At the moment the hills and mountains may seem like a million memories ago and a million miles away. However I’m using this time to day dream about adventures to come and researching all the best kit to take with me. Some retail therapy is much called for, so here’s my thought on the adidas TERREX free hikers...
The free hikers put simply are a lightweight hiking shoe. They are the deliciously comfy middle ground between; a plush yet responsive trail sneaker and a supportive, hardwearing hiking boot. For the past 3 years, I’ve been wearing the inov8 GTX Roclite 325 boots, which are also the love child of an agile trail shoe and durable walking boot so I am no stranger to this ‘hybrid’ shoe. Quite frankly I wouldn’t be without this type of shoe in my - very full - shoe rack!
The free hiker is my shoe of choice whilst I’m working the event village on a Maverick race event day. It would be my shoe of choice for anything from a 10-minute walk around the trodden forest paths or a 10-mile walk around the Welsh hills. The free hiker is extremely versatile and a shoe I have great confidence in, but don’t have the weight or ‘bulkiness’ of a fully-fledged hiking boot.
The free hiker feels like a trail sneaker whilst on your foot, in that they have a sock-like construction, with a prime knit upper (which also means they look fresh). This means that unlike hiking boots, you aren’t gagging to ‘release’ your poor caged feet at the end of a day of work/walking. However they protect your feet due to the Abrasion-resistant reinforcements and a moulded toe cap like a ‘proper’ hiking boot would, meaning you can have confidence in every step.
I have the GTX version of the free hikers, meaning they have the added benefit of a waterproof, breathable GORE-TEX membrane that keeps your feet dry… and it really does! Having worn these boots throughout storm Dennis et al., when groundwater levels were well flowing well over the tops of my feet, the free hikers performed brilliantly in keeping the wet out and the snug warmth in.
Once you have a pair of Trail Boots you will never look back. They will replace that old pair of trainers you use to walk the dog, they will replace your blister giving, rigid walking boots you wear once a year to go up Pen Y Fan with the In-laws. They will replace your tail shoes taking a battering when you want to go on a hike around a race area when you’re there for a long weekend. They are the best addition to my - very full - shoe rack, but for these, I can 100% make space.
A huge thanks to Ben and Justin for my free hikers that appeared under my Christmas tree last year! Top boss award!
Hope to see you on the trails when we can...
All photos Jake Baggaley - Maverick Adidas TERREX New Forest January 2020