Wednesday, April 29, 2020

adidas Terrex Two BOA Review: Dialed In, Comfortable, and Versatile

adidas Terrex Two BOA ($120)


Weight:: 11.3 oz /320 g men's / (US9)  /  women's / (US8)

  Samples: 11.07 oz /314g men’s (US8.5 EU42), 12.13 oz/344g men’s (US10 EU44)

Stack Height: 30mm heel, 24mm forefoot, 6mm drop

Available now. $120


Sam: The Terrex Two BOA is an all around well cushioned trail runner/hiker with a BOA System closure, a new Lightstrike foam midsole, and a full coverage Continental rubber outsole. With a 30mm heel, 24 mm forefoot stack it is a more maximal cushion shoe. The upper is a dense but pliable mesh with extensive mid foot overlays. I was a bit worried the Terrex Two BOA would be firm and stiff having recently tested the road SL20 also with Lightstrike midsole, a highly responsive, firmer light performance road trainer. While trail shoes are well suited to a firmer midsole for stability and rock protection, memories of recent Terrex shoes had me concerned about their cushion and run-ability. Spoiler alert this ain’t the usual firm stiff Terrex ride.


Sam/Jeff:  Highly effective BOA closure. Totally secure pressure free mid foot hold, Incredibly easy to take on and off and adjust in a second on the run all with a single pull or turn of the dial.

Roomy mostly very well held upper

Plush comfortable ride which blends adequate response and agility with plenty of cushion. 

Adequate plate free rock protection with forward climbing flex point

Very solid value at $120 


Sam:  Some heel looseness although you can crank down on the dial as hard as you wish and never feel the soft thin cords binding the foot through the thick padded tongue.

Heel area  looseness may be related to sizing and roomy upper. My US 8.5 is marked EU 42. More commonly an 8.5 is marked 41.5.

Sam/Jeff: Weight at 11.3 oz / 320 g is up there for a modern trail shoe even a quite maximally cushioned one such as this.

Jeff:  Initial heel looseness, but I found after a break in period, I could compensate with cranking the Boa dial a lot, but still takes some work.  Traction, while overall good, I find myself longing for a slightly deeper, sharper lug.

Tester Profiles

Jeff  runs mostly on very steep technical terrain above Boulder often challenging well known local FKT's. 

Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 63with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. Sam has been running for over 45 years and has a 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the just sub 1:40 range training 30-40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah. He is 5'10" tall and weighs about 165 lbs.

First Impressions and Fit

Sam: Sleek and modern without over screaming colors, the grays, black and while are popped with that day glo heel fading along the midsole. A really nice looking shoe,

This is a roomy fitting shoe yet and is very secure but for a touch of looseness at the heel. In a next pair I would potentially size down half a size.

The BOA System is the secret sauce here. I can’t recall a shoe, even some BOA equipped ones, you slip them on like a pair of slippers, press the dial in and turn. Done! To take them off snap the dial out and pull the tongue a bit and out you come. 

On the run adjustments are equally as easy, This is for me a far superior and easier system than Salomon’s quick lace with the bonus the laces made of Dyneema (racing sail boat rope material and polyester) and are super soft and thin  and can be cranked down as far as you need as the tongue is thick and dense.Never any bite from the laces. If need be replacement kits are easily available from BOA

Jeff:  Sam summed it up well above.  I will add that I was initially struck how stiff the upper materials were out of the box, particularly the tongue, feeling very thick and very dense, but figured that was to give protection from the thin Dyneema laces and the forces put on the midfoot by the thin laces.

The colorway looks good in my opinion and the bright orange heel has a lot of pop in contrast to the black, white and gray.

When I first tried on the shoe, I was struck by how wide and boxy the heel felt and despite cranking the Boa dial until it hurt my fingers, I could not get my heel to lock in and was worried that this would be a problem


Sam:  The upper is a simple pliable and fairly thick mesh with stout X shaped overlays at mid foot. Those overlays play a key role in securing the foot along with the BOA while keeping the toe box largely overlay free but for the bumper. Comfortable, roomy, and with BOA secure it is not a race or technical terrain fit but perfectly adequate for most trail terrain. As said above the heel is a bit loose and broad potentially due to the very stout heel counter being quite broad and a slight fit issue at EU 42 for my US8.5,

Jeff:  The fit of the upper is spacious to say the least, not quite wide in the forefoot like Topo or nearly as wide as Altra, but the forefoot is very accomodating.  Stepping into the Terrex Two Boa is a pleasure, as you do not have to sit down, bend over or anything, you can just walk into them without really breaking stride, which is really nice if you are always in a hurry such as I am.  Simply step in, walk out the door, or jump in the car and when you need to, just reach down and give the dial a quick turn.

As mentioned in initial impressions, the heel was a problem out of the box and I worried about this, as I could not get it nearly tight enough for the life of me.  I am not so sure sizing down would help the issue either.  On my first run up a steep, technical trail, I was feeling that loose heel and while not terrible, it was annoying.  

I stopped about a mile into the climb, popped loose the Boa dial, grabbed the laces about in the middle and manually tightened by pulling up with my fingers while working the dial and voila!  I had a locked in heel!  Over the course of several runs however, I found a more effective and efficient method, where I tighten the dial, then walk around a few paces with an exaggerated forward foot flex, then tighten the Boa again and can achieve more turning.  I repeat once or twice more until I achieve the desired fit.  Over time, I think the upper is breaking in such that it becomes easier and easier and is completely worth sticking with it for a week until it breaks in and you develop a method.

Once broken in and “dialed in”, I find foot hold to be very secure and predictable in rocky technical terrain, off trail, steep, off camber, etc…  Perhaps not “race hold”, but I do have confidence no matter the speed or terrain underfoot.

I worried that breathability would not be great, but have thus far had no issues, but I have not run in temps much over 70 degrees F.


Sam:  The midsole is mainly Lightstrike, a new adidas foam also found in their racing and uptempo shoes such as the SL20. Just below the foot is a black layer of a softer different foam, thicker at the forefoot and thinner towards the rear. This layer, along with the relatively soft but so far durable Continental rubber outsole, deliver very surprisingly a relatively soft ride with some response in the mix. There is forward flex point which reminds me of the La Sportiva Mutant and other Sportiva which facilitates climbing

Jeff:  I will admit that I was caught a bit off guard by this Lightstrike midsole. It has been a few years since I have run in an adidas trail shoe and I have found the ride of those shoes to be a bit thin and harsh underfoot. Even the well regarded Boost material for me was disappointing.

The Lightstrike however is a vast improvement and has a very well cushioned, compliant, yet protective feel with no mush and is supportive.  Response while not necessarily speedy or springy, is plenty good if you want to run fast for short bits or keep up a solid pace over a long distance.

Also, while it is by no means a road shoe, I found the dampening to be very good for pavement or any hard surface underfoot and even worked very well for a steep road descent of 4.5 miles dropping 2,000 feet.


Sam:  The Continental rubber outsole is relatively soft, softer than say the Speedgoat’s MegaGrip or Salomon’s Contagrip, and more like Saucony’s PWRTRAC. It clearly assists in cushioning. The lugs are approximately 4mm in height in multi directional, an all purpose trail outsole. They do not get in the way on smoother terrain or even road and have had plenty of grip in mud and snow.

Jeff:  As Sam mentions, the outsole rubber is somewhat soft and helps with a softer, more compliant landing.  Traction is very good on rocks, in the wet and good on most other surfaces, but there are times when the footing is loose, either on gravely trail or loose off trail where I long for a sharper, more pronounced lug.  Durability so far seems to be about average.


Sam:  The Terrex Two has a great all around ride. I have run them on single track as illustrated above as well as somewhat rockier but not particularly technical single track, on road, and through mud.


Soft with some response and decent climbing ability, there is plenty of cushion here for long distances and long days on your feet with the 24/30 near or at maximal stack and the outsole providing plenty of protection and cushion. Transitions are smooth and the overall feel is consistent from heel to toe.  Rock protection with no plate in the mix is adequate but not outstanding. more of the conforming to terrain variety via the midsole than plated with some trade off for some welcome front flexibility. I also found them pleasant on the road and very hard packed dirt with the Continental rubber softer than MegaGrip or Contagrip and thus blending well with the midsole feel. They just flow along!

Jeff:  Sam summed it up well above and I agree with just about all of it.  I will add however that I run rocky trails almost exclusively and I have found under foot/rock protection to be very good, never once having a zinger or needing to dance, I feel like I can steamroll over rocky terrain with confidence.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Sam:  The Terrex Two BOA is a very solid mellow to somewhat technical trails long distance cruiser/racer. It can also serve as an outstanding hiker, travel shoe, and all around wear option. 

While the BOA System was the flashiest feature to test, and it proved outstanding in its ease of use, hold, and overall effectiveness, the ride was the surprise.  Past Terrex trail runners were often firm and stiff. Here we have a very pleasant balance of quite soft yet stable cushion feel, and plenty of it, very smooth transitions and some more gentle response pop. 

At $120, Terrex Two BOA  is a very solid value given the BOA, quality rugged yet comfortable construction, and especially its versatility for just about any kind trail running and all kinds of other uses.

Sam’s Score: 9.1 /10

Ride: 9.1 (30%) Fit: 8.5 (30%) Value: 10(10%) Style: 9.5 (5%) Traction: 9 (15%) Rock Protection: 9 (10%)

Jeff:  I found the Terrex Two Boa to be great on roads and mellow trails, but also can handle moderately technical trails no problem and technical as well, while being conscious of any looseness underfoot due the somewhat minimal lugs.  Once the shoe broke in, and I discovered best methods to achieve heel hold, I came to like the fit and especially the overall speed, convenience and ease of the BOA.  With a generous fit, stack height, protection and a bit of response, these can easily go all day without you're feeling beat up, so a good ultra shoe, every day trainer for most terrain, or a great everyday shoe.

Beyond running, I wear them every day for taking out the trash, running errands, mowing the lawn, yard work and walks with the family.  For these mundane tasks, I can hardly be bothered to mess around tying a shoe and just want something I can step into quickly and go.

Jeff’s Score:  8.9/10

Ride:9  (30%) Fit: 9  (30%) Value: 10(10%) Style:8 (5%) Traction: 8 (15%) Rock Protection: 9 (10%)

Dialing in the heel hold, dropping a little weight and improving tread would be great improvements for this shoe.

Comparisons Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

La Sportiva Unika (RTR Review)

Jeff:  The Unika is kind of a flop for me.  Fit is slipper like and traction is very good, but foothold is terrible on even undulating terrain, underfoot protection was not great and the shoe has somewhat of an uninspiring feel to it.  The Terrex Two Boa is more lively, more secure, better cushioned and more comfortable overall.

Sam: Overly plush and soft underfoot for a trail running shoe due to its full PU midsole,  the Unika is a fine firm ground moderate terrain long distance fast hiker.

La Sportiva Jackal (RTR Initial Review)

Jeff:  The Jackal is more firm underfoot and like the Terrex Two Boa, sizing needs to be considered carefully, where the Jackal runs about a full size small.  Jackal has better traction, but the adidas is better for long days with more compliant cushioning and it is hard to beat the convenience of the Boa.

Sam: I agree with Jeff. I will say the Jackal has more ground feel and is slightly more stable and secure (upper and underfoot), and is well cushioned but not as plushly as the Terrex due to its combination of firmer foam “carrier” for softer PU inserts, its full length plate which provides some propulsion along with protection and stability, and firmer outsole. Hands down the Terrex upper and its easy to “dial” roomier and less constrictive yet secure fit.   

Saucony Xodus 10 (RTR Review)

Jeff:  I find the Xodus 10 to have better traction overall and a more versatile range of use, from technical trails and off trail to fast road running, but of course lacks the Boa.

Sam: Close to 0.5 oz heavier, the all new Xodus has a TPU midsole that is clearly bouncier while not being overly soft. As with the Terrex the Xodus has a relatively soft outsole which adds to cushion consistency. Jeff has it right both are very versatile with the Xodus somewhat more versatile for “running” of all types including of course trail but we agree road as well and the Terrex with its BOA adding in multiple non run uses along with trail running. 

Saucony Peregrine 10 (RTR Review)

Jeff:  The Peregrine 10 is lower and more agile, with better traction excelling at faster running in more technical terrain, but the midsole can feel a little harsh on long hard downhills, with not much cush and that is where the Terrex Two Boa outperforms and more suited for longer distances on less technical high mountain terrain.

Sam: I found the Peregrine to have a fairly rough firm ride in comparison to smooth flowing Terrex but agree with Jeff it is more agile and better suited to technical terrain.

Hoka One One Speedgoat  (RTR Review) EVO Speedgoat (RTR Review)

Jeff: Both are lighter than the adidas, with the EVO being even more light.  Both have superior maximal cushioning, better all around traction and very durable outsoles.  The Hokas are also more responsive and perhaps a bit more versatile too, though cost a bit more.  EVO Speedgoat has less secure upper and of course adidas has the Boa which is super convenient.  Those with wider feet or prefer more forefoot room may want to look at the adidas.

Salomon Ultra Pro (RTR Review)

Jeff: Both have similarly accommodating fit, are close in weight and  have a similar ride.  I do appreciate that the adidas has a bit better protection and is a little more lively, as the Ultra Pro is not particularly quick.  Sense Pro has superior tread.

Salomon Sense Ride 3  (RTR Review)

Jeff: Close in weight, protection and comfort, the adidas is a bit more responsive, but the Sense Ride 3 has better fit and all day capabilities, as the Opti Vibe does a great job dampening shock and the SR3 also has better traction.

Read reviewers' full run bios here
The product reviewed was provided at no cost. The opinions herein are the authors'.
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Jeff Valliere said...


Anonymous said...

The lace version, at 10g lighter and $20 cheaper (and another 30% off at the adidas site= $70), looks to be a steal for us wider footed trail runners. Durability has been an important asset for all my recent adidas shoes too, unlike my Hokas.

Sam Winebaum said...

HI Anonymous,
Lace version. Might advise some caution on foot hold as is upper is the same volume laces might be challenged to get the same secure foothold as the BOA. For many reasons the BOA is worth it to me, price and function.
Sam, Editor

Jeff Valliere said...

I will echo what Sam says here. For me, the Boa is what sets this shoe apart, the ease and convenience of just walking into them without slowing will keep them front and center by the front door for a long time to come.

Anonymous said...

Your warning about upper volume and foot hold make the lace version even more attractive 😀. I'll probably have to try for myself.

I do appreciate shoes that are easy to enter. I have a version of the Ultraboost (A 16+) that doesn't have laces at all, and I find the hold perfect, even on uneven trails, even after 1,000 miles of wear (and looking almost new).

Anonymous said...

With the Jackal comparison, does that mean we can see a full review soon? Been eagerly waiting for it....

Sam Winebaum said...

Later today Friday or Saturday for Jackal. All testers needed half or full size up 2nd pairs.

Anonymous said...

I finally did get the lace version, for $70. Got them yesterday and have gone on two 12, 12.5 mile trail runs. I give the fit a 10. Absolutely perfect for my large bunions and roomy for the toes. I'm the kind of guy that likes my lacing loose, but I also tried locking it down, and the upper holds my feet well for the more technical parts of trail. The marketing material saying that the TWO line has a wide fit got my attention, and the shape looked right for me. I judged that right.

On the first run, I felt high up, slightly unstable on rutted portions, having last run in a high stack shoe a year ago, when I finished up my Speedgoat 2s. Second run, I ran without the insoles (which I frequently choose to do), and that's how I like it. It's just 2.5 mm, but my feet settle in the midsole bucket more, and the stability is now great. Plus the extra volume made it even more luxurious for my feet.

My size men's 11.5 came to 328 grams without insoles (344 g with), which is the same (within 3 grams) as the Speedgoat 2 the way I used them with thin insoles. I consider that a good weight. It's 38 g lighter than my lower stack Terrex Agravic Flows, which I like except for the weight.

Interestingly, the stack height molded into my size 11.5s says 25/31 (rather than the 24/30 on yours and on the website) so they apparently not only adjust stack for different sizes (as expected), they call that out on the midsole. Actual stack that I measured was 29/35, so it looks like they are assuming the 4 mm lugs are penetrating into the ground.

You say that the black (blue on mine) painted portion of midsole under the forefoot appears to be a softer foam. I've been pressing on the midsole and comparing, and I'm not sure. The part above the horizontal break that includes the arch filler feels softer though.

Anonymous said...

What shoes do you recommend for winter urban running on paved roads and sidewalks with a mix of snow, ice, and pavement? I had been considering various Adidas Terrex shoes, but it's hard to find reviews highlighting their differences and what would be best in a mixed winter environment. I'm open to other shoes as well, e.g., Saucony, Hoka One One, Nike, New Balance, Asics, Brooks, Salomon, Altra, etc. My current shoe stable includes Asics Glideride (haven't yet used), Saucony Ride 13, Saucony Kinvara 11, Adidas Adizero Adios 4, Hoka One One Clifton 6, and Saucony Endorphin Pro. I've also previously used the Asics GT-2000 and Gel DS Trainer, although I now use neutral shoes. I use Altra Escalante 2's for walking and casual wear. Shoe size is men's 8.5 and typical easy run paces, which will be most of my winter running, are 9:00-9:30 minutes per mile. PB 5K in 23:41, 10K in 52:49, and HM in 1:53:06. Thanks in advance for your help. Great reviews and comparisons!

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Anonymous,
Thans for your kind words about our site and reviews.
The first shoe that comes to mind is the Saucony Xodus 10 as it has a rugged big outsole, a nice bouncy midsole with a fine ride. It is quite heavy but will do roads as well as trails and what I used alot on road and traill last winter in those conditions. You could even put shoe screws in them if need be,
The Nike Pegasus 37 or Pegasus 36 Traill is another nice option as might the Salomon Sense Ride 2 (not heavier dull Sense Ride 3. All have an outsole with actual lugs.
The Saucony Switchback 2 is another good option but it is a lower stack kind of firm shoe but again due to its extensive low profile lugs I have found it and the v1 excellent of snow covered roads.
Sam, Editor