Our verdict

With its incredible burliness and stability, the Adidas Terrex Swift R3 GTX feels a lot like a crossover between a hiking shoe and a boot. It makes us feel steady and surefooted on the most unpredictable terrains while keeping our feet dry in untimely rain or unfortunate puddles. As long as you give it some time to break into its full potential, this Adidas shoe will not disappoint.

Pros

  • Boot-like stability
  • Highly durable and protective
  • Lightweight for what it offers
  • Excellent waterproofing
  • Breathable for a GTX shoe
  • Generously cushioned
  • Very secure foothold
  • Top-notch grip with deep lugs

Cons

  • Stuffy for summer
  • Can be too stiff (even stiffer in cold)
  • Break-in needed

Audience verdict

86
Great!

Who should buy

Having tried and tested the Adidas Terrex Swift R3 GTX on a variety of parameters, we believe that it is an excellent option for hikers who:

  • need a protective and grippy hiking shoe for challenging terrain
  • want a lightweight shoe with the stability of a hiking boot
  • hike in cold, swampy, and rainy conditions on a regular basis

Adidas Terrex Swift R3 GTX review

Who should NOT buy

As a low-cut shoe, the Swift R3 GTX is not perfect for deep puddles and river crossings. If you foresee the water overflowing the shoe's low collar, it's better to go with the Salomon Outpulse Mid GTX.

If on the other hand, you mostly hike in warm and dry weather, the waterproof GTX lining of the shoe will only make your feet hot and sweaty. To avoid overpaying for something you don't need, we recommend the non-waterproof Salomon X Ultra 4 instead.

Adidas Terrex Swift R3 GTX lab test

Breathability

Having tested a myriad of GTX hiking shoes in our lab, we have come to expect zero breathability from this type of footwear. However, the Adidas Terrex Swift R3 GTX busted that myth in a mere second!

Performing our smoke-pumping test on this Adidas shoe, we were quite surprised with the amount of smoke passing through its tongue.

It is obviously not as well-ventilated as the non-waterproof Merrell Moab 3. However, it is notably more breathable than its GTX counterparts. On a scale from 1 to 5, where 5 is the most breathable, we rated it as 2. Most Gore-Tex shoes only get 1.

But don't get us wrong. This shoe is still 100% watertight. In our transparency check below, it is clear that there are no perforations in the shoe's upper.

What's more, our microscope helps to show you how incredibly dense the shoe's material is.

Adidas Terrex Swift R3 GTX microscope

Test results
Terrex Swift R3 GTX 2
Average 2.7
Compared to 18 hiking shoes
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Toebox durability

In order to keep a GTX shoe's waterproofing intact, it must be protected from punctures and tears. And as our durability test shows, you have to be extra careful with the Adidas Terrex Swift R3 GTX.

Applying our Dremel to the shoe's upper textile for 12 seconds at a speed of 5K RPM resulted in a small yet critical puncture. This made us lower the toebox durability rating for this Adidas shoe to 2 out of 5.

Adidas Terrex Swift R3 GTX toebox durability test

Good thing the rubberized overlays are so large in this hiking shoe! All the main impact areas are well-protected.

Test results
Terrex Swift R3 GTX 2
Average 3.7
Compared to 12 hiking shoes
Number of shoes
1
Toebox durability
5

Heel padding durability

Another potentially frail area in hiking shoes is the heel padding. But not for the Terrex Swift R3!

The shoe's heel collar lining stood up to our 4 seconds of drilling very well. The barely noticeable scratch convinced us to rate the shoe's heel padding durability as 4 out of 5.

Adidas Terrex Swift R3 GTX heel padding durability test

Test results
Terrex Swift R3 GTX 4
Average 3.1
Compared to 11 hiking shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel padding durability
5

Outsole hardness

Like any other Adidas Terrex shoe, the Swift R3 GTX uses Continental rubber for its outsole. Having a reputation as a hard-wearing compound, it did not disappoint.

Measuring the rubber hardness with our durometer, we got a measurement of 85.9 HC. This is considered average for a hiking shoe outsole and is a good sign of long-term durability.

Adidas Terrex Swift R3 GTX Outsole hardness
Test results
Terrex Swift R3 GTX 85.9 HC
Average 84.7 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 18 hiking shoes
Number of shoes
65.0 HC
Outsole hardness
94.1 HC

Outsole durability

Of course, we turned to our Dremel to test the outsole's abrasion resistance. Drilling it unapologetically for 22 seconds at the speed of 10K RPM, we were pleasantly surprised.

According to the tread gauge, the dent was only 0.9 mm deep. This is a little less than the average and earns this Adidas shoe bonus points for durability.

Adidas Terrex Swift R3 GTX outsole durability test

Test results
Terrex Swift R3 GTX 0.9 mm
Average 1.0 mm
Compared to 11 hiking shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole wear
2.0 mm

Outsole thickness

We also measured the thickness of the outsole excluding lugs. The caliper returned 2 mm which is a solid average for a hiking shoe.

Adidas Terrex Swift R3 GTX Outsole thickness
Test results
Terrex Swift R3 GTX 2.0 mm
Average 2.6 mm
Compared to 18 hiking shoes
Number of shoes
1.9 mm
Outsole thickness
4.0 mm

Weight

Tipping the scale at 14.4 oz (408g), the Adidas Terrex Swift R3 GTX sits very close to the average of waterproof hiking shoes (14.6 oz/414g). This is actually pretty light given how much protection is packed into this Adidas hiker.

If you want a hiking shoe with a similar design and intent but want it to be an ounce lighter, check out the Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX (13.3 oz/378g).

Adidas Terrex Swift R3 GTX Weight
Test results
Terrex Swift R3 GTX 14.39 oz (408g)
Average 13.47 oz (382g)
Compared to 18 hiking shoes
Number of shoes
6.49 oz (184g)
Weight
17.14 oz (486g)

Cushioning

Heel stack

Looking at the bottom of the shoe, we saw an imprinted writing: "STACK 15/25 MM." To be honest, this left us quite perplexed because we actually measured the shoe's heel stack height at a whopping 36.6 mm!

Adidas Terrex Swift R3 GTX Heel stack

Perhaps Adidas only measured the midsole to get 25 mm?

Either way, based on our caliper measurement, there is more than 3.5 cm of protection between your heel and the ground! This is one of the tallest hiking platforms we've seen in our lab.

This makes the Adidas Terrex Swift R3 GTX one of the best options for rocky trails with sharp rocks and other technical terrain.

Test results
Terrex Swift R3 GTX 36.6 mm
Average 30.9 mm
Compared to 18 hiking shoes
Number of shoes
9.9 mm
Heel stack
39.0 mm

Forefoot stack

In the forefoot, the midsole thickness becomes drastically smaller. With a caliper measurement of 20.7 mm, the forefoot stack of this Adidas shoe is about the same as the average but much taller than the officially stated 15 mm.

Adidas Terrex Swift R3 GTX Forefoot stack
Test results
Terrex Swift R3 GTX 20.7 mm
Average 20.4 mm
Compared to 18 hiking shoes
Number of shoes
10.7 mm
Forefoot stack
31.0 mm

Drop

This leaves us with a significant heel-to-toe drop of 15.9 mm! A few millimeters taller than the average, it raises the heel notably higher above the toes.

This makes landings extra cushioned and protected while letting the forefoot bend more easily and feel the ground better for stability.

Adidas Terrex Swift R3 GTX Drop
Test results
Terrex Swift R3 GTX 15.9 mm
Average 10.6 mm
Compared to 18 hiking shoes
Number of shoes
-0.8 mm
Drop
15.9 mm

Midsole softness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

What's really nice about this Adidas Terrex shoe is that despite its burly and stiff construction, its cushioning happens to be not as firm as in most other hiking shoes.

Using a durometer, we measured the shoe's foam softness at 26 HA. This makes the Swift R3 GTX 18% softer than the average!

Adidas Terrex Swift R3 GTX Midsole softness

And if you want something even plusher, have a look at the Hoka Anacapa Low GTX (23.3 HA).

Test results
Terrex Swift R3 GTX 26.0 HA
Average 28.2 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 18 hiking shoes
Number of shoes
13.5 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
39.0 HA
Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

Difference in midsole softness in cold

Given that this Adidas shoe is intended for colder climates, it is nice to know that its cushioning doesn't turn into a rock in low temperatures.

Having kept the shoe in the freezer for 20 minutes, we repeated the durometer measurement. At 30.5 HA, the foam only got as firm as most other hiking shoes are at room temperature.

Compared to other hiking shoes in our lab, the Adidas Terrex Swift R3 GTX firmed up by 17.3% which is notably less than the average difference.

Adidas Terrex Swift R3 GTX Difference in midsole softness in cold
Test results
Terrex Swift R3 GTX 17.3%
Average 17.5%
Compared to 18 hiking shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in midsole softness in cold
100%

Insole thickness

The insole of this shoe has a standard amount of padding. Using a caliper to measure its thickness in the heel, we got 4.9 mm. This is exactly the same as the average.

What's noteworthy about this insole is its raised sidewalls which create a cup-like carrier for the foot.

Adidas Terrex Swift R3 GTX Insole thickness
Test results
Terrex Swift R3 GTX 4.9 mm
Average 5.4 mm
Compared to 17 hiking shoes
Number of shoes
2.6 mm
Insole thickness
8.6 mm

Stability

Lateral stability test

Stability is truly phenomenal in the Adidas Terrex Swift R3 GTX. In spite of its low-cut collar, the shoe actually feels a lot like a hiking boot!

Compared to other shoes in its weight category, this Adidas shoe made us feel incredibly surefooted on tricky trails involving unpredictable rocks, roots, and other debris.

Adidas Terrex Swift R3 GTX stability

We also found that the Pro-Moderator technology (embedded into the sole on both sides) is an excellent foot stabilizer. It worked very effectively to prevent side-to-side movements of the foot which made our legs less fatigued at the end of the day.

Torsional rigidity

The shoe's exceptionally rigid build is the primary reason behind its stability. It is nearly impossible to twist the shoe and you have to put A LOT of effort into it.

Thus, we rated the torsional rigidity of the Adidas Terrex Swift R3 GTX with the highest score of 5 out of 5.

Test results
Terrex Swift R3 GTX 5
Average 3.4
Compared to 18 hiking shoes
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

Contributing to secure heel hold is the shoe's stiff heel counter. On a 1-5 scale where 5 is the stiffest, we rated it as 4.

This helps to significantly minimize the wobbling of the heel and ankle.

Test results
Terrex Swift R3 GTX 4
Average 3.7
Compared to 18 hiking shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

The platform of this Adidas shoe is wide enough to provide plenty of landing surface.

In the widest part of the forefoot, we measured the sole at 114.5 mm. Thanks to the lateral outrigger, this is a few millimeters wider than average.

Adidas Terrex Swift R3 GTX Midsole width in the forefoot
Test results
Terrex Swift R3 GTX 114.5 mm
Average 110.3 mm
Compared to 18 hiking shoes
Number of shoes
103.0 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
117.6 mm

Midsole width in the heel

Back in the heel, the widest part comes in at 88.5 mm. This is a solid average for a hiking shoe.

Adidas Terrex Swift R3 GTX Midsole width in the heel
Test results
Terrex Swift R3 GTX 88.5 mm
Average 86.9 mm
Compared to 18 hiking shoes
Number of shoes
64.2 mm
Midsole width in the heel
101.6 mm

Flexibility

Stiffness

From our experience, the Adidas Terrex Swift R3 GTX definitely feels on the stiff side. However, our lab test shows that it is not stiffer than the average.

According to our force gauge, it takes 34.1N to bend the shoe to a 90-degree angle. Just about the same as the average.

But because of the shoe's burly design and protective overlays, it actually feels rather stiff on the trail.

Test results
Terrex Swift R3 GTX 34.1N
Average 29.8N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 18 hiking shoes
Number of shoes
1.8N
Stiffness
54.0N

Difference in stiffness in cold

Taking the shoe out on a chilly day, be prepared that it will become even more unforgiving. After 20 minutes in the freezer, it required 53.6N of force to bend the shoe instead of 34.1N.

Adidas Terrex Swift R3 GTX lightweight

This Adidas hiking shoe got a whopping 57.4% stiffer in cold compared to room temperature! For reference, most shoes don't get past 50%.

Test results
Terrex Swift R3 GTX 57.4%
Average 32.6%
Compared to 18 hiking shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in stiffness in cold
100%

Grip / Traction

Lug depth

The writing at the bottom of the shoe reads: "LUGS 4.5 MM." Indeed, we found this to be true based on our own caliper measurement.

Adidas Terrex Swift R3 GTX Lug depth

The lugs are also well-spaced in the Swift R3 GTX, making it harder for mud to get stuck in between.

Adidas Terrex Swift R3 GTX outsole

Finally, the chevroned shape of the lugs provides a really good stopping power when going downhill.

Test results
Terrex Swift R3 GTX 4.4 mm
Average 4.0 mm
Compared to 18 hiking shoes
Number of shoes
2.1 mm
Lug depth
5.0 mm

Size and fit

Toebox width at the widest part

Trying the shoe in our regular US size 9, we found that it runs larger and even a bit wider than expected.

In the widest part of the toebox, for example, we got a caliper measurement of 102.7 mm. This is nearly 4 mm wider than average!

However, there is also more space in front of the toes. This made the shoe less than ideal for descending as our toes would bump into the shoe's pretty hard toe bumper (but from the inside). Thus, we recommend going at least half a size smaller than your regular hiking shoe size.

Adidas Terrex Swift R3 GTX Toebox width at the widest part
Test results
Terrex Swift R3 GTX 102.7 mm
Average 101.0 mm
Compared to 18 hiking shoes
Number of shoes
95.4 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
107.7 mm

Toebox width at the big toe

The shoe's toebox has a slightly but not critically tapered shape.

Measuring its width around the big toe, we got 76 mm which is narrower than the average but not enough to call it narrow.

Adidas Terrex Swift R3 GTX Toebox width at the big toe
Test results
Terrex Swift R3 GTX 76.0 mm
Average 81.5 mm
Compared to 18 hiking shoes
Number of shoes
68.8 mm
Toebox width at the big toe
108.6 mm

Tongue: gusset type

This Adidas Terrex shoe uses a fully gusseted tongue to protect the interiors from water and debris.

Adidas Terrex Swift R3 GTX Tongue: gusset type
Test results
Terrex Swift R3 GTX Both sides (full)

Comfort

Tongue padding

The tongue packs a pretty standard amount of padding for a hiking shoe. Measuring it with a caliper, we got 10.9 mm. This was more than enough to keep us warm, comfortable, and free from the lace pressure.

Adidas Terrex Swift R3 GTX Tongue padding
Test results
Terrex Swift R3 GTX 10.9 mm
Average 9.5 mm
Compared to 18 hiking shoes
Number of shoes
5.0 mm
Tongue padding
17.0 mm

Heel tab

A finger loop is attached at the back of the collar. It is large enough to fit an index finger and assist in getting the shoe on much faster.

Adidas Terrex Swift R3 GTX Heel tab
Test results
Terrex Swift R3 GTX Finger loop

Removable insole

If you prefer to wear a custom insert in place of the default one, you have that option in the Swift R3 GTX.

Adidas Terrex Swift R3 GTX Removable insole
Test results
Terrex Swift R3 GTX Yes

Break-in period

Because of the shoe's overall stiff build, it takes more than one hike to fully break in the shoe. It also doesn't feel as comfy as some of the other lightweight speed-oriented hikers.

Do expect a more boot-like experience inside the Adidas Terrex Swift R3 GTX.

Adidas Terrex Swift R3 GTX support

Misc

Reflective elements

No reflective elements were added to this Adidas Terrex hiking shoe.

Adidas Terrex Swift R3 GTX Reflective elements
Test results
Terrex Swift R3 GTX No