With summer finally in full swing, hopefully we’re all giving our feet that respite from ski boots that they deserve. However, between navigating avalanche debris fields on the way to 14ers, dodging rocks in loose dirt on trail runs and battling obstacles at numerous festivals where fashion and function are both necessary, some thought is still required to keep your dogs happy and healthy. Here are three footwear options that have been in my full rotation this summer.
- Hoka One One Arkali Hiker — With our unprecedented winter and spring avalanches, hiking this summer is a completely new sort of adventure. Just one trip over Independence Pass reveals the obstacle course all these slides have created. You can bet the backcountry will be full of surprising terrain for some time to come. Since obstacle-free trails are not a given, proper footwear goes a long way (literally). Hoka One One shoes are notorious for cushiony comfort, but these add some punch to that concept. The Arkali combines features of a running shoe (light and comfortable), a climbing shoe (grippy with traction) and a hiking boot (rugged and protective). The combo is perfect for combating our mountain trails without feeling like you’re carrying tanks on your feet. A high-abrasion toe cover keeps toes protected and adjustable heel and ankle straps are great for ascent/descent fine-tuning. A Vibram sole also guarantees a sticky grip. The shoe is 100 percent vegan and comes in women’s and men’s versions. $200
- Salomon Speedcross 5 Trail Runner — Salomon trail runners are legendary. I’ve lost count of the number I’ve gone through over the years. In fact, anytime someone is new to mountain terrain and needs appropriate shoes, I recommend starting with Salomon trail runners. A bit like an all-mountain ski, trail runners are a great place to start if you want to try to tackle everything. More than their literal definition, you can utilize these on jaunts up quick trails like the Ute and Smuggler Road, but you can also transition them to heavier hiking, running and travel/sight-seeing. I even have a friend that wore her Speedcrosses to summit and descend Kilimanjaro. Since I was with her the whole way, I can vouch that she raved about them at every turn. The secret to these is simple; they are comfortable and light-weight with bomber lugs. This fifth version has even more grip and stability, and they’ve updated the look a bit with tons of color choices. With Salomons leading quick-lace system they are also constructed with an anti-debris fine mesh. Available in men’s and women’s styles. $130
- Chaco Juniper Sandal — I was in college in Ohio when I got my first pair of Chacos. I had been in Aspen for the summer before and was turned onto them by rock climbing friends. By the end of the year, several of my midwestern friends had them as well and we were all comparing our Chaco strap tans by graduation in the spring. There’s something about Chaco’s knowledge of sandal construction that keeps me coming back to them again and again. Since then, Chaco has ventured into more varieties, but they still maintain that comfortable and durable quality. The Juniper sandal maintains those descriptors, but with a leather upper and lining, it adds a bit of elegance to the mix. Simple and strappy, the Juniper looks great for traipsing around Aspen festivals and brick walking malls. The construction gives more stability and security than it looks, and for as flat as they are, they provide ample support. My only complaint is that the leather lining on the front of the footbed extends enough beyond the sole that it scuffs easily. $100