Scarpa Epic Lite, $135 from

When you’re packing light, you can’t afford to bring along a shoe type for every adventure, so you need to choose versatile shoes that can go from trail to tavern, or mountain to museum, or just look good and stay comfortable while you’re walking around. These models, available in women’s and men’s sizes, are good insurance to have on your feet if you happen to step off the sidewalk at any point on your travels.

— Jill K. Robinson

Danner Mountain 600 Low

What we liked: The waterproof shoe is a boon in a variety of conditions, especially when the weather changes. The split-heel outsole makes walking for hours much more comfortable, and the self-adapting lugs provide great grip on wet and dry surfaces.

Not so much: If you like to keep your shoes pretty, the first time you get mud on the suede shoes might make you sad.

Vitals: Danner Mountain 600 Low, $160 from

Scarpa Epic Lite

What we liked: The lace-to-toe design of the upper allows for a more personalized fit than many other shoes in this category, making this feel more like a serious hiking shoe. Inspired by climbing shoes, the heel in the Epic Lite adds more stability.

Not so much: Those who are sensitive about high heel coverage in back (rubbing just above the heel bone) may want to test this shoe out before buying.

Vitals: Scarpa Epic Lite, $135 from

Vasque Grand Traverse

What we liked: This shoe successfully blends the comfort of a running shoe with the support of a hiking shoe. The heel coverage is a little lower than some competitor shoes, so you can wear short socks without the shoe rubbing on your skin.

Not so much: This shoe seems a little narrow in the toe box, so test it out first before packing along.


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