Bouncing around in the cheerful Adidas Terrex Free Hiker, £169.95, a versatile summer trainer/walking boot hybrid that’s big on comfort.
Adidas Free Hiker Boot review
Product description: “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.”
Casual wear: This has to be one of the most cheerful hiking boots I’ve ever worn, a nice change from a sea of sensible brown leather and grey fabric boots. I love the neon flashes (the boots are also available in plain black if you don’t favour bright colours) and the soft, stretchy knit-like upper, which makes the Free Hikers as comfortable to wear as your favourite worn-in trainers straight out of the box. If you often find stiff traditional hiking boots restrictive or painful, these could be the perfect choice.
Hiking: The Free Hiker has a feature I’ve never seen on a hiking boot before – a snug elasticated ankle that molds to your leg like a sock. It feels delightfully comfortable and supportive and also works against letting light rain soak your socks. That’s wear the weather protection stops, though – the Free Hiker isn’t waterproof, which is a big barrier for me when it comes to spending this kind of money on outdoor boots. You can wear them on dry summer days of course, but it’s a pity they don’t offer proper waterproofing (Adidas reckons they are ‘water repellent’ but I found they couldn’t withstand heavier rain showers).
The most impressive element of these boots are the rugged yet lightweight soles, which feel light and bouncy even on long hikes but still offer brilliant grip, even on slippy wet rock. Combined with that close-fitting ankle, you get a boot that feels supportive yet flexible even on uneven terrain.
Verdict: Best for the style conscious and for sticking to casual good-weather hikes, or if you’re desperately seeking a really comfortable trainer-like boot you can easily wear anywhere from the mountains to the pub in warmer weather. The Adidas Freek Hiker does feel like lovely quality but is pretty pricey – one to wait to buy in the sales.