Adidas Terrex Free Hiker Parley | Review - Outdoors Magic

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Adidas Terrex Free Hiker Parley | Review

A new iteration of the innovative lightweight hiker first released in 2019, this time with a new secret ingredient

Why We Chose Adidas Terrex Free Hiker Parley: Eco-friendly, super comfort, good performance.

The Terrex arm of Adidas might have been around for a while, but it’s only in the last couple of years that it’s been able to properly establish itself as one of the leading outdoor brands out there. In fact, last year Terrex helped Adidas pick up a sleuth of awards at the all important ISPO tradeshows. That’s largely down to the fact they seem to have gone all-in on eco innovation. Case in point: the Adidas Terrex Free Hiker, a shoe that uses ‘Parley’ up-cycled ocean plastic as one of its principal ingredients.

Who Is The Adidas Terrex Free Hiker Parley For?

The performance is all exactly the same as the previous Free Hiker – the non Parley one – which we reviewed last year. OM editor Will found that original to be the perfect shoe for long-distance hikers, offering the comfort that’s needed when you’re on the trail all day and a weight that’ll qualify it for the gramme counters.

Parley is a scheme that recovers plastic from our oceans. Photo: Mike Brindley

This version isn’t waterproof, so it won’t really be suitable for any muddy or boggy hikes if you don’t want to get wet feet. You can get a Gore-Tex version of the standard (non Parley) Free Hiker though.

Materials And Features

This isn’t a walking boot, nor is it a walking shoe. It’s kind of a cross between the two. The upper is knitted gives a sock-like fit thanks to a heavy does of elastane in the blend and it basically moulds to the exact contours of your feet. That’s not to say there’s no structure or support here though. In fact, the lacing system, toe bumper, heel counter and PU strips all work together to provide some support around the top of the foot and at the ankle. It’s enough to give confidence on the trail, as our Tester’s Verdict further down in this review will testify.

As for the sole unit, there’s a lot to talk about here. What’s perhaps most notable about it is that it features the same Boost midsole technology that Adidas use in many of their running shoes. Dennis Kimetto actually broke the marathon record back in 2014 in a pair with the tech.

Featuring Adidas's Boost sole, one that's used in many of their running shoes. Photo: Mike Brindley
The toes have just enough protection on any rough trails. Photo: Mike Brindley
The elasticated ankle cuffs gives a sock-like feel and gaiter-like protection. Photo: Mike Brindley

Essentially, Boost is a foam-based midsole that offers large amounts of cushioning throughout to give a springy feeling – as though you’re being boosted… along. It makes for an impressive amount of comfort on the trails. You’ll definitely be thankful for the rebound of the Boost technology when you have miles ahead of you.

We did a bit of testing here at Outdoors Magic and actually found the foam was very, very durable. We even tried to slice through it with a knife and found it resisted ably. Rocks and roots? This sole will deal with those, no problem.

Protecting the Boost midsole from the ground beneath is a Continental (as in the car tyre company) rubber outsole. It’s a tough tread with fairly aggressive 5mm lugs. Nothing too dissimilar to what you’d expect to find on a trail running shoe.

Tester’s Verdict

Will Renwick, Outdoors Magic editor

“I was impressed by the original Free Hiker and I’m impressed with this new version as well. The difference between the performance of both of them is negligible, they’re basically the same shoe, just this new version is eco-friendlier.

“The cuff works brilliantly in keeping out any dirt or debris – it’s far more reliable than your standard walking boot in this department. It’s also very comfortable, extremely breathable (great for summer hiking) and it dries out reasonably quickly. The toe bumper, while minimal, is still impressively solid as well. One problem I had with the original Free Hikers, and this pair as well, is that the thin upper does crease easily along the toe mound and this means I can feel it pressing down a bit when I’m walking up steep slopes. With my original pair, this caused the material to eventually fray a bit, and I know my colleague had the same problem. It hasn’t happened yet with this Parley version but I expect it will eventually.

The Continental sole with its multi-directional lugs. Photo: Mike Brindley

“As for the sole unit, that gets a big thumbs up from me. If you like a soft and highly cushioned sole, then you’ll certainly appreciate what the boost offers. Longevity? After over a year of using my last pair, the cushioning is still there. I expect, as is the case with Boost running shoes, it might start to dwindle a bit further down the line however.

“The outsole is good – no problems there. It really is just like a running shoe, and I don’t been in terms of traction but in the way it works with the midsole to give a gentle rock to it as well.

“What’s it suited to then? Long distance trail hiking, definitely. Also just general UK summer hillwalking when you know the ground is dry or at least dry-ish.

Adidas Terrex Free Hiker Parley

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