Unless writing off a pair of white plimsoles every week is your idea of a good time, you’re going to want to invest in a pair of heavy-duty stompers to tackle dire winter weather.
So here you go, another bumper list of serious footwear.
And before you ask, ‘serious footwear’ is our catch-all term for shoes purpose-built for outdoor abuse. Some are fully-fledged hiking boots, some are technical trainers, a few sit somewhere betwixt, but all are guaranteed to make trips outside a little less miserable.
Strolling into frame first are these Raid Wind 75 trainers from Salomon.
Salomon is a pretty fresh name to the Oi Polloi register, but they’ve been churning out ingenious footwear for 75 years (as the moniker suggests) and have pioneered a lot of tech that’s revolutionised loads of outdoor activities – from skiing to whatever the hell trail running is.
The latter pastime was presumably in mind when the Salomon design crew sat down and pencilled these into existence, but thanks to the eye-catching colour combo and the all-important drawcord lacing system (which should save you countless tie-tying hours), these are just as prime for everyday endeavours too.
Next up, these Everest Boots from regal ramblers Diemme.
Ideal for when dirt paths end and gold-paved streets begin, these ooze the kind-of unbridled luxury usually dished out by bespoke shoemakers, and while maybe not the best choice for full-blown mega hikes, should see you right when ascending the mountains of splendour.
While they certainly look like walking boots from the halcyon days of outdoor gear, these Fracap Otto boots aren’t your typical old-world clunkers – thanks to the ingenious inclusion of some Vibram soles, they’re pretty light on their feet, making them easier to wear than most boots.
And with those mocc-toes and high-class leather thrown into the mix, those hankering for that ‘Michael Corleone larking about in Sicily’ look shouldn’t be disappointed.
No slapdash list of serious footwear would be complete without the inclusion of the Danner Mountain Light. These hardy spine-breakers have been in active duty for over 30 years, and even though the world of outdoor footwear has made plenty of sci-esque technological strides in the subsequent years, the fairly-acoustic Mountain Light is still enjoys a reputation as the Big Kahuna Burger of indestructible hiking boots.
So yeah… as far as ‘serious’ footwear goes, these might just be the most straight-faced.
Keen x Engineered Garments Jaspar II
While big ol’ mammal-crushing boots are all well and good, sometimes proceedings call for something a bit more manoeuvrable – that’s where the Keen Jaspar II things come in.
With the thought-provoking toe-to-tongue lacing system and ultra-lightweight soles, these have a real ‘light-footed’ quality to them once thought the sole preserve of the climbing shoe realm, but with the help of some Engineered Garments design-tinkery and a smattering of sturdy suede, you won’t look like B-roll footage of Stallone in Cliffhanger when you’re out doing whatever it is you do.
To the untrained eye, these Paraboot Yosemite boots might look like another entry in the ‘gentlemen stroller’ category, but if we peel back the well-groomed curtain and we’ll find a pair of stout slammers that can hold their own with the best of ‘em.
It’s all down to something called a Blake welt – without getting too carried away with nerdy detail chat, this thing makes the sole unit far more flexible than its rubber contemporaries and makes them far less cumbersome to boot… no pun intended.
And then there’s these Hoka One One trainers.
Made from a heady triptych of leather, ripstop and Gore-Tex, with some of the phatest soles we’ve ever seen outside of the novelty shoe shop, these really are the running shoes of the future, and while there’s nowt wrong with old-world running trainers, the U Bondi L GTX are actually built to last, and won’t fall apart after a quick canter to the tram stop.
Lace up and bold step into a brave new world…
Wrapping things up, we’ve got a certified Oi Polloi classic… the Mephisto Rainbow. These things have been a constant fixture on the OP shoe rack for about as long as we’ve had a shoe rack, and unless something terrible happens (like if the world exhausts its wood reserves and the production of shoe racks is forever halted), the centrepiece of our shoe rack they will remain.
To be honest, if you’ve followed us for any amount of time you should own at least two hundred pairs of these, but if you need a sign to finally chase the rainbow, let this be it.
See more serious footwear here.