These stylish hikers perform better than their appearance suggests, though there’s a little room (or lack of it) for improvement
Waterproof and breathable
Decent toe and heel protection
Reasonably comfortable out-of-the-box
Gusseted tongue prevents intruders
Uses recycled materials
High drop may squash toes on downhill
Toe box is a bit narrow
Might need a little breaking in
Traction not for technical terrain
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Adidas Terrex Free Hiker 2 GTX boots: first impressions
With the Terrex Free Hiker 2, Adidas is aiming for the folks who want a decent, waterproof hiking boot with a bit of grip for gentle-to-moderate trails that they can wear about town without looking like a hiker. With an urban, stylish look, these boots incorporate a lot of features you associate with running shoes – a rocker foam midsole and lightweight mesh uppers – with an ankle cuff to add a little more support and protection.
• List price: $230 / £200
• Gender specification: Men’s and women’s available
• Sizes: Men’s 6 - 15 US, 5.5 - 14.5 UK / Women’s 5 - 11 US, 3.5 - 9 UK
• Weight (per shoe): 9.5 oz / 270 grams (women’s US 6)
• Materials: Gore-Tex liner, Rubber outsole, Foam midsole Mesh upper
• Colors: Preloved Yellow, Wonder Silver, Semi Flash Aqua, Core Black, Grey Six, Grey Three
• Best use: Hiking
Testing these in the hills, we found that the upper offered perfect waterproofing and we didn’t get sweaty feet, though it wasn’t very hot. The grip was decent, but we wouldn’t use these on technical terrain or very steep trails as the lugs aren’t deep enough. Our main gripe was the toe box, which is a little narrow and probably requires going up a full size to avoid your toes bashing into the ends on the downhills, and the ankle cuff started to hurt a little after a long day. They appear to have a fairly high drop, which can add to the toe bashing unfortunately, but that is offset a little by the rocker sole, which does support a smooth stride.
Overall, the cushioned soles make for a fairly comfortable wear on a long day and they look great, but you’ll probably want to size up if you actually want to wear these in the mountains.
Adidas Terrex Free Hiker 2 GTX boots: in the field
I recently went to Cairngorms National Park in Scotland to test the new GORE-TEX fabric, where I spent two days mountain biking and hiking in these hiking boots. Over the course of two days, I managed to get about 10 miles in on foot while wearing them.
Here’s how they performed:
Sizing and fit
I always go up a half size in hiking boots so I tested a UK4 (US 6) and though they felt good when I first put them on, once I got moving in them I noticed I needed a little more room, so I’d go up a full size next time. The fit around the heel and forefoot isn’t too snug and though I can wiggle my toes, I think the slightly tapered toe box means I need a bigger size to give my toes enough room.
Comfort and breathability
When I first put these on, they felt really light and comfortable – more akin to a trainer than a boot with lots of cushioning and no rubbing. The ankle cuff was a little stiff, but not so much that I was worried about heading out in them without breaking them in first. As the first day wore on, however, I did notice that they got a little uncomfortable.
For me, the main two problem areas were that the ankle cuff caused a bit of bruising around my calves, and I think because my toes were bashing into the end of the boot, my fourth toe got quite painful on the downhill. By the end of the second day, I was pretty glad to get out of them. I think easing in with them and going up another half size would help, and like I said if you get the right fit, these are more like a trainer.
I didn’t have any issues with hot, sweaty feet, though they are waterproof so on a hot day you might want thin socks.
Grip and performance
Rubber outsoles and 2 - 3 mm lugs make these decent for walkable terrain. We were actually hiking off trail for quite a while and coming downhill on a reasonably steep section, I didn’t have any problems with slipping.
The rocker sole does lend a smooth stride, but one thing I found interesting is that these boots appear to have a decent drop from heel to toe, something I’m more used to seeing in running shoes than hiking boots. I’m not sure how much the rocker sole counters that, but I couldn’t help feeling it was playing into my toe pain on the downhills.
Protection and stability
The protection of these boots is good, so don’t let my “trainer-like” description mislead you. The heels and toes are reinforced with plastic, which might not withstand a sushi knife but will protect you on the type of trails you’re likely to attempt in these. The waterproofing works perfectly, which I know because I stood in a loch wearing them and not a drop got through.
I sometimes feel that rocker soles reduce stability but these aren’t too chunky and they were quite stable, even when we were off trail and walking on really unstable terrain.
Adidas Terrex Free Hiker 2 GTX boots: bottom line
These boots look more at home in the city than on a hike, but if you’re a trend-setter seeking something reliable for moderate trails, you can definitely take these out of an urban environment and onto the hills. Just make sure you size up.
Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.