5 Boots That Look (Almost) Too Good for the Trail

Hiking boots get a long-overdue dose of style.

Apr 15, 2015
Outside Magazine

With these new shoes, hikers no longer have to decide between style and substance.    Photo: Inga Hendrickson

Who says hiking boots can't be functional and stylish? Presenting our five favorite hikers for spring.

Best For: Day Hikes

  Photo: Ridgemont

Ridgemont Mesa Oiled Suede ($99)

At first glance, the Mesa Oiled may look like your typical stylish chukka, but there’s more to this midtop than meets the eye. The beefy lug pattern grips choss as capably as any trail shoe, and it’s armored with thick waterproof suede uppers and vulcanized outsoles. We wouldn’t recommend it for long or technical excursions—you’ll likely want more support if you’re hauling a pack—but we tested it on several desert outings and found it perfectly suited to light hiking. 

Best For: Technical Terrain

  Photo: Salomon

Salomon and Topo Designs Instinct Pro LTR ($140)

Performance-minded Salomon teamed up with the perennially cool backpack and accessories maker Topo Designs to create the limited-edition Instinct Pro LTR. It’s a stable, comfortable, lightweight shoe that holds up well when off-roading, thanks to top-quality full-grain leather
and Cordura uppers. The exterior isn’t as breathable as what you’ll find on the synthetic version, but the rubber outsoles are just as grippy on slick ground. Plus, there’s no ignoring the flashy Crayola colors. 

Best For: Longer Treks

  Photo: Forsake

Forsake Clyde ($120)

The Clyde is proof that not all hiking boots need to make you look like an overgrown Boy Scout. The most supportive shoe here, the Clyde has everything we look for in a serious hiker—tons of internal padding, a waterproof membrane, and bomber construction, including an injection-molded nylon shank and die-cut foam midsole—in a fresh-looking package. But you don’t need to be in the backcountry to appreciate these high-tops: they’re also great for just kicking around. 

Best For: Everyday Wear 

  Photo: LOWA

Lowa Bandon GTX ($185)

The Bandon’s sleek, full-grain leather outer and clean, classy look mask the superior functionality of this sneaker-like low-top. Yes, it’s great for pavement and urban adventures (it’s quickly become our go-to travel shoe), but when the roads turned to dirt and the rain started falling, the Bandon’s Gore-Tex liner kept our feet dry, even in big puddles, and the hardy lugs stood up to even the loosest scree. 

Best For: Colder Days

  Photo: Woolrich

Woolrich Eagle ($170) 

This may be the least technical shoe of the bunch, but that doesn’t mean the Eagle can’t handle casual adventures, with its rugged sole, stiff toe box, and stout foam midsole. It isn’t the shoe we’d pick for warmer weather—all that wool gets a bit toasty—but we love it for the shoulder seasons. 

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