The key to the right footwear for fall lies in versatility. You want something that isn’t too light or too heavy, something that can kick through the wet leaves and rock-hop over streams, but something that’s breathable enough to shrug off the heat of a surprise Indian summer day. And of course you want something that looks good. The seven in this round-up always check that final box, and also handle a variety of the other needs to fit your own particular travel appetite.
Photo: Kat Stan, CC-BY-NC-ND
1. Five Ten Danny Macaskill, $130; 2. Pikolinos Chile Boot, $180; 3. Supra Skytop, $100; 4. Columbia Davenport, $100; 5. Glerups, $66; 6. Forsake Banks, $100; 7. Scarpa Margarita, $119.
Nathan Borchelt is a gear-obsessed travel writer and adventurer whose collection of shoes, backpacks, jackets, bags, and other “essential” detritus has long-outgrown his one-bedroom apartment (and his wife’s patience).
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Five Ten Danny Macaskill
If the name Danny Macaskill doesn't mean anything, go watch this and you'll understand. For those already in the know, the new five Ten sneaker bearing his name gives you everything a cycle phenom might need, including S1 dotty tread sticky rubber to grip pedals, a durable leather upper, an EVA midsole for support and shock absorption—features that are also at home in any travel scenario. But it does all this with a chill, laid-back styling to remind you that sometimes the hardest part is making it look easy.
Photo courtesy of Five Ten
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Pikolinos Chile Boot
This hand-crafted ankle-height boot is made from semi-vegetable tanned leather for out-of-the-box styling that'll only improve with use—as evidenced by the the fact that Pikolinos has been making shoes since 1984. A rubber anti-slip sole makes it an all-weather stomper, and a gel and foam padded collar adds a touch of comfort for day-after-day wear and tear.
Photo courtesy of Pikolinos
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Supra's pedigree is anchored to the skateboard culture, a scene that relies on individuality, durability, grip, and—arguably above all else—absolute style. And the woman's Skytop hi-top delivers all that in spades (especially the tri-tone white model!), complete with a vulcanized sole, and padded lining in the collar and tongue. You wouldn't wear 'em in the deep wilds of Patagonia, but they'd rule the pavement while exploring Santiago.
Photo courtesy of Supra Footwear
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For travels that demand a bit more traditional fashion that sneaker-centric color pops, the leather Davenport provides, with a waterproof-breathable membrane, non-marking traction rubber outsoles, and a lightweight midsole for long-lasting comfort and high energy return.
Photo courtesy of Columbia
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Think of these felt shoes as inside footwear for outdoor people—the company harvests plush Danish gutland sheep wool and blends it with merino, then vegetable-dye 'em to create the most plush, comfortable, cozy shoes imaginable. The felt on the inside offers next-to-skin comfort, with 100% natural wool needle felt outers and soles made of calf skin or natural rubber. They come in several models—boots, slip-ons, shoes—and the kids models are so damn cute they should come with their own Disney animal characters.
Photo courtesy of Glerups
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Consider the Banks a stealth performer—at first glance, it looks like a beefy lifestyle shoe. But don't let the casual aesthetic fool you. This kick can handle rugged outdoor exploration, thanks to water-resistant leather and canvas uppers, moisture-wicking mesh lining, a comfy EVA footbed, and Forsake's "Peak to Pavement" outsole, which has directional inner lugs for grip on lose terrain with a wider outer lugs to track on hard surfaces.
Photo courtesy of Forsake
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The gloriously-named femme-specific Margarita takes a bit of tech developed by Scarpa's love affair with mountaineering, climbing, and skiing—but without going full tech. The sneaker includes Vibram's Globe Grip outsole, with a plush suede upper, a poly lining, and lacing that lets you dial the fit for any spontaneous rock scrambles.
Photo courtesy of Scarpa