The Adidas Terrex Swift R3 makes waves in a crowded hiking footwear market. Google trends for this shoe are skyrocketing, so I decided to include these shoes in the hiking shoe review I do every year to see which is the best hiking shoe of 2022. The Adidas Terrex Swift R3 did not win this year’s competition, but it scored first in the categories of TIME-TO-DRY and PROTECTION UNDERFOOT. Generally speaking, I was impressed with the Adidas Terrex Swift R3, and now I understand why they are quickly becoming so popular, but are they actually any good for hiking?
The Adidas Terrex Swift R3 is a sturdy hiking shoe that will perform well across a wide range of terrains and hiking scenarios. The hiking shoe is suitable for short, single-day, and longer multi-day hikes with a medium backpack. It showcases moderate traction with superb foot protection and above-average lateral stability.
In this post, I will share my firsthand experience testing this shoe, providing my test data, insights, and opinions so that you can decide whether this shoe is right for you. I really like the pair I have and think they will work for many hikers in various hiking situations. Already convinced? Consider using my affiliate link to support Dusty Hikers so I can purchase more shoes and provide more independent reviews.
Does the Adidas Terrex Swift R3 Provide Good Traction?
The first test I did this year was for grip or stickiness. I set up a system in the Dusty Hikers Advanced Footwear Research Laboratory (AKA my garage) to perform this test. To conduct the test, I lean forward while holding a suspension strap and standing on the forefoot of the shoes. Then, I move my feet backward, increasing the angle and lateral force on the shoe’s sole until they start to slip. I recorded the distance with a measuring tape placed on the floor. I do this three times for each shoe and take the average. You can check this out on my YouTube channel and see how they compared against the other shoes.
The outsole of the Adidas Terrex Swift R3 is a Continental branded rubber compound that performed worse than the four other shoes tested for grip on polished concrete. This test focuses on the stickiness of the outsole and does not take into effect the traction provided by the lug pattern.
In my hiking experience, stickiness is more critical than traction. You are likelier to slip and be injured while stepping on a wet rock or log with less-than-sticky soles on your hiking shoes. On the other hand, less dangerous is scaling a muddy incline where traction and lug patterns become essential.
In conclusion, the Adidas Terrex Swift R3 provide adequate traction with their Continental rubber compound but they perform significantly worse than other rubber compounds that are available in the hiking footwear market space. Shoes with other compounds such as those from Vibram will perform better than the Adidas Terrex Swift R3 according to the testing I conducted.
Does the Adidas Terrex Swift R3 Provide Good Protection on Trail?
When you step up from walking shoes or running shoes to proper hiking shoes, you should expect to have a greater amount of protection underfoot in a multitude of trail conditions. An injury to the bottom of your foot can pose a serious problem if you are miles from the trailhead. Today’s hiking shoes address this issue in different ways.
The Adidas Terrex Swift R3 has a very stiff rubber sole that is a tank. In the head-to-head testing I did in my Advanced Footwear Research Laboratory (AKA my garage) I could barely feel the rock I was stepping on. You can check out this testing on my YouTube channel. I place a different shoe on each foot and then step on a rock to see which shoe provides the most protection as measured by how much, or little I feel the rock.
In conclusion, the stiff rubber compound on the Adidas Terrex Swift R3 and the rock plate above the outsole both combine to provide unsurpassed armor on the trail for the bottom of your feet. In testing, I found that the bottom of my feet did not detect the rock I was stepping on. The Adidas Terrex Swift R3 outperformed all other shoes tested.
Is Terrex Swift R3 Waterproof?
Another test that I did with the Adidas Terrex Swift R3 against four other shoes is time-to-dry. The Terrex Swift R3 beat all other shoes in this test. Having wet feet while hiking is miserable and can lead to other more important problems such as blisters and eventually fungus that can cause long-term problems with your skin and feet.
The Adidas Terrex Swift R3 is not waterproof, but they do dry out quickly compared to similar shoes according to the testing I did. One reason they dried more quickly is that they took on less water weight at the beginning of the test. Adidas does offer a Gore-Tex version called the Terrex Swift R3 GTX.
In the Time-to-dry chart below you can see that the Adidas Terrex Swift took on only about 22% in water weight at the beginning of the test. This is somewhat misleading because they were much heavier than the other shoes before I dunked them in the water. This does not detract from the fact that they also dry out quickly and are therefore suitable for hikes where you might expect moderate to warm temperatures and some water crossings or precipitation.
You can check out the actual testing I did on my YouTube channel.
In my experience, if you leave these shoes out to dry in the sunlight, they will dry out in a reasonable amount of time.
Is the Adidas Swift Terrex R3 Comfortable?
Perhaps the most important consideration for any shoe, especially a hiking shoe is comfort. There are so many shoes to choose from, and not all brands fit all feet. It is for this reason that I really appreciate shoe styles that strike a balance between precision fit and a last that will fit most feet. The Terrex Swift R3 strike that balance nicely and I believe they will probably fit most feet fairly well.
Straight out of the box the Adidas Terrex Swift R3 is comfortable and does not require breaking in. I walked 8 miles the first day and had zero problems. The rigid, inflexible sole by Continental is not the softest ride on the market and caused minor heal slips while walking. The Pro-moderator midsole system provides above-average stability for your foot.
I found the Adidas Terrex Swift R3 to be comfortable on my feet after 10 to 12 hours of wearing them over the course of a normal day at the office, walking the dog, and moving about. They also perform well over extended miles on a hiking trail. There are more comfortable shoes, but the Terrex Swift R3 doesn’t underperform for overall comfort.
The two main criticisms I had after testing the Terrex Swift R3 for comfort against four other shoes were that the shoe laces tended to come untied and that the Continental rubber outsole is completely inflexible except across the forefoot.
The rigid sole may not please everyone. I prefer some give in the sole so that the shoe can adapt to the contours of the trail and maintain more contact for increased grip and a secure foot strike.
Can You Run in the Adidas Terrex Swift R3?
I have walked in and hiked many miles in the Adidas Terrex Swift R3 and have been pretty impressed. One big conclusion I drew after testing them was that they are not like modern athletic shoes or sneakers. They remind me of the stiff-soled soccer shoes I wore in the early 1980s while playing youth soccer (and dominating other teams because our coach was from England and was the only coach in the area that actually knew how to play soccer or football as he called it.)
RIP coach Fletcher! Three years league champions and undefeated!
The Adidas Terrex Swift R3 is not suited for road running or trail running because of its less-than-squishy midsole and the very rigid sole with deep lugs. Other than hiking, the Adidas Terrex Swift R3 could be suitable for sports such as paintball or frisbee golf where players engage in short sprints. The aggressive lugs and rigid soles act as cleats that you might find on shoes designed for sports meant to be played on grass fields.
Do the Adidas Terrex Swift R3 Run Large?
Sizing is a big issue now that so many of us purchase shoes online. In my experience, customer reviews on their experience with sizing are usually spot on. So how does the Adidas Terrex Swift R3 fit in my experience?
I found that the Adidas Terrex Swift R3 was true to size and does not run large. There is a generous amount of room between the end of your toes and the end of the shoe but not too much. The width was normal and did not impinge on the outside of my feet or cause issues while hiking.