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Trail Shoe Review: Three Lightweight Autumn Strides

Posted by C. Overby & E. Boschetto at Nov 01, 2014 12:35 PM |
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We review a sampling of the latest light hiking shoes from Chaco, Lowa and The North Face, looking for the best in comfort, water repellency and beefy tread to keep you sure-footed on the trails this fall

The days may be getting shorter and wetter, but that’s no reason not to hit some of your favorite local trails—just dress appropriately for the weather and wear good shoes.

WTA’s gear review team has been sampling some of the latest light hiking shoes, looking for the best in comfort, water repellency and beefy tread to keep you sure-footed on the trails this fall. Here are some notable contenders.

Chaco Women’s Zora

One of our testers’ favorites, these lightweight hikers fit well straight out of the box and didn’t require any break-in thanks to the unique LUVSEAT footbed—so comfy!

They’re perfect for people who love giving their feet a little extra space, especially as the temps drop and you want to wear thicker socks. Ideally a summer shoe, these hikers don’t offer any water repellency (so not recommended for rain or puddles), but the chunky EcoTread outsole maintains traction on any surface, wet or dry.  $120

Lowa Men's Ferrox GTX LO shoe
The Lowa Men's Ferrox GTX LO trail shoe.

Lowa Men’s Ferrox GTX LO

For a “light” hiker, this Gore-Tex-lined trail shoe is a heavyweight in support and durability.

It took a few short hikes for our tester to break these in just right, but afterward they quickly became a go-to selection for local dayhikes and short backpacks.

The NXT outsole helps stabilize the feet over uneven terrain, while the moderate tread ensured traction over a variety of trail surfaces. And wet trails are no problem with the breathable, Gore-Tex liner which keeps the feet nice and dry, even on fall outings.  $175

The North Face Men’s & Women’s Ultra Fastpack GTX

North Face Ultra Trail Shoe
The North Face Ultra Trail Shoe

Available in low and mid styles (we tested both), these shoes have stability control for helping your feet hit the trail in a biomechanically efficient way with every step—and it shows.

They’re snug and fitted without being tight (consider sizing up if you wear thicker socks), and the soft, moisture-wicking tongue and flexible upper make them extra-comfortable on short and long trail days. Plus, hiking into fall, your feet will stay dry with the Gore-Tex lining.  $130–$150

So don’t let a little weather hold you back from hitting the trails this fall. Just get your feet into some good hikers and keep up your hiking habit.

 

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