Saturday, November 04, 2023

adidas Terrex Agravic Speed Ultra Review

Article by Marcel Krebs 

adidas Terrex Agravic Speed Ultra ($230)


Introduction

The adidas Terrex Agravic Speed Ultra was without a doubt the most anticipated new racing shoe at the UTMB in Chamonix. The hype was fostered by Tom Evans winning  the 2023 Western States 100 Endurance Run a few months before UTMB in a prototype as did Ruth Croft in 2022. At the end of August it was also the shoe of choice for the CCC & OCC winners in the women’s division, Yngvild Kaspersen and Toni McCann.


Having watched all these awesome performances while at UTMB, I was more than keen to test the adidas Terrex Agravic Speed Ultra. Therefore, I was pretty excited when I was told that I've been assigned one of the few pre-release samples in Chamonix, and this long before the official release in Spring 2024. 


To learn more about the adidas Terrex Agravic Speed Ultra, and especially if it is worth the hype, please read on. 


Pros:

  • energetic ride, especially on runnable terrain

  • soft & responsive Lightstrike Pro midsole foam, very well stabilized by the energy rods

  • roomy toe box

  • grippy and sturdy outsole

  • looks great!


Cons:

  • heel lockdown could be better

Reviewer: 

Marcel is an avid trail runner from Germany who is increasingly discovering road racing. He just smashed his PR on the half marathon distance in Berlin (1:32) and his Marathon PR in Hamburg (3:17). Besides this, he loves racing on the trails in events like the UTMB World Series culminating in the finals in Chamonix (OCC). 


In addition to his fascination for running shoe innovations, Marcel is also enthusiastic about technical gadgets of all kinds. Follow him on IG for the latest news on his testing pipeline and much more (@running.analytics).

Stats

 Sample Weight:280g / 9. 88oz (Men’s EU 44 / US 10)

Drop/Stack: 38 mm heel / 30mm forefoot, 8mm drop

Available now including at our partners at the end of the review.


First impression & Fit

Right out of the box, the adidas Terrex Agravic Speed Ultra just looks fast and beautiful - and not only in front of the stunning scenery in Chamonix, France. I really like the flashy red/orange which is contrasted by the  shiny white midsole. 

As far as the fit is concerned, I have good news for the folks with a wider forefoot like myself. The toebox is pretty roomy without being sloppy which is especially welcome over longer distances. 


In contrast, the rear and midfoot area are pretty narrow. As far as the fit is concerned, this was fine for me. Potential implications of this on the running performance of the adidas Terrex Agravic Speed Ultra are discussed later on in this review.


Upper

As you can see in the picture above, the upper is pretty thin and airy. At the same time, it is pretty well crafted and sturdy. it is also supported by some overlays especially around the toe box.  

As the front of the toe box, a combination of outsole coverage and a thick overlay work together as a thin but effective toe bumper. 

The padding in the heel area is pretty minimal. It consists of a small and thin padding below the ankles.


At the back of the heel counter, there is no padding at all. As a result, I had some issues preventing heel slippage. The runner’s knot helped, but did not totally solve the problem. As I tested a pre-series sample, there is some hope that adidas adds some padding here before the official release in spring 2024. 


The tongue is minimal but effective. It is gusseted so that the shoe almost fits like a glove. The laces have the same corrugation as road racers such as the Vaporfly and the Vectiv Sky from The North Face which very effectively keep them in their place and prevent them from becoming untied.


Midsole

The midsole features a full slab of Lightstrike Pro foam, which is soft and very responsive providing a nice energy return.  

Alongside this, integrated Energy Rods provide some stiffness to provide the stability which is required on the trails.  The forefoot rocker is pretty effective, especially on rolling terrain. 


At the heel area, the midsole is pretty slim, which makes the adidas Terrex Agravic Speed Ultra quite agile and contrasts  with the the wide forefoot area. The good news is that the foot sits quite far down in the midsole which supports a stable ride even though the platform especially in the midfoot area and at the rear are quite narrow.


Outsole

The outsole features deeper 3.5mm lugs on the outside and 2.5mm lugs on the inside. There is also a small part without outsole coverage, probably to provide some flex and reduce the weight by a few grams. 

The rubber compound is provided by Continental which has proved its durability and stickiness during the last years in  countless adidas models. and the adidas Terrex Agravic Speed Ultra is no exception. The outsole rolls along pretty well on runnable terrain and grips pretty effectively when the going gets tougher. It also performs well on pavement and is pretty sturdy and therefore shows almost no abrasion. 


Ride

After several test runs it become pretty clear why adidas athletes love these shoes for events like Western States and UTMB. Especially Western States as it features pretty runnable terrain and also for the UTMB which  is not very technical. Thus is exactly the terrain where the adidas Terrex Agravic Speed Ultra finds its sweet spot. 

The adidas Terrex Agravic Speed Ultra shines ont those runnable terrains. This is where the energy return of the Lightstrike Pro midsole comes to its maximum effect.  

Running on terrain like fire roads with the adidas Terrex Agravic Speed Ultra is pure fun. It is hereby effectively stabilized by the Energy Rods which in combination with the soft Lightstrike Pro foam provide an energetic but secure ride.  The Energy Rods also have significantly more flex than a carbon plate.


Summary & Recommendations


Even though I tested a pre-production sample, the adidas Terrex Agravic Speed Ultra is a top notch and market ready racer from adidas Terrex. 


The midsole is almost perfectly balanced and combines a soft Lightstrike Pro foam with stabilizing energy rods which provide more flexibility than a plate. The last and upper provide a wide forefoot which allows for some swelling over longer distances and are combined with a comparatively narrow midfoot and rear area , making the adidas Terrex Agravic Speed Ultra quite agile at the same time. and especially for forefoot runners  who will love the wide landing area at the forefoot. 


The Continental outsole grips effectively and also works well on pavement which makes it an ideal choice for races with a lot of runnable terrain. 


What leaves some room for improvement is the heel hold . The fact that there is no padding at the back of the heel cup makes it harder than necessary to get a perfect heel lock. But this might be fixed by adidas for the full release in spring 2024.


So if you are looking for a trail racer for runnable terrain, you should mark your calendar for the release of the adidas Terrex Agravic Speed Ultra.  


Marcel’s Score: 9.05/10

Ride: 9.5 - Fit: 8.75 - Value: 8.5 - Style: 9.5 - Traction: 9 - Rock Protection: 9



Comparisons


HOKA Tecton X2 (english review; german review)

Both are excellent trail racers . The Tecton X 2 features a Matryx upper and a narrower toe box. It comes with a traditional heel cup and has excellent foothold. The midsole is firmer and features a carbon plate. The Tecton X 2 is slightly lighter but comes with a less grippy outsole. Tecton X 2 has the better lockdown and is more stable, while the  adidas Terrex Agravic Speed Ultra provides the more energetic ride. Both TTS in US-M10.


ASICS Fuji Speed 2 (german review)

The Fuji Speed 2 is almost 1 oz /30g lighter and features a full length carbon plate. It has a classic heel cup and therefore better lockdown. The midsole of the adidas Terrex Agravic Speed Ultra is softer and a little more energetic. Outsoles of both are top notch. Fuji Speed 2 for shorter and more technical races,  adidas Terrex Agravic Speed Ultra for longer ultras on flowing trails. Both TTS in US-M10.


The North Face Flight Vectiv Pro (german review)

The Vectiv Pro is another contender with a full carbon plate for ultra distance races. It is 0.7oz/20g heavier and comes on a wider last, especially at the rear and midfoot. The midsole is responsive but is significantly firmer than the Terrex Agravic Speed Ultra’s. Vectiv Pro’s biggest downside are the front wings of the carbon plate which can cause serious blisters even though the toe box of the Vectiv Pro is also pretty roomy. adidas Terrex Agravic Speed Ultra wins because of the better adjusted total package. Both TTS in US-M10.


The Terrex Agravic Speed Ultra is available now at our partners


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Samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased via shopping links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.
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7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Heel and midfoot look really thin...don't see how this could be stable at all. Looks much thinner than TNF Vectiv Pro, Ultrafly and Tecton.

Tony said...

Can you offer a comparison to the Saucony Endorphin Edge?

Tony said...

Can you offer a comparison between the adidas Terrex Agravic Speed Ultra and the Saucony Endorphin Edge?

Anonymous said...

I found the new vectiv to be far more comfortable and a softer midsole. There is quite a high arch on the terrex and it feels much firmer overall. The rocker is not as pronounced as I was expecting. Maybe the pre production shoe is very diff to what was actually released.

Florent D. said...

These for sure sound amazing! Ordered them in my usual 11.5 UK, length is perfect. Toebox is ok, wouldn't necessarily describe it as roomy, but should be fine. Overall fit is ok for my wider foot. Main issue for me is the very bad crease that appears when flexing the shoe (e.g. at toe-off): the very plastic-y upper and the thickness of the third Adidas stripe combine to create a weird solid fold that immediately rubs. I can feel it'll give me blisters after a few kms, so too bad but I'll be returning them.
(Didn't even try running in them, so who knows, maybe they'd be amazing once running, but I'd rather take that bet on a shoe that doesn't feel wrong from the get-go :) )

Anonymous said...

Any chance of a multi-review now these shoes are available commercially? Thanks!

Tom said...

The performance of the shoe on smooth trails/gravel roads is exceptional. It is hard to run slow in the shoe and they really help you push the pace on smooth downhills. The heel design has given me blisters in both of my runs in the shoe. On flat terrain, I don't have any problems, but once you start climbing the design and materials has created blisters. I also had blisters from the design flaw that Florent noted. With almost two years of design work before the public launch, it's disappointing that the shoe has these issues.

If you are lucky enough to not have these problems, the speed and performance on groomed trails will be well received.