With a sock-like fit, an ultrabouncy TPU midsole, and the lightest weight in the test, the Terrex Free Hiker Parley is perfect for long dayhikes. On a scramble across Devils Castle ridge in Utah’s Wasatch that traversed both talus fields and gravelly trails, one tester reported the boot was like “wearing clouds that gently hugged my feet.” Eco bonus: You would never guess that the one-piece fabric upper is actually made from recycled ocean plastic.
Support & Stability 3.6
The Free Hiker Parley’s airy midsole and soft cuff are ideal for single-day missions under light packs, but they’re less beefy than a traditional boot’s (the midsole also lacks a shank or rock plate). Testers report this boot maxed out under 20-pound loads.
This hiking shoe looks like it belongs on a basketball court, but it thrives while tracking through mud and clinging to ridgeline rocks: A dispersed tread, with lugs that are spaced out widely and in varied directions on the Continental rubber outsole, ensured we never felt wobbly.
Due do its soft, recycled plastic knitted upper, the air pockets in the TPU midsole, and its minimal weight, the Free Hiker Parley requires TLC. After about 75 miles of use on steep, rocky trails, the upper has some abrasions and snags.
13.5 oz.; m’s 7-13, w’s 5-12