I try out a lot of travel shoes (and wear out a lot of travel shoes) in my search for what will work when the rubber hits the road. Or the cobblestones. Or the trail rocks. The best shoes can perform well in all these circumstances, and still look good at happy hour. Like these new Lime Lite shoes from GoLite Footwear.
“Now those are cool,” was the comment from my jaded other half when I came back from the Outdoor Retailers show and pulled these out. Like many women, she’d rather tool around in uncomfortable shoes that look fab than to wear performance shoes that are too clunky. These GoLite shoes manage to turn heads, putting them in a different league than most boring brown cross trainers, but they’ve also got some impressive innovations going on under the hood.
The first one is how the sole is set up, with pyramid-style rubber lugs on the bottom on top of a soft sole that gives easily. This is supposedly modeled after how an animal’s paws work, a trait we lost long ago in our evolutionary development. I don’t know what this softness means in the long term after months or years of solid use, but for now anyway I’m loving it. To test these out in real world conditions I took them on a three-mile hike through the woods, over rocks, over roots, and through the mud. I also wore them around the mean city streets and even spent a day on a convention hall floor with them.
The flatter the surface, the less difference I could feel between these and any other shoes. In hiking trail conditions though, they excelled. I’m sure they’d be great on cobblestones as well, but I haven’t been to the right spot yet to try that theory out in person. The lugs move around independently, providing great traction but also great comfort in varied trail conditions. In the middle layer of the shoe though is a stable chassis. The idea is that the sole absorbs the shock, without these being all flexible and unsupportive.
The other welcome feature differentiating GoLite is that they seem to be one of the few companies understanding that we don’t all have the same foot shape. I must have toured 20 shoe booths at the Outdoor Retailers show and only found two companies marketing shoes in different widths. To me that’s as crazy as selling bras in only one cup size. Yeah I know, shoes take up more room than bras, so it’s not as practical to sell them in different widths, but “D for everyone” is not a good situation for either product.
GoLite has come up with a serviceable solution though. They make their shoes a bit wider than the norm, but then provide a customizable insert for the footbed. Plus on this model anyway, they feature tongue-to-toe lacing so you can then make them narrower if needed at different parts of the foot. If your feet swell up, adjust the insole and loosen the laces. Brilliant!
These Lime Light shoes are like the drop-dead gorgeous date who is also smart and has a great personality. The whole package, no compromises.
Get the women’s Lime Lite at Amazon.
Get the men’s version pictured at the top at PlanetShoes.