-packed dirt or sand embankments.

Overall, the adidas Terrex division has managed to genuinely improve an already outstanding hiking shoe while simultaneously demonstrating how and why they’ve become a leader in the space. From their performance to their comfort to their appearance, practically every measurable area of the shoes has been improved. Offered in sizes 7 through 14, the adidas Terrex Swift R3 Mid GORE-TEX Hiking Shoes are available now, with pricing set at $180.

Purchase: $180