Best foot forward for summer footwear
Michael Cowton checks out five of the best new styles for travel and leisure
LOWA SAN FRANCISCO GTX LOW
I HAVE been trialling these stylish, lightweight travel and leisure shoes recently in Portugal and Israel, perfect destinations for a shoe which boasts excellent temperature regulation, thanks to innovative 360° breathability inside the shoe.
Essentially, the shoe is constructed with a Gore-tex membrane under the foot, with ventilation under, thereby allowing moisture to escape out the bottom instead of being trapped under the sole of the foot. However, because of the Gore waterproof membrane, no water can get in via the opposite direction, so there is no seepage when splashing through puddles. The San Francisco has ventilation holes (backed by Gore-tex) throughout the Nubuck leather upper, and a comfortable tongue keeps the laces locked in place. Add to that excellent ankle cushion support, and the San Francisco is the perfect companion for warm weather travel and daily wear. In fact, they have proved to be my most worn shoe over the past few weeks, so well done Lowa. £125, www.lowa.co.uk
ZAMBERLAN VENICE GW
Handcrafted in Italy, the Venice GW is a stunning example of a modern classic walking shoe, here manufactured with Zamberlan’s special Goodyear welted process.
This particular model has been developed with an urban style, and is produced with the manufacturer’s own construction method using a full grain waxed leather upper treated with Hydrobloc for waterproofing, and Vibram Genopy outsole, a lightweight, soft and comfortable outsole designed for greater flexibility and comfort. Other features include an environmentally friendly chromium-free leather insole. The rich leathers used in the Venice are both environmentally friendly and water resistant, given the Hydrobloc treatment infused into each pair during the tanning process. Calf-leather linings wrap the foot and create a cosy environment, as only leather-lined boots are able. The Goodyear Welt construction is a highly durable method that also allows for easy, repeated resoling and exceptional aesthetics. A cousin of the more rugged Norwegian Welt boots by Zamberlan, the Goodyear Welt collection is geared more towards lifestyle applications over backcountry use. With its clean lines and stylish appeal, this is one pair of shoes that will be going everywhere with me. £199, www.zamberlan.com
TEVA TERRA-FLOAT UNIVERSAL SANDAL
‘Strap in and go’ is the buzz line for these new sandals from Teva. A fusion of street styling, practicality and comfort, the super-light Universal is part of the brand’s Float-Lite collection. Constructed in 100 per cent synthetic material, features include a rubber sole, webbing upper, Float-Lite outsole, microfibre suede lining, and a durable EVA topsole. The sandal is tensioned for fit via an adjustable hook and loop fastening system. However, when comfortably tensioned to my foot, there was considerable overhang from the front strap, which might need addressing. Available in various colour combinations, the test pair shown is in charcoal and black. £60, www.teva.co.uk
HANWAG TIERRA LOW
The name says it all… an everyday shoe for low-level walks and leisure activities. The full leather shoe is constructed using Hanwag’s innovative new, anatomically shared NaturalFit last, which offers the wearer excellent comfort. By all accounts, the chrome free, tanned lining leather is also suitable for those who are allergic to ordinary leather. With its lightweight suede upper and sole unit construction, and flexible instep lacing with loops allowing for a tight fit, the Tierra Low offers good arch support. The cemented construction means the shoe can be resoled as many times as required, depending on how often you are tramping through the fields. £134, www.hanwag.com
COLUMBIA VENTRAILIA OUTDRY TRAIL
The Ventrailia sports 360 degrees of waterproof breathability, and combines lightness, support, comfort and breathability all in one, so if you are looking for the perfect package for your outdoors fun, then here you have it. In a range of striking colours, the trail shoe features a textile upper with welded textile overlays which provide support and protection. The Techlite lightweight midsole provides long-lasting comfort, superior cushioning and high energy return, whilst the Omni-Grip non-marking traction rubber outsole is there for excellent grip. A small toe rand offers limited protection from scuffs on rocks. However, for a lightweight, flexible hiking alternative, you could do far worse. £90, www.columbiasportswear.co.uk