ECCO Biom 2.1
Danish company ECCO is renowned for its well-made and stylish shoes, from dress shoes and boots to sneakers. In my experience, their shoes tend to be very comfortable right out of the box. Now we have their new ECCO Biom 2.1 Low Tex, which is more than just a casual shoe, but a distinctive move towards trail running. It’s designed as a lightweight hiking shoe and since it’s an ECCO-made shoe, it’s dual purpose, created for both mountain trails and urban living. They “power” the shoe with BIOM® Natural Motion® technology, using three independent layers, a mix of premium textiles and ECCO yak leather, which might convince you to head to the Himalayas for a bit. trail running. They have a lightweight and breathable upper, a Phorene™ midsole that provides extra bounce and the ECCO Performance Rubber+ outsole, designed for extra traction. $150.
KEEN NXIS EVO waterproof shoe
KEEN is best known for its hiking boots, water shoes, and rubber toe sandals that have saved a lot of toes. Their new NXIS lightweight hikers combine years of innovation into a shoe that’s a light and fast take on their best-selling hiker. The company calls it “a trail running shoe for hikers,” so it doubles in function without being a minimal trail running shoe. That said, it has a speedy lace strap and a well-cushioned midsole. The outsole is an exclusive horseshoe tread, designed for uneven trails. The upper, in classic Keen fashion, is waterproof. It is available in a shoe and boot style. $144.
Merrell Hydro Moc BLOOM™
Merrell shoes are my long-time favorites, and while the look of their new Hydro Moc BLOOM™ might make you wonder, they are well worth a look. These are comfortable water shoes that you could end up wearing all day, in the water or not. They are so comfortable. They use injected EVA foam for the upper, which is both water-friendly and durable. The rear heel strap is made of translucent rubber and 10% recycled rubber particles. Merrell uses FloatEco Foam™ to make the Hydro Moc both lightweight and comfortable. From a sustainability perspective, BLOOM™ EVA is a performance foam made from 10% recycled algae biomass, turning green water into clean water. They are also vegan. Consider throwing out the old Crocs and slipping into these. $55.
Danner Free Spirit Hiker
Anyone looking for stylish hiking shoes should consider these retro hikers from Danner, a company that has long been leading the charge in fashionable boots that could be made in Milan as well as on the mountain. The Free Spirit hiking shoe is based on Danner’s original 1988 Free Spirit boot, but redesigned for 2022. The dual-density midsole promises comfort and durability on the trails. There’s a Vibram® outsole with Megagrip to keep you on the trail. There’s strong D-ring hardware that gives them a true outdoor look. The Free Spirit features GORE-TEX waterproofing, meaning it’s a true multi-season boot. I suspect many of these boots won’t make it farther than the sidewalks of Manhattan on an inclement day, but that doesn’t make them any less wonderful as a Father’s Day gift. $200.
Salomon X Ultra 3 Low GTX hiking shoes
Serious hikers should check out the Salomon X Ultra 3 Low GTX hiking shoes. These low-top hiking shoes feature waterproof Gore-Tex® liners. The fit feels almost sculpted, so your foot will resist any urge to swim when you’re on the trail. There’s foam cushioning, moisture-wicking textile liners and Ortholite insoles, which combine foam and contoured EVA heel cups for support and cushioning. The rubber tips are designed for the roots and rocks you will encounter. I find Salomon’s fit a little temperamental, so try before you buy. $150.