Gear Guy

628 Country Walker     Photo: courtesy, New balance

Q:

Is there a shoe that acts like a light-hiker shoe but looks at home in the office?

My work frequently takes me to developing-world destinations where streets are unpaved and sidewalks nonexistent. Yet I'm generally expected to maintain business casual attire. Is there a shoe that acts like a hiking shoe but doesn't look out of place with a pair of khakis in the office? Christopher Washington, D.C.

A:That’s a good challenge, but there are shoes out there that will do the job.

For example, you might like the New Balance 628 Country Walker ($80). These are walking shoes built with running-shoe technology. But they have brown nubuck leather uppers with nylon inserts for breathability. They look pretty much like normal casual shoes. Add a pair of khakis and a polo shirt, and you could fit in anywhere.

Another good shoe for rugged walking while maintaining panache is the Timberland Barentsburg Plain Toe Oxford ($100). These have tough leather uppers that have the look and cut of dress shoes, sturdy soles, and a lining to keep out rain. Very nice.

If your travels take you where it’s fairly cold and wet, then get a pair of Clarks Muckers ($110). These are mid-height shoes for a little more protection, but they will still fit under trouser cuffs. Plus, they have a waterproof lining, leather uppers, and grippy soles. They are good-looking, too.

To any of these, add a pair of SmartWool Ragster socks ($20) for a look that’s not too casual but is comfortable for all day on your feet.

Good travels!

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