When it comes to innovative outdoors footwear, hiking boots lead the pack, and this year’s incoming crop looks set to raise the bar even further. The big noise in 2019, of course, is sustainability, and rightly so—several major manufacturers are rushing to incorporate recycled materials and eco-friendly credentials into their boots.
However, some have gone further than others, leading the charge with exciting new combinations of technology and eco materials in a way that will not only boost your performance when hiking, but protect the planet too.
We scoured ISPO 2019 for the most exciting new hiking footwear and found four great-looking boots, each offering something different to the modern hiker. We’ll be reviewing them when they come out later this year, and if they really do perform as good as they sound on paper, we’ll add them to our best hiking boots buyer’s guides.
1. Mammut Ducan High GTX
The all-new Mammut Ducan GTX is a lightweight crossover mountaineering and hiking boot designed for multi-day excursions in the mountains—think hut-to-hut in the Alps rather than trudging through peat bogs.
The midsole has a spring-steel sole, thanks to Mammut Flextron technology, which stiffens the boot to improve posture over long days. It also works hard to reduce foot fatigue and improve energy transfer.
Asymmetrical lacing with one-sided entry through the mono-tongue provides a secure wrap-around fit that’s easy to replicate day-to-day, while a mesh and GORE-TEX upper improves breathability in all conditions. Vitally, it’s available in Euro-regulation yellow. We can’t wait to put Mammut’s new hiking boot through its paces later this year.
2. Berg Outdoor Sordo Boot
It might look like your standard urban-inspired walking boot, but the stylish Berg Sordo has an ingenious trick up its sleeve: it’s entirely made of biodegradable materials. So much so, it will decompose entirely in six months when left out in ‘favourable conditions’.
Built from oak leather, Burel and an Apinat outsole, the Sordo is not only highly sustainable, it’s also massively lightweight as a consequence. This perfect combination of eco innovation and wearability led to it winning a ‘Product of The Year’ award at ISPO 2019.
3. Icebug Grove BUGrip Woolpower
A slightly off-the-wall concoction, the urban-ready Icebug Grove hiking boot lives up to its name with a sole equipped with 14 dynamic spike, each designed to be replaceable and highly robust.
The winner of an ISPO Award 2019 in the category `Urban – Street & Lifestyle', the Icebug Grove’s big claim is (much like the Berg) sustainability. There’s 20 per cent recycled rubber in the outsole, and offcuts were used to make the felted wool upper.
The eco-friendly hiking boots tale continues with the use of ‘Bloom foam’ insulation, made using water algae that would otherwise contaminate rivers and streams. The algae is processed into an EVA-like foam that is not only biodegradable, but also reduces CO₂ emissions and dependence on oil. Oh, and they look pretty awesome too.
4. Jack Wolfskin Wilderness Lite
The rugged yet clean lines of the new Wilderness Lite hiking boots from Jack Wolfskin helps this shoe look like it means business. Designed for high-end trekking and mountaineering, the new Wilderness Lite are definitely light (1220g a pair) but also stiff, being braced with a TPU lasting board, a heel brace and control pad heel to manipulate heel strike on long days.
The upper is breathable Texapore O2+ waterproof and mesh, while a Vibram outsole with scrambling-friendly rock zone rubber at the toe area should keep your feet firmly on the ground. The Wilderness Lite will go on sale for £160 when they’re released. We’ll be testing them out for our Best hiking boots buyer’s guide, so keep your eyes peeled for our verdict.