From hitting the trails to chilly fall nights, here are some top picks for the season’s footwear:
Best For: Trail Running
Salomon Speedcross Pro
To increase traction in wet, snowy and slippery conditions, Salomon added 22 per cent more surface area to the outsoles on the Speedcross Pro versus its sibling (Speedcross 3). Then they added huge, six-millimetre chevron-shaped lugs from the heel right up and over the toe. Together, the grip is noticeably better than anything but carbide-spiked runners. The rest of the shoe is equally prepared for getting messy: a heel cradle adds stability on uneven terrain, a sewn-in tongue locks out debris and the upper is water-resistant.
Best For: Everyday Winter Boot
The North Face
The North Face Thermoball Utility
This is like a down jacket for your feet. Stuffed into mini-baffles on the sides of the boot is TNF’s proprietary synthetic insulation, Thermoball, that packs and heats almost as well as down, but is more water-resistant and durable. The rest of the boot has a tough leather upper, treated to lock out the soggiest slush. A multi-directional grip pattern promises to dig into snow and stick to ice. It’s not the most technical winter boot, but it’s what you can reach for as the thermometer drops to ensure you’ll keep warm.
Best For: All The Time
Mixing mountain-casual looks with serious performance features, we’ll be wearing these shoes every day this fall. The suede and synthetic upper looks like an approach shoe and with to-the-toe lacing and a grip zone around the forefoot, they’re no slouch on the slabs. But they’re also built for long hauls. The upper is lightly padded and backed with a Gore-Tex membrane to keep out soakers. Away from the sensitive toes, aggressive lugs and a stiff and stable midsole offer plenty of rough terrain capabilities.
Best For: Hiking
Hoka One One
Hoka One One Tor Summit Mid WP
Take the “running on pillows” feel that won Hoka a cult following, especially among the chronically injured, and go hiking. The Tor has the company’s famous super-soft cushioning, but in a leather and Nubuck ankle-high upper. It’s waterproof and the mid-cut adds support for heavy packs and rough terrain. A light rocker towards the front of the shoe feels like it propels into the next stride. And the fat foam absorbs just about every shock, leaving legs feeling fresher, longer. These might be the ultimate shoes for knocking off fast and light expeditions.
Best For: Kids
No need to take gloves off or even help junior do up his boots with the Backwoods. A few spins of the BOA wheel cinches them snug. The two-piece boot has a waterproof outer that can tackle a slush-puddle wade. The inner boot is mostly recycled synthetic insulation, which wicks foot moisture away from socks to keep toes warmer. Kamik rates it to -40 degrees Celsius (we hope you never have to test that). These boots have plenty of grip and performance for more civilized temperatures as well.
Best For: Women-Specific Fit
KEEN Elsa Boot
The Elsa struts a fine line between function and fashion. On the function side, it mixes a polyurethane-coated leather upper with a rubber foot area and fully sealed seams to lock out the wet stuff. A vulcanized rubber outsole grips slippery surfaces. And the whole thing is lined with 100 grams of KEEN’s proprietary insulation, plenty for the average winter day. Plus, the ankle-high height and the travel-inspired prints are on-point with the trends.