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.