Sunday, March 17, 2024

adidas TERREX Soulstride Ultra Review

Article by Sam Winebaum

adidas Terrex Soulstride Ultra ($180)


The Soulstride Ultra is a max cushion trail running and hiking shoe with a dual foam midsole (Light Boost and Lightstrike), a Continental rubber outsole and a dense and highly supportive engineered mesh upper. At 11.3 oz / 320g it is not exactly “light” but when one considers its big 38 mm heel and 32 mm forefoot stack height, extensive rubber and stout upper its modern midsole foams clearly keep the weight reasonable.

I tested them both walking/hiking and running on snow and pavement in Park City as I am coming back from a broken knee cap in November. The geometry of an almost rigid and very effective rocker which follows a noticeable bouncy and dynamic heel landing in deep Light Boost had them as the fastest hiking/ walking shoe during my rehab but not nearly as effective a trail run shoe because of their rigid profile, and this, despite their Ultra naming.  That is.. unless your ultra efforts are at slow paces as quite frankly most are. 

They are top contenders for a multi day trek in the Alps coming this summer (with day packs) and I wish I had worn them for our Tuscany trek on mostly roads and gravel with packs.  Please read on for all the details.


  • Superb fast walking fast hiking platform and ride, great heel bounce and effective rolling rocker geometry

  • Very stable on smoother terrain.

  • Dense and protective yet well cushioned with a max cushion stack height of 38 heel / 32mm 

  • All purpose, any terrain Continental rubber outsole featuring deep rear lugs and shallower front lugs which smooth  toe off rocker.


  • Overly rigid way up front for steeper on the run climbing and flatter terrain running

  • While stable at any walking pace and on any terrain, not an agile trail runner

  • While having a big stack height and broad platform, on the heavier side at 11.3 oz US9 for “running”.

  • Stiff & narrow top of tongue can slide to the side and “bite” and otherwise is not the most comfortable.


Approx. Weight: men's 11.3 oz  / 320g (US9) 

  Samples: men’s  11 oz / 312g US 

Stack Height: 32/38mm (M), 31/36.5mm (W)

Platform Width: 90 mm heel / 75 mm midfoot / 105 mm forefoot

Stack Height: 32/38mm (M), 31/36.5mm (W)

Lug Heights: 2.5 front /3.5mm rear

$180 Available now

Most Comparable Shoes

New Balance Fresh Foam More Trail (RTR Review)  

Hoka Stinson 7 (RTR Review

Brooks Caldera (RTR Review)

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

The upper is a very dense, quite rigid in feel but nonetheless pliable enough engineered mesh. 

It wraps the foot extremely well and securely with its 3 Stripes overlays and quite stiff toe bumper providing plenty of height in what is a somewhat pointy (and long) toe box. 

The fit is true to size and between moderate and narrow in width.

The tongue is, to put it mildly, strange in construction. Narrow and on the short side at lace up it  is quite stiffly padded down the center and has a full length gusset. Foot hold is excellent but despite not one but two lace loops it tended to slip to the side on off camber terrain and when it did there was some bite from the quite rigid and short top area.  It could use some re-design.

The rear hold and comfort is excellent with appropriately padded deep and low ankle collars leading to a pliable heel counter with “elf” like extension. I wish the comfortable achilles collar was less debris “scoop” like in construction.

Not to worry about the pliable heel counter, the foot sits down very deeply into the midsole at the far rear.

All and all an excellent upper for what I see as the best purpose of the Ultra, long hard fast  hiking and walking on all kinds of terrain. 

Midsole & Platform

The Soulstride Ultra has a dual foam midsole made up of  Light Boost and Lightstrike. We first saw Light Boost in the Ultraboost Light road trainer/ lifestyle shoe (RTR Review). 

This new Boost formulation is an expanded TPU bead foam and led to a massive 2 oz / 57g drop in weight in the Ultraboost compared to prior.versions. Compared to prior Boost foams, it is denser and more stable while still having nice rebound  and at the time I thought it would make a great trail shoe foam and here we have it in the Soulstride Ultra.

Below the top Boost layer, we have Lightstrike, a firm highly responsive EVA blend also seen in more recent adidas road shoes of the more responsive variety. It serves as a stablizing and protective layer as well as the stiffening to create the pronounced rocker without the need for a plate.

The combination (along with the outsole) is stacked up big at 38mm heel 32 mm forefoot on a broad 90 mm heel / 75 mm midfoot / 105 mm forefoot platform. There is tons of protection and cushion underfoot.

I have commented on the walk hike strengths of the Soulstride and the geometry here clearly enables that. 

In particular, as seen below one can see the Boost Light layer plunges deeply just ahead of the heel. 

At fast walking paces, this geometry produces a very noticeable rebound up and forward which is most pleasant and effective. Again at fast walking paces, the lower stiff and firm Lightstrike layer produces a very distinct rocker effect off the front.  And a very stable one.  

One can see in the photo above, how the Lightstrike extends up ahead of the Boost Light to achieve this.  

Where things start to fall apart is on the run. The front of the shoe took 15 miles or so to develop any far front flex due to the extended front Lightstrike layer and even then it is a short and stiff flex. 

To run the shoe effectively one has to really push the rocker hard either as the runner is heavier or by really pushing the pace. The dense lower cushion and rigid profile make running on firmer surfaces quite laborious which is not at all the case fast walking 


The outsole is adidas' always great Continental rubber.  The pattern of 2.5 mm lugs upfront and 3.5mm lugs at the rear  is clearly designed to accentuate the rolling rocker geometry while assuring grip. 

The rear lugs angle for aggressive downhill grip and security while the front and especially the lower central ones for rolling forward. I totally noticed this on hard packed and soft snow trails as well as pavement. 

I wish the front lugs were the same height as the rear for a touch more forward grip but I think to do so Terrex would need to change the layer of Lightstrike above to something slightly softer and more flexible such as their newer Lightstrike 2.0 foam.

Ride, Conclusions and Recommendations

The Soulstride Ultra, let me come right out and say it, is one of the best any terrain fast walking/hiking shoes I have ever experienced but is not as effective a trail running shoe due to its rigid, yes very stable but not very agile or lively ride. I have to admit that rigid rocker trail “run” shoes are not my preference.

While its weight to cushion and big platform width ratios  are just fine, I see the very firm and stiff lower Lightstrike layer as the culprit. The Boost Light foam is more than adequately stable and nicely cushioned, the platform wide, the outsole highly effective and protective, and the upper super supportive (tongue issues aside)  Yes, the Lightstrike helps give the shoe the incredible rolling rocker effect at walk paces but its gets in the way of run ability and also trail agility on the run. I think the new softer Lightstrike 2.0 foam for the lower layer would have been a smart choice. 

The Soulstride Ultra is an outstanding fast walking and hiking shoe, one I expect to take on a 9 day trek in the French Alps this summer, but for my trail un preferences it is overly rigid and ponderous. 


9.5 / 10 as a fast hiking and walking shoe on any terrain

8.6 /10 as a trail running shoe.

😊😊😊😊 ½ for walking/hiking

😊😊 running


Index to all RTR reviews: HERE 

I have not recently run what I see as the most comparable shoes which I see as the yet higher stacked  New Balance Fresh Foam More Trail (RTR Review),  Hoka Stinson 7 (RTR Review) and similar stacked Brooks Caldera (RTR Review) but include our reviews here for reference. 

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Tester Profiles

Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 66 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. 2023 was Sam’s 51th year of running. He has a decades old 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the just sub 1:40 range if he gets very very lucky. Sam trains 30-40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah be it on the run, hiking or on nordic skis. He is 5’9” tall and weighs about 164 lbs, if he is not enjoying too many fine New England IPA’s.

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'.

Comments and Questions Welcome Below! Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and current preferred shoes

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