4. For tough day hikes: Breeze III Low GTX by Vasque
These comfortable, waterproof light hikers have a classic hiking-shoe style and a sturdiness underfoot that deftly handles any rough terrain. Their solid handling on trails reminds me of my first pair of old generic all-leather boots that I wore until rocks started worming their way into my sole, but their modern technical touches make the Breeze III miles away from those heavy stompers.
As a sweaty-footed bastard, my favorite feature is the air mesh panels woven into the tough nubuck leather upper, providing lots of breathability (plus toe and heel ventilation ports), even as the Gore-Tex waterproof membrane shields against splashes into cold creeks. The super-burly Vibram Contact Grip outsole is made with a Megagrip rubber compound for extra stick on slick surfaces, and its midsole is designed with two densities for lots of cushioning without sacrificing stability.
Fit: runs slightly small
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