We put the latest outdoor shoes and sandals through their paces in the Pyrannese mountains.
This gear guide has some great outdoor footwear inspiration for wherever your next adventure might take you. We took a selection of footwear and put them through there paces on some fairly demanding terrain up in the Pyrenees mountains in France.
KEEN MEN'S NEWPORT HYDRO SANDALS
The Newport sandal celebrates it's 15th Anniversary this year and has become iconic in creating a whole new benchmark for rugged outdoor sandals.
They are virtually indestructible, and I've inflicted a lot of pain on mine taking them to some very harsh environments around the world. These Hydro varients I took to France are made from a waterproof material which makes them ideal if you like to get your feet wet.
I took mine into gorges, salty sea water, streams and rivers and even went canyoning in them and they took it all in their stride. The toe protection on offer is really what sets the Newport sandal apart from the other brand offerings, and the rugged grippy soles provide reassurance across all sorts of terrain.
I'm on my third pair now, and I've put these alongside many other sandals over the years and none come close to the Newport for comfort and reliability. I expect these to last many years to come.
The Terradora Ethos is a warm weather hiking trainer with lots of ventilation to keep you cool on the trails. They are made of a lightweight material and have elasticated drawstrings to keep the neoprene sock style fit in place. They offer great grip and enough support to take on more challenging routes and also benefit from being suitable for getting wet too so perfect for cooling off in a stream or the sea. These are great shoes to wear and super comfy, but we would recommend in very gritty or dusty environments they do tend to collect some grit which can rub, so trainer socks are a welcome addition for such situations.
We really like these but would probably like them more if the side ventilation was made of a finer mesh and less open and more resilient to letting in grit off the trail. But we are being very critical of what is in 9 out of 10 situations a perfect lightweight shoe.
Merrell have been making the successful Chameleon range of walking shoe for years and this latest version brings the addition of a slightly more boot like fit and the water protection of a gore-tex lining. We took both the men's and women's and gave them a very hard time up in the mountains taking them through streams, rocky trails and glaciers. These latest versions follow the original design cues of previous versions but add new features like what they call a FlexPlate™ which adds rigidity to the sole.
Both the women's and men's version of these boots are very similar and offer great comfort and protection in a pretty funky looking package. They are well worth checking out. The only issue we found with these boots was that after a particularly hard day on the trails the boot's sole did start to creak a bit, but after a bit of rest they did stop making any noise, so perhaps they needed a bit more breaking in.