Adidas Conrax II

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A year ago, the SNEWS team was given a pair of adidas Conrax II high-top winter training shoes to evaluate. Given the mild Northwestern winter, we barely got the chance to test them appropriately. However, this winter has been far from mild, so we donned the Conrax II's with a smile.

One of our testers wrote: "I still have my first pair of adidas winter training shoes that I got in Lake Placid, New York, during the 1980 Winter Olympics, and this newer version obviously takes the concept of a light, high-cut, insulated shoe with traction for running, snowshoeing and simply getting around in snowy weather to new heights."

What makes the Conrax work for active winter athletes is its minimal weight, almost as light as a standard trail running shoe, just enough Thinsulate insulation to provide warmth without getting too bulky or making the shoe too hot, and a last that is snug enough so mid- or heavyweight socks aren't needed just make the shoe fit securely.

Our tester also wrote: "I used the shoes for everything from shoveling snow, to snowshoeing, to hiking to the market. The shoes certainly aren't warm enough for standing around in the cold watching an outdoor hockey game at 10 below. They're for being on the go. However, for all the pluses, even better traction for ice or snow would have been appreciated, and the addition of a waterproof bootie would be nice."

SNEWS Note: At the OR show last month, adidas unveiled Conrax III. The new version comes with a Sympatex bootie along with the Thinsulate lining, has sticky rubber soles with metal spikes imbedded in them and has a zipper lace cover.

SNEWS Rating: 4 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection.

Suggested Retail: $135

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