Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

Footwear

What We’re Testing Now: A Hiking Boot Made for the Desert

The Erem Xerocole Expedition is dialed for sandy adventures.

Lock Icon

Join O+ to unlock this story.

Already have an Outside Account? Sign in

Outside+ Logo

All-Access
Intro Offer
$3.99 / month*

  • World-class journalism from publications like Outside, Ski, Trail Runner, Climbing, and Backpacker.
  • Annual print subscription to Outside Magazine + 2 Gear Guides.
  • Outside Watch – Award-winning adventure films, documentaries, and series.
  • Gaia GPS – Premium backcountry navigation app.
  • Trailforks – Discover trails around the globe.
  • Outside Learn – Expert-led online classes on climbing, cooking, skiing, fitness, and beyond.
Join Outside+
Backpacker

Digital + Print
Intro Offer
$2.99 / month*

  • Annual subscription to Backpacker magazine
  • Access to all member-exclusive content and gear reviews on Backpacker.com
  • Ad-free access to Backpacker.com
Join Backpacker


*Outside memberships are billed annually. Print subscriptions available to U.S. residents only. You may cancel your membership at anytime, but no refunds will be issued for payments already made. Upon cancellation, you will have access to your membership through the end of your paid year. More Details

The desert can be rough on footwear: Sand gets in odd and uncomfortable places, cactus spines pierce uppers, and wild temperature swings result in both sweat and cold toes. But the Xerocole Expedition, from the new desert-specific brand Erem, is designed to handle those conditions. 

On hikes near Moab, Utah and in Colorado’s Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, the Xerocole lived up to its billing. This boot has a tough, full-grain leather and cotton canvas upper  that fended off prickly pear spines, and the beefy, proprietary rubber outsole inspired confidence as I scrambled over slickrock. Plus, a 7.3-inch cuff height protected my ankles and did an impressive job of keeping sand out, even when I was wearing shorts. 

The big ding so far: The Xerocole definitely requires more break-in time than I’m used to with modern hiking boots, even leather ones. My first hike in it—an 8-mile, 90°F day in southwestern Colorado, with a lightweight pack—brought a fair amount of foot soreness, but the leather has since shown signs of loosening up. 

While you may be able to press it into service elsewhere, the Xerocole is going to work best for hikers who love the desert. Its minimal interior padding, moisture-wicking tencel/cotton-blend lining, and breathable cotton sections on the upper limit overheating. The boot isn’t waterproof, but the untreated upper should hold off limited splashes from potholes. 

Erem debuted this fall, and the Xerocole Expedition is its first offering (it also comes in a mid-cut model). I’m excited to see what the brand has in store, and how the boot will fare on hikes to come.

$200; Available Soon