The Forsake Hiker is a new hiking boot that wasn’t designed by a stuffy boardroom full of old people that had to answer to their accountants. It’s the product of two young guys with a bit of vision, and the smarts to get their idea crowd-funded via a successful Kickstarter campaign. In creating their brand, Sam Barstow and Jake Anderson turned their experiences working at ski resorts into a rocking idea for stylish technical shoes to do everything in. After watching snowboarders getting to the resort in soggy skate shoes, they knew people wanted boots that look awesome but are waterproof and able to handle anything nature throws at them. (More of their story is in my Forsake article from last year.)
Blending the comfort and style of skate shoes with the performance, breathability, and waterproof features of hiking shoes, Forsake boots provide the best of both worlds. Playing on the comfort that has made skate shoes so popular for years, the Hiker has a cushioning layer that fully wraps around your foot. The cut and color patterns should be pretty easy to recognize (so easy that I probably don’t need to talk about it). But it’s the technical features that most interested me. Waterproof leathers and other materials (depending on the model you choose) keep out the weather while still allowing your feet to breathe. A gusseted tongue provides protection from nature, even when things start to get sketchy. Another nice touch is the lacing system. Not only are they designed to be tied easily, they also allow you to choose how high you lace them up; just use the regular eyelets when you’re hitting the town, or all the way to the top when you’re hitting the slopes. Dual-density EVA soles also give you support where it’s needed (instead of being floppy like their casual cousins).
With boots like these, wearing them in as many situations as possible was the key. Luckily enough, the weather decided to play along during my testing of the Forsake Hiker by giving us the first snow of the year right when I planned a hiking trip. They handled the mud from melting snow, the rocky stretches, and the snowy sections like champs, while keeping my feet dry and warm. The lacing system was a big win here, allowing me to tie them lower on the drive up to the trailhead, and then lace them up when we started hiking. They treated my feet better than some of my boots that cost twice as much, and handled every surface they encountered well. I have used better technical shoes before, but these are a great balance between performance, comfort, and having street cred in the woods. But I really loved how much other use you can get out of them. They didn’t feel out of place running to the store or going out to dinner with friends, and they certainly didn’t feel clunky like most hiking boots would. Another huge benefit of having waterproof shoes that you can wear all the time: cleaning them. If they start to get that gross I-wear-these-shoes-every-single-day type of look, just hose them off and let them air dry. Waterproof means low maintenance.
If you enjoy the outdoors, but also enjoy not looking like you live in a shack in the woods, you’re going to love the Forsake Hiker, or either of their other two styles offered. They have already become my go-to shoes for pretty much everything (you may get away with these as business casual, but anything beyond that you’ll have to have some dressy shoes, sadly). And with prices running from $110-130, they’re a steal. Check out the Forsake website to which style and color works best for you.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the Forsake Hikers at a discount from Forsake, in consideration for review publication