If you’re looking for a year-round hiking shoe that can handle most challenges and still look inconspicuous in a pub or on the street, these are a good option.
Robust and protective
Recycled content used
Short lace area
Run warm mid summer
Too chunky for some people
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adidas Terrex AX4 Gore-Tex: first impressions
It’s all too easy, when you first glance at shoes like adidas Terrex AX4 Gore-Tex with their distinctive three-stripe logo, to dismiss them as merely jazzed-up sports shoes. However, as we’ve experienced in the past, with the adidas Terrex Swift R3 GTX, this would be a mistake; there’s a lot going on behind those stripes that make these shoes capable doing far more than strutting around a football pitch or basketball court.
This is a shoe that’s equipped for exploring all kinds of terrain up there with the best hiking shoes. The synthetic mesh upper is backed up with a breathable and waterproof Gore-Tex lining, and reinforced with a comprehensive protective rand that goes right around the foot, rising in areas most at risk.
The lacing system is quite basic, and perhaps a tad short for tackling really boggy conditions, but the tongue is well integrated, so grit, water and stones are kept out pretty effectively.
The Continental outsole has 4mm lugs with directional chevrons that supply good grip and are nicely spaced out to avoid picking up too much mud.
• RRP: $140 (US) / £120 (UK)
• Gender specificity: Men’s / Women’s
• Materials: Mesh and synthetic upper (50% recycled), with a Gore-Tex lining; EVA midsole; Traxion rubber outsole
• Weight (per shoe, men’s size 11): 430g / 15oz
• Colors: Black, Carbon & Gray / Gray & Solar Red / Beige, Gray & Acid Yellow / Blue, Black & Turbo
• Compatibility: All-terrain trekking, from woodlands to mountain trails and approach routes
adidas Terrex AX4 Gore-Tex: on the trails
I wore these shoes on a range of walks, taking on various terrain from sodden hill footpaths to stony trails and clifftop tracks. They performed well on all the surface levels I tested them on, with the unfussy Continental outsole supplying tire-like grip and traction, without picking up loads of mud along the way.
The AX4s offer a lot more flex across the length of the shoe than the adidas Terrex Swift R3s did, with the latter having almost approach shoe–level rigidity. As a result, they are a whole lot more comfortable on the kind of trails most of us spend the vast majority of our walking time on.
There are two points of flex on the sole, one just behind the forefoot and another in front of the heel, which means the shoe bends with the foot during a normal walking movement – this is good for hiking on lower-level trails, but won’t suit more technical rocky routes where edging is required (see also: Types of hiking trails).
The main chassis of the shoe is well padded and comfortable, with a synthetic outer backed up by a Gore-Tex membrane to keep the worst of the weather out.
They run quite hot in warm mid-summer conditions and there is very little in the way of trail feel, but the cushioning in the dual-density EVA midsole is comprehensive.
Author of Caving, Canyoning, Coasteering…, a recently released book about all kinds of outdoor adventures around Britain, Pat has spent 20 years pursuing stories involving boots, bikes, boats, beers and bruises. En route he’s canoed Canada’s Yukon River, climbed Mont Blanc and Kilimanjaro, skied and mountain biked through the Norwegian Alps, run an ultra across the roof of Mauritius, and set short-lived records for trail-running Australia’s highest peaks and New Zealand’s Great Walks. He’s authored walking guides to Devon and Dorset, and once wrote a whole book about Toilets for Lonely Planet. Follow Pat’s escapades on Strava here and instagram here.