The Adidas Terrex Free Hiker 2 boots are certainly striking to look at. They are no substitute for rigid hiking boots, but for many outdoors activities, they are a great lightweight choice.
Pros / Reasons to Buy
- Striking design
- Makes use of recycled material
Cons / Reasons to Avoid
- Sole material can look tatty with time
The Adidas Terrex Free Hiker 2 boots are probably the most striking products in our round up. We love the bold design and color ways. However, there’s a lot more to these boots than their looks. They are super-comfortable, straight from the box and are well made and durable too (our previous experience with an older version of these boots suggest they should last for a long time indeed). We don’t think they are a substitute for a rigid pair of hiking boots on more technical terrain, but for general hiking, walking and even trail running, we think these boots make a great choice.
Compare to Similar Products
- Black Diamond Men’s Mission Leather Low Waterproof Approach Shoes
- Danner Panorama Mid
- Salomon Cross Hike 2 Mid Gore-Tex
- See our main reviews: 20 Best Waterproof Hiking Shoes
Get a closer look: Adidas Terrex Free Hiker 2 in motion
Analysis and Test Results
We can’t review these boots without talking about their looks. They are certainly distinctive – probably more so than any other product in our round up. We love the looks of these boots – we think that the Adidas Terrex range in general has done a lot to shake up the design and style of the outdoor footwear market. However, there’s way more to these boots than their looks and we’ve found them to be very comfortable straight from the box and also well made and durable too. Indeed our only concern is with the soft Styrofoam style material used on the soles. With time (and by this, we mean several years), this can degrade and start to look a little tatty. However, this is purely aesthetic and doesn’t impact the comfort or function of the boots.
It’s not uncommon to see the names of tire manufacturers pop up when it comes to the outsoles on hiking shoes or boots and the Adidas Terrex Free Hiker 2 GTX is no exception here, featuring an outsole from Continental. Like everything else on these shoes, it’s brightly colored (even presenting contrasting colors on the more muted color options). As you’d expect, the sole has a fairly deep thread pattern – not as deep or ‘aggressive’ as what you might find on some other shoes in this round up, such as the Salomon Cross Hike 2 – but still very clearly intended for use on the trail. Slightly springy rubber will help with grip on slippery rocks when wearing these shoes.
In common with the Adidas Terrex AX4 reviewed elsewhere, these Terrex Freehiker 2 GTX boots feature a closely woven synthetic upper. Looks closely and you’ll see a tight square rip-stop pattern on this which should help with durability in the event the upper is ripped or punctured in use. This upper section is backed with Gore-Tex, so it’s breathable and water resistant too. However, the fact is that there’s substantial rubberized unventilated sections in this boot’s construction, so they simply won’t be as well ventilated as some other shoes or boots in this round up. None the less, we’ve hiked with these on very warm days and have not found them to get uncomfortable due to lack of breathability.
The Adidas Terrex Free Hiker GTX uses a mid-high boot design and has a snug fitting ankle collar. This will not offer anywhere near the level of ankle support or adjustability of fit as you’d get on a technical boot such as the Scarpa Ribelle Lite HD, but, on the other hand, that’s not really what these Adidas Terrex boots are about. For general hiking, nature walking and trail running – all areas where you could easily use these boots – rigid ankle support is more a matter of the wearer’s preference than a necessity. Our reviewer happens to prefer hiking boots over shoes and found the snug cuff of the Free Hiker 2 boots very comfortable. The cuff is not rigid at all but is still one of the stiffer parts of the boot’s upper so it could well save you a twisted ankle every now and then.
The Adidas Free Hiker 2 has a flat footbed, but the included (removable) insole offers gentle arch support via a very slightly raised section. It’s subtle, but it’s there. The level of arch support you may or may not need is a very personal choice, and it makes sense that Adidas provides a ‘neutral’ option with these shoes. For those who need it, replacement insoles offering greater arch support are available.
The Adidas Terrex Free Hiker 2 is available in sizes from US 6/UK 5.5/ EU 38.6 up to US 15/UK 14.5/EU 50.6. We’re very happy to see it’s available in larger sizes as manufacturers often don’t cater for buyers with larger feet. It is available in a single width, suitable for normal to slightly wide feet. Adidas themselves state that these shoes tend to run a little small and advise that you buy a size slightly larger than what you normally would, however, we found the sizing to be true. On the foot, we found the shoes comfortable and the ankle cuff offered a snug fit.
The Adidas Terrex Free Hiker 2 is a fully synthetic hiking boot. It makes use of a wider range of different materials including various different types of mesh and webbing alongside thicker, rubberized material that serves the job of, but also doesn’t directly imitate, leather. The boots have a Gore-Tex membrane, allowing them to be both water resistant and breathable. The rear section of the soles are made from a spongey material that resembles Styrofoam packing material. Adidas claims that at least 50% of the boot’s upper is made from recycled material – it would be great to see this number increase int eh future.
These Adidas Tererx Free Hiker 2 boots are probably the most distinctive looking products in our round up! The Adidas Terrex line in general has become well-known with bold, distinctive designs and these boots are certainly no exception to this rule. Adidas offers them in a wide range of color ways and, whilst there are more muted options, we like the brighter, more distinctive options. These boots could easily be worn as fashion-shoes and indeed we see many pairs of Terrex shoes that seem to be ought for just this reason.
With their lightweight construction, you could easily think the Adidas Terrex Free Hiker 2 boots are not durable. However, we think they could well be a long-lasting option, giving may long years of service. Our reviewer has owned and used a pervious version of these boots for over five years and has been very impressed by their durability. Sure, these old boots are certainly no longer looking new, but they’ve stood up exceptionally well to some very tough conditions in their time. The spongey Styrofoam like material on the soles has stained and abraded a bit on these older boots over time – and that material is still in use on the latest Free Hiker 2 boots we’ve assessed here – but this is purely cosmetic and it does not impact the utility or comfort of the boots one bit. The newer Free Hiker 2 boots also feature a ripstop patterns on their mesh uppers which should help minimize any damage they may sustain from scrapes from sharp rocks on the trail. Some of the color ways Adidas offer feature light colors and you can expect these to show wear more quickly, but this is purely aesthetic and in terms of functionality, we think you can expect these boots to last a long time indeed.
With a weight of 910g/2lb for a pair, the Adidas Terrex Free hiker 2 boots are at the lighter end of the hiking boots we’ve assessed – and they certainly feel like it. The weight of your footwear has a disproportionate effect on how quickly you feel fatigued whilst hiking, so even if you don’t normally look to purchase the lightest gear possible, buying light shoes or boots does make sense. However, as with everything, light weight often comes either with a high price or as a trade off with sturdiness and durability. These Adidas Terrex boots may not be the cheapest, but they do strike a good balance between durability and weight.
The Adidas Terrex Free Hiker 2 boots comes with a fairly generic pair of removable insoles. Most buyers will be perfectly happy with these and won’t give them any further thought. However, if you want to fine-tune the fit of you boots, swapping out the insoles is a great and relatively inexpensive option. There are plenty of third-party options that give more padding, better arch support and so on. For some buyers, these could make a massive difference to comfort on the trail.
We don’t think any footwear is completely without a breaking in period, but these Adidas Terrex Free Hiker 2 boots are about as close as it gets! They are certainly a world away from the hiking boots of yore that required the wearer to endure days or even weeks of painful breaking in before they could be comfortably worn on the trail. We experienced no rubbing or blisters at all form these boots straight out of the box.
The Adidas Terrex Free Hiker 2 boots use regular laces. Laces may seem fairly dull, but they actually offer several ways to fine-tune the fit (and therefore the comfort) of your boots. How you tension the laces in various areas can really transform he fit of a boot and you can also change your lacing pattern (we have a guide about this) to further customize your fit. Laces may not be exciting, but they do also work very well!
The Adidas Terrex Free Hiker 2 boots have a reinforced toe section. This will provide some protection to your toes if you accidentally kick something or trip, but the area also isn’t fully rigid and it’s far from what you’d find on, say, a mountaineering boot. For more technical hiking, these boots – and the level of toe protection – are not rigid enough, but for general hiking we think it’s fine and in-line with the competition.
Hiking Shoes v Hiking Boots
The choice between hiking shoes and boots is very personal. On paper, boots seem to have the advantage as they offer ankle support which can help prevent injuries if you trip or tumble in the trail. If we were reviewing only mountaineering footwear, our recommendation would be to go for boots, but for general hiking and walking, the decision is less clear cut. You’re less likely to trip on easier going terrain so boots become less of a necessity and more of a personal choice. Our reviewer happens to personally prefer boots over shoes on the trial – even if they do add a weight penalty.
The Adidas Terrex range blurs the line between fashion and practical hiking gear. Your opinion may vary, but we love the look of these Terrex boots and we think that even if you never set foot on a trail, they’d make a great, stylish pair of day to day boots. However there’s way more to these boots than their looks and we’ve found them to be very comfortable and durable too. Whilst they won’t replace our heavy-duty hiking boots when we head out onto more technical routes, for general hiking, nature walking and even a bit of trail running, these boots are comfortable (and visually striking!) choice.
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