Fit Finds: Shoes for Off-Roading

By AFM Staff – November 1, 2014

Cheryl Strayed’s book Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail has grabbed a spot on the bestseller lists and comes to theaters in December, with Reese Witherspoon as the inexperienced yet motivated hiker. Whether you’re taking on the Pacific Crest Trail, hopping on the Barton Creek greenbelt for a run, or enjoying a stroll through Mayfield Park with the family, these shoes can take care of your feet. And just as Strayed realized after miles of unfortunate hiking in boots that were too small, REI is happy to work with you to find the right fit—no matter where you are. Special thanks to the staff at REI downtown (601 N. Lamar Blvd.) for providing input; all items can be found locally and at

Ahnu Montara Hiking Boot (Women’s), $160
A boot with the rare combination of functionality and style, this one comes in an eye-catching color. Way beyond the basic brown, this waterproof hiking boot can transition from the trails to the city puddles with panache.  

Merrell Moab Ventilator (Men’s), $90
Lightweight and breathable, this is a year-round shoe that works for any trail. Take it running on the greenbelt or to the top of Enchanted Rock. Despite their durability, these shoes are also easy to break in and provide out-of-the-box comfort.

New Balance MT980 Fresh Foam Trail (Men’s), $110
This is like your favorite road running shoe, but equipped to handle the ridges and tree roots of trail running. The natural underfoot gives soft stability, and the full-ground contact outsole is great for gripping uphill and downhill sections of any rocky route. 

Brooks PureGrit 3 (Women’s), $120
This popular trail runner has been redesigned to incorporate lugs on the outsole for maximum grip. It connects you to the terrain, all while providing protection with a rock shield and toe guard. Because these are in Brooks’ PureProject line, they are lightweight and minimal, so plan mileage and routes accordingly. 

Salomon SpeedCross 3 (Women’s), $125
Salomon brought speed to trail running with this shoe. While lightweight, the SpeedCross doesn’t compromise durability or grip. It’s built for extreme trails, or for those who are forging their own off-the-beaten path. Plus, it comes in some pretty snappy color combinations.  

Keen Durand Mid WP Hiking Boots (Men’s), $180
Assembled in the United States and sold exclusively at REI, these boots have dual-compound rubber outsoles that provide great traction and are very durable. In fact, some say these will last for “a million steps.” The waterproof nubuck leather also makes them ideal for any weather condition.


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