Sunday, 23 November 2008

Adidas Response Trail 15: back to its origins

I bought my first pair of Adidas Response Trail shoes in late 2000; I think is was Response TR6 - the navy model with metal eyelets. My team mate Pieter du Plessis wore them too. I then worked my way through every new Adidas Response TR model over the next seven years; sometimes slaughtering 3 pairs a year!

Adidas Response TR8 was once of my favourites; it was the model just before Adidas brought in their sewn-in tongue, which was a nightmare on feet swollen after days of running or adventure racing. The TR9 had the sewn-in tongue; and again in the TR10, but not as tight due to an alteration in the stitching position. In the TR10 (or 11) they started messing with the last, changing the shoe's fit. And I think it was around TR12 or TR13 that they lost me. Too many changes from the shape that I'd loved for years.

I used to fire off emails to Adidas, especially when the TR9 first came in. Hahaha.

For the past year-and-a half I've been wearing in the Adidas Adistar Trail and Adidas Supernova Trail models.

The first Adistar version was divine; I wore it for just over a year, including the 5-day Himalayan ultra, all orienteering events, Mnweni, most of the Estonia rogaine, race scouting and organising for Swazi... and others I've forgotten about. A feature I really liked was the Formotion plate in the heel; it works really well on steep downhill sections to cushion the impact - it saved my calves and heels in India. Their life was spent after Estonia and they were retired.

I got a pair of the new Adistar Trail shoes (renamed Adidas Adistar Revolt) a few months ago. Although the fit was the same - nice and snug, especially around the mid-foot - something was different, aside from the heel structure. In this version they changed the Formotion plate to be laterally positioned, instead of horizontally at the rear of the shoe. Mmm... didn't have the same effect. And I still can't pin-point what it is about the fit that is so different and not quite right. I've had some rubbing on the outside of my big toes, and I'm not sure why. I didn't experience this with the previous version - in fact, the first version could have been made from a mould of my foot it was so perfect.

As for the Adidas Supernova Trail; fit was good but the laces bothered me - too rounded and rope like. I changed them, and this drastically improved the shoe's comfort. They're a little less snug and narrow than the Adistar Trail, with a dash more width and cushioning. A good and comfortable shoe.

Following my recent house break-in, where they stole all my road and trail shoes (lots of them!) I had to head for the shops to get new shoes, especially with the Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge coming up in three weeks. I settled on the Adidas Response Trail 15; I took them to the Uge 65km yesterday - I hadn't worn them before the race, except for wearing them at home to get a feel for the fit.

I'm delighted to announce that this TR15 model is a return to the Adidas Response's origins - and improved, in a good way.

The heel includes the Formotion plate that I so liked in the first Adistar Trail model. The fit of the Response Trail 15 is wider than the Adistar and Supernova, especially in the forefoot and toe box, and you can immediately feel that the sole is softer. Although this means that you don't necessarily have the longevity and durability of the Adistar sole (especially if the shoe is wet for days on end), it does make for a very cushioned ride, especially on hard terrain.

Overall, 8hrs of racing yesterday and not a hot spot or blister; and no more rubbing on the outside of my big toes. I'm relieved and feeling confident with my footwear going into Abu Dhabi.
Adidas Response Trail 15's are currently in-store. You'll find them at Adidas Concept Stores and other off-road shoe retailers. They sell for R899.00.


Anonymous said...

It would appear that you can take the girl out of gear editing; but you can't take the gear editing out of the girl...

adventurelisa said...

Hahaha. You're quite right Tim. The one good thing about not writing dozens of reviews each month for the magazine is that I can now do them for and the Trail Running sub-site. I just didn't have the energy for it before 'cos I was all reviewed-out.