Style and capability, all in one pretty fun package
Adidas has come up with the Goldilocks boot. Thanks to eccentric, bold styling (check out the pink and baby blue color that drops April 1 or the all-black version out now), the Free Hiker ($220) appeals to the more stylish city crowd: folks who can appreciate the now-viral show Slobby’s World or fans of DJ Diplo, who gave the shoe a shout-out on Instagram.
At the same time, the boot is all business when it comes to technical chops. You can pull a pair on for a quick hike after work or take them up your favorite 14er. That performance comes from a Boost midsole that’s cushioned and responsive, giving back a little energy after every step. At the same time, it’s not so squishy that your feet will feel like they're floating on a water bed, and thus get fatigued on long hikes. Below the Boost foam, you get a rugged Continental outsole with excellent traction on everything from desert kitty litter to mountain granite.
The sole is matched with a Primeknit upper, that, as it sounds, is knit to conform around your foot for a snug, sock-like, blister-fighting fit. It also breathes well on hot day hikes, while still being protective enough that it deflects a light drizzle. Adidas welded rubber on high-wear areas so there’s not much worry of tearing the upper on some errant rock or tree branch.
Does the shoe cover all your bases as a hiker? Probably not. I wouldn’t recommend it for long weekends with a heavy pack. And you’ll need something more waterproof if you spend all your time in the Pacific Northwest. But otherwise, it's a solid go-to for shorter day hikes and commutes. And if you care more about styling than hiking and just want to wear the boots to the office, I won’t pass judgment.