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10.9 oz. (310 g) for a US M9,
9.5 oz. (270 g) for a US W7.5
Men: 38 mm in heel, 32 mm in forefoot (6 mm drop)
Women: 37 mm in heel, 31 mm in forefoot (6 mm drop)
Crushin’ trails with low-key style
Engineered mesh upper, Boost Light midsole, Continental outsole, gusseted tongue
JOHN: The very first review I did here at Believe in the Run was the Adidas Terrex Soulstride Flow. I took it out on a few training runs before jumping right into a backyard ultra, and for $130, I found it to be a really great shoe. When I received the pumped-up version, the Soulstride Ultra, I was super excited!
To fully test the shoe, I took it out to Bear Creek Lake State Park in Cumberland, Virginia, for the Willis River 50k. Our weather swung from around 15 degrees and snow early in the week to much warmer temps and rain the day before the race, which sounds like perfect conditions to test the Terrex Soulstride Ultra if you ask me.
I’m a huge action movie fan (especially ones from the 80s and 90s), so stick with me on this metaphor. I feel like there’s a very specific parallel with the Souldstride Ultra trying to ingratiate itself into the trail community. In the 1995 action thriller Nick of Time, Johnny Depp had to go head-to-head with a terrifying Christopher Walken (with a mustache). Johnny Depp’s character is just a regular guy, kind of nerdy and way over his head. Is the Terrex Soulstride Ultra able to rise up and become an action hero, take out Walken, and make itself relevant in the trail community? It’s got a lot going on, so let’s find out.
JOHN: The first thing that popped out to me was that the tongue got updated. When Emily and I reviewed the Soulstride Flow, we didn’t like the tongue even one bit. It was angular, long, and, while I didn’t think it was that bad, it was soft. Adidas has improved it with the Ultra.
In addition, Adidas also added padding around the collar and tongue, which gives the shoe more of a lockdown feel. This update worked great in the mud and extremely wet conditions out there at Willis River. The surprising thing, though, is when I did get to a fire road, I was able to run pretty fast, which makes sense with the drop in weight from the previous version and the addition of Light Boost midsole.
The lugs and Continental rubber outsole offer great traction on the trail but also versatility when needing to turn on speed when you get the opportunity to go faster. I definitely needed to speed up in order to make cutoffs because it was a mess out there.
The US M11.5 shoe fit true to size and was really good at keeping out debris which is pretty incredible because my feet were basically under water or mud for the majority of the race.Shop Adidas Terrex Soulstride Ultra - Men Shop Adidas Terrex Soulstride Ultra - Women
JOHN: I mentioned in the Soulstride Flow review that I feel like this shoe needs a really loud color wave or something design-wise to make it stand out and get attention from the trail community. I haven’t changed my mind, and I think the same holds true for the Ultra. I wish Adidas would have gone for it more here.
Don’t get me wrong, though, I feel like it’s a nice-looking shoe, but it looks a lot like the Flow, and I was hoping for the looks to be a little different. Adidas got a lot right with this shoe, and I’m hardly ever the guy to want a better-looking shoe but to make a bigger splash, I really think it needs it.
People on the trail were constantly asking if I was wearing a road shoe until they saw the lugs. This was really the only complaint from my review of the Flow that Adidas didn’t fix. The shoe comes off as conservative, and the trail community is pretty wild. We’ve got shoes out here with mountain ranges on the sides, blood, and neon colors. This shoe looks like Johnny Depp playing an accountant.Shop Adidas Terrex Soulstride Ultra - Men Shop Adidas Terrex Soulstride Ultra - Women
JOHN: I absolutely beat the hell out of this shoe. I ran 31 miles in extremely muddy, wet, rocky, and rooty conditions and it did well. I can totally vouch for the shoe’s toughness and versatility to not only grind out miles in quicksand-like mud but get faster paces on the advantageous fire roads and runnable spots.
I fully believe if you get this shoe, you will not be disappointed. I’m shocked by how good it did on the gnarly, messy trail, but my biggest fear with this shoe is that it gets passed over because, with so many options out there right now, it may get lost in the shuffle (seriously, there are so many amazing trail shoes right now, I’m getting fatigued).
Do not overlook this shoe. Like my random action flick Nick of Time, the Soulstride Ultra definitely saves the day. I wore this shoe straight out of the box at Willis River, and I somehow finished, have no blisters, and didn’t fall at all (bodies were definitely dropping out there and yes, people got hurt).
As I said in the Soulstride Flow review, give this shoe a chance. The Ultra is far superior. Just because someone or something doesn’t look like an action hero, it totally can be. The Soulstride Ultra helped get me to the finish at Willis River.
I really hope that in the next version, Adidas continues to refine the technical aspects of the shoe, which they’ve done an excellent job of here, but also do something wild so people say, “That’s a trail shoe,” not “hey, man are you running in the Ultraboost?”
You can pick up the Adidas Terrex Ultra for $180 directly from Adidas using the buttons below.
An obsessed runner, John has run in most ultra races in the Mid-Atlantic area. Since he’s an ultra runner, it’s no surprise he’s also a lover of food. He’s also a dedicated father, caregiver, and veteran.More from John