I’ll be honest with you: I have never owned a pair of hiking boots before.
I’m more of the twee museum-exploring type, and though over the years I’ve acquired quite a bit of “gear” for anytime a new hobby piqued my interest—dry-rotted tiny barre ball, I’m so sorry, you never stood a chance—I had yet to make any kind of investment in anything legitimately outdoorsy.
That disclosed, I am a fan of the casual day hike. So when an opportunity came up for me to try out these snazzy Woolrich Rockies boots, I perked up. And thank goodness I had them and not the raggedy hi-tops I typically wear, because I ended up on what the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference calls “the most strenuous hike in the East Hudson Highlands”: the Breakneck Ridge Trail.
More of a scramble than a hike, the Breakneck gave these boots a thorough testing. Fighting slippery dead leaves and a steep incline the entire length of the trail, I was especially grateful for the Rockies’ grippy treads. The boots also proved sturdy: in places, I was climbing hand over hand, wedging my foot into whatever stable crevice I could find, and the Rockies came out the other side looking great.
The boots ran true to size—I wear a 7 1/2—and felt perfect with a medium-thick wool sock. My feet are a bit flat, so in the future I might use a small insole for some additional arch support, but that’s typical for most shoes I own.
What I like best about these boots, though, is the fact that they aren’t hideous—they’re a classic design, and don’t make my feet look like cinderblocks or hooves. The pop of Woolrich fabric around the ankle is a nice touch, and I especially love the snappy red laces.
Seeing as I’m off the trail more than on, I’m happy that I won’t have to relegate these boots to the back of my closet over the winter. In the upcoming months, I plan on pairing them jeans and dresses on days when a Chelsea boot feels too posh. And hopefully, in the snow and ice this winter, they will once again save me from busting my ass.
Lila Allen is a writer, producer, and design researcher in Brooklyn, NY.