Let me start off by saying that I really, really wanted to like these shoes. I’m not 100% sure why. But, I liked the way they looked. I had high hopes for the Boost material. The outsoles looked awesome! And, I could just picture myself dancing down the trails and over mountains in these things. In reality though… All of these shoes were harder to love than I would have have hoped.
Let’s start with some basic details… (additional info can be found on the Adidas website)
Adidas Sky Chaser – 11.4oz, $160.00
Adidas Agravic GTX – 11.8oz, $150.00
Adidas Agravic – 11.0oz, $135.00
Initially, I purchased the Adidas Skychaser and the Adidas Agravic GTX. I was really excited about these shoes and was interested in seeing them side by side since they were so similar. One of the reasons I went with the Gore-tex version of the Agravic is so that, in the event that I liked both, I wouldn’t end up with two almost identical shoes in my closet.
In the end though I didn’t keep either shoe and returned both the Skychaser and the Agravic GTX… and let me tell you why.
Upper Issues… Adidas Skychaser and Agravic GTX
My first issue with both the Skychaser and the Agravic GTX was sizing. I’m typically a size 11.0 in just about everything. However, I tried on an 11 and it was much, much too long. I ended up going with the 10.5, which fit much better, but introduced other fit issues. It wasn’t that the shoes were to narrow. It had more to do with the location of the lowest lace loops. They are located right over the 1st and 5th metatarsal heads and when the laces are tight enough to secure the shoe to my foot, this area was much too tight and very uncomfortable.
Here you can see the same problem with the Agravic GTX. Those lower lace loops, when tight, just crushed my feet and didn’t allow for adequate splay, causing quite a bit of discomfort.
I did experiment with not using the lower lace loops, and when doing this the shoes felt much better without any of the pinching or uncomfortable squeezing that I experienced before. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the only problem I experienced with the uppers, and both the Skychaser and the Agravic GTX had additional flaws that led me to return them.
This next issue, I believe, is the Skychaser’s biggest flaw. The Skychaser upper is this really, awesome, nicely woven, soft, stretchy, fabric. However, around the arch of the foot the adidas logo overlay is made out of this super stiff, and hard plastic. I assume this was done to help secure the foot. However, the super soft fabric of the upper doesn’t provide anywhere near enough protection or pressure distribution and the edges of the overlays end up really digging into your feet… Especially the band furthest forward on the inside of the foot. Just walking around my house I could feel this band getting aggressive with my feet in an uncomfortable way. If the GTX version of the Skychaser had been in stock I would have liked to try them, as the extra layers of fabric should offer more protection.
Here you can see the interior sock liner of the Agravic GTX. The Agravic upper is made of a more substantial material that’s very secure and doesn’t require the stiff overlays that were included on the Skychaser. That’s a good thing because the interior is nice and smooth, and very comfortable with none of the digging in I experienced in the Skychasers. Unfortunately, I ran into yet another issue. In the GTX model of the Agravic the additional layers of fabric cause the upper to be quite stiff. This, unfortunately, caused the shoe to bite into the tops of my feet where the upper breaks over the toes when flexing. Now, this is something that would probably lessen over time, and might go away completely once broken in… However, I’ve had shoes that have done this in the past and they never got any better. Possibly another copy of the same model might break differently and not cause the issue, but I wasn’t taking chances and decided to return them.
Outsoles… Adidas Skychaser and Agravic GTX
Now, let’s take a quick look at the outsoles. This is one area where the Adidas shoes shine. And I have to say… They look pretty sweet. I didn’t get to run in either the Skychaser or Agravic GTX so my comments only relate to my observations. Here you can see the outsole on the Skychaser. It’s made by Continental, is nice and sticky, offers good clearance between the lugs, and should be awesome out on the trail. Compared to the Agravic the lugs are ever so slightly shallower, and the edges are a little softer.
Here you can see the outsole on the Agravic GTX. As you can see it is also made by Continental, is quite aggressive, offers good spacing, and has lugs that are just a bit deeper and shaper than the Skychaser.
The Adidas Agravic… Non The GTX Model
So… after all of the problems I had with the first two shoes from Adidas I just didn’t want to give up. I really wanted to find something I could put some miles on because I had a feeling if I could get past the fit issues I was going to really like these shoes. So, after returning the Skychaser and the Agravic GTX I ordered up a pair of the non-GTX Agravics. These ended up having the same issue across the ball of the foot, but was remedied by not using the lower lace loops. After making that slight change everything was peachy!
Here you can see the interior of the Agravic. It’s soft and smooth and as comfortable as can be. I’ve not been able to put quite a few miles on these… hiking in VT and NH, running on rocky trails, loamy trail, mud, rain, etc… This spring I seemed to get caught out in the rain every weekend on my long run, and another pair of shoes I’ve been using would always start to rub me the wrong way in the arch area after they got wet. So, to continue the trend, on one of my long runs this spring I was using the Agravics and got caught in the worst storm yet and spent over 90 minutes running in a downpour… And… They were awesome! They drained well. They gripped well. They didn’t rub me wrong. They were awesome!
Here’s another shot of the sole on the Adidas Agravic. Again I want to mention the aggressive lugs, great spacing, and sticky rubber. In the mud they grip well, and shed the slop. On rocky trails they’re sticky and they offer adequate protection to keep your feet safe when pounding down the trail. And when you encounter the occasional road section… they’re fine and feel plenty smooth.
At the end of the day… I’m really liking these shoes. The boost foam… is foam. These aren’t meant to provide huge amounts of pillowy goodness… and that’s fine. They feel good, they feel fast, they protect my feet, and they offer good grip. What more could you want. These aren’t the lightest shoes out there, but I’m really liking them for fastpacking, and general light & fast exploring here in the Northeast.