"But what are you wearing?" It is a question that has come up many times over the course of history, and one that is hard to answer definitively. Especially in regards to "trail running" shoes. This weekend, as we help Abby with her quest to tackle the Wildwood trail, it has been something that has been on my mind for, well, as long as we have been running together. Her choice, while mired in good looks and fortunate enough to match her socks, was not working out for myself. So, I ventured outward and eventually came to the likes of the Adidas Response Trail 21 GTX.
When I typed "GTX" in the Adidad search bar, a few selections came up, but not these puppies. So, I guess that is what I get for rooting around in their online clearance section. Ok, so what was I after, something with a bit more support. Something that didn't leave my legs aching after an hour or two on trails and something that had a bit of a chance at keeping my feet dry if the conditions were less than ideal. Wet feet = blisters, plain and simple. I have had the most luck with the Nike + Structure 17 in all these departments except for the outsole. That is a shoe that is mainly meant for the road with a little dry trail thrown in for good measure.
I have to say that these have done the job so far. They're a bit clunkier than I might like - not exactly headed into the Clown Shoes department, but definitely leaning in that direction. But, the black keeps them sleek enough and their waxed looking finish definitely classes things up a bit.
In the plus column:
- Wide base and nice lugged outsole. When you're trying to scramble after your man Wilcox who is always scrambling — this will be an option you're happy with.
- Light. Surprisingly light. Maybe it is just the black shoe that throws me off every time, but to look at them directly, and not out of the corner of your eye, they don't look lightweight.
- GTX. Everyone loves a bit of Gore Tex these days. Like seriously every outdoor company. If you do not have Gore Tex, sorry, GTX in your shoe-shirt-jacket-helmet-hat, you're missing out.
- They blend in with black running pants. Wait, actually not sure if that's a bonus.
- Matchy-Matchy points with the Richard Sachs Team Sock & The Redrum if you're day hiking.
- Great outsoles. I mean look at the rugged lugged exterior. They don't have that slippy feeling on pavement either, which makes this a double bonus.
In the minus column:
- Go a half size down from your normal sizing. I usually wear a 10 and I think I would be happier with a 9.5. But that is because I don't like my shoes feeling all loosey-goosey. Who does?
- Haven't done any real long miles with these, the true test will be this weekend on Wildwood for 15 or so miles.
- What does the 21 on the front of the shoe mean? 21 iterations? Brothers and sisters in the trail running club? Degrees at which this shoe can function? Half of the magical #42?? It isn't a real minus, but something I have pondered every time I lace them up.
- They're all black. Every part aside from the lace eyelets are black. Black black.
All in all I'm giving these a thumbs up. The next logical step here would be to come up with a sort of ratings system, but I'm just making this up as I go. I bought them because I was looking for a semi-waterproof trail shoe that has some great tread for when it gets real sloppy. These are doing the trick so far. As fare as I can remember, at least in my running life, I have been obsessed with finding the coolest, most functional trail shoe out there. Could it be those Salomon S-Labs? Or the New Balance 980 Trail? I don't even know. These definitely caught my eye and sent me off in the right direction, but we haven't gotten there yet. Though now that I've been digging around on the Adidas site, the ax 2.0 looks pretty good with it's hint of green. Ugh...I might have a problem.