Adidas Response Trail review
Oversized, maximalist soles have taken the running world by storm the past several years, with new materials promising record-shattering benefits. Unfortunately for many runners, the only thing larger than the soles on these monsters has been the price tag.
These supportive, heavily cushioned trail shoes are a good entry point for neutral runners hoping to dip their toes into the oversized trend with a giant, fat sole and an extremely reasonable price tag.
While I am personally a fan of lightweight shoes with less cushioning and a smaller heel-toe drop, I found I appreciated the extra cushioning on the Response Trail. On shorter recovery runs, it reduced impacts, and it helped smooth out rocky and uneven trail surfaces.
This shoe is not without its downsides, however. I found the Response Trail’s oversized sole is not as light as advertised, which was particularly disappointing in a trail shoe.
Cornering and sharp turns were harder than they should have been with the extra weight. The steep heel-to-toe drop also makes climbing difficult, and forefoot striking is nearly impossible even on level ground, forcing an occasionally irregular gait.
Finally, I found it took a long time to break these shoes in, with the high arch remaining uncomfortable until the shoes had nearly 40 miles on them.
The Response Trail is a tank
The sole is 30mm thick at the heel, and flares outwards from the sides. While that size is exactly why runners would seek out this shoe, there’s a significant weight trade-off, with the men’s version clocking in at about 12oz.
For more duck-footed runners, that heel flare is also a problem. I found I had to adjust my gait at first to stop the heels from kicking into my calves. Once I got used to it, this was fine, but it took some time to adjust at the start of my first several runs in these shoes.
On level terrain, the highly cushioned sole felt soft and smooth, though not as cloudlike as some entries in the maximalist genre.
Difficulties came when the upper got wet, or uneven terrain demanded quick turnover. When wet, the upper swelled and added significant weight to the already heavy shoe.
On uneven terrain, though the big lugs ensured a smooth ride, the heavy, relatively inflexible sole made it difficult to maintain a high foot speed and a quick pace.
Tricky sizing, wide toebox
While everyone’s foot shape is different, this model didn’t seem quite right to me. Sizing was tricky, and this shoe contributed to some serious blisters. The arch support also felt unnatural even after I’d been wearing the shoes for some time.
I also found the toe box unnecessarily wide. While toes need room to breathe, this shoe left too much room for them to slide around. Particularly in a trail shoe, that much excess space can be painful.
Durable, grippy outsole
I found the sole handled pavement and roads with minimal wear and tear. Also, the heavy lugs were well-suited to sloppy and muddy conditions.
While most shoes lose their spark and crush out after 300 or 400 miles, I have put 200 miles on this pair so far, and fully expect them to be good for another 300 at least.
Tip: see the best trail running shoes.