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adidas Kanadia XC TR Review

The adidas Kanadia XC TR is a fairly light fell shoe, aimed at people tackling the muckiest of conditions, so if your race is going to be slippery and knarly, you may want to take a look. It is quite different from the standard Kanadia Trails. Fantastic colours too! Thanks to adidas for giving me a pair to use at the 24hr Thunder Run. edit: these have now been replaced by the similar looking “Kanadia XC 2 ATR”

I asked adidas and they said:

It’s designed as a cross country race shoe with simple EVA midsole. The idea is that it offers all the stability you would expect from a great trail shoe but maintains similar weight to that of our standard running shoes. Ultimately the athlete can continue to run at great pace in comfort, even on uneven ground.

Kanadia XC TR side

Single track

The Kanadia XC TR is a very focused shoe. It is for mud and loose earth. Don’t even think about using it if your run contains more than a few minutes of road, or wet smooth stone. If the trail is off-road but still firm to hard then look elsewhere. However, if your trail is loose or muddy and generally extreme, then here’s where the Kanadia XC TR steps in, with the very aggressive outsole to save the day!

Kanadia XC TR message

Weight, balance and drop

My size 12s weighed in at 277g on my scales, which, given the size of the sole and outersole combined with the thick supportive upper, is actually pretty light, giving a good balance between speed and comfort on the trail. The foam sole is approx. 12mm at the rear and 6mm at the forefoot and toe, giving a drop of approx. 6mm, so beware if you aren’t used to using low heel drops because this will feel a little different, especially if you heel strike. I really like the way most of the toe has the same thickness as the forefoot, making it very predictable on foot plant.

Kanadia XC TR weight


For comparison purposes, the size 12UK Kanadia XC TR was right for me and I wear size 11.5 adios 2/boost and size 12 Energy Boost. However, the Kanadia is a fair bit wider than the adios in the laced part of the shoe, so for my clown feet I had to do the laces up until the tongue started to compress at the sides. At first glance this worried me, but as it turned out, after 20 miles of mud, my feet were fine!


Whilst it’s a fairly no-frills shoe, reflected in the price-point, there are a few notable features. The upper is layered with waterproof materials near the sole and breathable mesh nearer the top. Kanadia XC TR instep

The ankle area is padded, providing a degree of comfort and also prevents trail debris from entering.

Kanadia XC TR rear

Then there is the outer sole which is the defining aspect of the shoe. adidas call the grip profile “TRAXION+ LUGS”, and yes, they do deserve upper case! They are approx 5.5mm tall with a step. The direction switches from the front to the back so that at the front, they act like a claw on the way up hills and the rear has braking power on the way down hill for anyone that lands mid-foot or heel. They also shed mud really well – I stopped for a second during a particularly muddy section of trail to check – so your shoes stay light rather than picking up the trail and taking it with you!  The lugs are also siped meaning the inside has been slit to allow more freedom to react to the terrain and increasing grip levels, a technology used on many wet weather mountain bike tyres. You can just about see this as little crosses on the tips of the lugs in the picture below.

Kanadia XC TR sole grip

Down a steep slippery hill, putting the whole foot flat to the ground gives confidence insipring grip. Uphill, on mud, wet grass, crud and generally anything that would normally be a problem, it digs in and lets you drive up on full power.

In the hilariously mucky 2013 Thunder Run conditions, I overtook so many people who were wearing normal trail shoes but were still struggling to keep a line, whereas I was scrambling up off-camber corners, tightening up the trail and darting around runners flailing in the mud. I railed round grassy wet corners that looked terrifying, but were a breeze for the Kanadias. There were a few occassions where the mud was really thick and I slid out, but with progressive control, always finding grip after a few inches, always keeping me upright – I’m certain I can’t take all the credit for those skills! They even did a fair job of grabbing on to wet roots, no mean feat in itself.

Kanadia XC TR mud

Kanadia XC TR front

This is not a shoe for long distance comfort for an average user, but for a short muddy race, almost any confident runner would benefit from the amazing grip profile. However, experienced runners could use them on long races as long as you consider extended sections of hard surface where the lugs might dig in a bit – I tried 6 miles on dry hardpack and my feet started to complain. 20 miles in the mud was great though! I also used them for a (at the time) marathon PB of 3:11 in the Portsmouth trail marathon 2014 in 33rd place. It may have a narrow focus, but for the he money it’s great value, so as long as the buyer knows what it’s for, it does its job perfectly. When the going gets wet and wild, give the adidas Kanadia XC TR a go.

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16 thoughts on “adidas Kanadia XC TR Review”

  1. Javier Insausti

    Hi, I have one pair of Adidas Kanadia TR5 size 10UK, usually i’m wearing a size 8UK. Are the Kanadia XC same sizes as TR5, I’m afraid to buy them online and they don’t have them in any near store, but i’ll love to have a pair.
    Please help me if you can :)

    1. Hi Javier. Sorry, I haven’t tried the TR5. In the review I mention comparisons to adios boost and energy boost shoes, so maybe you could try those on in your local shop to get an idea? However, at the bottom of the review, there is my affiliate link to the adidas website – they have a very good returns policy. When you do get hold of a pair of the XC TR, please report back with your thoughts after you’ve tried them :)

    1. Hi Mayra, only if it’s muddy on the WHOLE course. If the ground in between obstacles is firm then a less extreme shoe would be better. Hope that helps :)

  2. What is your hesitation in using these for firmer trails and longer runs? Is it that the lugs become uncomfortable?

    1. Yes, exactly. I tried a 10k race on bone dry but very knarly conditions and decided it wasn’t suitable because the lugs didn’t enter the ground at all and just pressed on my feet unecessarily. A flatter sole would have given more grip with longer comfort. But when conditions are muddy and wet, they rock.

  3. hi charles,

    interesting review. could you tell me what the arch is like on these shoes? i like shoes with little arch support – i like my feet to do the work, and a high arch often causes me more discomfort than anything else. looking at the sole it seems to be a shoe with high arch…

    also the toe-box…. it looks to be quite narrow. obviously in fell-type conditions you don’t want it to be too sloppy or you will struggle, but the forefoot looks pretty narrow. any comments?

    if it helps for your answer, could you compare this shoe to any others you have tried…? i have a pair of inov-8 x-talon 190s… does it compare?


    1. Hi Ross.
      The insole is very narrow (e.g. compared to adios boost), so there is almost no arch support from the insole. The only arch support comes from the shape of the upper, but it doesn’t feel like it’s supporting the arch – more like just snug.
      The toebox is about half a centimetre narrower in places than an adios boost, making it more akin to the adios 2 toebox, so if you need to be able to splay your toes, then look elsewhere. I got some Five Finger TrekSport Sandals in the post today for ultimate toe spreading :D And am thinking of grabbing seme Xero Sensori Venture too for when the trails dry up a bit.
      I haven’t tried the X-talons – they look similar apart from weight which I suspect is because the XC TR has more cushion. Out of interest, what are the X-talons like on hard surfaces? Can you feel the lugs pressing your foot? In the XC TR on the road or hard trails, I can feel the lugs under the balls of the feet too much (yes obviously not meant for these surfaces, so not really a problem).

  4. Hey Charles
    I am a football referee do you think i can use this to officiate.
    On a surface that is not firm or slightly soft.
    I was thinking of using it instead of regular turf
    What do you think?

    1. Hi Jason. I actually think it would be excellent for that. It’s quite low to the ground with firm cushion, so very stable for when you need to change direction quickly. And for 100 mins of gentle exercise, you won’t even know they are there. If you do try them, please report back – I hope my guess is good.

  5. Hi Charles,

    when were these released? I have combed the internet, but cannot currently find them on sale anywhere. I would love to have them!


    1. I believe they were AW13. They have released a new version for 2014 (looks very similar) called the “Kanadia XC 2 ATR”. There are a few places selling it. Not sure about US based, but these guys deliver to the US: Sportsshoes.com

  6. Hi Charles,
    Great review! Looking at these for my gf’s tough mudder (my excuse is a torn acl, lcl and plc!), could you recommend for this type of event?

    1. Hi Jon, I haven’t tried a TM event. In the mud, they would be great – there’s a new version out that I haven’t tried (XC 2 ATR) which should be more available now. Care would be needed on any wet wooden sections though.

  7. Hola necesito para descensos fuertes e inclinados en terreno full rocoso y arenoso, me serviran?

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