For quite a while, I’ve been looking for a pair of good hiking boots that are cute enough to wear around town. I want the durability of the hideous, heavy weatherproof boots from the outdoor stores with the stylish look of the cheap, poorly made booties at the fashion stores.
I’m a firm believer in packing light, so if I’m going on a trip where I know I’ll be doing some hiking mixed in with my sightseeing, then I want ONE pair of shoes that will work for both of those scenarios. So, they need to be lightweight and durable for hiking, whether that be in the Andes or the Sahara, but also look cute with all of the outfits I’m going to be wearing out to the museums in Istanbul or shopping in Delhi so I don’t look out of place or feel like I’m hauling bricks on my feet. I’m a sandal kind of girl, so I already know I’ll be taking a pair of Sanuk sandals wherever I go, and so my “packing light” mantra will not allow me to take more than one pair of closed-toe shoes.
Kind of a lot to ask for, huh? But I know I can’t be the only one out there with this wish list, so I’m sharing my research! If you have any boot suggestions for a traveling girl, I’d love to hear them in the comments!
Timberland Earthkeeper BrooktonThe Timberland Earthkeeper Brookton is the boot I wore on the Salkantay Trek. I was very pleased with their performance over those 4 days of hiking and had no complaints! This is definitely still my go-to hiking trip boot as they are comfortable and incredibly lightweight. However, if I’m going on a trip where I’m doing more sight-seeing than hiking and only want to take one pair of closed-toe shoes, then I’m gonna be leaving these behind. After trying these boots on with multiple outfits that I would wear sightseeing, I realized they just weren’t going to work for all the scenarios of a long trip.
Timberland Earthkeeper Brookton
Weight: 9 oz each
Weatherproof: No, but I have been out with them in the snow and rain and my feet haven’t gotten wet (yet)!
El Naturalista Angkor N914The El Naturalista brand is new to me, but is increasingly attracting me with their gorgeously designed products. Even better: they’re an eco friendly brand, their tree bark looking soles are made of recycled rubber, and they carry vegan products. They look like they could withstand some serious hikes, and since they’re super stylish, I am definitely going to be keeping an eye on these boots (and probably some of their other styles too).
El Naturalista Angkor N914
Weight: 14 oz each
Chaco NatillyThe Chaco Natilly is a boot that has been on my wish list for a long time. Chaco is definitely known for the quality of their products, and the fold-down style of this boot looked to me like it would go from trail to town seamlessly. After ordering them and trying them on at home, I could tell immediately that the fold-down wasn’t going to work for me. I kinda felt like Robin Hood, they didn’t look good with all the different pants I knew I would be taking on a trip, and the tongue really doesn’t have a way to stay folded down. I’m sure after more use it would fold easier, but being brand new it kinda just sticks out and doesn’t really look like the photo below. That said, they were a very comfortable boot. If I didn’t already have my Timberland Earthkeepers, I would probably have kept these as my go-to hiking trip boot, especially since these are also waterproof (and my Timberlands aren’t).
Weight: 15 oz each
Lems Boulder BootLems is a fairly new brand that is making waves in the footwear industry thanks to their unique selling point of toe splay. Yes, toe splay. Their shoes are modeled after the natural shape of the foot, so you’ll feel more like you’re walking barefoot and less like your toes are being crammed into a strange shape. These boots are lightweight and extremely packable. Shane has the men’s version and loves them for those two reasons. I have the Lems Primal2 shoe and I’m telling you, it’s the only “tennis shoe” I’ll ever wear again. If my husband didn’t already have this exact boot I would probably give them a try, but you know, we can’t be too matchy-matchy.
Lems Boulder Boot
Weight: 9.9 oz each
Sanuk MoccodileOkay, Sanuks aren’t really hiking shoes. BUT these are the shoes I took with me last winter during a three week trip to Israel, Palestine and Jordan. I wore them all day, every single day, and we did some pretty serious hiking and rock scrambling at Petra and Wadi Rum. I certainly wouldn’t recommend these for a hiking trek, but as a durable shoe with a good sole that also looks cute in the city, these definitely fit the bill for me. Also to be noted—Sanuk is a sandal brand, but I wore these in the dead of winter with thick socks and I thought they worked great as a cold weather shoe.
Weight: 6 oz each
Merrell Ashland Vee AnkleThe Merrell Ashland Vee Ankle boot is what I have recently settled on as my all-around, go-to travel boot. They’re stylish and versatile enough to wear with all my outfits, and also sturdy enough to take on a hike. They’re waterproof, so I won’t be worried if I take another winter trip and end up walking in the snow. This checks off all my boxes and eliminates the need to overpack with multiple pairs of shoes! I was nervous about the strange design on the side, so I opted for the darker color boot (shown here) and am pleased to say it’s not as distracting in person as it is in the photo. I’m excited to take these on a trip soon and see how they perform!
Merrell Ashland Vee Ankle
Weight: 11.4 oz each