The Kalalau Trail (Napali Coast Trail) is prime testing grounds for the Adidas Terrex Climacool Voyager; a modern water shoe with integrated features for hiking and wind protection. When setting out to explore Kauai’s legendary Napali coastline, I’d be kidding myself to think that ordinary water shoes would do you any good; It’s wet, rocky, windy and muddy beyond belief. In fact, I have never experienced mud as fluid as the type that flows down the trail in this region. But when you come prepared with the right gear, the Napali Coast Trail will likely be the most memorable hike of your life; the scenery is worth every breath. Adidas latest water shoe kept my mind on the path ahead and my feet planted on the dirt.
To the untrained eye, the Adidas Terrex Climacool Voyagaer (it’s a mouthful) is far from just a water shoe. It looks more like a modern lifestyle training sneaker that crosses over into the outdoor category. This is exactly why we chose to rely on them for a seven day excursion across Kauai. On two occasions, I was asked if I was wearing a new pair of workout shoes — a pretty big statement for the weird world of water shoes.
The EVA midsole accounts for much of the shoes classic trainer look; it’s a simple yet highly functional feature that isn’t commonly found on water shoes. Softer under the foot and harder on the outer edges of the shoe, the EVA provided enough protection and comfort to keep me focused on the trails obstacles and incredibly messy conditions. Stability in the mud and rain is also above average when hiking with the Voyager’s. Don’t expect a ‘hiking’ footbed or orthotic feel; the Climacool Voyagers still straddle the line of minimalistic footwear — a good thing for the chaotic conditions found on the Kalalau Trail. From beginning to end, this slightly cushioned midsole provided noticeable pressure relief and full-foot comfort.
Given the rough and technical nature of Kauai’s volcanic rock, python-sized roots, umbrella-sized leaves, and hurdle-sized ledges I needed more than just a stable sole to make it through this trip. A water shoe with an outsole capable of much more than walking was required here; TRAXION is Adidas answer to this call.
The outsole on the Voyager is a flexible rubber compound that perfectly meshes with the midsole across the entire shoe, a noticeable observation to the shoes quality. Hiking, especially on demanding trails often tests minimal water shoes beyond their limits. The quality of the Terrex Climacool Voyager was undeniably reliable and uncompromising within this realm of tropical ruggedness. In its lugged pattern this outsole was gripping terrain like a mountain bike tire — seriously unstable ground. At 60a hardness rating, we discovered a rubber that felt at home on the pavement, dirt, and rock — a characteristic that only science and engineering can lay claim to. And it seemed to work great for island life.
My trip across the island during the rainy season tested my gear unlike any conditions I am accustomed to; heat, rain, cold, and wind all at unpredictable moments — it would drive an organized backpacker insane. A forgiving midsole, stable skeleton, and rubber-lugged outsole are all respectable features to assist the person who enjoys pushing their limits. But more is needed to truly offer all day comfort.
What flows in must flow out… or something like that.
Have you ever worn a water shoe that absorbs water like a sponge and holds onto it for the entire day? You might as well hike with cotton socks in the pouring rain — this is my single greatest fear when using a new pair of water shoes. To combat this the Adidas Voyager has integrated drainage channels that pull water out of the shoe through the midsole.
But did it work? Yes indeed. In fact, as well as it drained water it also sucked it back into the shoe — similar to a self-draining kayak — the water flows in and out freely. As a person who embraces every aspect of the outdoors this didn’t bother me. I was wet, I was dirty, but most importantly, I was having the time of my life.
From eating lunch in Hanalei during pouring rain, to hiking the Napali Coastline with inches of standing water these shoes drained exceptionally well. But, and this is a big but, there was absolutely no dryness involved with my experience. These shoes are meant to tackle all forms of water and will remain wet until they are hung to dry. Don’t expect any miracles — like going kayaking with the hope of staying completely dry.
With history dating back to my childhood, Adidas Climacool mesh fabric is hands down one of the highest performing materials that an athletic shoe — yet alone water shoe — can have. The Voyager is extremely breathable in all conditions. Wind and rain passed through the fabric without obstruction while rocks, foliage and dirt remained mostly outside. Sure it’s just mesh and not some dirt forcefield therefore my feet were still a mess after finishing the trail.
The Adidas Terrex Climacool Voyager did everything I expected it to and a little bit more, all in a demanding environment. Walking comfort and support far surpassed my expectations; these shoes were suitable for everyday use as well — socks or not. When it came time to hit the trail, in terrible conditions I might add, these shoes hung in there for hours on end through the thick of a storm. Upon returning to the car I sprayed them clean to look for rips and tears but none were found. With almost four months of use behind them these Adidas Terrex water shoes are other-worldly in their ability remain clean and unscathed. One thing is for certain, this pair will see many more adventures before they are replaced.