Altra running shoes don’t usually win points for style. Their unique shape and construction makes them chunky, and they typically come with all sorts of clashing hits of color. They win other things though, like awards from publications such as Runner’s World and Competitor Magazine, not to mention long-distance endurance races around the world. When it comes to looks, the company’s new hiking shoes are a different story, though.
Released earlier this month, the Grafton and the Wahweap represent Altra’s first take on multi-purpose, low-cut hiking shoes. Approach shoes — lightweight yet rugged footwear typically used by rock climbers during long treks to a wall — directly inspired the creation of both new styles. The Grafton is the more rugged of the two, with the Wahweap angling slightly more for versatility and everyday use around town. Altra built the former with a suede leather upper and a sticky Vibram rubber outsole, and the latter with a hemp canvas upper and outsole that’s not too technical for surfaces that aren’t craggy rock.
Both of the new shoes are understated in appearance, with retro callouts to early outdoor footwear that aren’t so overt as to draw all attention downwards (think zig-zag stitching, not nineties pink and turquoise). That’s a good thing; if you’re going to wear hiking shoes every day, they had better look good anywhere.
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