ProView – adidas Outdoor Terrex Free Hiker

The right shoes can make or break a day of outdoor activity. The Terrex Free Hikers, new shoes in the adidas Outdoor lineup, are stylish, breathable, and sticky — designed for comfort on long hikes. These shoes are a fantastic choice for full days of moderate terrain.

Living in the northeast, I’m spoiled by short approaches and easy access to crags, rivers, and hikes, which meant I had to go out of my way to put these shoes to the test. I wanted to push them to the limit, so I wore the Free Hikers on everything from sidewalks to trails to Cannon Mountain’s infamous talus field. How’d they do? Let’s find out.

adidas Outdoor Terrex Free Hiker

Product Description: Hiking never felt better. Every ingredient in these shoes aims for comfort on long-distance hikes. The sock-like build and adidas Primeknit upper hug your foot for an adaptive, snug feel with every step. The Torsion bar provides a stable, controlled and natural flex of the midsole and foot.

Price: MSRP $200.00

  • Comfort
    (5)
  • Performance
    (3)
  • Fit
    (3.5)
  • Durability
    (4)

Summary

While they’re no substitute for a sturdy hiking boot on difficult ascents, the Terrex Free Hikers are my new go-to shoe for long days on moderate terrain where comfort is key. I love their cushioned sole, fantastic breathability, and snug fit. With durable construction and a water-repellent finish, you can expect these shoes to last.

Overall
3.9

Pros

  • Breathable
  • Super comfortable
  • Stylish
  • Durable construction

Cons

  • Not suited for technical terrain
  • Only lightly water-repellent

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Fit

Though my street shoe size is a nine, the Free Hikers run slightly large, so I decided to wear the 8.5s. This size hugs my foot all around, with comfortable room in the toe box — not too much, not too little. The knit upper is also super flexible, so there is no break-in period on these shoes. The downside of this, however, is that the shoe tends to roll over (more on this in the Performance section). For my feet, the eights might have been a better technical fit to compensate, so I’d recommend trying on a few pairs and considering the intended use before committing.

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Construction and Durability

Right out of the box, I was quite impressed with how these shoes (and I say “shoes” because they aren’t true boots) are built. They have the springy adidas Boost midsole with a Torsion Bar (for added rigidity), the Primeknit sock upper with a DWR finish, and surprisingly sticky sole from Continental. All the seams are sealed with a welded-on tape that showed no signs of delamination even after months of heavy use. Around the ankle is an elastic strap for added support, and the inside of the heel cup is lined with a thick cushion, so wearing Free Hikers feels like walking on a pillow. Throughout the whole testing period, these shoes held up remarkably well, and look almost as good as the day I got them (albeit a bit muddier).

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Performance

Now onto the good stuff. As I mentioned earlier, these shoes are exceptionally comfortable, so I’ve actually really enjoyed them as a day-to-day shoe. But they’re designed for hiking, and they deserved to be tested as such.

First was water repellency: I dumped a water bottle on them. And then jumped in a puddle. And my feet were mostly dry. While these shoes aren’t completely waterproof, the DWR coating does a good job at beading off most fluids. While I wouldn’t trust them in a downpour, I have worn the Free Hikers in drizzles and moderate rain, with positive results.

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adidas-outdoor-terrex-free-hiker-review-dirtbagdreams.com

On the trail, the trend was pretty similar. I wore them almost exclusively and really enjoyed them. To really test their abilities, I took them as my approach shoes on a linkup of two classic Cannon routes, which meant well over three hours of hiking on 40+ degree slopes and over sand and fields of car-sized boulders. I had mixed success. The shoes are comfortable, grippy, and stable on hikes and easy scrambles, but weren’t up to the task when more technical terrain (YDS Class 3 and up) was involved. Because of the soft sole and super stretchy upper, they tended to roll around my foot when weighted on edges, and cinching down the laces didn’t help. I also consistently lost my footing on wet rocks and soil, which slowed my progress. On the other hand, one of the major benefits of the knit upper was drastically improved breathability over any other hiking shoes or boots I own; even wearing wool socks, my feet have never gotten sweaty in these shoes, which I’ve found to be a huge asset for long periods of wear. So while the Free Hikers are exceptional on intermediate turf, I recommend a snug approach shoe or a boot with a thinner, stiffer sole for more difficult hikes.

Style

Who says hiking shoes can’t look good too? They come in several different designs and color combos, so they fit right into any wardrobe. They’re not too flashy but certainly catch your eye. Several of my friends have admitted they want mine, and more than once I’ve been approached in public by someone offering compliments, which has never happened to me with any other shoes.

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The Final Word

While they’re no substitute for a sturdy hiking boot on difficult ascents, the Terrex Free Hikers are my new go-to shoe for long days on moderate terrain where comfort is key. I love their cushioned sole, fantastic breathability, and snug fit. With durable construction and a water-repellent finish, you can expect these shoes to last.

adidas-outdoor-terrex-free-hiker-review-dirtbagdreams.com

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EJ Rimerman is an assistant leader of the whitewater kayaking program at the White Mountain School and an instructor at Rock Climb Fairfield in Fairfield, CT. When not coaching new climbers at the gym, you’ll find him running the classic creeks of New Hampshire or working as a climbing guide in the Gunks. You can follow EJ on Instagram @edge_outside.

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