For the past month, I had the pleasure of spending a COVID-riddled summer in Colorado. My home state’s abundance of outdoor activities gave me some much-needed time in nature. But more importantly, it provided the opportunity to wear my outdoor gear for what it was actually made for.
All my gorpcore pickups that amount to little more than a costume in New York City were put to good use. A Columbia fishing shirt, The North Face x Supreme zip-off cargo pants, a killer fishing vest I picked up at a vintage store: all of these items went from evidence of stolen valor to apparel well-suited for my environment. I was the steeziest, and perhaps douchiest, person on the campground and on the hiking trails.
It felt great.
But I wasn’t just pulling out the classics, I was also testing a pair of Adidas Terrex Two Ultra Parleys that I was sent to review at just the right time. Had they arrived a few weeks earlier or later, they would have been underutilized on the streets of NYC. Instead, I was able to put them to the test on two Boulder, Colorado hiking trails.
These lightweight and surprisingly sturdy trail running sneakers are the top of the line from Adidas Terrex’s latest crop. Underneath the Boost midsole, which is always a pleasure to step on, is a Continental outsole that provides great tread and stability on uneven surfaces. I knew they’d be ultra cushiony, but I was surprised at how well they held up on the Royal Arch trail at Chautauqua Park. The hike packs nearly 900 feet of elevation into just 0.8 miles, and the kicks held up well in both the steep climbs and abrupt drops.
Usually, I’ll hike in a pair of Nike ACG Humaras. These hiking sneakers are also surprisingly lightweight, but the upper is more robust with a combination of canvas, mesh, and leather. It felt strange to hit the trails in a sock-like Primeknit upper, but not any more vulnerable. I never rolled an ankle, and the reinforced rubber toe protected my little piggies whenever I kicked a rock.
As the shoe’s name indicates, the Primeknit upper is made from Adidas and Parley’s recycled ocean plastic. In the earlier years of this partnership, the sustainable material was always rendered in blue. Now that they’re further along, it’s nice to see the plastic-based fabric in a variety of colors — in this case black.
My only complaint is that I was given the relatively plain “Core Black” color variant. The “Solar Gold” version is much more dynamic with its hornet-like upper and Boost midsole with a patchwork stripe treatment. That shoe would be much more likely to get wear in my normal day-to-day life, but then again I was less hesitant to beat up the less exciting pair. And after all, that’s what the sneakers are for.
As outdoor gear continues to strike a chord with the fashion crowd, these sneakers are a great way to adopt the trend on your feet. But if performance is more your thing and you plan on putting your shoes to work at the trails, the Adidas Terrex Two Ultra Parley doesn’t suffer from being trendy. It’s a bonafide gripper ready to tackle the toughest terrain.