GEAR SHOP: Roundup

Trail-Tested Footwear
for Racking Up the Miles

We spent the spring months getting ready for summer hiking by sampling some of the latest offerings in trail footwear. While we certainly have our favorite, go-to runners and hikers, we’re always up for discovering some some sweet, new selections—and adding a couple of new favorites. Read on for six picks that include everything from lightweight runners to traditional hiking boots. And if you’re in the market for a new pair of skids, take one of these for a test drive. 

Lowa Maddox GTX Lo

This is one of those shoes you pull out of the box, slip on your feet, and just say, “Aaaahhhh.” (Insert smiley face with heart eyes emoji.) At least that was our experience with the Maddox GTX Lo. These lightweight trail shoes are a hybrid between a runner and a light hiker, and sport a sleek, stylish design. Up top, the Maddox features a seamless, breathable microfiber and synthetic upper that fits snug, but doesn’t squish the digits. Under the foot is a DynaPU midsole and an Enduro EVO tread that together provide nice cushioning and firm grip over a variety of terrain. We love the Speed Lace system these shoes employ; just pull, cinch and go. We hit the trail with these in dry and wet conditions and enjoyed consistent results: exceptionally comfortable, supportive and dependable; the Gore-Tex liner does an admirable job of keeping the wet out. We got our best uses out of the Maddox GTX Lo on dayhikes and light conditioning hikes with a half-full backpack, but wouldn’t hesitate to take them on short section-hikes as well. $175

STYLE: Men’s & women’s   •   FIT: Snug   •   WEIGHT: 1.6 lbs/pair   •   WATER REPELLENCY: Gore-Tex   
lowa maddox
We love the Speed Lace system these shoes employ; just pull, cinch and go.
keen terradora
These mesh and synthetic trail shoes took on wet and muddy trails like a monster.

KEEN Terradora Low

We’ve long been a big fan of KEEN footwear, both their trail shoes and casual styles. Slipping on a pair of KEENs is like going to a happy place. And when you’re slipping them on to go hiking, well that’s double the happiness! The first of two pairs of KEENs we’ve selected, the waterproof Terradora Low is a lightweight trail shoe that was out-of-the-box awesome—and are available in several fun colors. Hardly to be panned for their sleek and stylish appearance, these mesh and synthetic trail shoes took on wet and muddy trails like a monster. Their casual fit provided exceptional comfort and support, even for such a low-profile shoe. This comes from their dual-density footbed and EVA midsole featuring an ESS stability shank. And gliding down the trail was practically effortless with the Terradora’s rubber outsole with its directional tread. And they’re crazy-waterproof! This is thanks to their breathable KEEN.DRY membrane, which kept our feet cool and dry. We loved these for dayhikes and weekend outings with a light pack. $130

STYLE: Women’s only   •   FIT: Standard   •   WEIGHT: 1.4 lbs/pair   •   WATER REPELLENCY: KEEN.DRY   

Garmont Mystic Low II GTX

Looking for a multi-function trail shoe that’s just as good for traipsing down the trail as it is for a little off-trail peak-bagging? That’s just what we got with the Mystic Low II. Out of the box, the Mystic goes on comfortably like a runner, albeit a little stiff like an approach shoe. Once we got them outdoors however, it took us less than a mile to get adjusted and cruise right along. The Mystic features a Gore-Tex-lined mesh and leather upper that laces almost to the toe. This allows for a more personalized fit. It also features a wraparound toe guard for giving the digits extra protection—good for scrambling or kicking aside trail debris. Support is provided by a dual-density rubber midsole and an ECO-PU heel insert. Underneath, the Vibram outsole with Megagrip tread easily takes the terrain in stride, wet or dry. Our only criticism is that the FrameFlex Lite insoles are a bit thin on cushion under heavier pack loads, so we swapped these out for our SOLE insoles. Otherwise, the Mystics are rocking nice durability to go the distance. $180

STYLE: Men’s only   •   FIT: Snug   •   WEIGHT: 2 lbs/pair   •   WATER REPELLENCY: Gore-Tex
garmont mystic
Just as good for traipsing down the trail as it is for a little off-trail peak-bagging.
salomon x ultra 3
The comfort of a runner and the support of a boot for racking up plenty of PCT miles.

Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX

This lightweight, all-terrain boot was one of our favorites this spring, from tromping thru coastal forest mud to frolicking over mountain rocks and roots. Going on, the X Ultra 3 Mid is comfortable right out of the box—no break-in time required here. This is thanks to its ergonomic Ortholite sock liner that employs a contoured footbed and heel cup for superior foot support. The Gore-Tex-lined mesh and leather upper is supplemented with mud guards and a reinforced toe cap for keeping feet dry and toes protected, while providing adequate breathability. At no time did we feel our feet getting stuffy inside, even over long hauls. Plus, the moderately-sized toe box helps keep the tootsies from rubbing. Underneath, they’re supported by an EVA midsole and a beefy, Contragrip outsole, which together provide plenty of cushion and traction over a variety of terrain, including wet, slippery surfaces. With the comfort of a runner and the support of a boot, the X Ultra 3 is ideal for racking up plenty of PCT miles! $165

STYLE: Men’s & women’s   •   FIT: Standard   •   WEIGHT: 2 lbs/pair   •   WATER REPELLENCY: Gore-Tex   

Oboz Wind River III BDry

If there’s one thing we can always count on with Oboz boots, it’s their superior fit and feel. From light hikers to burly boots, they have the comfort factor down pat. While we’ve been trending toward light hikers and runners in recent years, we thoroughly enjoyed tromping around this past spring in the Wind River III. Their exceptional comfort is provided by Oboz’ unique O Fit Insole. This contoured, moisture-wicking footbed provides cushion and support with a sculpted arch and deep heel cup for keeping feet in place and in a natural position. Surrounding the foot is a waterproof, breathable and abrasion-resistant leather upper with a heavy-duty toe cap for shedding the weather and brushing aside the trail debris. Underneath is the beefy Wind River outsole with deep tread for tackling the toughest terrain. We especially liked that, despite being a bigger, heavier boot, they provide excellent stability while still allowing just the right amount of flexibility for staying agile on the trail. $210

STYLE: Men’s & women’s   •   FIT: Standard   •   WEIGHT: 3 lbs/pair   •   WATER REPELLENCY: BDry   
oboz wind river
Excellent stability while still allowing flexibility for staying agile on the trail.
keen targhee
On short hikes, long hikes and even longer hikes, these kept our feet happy thru it all.

KEEN Targhee III Mid

The classically comfy Targhee hiking boot has gone through several incarnations since its release many moons ago. Now in its third iteration, the Targhee has received a major overhaul, while preserving its comfort and durability—and earning KEEN another spot on our list. When we recently took the Targhee III Mid for a spin, it was like coming home—so comfy! That comfort comes largely from its metatomical, dual-density footbed, breathable mesh liner, and generous toe box to keep the digits from rubbing. These work together to support the feet and keep them cool and dry. The Targhee’s redesigned upper is constructed of environmentally responsible-sourced leather and performance mesh, and features the KEEN.DRY membrane for added water repellency. Under the hood, and true to KEEN fashion, they feature a rugged rubber outsole with beefy, directional tread and KEEN’s signature toe guard for tackling any kind of terrain. On short hikes, long hikes and even longer hikes, these kept our feet happy thru it all. $145  

STYLE: Men’s and women’s   •   FIT: Standard   •   WEIGHT: 1.8 lbs/pair   •   WATER REPELLENCY: KEEN.DRY
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