Which light hiker will hold up in hot, dry northeastern Africa?
Ill be working in northeastern Africa for the next five months, and I need a daily-wear shoe. The terrain is rocky, sandy, very hot, and very dry. Im looking for a trail-runner or light hiker and have considered Merrells Cheleon. Any other suggestions? Peter Copenhagen, Denmark
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I think you are right about the climate and terrain conditions youll face, and right about the footwear choice. Merrells Chameleon II Stretch ($100; www.merrell.com) would be one pretty good option. Theyre a light, grippy shoe that offer decent support and good traction. Make sure you dont get the version with Gore-Texthats an add-on that you just wont need where youre going.
Merrell Mesa Ventilator IIMesa Ventilator II
Merrell also makes a shoe called the Mesa Ventilator II ($75). It has uppers with extensive mesh for added breathability, which might be something that youll appreciate in northeastern Africa.
Montrails Vitesse II ($85; www.montrail.com) is another solid choice. These are very tough, proven trail-runners that have been on the market for several years and have been put to the test by Montrail team runners on ultramarathons. Synthetic mesh and nylon uppers breathe well, and cushy midsoles keep your feet comfortable. I also like Five Tens Guide Tennie ($89; www.fiveten.com), which have a lot of rock-shoe features packaged in a comfortable, tough approach shoe. They would do just fine in northeastern Africa.
Whatever you buy, my advice is to get two pairs. These are all sturdy, well-made shoes, but Id be surprised if any holds up to daily use in the sort of conditions youre apt to encounter. But maybe they will. Send us a picture of the shoes after your trip!
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