These boots are somewhat made for walking.
October 21, 2010 2:33 AM   Subscribe

All purpose 'Hiking' boots that don't look like hiking boots but are somewhat water / snow resistant.

I'm off to Iceland next week and I really don't have any suitable footwear for trudging around in wet weather / snow.

I seem to own only cool sneakers or leather soled shoes and generally dont' do 'hiking'. However I expect we will be doing some short walks around Iceland in dubious weather conditions.

I was hoping to get something that I'd possibly wear normally around London or coudl wear to a dinner as well. I was thinking maybe something like this
Timberland Chukka Escape but would they just get soaked through in light snow?

What are my options?

Also i'd prefer not to buy USA products.
posted by mary8nne to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (22 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
These might work, but they are USA products, unfortunately.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:45 AM on October 21, 2010

Response by poster: Oh and I should have said easily obtained in London UK would be handy.
posted by mary8nne at 2:57 AM on October 21, 2010

What about just a pair of classic Doc Martens like these?

I wore my pair constantly throughout a Berlin winter when the pavement disappeared for three months under a pretty much constant blanket of snow. It would only be at the end of a whole day walking through inches of snow that I even started to feel a bit of damp around the toes. The grip is excellent, they're very sturdy yet comfy.

And they're great-looking with all kinds of outfits, from jeans to floaty dresses - lots of colours to choose from, too.
posted by greenfelttip at 3:07 AM on October 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

ECCO has a few water-proof fashionable pairs, such as the MONTAGNA it is also available in a high ankle. ECCO are danish and they have a store on Oxford street and in Covent garden.
posted by Virtblue at 3:07 AM on October 21, 2010

Response by poster: Yes Doc Martens are on the "hmm... maybe "list (and there is a Docs Shop near work at Spitalfields markets). but they do just remind me a little much of High-School and now just scream 'goth' too me so its hard to deal with.

ECCO on the other hand I find rather repulsive. I just don't understand the design aesthetic of ECCO shoes. Its like they are trying to make the most dorky and generic version of a shoe possible. Sorry but no to ECCO.
posted by mary8nne at 3:16 AM on October 21, 2010

My pair's about 7 years old now, and I can't get their web site to work and actually show me a link to the hiking boots I own, but SCARPA do some good stuff. Mine are a fine, full leather, almost waterproof (treating them with Nikwax gets them very close) boot that manages to pass as a sort of "engineers dress boot" (if that makes sense). These look a little like mine. They're heavy, and not cheap, but they do have the advantage of having a replaceable vibram sole (I've had mine replaced twice) and thus last for years.
posted by Ahab at 4:39 AM on October 21, 2010

I quite like Hi-Tec boots for light hiking. They're waterproof, quite reasonably priced and not too heavy. You can get them in most outdoorsy shops in London, or online. Hi-Tec was originally a UK company, but they're more multinational now. They vary in how much they look like hiking boots.
posted by richb at 4:47 AM on October 21, 2010

Clarks may not be the most fashionable shoes in the world, but they do do a fair line in waterproof shoes - many of which look just like normal shoes.
posted by ComfySofa at 5:26 AM on October 21, 2010

You could try Merrell. They have some nice boots that would look normal around town but stand up to light hiking eg these or these.
They also do a huge range of trainers that would be great for hiking in, but wouldn't look too out of place on the high street.
posted by sleepy boy at 5:27 AM on October 21, 2010 [2 favorites]

I have a pair of boots very similar to the ones you linked to. I'm a woman but I bought the boots in the boy's department.

I live in Northern Utah (the best snow on earth) and wear my boots in most conditions other than the really wet, ankle or deeper snow. I think your boots will work just fine. If you are really concerned you could go to a cobbler and ask them to give them a waterproofing treatment. IIRC it's just a spray that will help them be water repellent. It may slightly change the color of the boots, but the ones you linked to are already pretty dark so that might not be an issue for you.

I think you'll be fine unless you go into wet snow that comes up past where the laces are or start jumping into puddles.
posted by TooFewShoes at 6:00 AM on October 21, 2010

Blundstone boots are awesome. These are waterproof and have good soles for walking on snow, and they are nice looking. I wear them in winter NYC. Have no idea where you can get them in London.
posted by Pineapplicious at 6:10 AM on October 21, 2010

I love my Docs, but don't find them sufficiently waterproof or non-slip for this kind of thing. But for winter wear, I love love love my Merrell's (sadly, I don't see them on the uk site.) They did take a few days of breaking in before they became super comfortable, so that might not work out for a trip so soon.
posted by ansate at 7:06 AM on October 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

These Timberland Washington Summit boots look pretty good.

And if you change your mind and don't mind if they look like hiking boots, these La Sportiva boots are the best boots I've ever owned. They are fully waterproof (like step up to your ankle in a lake) and breath wonderfully. Great grip, etc.
posted by zephyr_words at 7:16 AM on October 21, 2010

I'm a big fan of Scarpa (mentioned earlier). One observation I would make as a regular hiker/ trekker/ walker/ whatever the kids call it is that hiking boots that look like hiking boots - i.e. the old school leather ones - perform a lot better than those that look like stylish trainers.
posted by rhymer at 7:46 AM on October 21, 2010

GoreTex trail running shoes. I use them for everything from trips to the grocery store to trail running to snowshoeing.
posted by chuke at 8:30 AM on October 21, 2010

I was in your exact situation last year (except it was a trip to Peru and the main concern was rough terrain and not snow) and went with a pair of classic black leather Doc Martens. They were a great choice. Perfectly functional in my travels and still very useful at home where I don't have a sporty/techy aesthetic at all.

Waterproof them before you leave if you'll be exposing them to wet snow, slush, or water on a daily basis.

If you want something more specifically meant for water, what about duck boots?
posted by Sara C. at 9:06 AM on October 21, 2010

Maybe Tretorn?

I'll second the LL Bean boot, but that's about as USA as you can get.
posted by sportbucket at 10:08 AM on October 21, 2010

Lots of companies make their own versions of LL Bean's duck boot. It's not a proprietary design.
posted by Sara C. at 12:05 PM on October 21, 2010

Lots of companies make their own versions of LL Bean's duck boot. It's not a proprietary design.

Wikipedia tells me that the "Maine hunting shoe" design we're all familiar with was invented by Leon Leonwood Bean in 1912, and that he founded LL Bean around the success of his invention. I'm sure there are other companies who make similar shoes now that any applicable patents have expired, but I can't name any examples.

It depends on mary8nne's reason for not wanting to buy American. If it's to avoid paying premiums on shipping/labor or to avoid supporting a US-based business, that's one thing. If it's to avoid looking like an American, then I'd say a boot that looks like LL Bean is just as "bad" as the real thing.
posted by sportbucket at 2:45 PM on October 21, 2010

I don't want to get too off topic, but I have OWNED duck-style boots that were not made by LL Bean. They definitely exist. Pretty sure you can't patent a shoe design, by the way (look at all the MBT copycats out there lately). And the likelihood that anyone in Iceland who saw a Brit in duck boots would think OMG THAT PERSON MUST BE SOME SORT OF EVIL AMERICAN is highly unlikely.
posted by Sara C. at 4:19 PM on October 21, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks all for the tips. I also just remembered these Campers military styled boots.

- LL bean: The Duck Boots are umm.. a bit extreme for me. (I think i'd look like a nutter).
- Those gortex running shoes looked gastly.
- The tretorn are ok.. in a minimal sort of aesthetic. but look a bit too single purpose
- Blundstones - were in the back of my mind as I'm actually an Australian - But I think they are a bit over priced in the UK. and looking online I can't fidn the ones I used to think are ok.

I'm now also thinking perhaps something from this Campers 1912 Range as they claim to be waterproof and look reasonably grippy / not at all hikerish.
posted by mary8nne at 3:22 AM on October 22, 2010

Sara C.: My point is that it's an iconic American design that conjures a particularly American/outdoorsy/rugged aesthetic. So no matter who makes it, it's still fundamentally an American boot.

mary8nne: Non-rubber boots claiming to be waterproof are lying to you. Every non-rubber boot will eventually get your feet wet. The best "waterproofing" fabrics/finishes are extremely expensive. The lesser ones will breathe poorly, and your feet will soak from the inside with sweat.

If it's primarily water/snow you're worried about, get some rubber boots.

If you need a good pair of walking/hiking/work boots to protect your feet, get something with high-quality full-grain leather and a Vibram sole, put some beeswax-based waterproofing dressing on them, and enjoy.
posted by sportbucket at 3:01 PM on October 22, 2010

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