I belong to the sneaker generation. In my opinion, they are not only good for doing sports.
When I think of adidas, I think of stylish sneakers rather than solid hiking boots, even if this cliché hasn’t been valid for a long time. Under the Terrex label, adidas has been offering equipment for outdoor enthusiasts for years.
HANDS-ON: WHAT CAN THE TERREX FREE HIKER DO
Yes, tastes are different and of course you have to admit that the Free Hiker does not look like a hiking boot at first, but rather like a running or trail running shoe. However, I was immediately impressed by the look. I was and still am on the road with the black and white version, whereby I find the “colourful” version almost cooler.
adidas advertises the shoe as durable and highly water-repellent (even without a membrane, I’ll come back to that in a moment). The well-known Continental sole is supposed to ensure safe progress. The midsole boasts the Boost technology, which adidas also uses in its running shoes. This is particularly flexible and is supposed to have a small “rebound” effect – in other words, it releases stored energy again.
When I first put them on, I was surprised by the high collar. Surprised in a good way! The shoe fits snugly on the foot, but could be a bit tighter on the metatarsus for my taste. But the stability is still perfectly acceptable!
The upper material is called ‘Primeknit’ (currently very trendy) and looks as if it is knitted. This makes the shoe very flexible, comfortable and fits almost like a sock. My colleagues asked me if the shoe was easy to put on and take off, but I never had a problem with that, maybe because I wear them a bit looser than my normal street shoes.
I first wore the Free Hiker in my everyday life and in the office, which was perfect for breaking them in – and yes, because the mountains are just a few kilometres away. To be honest, I didn’t think they could handle tricky mountain passages at the beginning, but I was to be proven wrong…
HOW DOES THE FREE HIKER PERFORM WHEN HIKING?
A team trip to the Montafon was announced and the Free Hiker needed to join. But at the end of May there was still a lot of snow and I thought that this might be too much for my new companion. Nevertheless, I went straight up the mountain with them. They were great on well-maintained hiking trails. They were comfortable and the Conti sole was grippy.
Shortly before the summit I saw the first snowfields and I quickly realized that this would be the first real test. I prepared myself mentally for wet, cold feet – without a membrane, water would have to penetrate at some point – and took the first step into the remnants of the long, snowy winter. Splash – during the first steps I waited anxiously for the cool moisture that should immediately wet my socks. But nothing happened.
Even after almost an hour with lots of snowfields, meltwater streams and puddles, my feet were warm and dry. So here adidas did not promise too much! Due to the high collar, water couldn’t penetrate from above, which turned out to be a problem for some of my colleagues. But that is not necessarily a unique selling point of the Free Hiker.
Even on the second day of our tour, the upper remained watertight, even though we didn’t come into contact with as much moisture.
I was particularly impressed by the Continental sole. Our trail runners here at Alpinetrek always praise them for their reliable traction. I couldn’t agree more!
The midsole has a great dynamic performance, good rolling characteristics and comfort. I can’t judge whether energy is really being returned, but it’s quite pleasant to walk on.
MUCH LIGHT, LITTLE SHADE…
The disadvantage of the strong, water-repellent properties of the upper material in combination with the snug, mid-cut collar is that moisture naturally cannot escape so easily. So it gets relatively warm in the shoe. Therefore I would definitely recommend wearing a rather light pair of trekking socks with them.
THE CONCLUSION OF THE TERREX FREE HIKER
All in all I am really impressed! In my opinion, the shoes are capable of much more than you might think at first glance. One should definitely not be deceived by the looks. This here is a real hiking shoe!
Due to its construction, I would recommend it primarily in light terrain and for speed hikers due to its sole structure. And, of course, for all those who value a cool look.