Model: Ecco Exohike Retro Hiker
I usually favor nimble hiking shoes, so I was initially apprehensive about the Exohike Retro Hiker’s thick leather upper and burly construction. Indeed, I found it a little stiff to start, but as I traipsed down the trail on my first outing in the boot—a 5-mile hike up to the Headwall Lakes in Alberta, Canada—I began to enjoy the amount of stability and support offered by a boot this light (under 2 pounds per pair).
The star feature is the Michelin outsole. On another outing, I noticed excellent traction on a 16-mile mix of paved paths, gravel trails, snow, ice, and dry, grassy ups and downs around Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park. The roughly rectangular lugs are spaced far enough apart and slanted in such a way that gravel and mud slough right off. I especially appreciated it on the ball-bearing gravel slopes, and the boot made quick and secure work of the hills.
Thanks to a leather upper treated with a water-repellent silicone blend, the Exohike locks out moisture (it’s not waterproof, though). Towards the end of my hike to Headwall Lakes I encountered mushy, sun-warmed snow, but the material held up and my feet remained dry.
For a boot that costs $190, I do have some nitpicks. The round laces kept loosening even when double-knotted, and they sometimes slipped out of a couple of the hook eyelets at the top. Also, one eyelet at the toe popped out completely (that may have been due to the constant rubbing from using the Exohike with a snowshoe at one point). But even with that ding, there was no dip in performance or water-resistance.
I only used this boot with dayhike loads, but I would feel confident taking it on a weeklong trip loaded down with gear. I look forward to using the Exohike on my adventures this summer and fall for its good ankle support, outstanding grip, and (bonus!) retro look.
m’s 6-12.5, w’s 5-10.5
The Reader: Jackie Bourgaize
Reader and Active Pass member
Home Base Calgary, Alberta
Favorite Hike The Great Divide Trail, Waterton Lakes section
Favorite Trail Snack Scotch