I’ve enjoyed more than 30 years of hiking and writing about hiking, covering well over 30,000 trail miles in that time. For most of those outings, I’d step into high-topped, full-support hiking boots to protect my feet and ankles on rough trails, scrambles, and extended outings.
After passing the half-century mark (some 4 years ago now), I’ve found myself favoring lighter options for all my gear, including footwear. I’ve wear-tested hundreds, if not thousands, of models of trail shoes and boots over the years, but one current model has captivated me.
The new Ecco ExoHike Low offers everything I want in my go-to hiker.
The ExoHike Low provides great foot and Achilles tendon support, excellent traction on a variety of trail surfaces, and unmatched comfort. It also boasts a full Gore-Tex bootie that kept my feet dry on muddy trails and shallow stream crossings.
A Michelin-rubber outsole proved remarkably grippy on every trail surface I encountered, from sand and beach pebbles on the wild Olympic Coast to granite slabs and snowfields in the central Cascades. A soft, but supportive midsole provides comfort while allowing hikers to feel the trail underfoot. The snug heel cup securely holds the foot in place for good stability without friction, and a high rear cuff protects the Achilles from abuse.
The ExoHike’s all-leather upper utilizes Ecco’s new DriTan leather. Knowing that traditional leather tanning processes consume enormous amounts of water, Ecco developed DriTan to cut the water-waste out of the process. The DriTan process uses the water already in hides in the curing process – the new method saves upwards of 20 liters of water per hide tanned.
The ExoHike fits snuggly in the heel with just enough forefoot room for good flexibility without being sloppy. I’ve hiked scores of miles in the shoes and look forward to covering hundreds more. $170, us.ecco.com