Mybeerbuzz .com Highlights The Adidas Terrex Free Hiker (Review)

Mybeerbuzz .com Highlights The Adidas Terrex Free Hiker (Review)You might be surprised to find out that I love hiking as much as I enjoy beer.  My wife and I travel several times a year to pure hiking destinations and literally spend weeks each year hiking in National Parks, State Parks and National Monuments.  As we approach July, we’ve already mapped out our summer hiking trip that includes over 50-miles of hikes, and most of it with significant altitude gain.

Over the years we’ve learned quite a bit about what does and does not work with our hiking gear.  You’d be amazed at how a minor irritation in your choice of hiking shoes can result in a major blister after 10-miles on the trail, so it has always been my highest hiking-priority to find the best hiking shoes I can.

In the last several years, I have tried out multiple pairs of hiking shoes from Trail runners to waterproof mids, and I’ve learned a lot about how shoe choice can influence your enjoyment of a hike, or your level of pain.  Add in the fact that I’m not getting any younger AND I have flat feet, and it is clear why picking the right shoe is my highest hiking-priority.

With this in mind, I was really excited to get an opportunity to try out what I consider one of the most unique and different approaches to hiking shoes on the market today, the Adidas Terrex Free Hiker….so off we go.

If you’re unfamiliar, the Adidas Terrex Free Hiker is a relatively new shoe release from Adidas as well as a new approach to hiking shoe design.  The Terrex Free looks and feels a bit like a high-top sneaker, but with cushioning, responsiveness and durability built in.  The sole of the shoe uses Continental Rubber (yes as in Continental tires) for grip and traction, built-in energy return cushioning for efficient use of energy and an abrasion-resistant toe cap.  The body of the shoe is very stretchy because it uses a softer fabric that Adidas calls Primeknit.  This fabric is described as “water-repellent” and the shoe also uses heavier protective material at more vulnerable places.

FIT:
Be aware of a few things as you consider adding the Terrex Free Hiker to your hiking shoe library.  First off, the sizing on this shoe seems about 1/2-size on the large side.  I normally wear a US 10.5 however with the Terrex Free, the US 10 fit perfectly.  US Size 10.5 was probably OK, but I felt like I had a bit too much room for my feet to slide around inside the shoe.

The Terrex Free Hiker would almost be better described as a sock with reinforced areas.  The concept here is that the entire shoe is very sock-like both in look and feel.  I DO wear socks with the Terrex Free and based on some seam placements, I do not think these shoes were designed for be worn without socks.

Because the shoe is very sock-like, it not only hugs your feet tightly (in a good way), but it also makes getting your feet into the boots a bit harder.  It took me a few times to get the hang of it, but this isn’t a boot you can easily put on standing at the back of a car preparing for a hike.  There are laces on the shoes, but they seem to do very little.  The shoe is are already snug without the laces so I may try a simpler elastic lacing system or just tie them loosely..

With that aside, I can say that the Adidas Terrex Free Hikers are very very comfortable.  The boot fits really snugly around your feet and that fit inspires confidence when you’re hiking.  Your brain may be saying that these boots feet too light and too soft, but your feet will be thanking you for your boot choice….especially after mile 9 or 10.Mybeerbuzz .com Highlights The Adidas Terrex Free Hiker (Review)

LOOK:
I will admit that when I first saw these shoes, I thought they looked odd.  Something just looked both different from traditional mids, and also oddly shaped from some angles.  This seems to mainly relate to the sock-like construction, and looking at them later in the mirror, they didn’t look as odd to me, even with shorts on.  I like the green on black color of the shoes, but they do also make some in other colors like orange and gray (that I personally think make the shoe look even odder).  Of course after mile-1 or so, the shoes feel great and looks great and you quickly don’t even notice way they look.

GRIP:
When I wore the Terrex Free Hikers out, I was surprised to find that the Continental rubber soles and traction design really worked well in most conditions.  I have encountered mud and wet rocks (my nemesis) and they feel even grippier than my current Merrell boots.  I’ve had a few issues (not injuries) with slippery rocks, so grip is really important to me and so far the Terrex Free are my favorites in slippery conditions.

WEIGHT:
The Adidas Terrex Free Hiker weighs only 13.5oz (size 9).  This may mess with your head at first because they feel so bedroom slipper-like in their fit and weight…however after a few miles, you will come to appreciate the lightweight characteristics of these shoes.  As a point of comparison, my Merrell Moab Mids weigh over 2-pounds….double the weight of the Terrex Free.  This really made a difference on long hikes.

WATERPROOF/DUST:
Adidas lists the Primeknit (the majority of the shoe) as a “water-repellent” fabric.  While I didn’t dunk the shoe up to the cuff (yet), water does seem to run off of the shoe surface.  I’m not sure I’d feel the same level of waterproof confidence as my Gore-Tex Salomon mids, especially on a rainy day, but they do seem to resist water well.  Stay tuned on that one, because eventually I’ll dunk the Terrex.

I did really like how the sock-like construction hugs your ankle.  This prevented much of the traditional tiny rocks, sand and dirt that you encounter on the trail, from getting inside the shoe.  With socks on, the neck of the shoe is even more secure, and I witnessed no evidence that dust or sand was getting into or through the shoe material.  Overall I’d call then great on sand and dust and pretty good for waterproof uses.  I wouldn’t worry about getting caught in the rain 1-mile from the car but I wouldn’t necessarily choose these on a heavy rain day.

PRICING:
It’s fairly difficult to compare the cost of these shoes to other competing boots.  Adidas is currently listing them at $200, however after I did a quick search, I found them for about $170.  All things considered, I believe the price and value are pretty good and pretty comparable to other mid hiking boots.

SUMMARY:
I will continue to test the Terrex Free Hiker on more and more hikes and I WILL update the bottom of this post with any additional experiences I have as I push the Terrex Free Hikers further.  Overall I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked these shoes.  I initially felt a bit self conscious on the trail. I was feeling that I may look like that guy you you always see with sneakers or flip-flops on 5-miles into a difficult hike. 

Ultimately, the Terrex Free Hikers felt so light and comfortable that they stopped looking like a sneaker and started looking like a legitimate contender for my favorite hiking boots.  The insole is soft and cushioning without giving up responsiveness and you certainly aren’t sacrificing energy and precision for cushy softness.  The Terrex Free Hikers feel every bit as secure and confidence-inspiring as my traditional and favorite hikers, but with half the weight.  The further you hike, the better the Terrex Free Hikers feel on your feet.  The Torsion bar sole makes the Terrex feel stable and under control, while still allowing enough flex to make the shoes responsive and accurate on mixed surfaces.image

Time will tell how the Adidas Terrex Free Hikers do in a full-on rain storm or how the Primeknit fabric holds up with heavy and sharp rocks in the trail.  But in the mean time, I’ll be enjoying the lightweight, comfy, cushy and secure ride of the Adidas Terrex Free Hiker.  Stay tuned for updates, but don’t be surprised if the updates say “I love this shoe!”

About MyBeer Buzz

Founder, owner, author, graphic designer, CEO, CFO, webmaster, president, mechanic and janitor for mybeerbuzz.com. Producer and Co-host of the WILK Friday BeerBuzz live weekly craft beer radio show. Small craft-brewer of the craft beer news sites and one-man-band with way too many instruments to play.

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