New: Adidas Earns Stripes In The Outdoors
Published on 05/10/2012
By Peter Reese
Every brand needs to earn its stripes, particularly in rigorous outdoor settings. Adidas, the venerable European company that’s championed individual and team athletics, has landed on U.S. shores with a world of tech, specs and performance promises.
Active Junky raised a collective hand to enter the anticipated fray with three Adidas Outdoors products put into review. Representing footwear, outerwear and shell categories, the Adidas trio appeared earlier this year in confident colors and sporting features old and new.
Starting at ground level, the TERREX FAST R MID GTX boot (Adidas calls them “shoes”) pulled on with continuous cable lacing finished off with a two-sided cord lock. This complex assembly of fabrics, foam, webbing and proprietary neoprene sat on top of Continental rubber-based outsoles.
With no apologies for the manmade appearance of the Fast R, Adidas proceeded to offer a tight fit, confident stride and lateral traction package that more than compensated for the NBA dunking contest vibe. After six outings, the Active Junky team found themselves comparing other boot-shoes to this upstart offering.
Synthetic construction didn’t offer any abrasion problems, and the ability to fit left and right feet differently meant a semi-custom fit in a standard size. Apart from heat build-up in warmer settings (an expected complication of nylon-based, Gore-Tex footwear), Fast R (MSRP $195) got the Adidas brand off on the right foot.
In parallel, the TS LITE PANT offered a soft, wind-buffering experience more like a well-loved track warm-up than a noisy nylon hiking shell. Fly front and shallow zippered pockets meant testers could get to essentials without slowing progress.
Unlike the Fast R, TS LITE’s sizing was more European than U.S. A size 36” waist cut it close as hips and butt road somewhat tighter than desired. Worth the trouble to fit, the TS LITE should be ordered bigger than normal if the sample tested by Active Junky was representative.
Topping the three-stripped ensemble out was the HT 2-LAYER HYBRID JACKET at an MSRP of $170. A solid value based upon Active Junky’s extensive experience, this removable hood shell is a sensible one-piece quiver for most travelers. Chest pocket venting and a mesh-lined torso helped manage moisture inside the jacket.
While rated a respectable 10,000 mm/10,000 grams per square meter on the waterproof/breathable scales, the piece seemed capable of enduring most reasonable conditions. Other offerings within the Adidas Outdoors line carry stronger ratings while jumping up in price to keep parity with competitive options. Cut leaned toward trim and athletic with the only obvious head-scratcher being the Old School tooth zipper backed by a darted storm flap (perchance to avoid jamming?).
Active Junky isn’t prone to getting pulled in by promotional materials and P.R. agency siren songs. That said, the All In magazine from Adidas earned admiration for stunning stories of recent expeditions and only minimal product promotion. Get a copy if subscribing to alpine journals isn’t in the budget right now.
Yes, fellow adventure enthusiasts. Adidas Outdoors has shown up with the goods. The ClimaLite TS Pants are a great way to engage the brand on a budget. The Fast R boot-shoes are a bit more risk balanced by featherweight feel in an armored package. The HT Hybrid Jacket is a solid pick that needs more extreme testing at this end to get upgraded from three to four seasons of recommended use.
Welcome to America, new friend. Best of luck in expanding the brand with a full line of coast-to-coast, head-to-toe models available now.