I am rather fussy about shoes….a trait not uncommon amongst runners. For me, I have two pairs of trail shoes (from La Sportiva and Nike) that seem to just work, and convincing me otherwise is a fool’s errand. However with Adidas now on board with the Maverick gang, I was soon galloping around in a pair of the new Speed LDs…..and damn they are good.
Weight: 225g (size 11.5 UK)
AVT Wearing the Adidas TERREX Speed LD
I was lucky enough to try both the lace up, and boa version. For those of you not familiar with the Boa lace, it’s a little ratchet that you use to tighten the shoe up (most cycling and ski shoes use this system), the main perk being that on the fly adjustments to the tightness of the shoe take seconds.
The shoe itself is pretty minimalist, with no overly complex structures on the upper. There material is lightweight, breathable and, so far, pretty robust. This upper forms a sock which wraps around the foot, creating a secure fit, but with enough flex in the material, and notably the toe box, to allow the foot to sit naturally. Two sections of thicker, less stretchy material wrap around the mid-foot with the laces going through, which gives a really solid lock on the foot when you tighten the laces up. I’d say the shoe is better suited to those with narrow to normal width feet.
The thing that surprised me most about the upper was the level of support it gave (appearances can be deceiving). Once the laces are locked down, the shoe wraps the mid-foot really snugly, providing ample support from longer runs, or for those who need a bit of extra support in the shoe. Personally I have never really suffered from having a foot that is too hot or too cold, so I can’t comment on how insulating the shoe is, but I haven’t had any issues so far! The final point is the looks of the shoe, and chapeau Adidas, you’ve nailed it here. The shoe looks sleek and aggressive, and comes in either crazy Euro-fluro colours, or more chic muted colourways. I of course went for a bright orange pair which I think look about as sexy as a running shoe can.
On the Boa vs laces….it really is down to personal preference. I prefer the laces for the simple reason that you can get a tighter and more precise fit. Lacing lets you tighten the fore, mid and top of the shoe to different levels which is something I like to have the ability to do. The Boa shoe did take me by surprises however! I was worried that the system wouldn’t let me get a really solid lock in the shoe, but actually I was able to crank the dial down, and there was no slipping at any point. I even did a 16 mile trail race, really hammering the downhills, and the lacing stayed tight the whole way. The big plus is that you can loosen and tighten the shoe is seconds, something I think would be really useful on some longer ultras as feet swell and bruise. I’d still stick to the laces personally, but it’s great to have the choice.
On the bottom, there’s a healthy layer of EVA foam, but I’d say it’s on the thinner side in the era of max-cushioned trainers. This is actually one of the aspects of the shoe I really loved. The low height meant the shoe was super stable, and gave great ground feel, whilst not being too harsh. I’ve got up to 24 miles in it, and had no issue with it being too bruising on the foot. The big benefit though is how snappy and quick the shoe feels on the foot, the low-to-the-ground nature of the shoe, combined with its feathery weight mean that the shoe is wonderfully efficient and cranking up to tempo efforts feels natural in it. Covering the outsole is a trusty layer of Continental rubber which provides solid grip in the dry…..but, there is a but…….the lug depth is pretty shallow meaning that any mud tends to get the better of the shoe pretty quick.
AVT Racing in the Speed LD
My local trails are a variety of dusty single track, grass, and rocky trails, and the grip excels on all of them however at a recent Maverick race, ankle deep in mud, the lugs were right at the edge of what they could cope with! Rumour has it though a deeper lug version is under development which will solve this issue. One unexpected benefit of the lugs though is that I actually quite like these shoes for running on road, letting me mix trail and road on my runs in them….weird I know, but it actually opens up more options for routes so I can’t complain!.On durability, Continental do tyres for cars, so I think their rubber can cope pretty much anything a trail runner can throw at them. After about 150 miles in the shoes I am yet to see any significant wear, and the uppers are still looking tidy, although not quite as fluorescent as the day they arrived!
For me, this shoes is as close to perfect a trainer. It really is a shoe that covers all bases for me. It is lightweight and snappy, with a tight fit making it the go-to shoe for racing. But, it does have enough padding and the durability to let me clock the weekly miles in them. I think the shoe does preform best when the pace picks up and its now sitting as my go to racer. The big drawback is the lug depth, which does limit how the shoe preforms in the mud, so if that’s your vibe, I’d either look elsewhere or wait for the deeper lug version.
All Photos - Jake Baggaley - Locations Vary